His Majesty's Government of Nepal
Ministry of Tourism & Civil Aviation
Department of Tourism
Tel: 221306, 2-11293 - Cable: Tourists
WATA - YETI TRAVELS, KATHMANDU
Physical geographyThe independent Kingdom of Nepal stretches for 500 miles along the lap of the Himalayas. It is 54,662 sq. miles in area. It is bounded on the north by the Tibet Region of China and on the south by India. It lies between 80° 4' - 88° 12' east longitude and 26° 2' - 30° 27' north latitude. It is divided into three reliefs - The Northern Snows, The Middle Hilly Region and the Southern Terain which is largely jungle.
ClimateNepal has four seasons: spring (March-May); summer (June-August), autumn (September-November), winter (December-February). The winter season in Nepal is pleasant with warm sunshine pouring out from the deep blue cloudless sky. The night temperature sometimes drops below zero in December and January. June, July, August are the rainiest months in the year. April, May, June are somewhat hot.
Economic geographyNepal is an agricultural country. Dry farming, ie, potatoes, peas, barley, buckwheat and maize are widely cultivated on high hills. Humid farming, ie, jute, rice, sugarcane, etc, are generally cultivated on Terai. Currently efforts are afoot to diversify the economy. Many large-scale industries, as well as small scale industries are coming up. The mineral resources of the country are being surveyed and water power is being harnessed.
DemographyNepal has a population of around 19.5 million, composed of a variety of races and tribes, speaking different languages and dialects. In the north and east live Bhotias, Tamangs, Limbus, Rais, Sherpas, etc. These communities are very similar to Mongol races. In the centre, Brahmins, Kshetriyas and the Newars, in the west and along the Mahabharat ranges are the Magars, the Kiratis, the Gurungs and Sunuwars. The Dhimals, the Kshetriyas, the Brahmins, the Moslems are sprinkled all over the kingdom and peacefully co-exist with the diverse racial stock of the country. Agriculture provides livelihood to more than 90 per cent of the population.
A brief historyNepal has a long history. It claims a chronology which antedates Gautama Buddha by at least a millennium. Indo-Aryans had come as immigrants to settle down in the fertile valley of Nepal with their tradition and culture towards the 7th century B.C. Then Kiratis, Licchavis, the Vaisyas, etc, yielded efforts against the rising tide of the Mauryas, the Guptas and the Tibetans respectively to keep Nepal independent. Dynasties succeeded one another until the emergence of the Malla dynasty of the Newars towards the end of the 14th century. In the realm of art, however, great strides were made by Nepal during the Malla period. There were intrigues and rivalries among the Malla kings and there was further division of the country. There were three kingdoms with Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur as rivals.
King Prithvi Narayan Shah undertook the supreme task of unifying Nepal into a single political unit. But King Prithvi Narayan Shah did not live long to enjoy the fruit of his endeavour, he died at an early age of 55 and the throne of Nepal went to an infant King. Soon intrigues became the order of the day. This chapter in the history of Nepal was brought to a close by Jung Bahadur Rana who started the hereditary rule of Rana Prime Ministers. The iron rule of the Ranas ended 104 years later with a bloodless revolution of the people led by the Father of the Nation King Tribhuwan Bir Bikram Shah Deva in 1951. Since then the country is open to all. The first parliamentary type of democracy was introduced in the kingdom in 1959, and the country ruled under the system for 18 months. It was replaced by the partyless Panchayat system of regime in 1960, under which the country ruled for 30 years. Popular will was in favour of parliamentary democracy again, and so it has been restored since April 1990.
ReligionsThe major religions of Nepal are Hinduism and Buddhism. There is a complex blending of Hinduism and Buddhism in Nepal and many deities are worshipped by Hindus and Buddhists alike.
Languages spoken by nationalsThe majority of the population speak and understand Nepali, the lingua franca of the country. Educated classes speak and understand English.
TimeNepal time differs from Greenwich time by five hours 45 minutes. The possible summertime record is as follows: the sun rises at 5.30am and sets at 7pm.
CurrencyWhile in Nepal, foreign visitors will have to make all their payments in Nepalese rupees, Nepal has a decimal system of coins. There are 100 paisas in a rupee. Tourists other than Indians are not allowed to bring in or take out Indian currency.
The open market rates of exchange: US$ 1.00 = Rs 50.63; £ Sterling 1.00 = Rs 79.34; Austr. $1.00 = Rs 36.39; Can. $1.00 = Rs 37.30, Swiss Fr. 1.00 = Rs 42.05, Netherland Guilder 1.00 = Rs 31.32, Singapore Dollar 1.00 = Rs 36.35; French Fr. 1.00 = Rs 9.88; Japanese Yen 10 = Rs. 5.80 (as of May 1995).
Official holidays (All offices and shops closed)All offices and shops are closed on Saturdays.
There are colourful and appealing festivals practically every fortnight. Nepal is thus appropriately known as the 'Land of Festivals'.
Official holidays: Birth Anniversary of Late King Prithvi Narayan Shah, Basanta Panchami (invocation of the Goddess of Learning) and Martyr's day - January/ Democracy day, Shiva Ratri (Birth Anniversary of Lord Shiva) - February/ Holi (Festival of Colours), Ghode Jatra (Festival of Horses Race) and Chaite Dasain - March/ Birth Anniversary of Lord Rama, New Year's Day - April/Mother's day (Festival), Birth Anniversary of Lord Buddha - May/ Guru Purnima (Teacher's day Festival) - July/ Raksha Bandhan, Gaijatra (Festival of Cows), Birth anniversary of Lord Krishna, Father's day (Festival), Teej (Festival of Women) - August/ Rishi Panchami (Festival of Women), Chariot Festival of Kumari (Virgin Goddess) and Ghatasthapana (Beginning of Dasain Festival) - September/ Dasain Festival, Tihar (Festival of Lights) - October/Constitution day - November/ Birth day of His Majesty the King - December.
What one should not fail to seeKathmandu Valley is indeed beautiful, surrounded by green hills and mountains with snow-capped Himalayan peaks against its north-eastern background. It consists of three main cities of historic interest: Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur (Bhadgaon) where ancient monuments, relics, architectures and fine arts are in abundance. Bhadgaon and Patan are famous for historical monuments; pagodas, temples and health resorts. The verdant Pokhara Valley is noted for its crystal lakes and scenic beauty. Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha is famous as a place of pilgrimage. Rapti Valley is known for its National Park and Game Sanctuary. Biratnagar is an industrial city with various kinds of small and large scale industries. Janakpur, a famous epic town, Khumjung, Namchebazar and Helambu a trekker's paradise and Sherpa villages, etc.
Most favourable seasons for sojourns and touring
Round-The-Year destinationNepal has three major seasons, the cold, the hot (summer) and the rainy. The cold season is pleasant throughout Nepal with bright sunshine and blue sky, the hot season falls in April-June, the rainy season begins in mid-June. On account of sharp changes in landscape from south to north and rich varieties of ethnicity and culture, Nepal has attractions throughout the year. Every season in Nepal has its specific charm and grandeur.
How to dressNepalese usually wear Nepalese skirt (Labeda), a European-style jacket and a black or printed brimless hat (topi). Nepalese women drape gracefully in saris. Warm clothing is needed in September-January and tropical wear during February- August.
Main holiday resorts
NagarkotEighteen miles east of Kathmandu, situated at an altitude of 7,133 ft. Major peaks of most of the eastern Himalaya ranges including Sagarmatha (Everest) can be seen from here.
KakaniEighteen miles northwest of Kathmandu at an altitude of about 6,500 ft. It overlooks the western Himalayan ranges: Annapurna, Manaslu, Himalchuli, Ganesh Himal, Langtang, etc.
Daman52 miles south-west of Kathmandu, at an altitude of about 8,000 ft. Commands a view of 500 miles range of Himalaya including Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest) and other major snow-capped peaks.
HelambuSherpa village - trekker's paradise, a three days walk one way, is about 32 miles northeast of Kathmandu.
NamchebazarConsidered as one of the most beautiful spots in the world, is situated in the lap of Mahalangur Himal. Namchebazar is reached from Kathmandu. World's highest placed hotel Hotel Everest View, is situated above Namchebazar and has become a tourist resort at a height of 13,000 ft.
Pokhara ValleyOne of the most picturesque spots in Nepal, a verdant valley with several beautiful lakes and snuggled in the shelter of lush green hills over whose crests may be seen the giant peaks of the mighty Annapurna Range with the famous Machhapuhhre on its foreground.
ChitwanEstablished in 1973, it is the first national park of Nepal. It is the home of the great one-horned rhinoceros, sloth bear, wild boar, gaur (bison), four species of deer, two species of crocodile, the elusive royal Bengal tiger and over 450 species of birds. Wildlife safaris are operated by various resorts located in and around the national park.
LumbiniThe birthplace of Lord Buddha, the apostle of peace lies about 250 miles south-west of Kathmandu.
Thak Khola ValleyTrans - Himalayan arid valley by the Kali Gandaki river which forms the deepest gorge in the world between Mt. Annapurna (8,091m.) and Mt. Dhaulagiri (8,167m.). Inhabited by tribal Thakalis, the villages of Jomsom, Marpha and Tukuche, form the core of the Thak Khola valley. It is a fantastic trekking area. The upper reaches of the Kali Gandaki valley known as Lomanthang is now open for limited group trekking activities. Characterised by arid Tibetan-type of landscape, Lomanthang is an old fortified city with a tribal king a culture which is about two millennia old.
Main holiday sportsHorse riding is available by pre-arrangement. Trekking, rafting and wildlife safaris are the most popular holiday sports.
What to eat and drinkDelicious food, representative of cuisine from Western countries is found in city restaurants. In addition, the following are some that the tourist can taste:
What to buyShopping is a pastime for most tourists visiting Nepal. Woollen carpets, readymade garments, curios, Pashmina shawls, cloth-made shoes and slippers, Khukri (Gurkha knife), metal pots, carved wooden goods, papier mache masks and bronze bells, etc.
Passports and visasTourist visas: A visa is necessary to enter Nepal and can be obtained from any Royal Nepalese Embassy or Consulate upon the presentation of a passport, two passport size photos and payment of US$25. A single entry visa for 15 days costs US$15 and for 30 days it costs US$25. A double entry visa for 30 days costs US$40, whereas a multiple entry visa valid for 60 days costs US$60. An entry visa is also given at the point of entry to visitors who arrive without a visa.
Airport taxA tax of Rs 600 for SAARC countries and Rs 700 for the rest is levied on departures by air.
Entry by land route: points of entry for foreigners have been fixed at six points on Nepal-lndia and one point on Nepal-China border. The entry on Nepal-India borders are ( I ) Kakarbhitta, (2) Birganj, (3) Sunauli, (4) Dhangadhi, (5) Mahendranagar, (6) Nepalgunj. The only entry point on the Nepal/China border is Kodari.
Health regulationsInternational Certificate of vaccination recording current inoculation against smallpox, cholera and typhoid.
CustomsAll baggage must be declared and cleared through the customs at the port of entry, personal effects are permitted free entry. The duty on articles brought by the visitor varies according to the volume and value of the goods. A tourist may bring in dutiable goods, such as tobacco and liquors, free of duty and other taxes subject to the following limits: cigarettes 200 sticks, cigars 50 sticks, alcoholic liquor one bottle (not exceeding 1.15 ltr. in all) or beer - 12 cans.
The visitors are also permitted to import the following articles for their personal use - one binocular, one movie camera with 12 rolls of film, one ordinary camera with 15 rolls of film, one video camera (with deck), one portable gramophone with ten records, one radiogram, one record player, one transistor, one radio of one, two in one or three in one, one tape recorder with 15 tape reels or cassettes, one perambulator, one tricycle, one pocket mini calculator, one portable typewriter, one tent, one sleeping bag, one rucksack and one stick.
Antiques and precious or semi precious stones bought by tourists must be cleared and a certificate obtained from His Majesty's Government of Nepal, Department of Archeology.
Currency regulationsThere are no restrictions on the amount of currency mentioned above (except Indian currency) which may be brought into Nepal in currency notes and travellers cheques.
Only traveller's cheques of the following currencies are accepted: Canadian Dollars, French Francs, Swedish Crowns, Dutch Guilders, Austrian Schillings, Belgian Francs, Italian Lire, US Dollars. Visitors are required to fill out the Currency Declaration Form at the port of entry. Currency can be exchanged at the Counter of Rastra Bank and with licensed exchange dealers without restrictions. Rastra Bank Exchange Counters are open during all flight operation hours.
Main travel routesThe Royal Nepal Airlines Corporation, the flag carrier of Nepal, operates international air services by Boeing 727 and 757 from Kathmandu to Calcutta, Delhi, Bangkok, Singapore, Hongkong, Karachi, Dubai, Frankfurt, London, Paris and Osaka. Domestic Services are operated by the same corporation by Avro, Twin Otter and Pilatus Porter. Three more domestic airlines have been in operation providing tourists with more access to remote internal destinations. They are: Nepal Airways (P) Ltd, Everest Air (P) Ltd, Necon Air (P) Ltd. There are also three helicopter services for hopping to remote natural beauty spots. Taxis are available on call or in the streets of large cities. All of them have fare-metres. All principal hotels maintain a taxi fleet. By bus: there are regular day and night bus services from Kathmandu to Pokhara, Sunauli, Birgunj, Janakpur and Kakar-Bhitta. Railways: there is a light and narrow gauge railway in Nepal. The Nepal-Janakpur-Jaynagar railway runs in the eastern Terain of Nepal.
TrekkingNepal is a trekker's paradise. Trekking is the best way to get to interesting and remote mountain villages of Nepal and to enjoy close-up views of the Himalayan giants and the culture and lifestyle of the tribal people.
RaftingWhite river rafting has recently emerged as the most popular and exciting activity for tourists in Nepal. Visitors can enjoy the unspoilt natural beauty along the riverside which is not possible to reach on foot or otherwise.
MountaineeringWith eight out of 14 peaks reaching a height of 8,000m and over 3,000 other snow giants, Nepal is the ultimate arena for mountaineering. His Majesty's Government has opened 133 peaks for mountaineering activities to date.
Representatives abroadNone. Please apply to the nearest diplomatic mission.
We have been able to publish the present tourist information on Nepal thanks to the co-operation and the participation of the Department of Tourism in Kathmandu.