Climate: Nepal’s weather is generally predictable and pleasant. There are four climatic seasons: March-May (spring), June-August (summer), September-November (autumn) and December-February (winter). The monsoon is approximately from the end of June to the middle of September. About 80 per cent of the rain falls during that period, so the remainder of the year is dry. Spring and autumn are the most pleasant seasons; winter temperatures drop to freezing with a high level of snowfall in the mountains. Summer and late spring temperatures range from 28ºC (83ºF) in the hill regions to more than 40ºC (104ºF) in the Terai.
In winter, average maximum and minimum temperatures in the Terai range from a brisk 7ºC (45ºF) to a mild 23ºC (74ºF). The central valleys experience a minimum temperature often falling bellow freezing point and a chilly 12ºC (54ºF) maximum. Much colder temperatures prevail at higher elevations. The Kathmandu Valley, at an altitude of 1310m (4297ft), has a mild climate, ranging from 19-27ºC (67-81ºF) in summer, and 2-20ºC (36-68ºF) in winter.
Required clothing : Lightweight and tropical clothes with umbrella are advised for June to August. Between October and March, lightweight clothes are worn in Kathmandu, with a coat for evenings and warm clothing for the mountains.
Certificate Required ?
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- A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required of travellers coming from infected areas.
- Following WHO guidelines issued in 1973, a cholera vaccination certificate is not a condition of entry to Nepal. However, cholera is a serious risk in this country and precautions are essential. Up-to-date advice should be sought before deciding whether these precautions should include vaccination, as medical opinion is divided over its effectiveness. For more information, see the Health appendix.
- Typhoid is common.
- Malaria risk, mainly in the benign vivax form, exists throughout the year in rural areas of the Terai districts of Bara, Dhanukha, Kapilvastu, Mahotari, Parsa, Rautahat, Rupendehi, Sarlahi and especially along the Indian border. The malignant falciparum form resistant to chloroquine has been reported.
Food & drink : All water should be regarded as being potentially contaminated. Water used for drinking, brushing teeth or making ice should have first been boiled or otherwise sterilised. Milk is unpasteurised and should be boiled. Powdered or tinned milk is available and is advised, but make sure that it is reconstituted with pure water. Avoid dairy products which are likely to have been made from unboiled milk. Only eat well-cooked meat and fish, preferably served hot. Pork, salad and mayonnaise may carry increased risk. Vegetables should be cooked and fruit peeled.
Other risks : High altitude sickness is a hazard for trekkers, so it is important to be in good health before travelling. Advice can be obtained from the Himalayan Rescue Association near the Kathmandu Guest House, Thamel. It is advisable, particularly when in rural areas, to carry a medical kit containing items such as rehydration mixture for the treatment of severe diarrhoea and ‘dry spray’ for cuts and bruises. Contact the Nepal Tourism Board for advice (see Contact Addresses section). Giardiasis, dysenteries and diarrhoeas are all common. Japanese encephalitis occurs in southern lowland, rural areas. Hepatitis A, B and E occur. Meningitis has been reported in some areas. There has been a sharp rise in visceral leishmaniasis, and trachoma is fairly common. Rabies is present. For those at high risk, vaccination before arrival should be considered. If you are bitten, seek medical advice without delay. For more information, see the Health appendix.
Health care : The most convenient hospital for visitor care is Patan Hospital in Lagankhel. Other hospitals include the Western Regional Hospital and the Manipal Hospital in Pokhara and the Mission Hospital in Tansen. Most hospitals have English-speaking staff and big hotels have doctors. Pharmacies in Kathmandu, mainly along New Road, offer a wide range of Western drugs at low prices. In Kathmandu, you can get certain vaccinations free of charge at the Infectious Diseases Clinic. Full medical insurance is essential.
Valid passport required by all except nationals of India holding proof of identity and arriving from India. (Acceptable proofs include Voter’s Identity Card issued by the Election Commission of India or Photo Identity Card issued by the state or central government of India or Temporary Photo ID issued by the Indian Diplomatic Mission in Nepal.)
VISAS: Required by all except the following:
(a) nationals of India;
(b) transit passengers continuing their journey by the same or first connecting aircraft on the same day provided holding valid onward or return documentation and not leaving the airport.
Types of visa and cost : Tourist : single-entry £20 (valid for two months from date of arrival); multiple-entry £55 (valid for six months from date of issue) Business : applications can be made on arrival which need to be approved by the Ministry of Industry.
Note : (a) All nationals may obtain tourist visas on arrival at the airport. Two passport-size photos are required. (b) Business can be conducted on a Tourist visa for up to 30 days.
Validity : Visas are valid for up to six months from date of issue. They may be extended in Nepal at the Department of Immigration, Kathmandu (tel: 494 273 or 494 337), or the Immigration Office, Pokhara. Maximum stay in Nepal is 150 days in any calendar year. For full conditions on visa extension (including charges and conditions), contact the Consulate (or Consular section at Embassy); see Contact Addresses section.
Application to : Consulate (or Consular section at Embassy). Visas can also be obtained on arrival from the Immigration authorities at all entry points (with fees payable in US Dollars) provided travellers are in possession of valid travel documents, two passport photos and the relevant fee. Applications for Business visas must be made to the Department of Immigration (see above under Validity for address).
Application requirements : (a) One completed application form. (b) Valid passport. (c) One passport-size photo. (d) Fee (in cash, postal order or bankdraft). (e) For business visas, letter from company explaining purpose of visit, accompanying application made direct to Department of Immigration in Nepal (as above). (f) A stamped addressed envelope if applying by post.
Working days required : One; two to three weeks if applying by post.
Entry Procedure / Visa Rules
Nationals of SAARC countries and China do not need visa when visiting Nepal. As per this rule, Indian nationals do not require visa. However, effective from October 2000, Indians traveling to Nepal by air have to show upon arrival at entry point a valid photo identity like a passport, voter's identity or an identify card issued by the Indian government. Temporary identity card with photographs issued by Nepal-based Indian diplomatic missions is considered in case of exception. Children under 10 years need not show any identification.
Other non-Nepali visitors do not need visa to be in Nepal for three days. Visa must be obtained for staying over the initial period of three days. Free visa is to be given to tourists for re-entry to Nepal provided they stay at least for 15 days in the country in that visa year.
* First single entry to Nepal for 60 days from the date of entry is US $ 30 or equivalent convertible foreign or Nepali currency. The second entry in the same visa year for 30 days from the date of entry is US $ 30.
* Multiple entry for one visa year is US $ 50 plus US $ 30 for single entry or equivalent convertible foreign or Nepali currency.
* For Sri Lankan pilgrims visiting Lumbini, a single entry visa for 15 days is US $10 or equivalent convertible currency.
* The visitors who wish to stay for more than 60 days in Nepal can extend their tourist visa by paying US $ 30 or equivalent convertible foreign or Nepali currency for 30 days from the Department of Immigration.
* For foreign investors business visa with multiple entry facility for a period of one year and five years can be obtained from the Department of Immigration on the recommendation of Department of Industry and Commerce by paying US $ 100 and US $ 250 or equivalent convertible foreign or Nepali currency.
Postal Services : The Central Post Office located near Dharahara Tower, is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The counters are open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and provide stamps, postcards and aerograms. Post Restante is available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Express Mail Service (EMS) is available at GPO and at Thamel, Basantapur and airport postal counters.
Telephone Services : Telephone, fax, telex and telegraph services are available at the Nepal Telecommunications Corporation at Tripureshwar. Hotels and private communications centers provide long distance telephone. For calling from outside, country code for Nepal is 977 and the area code for Kathmandu is 1.
Internet Services : Several Internet cafes and communication centers have opened up in the Valley and around the country in the past few years. Visitors only have to find a place they are most comfortable in to use the facilities to keep in touch with home. E-mail and Internet services are also offered by hotels.
Media : Nepali media has sped light years ahead in just a few years time and what used to be a controlled and tight knit community, is so no more. The government audio and television news networks are Radio Nepal and Nepal Television respectively. However, numerous FM radio stations and upcoming regional television stations are dominating the market. Major Nepali daily newspapers are Gorkhapatra and Kantipur, while the English dailies are The Rising Nepal, The Kathmandu Post and The Himalayan. A number of other newspapers and magazines are also available.
Electricity : Major towns have electricity and the voltage available is 220-volts and 50 cycles. Load shedding is sometimes experienced. However, most major hotels have installed their own generators.
Nepalese Rupee (NRs) = 100 paisa. Notes are in denominations of NRs1000, 500, 250, 100, 50, 25, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1. Coins are in denominations of NRs5, 2 and 1, and 50, 25, 10 and 5 paisa.
Currency exchange :
It is illegal to exchange currency with persons other than authorised dealers in foreign exchange (banks, hotels and licensed money changers). Visitors should obtain Foreign Exchange Encashment Receipts when changing currency and keep them, as these will help in many transactions, including getting visa extensions and trekking permits.
Visitors should bear in mind that foreign visitors other than Indian nationals are required to pay their airline tickets, trekking permits and hotel bills in foreign currency.
Credit & debit cards :
American Express is widely accepted, with MasterCard and Visa in tourist shops, hotels, restaurants and agencies. Check with your credit or debit card company for details of merchant acceptability and other services which may be available.
Travellers cheques :
Accepted at banks and major hotels. If trekking, it is important to bear in mind that cash is necessary. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travellers are advised to take travellers cheques in US Dollars or Pounds Sterling.
Currency restrictions :
Import of local and Indian currency is prohibited, except for nationals of Nepal and India. Foreign currency is unlimited but must be declared. Export of local and foreign currency is limited to the amounts declared on arrival. Only ten per cent of the amount exchanged into local currency will be reconverted into foreign currency on departure and all exchange receipts must be retained.
Banking hours :
Banks in the Kathmandu valley are open Mon-Fri 0900-1430. In other areas, opening hours are usually Sun-Thurs 1000-1430 and Fri 1000-1200. Licensed money changers are open 12 hours a day.
Information source: Nepal Tourism Board.