5 Things to know before traveling to Nepal

Often known as “the road less traveled”, traveling to Nepal is one of the most amazing things to do in this lifetime. Nepal is humble in spite of its nature’s splendor and cultural madness. Nepalese people have earned a reputation worldwide and rightly so for being welcoming and generous to its guests. While there, of course, is a certain appeal of naivete while entering a new land, it is better to come equipped with knowledge of what to expect and what not to. Here we have listed five things you should know before traveling to Nepal to make your stay a memorable one.

Nepali Visa Information   

After arriving in Nepal, you can get your visa at the Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu or any border entry points in Kodari, Nepalgunj, Kakadvitta, Birgunj, and Bhairahawa. Single-entry visa valid for 15/30/90 days will cost USD $25/40/100, which is payable in any major currency (although US dollar is preferred and convenient). Visitors from the SAARC nations can get a 30-day visa for free on arrival.

Social Etiquette

Next thing you probably should know is how to greet the locals. The traditional style of Nepalese greeting is putting your palms together in praying style and saying “Namaste” or “Namaskar”. The respectful term to greet anyone older than you are “Dai” for men and “Didi” for women. Other than mastering greeting and addressing, make sure to be in compliance with the local culture so as not to offend. You would also like to steer clear of public display of affection and wearing revealing clothes so as not to invite frowns and glares.

Nepali Food

When it comes to hospitality, Nepalese have a knack for bigheartedness. So, when you’re traveling to Nepal, make sure you bring your appetite with you. Giving a tough competition to the shrines and stupas, there are now hotels and restaurants in every nook and corner that offer everything from traditional cuisines to famous international dishes. The staple dish here is a heap of steamed rice (literally a heap) and lentil curry known as Dal Bhat in Nepali. Not very spicy, but flavorful, it is your safe bet from hunger pangs and upset stomach every single time. You can probably survive on Dal Bhat and Chiya (tea) throughout your stay, but you can also swing by a nearby eatery to soothe your “international cuisine” cravings at any time!

Nepalese Festivities

Nepal probably has the largest number of holidays in a single calendar year. The unique syncretism of ancient religions is itself a delight to observe and experience, but what’s even more exciting is to be part of Nepal’s exceptional festivals and chariot processions that date back to the medieval times. Some major Nepalese festivals are Dashain (September-October), Tihar (October-November), Holi (March- April), Maha Shivaratri (March) and Indra Jatra (September).

TIMS (Trekking Information Management System) and Permit

Given nature’s grandeur, it’s no doubt that Nepal is everyone’s first choice for adventure tourism and treks alike. A TIMS permit is required for all trekking areas in Nepal. It can be issued at the National Tourism Board (NTB) office at Kathmandu or at Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN) offices in Kathmandu or Pokhara. Similarly, registered trekking agencies can issue TIMS permits for their clients. Also, a permit is needed to enter into conservation area projects, national parks, wildlife reserves, hunting areas, which can be obtained from the NTB office.