Area : 147181.0 km2
Population : 28563377 inhabitants
12 hours 15 mins. Kathmandu is 4,550mi fom London.
Kathmandu Tribhuvan international airport is 6 miles away from the city centre. A taxi service ensures the trip into town (15/20 minutes). You must buy a "prepaid" ticket at the taxi counter located inside the airport. If you have booked a hotel in advance, a car will be sent out to you.
The Nepalese army still carries out operations against the Maoist cadres in
rural areas and in some towns. It is highly recommended to take utmost care
in Nepal and get information on the current situation.
Beware of pickpockets, especially on public transport. Avoid in particular leaving your luggage on the roof of a local bus. Beware of drug pushers, especially in Thamel district, in Kathmandu, offering their narcotics to tourists.
Finally, if you go trekking, hire your porters through an agency.
Nepali, the official language (a language close to Hindi), is spoken by 58% of the population. Nepal has approximately 36 dialects. English is very widely spoken in the Kathmandu valley.
For British citizens, a passport valid for six months and a visa are required. The visa, delivered by the embassy of Nepal or by the consulate, costs 33 pounds sterling for a stay of less than two months. Bring an ID photo.
89% of the population are Hindus. The rest is divided into Buddhists (5.3%), Muslims (2.7%), Shamanists and Animists (2.4%).
The currency is the Nepalese Rupee (NPR). Common bank cards (Visa and American Express) are accepted in hotels and restaurants in tourist areas. You can exchange currency at the airport, banks or bureaux de change (the official rate is published every day in the 'Rising Nepal' newspaper). If you are going trekking, make sure you take enough cash with you in small denominations. Banks are open from 10:00am to 4:00pm in winter and until 5:00pm in summer, and are closed on Saturdays (the weekly day of rest) and often on Sundays, too.
In town, gaudy rickshaws - the roofed two-seater tricycles, will take you into the meanders of the old districts (set the fare before getting on: roughly NPR 40). Ask taxi drivers to put the counter on, because otherwise, you may pay twice as much as you should have (allow from NPR 80 to 120 for an average ride). After 6 PM, they always charge a fixed fare (clearly establish it before leaving). You can also hire a car and driver, by going to a travel agency, or a taxi (roughly NPR 2,000 for a day, by taxi). Unless you choose collective motor scooters (tempos), some mini-buses holding a dozen people will take you almost everywhere in the valley, for a few rupees. The poor quality of the Nepalese road network is compensated by a fairly dense airline network. You can buy your ticket in advance and pay with dollars, preferably from a travel agency. It remains walking, ideal for penetrating the heart of the country. There are over 200 trekking agencies in Kathmandu: allow USD 40 to 60 per day for a collective trek; roughly USD 40 per day for an individual trek.
No particular vaccine required. Nevertheless, be sure to be up to date with your vaccines against poliomyelitis, diphtheria, tetanus and hepatitises A and B. The antimalaria treatment is necessary only if you are going in Teraļn region or if you are stopping in India.
Water must absolutely be boiled during 15 minutes before being filtered. It is easier to bring tablets to purify the water, absolutely necessary for trekking. Finally, do not eat raw vegetables and don't forget to peal fruits.
If you are planning to go on a trekking, a complete medical checkup is necessary before departure. Do not underestimate the utility of a preventive examination at the dentist's (toothaches come back with the altitude and can spoil your trip).
220 V. Power cuts are frequent (bring candles and a pocket torch). A big part of the country does not possess any electricity.
376,000 international tourists visited Nepal in 2004.
In general, service is not included in restaurants and hotels. It is a common practice to give between 10 and 20 NPR for a tip. Plan in your budget the departure tax (1695 NPR) that you must pay on your way out.
To call Nepal from the UK, dial 00 + 977 + city code (Kathmandu: 14) + n# you are trying to reach.
To call the UK from Nepal, dial 00 + 44 + number.
12A Kensington Palace Gardens, London W8 4QU. Tel: 020 7229 1594.
British embassy in Nepal
PO Box, 106 Lainchaur, Kathmandu.
Tel: +977 14410583.
Nepal Tourism Board
Bhrikuti Mandap - Kathmandu.
Tel: 00 977 14 256 909.