Nepal Travel Guide
- Everything you need to know for your trip to Nepal-
Nepal, officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a Southeast Asian country with a vibrant culture and diverse geography. It is a spiritual country for the Buddhists as it is the birthplace of Gautama Buddha and peaceful and tranquil land. This beautiful country with various forms of flora and fauna has never been colonized and has a kind of consistency in its arts and architecture, adding more to its attractiveness. But above all else, Nepal is famous for having the highest mountains in the world, the Himalayas.
Why Visiting Nepal?
The first thing that comes to mind about Nepal is its rich culture. One good reason to select this country as a traveling destination is to learn their culture of Kathmandu. To some, it may sound chaotic, but to others, it is a colorful and peaceful discovery as well as a learning experience.
Their culture is the result of their history, which is another reason why you should go to Nepal. History added to the culture, makes way for art and architecture. Beautiful and peaceful beliefs in the same mix offer you some of the most delicate and marvelous temples and heritage sites. Besides, this country can help you sense the connection between humankind and our environment to find balance.
The next thing that brings travelers into the country is the environment and wildlife. In simple words, Nepal is full of life, animals, and plants alike. The numerous species of birds and other animals make this place ideal for taking a picture in the natural environment.
And yet, no visit to nature is complete without a little bit of an adventure. Whether it is a safari in a national park or a raw and up-close encounter, this is a place to visit the animals and see other amazing things on our planet. You can decide what you favor the most and go hiking or trekking in the snowy lands or green jungles.
Rich land makes way for those who seek adrenaline, as you can go paragliding or Rafting or travel in dangerous planes and feel your heart rate increase. At the beginning and the end of each adventure or fun activity, you can get a beautiful and romantic glow from the sunrise or sundown.
Having a good acceptance of other cultures, wonderful land, and the long history of this country creates the opportunity to have delicious foods. Many things affect their cuisine, but all of them make it just so much better. While in Nepal, you must try their food and keep in mind that they mostly favor meat over vegetables in the cuisine.
Safety is another important consideration while traveling, and for that, it can be said that Nepal is safe. The only dangers lie in nature and the dangerous hikes that adventures may select. Having safety, it is also suitable for traveling as a family. If you prepare yourself for the possible mishaps in the wilds, there are no more significant concerns with the people or politics.
Having mentioned most of Nepal’s best things, it is time for its best; The Himalayas. This place is the home of the world-famous Mount Everest, the highest mountain on the planet. Also, it is possible for everyone to visit! If hiking or a challenging journey is not what you are looking for, there are other ways of seeing the peak and enjoying this marvelous place. Continue reading to discover more of this great country in Southeast Asia.
Nepal Top Destinations
Best Time to Visit Nepal
The best time to travel is during autumn in October and November when the weather is more pleasant, and rain decreases. You can see all the four seasons in this country, but the climate can vary from one region to another. The highlands are always colder, but if you pick your timing right, you can enjoy the activities you select as your goals for traveling.
Temperature: 12°C (53.6° F) – 35°C (95° F)
Spring is the shoulder season for having the warmest times of the year and little rain. The ice and snow are melting, and nature is becoming green. Daylight makes it suitable to go out but keep in mind to have appropriate clothing for the nights as they get slightly cold. The sky is mostly clear, but you will sometimes see some mists and clods that limit the view of the mountain areas.
Where to Visit in Spring
This time of the year is ideal for trekking in and adventuring. It is an excellent time to visit the wildlife and go to the national parks or visit the highlands. Be prepared to see rain as you move toward May, and plan your trip carefully to avoid the monsoon season.
Summer (June - August)
Temperature: 25°C (77° F) – 33°C (91.4° F)
Dusty and wet. The view is minimal due to the dust in the air, but the dust will go away as soon as rain starts, which will last for hours. The days are hot and rarely clear of clouds or rain. It is the low season and somewhat impossible for most visits unless you are prepared for all the hardships. It is cheap to travel during this time, but it is possible to see most plans and visits are canceled.
Where to Visit in Summer
If you can cope with the rain and come prepared, some of the treks are still possible. The wilderness is also visitable at carefully selected times and with appropriate preparations. Nature is stunning if one can visit it, but these trips come with limits and difficulties. Most of the activities will be completely crowd-free as others are much less populated, making them more comfortable.
Autumn (September – November)
Temperature: 11°C (51.8° F) – 29°C (84.2° F)
The perfect time and for traveling to Nepal is Autumn. The rain will significantly decrease during September, making October and November ideal for anything you want to do outdoors. Plan to take part in some festivals, visit the sites, and make the most of the environment. It has clear skies, it is still full of life, and all trails are suitable for traveling. Nightery warmth of the day nor the chill of the night will bother the travelers. But having appropriate clothing for possible cold areas and the few rainy days is suggested.
Where to Visit in Autumn
All the trekking paths and destinations that were slightly less popular during spring will now be ready to accept visitors. All attractions will be available unless they are under renovation or having a religious ritual or ceremony. Tourists can make the most of exploring towns and cities and then try venturing into Nepal’s other places.
Winter (December – February)
Temperature: 7°C (44.6° F) – 25°C (77° F)
Exceptionally beautiful, very cold, and dry. There will be occasional snows, but the sky is mostly clear. Due to the cold and difficulty, it is another low season having very few crowds. It is not deadly cold, but it is not precisely bearable for most people. The days may offer pleasant warmth, but the nights will get too cold to let you stay out.
Where to Visit in Winter
There will not be too much snow or wind to prevent travelers from visiting, but the treks will become almost impossible unless one is completely prepared. The environment has so few crowds that if you visit during winter, you will likely see no other adventures. There are some festivals and celebrations to enjoy, but planning is required for these events.
Best Nepal Tours
Things to Do in Nepal
Nepal is a beautiful country, with pretty animals, amazing views from mountains and hills, numerous temples, and the world-famous Mount Everest. Peaceful and lovely, it has amazing people and rich culture next to its history and multiple Heritage Sites. You can have a great time in Nepal’s towns and cities, or go on adventures with your friends. Lovers of our planet will mostly have a good time as this country has limitless potential for hiking, trekking, visiting the wildlife, and having fun.
Visit a Sacred Site of the Buddhists at Lumbini
The whole town of Lumbini is a UNESCO Listed Heritage Site, primarily because it is the birthplace of Buddha or Siddhartha Gautama. The spiritual sensation in Lumbini is not just because it was where Buddha was born. There are several places to visit in the town, such as Maya Devi Temple, dedicated to Buddha’s mother. There was a pillar with inscriptions upon it among the temple ruins, making the finders believe this was also the exact place where this prominent figure was born.
In any case, go on a pilgrimage to the temple and find peace in this town. If nothing else, the architecture is also delightful for the visitors.
Marvel at the Beauty of Boudhanath Stupa
Boudhanath Stupa in Kathmandu is the largest of its kind, and it is considered the holiest Tibetan temple outside Tibet. It is dedicated to Buddha and has a unique architecture with its whitewashed dome, making it a very impressive sight. Boudhanath Stupa is a place of pilgrimage where you can see pilgrims coming to perform their rituals. One of their traditions is to go around the stupa clockwise and spin the prayer wheel.
Walk on the path to Enlightenment along with the locals, or just marvel at the architecture. Consider your timing before your visit; at certain times, like dawn or dusk, there is a golden glow in the air, giving tourists an even more authentic sensation.
Climb the Stairs of Swayambhunath Stupa and Join a Pilgrimage
On a hill overlooking Kathmandu, there is the Swayambhunath Stupa, also known as the Monkey Temple. It is another place of worship dedicated to Buddha, filled with temples, statues, and monkeys! Swayambhunath Stupa, like the Boudhanath Stupa, has a unique spiritual sense, both peaceful and chaotic as the worshipers praying and lighting incenses. You will see the same rituals, another great architecture, and next to that, a fantastic view.
Try to make this visit during the early hours of the day to avoid crowds. And mind your things as the playful monkeys might want to take your stuff. Before you get there, know that you must climb a few hundred steps to reach the temple, but this climb is very much worth it in the end.
Go on Another Spiritual Journey in the Hindu Pashupatinath Temple
After visiting Buddhist temples, it is suggested to see a very sacred Hindu site called Pashupatinath Temple. Dedicated to Shiva, this temple has been a sanctuary of the Hindus ever since the 4th century, known to be a masterpiece of architecture. Sadly, you will not be able to go inside, as the temple is only for Hindus and some Buddhists that come to perform their rites or ceremonies. But the good thing is, you will be able to see these ceremonies and a good number of artworks as well as the Nandi (Lord Shiva’s bull) from the outside.
Although entering the Pashupatinath Temple is not permitted, it is still a delightful place to visit. It is even one of the top places to enjoy the locals’ culture and way of life while respecting their beliefs.
Enjoy the Beauties of Pokhara
Pokhara is the second most populated city in Nepal, the most scenic city in the country, and a gateway for adventures to visit and then enter nature. If you are not the adventurer type, you can explore the city and find the Shanti Stupa and see another peaceful and beautiful temple. Alternatively, you can visit the lake, which is another one of the town’s attractions.
Adventurers can try the popular paragliding of Pokhara and get a paragliding tour. The paragliding will be exciting after enjoying the beauties of the Pokhara’s environment, a stunning part of the landscape. In the end, if you did not get enough of the environment, try trekking and hiking in the nearby mountains.
Trekking the Himalayas
Since one of Nepal’s most famous parts is Mount Everest and the Himalayas, it would be unjust not to mention them. One of the best things to do in Nepal is hiking and trekking in the Himalayas or even conquering Mount Everest. Although the latter would be difficult and not for everyone, the former (trekking) has numerous tours and is not difficult for most people. Either on tour or your own, try this part of Nepal as it is one of the most popular things to do.
It would be a mistake to visit Pokhara and not enjoy its surroundings to the fullest. Just stay safe, and if you hit the mountains, bring all the necessary gear.
Feel the Increase of Heart Rate and Adrenalin with White Water Rafting
Having numerous mountains and rivers along with a fair amount of snow makes Nepal an excellent destination for White Water Rafting. Some rivers are more suitable in certain seasons, but some are good enough all year round. There are different levels of difficulty, and their level can vary at different times of the year, making them suitable even if you have little experience. Plan your trip after rainy seasons to visit the cities like Pokhara and go for the Rafting.
As you are in class III, IV, or V rapids, you will get the rivers’ thrilling experience and fall in love with the environment that you see and pass. Chose your destination and Rafting tour carefully and depending on the difficulty and the length of the river. Some trips take several hours while others can last for a day or two.
Go Mountain Biking in the Kathmandu Valley
Remember the amazing Monkey Temple of Kathmandu Valley that was mentioned earlier? It is not the only Heritage Site of this beautiful valley. There are many places to visit in Kathmandu Valley to find peace or learn history and culture, but this recommendation is about another aspect of this place. Mountains and the nearby hills are unique places to see more of the environment. After visiting the ancient sites and finding peace, try biking and trekking in the mountains and the nearby Kathmandu Valley areas.
It is a scenic part of Nepal, and its dirt roads make them ideal for biking tours. It is also a good idea to travel in these parts on a bike, see the sites, and have an adventure if you are up to the challenge.
Go on a Safari in Chitwan National Park
Among the top things to do in Nepal, leave room for a safari at Chitwan National Park. Each country has its unique wildlife, and it would be a shame not to visit them. Chitwan National Park is a place where you can see Rhinos, Sloths, with a chance of spotting Bengal Tigers, while again, enjoying more aspects of the environment. Pick the right time to visit these animals, plan to see them on foot, or ride lovely elephants in the Chitwan National Park as part of the safari.
Make Sure to Tour All of Kathmandu
Since Kathmandu is the Capital of Nepal, it is full of things to do. Two of the most popular items in Kathmandu are already mentioned, but be sure to discover everything else that remains. The city has a lot of Heritage Sites and lots of things to do. The romantic option to visit is the Garden of Dreams. The name fits the place, as it is one of the places to relax genuinely.
Other than that, it is possible to visit museums and see more of Nepal’s rich history. More than that, Kathmandu is a great place to do some shopping in the Asan Bazar and even go to a cooking class. But leave the cooking classes of Kathmandu for after tasting their delicious cuisine. That is not all. The city of Kathmandu is full of things to discover; it just needs a little bit of exploring.
If You Cannot Conquer Everest, Fly Over It
As much as it is one of the best things to do in Nepal, most people cannot climb Mount Everest because of the difficulty. But have no worries, as it is possible to book a flight over the highest mountain on the planet. It will not be exactly cheap, but the experience is worth it as the pilots will take you to all of its best parts and give a great tour of Everest. Be sure to pack your camera to take the most memorable pictures of an exceptional visit like no other.
Local Transportation in Nepal
The public buses have stops and stations in all the cities, and they are the cheapest way of going around. Since they are reasonable, they are also very populated, and at some stations, they will wait longer to get more passengers. They are not very comfortable and may have unexpected delays, but they can take you to almost all the places inside a town or city.
In some places where traveling is problematic due to difficult terrain, traveling is done with Jeeps or more suited rides. They are not available at all places or destinations, but since even the locals need to use them, they are not very expensive.
The most popular means of transportation in this part of Asia are these easy rides. The Rickshaws come in a variety, and some of them even run on electricity. If you have little luggage, they will not charge you extra, and they are reasonably priced. Just check the price before you get on.
Taxies are almost available at all places, and they are recognizable by their signs and black plates. They are not very cheap and have their own designated routes. It means that if you want to go by taxi, you must pick the right one for your destination, or pay extra for them to take you to your selected destination. This means of transportation will also require checking the fee before departing.
Bikes and mountain bikes can be rented for some areas and trails, and their prices depend on the bike and your distance. They are an excellent option to select if the price is right.
Intercity Transportation in Nepal
The tourist buses come in all forms and at different prices. They are ideal for long distances, and you basically get what you pay for. They charge only a little bit more than local buses, and since there are so many options, you can find a fair price and good comfort at times.
Traveling by air does not come cheap, but the domestic flights are regular, and they can take you to most of the major areas of Nepal. The only limitation is suitable weather, but generally, for long distances, they are fast and rather comfortable.
Flight Deals to Nepal
Nepal Travel Costs
Nepal is one of the cheapest places for budget travelers, where they can enjoy their stay and spend little. The accommodations are not costly, and the food is cheap, making it easy to plan a budget trip to this country. Therefore, do not make it difficult for yourself to travel in the low season.
You can easily save money and buy cheap street food or affordable restaurants. If you want to manage your spending on food, you can easily plan to spend less than $4 US dollars for all three meals of the day. For bigger cities and better food, plan for about $5-6 dollars per day for your food, unless you want to try the best of their cuisine.
Fancy restaurants and diners will have prices around $20 per person. The cost can go higher or lower depending on the food and place you chose.
To round it up, you can spend $5 or less if you reside in a hostel or dorm. If you are not traveling alone, getting a double room cannot go higher than $10 for budget travelers. A good hotel room for one person does not sound too expensive either, as it is possible to find rooms at about $35 per day. Double rooms go double the price, at the same top accommodations.
Inside the cities, the buses will charge very little, and the prices for taxies will depend on how far the destination is. Expect to see prices no higher than $2 for transportation inside the cities.
As for traveling between cities, using domestic flights can cost $90-250 dollars, whereas going by bus will take less than half of that amount. It can go as cheap as $5 per ride, depending on the vehicle type and route. But cheap rides are not comfortable and quite crowded, so do the math and select the best transportation means according to your needs.
Tipping in Nepal
Since there are various cultures in Nepal, it is difficult to say when you should tip or not. For tipping, you can pay %10-15 depending on the services you get. In some areas, tipping may not be accepted, but as tourism is developing here, and tips are more accepted than before.
|Low-end (US $10-15/day)||Reside in dorms or hostels, and stick mostly to the street food and cheaper restaurants. Some of the local cuisines can be afforded along with some beer to wash it all down and save a lot of money. Use the local city buses and the cheapest tourist buses, which are shared with numerous others.|
|Mid-range (US $25-70/day)||Stay in better hotels and rooms, eat, and drink well. Use the more comfortable transports and still save money.|
|Top-end (US $70+/day)||Book the best hotels and places to stay, sample all the traditional and local foods along with drinks. Use better and faster transports with the occasional domestic flights, and visit all the sites.|
Best Hotels in Nepal
The number of 5-star hotels is increasing with tourism development in Nepal, but there are not many. As for other hotels and accommodations, the cheap options are numerous. The other places with good to great facilities are not few either, making it possible to either go on a budget or luxury experience all around Nepal.
Nepal Travel Tips
Drink enough water to prevent dehydration in Nepal, but watch out! Drinking tap water is usually unsafe. Travelers may drink bottled water or boiling water.
Tipping is not as much expected everywhere in Nepal (excluding expensive hotels and restaurants). 5-10% tipping on the total amount is acceptable for your satisfaction with good service.
Nepali is the official language spoken in Nepal, previously named Khas-Kura, then Gorkhali. 78% of the people speak Nepali. Maithili is considered the second most spoken language.
Nepal is almost a safe country for travelers. However, prevention is better than cure! Take intelligent precautions for bag-snatchers in public areas. Be careful walking around at night.
Bare knees and shoulders are viewed as rude and disrespectful in Nepal. So, take a modest dress code! Jeans, a long skirt, and normal shirts are the best.
Note: cover your upper legs and shoulders, and take off your shoes visiting ancient monuments, temples, or UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Depending on how high-class the place is, you’ll find clean sit-down and western-style toilets. Unsurprisingly, you’ll see squat toilets with no toilet paper in rural areas. Friendly advice: always carry emergency toilet papers.
Free Wi-Fi service is offered in the main religious tourist centers. Also, access to free public Wi-Fi is almost available in hotels, public transport, airports, and restaurants, so on.
Nepal government has banned thousands of pornographic websites to prevent sexual harassment and abuse. Rastra Bank has prohibited advertising on social media like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
There are three types of plugs in Nepal including types C, D, and M. Type C is a two-rounded pin plug, type D is a triangular form with three round pins, and type M is a three-rounded pin plug. You can also use European plugs in Nepal, however, they are loose in the socket due to the different sizes. Nepal appliances run on 230 V.
Take your shoes off before entering a home, temple, and monasteries in Nepal. Nepalese people are somewhat against the left hand: eating and offering gifts or money with the left hand are considered rude and disrespectful. Avoid touching a shared drinking vessel or eating from a shared pot. And one more thing: beef is strictly forbidden in Hindus.
|International Access Code||0|
|Traffic Police Control Room||103|
|Nepal Eye Bank||4493684|
|Nepal Eye Hospital||4250691|
|Tilganga Eye Hospital||4423684|
|Nepal Police Hospital||4412430/4412530/4412630|
|TU Teaching Hospital||4412404/4412505|
|Kanti Children Hospital||4414798/4427452|
|Kathmandu Model Hospital||4240805|
|Medicare National Hospital||4467067|
|Medicare National Hospital – Ambulance||4467067|
|Nepal Orthopaedic Hospital||4493725|
|Kathmandu Medical College (Teaching Hospital – Sinamangal)||4476152|
|Nepal Medical College (Teaching Hospital – Jorpati)||4486008|
|Kantipur Dental Hospital, Maharajgunj||4371603|
|Kantipur Hospital, New Baneshwor||4498757|
|Hospital and Research Centre||4476225|
|Martyr Gangalal National Heart Centre||4371322/4371374|
|Shree Satya Sai Centre||4498035|
|National Kidney Centre||4429866/4426016|
|American Embassy Helplines||+977 1 423 4068, +977 14007269, +977 14007266|
Currency & Money Tips
Currency & Exchange
The official currency of Nepal is the Nepalese Rupee (NPR or Rs). No other currencies are accepted, and you will need to have cash in almost all places. The good thing is, you can exchange your money at fair rates in many places other than banks and exchange offices. It is possible to exchange in hotels, restaurants, and even some shops, but always check the rates before exchanging. However, before you exchange, check to see if the hotel, shop, or restaurant has a license to exchange. Only authorized dealers can legally exchange for you.
While some places and people are authorized, keep in mind that there are three different country rates for exchange. The official rates are seen in the government banks, and slightly more generous ones can be found in private banks or shops.
If you do not like carrying huge amounts of cash, you can take traveling checks mostly accepted in Nepal. Also, keep in mind having enough cash and not more than you are spending, as you might see difficulties in exchanging the extra money into your own currency before going back home.
Banknotes: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 25, 50, 100, 250, 500, 1000 NPR
Coins: 1, 2, 5 and 10 NPR
The ATMs in major cities mostly accept international bank cards as well as Visa and MasterCard. The rest of the ATMs may not even accept Visa or MasterCard, so it is better to stick to banks and working hours. As you are making a withdraw, check your surroundings, especially during the night, to prevent accidents.
The amount of money you can withdraw from ATMs is 10,000 NPR per day, but you can make additional withdraws during the same day if you pay extra.
Budget travelers should probably forget about using credit cards in most of the cheaper places. You can use Visa and MasterCard and some other cards like American Express in mid-range and top-end hotels, shops, and tourist places. Even for mid-range and top-end places, these places that accept credit cards are few and do not rely on them much.
Food & Drink (Nepalese Food)
Nepali cuisine gets a lot of influence from the neighboring countries, having rice and different kinds of curries seen in India. They also learn from China and other cultures, then modify what they learn with their regional ingredients. In any case, in Nepal, you will mostly see dishes prepared with meat, but that does not mean Nepal does not offer vegetarian foods. Generally, the food in this country has diversity, and people make great use of local ingredients. It makes their traditional cuisine something worth trying as you explore the country.
Since a great deal of what you must see in this country includes visiting the natural environment, you might also want to learn how to cook like the locals. Attend their cooking classes and learn their local cuisine that is most enjoyable for you.
Dal Bhat is a traditional, and the national dish, and a staple food in Nepal. If you try its homemade version, you are fortunate; if you have it in a restaurant, you have had a great meal. Dal Bhat has rice, lentils, and curry and seems a simple dish, yet it is very delicious and addictive. There is also a traditional way of eating Dal Bhat as well. The rice and lentil are shaped into a ball taken, while also having the tasty curry by the hand. If you are not sure about this eating method as being hygienic, nothing stops you from using a spoon.
But why is the homemade version much better? Dal Bhat can be prepared in many ways, most of which concern the curry. Chicken curry, spinach curry, or another kind of curry can make the dish much more different. This experience can be had in restaurants as well, so do not worry, but if a local offers Dal Bhat, you might want to accept the offer.
Sel Roti is a ring-shaped snack, very similar to doughnuts that are deep-fried and sweet. The Sel Roti is made with rice flour, sugar, and oil or butter. Doughnut or bagel is a popular street snack, which can be eaten for breakfast. Get some local yogurt, and as simple as that, you have a healthy breakfast. It is crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, and mixed with the yogurt, it will not be too sweet for you.
Momo is the Nepali version of the dumplings. What makes them stand out, and a top recommendation is the innovative ways of filling them in Nepal. Like dumplings, Momos are filled with minced meat, and it can be any type of meat available in the region. Other than that, inside these small wraps, there are also chopped vegetables. The mix of meat and vegetables then gets a small touch of spices and herbs to an extra unique taste.
As soon as it is prepared, Momo is served with a special sauce and more vegetables. What makes you have Momos anywhere you go is the various ways of making it. You can see local cheese used in one area, while others may use things like potatoes. Momos may also come in multiple shapes, and all of them are tasty.
Yomari is famous as a festival food which is during December. It is like dumplings, except it is mostly triangular shaped and made from rice dough and a sweet filling. The story about this delicious food in Nepal is that the people celebrate having a good year and a good harvest. But to try Yomari, you do not necessarily have to visit during the festival. Yomari can be found in cafés and restaurants all year because they are a favorite of the locals.
The sweetness comes from sesame seeds, coconut, and molasses, but there may also be a spicey version in some parts.
Chatamari is a Newari snack that is also known as Nepali Pizza because of its round appearance. In terms of ingredients and taste, Chatamari and pizza are nothing alike since this snack uses rice flour crepe that is topped with vegetables, meat, and spice. The whole thing is then cooked, and as soon as it is ready, it will have a little savory taste because of some of its vegetables. Chatamari is not regional, but it is favored more in some areas, but you cannot miss it if you are in the capital.
Gundruk is mostly seen as a side dish or an appetizer, served with Dal Bhat or other dishes. Gundruk is made by fermenting vegetables that will taste a little salty, like pickles. The taste is unique, although not everyone may like it. It is full of minerals, and if you have Gundruk with the right dish, it can be the perfect thing to have with your food.
Juju Dhau is simply yogurt but made from buffalo milk. Juju Dhau is also known as the ‘King Curd,’ and it is thick and creamy, made in clay pots. As for why you have to try it, it can be seen as a dessert, or something to have along with your main dish. It is unlikely to find Juju Dhau anywhere else; therefore, be sure to give it a try while in Nepal.
Another Newari special is the Choila, which is grilled water buffalo meat. It can be made with other types of meat as well, but it is better to stick to the original version. Choila is spicy and somewhat savory because of the green pepper and chili that is used in it. The food is mostly served with a side dish of rice, usually served during festivities and celebrations.
Dhido or Dhindo
Dhido is a popular food in the rural areas and has the appearance of a thick porridge. The porridge is made with buckwheat flour, salt, vegetables, pickles, yogurt, and more local ingredients. You should look for this meal in rural areas and try it in the mountains. Have some Dhido and learn how to make it for yourself; it is food to enjoy as you travel the country.
Gorkhali Lamb is a dish that is a little complicated to make, and it is slow-cooked. It is a bit spicy and best served hot, therefore if you are traveling in the winter or a cold area, what you must order is Gorkhali Lamb. This food is basically a curry dish, with a different texture and flavor than other curries. The cooking can create a smell and taste that you cannot resist, making Gorkhali Lamb a must-try food.
Mobile & Internet
There are two major providers for prepaid SIM Cards and data, namely Nepal Telecom and Ncell. Nepal Telecom is state-owned, while Ncell is a private company, and both have their flaws. Neither of them offers full coverage of the country, and both have poor internet in most areas. Make sure to have a power bank and good adapters, since power shortages are also possible problems to deal with.
The best company
Nepal Telecom does have its drawbacks, but in most places, you are ok. You can get 2G and 3G in almost all places and expect to see 4G/LTE as it is under development. Do not expect to have an easy conversation either, and never rely on your SIM Card to work in trekking routes. You occasionally get surprised by availability but not in all the places.
But do not lose hope! They will not leave you offline and without access to the web. In some areas, despite recommending Nepal Telecom, you might consider getting a Ncell SIM Card, but that only depends on the place you are visiting.
Where to buy it?
The best prices are only seen in the airport as you arrive, or at Nepal Telecom and Ncell centers and shops. Finding a SIM Card is very easy in Nepal as even the unlikeliest shops may have them, but they will almost always charge extra. It is better to buy your SIM Card and activate it at the airport or the capital’s official shops. Just have a photo and your passport ready for the purchase and activation.
Nepal Telecom prepaid SIM card (140 NPR – ~$1.20)
- 50 NRS ($0.45) Balance
- Recommended package for 30 days: 3GB for 950 NPR ($8.07)
- Balance and data packages will have charts in official shops.
Holidays & Festivals
|Holiday||Date 2021||Date 2022|
|International Women’s Day||8-Mar||8-Mar|
|Ghode Jatra *||11-Apr||1-Apr|
|Nepali New Year||14-Apr||14-Apr|
|Ramjan Edul Fikra||14-May||3-May|
|Indra Jatra *||22-Aug||9-Sep|
|Gai Jatra *||23-Aug||13-Aug|
|Shree Krishna Janmashtami||30-Aug||19-Aug|
|Nijamati Sewa Diwas *||7-Sep||7-Sep|
|Hartalika Teej *||9-Sep||30-Aug|
|Rishi Panchami *||11-Sep||31-Aug|
|Guru Nanak Jayanti *||19-Nov||8-Nov|
Shopping in Nepal
One of the most memorable souvenirs to buy in Nepal is the Thangka Paintings made on cloth. They are good reminders of the spiritual experiences of this country and serve as good decorations.
Pashmina is a kind of fabric that most of the locals use for its warmth and comfort. It makes Pashmina Shawls suitable as something colorful with beautiful designs that come with various prices. You can use them while in Nepal and buy some to bring home for yourself and others.
A very exotic and pretty souvenir from Nepal is the Singing Bowls. They are not expensive and make the atmosphere perfect for some meditation. The hand-made Singing Bowls are a bit more expensive and not perfectly symmetrical, but still amazing things to purchase.
Some of the visitors love these fashionable Hemp Bags, and they are spacious and handy. Either as a reminder or for use, they serve as good gifts from Nepal.
Khukuri (The Gurkha knife)
A traditional knife belonging to the soldiers can look amazing on the wall or in other places in your house. Just pick the one you can bring back as a souvenir since the bigger ones are not allowed in the airport.
Rice Paper Products
They are handmade and from rice husk, with various colors and paintings. Journals, diaries, lanterns, all of them can be made with Rice Paper.
Expensive or cheap, gold or silver or other materials, the Jewelry in Nepal serves as one of the best things to buy. The price depends on what you buy, but traditional designs are always worth the purchase.