Things you need to know before traveling to Nepal

Nepal is a federal secular parliamentary republic, a landlocked country, and renowned as the land of Sherpas and snow peaks. More or less 9% of Nepal’s income comes from tourism alone. No wonder, why this country concentrate on Tourism industry to ensure the return of visitors.

One visit is not enough and I couldn’t agree more to this. Nepal has so much to offer and there’s a lot to see.  

WHAT TO DO IN NEPAL? A lot.

Nepal offers a wide range of activities for all ages. They literally offer everything from land, air, and water. No beach? No problem, they have lakes, huge lakes.

EMBRACE THE CULTURAL HERITAGE

When you heard about Nepal the first thing that comes to your mind would be Himalaya Mountains, Mt. Everest, mountain climbing, trekking and the likes. In reality, they offer more than that.  Several amazing views and activities lie away from the mountains.

Don’t forget to allocate some of your time in the city of Kathmandu. Visit historical sites like Durbar Square, Pashupatinath, and Swayambhunath (monkey temple). If you have more hours or days to spare then go further to Kathmandu Valley and be astonish with the primitive buildings and impressive architecture.

GO WILD

For jungle partisan and wildlife enthusiast, don’t miss to experience the Nepal’s best. A genuinely remote jungle experience is yours if you’re ready to embark on a tough journey to Bardia or head to Chitwan National Park to go jungle trekking. You can also try the Elephant ride in Chitwan and spot rhino and wild tigers.

TREKKING

Huge percentage of the tourist visit Nepal to trek. Depending on the length of your stay and fitness, trekking is doable and will always be. You have several treks to choose, from day trip to 25 days trek or even longer.

Everest Base Camp and Annapurna base-camp trek is probably the most popular in Nepal. However, if you want to avoid a touristy terrain and long queues on the trail, you may want to sign up for a less traveled route. Whichever suits to your preference is surely rewarding.

ADVENTURE ACTIVITY

For adrenaline junkies like me, Nepal offers a wide range of heart pounding activities. From white water rafting, to canyoneering or rent a motorbike to tour around. Important note: If you’re planning to rent a motorbike, helmet is a must and brace yourself with the overwhelming amount of dust. Nepal is a developing country and the roads are in progress.  

If you are up for heights, go paragliding, take a micro flight, get crazy with bungee jumping or experience the longest, steepest, and fastest zip-line in the world

SIT BACK AND TREAT YOUR SOUL

Forget about the thrilling activities in Nepal for a moment and take some time to breathe fresh air while stupefied with the magnificent beauty of Phewa Tal Lake in Pokhara. Stopover in nearby restaurants, bars, cafe shops, or sit still outside your room while watching the sun fall below the horizon.

Chasing for broad-mindedness and peace? Volunteer in a monastery, hike up the hill and meditate, or do yoga.

THE FOOD

Enjoy their traditional meal Dal Bhat pair with vegetables or meat depending on your choice. To be honest, this is one of my favorites. Trust me, you’ll never get disappointed with the food. The Nepalese master the skill of cooking a variety of cuisine from all over the world. Pizza and pasta are the most common as well as steaks.

If you’re planning to eat in restaurants, sanitation is a must. The Nepali momos is also popular though I am not really a fan. Street foods are up for grabs. If you don’t mind the risk then go ahead and try some. Food poisoning is pretty common though it never happened to me or maybe I just got lucky.

THE PEOPLE AND THE LANGUAGE

Based on my personal experience, I find Nepalese as helpful, friendly and maybe one of the nicest people in the planet. Touts are annoying sometimes, but in totality they are great. 70% of Nepal’s population speaks Nepali as their official language. You don’t speak Nepali? Don’t worry. English is widely spoken mainly in tourist destinations and most of them understand Basic English.

GETTING AROUND

For long distance travel:

Private car – This is not recommended at all. The roads in Nepal was very tough and simply in bad condition. In addition to this, Nepalese drivers are unbelievably fast. However, if you think you have the guts and outstanding driving skills, then proceed with caution.

Micros – Locals call it “Micro-vans or Micros”. Hi-ace style vans that will take you in an out of the city. They are relatively cheaper than local buses though your safety is a huge concern. Micros are prone to mishaps and overcrowded most of the time.

Domestic flights – Domestic flights are available daily. However, get ready to pay the price. For a budget traveler like me, it’s not budget friendly.

BUS – You have 3 options here.

  • Local Bus – the main form of local transport in Nepal. Some call it ordinary buses. Never expect for A/C, there’s none.
  • Tourist Bus – 32 seater with larger seats plus A/C. However, conductors pick up local passengers along the way. If they ask you to move seats, simply say no and sit still.
  • Luxury Bus – modern air-conditioned buses which ply from and to famous tourist destinations, more expensive but provide meal and better comfort.

GETTING AROUND THE CITY

City buses – It’s small and overwhelmingly crowded. You better ask the locals where it’s going before hopping in otherwise it’ll be a real headache. Getting lost is easier than reaching your destination.

Taxis – This option is topnotch for tourists to get around the city. It’s cheap but haggling skills is a must before getting in.

Bicycle – You can hire a bicycle if you so wish. However, if you’re in the city especially Thamel, think twice. You don’t want to go back to your hotel injured or with broken bones. 

Rickshaws – Cycle rickshaws are popular in Terai region and in Thamel. Suitable for short distances only. Don’t forget to activate your bargaining skills.

NEPAL ACCOMMODATION

Accommodation in Nepal varies from mid-range lodges, costly hotels to budget guesthouses. Depending on your budget and needs there are a lot of great options to choose from. Just be mindful where you booked. Sometimes, booking online is a lot more expensive which could lead to disappointments when you get there. 


TIPS AND TRICKS

  • You better have a great bargaining skills. Trust me, you’ll need it.
  • Agree with a fixed price before you hop into a taxi or rickshaws.
  • Hire a local guide in Nepal instead of buying a package tour online. You’ll be surprise with the amount you’d save.
  • If you hire a guide via agency most likely they can change your dollars to rupees. Better buy Nepali rupees from a reliable agency or contact person and get the right value of your money. Money exchange counters often gives you a lower rate. Alternately, you can utilize their ATM’s but make sure you have knowledge as to how often the power shortages occur. You don’t want your card to get stuck in the machine and be sorry afterwards.
  • Internet connection in Nepal is a struggle. Lower your standards otherwise the internet speed will disappoint you.
  • If you want to save money, live like a local. Everything is relatively cheap but it can get very expensive if you’re not paying much attention.
  • Be courteous and kind at all times. Remember that you are in a foreign land. Have some respect.
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