If you’re wondering where to head next for your travel escapade that is not only adventurous but falls under your budget, then Nepal is your go-to place. Sandwiched between China and India, this tiny country is blessed with lush vegetation, snowy-mountains, jaw-dropping landscapes, ancient cities, jungles, wildlife, spiritual sites which is all it requires to attain travel nirvana. Nepalese people are among the friendliest ones of earth who will leave no stones unturned to give you the best hospitality ever! Not only this, Nepal is a kaleidoscopic blend of adventure, culture, spirituality and adrenaline all mixed perfectly. This is the reason why you should plan your vacation in Nepal soon.
Being home to some of the highest peaks in the world, Nepal attracts adventure enthusiasts from all over the world. The place is jam-packed with tourists throughout the year. However, despite this, the place has arrays of things to keep you engaged, entertain and enjoy your dream vacation. The tranquil air of Nepal will help you rediscover your spiritual side to get peace of mind you need. It is indeed hard to describe the beauty of Nepal, to understand it, you must experience it. Here’s a comprehensive travel guide you should go through before travelling to Nepal. Visiting Nepal is one thing you won’t regret ever!
The official currency of Nepal is Nepalese rupee which is different from its Indian counterpart. US dollars and Indian rupee are widely accepted to boost tourism. However, using Indian rupee with denomination 200, 500, 1000, and 2000 in Nepal is considered illegal and you can be fined heavily on using them.
Point to be noted: Since the ATM machines can only be found in big cities and towns, you should stick to good old cash to save the unnecessary hassle.
Best Time to Travel
Weather in Nepal usually remains dry until April. From April to June, monsoon blesses the land and Himalayan flowers start to bloom. During monsoon, the temperature can reach 104 F. Therefore, Nepal should be travelled when the temperature is a bit lower. October and December is the time when this tiny nation gets bombarded with tourists. It is indeed the best time to travel this magical land. If you are keen on trekking then Nepal should be visited between September and May.
Accommodation in Nepal is quite cheaper as compared to other countries. Here you can book a decent and budget hotel with all the modern facilities in as low as 500 INR. You can also find some eco-lodges and funky tree houses for a one-of-a-kind stay. As far as food is concerned, you can relish a three-course meal in 800 INR. You won’t face any trouble with the meals as they are affordable and hygienic. However, don’t overindulge in street food as it can upset your stomach.
If you wish to travel Nepal from India, then you can opt for any of the following modes depending on the money you are ready to spend-
- By Air: From India to Nepal, a low-budget flight can cost you around 7000 INR. Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu is the only operating International airport in Nepal.
- By Train: Only Indians and Nepalese can use this option for traveling to and fro these nations. There are regular passenger and cargo trains connecting sirsiya (Nepal) and raxaul (India).
- By Bus: This is the most convenient way to explore Nepal for budget travelers. You can easily catch a direct bus from Delhi to Kathmandu. You have to pay the required toll fee and get a permit to cross the border.
Food You Must Try
- Momos: The most-popular fast food in Nepal. Momos are small dumplings with vegetables, cheese or a variety of minced meat combinations that are sprinkled with spices and herbs and are either steamed or fried.
- Dal Bhat: Dal Bhat is the staple dish of Nepal that is eaten twice a day in any regular home. The taste of spicy lentil soup served with rice and curried vegetables will not leave your tongue easily. Non-vegetarians can devour this dish with chicken and meat.
- Sel Roti: It is a Nepali version of a donut but a little less sweet. Sprinkled with cardamom powder, this delicacy is a must-to-try when in Nepal.
- Chatamari: A pizza like dish baked in an oven instead of flipping on a pan (made of rice flour) and topped with minced meat, egg and seasoned vegetables.
- Aloo Tama: It is a sour curry dish with potato, beans and bamboo shoots which is utterly appetizing. Although, it might take time for you to develop the taste.
- Laphing: A gelatinous noodle textured food usually dipped in cold soup comprising of soy sauce, chilli-garlic paste and necessary herbs and spices. Laphing is a Tibetan street food that is a nucleus of flavor.
- Tihar/Diwali: Deepawali is another major festival of Nepal featuring the worship of goddess Laxmi for wealth and prosperity. Witnessing houses lit with lamps, distribution of sweets, fun and frolic during Tihar is an absolute delight.
- Losar: Losar is the Tibetan New Year celebration where Buddhist community sings, dance and gather for a grand feast.
- Buddha Jayanti: The national festival of Nepal is celebrated on a grand level. Buddhists from all over the world visit the country to participate in this holy festival. On this day, monks offer prayers and chant mantras. Kheer is cooked in every house to commemorate the birth of Lord Buddha.
- Dashain: It is the widely celebrated event of the year in Nepal which celebrates the victory of goddess durga over devil mahishasura. From food and flower offerings to animal sacrifices, the festival is loaded with activities that are observed for 15 days where people pray for good harvest and fertility of the land.
- Teej: A festival celebrated by the women where they fast for a day wishing for the health and prosperity of their husbands. Unmarried ones pray for a good husband. The environment gets lively during this event with women singing folk songs and dancing to their tunes.
Places to Visit
- Pashupatinath Temple: The temple is dedicated to lord Shiva and is an important religious site in Asia. Every year during Maha Shivratri, thousands of devotees come to this place for the lord’s blessings. The site is said to have existed from the beginning of the millennium when a Shiva lingam was discovered here. It is one of the eight UNESCO cultural heritage sites of Kathmandu valley.
- Hanuman Dhoka: Once used by the royals as their place of residence, this palace is now turned into a temple dedicated to lord hanuman. The palace originally had 35 courtyards, but the earthquake of 2015 reduced them to 10.
- Dolpo: The place is a trekking paradise for adventure seekers who wish to explore offbeat places in Nepal. From breathtaking sceneries, cascading waterfalls, green lush vegetation, to the pristine water of Phoksundo Lake, there won’t be a single moment you won’t enjoy while trekking this ethereal place. Since the place is one of the restricted areas of Nepal, you have to obtain a trekking permit to capture its beauty on your camera.
- Lumbini: Lumbini is one of the most important spiritual sites in the world. It’s the place where the Lord Buddha was born. The place attracts Buddhist from all over the world seeking peace and self-realization. Lumbini also houses several stupas, monasteries, and temples that are worth seeking.
- Chitwan National Park: Nestled in the southern part of Nepal, Chitwan national park boats of diverse wildlife which is a treat to the eyes of every nature and wildlife enthusiast. It is a home to exotic species of animals like the royal Bengal tigers, asiatic elephants, sloth bears and one-horned rhino to name a few. Exploring the park on a jungle safari is the best way to capture wild animals in action.
- Rara: For camping, trekking, fishing, river rafting and other fun activities, Rara is the place all adventure junkies should go. Camping near the Rara lake and sharing stories over bonfire is one-of-a-kind experience. You can also opt for jungle safari to capture wild animals in their natural habitat.
- Annapurna Circuit Trail: Annapurna trail is a legendary trail which is a dream of many trekkers. The circuit has trekking trails to suit everyone. While trekking, don’t be shocked to see remote areas that are untouched by commercialization, Kali-gandaki River, fertile farmland, mixed ethnic communities, and green pastures.
- Swayambhunath Stupa: Also known as monkey temple, this bewitching place is occupied by several troops of mischievous monkeys. The temple remained intact even after the heart-wrenching earthquake of 2015. The architecture of the main stupa is a visual delight in itself having numerous artifacts and statues. The temple is an important Buddhist pilgrimage site that witnesses tourists from every nook and corner of the world.
- Bishal Bazaar: If you want to shop souvenirs, or buy gifts for your loved ones, then Bishal Bazaar is the place you must visit. From fashion jewelry to traditional wears, this throbbing market has all got covered and is certainly not going to disappoint you.
Interesting Facts about Nepal
- Nepal possesses eight of the ten highest peaks in the world among which Mt. Everest is the most recognized one.
- Nepal has the only living goddess in the world, the Kumari (means ‘virgin’ in Nepali) where pre-pubescent girls are worshipped as per Hindu traditions.
- Nepal is home to the “world’s deepest gorge- Kali Gandaki”.
- Blackout/ electricity outages are an everyday occurrence in Nepal.
- Nepal has the slowest internet in the world. People usually rely on cybercafés for their internet requirements.
- The country is a den of weeds where marijuana and other medicinal plants can be spotted easily in gardens, mountains, roadsides, ditches, and pretty much everywhere.
- As claimed by the locals, legendary apelike creature “Yeti” is said to roam in the snowy mountains of Nepal. However, no one has really spotted one.
- Since “Cow” is worshipped in Nepal and is the national animal, slaughtering one is forbidden.
- Nepal has never won an Olympic Games medal.