Frequently asked questions
Visas and permits:
One important thing before applying for a visa is to make sure that the passport is valid for at least 6 months.
The price of the visa varies according to the length of the stay:
15 days – $30
30 days – $50
90 days – $125
Info. Prices are indicated for 2020, but may vary thereafter as decided by the government of Nepal . If you do not want any surprises you can see the updated information in the following link.
To obtain the visa there are different possibilities:
1- The visa can be obtained upon arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport, in Kathmandu. You must fill out a form and re-enter the data on a screen that will also take your photo. Then you go to the counter to pay in cash (credit card is not accepted). If everything is correct, it usually takes half an hour between filling out the papers, queuing and paying.
2- The best option if you do not want to queue on arrival is to advance the procedure via the internet, filling out the form and providing the photo in the following link.
Once the online procedure is completed, they will send you a receipt to your email and you must print it to present it at the arrival desk in Kathmandu along with your passport. They will charge you right there and put your visa in your passport.
IMPORTANT: The online form expires after 15 days, so do it a few days before leaving for Nepal.
3- You can also get the visa from a Nepalese consulate or embassy in your country of origin, although the price is a little more expensive for the management. In Spain the Embassy is in Madrid sp.nepalembassy.gov.np and the consulate in Barcelona www.consuladodenepal.org
4- You can also obtain the visa at the border entry points to Nepal by land:
-In Kakadvitta, Birgunj, Bhairahawa, Nepalgunj, Gaddachowki in the border between Nepal and India.
-In Kodari in the border between Nepal and China.
Once in Nepal you can extend your visa by visiting the Immigration Department.
It will be $20 for extending the visa 15 days and then $2 for every extra day.
A tourist can be in Nepal at most 5 months a year.
To enter the Natural Parks of Nepal or any trekking area it is mandatory to obtain a permit. The permits are different in each area, both in price and in the trekking conditions:
Sagarmatha National Park(Everest) – 3.000 NRs (about € 30).
Annapurna Conservation Area – 3.000 NRs (about € 30).
Langtang National Park- 3.000 NRs (about € 30).
Makalu-Barun National Park – 3.000 NRs (about € 30).
Manaslu Conservation Area – 3.000 NRs (about € 30).
Chitwan National park – 2.000NRs (about € 30).
Bardia National park – 1.500 NRs (about € 15).
Rara National Park – 3.000 NRs (about € 30).
Shivapuri- Nagarjun National Park – 1.000 NRs (about € 10).
Info. Prices are for 2020, but may vary thereafter as decided by the government of Nepal. If you do not want any surprises you can see the updated information in the following link.
2- TIMS: Apart from the Park entry permit, you must also obtain the TIMS Card (Trekkers Information Management System) from the same office. In this document you must fill in your details, the approximate itinerary you are going to do and the approximate dates of your trekking. You must also enter your insurance details and the emergency number to call if necessary. You should even put the phone number of a contact in Nepal (it may be the hotel where you stay in Kathmandu).
All this is to be able to follow up on each tourist in case of disappearance or accident, knowing more or less where you can be according to the itinerary you have marked and reviewing the records of the checkpoints during your route.
There are 2 types of TIMS card:
–The green one is for the hiker who goes alone and the price is 2,000 NRs (about € 20).
–The blue one is for the hiker who goes with a guide and costs 1,000 NRs (about € 10).
Info. Prices are indicated for 2020, but may vary thereafter as decided by the government of Nepal. If you want to see the updated information, you can enter the official website of the Nepal Tourism Office at following link.
3- TREKKING PERMIT: Apart from the natural parks there are restricted trekking areas where you have to pay special permits. These permits are mandatory and can be obtained at a local tourism agency.
Upper Mustang – $ 500 for the first 10 days, and then $ 50 for each extra day.
Upper Dolpa – $ 500 for the first 10 days, and then $ 50 for each extra day.
Manaslu Area – 100 USD for the first week, and then 15 USD for each extra day.
Tsum Valley Area – $ 40 for the first week, then $ 7 for each extra day.
Humla – $ 50 for the first week, then $ 10 for each extra day.
Info. Prices are indicated for 2020, but may vary thereafter as decided by the government of Nepal. If you want to see the updated information, you can enter the official website of the Nepal Tourism Office at following link.
All ascents to peaks over 6,000m altitude require a special permit. These permits are issued by the Nepal Mountaineers Association and by the Ministry of Tourism.
In the following links you can see the list of mountains managed by each entity:
It is mandatory to obtain these permits through a Nepal tourism agency. There is no possibility of taking them out on your own, as is done in the Tourist Office with trekking permits.
In addition to the permit, it is also mandatory to go with an official guide, and normally we will have to hire porters to carry the camp and food during the days of the ascent. Each member of the expedition must be insured.
To the budget of the ascent you must add the costs of the material (tent, ropes, harnesses, crampons, ice axes, etc …) and food.
Apart from all this you have to pay a deposit for waste management in the mountains. This is usually around € 500.
It is important to also add your mountain insurance in the country of origin, since with the normal travel insurance it would not cover a rescue in the high mountains.
All this means that climbing peaks of more than 6000m has a higher cost than any classic trekking in Nepal and many times this makes it unaffordable for any individual tourist (it works best if you mount an expedition and divide the costs).
It is not recommended to climb any summit without the corresponding permission, since you expose yourself to economic sanctions and even a ban on entering Nepal for 5 years…
Info. If you want more detailed information, you can read this article from the magazine Desnivel, specialized in mountain.
The price of the mountains in Nepal.
Info 2. You can also look at the official website of the NMA and the Ministry of Tourism, where they explain the regulations in detail:
During your visit to Kathmandu and its surroundings you will have the opportunity to enjoy monuments, temples and palaces that have been declared as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).
In these places you must pay a ticket to visit them.
Kathmandu Durbar Square – 1,000 NRs (about € 10).
Durbar de Patan Square – 1,000 NRs (about € 10).
Durbar Bhaktapur Square – 1,500 NRs (about € 15).
Swayambu Stupa – 200 NRs (about € 2).
Boudanath Stupa – 400 NRs (about € 4).
Pashupatinath Temple – 1,000 NRs (about € 10).
International Mountain Museum in Pokhara- 400NRs (about € 4).
Info. Prices are indicated for 2020, but may vary thereafter as decided by the government of Nepal. If you do not want any surprises you can see the updated information in the following link.
Are you going to Nepal only to do a mountain trek? Or are you going to visit the jungle area of Terai? Are you going to India, or will you come from there? Do you volunteer at a school, orphanage, health center? Do you collaborate working on any NGO project in rural areas? Will you be traveling for a long time or is it a short stay? Could you have sex during your trip? You love animals?
They are important questions to know what type of vaccines are recommended in each case, although finally no vaccine is mandatory for travel to Nepal.
Info. In any case, it is best to go to an international vaccination center and be properly informed there. Information in Spain.
The vaccines that the traveler should take into consideration are:
Diphtheria and tetanus- It is spread through wounds.
Both tetanus and diphtheria are infections caused by bacteria. Diphtheria is spread from one person to another by coughing or sneezing.
The tetanus-causing bacteria enters the body through cuts, scrapes, or wounds.
Vaccine: After an initial administration of three injections, usually in childhood, boosters are required every 10 years.
Hepatitis A: It is the inflammation (irritation and swelling) of the liver due to a virus.
You can get hepatitis A if you:
- Eat or drink food or water that has been contaminated by feces that contains the hepatitis A virus. Unpeeled fruits, raw vegetables and seafood, ice, and water are common sources of the disease.
- You come into contact with the stool or blood of a person who currently has the disease.
- A person with hepatitis A passes the virus to an object or food due to poor hand washing after using the toilet.
- Participate in sexual practices that involve oral and anal contact.
Vaccine: After an initial injection and a booster at 6 or 12 months, it offers immunity, probably for life.
Hepatitis B: Hepatitis B is a serious liver infection caused by a virus. Having chronic hepatitis B increases the risk of liver failure, liver cancer, or cirrhosis, a disease that causes permanent scarring of the liver.
Frequent forms of transmission of the hepatitis B virus are:
- Sexual contact. You can get hepatitis B if you have unprotected sex with an infected person. The person can transmit the virus to you if blood, saliva, semen, or vaginal secretions enter the body.
- Sharing needles. The hepatitis B virus is easily transmitted through needles and syringes contaminated with infected blood. Sharing intravenous drug paraphernalia increases the risk of getting hepatitis B.
- Accidental needle sticks. Hepatitis B is a concern for health care workers and for all who are in contact with human blood.
- From mother to son. Pregnant women infected with the hepatitis B virus can pass the virus to their babies during delivery. However, it is possible to vaccinate the newborn to prevent infection in almost all cases. Talk to your doctor about testing for hepatitis B if you are pregnant or want to be.
Vaccine: It consists of three injections, the second after three weeks and a final one after 12 months.
Flu: It is considered one of the most preventable conditions thanks to its vaccine.
Vaccine: It is annual.
Japanese encephalitis: It is a viral encephalitis caused by a mosquito (it lives in the Terai and, sometimes, in the Kathmandu valley), especially during the monsoon (from July to October). It is only recommended for long stays in the Terai (especially in the west) or in the Kathmandu Valley.
Vaccine: Consists of three injections within three to four weeks and one booster after three years.
Meningococcal meningitis: The bacteria is transmitted from person to person through droplets from respiratory secretions or from the throat. The spread of the disease is facilitated by close and prolonged contact (kissing, sneezing, coughing, dormitories, shared dishes and cutlery) with an infected person.
Only recommended for individuals exposed to high risk and for residents.
Vaccine: A single dose with a booster every three to five years.
Polio: Serious disease with easy transmission, still present in Nepal.
Vaccine: Usually inoculated in childhood and requires a booster at age 10.
Rabies: Serious disease with easy transmission, still present in Nepal.
Vaccine: Usually inoculated in childhood and requires a booster at age 10.
Vaccine: Three injections within 21 to 28 days. If an animal bites or scratches a vaccinated animal, it will only need two injections, while the unvaccinated will have to receive quite a few more. Boosters are usually given after three years.
Typhoid fever: It is transmitted by ingesting food or water contaminated by faeces (rarely through urine) of patients or carriers of the infection.
The beverages and foods that can most often be contaminated by the bacteria are milk, cheese, ice cream and other dairy products, shellfish that grow in places near sewage removal points, vegetables irrigated with water faeces, eggs, some meats and water.
It is a systemic infectious disease caused by the Salmonella typhi bacteria. It is resistant to drugs and is becoming an increasing problem in Nepal, especially in the Terai.
Vaccine: Can be administered as a single injection or as pills (consult your doctor).
Yellow fever: Yellow fever is an acute, hemorrhagic viral disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes. It is not endemic in Nepal and its vaccine is only required if it comes from an infected area.
Vaccine: Confer immunity for 10 years.
Altitude sickness is a failure of the body due to lack of oxygen at altitude. It usually occurs when climbing to a high altitude without adequate acclimatization. It usually occurs from 2,400 meters and affects, above all, people who are not accustomed to living in high-altitude areas, usually below 900 meters above sea level.
In most cases, the symptoms of altitude sickness are temporary and decrease as the person acclimatizes to the altitude.
The symptoms of altitude sickness usually are:
- Dizziness or vomiting
- Weakness or tiredness
- Lack of appetite
- Sleep disorders: drowsiness, insomnia or episodes of sudden nocturnal dyspnea, that is, waking up suddenly with a feeling of suffocation.
If you are at high altitude, there may be swelling of the hands, feet and face, increased heart rate, or difficulty seeing or walking.
The most serious consequences of altitude sickness are altitude pulmonary edema and altitude cerebral edema. In these cases, the result can be fatal if you do not descend to lower altitudes quickly.
How to prevent altitude sickness:
The main way to prevent or avoid altitude sickness is acclimatization, that is, progressive ascension to adapt slowly to altitude. Even so, it is necessary to know that no matter how much an acclimatization calendar is followed, it is possible that symptoms of altitude sickness occur. A rule stated by the International Union of Mountaineering Associations (UIAA) is that the maximum daily altitude increase is 500 meters once 3,000 meters above sea level are reached, taking a rest day without ascending every 3 or 4 days.
A good way to prevent altitude sickness is to be hydrated by drinking at least 4 or 5 liters of water a day and to maintain a varied and carbohydrate-rich diet. It is advisable to avoid alcohol and tobacco and very large meals.
Another effective method to help to prevent altitude sickness is to rest. Sleep at least 8 hours and do not try to make great physical efforts.
There is a saying that goes: “Drink before you are thirsty, eat before you are hungry, wrap yourself before you are cold and rest before exhaustion”.Follow it strictly to prevent altitude sickness.
In the event that you notice symptoms of altitude sickness, do not continue ascending, especially to sleep. You can take some pain relief for your headache, but if your symptoms get worse, you should go down and rest until they go away, or, if possible, visit a doctor.
For travelers, the main health problem associated with eating contaminated food and water is traveler’s diarrhea, which can be caused by different infectious agents.
When you are traveling and you have everything planned, nobody likes to have to be locked up for a couple of days in the toilet, especially in the latrines of Nepal.
Nothing has to happen…, but always prevention is better than cure.
- Eat only properly cooked food that is still hot.
- Avoid cooked food kept at room temperature for several hours.
- Avoid consuming raw fish, shellfish or other raw foods, except fruits that you have previously peeled yourself.
- Avoid fruits with damaged skin. Do not eat raw vegetables, pay special attention to salads.
- Avoid dishes containing raw or undercooked eggs.
- Boil unpasteurized milk before consuming it.
- Avoid ice cream and confectionery of uncontrolled origin, including those from street stalls.
- Avoid food from street stalls.
- Drink only bottled water. Boil it, disinfect it with chlorine or iodine, if its safety is doubtful, or use drinking tablets.
- Hot drinks like tea or coffee are safe.
- Cold bottled or packaged drinks (fruit juices, carbonated water, wine, beer …) that are sealed or in tetra-brick can generally be consumed.
- Avoid ice.
- Avoid brushing your teeth with tap water.
- Always consume peeled or cooked food.
Personally whenever I travel to Nepal I usually eat at street stalls, and once I am in the mountains I usually drink the same water that locals drink from their natural sources, and I also drink freshly milked yak milk and cheeses made by mountain shepherds.
This is because I usually stay a long time, and if I have diarrhea at any time, it will not bother me. But people who go on a very short trip should not risk it.
In town I always drink bottled water, tea or soft drinks without ice. Kathmandu water I wouldn’t dare drink without boiling it first.
In Nepal there are pharmacies and they have everything, but once you start trekking it is more difficult to find a health center, so it is better to take everything you need. You only need one small basic kit per group of people.
- Compeed bandages for blisters on the feet.
- Sticking plaster.
- Some gauze.
- 1 normal bandage.
- 1 compression bandage (elastic).
- 1 disinfectant. Crystalline or iodine.
- 1 Voltaren. Cream for areas of muscle pain, or impacts.
- 1 Vick inhaler To help to breathe well in case of a cold or to sleep at height.
- Analgesics. Paracetamol type. For headache or lower fever.
- Antibiotic. Optional, in case there is a small bacterial infection, pus, toothache, etc …
- Fortasec to cut diarrhea. It does not cure, but it stops it for a few days so that you can finish your trekking in peace. Once you reach a large population, you should go to a pharmacy, where they are very used to prescribing pills to kill viruses and bacteria.
- Antihistamine cream. To treat insect bites or skin allergies. There are no mosquitoes in the mountains, but in Pokhara, near the lake you can find some.
- Oral serum. To rehydrate after diarrhea, you must drink serum. They are powders to mix with water in your canteen as if it were an isotonic drink.
- Antacid. Almax type for indigestion. I have never needed it.
- Water purification tablets or Chlorine drops (faster). The pills should wait an hour from when you put them in the water.
During the trekking:
To make any ascent to summits of more than 6,000m altitude, it is mandatory to hire a guide and porters are usually needed to carry the expedition’s materials, food and tents. On the other hand, when trekking on any classic route up to 6,000m altitude, it is not mandatory to hire any guide or porter, but it is recommended for several factors and depending on each person and their circumstances …
A good guide is not just someone who knows the trail, as the trails in Nepal are relatively easy to follow if you have a bit of mountain experience and ask the locals.
A good guide will make everything easier for you, so you can enjoy your trip without having to deal with logistical or communication problems, apart from managing possibly dangerous situations during the trip.
Your guide will help and advise you on anything you need while leaving you space to enjoy yourself.
A guide should be a very experienced traveling companion, with whom you feel safe and free, who knows how to adapt to the rhythm you want to follow and makes it easier for you to interact with local people. They must be very empathetic and adapt to the circumstances that can arise during the trek.
Another advantage of having a local guide, apart from knowing the area well, is that they can explain all the customs and traditions of the place so that you better understand the people who live there and you can communicate with them and ask them anything you are curious about, thus fostering closeness to local people and their culture.
Many tourists go with just enough time for their trip and do not want to waste it on messy procedures that will not contribute anything to the enjoyment of their trip; getting the permits for the trekking, buying the transport tickets and investigating where the buses leave from and which one is really yours, negotiating prices in each hotel or restaurant… Traveling without worries and without stress is priceless.
One more reason to hire a guide or porter is to understand that doing so is helping the economy of many local families. In Nepal there is no big industry or source of jobs that can help the locals to advance and afford education for the children. People in the mountains who want to prosper depend directly or indirectly on tourism.
Go without a guide?
As already explained previously, going without a guide is totally feasible, since it is difficult to get lost, and if you have time you can go to get your permits yourself and take care of finding out the transport you must take. All this makes you much more attentive and more involved in the logistics of the trip. During the route there are sections where there may be doubts despite carrying a map, but you can ask other tourists and locals who cross your path to make sure you do not stray … in the end it is just a different adventure, it all depends on your attitude. You may feel a little stressed in some situations, but at the same time you will feel very good as you go forward and realize that everything goes well and you can solve any unforeseen circumstance that arises by yourself, it can be very rewarding.
There is a chance you could lose some interaction without a guide when approaching the locals to have a deeper conversation, since most do not speak English. But finally you can make yourself understood with gestures and good will.
Finally, whether or not to take a guide is a personal decision. Everyone knows themself and knows what kind of experience they want to live in each moment.
Brief history of the porters:
The distance between populations at high altitude forced their inhabitants to contact each other only by walking.
Any type of trade had to be done on foot, or with the help – not always possible – of animals such as yaks or the less common mules.
When tourism discovered the Himalayas and its incredible landscapes, and climbing one of its eight thousand metre peaks became a target each year for hundreds of people, the porters began to have more work. The influx of international expeditions and ‘trekking’ groups brought out shelters in each town to accommodate and feed thousands of tourists per season: huge quantities of provisions are carried daily on their shoulders to supply everyone’s needs.
In western eyes, the existence of porters is often misunderstood. The image of a tourist walking with his photo camera around his neck, followed by a Nepalese loaded with his belongings, is associated with an exploitation inheriting from the colonies, especially because many times they are very poorly paid and almost all the money is kept by the agencies.
But really the porters are essential for the expeditions and especially for the survival of the Himalayan people, since apart from sustainable agriculture and the management of hotels on tourist roads, many find this work their only paid job.
By hiring porters you are helping the economy of many local families. The important thing is that the interaction is fair, both in the kilos to be carried and in the price for their services.
Info. If you want to know more about the porters you can read this article from El Mundo.
For the trekking you will need a medium backpack, 30 liters. I usually carry a larger one (60 Liters) although I don’t fill it, because it is more comfortable for me to put things in and take things out and rummage through my backpack. In the 30-liter bag you are going to carry it all very compactly and every time you look for something you must take it all out and put it back in a tightly folded state so that it takes up little space.
The backpack should have a plastic protector for rain and for bus trips.
The most convenient thing is to put at the bottom the warm clothes, the sleeping bag, the thermal blankets… and put on top the clothes that you are going to wear every day.
Rolled up shirts and underwear and socks in separate pockets are more practical to find easily without having to disassemble the backpack every time you look for something.
Having the water bottle close at hand will help to keep you hydrated.
The rest of the clothing or anything else that you have brought for your trip in general, and that you are not going to take with you for trekking, can stay in the large backpack that will be kept in the Kathmandu hotel until you return.
It is important to wear technical mountain clothing. It takes less space, weighs less and works better. But you shouldn’t spend a lot of money on expensive brands, since you are not going to climb to the top of Everest. I have always gone with basic Decathlon clothes and it has worked perfectly.
You don’t have to wear a lot of clothes, the less weight the better to be able to walk calmly. So it is better to wash clothes on the way, once you have arrived at the lodge where you are going to sleep. If it is still wet in the morning you can hang it from your backpack and dry it in the sun. The technical shirts are super easy to wash, just to remove the sweat odor, and they dry very quickly.
- 5 underpants.
- 4 normal trekking socks. They must be comfortable for walking in boots. They should not be fat, since while you walk your feet will be hot.
- 2 thick trekking socks. For the colder days and for when you are in the lodge and to sleep.
- 1 thermal base layer (shirt and pants). Essential for sleeping at height in cold weather and for when the body cools down after walking, in the lodge. In theory they are not for walking, since they are very hot and do not perspire well, but in case of very cold they can be used perfectly.
- 2 short-sleeved breathable T-shirts, for walking in low heat areas. They are easy to wash and dry very quickly.
- 2 breathable long-sleeved shirts. To walk when it is a little colder or to protect your arms from the sun. They are easy to wash and dry very quickly.
- 1 long-sleeved shirt for cold.
- 1 pair of shorts for walking and bathing in the river or hot springs.
- 1 pair of trekking pants. They are comfortable, a little elastic and with reinforcement in the knees, ass and especially in the boot area. Breathable and slightly waterproof (they are not usually totally waterproof, but they work well).
- 1 Jacket + fleece lining. Although some models can go together with a zipper, 2 different pieces are personally more comfortable for me. I usually wear the fleece for the cold, but if it rains or is very windy, then I put on the windstopper and waterproof jacket. It is the perfect combination and for me it has always been enough protection.
There are people who like to wear a down jacket. Really for the cold it is the best and it is very comfortable to wear since it compresses taking up very little space and weighs very little.
- 1 Waterproof jacket. This only if you go in times of heavy rain, although it never hurts to take it just in case (it hardly takes up space).
- Cap with sun visor
- Hat for the cold (that covers the ears too).
- Winter gloves. Surely you will only use them for 3 days, but it is very important.
- Neck brief.
- Slippers to be comfortable in the lodge.
- Mid-calf boots. It is very important that they are not new when you go trekking, you have to walk with them before so that there are no scratches or blisters. They must not be rigid snow boots, they must be comfortable hiking boots, but it is important that they are waterproof (goretex).
- Sleeping bag. A compact -10 degree bag is sufficient. Everywhere you go to sleep they give you blankets, but sometimes they are dirty or smell strong, and there are people who prefer to sleep in their sleeping bag. Besides, the 2 days you sleep at height it is possible that with the blankets it is not enough and the bag saves you from being cold.
- Microfiber towel. They are towels that take up very little space and absorb water very well. They dry quickly.
- 1 litre water bottle
- Photo / video camera with enough batteries or charger. In the cold the batteries wear out very quickly.
- Headlamp and batteries. A headlamp is better to put on your head, so you have free hands to look inside your backpack or anything.
- Multipurpose knife with nail clippers.
- Notepad and pen.
- Map. Even if you go with a guide, it is interesting to take your map and see the route of the next day and to be able to mark what you have been doing, to be able to see the name of the mountains that surround you, etc …
- Passport and permits- You have to keep them well, in a plastic bag, but keep it handy during the beginning and end of the trekking, since you are going to pass various controls where you must show them. It is convenient to carry passport-size photos, they can be requested for any document.
- Insurance papers and emergency number. It is convenient to carry it by hand, along with the passport and permits. In the event of an emergency your guide or anyone can see that you are insured and call the emergency number without problem.
- Cash. Even if you have the trip paid and you are not going to have big extra expenses, you always have to carry cash. You never know when you are going to need it, or if you want to have a beer or give some tips, etc…
- A couple of plastic bags are always useful for anything.
- A pair of safety pins or clips to hang the washed clothes from your backpack, and to dry while you walk.
During the trekking you have to take advantage of the rivers and the springs to wash a little, as the locals do.
At the beginning of each trek, in the low areas, you sweat a lot due to the heat and when you arrive at the lodge you want to take a shower and wash your clothes. Normally there is hot water with solar panels, or gas heater, or you will heat a bucket on the fire directly. But as you get to high altitude areas it is more difficult to find hot water, although you do not sweat as much and especially, with the cold and snow, you will not feel like showering.
As you walk, hygiene takes second place… Nobody dies from spending a couple of days without showering.
Although wet wipes are very useful at any given time, they are waste that must be left somewhere, and you really are not sure if they are going to burn it, or throw it in the river, or what they are going to do with it …
You don’t have to wear a lot of clothes, the less weight the better to be able to walk calmly. So it is better to wash clothes on the way, once you have arrived at the lodge where you are going to sleep. If it is still wet in the morning you can hang it from your backpack and dry it in the sun. The technical shirts are super easy to wash, just to remove the sweat odor, and they dry very quickly.
- Toothbrush and toothpaste..
- Deodorant stick- Deodorant spray is dangerous at height due to pressure change, and the roll freezes and the ball is blocked, they do not work well. That’s why stick deodorant is better.
- Shampoo. A small bottle of shampoo is sufficient. No need to carry body gel.
- Laundry soap. One pill is sufficient.
- Lip balm so that the lips do not crack in the cold.
- Strong sun protection cream.
- Tweezers. You never know if you can get a splinter, which can be very annoying, and very difficult to remove without tweezers.
In the city:
In tourist towns such as Kathmandu, Pokhara, Nagarkot, Bakthapur, Bandipur, etc … you will find accommodation of all kinds. You can stay in luxury hotels or in very cheap backpacker hotels … My recommendation is that you look for something in between, that you feel comfortable both with the place and with the staff. Sometimes to save € 3 you end up in a noisy and dirty place, with roaches, where there are power cuts and many times you do not have hot water. And you may find that when complaining about the conditions they do not pay much attention to you …
There are also youth hostels, Home Stay or apartments, almost anything …, you can even stay in a monastery if you like Buddhism and peace.
In the Mountains:
During mountain treks the accommodation you will find are usually Guest Houses run by local families. It is normal to find the children around the house helping with chores, the grandmother sitting near the fire peeling potatoes, the baby of the house on the living room floor on a blanket, and the animals outside …
But in the higher areas the accommodation is more of the mountain refuge type. They have been built specifically to host trekkers and are not managed by families, but by workers who live there seasonally. The prices are usually much higher due to the difficulty of raising anything to that height, and they must also pay rent to the real owners of that refuge that they manage (sometimes owned by the government). The general rule is that the higher you are, the more expensive it will be.
Despite the fact that they are already very adapted to tourism, sometimes you will find smaller Lodges, with the rooms separated only by a wooden plank, with small and hard beds, with a common latrine outside, and that to wash you will heat a bucket of water directly on the kitchen fire. Personally I am attracted to these humble places, but I understand that many times you arrive tired from walking and you need a more comfortable place and a good shower…
All the accommodation is usually very similar in terms of price, both for sleeping and for eating. The difference is in whether they are newer, or with the larger rooms, or if they have a hot shower and sink inside, etc …
To choose I usually go by the feeling that people who run the establishment give me, yes I have felt welcome and if I see that they have everything clean, even if it is humble.
Normally the price is not so important, in the end a couple of euros might not be worth the haggle … and if you liked the place you will end up giving them a tip.
Another thing to keep in mind in the mountains is to bring your light sleeping bag. Everywhere they will give you sheets and blankets, but they will not be changed with each use and they are washed by hand in the river when it is sunny to dry them.
During the trekking you will have breakfast, lunch and dinner at the lodges and Guest Houses, therefore you should not need to carry food, or a gas stove for cooking, or kitchen utensils … The lighter you can walk the better.
These classic routes are fully prepared for tourism and have a good menu where you can choose what you want for a very affordable price, taking into account that everything you are going to eat has been carried up by porters on their backs which understandably increases the cost. The higher you are, the more expensive the food will be.
In the lodges they can also sell you soft drinks, chocolate bars and all kinds of snacks.
If you want you can bring something from your lodging to snack between meals. Muesli bars, dried fruits, chocolate, vacuum-packed sausage, … anything you might like when you stop to rest.
During the first stages of the trek you will be able to buy fruit, but higher up you will not find any.
In the mountains they make their own alcoholic beverages. Raksi is a very strong millet drink that is usually served hot (similar to white marc, or to Italian grappa).
You will also find Chyang or Chhaang. It is made from fermented rice and is therefore slightly cloudy in color and has a mild sour taste, much like a mild cider.
It is not advisable to drink when you are going to walk at height, but a glass by the fire at the end of the day does not feel bad.
In the case of making an expedition off the classic routes or an ascent to the top, you must bring your food, tent, material, etc … It would also be necessary to hire a guide and porters.
Autumn and spring are the best times to travel to Nepal.
- Autumn (September, October and November) – HIGH SEASON
After the Monsoon rains, in this period you will find clear skies and very good views. It is the most pleasant season for trekking since the days are not too hot. The only drawback is perhaps the large influx of tourists …
- Winter (December, January and February) – MIDDLE SEASON
It is the coldest season, especially in the high mountains, but you will find the skies very clear and the best views of the mountain.
It is also the best time to visit the tropical lowlands, such as the Chitwan or Bardia reserve.
- Spring (March, April and May) – MIDDLE SEASON
It is the second best time to travel and trek. The days are getting warmer and in May flowers and rhododendrons bloom. Fog and clouds are rare. At this time, after the cold of Winter, you will have the opportunity to coincide with many festivals in Nepal.
- Summer (June, July and August) – LOW SEASON
During the pre-monsoon, in June, visitors will have the benefit of flowering plants, but visibility is sometimes reduced with foggy conditions and some rain.
July and August in Nepal are marked above all by the monsoon (rainy season).
It is a time of heavy intermittent rains that cause landslides, floods, road cuts … All this, coupled with poor visibility, mud on the roads and leeches in the lower areas, make trips during this period very unpredictable.
On the other hand, it is a time that offers fabulous days, where each part of the hill and the forests are lush green. You will also see the rice plantations at their best. And another advantage is that the hotels offer great discounts and during the trek you will not have problems with accommodation.
Seasonality affects different parts of Nepal in varied way due to the great variety of altitude and landscape (it is not the same in the mountains as in the jungle).
Keep in mind that climate change is affecting normal seasonality patterns, so you should always be prepared for unexpected changes.
Info. It is recommended to consult the weather forecasts before making any road trip and start a hiking route. Government of Nepal Meteorological Forecasting Division
In Nepal there are 3 distinct regions.
The jungle, in the south, touching India.
The Middle zone, where is the Kathmandu valley, Pokhara and other fertile valleys…
The High mountain zone, in the north touching Tibet.
Nepal has five climatic zones, closely linked to the height of the territory.
1. The tropical and sub-tropical zone are below 1,200 meters.
2. The temperate climate is between 1,200 and 2,400 m.
3. The cold zone is between 2,400 and 3,600 meters.
4. The subarctic zone covers between 3,600 and 4,400.
5. The higher the arctic zone.
In principle we do not deal with the travel from your country of origin, we understand that nowadays everyone prefers to search for their flights directly in the online search engines. So if there are any problems with cancellations, delays or ticket changes, you can have direct attention with your airline so they can solve any problems.
Nepal is not a very large country but it has internal flights between the main urban areas, especially between Kathmandu and Pokhara. There are also flights to touristic areas in the mountains, such as Jomson in the Annapurna area and Lukla in the Everest area.
At first it would seem silly to take a plane to travel 200Km, but the same distance by road is usually more than 6 hours, and that is with no unforeseen problems …
The roads are usually single lanes each way and border the valleys with infinite curves, going up, going down … There are no tunnels that pass mountains, nor bridges that cross valleys. All the roads follow the terrain and go through each town. In addition, many are unpaved and those that are paved have many holes and potholes, you can find landslides or accidents that make one of the lanes unusable… Apart from the fact that there is a lot of traffic and pollution.
If you are not in a hurry and want to have a “unique experience”, local buses may be an option. They will stop to collect everyone without a limit of passengers, they will even put animals inside if necessary. Women will give you children to sleep on top of you while you try to fit your knees in those small seats… And if you try to sleep you have to know that music will accompany you at full volume throughout the trip.
Personally I recommend paying a couple of euros more and taking a tourist bus. You will have your reserved seat of normal size, you will be able to rest a little and it will only stop so the passengers can eat and go to the toilet.
Another option is private group transportation (minivan or jeep). You can usually hire it at any agency, or at your hotel.
Above all, you have to anticipate possible problems such as strikes, accidents, delays, etc … You should always go one day in advance just in case.
To move around the city there are taxis, with which you should always haggle. There are also rickshaws and minibuses crowded with people who really never know where they are going…
Nepal is a wonderful country, but getting around it is hard and you need to have patience.
In the event that you think about renting a vehicle to visit Nepal you should know that a foreigner is not allowed to drive a rental car there, so if we decide to travel in a rented vehicle we must hire a driver.
Alternatively renting a motorcycle or moped (scooter) is no problem.
To move around the city freely and make small excursions in the vicinity, there is nothing better than the bike or the bike, but you have to be brave and have skill to deal with the traffic of Kathmandu. If you do not usually drive a bike I do not suggest you do it here.
In Pokhara it is more quiet and you can enjoy bike rides and go discovering the surroundings by bike without any problem.
Although nobody is really going to ask you, it is advisable that you get your international driving license (it is a simple procedure in the DGT). The police almost never stop tourists to ask for documentation, but in case of having an accident it is convenient to have everything correct, and very convenient for your travel insurance to cover any eventuality, since if you do not have insurance you must pay for any damage in cash.
Traffic in and around the capital is so dense and chaotic that it is difficult to drive more than 40 km / h. In addition, the state of the roads is lousy, it is full of holes, potholes, mud, garbage, etc … That is why it is highly recommended to wear a mask to withstand pollution and dust, and glasses to protect your eyes from stones and other debris …
There seem to be no traffic rules, apart from driving on the left, so you have to be very vigilant and make your presence known using the horn when doing any maneuver. You must be aware of any eventuality since you are going to come across all kinds of vehicles, bicycles, minibuses, even cows, dogs or monkeys … And above all, keep in mind that pedestrians can cross anywhere at any time since there are no traffic lights or zebra crossings.
Despite all that said, once you get used to the local way of driving it can be a lot of fun, especially once you leave the urban areas.
If you really like to travel by motorcycle, touring Nepal on a Royal Enfield is a joy. From the mountain roads that take you to the foothills of the Himalayas, to dusty roads that bring you to isolated areas of the rural interior, visit impressive lakes or go down to the southern area looking for the jungle and wild animals. A highly recommended experience if you like adventure.
Culture and society:
Haggling in this type of country is unavoidable. It is their culture and it is their way of doing things, so you should participate in this “game” always with a positive attitude, with a good spirit and without disrespect. You should not conflict to get away with it … If you can not reach an agreement, you say goodbye with a smile and try in another store, but you should not be offended or offend the other person.
You have to think that most of the Nepalese people are very humble and have very little paid income. For many, tourism becomes the only option to grow and dream of a better future for their children.
For this reason, even if at some point you have the feeling that you could have got something a little cheaper, we should not be “stingy” or take advantage of the need of people to lower the price excessively. You have to pay what you think is fair and stay calm.
One possibility is to look at what you like and then tell a Nepali you trust to come into the store and buy it for you, he will surely get it at a better price.
If we plan to buy several items we can negotiate further, and offer the seller a total price for everything.
Get in the habit of asking prices at various stores to make sure what they are saying is fair. Sometimes you think they are trying to trick you and it turns out that they were telling you a pretty good price first.
This usually happens for example with the real Mandalas. At first they may seem very expensive, but then you find out about the work behind them and fully understand it. There are some that can take up to a year to paint, working 5 hours a day. If you respect the artist and his work captivates you, you should not try to take his work home for less than it is worth.
You should not try to haggle in a restaurant where there is a menu with prices in sight or in a street stall where you have already been told the price before consuming and you are seeing that others charge the same.
On mountain routes everything is usually more expensive as you go up. Think that all items should be carried on the back and somebody has to pay those porters. Therefore it is normal that a beer is more expensive at 5,000 meters of altitude than in Kathmandu. Also you can see the prices on the menu before consuming, so you should not haggle on food or drinks… But maybe you can negotiate a bit the price of the room.
With taxis it is essential to haggle. Try to ask your hotel more or less how much the trip will cost, and negotiate a fixed price with the taxi driver. If you can’t get it try another taxi. Many times they give you a better price if you move a little away from the central taxi ranks. For example, you will always find a better price if you leave the airport grounds, than if you take a taxi right there …
Sometimes you will be in places where they do not usually deal with tourists and do not have the custom to play with the prices. In these places it is not necessary to haggle anything, since they are giving you the real prices they give to any local.
You are a tourist, do not pretend to pay everywhere like a Nepali. But don’t let them treat you like a ticket factory either.
In most places they will treat you with respect, but in some places you will find arrogant “bosses” who are not even friendly and are used to treating others as inferiors or subjects. They do it with their employees (who are paid miserable wages), they do it with their families, with everyone in general who they feel are below them … and you are not better for being a tourist, so they don’t hesitate to try and take what they can from you since they have no respect for you. This is because they have grown up thinking that they are of a higher caste and that their privileges are legitimate, they have seen their parents do it and they follow their tradition. They are usually people with enough money to maintain that social position.
I personally avoid dealing with these types of people, but if you must do it, be patient and try to be calm and keep your distance. Do not take his distant treatment as something personal, he will do the same with everyone. In these cases it is not useful to haggle … just give him a price and if he does not accept you go somewhere else without looking back.
While you should be on the lookout for scams, you should finally not let the feeling of being cheated spoil a trip. If you think about it most of the time you are paying one or two euros more for something … there is no need for it to be a drama. It is all part of the journey and it is best to take it as a learning experience. When you look back and reflect it will be just a minor anecdote.
Tipping is a tradition in Nepal. From the Sherpas of the expeditions (which already include them directly in their final amount) to those who run a small Lodge or restaurant. Tipping is welcome almost anywhere.
Our clients will not have to pay anything once they are on the trek, since everything
is included in the package contracted with us. Workers receive their salary
for their work through our agency, but they are allowed to receive tips since we cannot refuse a tourist to decide to reward the good service of a worker.
The same happens if you want to reward the kindness in a Guest House where you have felt especially welcomed, you can directly give what you think convenient to the person who is there working …
The caste system has been present in Hindu society for approximately 3,000 years, and in Nepal 80% of the population professes this religion. Hinduism states that human beings have been created from the different parts of the body of the god Brahma, a belief that provides different degrees of purity and, based on that purity, the classification is established.
This ingrained method of organization hierarchically divides the total population into many groups, although we can distinguish four main castes.
– Brahmins o Bahun
They are associated with the color white, and according to Hinduism they came from the mouth and skull of Brahma.
They represent intelligence and purity, and it would be made up of priests, doctors and intellectuals, located at the top of the pyramid.
They would be the priests of the gods, the ones in charge of teaching and interpreting the sacred texts. In the Hindu religion the ritual power of the priest or brahmin is more important than the secular power of the king or head of state.
-Kshatriya o Chetri
They are associated with the color red, and they came out of Brahma’s shoulders and arms.
They represent the vital energy and would be made up of kings and warriors.
They are the rulers, warriors and nobles. People with a lot of decision-making capacity and power.
They are associated with the yellow color or color of the earth and came from the hips and thighs of Brahma. This group is made up of landowners, merchants, ranchers or artisans.
They are associated with the color black, a hue associated with darkness, and according to Hinduism they left the feet of Brahma to work for the previous caste.
This group is made up of workers and peasants.
Also called Untouchables or Pariahs, this group is outside this caste system and therefore they are traditionally relegated to doing the lowest jobs and do not even have social rights (it is easy to compare them with a kind of slavery). They are even prohibited from participating in community activities such as praying in the same temples as the higher caste Nepalese.
This caste represents 15.57% of the country’s total population.
In 1963 caste discrimination was abolished in Nepal and the National Dalit Commission was created.
This was to make everyone equal before the law, but over the decades, as the state has introduced stricter laws against the practice, Dalit conditions have only worsened. The system does not seem to be so rigid in public, but in practice nothing has changed too much … Contempt is done in a more subtle, more hidden way …
50 years later, in 2011 the Law Against Discrimination was approved based on Caste and of Untouchability.
However, Dalits to this day continue to be marginalized and women are the most discriminated and vulnerable.
In this model of society, work was inherited, as is the case today with caste, also hereditary. It is not possible to change caste unless it is through a dedication to religious life, it is what is known as shadus or Hindu ascetics, or through death, since Hindus believe in reincarnation and kharma, and, According to this assumption, their current behavior will define their caste when they reincarnate.
This is really a way of perpetuating the system that favors the privileged as always and condemns the humble and poor to servile.
As time goes by, the divisions between castes dissolve, especially in big cities, where people access jobs on their own merits and where it hardly influences social relations. However, arranged marriages continue to be between people of the same caste. In some identity documents the status from which it comes appears and is sometimes requested in job interviews.
For most people the first thing that comes to mind when we talk about Nepal is Everest, but the second is usually Buddhism. That is why many are shocked to know that it really is the second religion, with 9% of practitioners, after Hinduism, practiced by 81% of inhabitants of Nepal. The other 10% is shared between Muslims and other ancient regional religions. Christianity is really a minority.
Religion is very important to the Nepalese, and in the Kathmandu Valley alone there are more than 2,700 religious temples.
Nepal has never known a war motivated by religious conflict, life goes on without confrontations and there is great tolerance among believers of different religions. This may be because proselytizing is prohibited.
Nepal’s old constitution describes the country as a “Hindu Kingdom”, although it did not establish Hinduism as the state religion. Nepal’s constitution has long followed legal provisions that prohibit discrimination against other religions.
On May 19, 2006, as the government faced a constitutional crisis, the House of Representatives declared Nepal a “secular state”.
Hindu and Buddhist temples and festivals are respected and celebrated by most Nepalese. Certain animistic practices of the ancient indigenous religions also still survive.
Nepal’s history is characterized by its isolated position in the Himalayas and its great neighbors India and China.
Due to the arrival of various colonizers in the history of Nepal, the country is now multi-ethnic, multicultural and multilingual.
Despite being a small country, compared to its huge neighbors, Nepal has a wide and diverse variety of territories, ranging from the rainy and humid plains of the Terai, to the highest and iciest peaks on earth.
Central Nepal was divided into three kingdoms (Kathmandu, Patan, and Bakthapur) from the 15th to the 18th century, after this period they were unified under the Shah monarchy. These kingdoms together with their monuments have been declared as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
The national language of Nepal is Nepali, and is the most widely used by its population, despite the fact that 92 living languages are spoken in Nepal.
Nepal experienced a fight for democracy in the 20th century. During the 1990s and until 2008 the country had a civil war. A peace treaty was signed in 2008 and elections were held that same year.
Many of Nepal’s ills have been attributed to the royal family. In a historic vote for the election of the constituent assembly, the Nepalese voted to expel the monarchy. In June 2008, the Nepalese expelled the royal house. Nepal became a Federal Republic.
In April 2015, Nepal suffered a large earthquake that affected much of the country.
On September 20, 2015, the Constituent Assembly (AC) of Nepal approved by a very large majority the much debated and long-awaited democratic Constitution of the country.
India opposed various clauses of the Constitution and has expressed frustration by applying an unofficial blockade to the country, which paralyzed Nepal for 5 months due to lack of fuel and many other basic products. It was a very cruel demonstration to do this after an earthquake that has affected so many families and infrastructure …
In 2020 Nepal prepares the “Visit Nepal Year 2020”, a year committed to promoting the tourism industry with all available means.
Nepal is a country where the woman is totally dependent on her husband. In rural areas even more, since they only have the possibility to work at home or in the fields and these are unpaid jobs, with which they will never have economic independence…
This situation varies from one ethnic group to another. For example, in the area near Tibet, with a Buddhist tradition, women are more liberated than in the Kathmandu valley, with a Hindu tradition.
Women do not have the possibility of inheriting land when their parents die, they do not even have the right to family housing when the husband dies, they cannot have any property, everything always passes into the hands of brothers or male children. Men have priority because it is understood that they will have to support their families and instead they will be supported by their wives.
Today there are many girls from humble families who cannot study and are forced from a very young age to work in the homes of wealthy families and that their future will only change when they get married and will go to work at their husbands family’s home. Social customs place women under male domination, passing authority from father to husband.
Although the current Constitution offers women equal educational opportunities, many social, economic and cultural factors have contributed to their lower enrollment and higher dropout rates for girls. It is a vicious circle. Their inferior status hinders their education, and the lack of education, in turn, limits their status and position.
The level of educational achievement among daughters from wealthy and educated families is much higher than that of girls from poor families. That is why educated women have had a certain access to positions of a certain high status in the government and in the private service sectors.
But even though current laws seem to protect women from violence and discrimination, the patriarchal mindset still prevails in Nepali society and within the family.
An example of this is that according to the Hindu tradition, the feminine condition in itself makes them impure for community life during their menstruation or after childbirth, forcing them to be temporarily excluded from family residence. While excluded, women are prohibited from contacting their families, or even bringing food to them. The hygienic conditions in which they have to stay are dire, which dangerously increases the risk of infection. As if that were not enough, they run the risk of suffering some type of sexual abuse or being attacked by wild animals.
Communities that practice chaupadi believe that they will suffer some kind of disgrace if they do not drive women and girls away when they are menstruating.
In August 2017, the Nepalese Parliament, prompted by outside pressure, enacted a new law aimed at improving the safety of Nepalese women: “Anyone who forces the chhaupadi to comply will face a three-month prison sentence and a fine of 3,000 Nepalese rupees ”(25 euros). According to World Bank data, the Nepalese average annual salary is about 625 euros. However, in 2005 the Supreme Court of Nepal had prohibited this custom but today it continues to be practiced.
For the new law to be effective, it must be accompanied by a broad effort on the part of the Government and public education to change current traditions and social norms, and that effort does not take place, there is no real will to change.
Therefore, the problem does not lie so much in the approval of new laws, but in the effective implementation of those that already exist.
The head of the Program Against Sexist Violence of the The UN agency for women in Nepal lists the examples: “There are many norms that criminalize sexist violence: the Law for the Control of Accusations of Witchcraft, the Law on Child Marriage or the Law on Domestic Violence. The latter has already been approved in 1996, but people are unaware of its existence. “
Another notable example of this patriarchal society is the attribution of citizenship. In the young Republic of Nepal, women become citizens only if their father or husband gives their authorization. This means that a widowed or single woman will never be able to give citizenship to her children, who will grow up without social rights unless this woman remarries which in this day and age seems unbelievable?
It was also observed that the legalization of the voluntary interruption of pregnancy in 2010 led to selective abortion only for girls.
According to journalist Marie Dorigny, 99% of men today believe that women should obey them, and 66% of girls and women declare themselves victims physical, verbal, assault, or sexual harassment.
The situation is such that, since 2010, the leading cause of death for women in Nepal is suicide.
A glimpse of hope is that female representation has increased dramatically in the Nepali Parliament in the past ten years. It is the result of an ambitious gender quota system that has made its Constitution one of the most progressive in Asia.
The Constitution requires that a woman be the president or vice-president of the country. The same occurs in the case of the presidency of Parliament and the head of the judiciary. Likewise, in the municipalities a woman must be at the head of the mayor’s office. Each district in each municipality has to reserve two seats for women; and one of them must be occupied by a woman of the Dalit caste, a community historically excluded from leadership positions in society.
These latest data invite optimism, but there is no doubt that changing the mindset of a society so deeply rooted in its religion and traditions requires a great effort in education and many generations.
Information taken from different web articles:
There are 366 festivals in Nepal, 365 days a year. This is not strange, since more than 30 different communities live together, more than 30 ways of understanding life and therefore of celebrating it.
They are usually festivals linked to specific dates, such as the Nepalese or Tibetan New Year, the birth of the Buddha, or celebrations to different Hindu gods, etc …
If you can choose when to come to Nepal, perhaps you can choose a date coinciding with one
of the great Local festivals that fill the country with music, dance and color. But you also have to know that with the big festivals the country is paralyzed and it may be that you run out of transport for several days, or if you have to do any bureaucratic errands you will find many of the institutions closed…
1 January- Western New Year. Although it is not a traditional Nepalese holiday they celebrate everything.
February 5 – Losar. Tibetan New Year. It goes with the Tibetan lunar calendar and can sometimes fall at the end of January. It can last 9 days and each day different Buddhist rituals are performed.
March 4 – Maha Shivaratri. Ritual offerings and baths at the Pashupatinath Temple and other temples consecrated to Shiva. Hashish can be found for free and is even smoked by Indian Monks. There are even rituals of putting hashish in the food so that everyone comes under the influence. Not many vehicles circulate, etc … Children cut the street with ropes and you should give them money in the name of Shiva. At night they build fires and dance on the street.
March 20- Holi. Festival of color and welcome of spring.
April 14- New Nepali Year.
May 18- Buddha Jayanti. Buddha’s birthday.
Dalai Lama Jayanti. Dalai Lama anniversary celebration.
August 15- Raksha Bandhan. Brothers party.
August 19- Gai Jatra. Feast of the deceased. Saris, masks and garlands will flood the streets.
September 1 – Teej. Women’s day
October 8- Dashain. National holiday in honor of Durga.
October 27- Tihar. Feast of lights.
Vegetables and rice are the basis of the Nepalese diet. Either out of conviction or out of necessity most Nepalese people are generally vegetarians.
The foods are usually very spicy and use highly seasoned sauces (masalas).
The star dish without a doubt is Dal Bhat. It is the basic food of the country and is prepared with rice and lentils. The dish contains white rice (bhat) and lentils (dal) served in soup form to mix with the rice. It is usually accompanied by a vegetable curry called tarkari (they are usually potatoes), a mixture of spicy vegetables (pickles) and vegetables like spinach or cauliflower (sak). Everything is served on a large metal plate separating each food in its compartment so that each diner mixes it to their liking.
The meal can be accompanied with poppadoms (crispy round fried bread) or roti (also called naan or chapati in India).
The momos are also very popular in the Nepalese diet. They are steamed dumplings filled with meat, vegetables or even cheese (similar to giant ravioli). The momos that are leftover from dinner are usually fried the next day for breakfast when they taste even better. They are usually served with tomato sauce, of course spicy.
Vermicelli (noodles) is the fast food of Nepal. They do them in a moment since you just have to take them out of the bag and boil them in water adding the sauce that comes with the pack itself. The thing is that in most places they dress it with potatoes, spinach and egg … thus giving it a homemade touch that makes them delicious. If you are in a hurry it is the fastest and cheapest that you will find on the menu. As a curiosity, the locals eat it directly from the bag without cooking, as if they were potato chips.
The Chowmein are basically fried spaghetti with a little onion, carrot, cabbage, and if you also want chicken or buffalo meat. All seasoned with spices that give it a mild curry flavor. If you like you can add hot or tomato sauce.
Thukpa is the name of a pasta soup that takes everything … In this case the pasta is usually handmade and has a very smooth texture. It is a dish that fills a lot and they usually eat in the mountains, especially in winter.
Chana. Cooked black chickpeas and later fried with onion, tomato and curry. They usually eat it with Tea Mommo, which is a tasty very soft steamed bread.
Samosa. The main base of the dough is made from white wheat flour mixed with water and oil or butter. It is placed in the shape of a cone and filled with potatoes with onion, lentils, ginger, chili, coriander, cumin and masala. Then fried in very hot oil.
Tibetan Bread. It is a slightly sweet and fluffy fried bread. It is perfect for dipping in tea or coffee in the morning, and you can pour honey on it.
Curd. It is curdled yogurt, perfect for breakfast in the morning with muesli. It is made from yak milk that is boiled in an iron pot along with cloves, cardamom, coconut, and cashew, and then slowly cools to a curd.
Tsampa porridge. This porridge is a Tibetan staple food made with barley flour mixed with honey, butter and milk or tea … It has all the qualities of a good, nutritious, quick and easy to prepare breakfast cereal.
Oat Porridge. This is oatmeal porridge. It is not a product that the nepalis eat, but it is perfect in the morning for breakfast and they have it in almost all places.
In Kathmandu and Pokhara, more used to tourism, they have almost anything. Pasta, pizza, sushi, hamburgers, grilled meat, fish, etc … but it is for tourists, since the locals will always prefer their Dal Bhat.
In Nepal, it is very common for those who have had opportunities to educate themselves to have learned English. Many young people know how to express themselves in English very well. But most Nepalese have not had access to education and only speak their language.
There are 60 different languages in Nepal and curiously many groups in isolated areas fail to learn Nepali, let alone English.
On tourist routes it is different. Anyone who owns a Guest House and interacts with tourists at least needs to know basic phrases of courtesy and understanding, but it is not English with which you can have a conversation.
Be that as it may, these people are very friendly and they will make the effort to understand you even with gestures.
1-Basic / most common expressions
Good morning/night – Namasté
See you later/Wellcome – Namasté
How are you? – San tché tcha ?
Very well, thanks. And you? – Malai sanchai chha, tapai ?
I understand/not understand – Mabujhchu / Maile bujhina
Sorry – Birsi dinu
Excuse me – Hajur
My name is…– Mero nam … ho
No, thank you – Hoïna
Yes/No – Ho/Hoïna
Thank you – Danyabad
You are wellcome – Kehi
Please – Timila’i svagata cha
Have a nice day – Rāmrō dina
How much is it? – Kati?
It’s cheap – Sasto
It is too expensive – Mahango
Could the price be lowered? – Tapa’iṁ mulya kama garna sakchan ?
I would like to buy this – Kinnunuparyo
I love/hate it – Malai yo ramro lagyo/Malai yo ramro lagena
Money – Paisa
I’m just looking – Ma sirpha khojiraheko chu
I would like to go to (…) – Ma (…) ma janchhu
Plane – Hwaaï-dzahaadz
Boat – Nau
Train – Rela
Taxi – Tyakhsi
Bus – Bus
I would like to rent – Ma kira’e cahanuhuncha
Motorbyke – Motorcycle
Car – Gaadi
Bicycle – Cycle
Where is (…)? – Kaha ?
How to go (…)? – (… )Kolagi kati paisa lagchha ?
Bank – Baink
Station – Rela station
CeCity Center – Śahara
Hotel – Hotel
Hospital – Aspatāla
Is it near/far? – Yahabatake nire chha ?/Yahabatake tadha chha ?
Straight ahead – Sidha
Left/Rigth – Baya/Daya
North/South/East/West – Uttara / Daksina / Cha / Kaham cha
one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten – ek, dui, tin, char, panch, chha, sat, ath, nau, das
twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, sixty – bis, tis, chalis, pachas, sathi
seventy, eighty, ninety – sattari, asi, nabbe
One hundred – Ek say
6-Hours/Dates and Days
What time is it? – Koti bodié ?
When? – Jaba ?
Today (tomorrow/afternoon/evening) – Aja (bihaana / diuso / saanjh)
Tomorrow – Bholi
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday – Sombar, mangal bar, budhbar, bihibar, sukrabar, sanibar, aitabar
I am here on vacation/travel – Ma hum chhutti/yaatraa
I’m here for work – Ma hum kama
I am hungry/thirsty – Malaaï boglagyo/Malaaï tirkha lagyo
Enjoy your meal! – Āphnō khānākō majā
Cheers! – Svāsthya !
It was delicious! – Mitho tcha
What do you recommend? – Tapā’īṁ kē siphārisa garchan ?
I am a vegetarian – Ma sahkahari hun
I don’t like spicy food – Ma piro khandina
It’s too hot! – Garam !
I am allergic – Ma ēlarjī chu
Peanut – Badāma
Gluten – Lasa
I would like to… – Ma cāhanchu …
Water – Pānī
Tea/Coffe – Chiya / Kaphī
Beer/Wine – Biyar / Raksī
8-Health / Emergency / Safety
I need to see a doctor – Ramro daktar kaha paincha
Call a doctor – Daktar laibolaunuhos
Where is the hospital? – Yaha aspatal kaha chha ?
I don’t feel very well – Malai sancho chhaina
It hurts here – Ma yaham cōṭa
Where is the bathroom? – Shaucha laya kaha chha
Help! – Guhar !
Police – Prahari
Danger – Khatara
I´m lost – Ma haraye
The nearest Spanish Embassy is located in New Delhi (India), and that’s where Nepal’s issues are dealt with.
Spanish Embassy in New Delhi
12 Pritviraj Road.
Tel: (91-11) 4129 3000.
Fax: (91-11) 4129 3020
In Kathmandu there is a Spanish consulate that deals with some functions, such as validating stamps and translations, among others…
Honorary Consulate in Kathmandu :
P.O. Box 459
Tel: (977) 1447324
Fax: (977) 14471379
The Tourist Office where permits for trekking and TIMS are obtained.
from 09.00 to 17.00.
LANGUAGE OF ATTENTION:
The currency in Nepal is the Nepalese rupee (NRs). An easy way to make a rough mental change is to take 2 zeros away from the rupee price. Example. 2000 rupees = € 20 approx.
When you arrive at the airport you can exchange currency, but we do not recommend changing much since the exchange is much better in the exchange offices that you will find around your hotel in Thamel.
If you need it, we will accompany you to change currency in a trustworthy place and if you need something loose when leaving the airport, we can change it ourselves without any problem.
They will always give you a better exchange rate the more money you want to change, so if you are a large group it is better that you all change it together in the same place.
1- TRAVEL INSURANCE
For any trip in general, it is highly recommended that you take out a travel insurance policy that covers you for any eventuality. From accidents or illnesses, to flight cancellations, loss of luggage or documents, even a last-minute cancellation of your trip due to the death of a family member or to a positive result in COVID.
Some travel insurances even include an adventure sports clause where trekking/trekking would come in with a worldwide rescue coverage up to 3.500m. This can be good for many travelers who want to do routes through the Himalayas but do not feel the need to climb so high, or who are sightseeing in Nepal and also want to do a specific route without reaching high altitudes. In these covers usually also enter sports like rafting, paragliding, mountain biking or many other things you can do in Nepal.
2- MOUNTAIN RESCUE INSURANCE
If you are going to climb any peak in Nepal is mandatory to have a rescue insurance.
To make a trek is not mandatory insurance, but probably at some point you will exceed 4,000m, so it is more than advisable to have a rescue insurance height. These insurances cover a possible emergency evacuation by helicopter at high altitudes, in addition to medical expenses and other coverage that they share with normal travel insurance. They can be contracted for days, months or even annually.
There are 2 ways to assure a rescue in the mountain. Hire a private insurance directly or do it through a mountain federation in your country.
- Federal Insurance- Ideally, if you are a mountain enthusiast, you should have a federation card from the FEDME (Federación Española de Deportes de Alta Montaña y Escalada).
Apart from other advantages, the type D card/license has a worldwide mountain rescue insurance up to 7.000m of altitude. The price of this license is around 150 ? and the duration is one calendar year (it’s cheaper if you take a half year license), although both prices and some specifications may vary according to your autonomous community ( you can see a list here ). If you federate through a club, the price is a little bit better, in general it’s a lot cheaper than a private insurance, which would cost you even more for only one month of coverage. But they do have some additional advantages, such as special prices in the high mountain refuges in Spain and a good part of Europe, discounts in sports equipment stores, access to activities and training in mountain sports,…
Almost all countries have their mountaineering federations where you will find these insurances specialized in covering high mountain rescue.
- Private Insurance- Some companies that offer specialized mountain rescue insurance up to 5,500m of altitude. This covers any high altitude pass during a trekking in Nepal, these insurances usually have also similar coverage to a travel insurance, like medical care, cancellation, civil responsibility, etc. In this aspect they are enough more complete that the federative insurance, for a month usually it has a cost around 170 Euros, but also you can contract it by loose days, while the sport activity in high mountain lasts. If you already have a travel insurance, it can be a good option to complete it with a rescue insurance only for the days that you exceed the 3.500m of altitude, but you have to be very sure of being able to fulfill the itinerary foreseen without delays nor changes of last hour.