All foreign nationals, except Indians, require a visa to enter Nepal. Tourist visas (15, 30 and 90-day) can be obtained from Nepalese embassies and consulates in your country, on arrival at Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport and at some land borders (including borders with India and Tibet).
Getting a visa at the airport can sometimes take time due to long queues. There have been instances when passengers were asked to show return flight tickets. You will also need to provide two passport photos and the following fees in US dollars cash. Other currencies are also accepted although rates may differ.
The following costs were correct at time of writing:
- Multi entry visa valid for 15 days - US$25
- Multi entry visa valid for 30 days - US$40
- Multi entry visa valid for 90 days - US$100
Please note if you are staying in Nepal for less than 24 hours while in transit a transit visa can be issued on presentation of your international flight ticket, there is a nominal charge of US$5 and one photo is required.
You can get up-to-date visa information at the website of the Department of Immigration (www.nepalimmigration.gov.np).
It is possible to travel to Nepal throughout much of the year. However, October and November are the best months to visit Nepal, when the air is crisp and clear, and the country is lush and green following the monsoon. February to April is also a good time, when the weather is warming and many flowers are in bloom. Some haze does set in by April obscuring the mountain views. The weather is clear but chilly in December and January. May and early June are the warmest months, and the monsoon is prevalent from the middle of June to September.
There are direct flights available from many countries to the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu. If you are travelling from the UK or the US one of the best options is on Qatar Airways via Doha (total flying time from London, including change at Doha, is approximately 14 hours) or on Gulf Air (via Bahrain). Alternatively, you can fly into Kathmandu from Delhi, Kolkata or Varanasi (India) or Bangkok (Thailand). Another option is to enter by road from India.
While tipping is not mandatory in Nepal, it is considered polite to leave service workers in restaurants and cafes a 10% tip if a service charge hasn't already been included in the bill.
Travellers will be able to access the internet in large cities like Kathmandu. Smaller towns, isolated areas and rural villages may have limited to no access, so prepare to disconnect when leaving the city.
Mobile phone coverage is generally good in urban areas, but can be patchy and less reliable in rural and mountainous areas. Ensure global roaming is activated on your phone before you arrive.
It is not recommended to drink the tap water in Nepal. Filtered water is a better option - try to use a refillable canteen or water bottle rather than buying bottled water. Remember to avoid ice in drinks and peel fruit before eating.
ATMs can be found in Nepal's large cities. Smaller towns and isolated areas will have very few, or none at all, so have enough cash to cover purchases, as ATM access may not be available.
Credit cards are usually accepted by modern hotels, restaurants and medium-large shops in tourist areas. Smaller shops, cafes, market stalls and places in remote areas probably won’t have facilities that support credit cards, so ensure you have enough cash to cover expenses while in rural areas or when visiting smaller vendors and bazaars.
In cities like Kathmandu and Pokhara, western style toilets are the norm. In smaller towns, villages and remote areas, squat toilets are the most common. Always carry your own toilet paper and soap or hand sanitiser, as they may not be provided.
1. Be considerate of Nepal’s customs, traditions, religion and culture.
2. Dress modestly and respectfully. Shoulders to knees should be covered, especially when entering places of worship.
3. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water.
4. Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.
5. When bargaining at markets, stay calm, be reasonable and keep a smile on your face. It's meant to be fun!
6. Learn some local language and don't be afraid to use it - simple greetings will help break the ice.
7. Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive.
8. Refrain from supporting businesses that exploit or abuse endangered animals.
9. Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children.
10. When on community visits or homestays, refrain from giving gifts or money to locals.