Nepal: where is it, when to go and what to see

Who I am
Lluis Enric Mayans
@lluisenricmayans
SOURCES CONSULTED:

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

Between India and Tibet, Nepal is known for its temples, the chaotic but mystical Kathmandu, the imposing Himalayan range, where Everest is located, and for its valleys inhabited by smiling and kind people. A true paradise for trekking lovers, but not only that, because travelers from all over the world arrive here who are fascinated by the small mountain villages, by the breathtaking views and by the spirituality that can be breathed in every corner. Unfortunately, in 2015 the country was hit by a very strong earthquake that destroyed many ancient areas, but slowly the government is restoring it.

Here is a guide on Nepal: where is it, when to go and what to see!



Index

  1. Travel informed: useful information
  2. Where it is
  3. When to go? Info on climate and best time
  4. The main cities
  5. 11 things to see: places of interest in Nepal
  6. The main itineraries in Nepal
  7. What to do in Nepal: excursions and tours
  8. How much does a holiday in Nepal cost? Prices, offers and advice
  9. User questions and comments

Travel informed: useful information

  • Inhabitants: 24.785.000
  • Capital: Kathmandu
  • Languages: Nepali
  • Local currency: Nepalese rupee (NPR) / € 1,00 = 130,26 NPR
  • Weather: hot-humid in the southern areas and high temperatures with abundant rainfall in the mountainous regions. The rains are frequent and violent from mid-June to the end of August, during the monsoons.
  • Time zone: GMT + 5h and 45 min (+4 h and 45 min compared to Italy)
  • vaccinations: no vaccination is mandatory, however tetanus / diphtheria, hepatitis A and B, anti rabies vaccines are recommended
  • Entry requirements: passport with residual validity of 6 months and visa that can be obtained on arrival (it is necessary to have 2 passport photos) at a cost of $ 25,00 (approximately € 23,00). We strongly recommend that you take out health insurance before departure.
  • Travel / health insurance: recommended.

    Where it is

    Nepal it lies between China and India and while the southern part is bathed by the Ganges, the northern part extends the 900 km long Himalayan chain where peaks of 8.000 meters rise.
    The country has no access to the sea and other borders.



    How to reach us

    • From Italy: Nepal's international airport is Kathmandu. There are no direct flights from Italy, you will necessarily have to make a stopover. The main airlines are Turkish (with a stopover in Istanbul, takes 16 hours and 15 minutes), Emirates (with a stopover in Dubai), Oman Air (with a stopover in Muscat), Qatar Airways (with a stopover in Dhoa) and Air India (with a stopover in Delhi). Starting from € 700,00 -
    • From the main European capitals: there are no direct flights from Europe, but even in this case you must make at least one stopover. Costs starting from € 600,00

    When to go? Info on climate and best time

    • Weather: sub tropical in the southern area with mild and sunny winters and average temperatures of 15 ° and hot and torrid summers with monsoons and rains. In the low mountain areas the climate is temperate with sunny and cool winters (temperatures between 0 ° and 15 °) and humid and hot summers. Finally, in the area of ​​the mountains to the north, the climate is glacial with snowy winters and temperatures between -18 ° and -36 ° and summers with the thermometer that oscillates between -2 ° and -18 °
    • Best time: the cold season from October to mid-March to discover the Kathmandu valley and the rest of Nepal, characterized by clear skies and temperatures between 0 ° and 15 °. For those who intend to make expeditions in the high mountains these are generally organized in September-October
    • Period to avoid: from May to September due to the scorching heat, humidity and monsoons
    • Advice: For those who go in winter, spring / autumn clothes are suggested, light for the day, a jacket and a warm sweater for the evening. Above 2.000 meters, warm technical clothing and hiking shoes are required. For the high altitudes, clothes for the great cold, underwear and thermal tights, parka, gloves, hat, scarf. In summer, on the other hand, you need very light clothes in natural fibers, a kway and a sweatshirt for the evening. For those who climb above 2.000 meters, fleece, anorak, down jacket, hat, gloves, scarf.
      A sleeping bag or a sleeping bag may be useful depending on the season and the area you visit

    The main cities

    In Nepal, in addition to the capital Kathmandu, there are numerous towns and villages that serve above all as a starting point to discover some areas and to make beautiful treks.
    Below are the main ones:



    1. Kathmandu: capital of Nepal in the center of the country, it has a beautiful historic center with squares, temples and clubs. Here you will find several shops, hotels and restaurants and is the base for visiting the Valley of the same name - find out what to see in Kathmandu
    2. Patan: 9 km from Kathamndu and reachable by bus or taxi, it is a pleasant town characterized by temples, artisan shops and one of the most beautiful squares in Nepal
    3. Bhaktapur: 16 km from the capital and also reachable by bus and taxi, it is the most medieval of the cities of the Kathmandu Valley and in addition to the large Durban Square overlooked by temples and palaces, there are several characteristic neighborhoods
    4. Pokhara: 200 km north of the capital, it can be easily reached with a short internal flight and is the ideal place to leave for some trekking. Here there are also some Tibetan settlements, a monastery, the Devi waterfalls and to explore on foot in the day we suggest Mount Sarangkot, the lakes of Rupa and Begnas Tals. Sports enthusiasts can tackle the Annapurna climb in 3-4 days of walking
    5. Lumbini: reachable with an internal flight of about 1 hour that connects Kathmandu to Bairawada, it is the birthplace of the Buddha and here is the largest Buddhist temple in the world and the archaeological site of Tilaurakot

    11 things to see: places of interest in Nepal

    1. Kathmandu, with the magnificent temples, pagodas, squares and medieval sanctuaries that characterize the old part of the city
    2. Bodhnath, a small village center of the Tibetan community in exile. Its stupa is one of the largest and most beautiful in Nepal and the surrounding streets are interesting and suggestive
    3. Bhaktapur, the most fascinating of the three city-states of the Kathmandu Valley is full of temples, red brick buildings and winding alleys: a real gem
    4. Swayambhunath is famous for its white stupa with Buddha eyes and is a pilgrimage destination for the faithful who walk around the stupa spinning prayers and reciting mantras
    5. Chitwan National Park, located in the humid southern plains is a place inhabited by numerous animals such as rhinos, tigers, crocodiles, deer and a multitude of birds
    6. Pokhara it is characterized by a particular atmosphere thanks to its enviable position. At dawn you can admire the profiles of Annapurna and Machhapuchhare reflected in the waters of the lake. From here you can then make interesting trekking on foot or by bike
    7. Langtang Valley, near Tibet, is a destination for beautiful trekking among Himalayan forests, high peaks, pastures and glaciers. Do not miss the circuit to reach the sacred lakes of Gosainkhund at 4000 meters
    8. Bandipur it sits on top of a ridge between Kathamndu and Pokhara and is a quaint village with Newari houses and temples. From here you can stroll
    9. Lumbini it is the birthplace of the Buddha where the Maya Devi Temple is located within a large park of 6 sq km
    10. The Annapurna circuit to conquer the top of Thorung La at 5416m from where you can admire a wonderful panorama
    11. An experience not to be missed is to fly over Himalayan range aboard small planes that will show you the highest peaks in the world

    The main itineraries in Nepal

    Nepal, despite the earthquake that hit it in 2015, continues to be a very popular tourist destination. Those who want to discover the beauties and views of this country can choose between various itineraries based on travel days available and to interest (sports or culture).
    We suggest 3 itineraries of 7,14 and 21 days:



    1. Discovering the Kathmandu Valley: one week itinerary. Starting from the capital and its historic center, we visit Durban Square, the Stupa of Swayambhunath and the Tibetan center of Bodhnat. We move to Patan and Bhaktapur. To admire the sunrise over the Himalayan mountains you reach Nagarkot and from here on foot with a nice walk you can visit the surroundings. The trip ends with a visit to Kirtipur and the surrounding areas
    2. From Lumbini to Bodhnat: 14-day itinerary starting from southern Nepal (reachable by internal flight) to discover Lumbini, home of the Buddha and Chitwan park. Then with another flight you reach Pokhara for a 3-day trek on Annapurna. Finally we return to Kathmandu from where in 6 days we visit the main towns of the Valley: Patan, Bakthapur and the numerous temples in the area
    3. In the heart of Nepal: a 21-day itinerary that retraces the previous 14-day itinerary with the addition of 7 days in the southeastern part of the country. From Kathmandu you reach Daman where you can admire suggestive views, then move to Janakpur and the nearby Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve for bird watching. Finally we continue to the Ilam tea plantations to walk and discover small villages

    What to do in Nepal: excursions and tours

    How much does a holiday in Nepal cost? Prices, offers and advice

    Nepal is a very cheap country, like neighboring India. You can sleep in hotels and guest houses with essential services for around € 15,00. A full meal costs around € 6,00 and taxi transport is very cheap. The expense that will affect the budget the most is the flight from Italy, on average € 700,00.

    The best way to get around is to rely on agencies who organize transfers with private drivers who remain at your disposal (daily cost about € 20,00 per car with driver per day).

    Internal flights, comfortable and fast, cost around € 50,00 each way.

    • Hotel and b & b starting from € 30,00 per room -
    • starting from € 540,00 -
    • Return flight + 7 days / 8 nights from € 850,00 per person -
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