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Dec 2013

Nepal and the Himalayas: Practical Tips for Travellers


When to go

Nepal is situated between China and India, and with the number of mountains in the country with perpetual snowlines, the weather is practically cool year-round. If you time your visit to Nepal just right, you will get the chance to enjoy what the country offers when the weather is nice. January to February is cool and sunny, and it is off season so you get better deals; not that it is expensive to explore this country, mind you. March to May has good weather as well but this is the tourist season, so expect to see more people. From October to December, the days are warm and sunny while the evenings are cool. The country experiences good weather during these months. However this is also the time when the tourist season peaks, so everyone is busy.

Some practical tips

Visas for Nepal are issued upon arrival except for several African countries as well as Afghanistan, Palestine and Iraq where citizens are required to secure their visa before travelling to Nepal.

Be sure to bring several passport size photos for you will definitely need these for the trekking permit, for extending your visa beyond the 150 days maximum allowable and other documents that you need. You also need to have the address and phone number of the place or hotel where you will be staying.

One of the most important thing to have ready is a pen for filling up the forms at the airport upon your arrival. It is practically impossible to find a pen when you are at the Thribuvan International Airport in Kathmandu.


All tourists are granted a multiple-entry type visa and can enter and exit Nepal within the 150-day validity for the visa year. Nepalese visa currently cost US$25 for 15 days and US$40 for 30 days. US$100 pays for a 90-day visa. Convertible currencies as the U.S. dollars, Australian dollar, Pound Sterling and Euro are accepted.

It is practical to pack lightly when you plan to visit Nepal as you can get almost anything, at much lower prices there, including designer brands. The place to shop is at Thamel, which is the main tourist district. What you should bring are your most comfortable shoes (that are truly broken-in) so that you will not end up with large blisters on your feet that can ruin your vacation. Bring clothes that you can layer, such as a windbreaker, fleece coat, T-shirts, sport pants, lightweight pants and shorts. Do not forget to bring a hat and gloves. You should also pack a nice outfit for a night out, and some basic makeup for women, if you cannot do without them. Ladies, leave the high heels and sun dresses at home.

Nepal is quite a conservative country, although they allow longer shorts to be worn with T-shirts. It is all right to show the arms, but do not bring body-hugging blouses and strappy tank tops. Bring sunscreen and moisturizers for your face and lips. Pack plenty of hand sanitizer as bathrooms and toilet facilities in some areas are not up to Western standards and toilet paper will not be the most practical thing to use.

The power in Nepal usually goes off for two to three hours so have a small flashlight with you at all times. Your hotel should be giving you candles and matches so ask for them or buy a pack for this eventuality.


The Himalayas

The Himalaya mountain range is where Mount Everest belongs. Trekking is the most popular activity for most tourists. When you are in Nepal, all you need are very good, fully broken-in trekking shoes, a sleeping bag and a change or two of clothes. There are several guest houses in the region where you can stay, if you wish, in a different one, each night. There are many areas to explore on the Nepal side of the Himalayas. There’s Langtang National Park with its mountains and diverse flora and fauna, the Everest Region, officially called the Khumbu where the Sagarmatha National Park and the Sagarmatha National Park Buffer Zone are located, and the Annapurna region.

The Himalayas has mountains and deserts and aside from trekking, you can also go white water rafting or study meditation and Yoga. You can also have your fill of temples and monasteries in the region.

Malaria is still prevalent in the Himalayas particularly in the regions with lower elevations. Be sure to have mosquito repellent with you. Drink bottled water as well. If you are going up the mountains be sure to do it slowly. Get acclimatized so you do not have to suffer altitude sickness.

Have a flexible itinerary so you can change your plans especially if you are going to Kashmir. Also factor in delays and cancellations of flights from the Himalayas due to bad weather.

Thinking of experiencing Nepal for yourself? Book a flight to Kathmandu with Skiddoo today!

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