NEPAL TRAVEL GUIDE AND MY BLOG POSTS

Nepal Travel Guide and My Stories

Nepal had been on my bucket list for a long time. However, it was quite hard to decide to go, especially for a family trip. Is it safe for kids under 10 years old or when can our kids go? The first time my husband suggested going was in 1999 when we were discussing leaving Japan. My husband had been there many times, coming in and out from India, so he knew much better than me, and it was one of his favourite countries. I wasn’t sure if I could make the trip to visit such a third-world country as a spoiled brat from Japan. I said yes (I lied), for a while. When he had almost booked our tickets, I told him I didn’t want to go to Nepal. Ultimately we decided to go to Thailand instead. Hahaha, he’s still bitching about that 25 years later.

As you can imagine, Nepal is like a trekking paradise, nestled under the mighty Himalayan mountains. There are numerous routes that are not only for professionals seeking to conquer the highest peaks but also suitable for trips with friends and family, including young children (although I don’t recommend it for those who are unable to communicate their needs).

I’m going to share with you what I’ve researched about Nepal and what you need to know before heading there, or I hope I can persuade you to go!

Nepal Travel Blog Posts

Basic Information

Capital and Major Cities

Kathmandu(Capital), Pokhara

Language

Nepalese, Hindu and English

Currency

Nepalese Rupee (NPR) but accept US$ in most places

Visa

Tourist visas can be applied for upon arrival, with eligibility depending on various conditions based on the country of origin.

Religion

Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, etc.

Climate

Nepal’s climate can be broadly divided into two main seasons: the rainy season from June to September and the dry season from October to May. During the rainy season, Pokhara and the Terai plains experience hot and humid conditions, while the capital, Kathmandu, remains cool and humid.

Power Plugs

Type C, D, M / 220-240 Volts

Safety

Nepal is generally very safe, but petty crimes are on the rise in tourist areas. Also, be aware that when a general strike, called a ‘bandh,’ occurs, transportation will be stopped, and shops will be closed.

Flights to Nepal

The main airport in Nepal is Kathmandu (KTM), and there are numerous international flights from various countries. Additionally, Pokhara and Lukla are the main two domestic airports.

Transport

In Nepal, where there is no railway, the main mode of transportation is buses. Well, we didn’t want to go by bus, so we hired a car to drive from Kathmandu to Pokhara. The driver came from the trekking company and picked us up from the hotel in Kathmandu. But it was quite challenging; my 9-year-old son got car sick because the road was not smooth, and Nepalese driving techniques are quite impressive! My husband prefers to fly next time. It took 7 hours to get to Pokhara.

Travel Budget

For travellers on a budget, anticipate spending approximately $20 to $30 per day in Nepal, while those opting for mid-range accommodations and experiences can expect to budget around $50 to $70 per day. Make sure to plan ahead and check out the costs of things to make a budget that suits you.

Best Time to Travel

Most importantly, if you want to go trekking, you must check Nepal’s climate. The best time to travel to Nepal varies considerably depending on the purpose of your trip, so I think it’s best to focus your research in this area.

Nepal’s seasons are broadly divided into two seasons:

  • The rainy season: June to the first half of September. During this time, the monsoon rains can be extremely heavy, leading to flooding and posing risks to safety. I can say, if it’s possible, it’s better to avoid travelling to Nepal during this period for trekking. Additionally, be aware that leeches can be prevalent in large numbers while trekking.
  • The dry season: late September to May. During this period, there is minimal rainfall, resulting in clear skies and excellent visibility, making it the ideal time for trekking and sightseeing. And witnessing breathtaking views of the Himalayas is high, even without venturing into mountainous areas. We went this time there mid November to the early December.

Trekking in Nepal

The best thing about trekking in Nepal is, of course, getting a close-up view of the Himalayas. They are known as the “roof of the world” or the “third polar region” after Antarctica and the North Pole.

The Himalayas, meaning “abode of snow” in Sanskrit, are vast mountains stretching approximately 2,500km across, from Nanga Parbat (8,125m) in Pakistan in the west to Namcha Barwa (7,782m) in the east, about 380km east of Lhasa. Nepal lies at the centre of this majestic range. The sheer size and divine beauty of the 7,000m to 8,000m peaks, including Mount Everest, fascinate those who behold them, inspiring admiration and awe.

This area, once accessible only to a handful of mountaineers and adventurers, has become easier to approach thanks to the wealth of information provided by our predecessors and the gradual improvement of domestic air routes and roadways. Consequently, anyone can now visit the foothills of the Himalayas, though access remains limited.

Okay, I went trekking with my 9-year-old son, husband, and a neighbour friend, Rex, to Annapurna Base Camp in Nepal in 2019. This route is commonly known as the Annapurna Sanctuary.

For me, my son, and Rex, it was our first time in Nepal and our first trekking trip. I had thoroughly planned before I went and had researched what to bring and what to wear… After all that, Nepal cannot be underestimated… I cried a few nights and mornings from exhaustion, even though we had 14 days to complete (normally people go for 7 to 10 days). I will share all about that each day in later blog posts…. stay tuned!

Another attractive aspect of trekking is experiencing the local culture and interacting with the people. As you traverse the rocky stairs and dirt footpaths through the villages, you encounter their way of life. We came across a school where children were running around and laughing. Our guide, Mr. Ram, explained that some kids stay in the villages because it’s too far to commute from their homes; they are all primary school students. You also witness the preparation of food, like chopping dikon and drying it under the sun to make Nepalese pickles. I enjoyed greeting the locals with ‘Namaste’ throughout the trekking.

Nepalese Culture and Religion

Nepal’s main religion is Hinduism. Hindus comprise about 80% of the population, so the majority of people can be considered Hindu.

However, during my visit, I noticed that, much like in India, many aspects of Hinduism blend with Buddhism. Additionally, there are practices of animism and ancestor worship, this aspect is quite similar to the religious landscape in Japan. In June 2006, Nepal was declared a secular state by Parliament.

While trekking, we encountered numerous monuments and sites imbued with a strong sense of animism too. In Kathmandu, there were many stupas lining the streets, highlighting how each religion is an integral part of daily life, which reminds me of the religious diversity in Japan as I mentioned.

What You Must Know Before Going To Nepal

You can find most information about general things about Nepal. However, you need to be careful about manners in Nepal. As my husband told me before our trip, Nepal is a very conservative country. My husband has never let my hand go when we are walking outside, literally, never (because he thinks if he let my hand go, I would go somewhere and leave him straight way). But in here Napel, he didn’t do it and of course complained so much haha. Yes, you are not holding a hand with your girlfriend or partner in Napel, really? Yes, really.

  1. Communication with People: Communication with people in Nepal is a bit different from Western manners. Not many people engage in physical contact without specific circumstances. If you are friendly or familiar enough to have physical contact with Nepalese such as children, it’s important to avoid touching or patting their heads. In Nepal, the head is considered the most sacred part of the body, so touching it is considered offensive.
  2. Customs and Etiquette: There is no strict dress code, but it’s better to dress appropriately, especially when visiting high-end restaurants or other formal establishments. Importantly, women should be avoiding clothing that exposes too much skin, such as sleeveless dresses and miniskirts, as this may cause discomfort, particularly when visiting temples. For instance, when we were going to the hot spring during our trekking, our guide, Mr. Ram, said, ‘Please wear T-shirts on top of your swimwear.’
  3. Table manner: “In Nepal, the left hand is considered unclean, so it’s customary always to hold food with your right hand. Additionally, shaking hands with your left hand is considered extremely disrespectful behaviour towards the other person.

Nepal Travel Blog Posts

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