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Be prepared for your next trip to Nepal: Nepal travel tips

by Catherine Carey | August 2, 2023
Kathmandu Durbar Square in Nepal

Nepal is the jewel of the Himalayas with majestic mountains, rich culture, and natural beauty. Nepal has some of the tallest mountains in the world, such as Mount Everest. Nepal is the territory for hiking, mountaineering, rafting, and jungle safaris. 

Moreover, you will be infected by its culture and hospitality. You will discover a vibrant culture experiencing its festivities, music, and art. To experience all of this and plan your trip to Nepal, you will need some Nepal Travel tips.

Most travellers need a Nepal visa, except Indian citizens. You can get your pre-visa Nepal online, which is the easiest and most convenient way of doing so. You will need to show this document with your passport upon arrival in Nepal to receive the final tourist visa.

Apart from the Nepal visa, make sure you comply with Nepal entry requirements to guarantee you enjoy the most out of your trip.  

Do I need any vaccines to travel to Nepal?

To travel to Nepal you will have to be vaccinated against Yellow Fever, if you come from a country where the disease is still active. Vaccines against Tetanus-Diphtheria-Pertussis, MMR (Measles, Rubella and Mumps), Hepatitis A and Typhoid are also recommended.

Depending on the season, vaccines against Japanese Encephalitis, which occurs from June to October, may be recommended. However, it is always advisable to check with the international vaccination centre in your home country about your particular case.

There are no longer COVID-19 requirements. You don’t have to prove you are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 or present a negative PCR. 

Do I need a SIM card for Nepal? 

Yes, you need a SIM card for Nepal. You will find different options, but you can easily get a SIM card with a data plan of 10GB for about 10 dollars.

Some of the companies that provide SIM cards and different data services are Nepal Telecom, Ncell, and Airalo. You can also find SIM cards at the airport, but they usually cost more and offer less data. 

With these Nepal travel tips you can see this Buddhist stupa in Nepal

What should I pack for Nepal?

Nepal’s weather is varied and can change during the day. That is why one of our Nepal travel tips is to pack layers. You should take long-sleeve tops and sweaters for the nights, and especially during winter. During the summer months, you should wear lighter, but not revealing clothes. 

In Nepal, they tend to be quite conservative, and you should pay special attention to dress respectfully if you intend to visit sacred places. This involves wearing long trousers and long sleeves, covering shoulders and knees and removing your shoes. These Nepal tips go both for women and men.

If you are going to go trekking in Nepal, you should wear comfortable trainers or hiking boots, trekking shorts, thermal layers and a warm jacket. Don’t forget your sleeping bag!

Although malaria has been endemic in Nepal, it isn't significant at this time. In this regard, we also recommend you to take hand sanitizer with you at all times and a first aid kit with objects such as sunscreen, Ibuprofen, bandaids/plasters, Imodium or similar tablets for cases of diarrhoea, rehydration powder, water purification tablets and insect repellent.

Is tipping mandatory in Nepal?

In Nepal tipping is expected, especially in touristic places, but it is not mandatory.

As a reference, you can give around 10-15% of the bill as a tip to the waiters or 20-30 INR to bell boys and the luggage carriers, or taxi drivers. You can tip trek guides and porters around 15% of the total bill. Keep in mind that some hotels, restaurants, etc. can include a service charge to the bill. In these cases, avoid tipping.

How to respect culture in Nepal?

You should always respect the culture of the country you visit, but in Nepal it is especially important. Nepal is a very religious country so there are different Nepal travel tips you should consider when travelling there: 

  • You shouldn’t use your left hand to address people. It is seen as the hand you use to wipe after the toilet, the impure hand. The right should be used for eating food in Nepal, handshaking, and other functions. 
  • When visiting holy sites and temples, you should always navigate clockwise, remove your shoes, check if you can access the temple since some are only for those who follow Hinduism or Buddhism and check if it’s alright to take photographs inside temples.
  • You should never touch anything with your feet, and don’t point the bottom of your feet at religious altars or toward people. It is considered an offence.
  • Leather articles like wallets or belts are prohibited in most Hindu temples. 
  • You should greet and farewell people by saying namaste and placing the palms together and bow slightly.
  • Public displays of affection are discouraged.
  • Take photographs of people only after receiving permission. 
  • Elders are always shown more respect and should be treated more formally.

Explorte Mudra Taleju Temple in Nepal with our Nepal travel tips

What is the currency of Nepal?

One of the most important Nepal travel tips is to know how to deal with the Nepalese Rupee. The country's official currency is the Nepalese Rupee, which is divided into 100 paise (cents). You will be able to withdraw money in the different automatic cashiers in the country's principal cities, like Kathmandu and Pokhara.

Nevertheless, we recommend obtaining money through Nepal’s network of banks, which will allow you to withdraw up to 35,000 rupees at a time, with a lower commission. Make sure you exchange your Nepalese Rupee before exiting the country, since it is not exchangeable or accepted in any other part of the world. 

You must take cash with you at all times, especially in rural towns or villages where they don’t have ATM’s or they don’t accept cards. Additionally, you can find some haggling. Our advice is to bring the local currency in small bills and to not show your wallet while negotiating. 

How to get to Nepal?

How to get to Nepal? The most common way to reach Nepal from abroad is by taking an international flight to Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, the capital city. Many major airlines operate direct flights. If your country does not have a direct flight to Nepal, the chances are you will use a hub airport such as Istanbul or Dubai.

If you want to travel during peak mountaineering season, in October or November, make sure you book your trip in advance. You can also travel by land from neighbouring countries like India. 

The main form of transport in Nepal is the bus, which is accessible and inexpensive. Foreigners are not allowed to drive their own rental cars in Nepal. You can book a car with a driver, which may be easier than driving yourself. 

You should be careful, and beware of scamming taxi drivers. Negotiate the price of any taxis or services you hire before you start if there are no pre-arranged prices. 

For longer journeys, you can take a short flight with local airlines like Buddha Air, and Yeti Airlines. 

Things to do in Nepal

Here are some Nepal tourist places and things to do in Nepal that we recommend. Trekking to Everest Base Camp, travel to Kathmandu, participating in a wildlife safari in Chitwan National Park or Bardia National Park, exploring Pokhara and practicing sports like rafting, paragliding, bungee jumping, zip-lining, and mountain biking are just some of the activities that Nepal offers you.

Nepal travel tips: trekking

One of the main activities is trekking in Nepal. Some of the most impressive trekking routes in the Himalayas are the Everest Base Camp trek, Annapurna Circuit trek and the Langtang Valley Trek.

If you go solo, which we don’t recommend, you will need to register at the Nepal Tourism Office and you will need to organize a TIMS (Trekkers Information Management Systems) card which is a trekking card for all hikes. Then you will need specific permits for remote treks (like Mustang, Dolpa, and Kanchanjunga). If you go with a group trek, the tour operator will organize all of this for you.

Note that in some regions where you will practice trekking or hiking there is poor cell phone connection and few medical services, so it is advisable always to tell someone your route, and send your current location whenever is possible. You should also make sure that mountaineering equipment is appropriate for the conditions in the Himalayas.

Specially important while trekking is to prevent altitude sickness. Your doctor can prescribe you some sort of medicine to manage the altitude better and, while on the mountain, remember to drink lots of water, eat and go slow.

Trekking in Nepal with Nepal travel tips

Which is the best time to travel to Nepal?

If you want to enjoy the panoramic views and natural landscape, then the best time to visit the country is between October and January when there is less rainfall. Still, Nepal can be visited any time of the year as it can offer unique experiences during any season. 

The time in Nepal for tourism is Spring (March and April) and Autumn (October and November) because the weather is not as extreme as during other parts of the year. Also, these seasons are great for trekking and outdoor activities such as visiting Nepal’s National Parks.

Is Nepal safe? 

In general terms, Nepal is a safe country, with little crime apart from the odd pickpocket or scam in crowded places such as airports or bus stations. One of the major causes of death in Nepal is road accidents, so it is best to avoid travelling at night and using vehicles that are not in good condition.

In the more touristy areas, there may be cases of small scams focused on foreign tourists. These are commonly done as services charged, though not authorized, to your credit card. Nepal is in an area of high seismic activity which can result in small earthquakes.

It is always advisable to travel with insurance, especially if you are going to do risky sports.

More trips Nepal travel tips

  • Go through our Nepal travel guide for more information about the country.
  • The common voltage in Nepal is 230 V with a frequency of 50 Hz. The plugs and sockets used are of the type C / D / M. Take an adapter with you from your home country.
  • Electricity in Nepal can be sporadic; therefore, we recommend that you bring a torch, some batteries and a solar charger.
  • Don’t drink tap water. You can find bottled water or use water purification tables to drop into your bottle.
  • Always take a roll or more of toilet paper. 
  • Get used to squat toilets, you will find them all over the country.
  • In Nepal there can be strikes for political reasons. If you come across any during your trip, it is best to not get involved.
  • Cows are sacred animals in Nepal, so you should be respectful if you come across any of these animals and be particularly careful if you are driving around.