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Have you ever been to a holiday that turns sour only because it was poorly planned?
Some people buy and read a guide book before going on holiday. What do you do to prepare for a holiday?
There is nothing worse than going on a holiday unprepared, it sucks and who would want that? Yes, I know exactly how it feels – I’ve been there. Let’s face it travel planning is difficult, and it’s very hard to know in advance what is the right things to do, what’s the right food to eat, where to stay, and what are the best places to go! So if you are planning to go to NEPAL here are my recommendations.
How long should you plan your trip?
A 5 day trip is more than enough to explore Kathmandu alone. But I suggest you spend 10-14 days to explore Kathmandu and the rest of Nepal. You should also allot at least 3-4 days for trekking up in the mountains, maybe an entire week if you’re more hard core and really into mountaineering.
How to get there?
There are still no direct flights from Manila to Kathmandu. Your best bet is to fly to Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok or Delhi and take a connecting flight to Kathmandu via Air Asia, Thai Airways and Jet Airways.
Do You Need a Visa?
Yes! Only Indian nationals can enter Nepal without a visa. Everyone else needs to get a tourist visa, which can be obtained either in advance from a Nepal consulate or upon arrival. You will need one passport photo and the visa fee in cash.
Visitors can extend their visa for a maximum of 150 days, with each 30-day extension costing US$30. These extensions can be obtained at immigration offices in Kathmandu and Pokhara.
Is currency exchange accessible?
Nepal’s currency is the Nepalese rupee (NPR). One USD equals 102 rupee. (1PHP = 2.26 NPR, from the time i created this blog). You can check the latest currency exchange here.
Money can be exchanged at Kathmandu International Airport and at any of the myriad banks and money exchange kiosks in the capital. ATMs are accessible in Kathmandu and Pokhara. Standard Chartered Bank has a 24-hour ATM in Thamel Chouk which accepts Cirrus, Visa and Mastercard.
Be sure to exchange back all the Nepalese currencies before you leave. They are not accepted (or even exchanged for that matter) outside of Nepal.
Issues about Health
No specific vaccinations are needed to enter Nepal. But be careful to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes at dawn and dusk. Wear long pants, socks and shoes and sleep under a mosquito net whenever possible.
When is the best time to go – Nepal Weather?
Nepal has a typical monsoonal climate with spring, summer, autumn and winter as its four main seasons.
Between September and November and between March and May are the best times to visit Nepal.
Where to stay?
Kathmandu has a huge range of places to stay, from luxurious international-style hotels to cheap and cheerful lodges, the average starting price is $25 per night (budget hostel) to as much as 278USD per night for a five star/ luxury hotel. You can check good hotel deals at Agoda.
Hindu and Buddhist – This is why it’s such a peaceful country! The Nepalese are traditionally deep rooted and still today they follow some age-old customs. Though they will not rebuke you for unknowingly offending them it would be nice to be smart and polite.
What to Wear
Nepalese wear clothes that have them fully covered. Hence, do not wear tight fitting clothes or clothes that expose your legs or shoulders when you’re wandering around their religious sites.
In and out of the City – Transportation
Public taxis are cheap, you jump in, pay your $0.30 and wait for the taxi to fill and then you’re off. Or if you’re feeling impatient you can hire the taxi yourself and go immediately – a 30 minute cab ride in a place shouldn’t cost you more than $5. There are also rickshaws available all over, these may be a bit of a bumpy ride but they’re cheap and effective. Just don’t use them if you’re in a rush.
If you’re after a local sim card, Nepal’s best is probably Vodafone or Mero Mobile. Along the length and breadth of Nepal you’ll see endless internet cafes especially in Kathmandu and Pokhara. The net is surprisingly quite fast, and in Kathmandu you’ll easily find net cafes.
Is it safe to travel to Nepal?
It is relative safe in Nepal and you don’t have to worry about theft and mugging, politics are still a big source of tension in Nepal though so stay smart and follow these guide lines:
What to do: Types of Tour
There are a lot of things you can do in Nepal, depending on your inclination. Nepal offers adventure, cultural, pilgrimage and wildlife tours and each one of them is unique in its own way. Nepal also goes crazy for festivals so time your trip right and you could be welcomed by some of the most amazing scenes imaginable!
Visiting Nepal is about much more than ticking off the tourist attractions – simply being there is an experience in itself. From the sites of the majestic mountains and crystal clear lakes to the chaotic sounds of the city, to the ancient history, deep-felt culture, wonderful people and more, Nepal is one of those unique destinations that can offer travelers a trip of a lifetime.
You may also like to read NEPAL: A Walk to Remember