What to put in your suitcase?
If you choose an adventure trip, you go on a trek in Nepal, one thing is certain: forget the rolling suitcases. The excitement of the journey begins when choosing your backpack. Attention does not come too loaded, with generally a porter for two travellers, we advise you not to exceed 13 kilos for your bag.
Regarding clothing and equipment, it all depends on the season, the region visited and the type of trip chosen.
For a discovery trip in the Kathmandu Valley, Pokhara or Chitwan, take light clothes for the day and a sweater or jacket for the evening and the morning. In winter, bring warm things, the temperatures in the Kathmandu valley, essential in Nepal can be quite cold. Remember that Kathmandu is 1300 m above sea level. A word of advice: choose shoes that are easy to remove for entering the various temples. For safaris in national parks, consider wearing “camouflage” colours that are not too light.
For trekking tours, we provide you with an indicative list of equipment when booking your trip. Remember to protect yourself from the sun by taking your hat and sunscreen with you. Bring a medicine kit with medicines for headaches and stomach aches, as well as treatment for acute mountain sickness.
Consider bringing a few things that you could hand out during your trip to Nepal, such as school supplies or clothing. The children in the villages will be delighted with these little attentions.
In Nepal, there is no compulsory vaccine, some are nevertheless recommended: DTP, Hepatitis A and B, Typhoid. In the Terai, in the south of the country, protect yourself from mosquitoes. If you fear the risk of malaria, opt for preventive treatment. In any case, discuss it with your doctor. Acute mountain sickness is to be taken into account if you go trekking at altitude. It is very important to acclimatize gently. Some good advice allows for successful acclimatization. Ask your doctor for advice on obtaining a prescription for Diamox. In the trek, boil the water and use Micropur tablets. Nepalese food is not too spicy, except Newar cuisine. In the tourist places, the choice on the menus is vast: Western, Chinese, Italian cuisine.
In Nepal, the voltage is 220 volts and the sockets are European format: no worries to connect your devices. The sockets often have a switch, make sure you have pressed it properly. However, take an adapter with you. In trekking or small isolated villages, you will not have access to electricity. Nepal, despite its enormous hydroelectric potential, is not connected to the national electricity network. There are a lot of power cuts, every day and all year, several hours a day. Electricity is rationed in the city and the districts are supplied one after the other, approximately every 8 hours. Most accommodations display the scheduled cut-off times. For your organized trip to Nepal, preferably choose a hotel equipped with a generator.
The Nepalese rupee (Nrs) is indexed to the Indian rupee:
1 In = 1.6 Nrs
1 Dollar = 100 Nrs
If you have Indian rupees, they are accepted everywhere. Credit card payments are possible in several stores in Kathmandu and Pokhara as well as in certain hotels. You will find many ATMs in the big cities of the country, but not in the villages. In any case, during your stay in Nepal, bring cash that you can change at the airport, at the hotel, at the exchange offices or the bank. Always try to have small bills with you (100 Nrs) for use in the villages. Tips are common practice with the staff accompanying you (driver, guide, trekking team, etc.). They represent a mark of satisfaction on the part of travellers. Allow around 5 euros per person per day. During a trek,
Telephone + Internet
For your calls:
From France to Nepal: + 977 followed by the state code without the initial 0 + the number of your correspondent
From Nepal to France: + 33 followed by the number of your correspondent without the initial 0
It is very easy to obtain a Nepalese SIM card if you wish on arrival, using a form to fill out, a photo ID and a few rupees. You will have good network coverage in cities, this is more rarely the case in the countryside and mountains. Internet connections are quite fast in town although intermittent.
Formalities – visa
Each traveller must have a visa to travel to Nepal and have a passport valid at least 6 months after the date of visa application. You can apply for your visa in advance from France, at the Nepalese embassy in Paris, on-site or by correspondence. It can also be obtained directly upon arrival at the airport. Take a photo ID and cash (euros or dollars). Indian rupees and credit cards are not accepted to pay the Nepalese visa. To avoid the queue at the airport, you can download the visa application form online beforehand.
To obtain trekking permits in certain areas, you must provide us with photocopies of your passport and 2 passport photos on site. In total, you need 3 identity photos: 1 photo for the visa and 2 photos for your trekking permit.
Nepal offers one of the richest and varied crafts in Asia: jewellery, religious paintings (Thangka), carved wood objects, rice paper notebooks, bronze or copper statues, fabrics, carpets, scarves and other clothing. .. Why not bring back a mythical “khukuris”, knives of Gurkha soldiers, which many peasants wear on their belts, offer a beautiful prayer wheel, a typical object of Tibetan Buddhism or even a singing bowl in bronze. At the start of your tailor-made trip to Nepal, spend at least one day in the Thamel district of Kathmandu, if you want to buy trekking equipment and clothing. You can get it cheaply, but the majority of these items are fakes and the quality is quite uneven.
When to go to Nepal?
Located between India and China, on the southern slope of the Himalayas, Nepal extends from the mountains of high altitude to the plain of the Ganges, from 60m to 8850m. Over a short distance, we quickly pass from the highest peaks in the world to the plain of Terai. Like Bhutan or Sikkim, the best time to visit Nepal is in the spring and fall. The peak tourist season is between September and late November and March to late May. Like its topography, Nepal’s climate is very diverse: cold temperatures in the North and at altitude and a subtropical climate in the South. Nepal is a destination that can be visited all year round, depending on the region chosen. Discovery trips are available all year round, while treks are recommended in spring and autumn,
– From mid-September to the end of November, autumn begins and the sky clears, offering breathtaking views of the Himalayan range. The temperatures are pleasant during the day, the sun often radiant. It is the best time for tourism and trekking. In the mountains, the temperatures are very pleasant during the day and become cold at night.
– Winter, from December to February, offers a deep blue sky and incomparable visibility over the mountains. Temperatures are cool in the Kathmandu valley and get very cold in the north of the country. Treks at altitude are not recommended. The lodges are closed, and the tourist season is slowing down. This is the case for example at Mustang and Dolpo. But trekking in Nepal during this period is possible in less isolated regions, in the Kathmandu valley for example. Discovery trips in the Kathmandu Valley are pleasant because there are fewer people and good visibility on the mountains. The Terai, in the south of the country, offers milder temperatures than elsewhere, and the national parks are less frequented. Bring hot stuff to visit Nepal, however, as hotels are rarely heated. Discover Nepal in winter to benefit from low prices!
– Spring extends from the beginning of March until the end of May, the rhododendrons in flowers dot the valleys and the tourist season begins again. The temperatures are becoming very pleasant again and many treks are possible, especially in the Everest and Annapurna region.
– From the end of May, the heat begins in the plain, then the monsoon appears and the rains fall throughout the territory, as in many other countries of Asia. The whole country is not affected by the monsoon: the Mustang and Dolpo regions, located on the highlands, have natural protection against the monsoon. To make a trek to Dolpo, June and July are the perfect seasons, while the Mustang takes over during August and September.
A few tips :
– Travel at the beginning of September, just after the monsoon and before the arrival of the high season.
– Consider leaving the first two weeks of December, the temperatures are not yet too cold, and the flow of travellers has started.
– Plan your trip to visit Nepal according to the festival calendar.
Festivals not to be missed
Religious festivals are numerous and take place throughout the year throughout the country. Big colourful festivals, impressive processions of wagons over 20 m pushed by hundreds of devotees through the streets of Kathmandu, try at all costs to combine your trip with a festival. Between Hinduism and Buddhism, this is the perfect opportunity to learn more about Nepalese culture with your travel agency in Nepal.
Some essential festivals:
Magh Sankranti: these ritual baths herald the end of winter, mainly in Devghat and Sankhu. This festival is generally celebrated in January when the sun is far from the earth.
Basant Panchami: a daily tribute to the goddess Saraswati to celebrate the arrival of spring. Nicknamed Saraswati Puja, this festival is very important for students and schoolchildren who go to the temple to have their pencils and notebooks blessed to invoke the goddess of knowledge.
Losar: as in Tibet or Ladakh, the celebration of the Tibetan new year is especially important in Bodhnath, the big stupa located very close to Kathmandu. It’s time for celebrations and family reunions. The festival is also celebrated in Tibetan refugee camps around Pokhara. All monasteries offer ceremonies and large community meals are held.
Maha Shivaratri: great celebration celebrated in India, the birthday of Shiva is one of the most important events of the Hindu calendar. This festival is particularly intense in Pashupatinath and brings together both Hindu Nepalese and Buddhists who take the opportunity to drink local alcohol (raki).
Holi: the festival of colours heralds spring. As in India, this Hindu festival honours Krishna. It is an opportunity for everyone to throw water and coloured powders on their faces in a great surge of freedom and brotherhood.
Bisket Jatra: as in many other Asian countries, the Nepalese New Year takes place every year in April. Generally, it starts on April 13 and lasts for 5 days. The city of Bhaktapur is completely transformed by the different processions. Admire the magnificent wooden floats, called “rath”, which parade around the old city, carrying different statutes of deities.
Indra Jatra: this great celebration marks the end of the monsoon and celebrates the appearance of the Kumari (the living goddess). It takes place in September, for 8 days. In the streets of Kathmandu, processions take place with masked dances and traditional music. Golden chariot-temples are assembled on Basantapur Square, in front of the house of the living goddess Kumari. In the afternoon, she appears in front of the crowd and gets on the central chariot. The chariots then pass under the balcony of the old royal palace, where the President greets the living goddess. Many other events take place in town until the last day when the mainmast is shot down and thrown into the Bagmati river.
Dasain: in October for 15 days, Dasain celebrates the victory of the goddess Durga over the forces of evil. It is the equivalent of Dusshera, celebrated in India. Families gather around the country for this great Hindu festival. Attention public transport is taken by storm. If you still want to do your tour in Nepal during this period, contact your local agency in Nepal to benefit from a car-driver.
Tihar: is one of the biggest Nepalese festivals, especially for Newars. Just after Dasain, it is akin to the great Diwali festival which announces the start of winter in India. This Nepalese festival of lights lasts for 5 days. All the houses are decorated with oil lamps to welcome the goddess Lakshmi so that she may give her blessing for the coming year. It is a great moment of celebration for families who gather around well-prepared dishes and exchange sweets by performing different rituals (puja). We even honour dogs, cows, bulls by putting them flower collars. One day is also devoted to the blessing of the brothers, who receive a “tika” by their sister, as a blessing.