Visa information :
Visa can be obtained on arrival at the Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu, at border entry points in Kakadvitta, Birgunj, Bhairahawa, Nepalgunj, Gaddachowki on Nepal-India border and Kodari on Nepal-China border. Visa can also be obtained at the nearest Nepal Embassy or Diplomatic Mission. Visa can also be obtained (renewal purposes) at Department of Immigration, Kalikasthan, Kathmandu. A valid passport and one passport – size photo with a light background is required. Immigration Department has not specified the size of the passport-size photo.
Visa can be obtained only through payment of cash in the following currency: Euro, Swiss Franc, Pound Sterling, US Dollar, Australian Dollar, Canadian Dollar, Hong Kong Dollar, Singapore Dollar and Japanese Yen. Credit card, Indian currency and Nepali currency are not accepted as payment of visa fee.
People and language :
The population of Nepal was recorded to be about 26.62 million according to a recent survey done by the Central Bureau of Statistics, Nepal. The population comprises of about a 101 ethnic groups speaking over 92 languages. The distinction in caste and ethnicity is understood more easily with a view of customary layout of the population. Though, there exist numerous dialects, the language of unification is the national language, Nepali. Nepali is the official language of the state, spoken and understood by majority of the population. Multiple ethnic groups have their own mother tongues. English is spoken by many in Government and business offices. It is the mode of education in most private schools of Kathmandu and some other cities.
The diversity in Nepal in terms of ethnicity again makes room for various sets of customs. Most of these customs go back to the Hindu, Buddhist or other religious traditions. Among them, the rules of marriage are particularly interesting. Traditional marriages call for deals arranged by parents after the boy or girl come of age.
Nepalis do not eat beef. There are several reasons for this, one being that the Hindus worship cow. Cow is also the national animal of Nepal. Another interesting concept among Nepalis is division of pure and impure. “Jutho” referring to food or material touched by another’s mouth directly or indirectly, is considered impure by Nepalis. Nepalis consider cow dung to be pure for cleansing purposes. During menstruation women are considered impure and hence, are kept in seclusion until their fourth day purification bath. Nepal is a patriarchal society. Men usually go out to work while women are homemakers. However, in cities, roles can differ. Most Nepalis abide by the caste system in living habits and marriage. Rural Nepal is mostly agrarian, while some aspects of urban life carry glitz and glamour of the ultra-modern world.
Cultural Etiquette :
The form of greeting in Nepal is “Namaste” performing by joining both palms together. It literally means “the divine in me salutes the divine in you”.
As a mark of respect Nepalis usually take their shoes off before entering someone’s house or place of worship.
Food or material that has been touched by another person’s mouth is considered impure or “jutho” and, therefore, is not accepted unless among close friends or family.
Touching something with feet or using the left hand to give or take may not be considered auspicious.
Women wearing skimpy outfits are frowned upon especially in the rural parts of the country.
As a part of the tradition some Hindu temples do not allow non Hindus to enter. Leather articles are prohibited inside some temple areas. Walking around temples or stupas is traditionally done clockwise. To avoid conflict photography is carried out after receiving permission from the object or person.
Public displays of affection are considered scandalous.
Nodding of head means “Yes” while shaking of head means a “No”. A slight dangling of head from left to right means “OK”.
Nepal does not have a distinct cooking style. However, food habits differ depending on the region. Nepali food has been influenced by Indian and Tibetan styles of cooking. Authentic Nepali taste is found in Newari and Thakai cuisines. Most Nepalis do not use cutlery but eat with their right hand. The regular Nepali meal is dal (lentil soup), bhat (boiled rice) and tarkari (curried vegetables), often accompanied by achar (pickle). Curried meat is very popular, but is saved for special occasions, as it is relatively more expensive. Momos (steamed or fried dumplings) deserve a mention as one of the most popular snack among Nepalis. Rotis (flat bread) and dhedo (boiled flour) also make meals in some homes.
When to visit Nepal :
Nepal is broadly temperate, with four main seasons centred around the summer monsoon. The majority of visitors, prioritizing mountain visibility, come in the autumn peak season (late Sept to late Nov), when the weather is clear and dry, and neither too cold in the high country nor too hot in the Terai. With the pollution and dust (and many bugs) washed away by the monsoon rains, the mountains are at their most visible, making this an excellent time for trekking. Two major festivals, Dasain and Tihaar, also fall during this period. The downside is that the tourist quarters and trekking trails are heaving, prices are higher and it may be hard to find a decent room.
Winter (Dec & Jan) is mostly clear and stable. It never snows in Kathmandu, but mornings can be dank and chilly there – and in trekking areas, the fierce cold can make lodge-owners shut up shop altogether. This is an excellent time to visit the Terai, and if you can face the cold, a rare time to be in the mountains too.
Spring (Feb to mid-April) is the second tourist season, with its warmer weather and longer days. Rhododendrons are in bloom in the hills towards the end of this period, and as the Terai’s long grasses have been cut, spring is the best time for viewing wildlife – despite the increasing heat. The downsides are that haze can obscure the mountains from lower elevations (though it’s usually possible to trek above it) and stomach bugs are more common.
The pre-monsoon (mid-April to early June) brings ever more stifling heat, afternoon clouds, rain showers – and more stomach upsets. It also brings edginess: this is the classic time for popular unrest and illness. Trek high, where the temperatures are more tolerable.
Nepalis welcome the monsoon, the timing of which may vary by a few weeks every year, but typically begins in mid-June and peters out in the last weeks of September. The fields come alive with rushing water and green shoots, and this can be a fascinating time to visit, when Nepal is at its most Nepali: the air is clean, flowers are in bloom, butterflies are everywhere and fresh fruit and vegetables are particularly abundant. But there are also drawbacks: mountain views are rare, leeches come out in force along the mid-elevation trekking routes, roads and paths may be blocked by landslides, and flights may be cancelled.