1. What is the best time to travel?
The best time to visit Nepal depends on what you wish to do there. The best months for walking in the mountains are April, May, October and November. The weather is good during the day and the temperatures do not drop as rapidly during the night. After the monsoon, the air is clear, leaving the spectacular snow-covered mountain tops clearly visible. The monsoon season (July and August) is not suitable for hiking in the mountains, as the paths become muddy and slippery and the mountains become almost impossible to see. From October until the middle of March, it is dry and sunny. It can be cold during the night, but as soon as the sun comes up it quickly becomes pleasantly warm again.
2. What is the best time to see wildlife?
Chitwan National Park in the centre of Nepal is the best place to see wildlife (it has rhinos, tigers, crocodiles, parrots, an elephant breeding centre and much more). The best time to visit the park is from October to May.
3. What are the best festivals and when do they take place?
April/May: Bisket is the Nepalese New Year. Statues of Hindu gods are paraded through the cities on trailers, and everyone is given the day off.
September/October: Durga Puja or Dasain is the largest festival in Nepal. It lasts for about 10 days and is celebrated everywhere. It honours the victory of the goddess Durga over the buffalo-demon Mahisha. Kite-flying competitions are held, as are parades and processions in the valley.
End of October/November: Diwali or Tihar, the Festival of Light, is celebrated. Thousands of lights are lit, fireworks are set off, sweet treats are prepared and sand patterns are made outside the front door. This festival is held to welcome the god Rama back from his long exile in the jungle. The festival in honour of the goddess Lakshmi is held simultaneously.
4. Can I pre-book transfers and extra nights?
Yes you can pre-book transfers (arrival only) and extra nights with Shoestring. You can add these to your booking form.
5. What about my passport?
You need a passport that is valid for at least 6 months from the date of departure. You are responsible for having a valid passport and visa when you travel.
6. Do I need a visa?
You are responsible for having a valid passport and visa when you travel. Please check the embassy if you need a visa for Nepal and check out the current situation by clicking here. At present, a visa is required for European citizens. Make sure you inquire at least a month before departure if you need a visa so you do not run into time problems.
For some of the trekking trips, a permit is required. This will be arranged onsite.
7. Do I need vaccinations or malaria tablets?
Please click here
for questions regarding vaccinations and malaria tablets for this country and then contact your GP or a specialised health centre to make an appointment to get your injections and pills. Please make sure that you arrange this at least six weeks beofre your departure to allow time for a full program of injections. Two weeks should suffice for people who have already had a few vaccinations. You are responsible for having the right protection when going on tour.
8. What is the recommended currency for Nepal?
The Nepalese Rupee is the local currency in Nepal.There are getting more ATM's every year but you can also change foreign money in hotels, banks or at the airport.
9. What kind of clothing and other stuff is practical to take?
The clothing/equipment you need will of course depend on whether you are trekking or not. If you are, then the evening before the trek we suggest you fill a backpack (up to 7 kilos per person, including sleeping bag). This backpack will be carried by the porter during the trek (included in the price). You can then also take a small daypack each for small items such as camera, water bottle, jumper etc. The remainder of your baggage must be stored in the hotel in Kathmandu/Pokhara for your collection after the trek.
Important: For the Nepal Everest Basecamp tour (SNV), a baggage restriction applies on the domestic flight to Lukla: 10 kg of hold luggage is allowed + 5 kg of hand luggage (cabin).
The list below shows what you will need for the trek, and whether the necessary equipment is for sale or for hire in Kathmandu/Pokhara. This is indicated by a S(for sale), and/or H(for hire):
Good, worn in, water-repellent or waterproof boots; Good hiking socks; Underwear; Long underwear / thermal underwear; long pants S; Shorts S; blouses or T-shirts S; Warm sweater (fleece) S; Windbreaker; Poncho / rainwear S/H; cap or hat against the sun S; hat/scarf /gloves against the cold S; Sunglasses; walking sticks S (in the mountains you can obtain for very little money bamboo canes to walk with. Sometimes you can find 'real' canes in Kathmandu/Pokhara for a bargain but they are generally very expensive); sleeping bag with a -5 warmth factor (for the Adventurous Nepal tour / code SNK) S/H; For the trekking tours to Everest basecamp (SNV), Annapurna basecamp (SNP) and Annapurna circuit (SNC) you should have sleeping bag that is comfortable up to -20 degrees. Such a sleeping bag can also be rented in Kathmandu however please note that you need to organise this immediately after arrival (you can ask the tour leader for help); Small backpack for daily needs S; Water bottle S; Flashlight with spare batteries and bulb S; Small first aid kit; Toiletries S; Towel S; Biodegradable soap/shampoo; Earplugs; Toilet paper S; padlock S; Pen and paper; passport; a good book; possibly a pair of binoculars; altimeter; photographic equipment; games; enough Nepalese rupees in denominations of 100 and smaller.
10. What kind of luggage should I take?
Pack everything into a weekend bag or backpack, but do not use a hard suitcase, as this will prove difficult to transport. In addition, you should also bring a small backpack or shoulder bag for daily hand luggage. For storing valuables and important documents, we advise that you buy a thin money belt to be worn under your clothing. Do not bring too much baggage with you. Clothing in particular can be bought for next to nothing, so it is much better to bring too little than too much. More than 12 kg of luggage is rarely necessary and only hinders travel in Nepal.
11. What is the situation regarding electricity?
Please click here to check what voltage and plugs are in use in Nepal. You could also consider taking a universal electric plug adaptor.
12. Which travel guides and maps?
If you want to take a travel guide or map, we suggest you click on Lonely Planet.
13. What is the accommodation like?
We stay in hotels with en-suite facilities except during the trek when there will not be ensuite facilities.
14. How is accommodation arranged if I book alone?
If you book alone you will share your room with a fellow traveller ( same sex when possible ) unless you have booked a single room.
15. Do I need to take a mosquito net?
You may consider bringing a mosquito net but insect repellent is usually sufficient.
16. Do they cater for vegetarians in Nepal?
Vegetarians will find that they are catered for adequately as the local cuisine is mainly made up of rice, porridge and a wide range of vegetable dishes. Much of the Nepalese population is Hindu and does not eat meat anyway.
17. What kind of transportation is used?
Transportation is in minibuses
18. Is Nepal dangerous?
Nepal is a relatively safe country, where people are friendly and honest. However, tourists in the cities are being increasingly targeted by pickpockets and thieves. Do not leave valuable items in your hotel rooms: either bring them with you or leave them in the hotel safe.
19. What local customs do I need to keep in mind?
There are many local customs in Nepal which can appear quite strange to Westerners.
For example: When visiting sacred sites, you must be bare-headed and barefoot, even if the site is little more than ruins. As long as you adhere to this rule, the faithful worshippers will not bother you, even during ceremonies. Women must be covered up to a certain degree. The bare minimum that women can wear is a blouse with short sleeves and a dress/skirt that covers the knees. The Nepalese greet each other simply with a namaste, which involves placing the palms of the hand together in front of the face and saying ‘Namastay’. Physical greetings, such as hugging or kissing are unusual to the Nepalese and are not appreciated by the locals.
20. What other activities and sports could I do?
You can visit the stupas and temples in Kathmandu, swim, row or walk around the beautiful mountain lake in Pokhara, climb the peaks of Annapurna South or search for rhinos and tigers in the Chitwan National Park.
21. How are communications in Nepal?
Mobile coverage in Nepal is variable. Internet facilities are available in hotels and in cafes in Kathmandu and Pokhara.
22. What is the time difference?
Please check the world clock in order to find out the exact time difference