Vacations or trips to Nepal are considered to be one of the most inexpensive yet fulfilling, exciting trips one can have. From the plains of the Terai to the highest peak in the mountain region, people travel to Nepal all year round for different purposes like adventure sports, cultural and religious tours, trekking, touring and many others. There might be a number of queries and confusions in the mind of first time trekkers so here is a list of the most frequently asked questions about trips to Nepal.
1. What are the procedures required to obtain visa to Nepal?
All tourists travelling to Nepal require visas except for Indian tourists. Visas can be acquired either from embassies abroad or at the Tribhuvan International airport on arrival. As obtaining visa at the airport can be quite a hassle, it is advisable to have it before you land in Nepal. Various rates of visa fees are:
Multi entry visa with 15 days validity – US $ 25
Multi entry visa with 30 days validity – US $40
Multi entry visa with 90 days validity – US $ 100
Transit visa with 24 hours validity – US $ 5
- In case of transit visa, you need to show your international flight ticket and one photo is required whereas other visas require two passport photos.
- The fees can be paid in US dollars. Payments in other currencies can also be done but there may be a slight change in exchange rates.
- If you are trying to get the visa at the airport, you might sometimes need to show your return flight ticket.
- In the visa application form, you are required to enter the dates of your entry and exit. It is advisable to add a few days to the entry and exit dates in case of delays or other changes in the trip.
2. What are the requirements for travel insurance?
Like any other travel destination, various conditions or problems might occur during your trip to Nepal that may require immediate health care. The procedures and prices for the diagnosis and treatment of various health conditions vary in different situations. So, in order to be covered for any kind of contingencies that might occur (especially for tourists who are about to go on trekking or climbing/expedition trip), travel insurance is a must for every tourist in Nepal. As the nature, cost and availability of health care varies according to the situation and place, it is better to gain complete information about the trip before getting your insurance.
The travel insurance should cover theft, loss, medical problems as well as dangerous activities like trekking, bungee, rafting, etc. that are common activities for tourists. It would be better to have a policy that includes helicopter evacuation for trekkers and medical evacuation to Bangkok or India in case of extreme health issues. Most medical treatments in Nepal require upfront payment or payment at the point of delivery, so policies that provide direct payment to the hospital or doctors should be chosen as it will be difficult to pay for the treatment and claim for the insurance later. As some conditions are a matter of life and death, proper selection of travel insurance is a must during a visit to any foreign country.
3. What is the condition of drinkable water in Nepal?
The best option for tourists is to drink the bottled mineral water that is easily available in hotels, restaurants and shops. Tap water and boiled water are also offered by various hotels and restaurants, but tourists are mostly advised to refrain from such as what is healthy for the local people might not be okay for the tourists. Carrying a canteen or a water bottle might be a better option to cater to your needs. Also avoid ice in drinks and fruits sold in public, open places.
4. How is the internet access in Nepal?
While cities like Kathmandu, Pokhara, Bhaktapur, Patan provide a number of options to use the internet, small towns, villages and rural areas might have little to no access to the internet. You might getdisconnected anytime while leaving the cities and might need to get proper information from your hotel or travel agency about internet connections in different places.
5. Can I use my phone/mobile in Nepal?
Urban areas like Kathmandu, Pokhara and many others provide good communication services. You can carry your own phone (if you have global roaming enabled) or get a new SIM card easily in such places where phone coverage is generally good. However, travelling to more rural places might mean that the coverage is not that good or none at all.
6. What is the tipping culture in Nepal?
Tipping is not mandatory in Nepali culture and most hotels and restaurants includes service charges in the final bill itself. However, if a service charge has not been included or if you appreciate the services, it is polite to leave some tip (usually 10 %).
7. What are the toilets like in Nepal?
Toilets are available in all hotels and restaurants. In case of emergencies, you can ask local shops or even houses to use their toilets and if you are lucky, most will oblige. Mobile or public toilets are also available in various places. Squat toilets are most common in Nepal which might cause some problems. It is also highly advised to carry your own toilet papers, hand sanitizers, soap and other sanitary needs as they are usually not provided.
8. Can I use credit cards or ATMs?
Most modern hotels, restaurants and shopping malls along with other shops and places in tourist areas accept credit cards. The rural areas do not usually have facilities that support credit cards. So, it is advised to use the ATMs in the cities for enough hand cash before travelling to smaller towns and rural areas as they do not provide credit card or ATM facilities.