A land of geographic icons, historic adventurers and monumental landscapes, Nepal sits in the shadow of Everest but shines with myriad treasures. National parks hiding rare wildlife, vibrant cities filled with art and culture and simple villages preserving an ancient way of life make Nepal a constant source of inspiration for curious globetrotters in search of enlightening experiences.
Nepal Tours & Travel
Top deals in Nepal
|4 Jan 2015 Annapurna Explorer||16||$1240||View trip|
|7 Jan 2015 Everest Base Camp||15||$1330||View trip|
|10 Jan 2015 Everest Base Camp||15||$1330||View trip|
|18 Feb 2015 Everest Base Camp||15||$1330||View trip|
|22 Feb 2015 Annapurna Explorer||16||$1240||View trip|
All our Nepal trips
Nepal trip reviews
Our Nepal trips score an average of 4.82 out of 5 based on 267 reviews in the last year.
Nepal Adventure, May 2014
One of the most amazing trips I've ever taken, hands down.
Review submitted 28 Jun 2014
Everest Base Camp, May 2014
It was a challenging but excellent an experience, I am very pleased to have been able to do it but probably would not do it again but would consider trekking in other parts of Nepal.
Review submitted 25 Jun 2014
Articles on Nepal
Partying like it’s 2070 in Nepal
Posted on Thu, 17 Jul 2014
Stepping off the plane into the midnight air of Kathmandu, a wave of excitement rolled over Tom Svensen. A new destination, new sights and of course a new culture was [...]Read more
6 easy tips for your Nepal trek
Posted on Sun, 29 Jun 2014
Here are 6 easy tips to help you prepare for your Nepal trek with minimum pain but maximum gain.Read more
How to avoid travel bulge syndrome
Posted on Sat, 14 Jun 2014
How do you choose a destination and an adventure that will provide you with just the right balance of exercise and exploration?Read more
Friends from Kathmandu to Delhi
Posted on Sun, 12 Jan 2014
We always know that our travels are going to leave us with lasting memories, but as journalist Brenda McCormick discovered, our adventures can also leave us with lifelong new friends… [...]Read more
Intrepid believes half the fun of experiencing a new country is getting there, and getting around once there! Where possible, Intrepid uses local transport options and traditional modes of transport - which usually carry less of an environmental impact, support small local operators and are heaps more fun.
Depending on which trip you're on while in Nepal, you may find yourself travelling by:
Travelling with Intrepid is a little bit different. We endeavour to provide travellers with an authentic experience to remember, so we try to keep accommodation as unique and traditional as possible.
When travelling with us in Nepal you may find yourself staying in a:
At a glance
|Capital city:||Kathmandu (population 700,000)|
|Time zone:||(GMT+05:45) Kathmandu|
|Electricity:||Type C (European 2-pin) Type D (Old British 3-pin) Type M (see D)|
Best time to visit Nepal
Nepal's climate is primarily temperate, with some tropical and alpine regions. From June until August the monsoon hits, making it too wet and humid for trekking. The post-monsoon period from September to November is rice-harvesting season and is characterised by lush vegetation, clean air and excellent mountain views. Days are warm and sunny, although nights become increasingly cool. This is the start of the trekking season, which runs until May. Winter (December to February) is dry and clear with temperatures dropping below freezing at high altitudes, although in Kathmandu, it can still sometimes reach a pleasant 25 C. Spring (March to May) is warmer and is a particularly beautiful time to visit as the rhododendrons and the orchids are in flower.
Culture and customs
Eating and drinking
Intrepid believes that one of the best ways to experience a country is by eating! Whether you're sampling street food, savouring a cheap eat or indulging in a banquet, there are endless options to choose from wherever you are in the world. With Tibetan, Chinese and Indian influences, Nepalese food is flavoursome without being too spicy, filling without being rich and reasonably priced for travellers on a budget.
Things to try in Nepal
These fried or steamed dumplings are usually filled with meat or cheese. Comparable to Tibetan momos, kothey are flavoursome snacks that can usually be bought cheaply from street stalls or markets.
Popular with vegetarians and vegans, this lentil soup is usually served with rice and found almost everywhere in Nepal. A safe yet tasty choice for everyone.
This spiced meat curry will usually consist of chicken, buffalo or mutton, as beef hardly features on the menu in Nepal for religious reasons.
Geography and environment
History and government
Nepal has been inhabited by people for more than 2,500 years, with evidence suggesting tribes of mountain-dwelling people moved to the area from China and other Central Asian regions. Due to a lack of archaeological evidence, little is known about the early periods of history in Nepal, with legend and folklore providing the backdrop to this kingdom of mystery. Ruled early on by the Kirati Dynasty, Nepal continued to be ruled by a succession of dynasties until the Malla Dynasty emerged in the 12th century. During this time, the kingdom expanded rapidly and widely before evolving into small communities with local rule. By the 15th century many temples and palaces had been built in Nepal, some of which are still in existence either as functioning temples or UNESCO World Heritage sites. The kingdom of Nepal was unified by King Shah in 1768, and went on to sign commercial treaties with Britain in 1792 and 1816 after hostilities with the British East India Company.
Nepal held its first elections in 1959, but with the king dissolving parliament and banning political parties soon after, Nepal's monarchy retained power. After decades of pro-democracy movements, Nepal was finally declared a democratic republic in 2008, with Nepal's monarchy being removed from power after ruling for more than 240 years. Nepal celebrated its Year of Tourism in 2011, with arrivals increasing year upon year since 2006 due to increased infrastructure, expansion of air travel and the enduring popularity of the Himalayas and mighty Mount Everest.
Top 10 Must-Visit Places of Nepal
This ancient, cultural gem draws people in with temples, grand palaces, colourful festivals, beautiful art and royal history. Walking the car, tuk tuk and rickshaw-free streets is a pleasant change from the electric energy of Kathmandu.
2. Langtang National Park
Featuring everything from tropical rainforest to perennial ice, Langtang National Park is an example of Mother Nature at her most extreme. With so much geographic diversity, it's not wonder you'll be able to spot a menagerie of creatures including red pandas, musk deer, rhesus monkeys and Himalayan black bears. Langtang is simply unmissable!
Nepal's busy capital is an epicentre of trade, tourism and history. Acting as a launching point for international visitors, Kathmandu is a handicrafts hot spot, hippy hangout, travellers' rest stop and artistic enclave all at once.
Pretty Pokhara offers travellers attractive vistas, tranquil ambience and views of three of the highest mountains in the world. Lakes, waterfalls and canyons ensure visitors are well rewarded for the effort.
The hilltop town of Bandipur was once a very prosperous trading centre, and is now popular with tourists for its old-world charm, quiet atmosphere and nearby national park teeming with wildlife.
6. Royal Chitwan National Park
A conservation success story, this park has managed to preserve one of the most unique ecosystems in the world. Home to one-horned rhinos, wild elephants, hyenas, leopards and more than 450 species of birds, visitors will delight in the thrilling wildlife-spotting opportunities here.
7. Annapurna Range
This popular trekking region can lay claim to some of the most beautifully treacherous peaks in the world. Surrounding valleys of green fields, wildflower-studded meadows and lowland villages just add to the stunning views on offer.
8. Namche Bazaar
Once a trading post, now a popular stopover for Everest trekkers, the small settlement of Namche Bazaar is a fascinating place to spend a few days acclimatising. With yaks, sherpas, small cafes, bakeries and a vibrant weekly market, Namche Bazaar is a microcosm of Everest-life.
Experience an authentic slice of rural Nepal in Nuwakot. Organic farms, lush terraces, fresh mountain air and friendly locals make this idyllic country hideaway a rare find.
10. Everest Base Camp
Sherpas, yaks, travellers, climbers, teahouses and tent villages - nothing beats the electric energy of Everest Base Camp. All have come to either tackle the mighty mountain or stand in its epic wake, either way it's a privilege and the experience of a lifetime.
Arguably, the most interesting shopping in Nepal can be found in Kathmandu - with its vibrant local artistic community populating the markets and laneway shops with colourful art and handicrafts.
It's a good idea to check with your local customs officials to ensure that you are able to bring some items back into your home country. Australia and New Zealand generally have strict quarantine laws.
Things to buy in Nepal
1. Prayer Flags
You don't have to be a spiritual person to appreciate the beauty of vibrant prayer flags. Take some home to inject a bit of Nepal into your home or backyard.
2. Scarves and Wraps
Travellers will be able to find top-quality cashmere in the boutiques and markets of Nepal, so take the chance to stock up on colourful scarves, pashminas and wraps at good prices.
3. Buddhist Art
Beautifully painted, coloured thankas and mandalas are commonly found in the markets and shops of Kathmandu and make a meaningful souvenir to take back home.
Festivals and Events in Nepal
Mani Rimdu Festival
Offering a rare chance to observe the Sherpa culture of the Everest region, this festival held at Tengboche Monastery features days of meditation cycles, religious ceremonies, masked dances and parades. This holy time for Buddhists sees locals travel by foot to receive blessings en masse against a stunning Himalayan backdrop.
Kathmandu explodes into a whirlpool of colour, dance, music and rhythm with the annual Phalgun festivals - Losar, Shivaratri and Holi. Expect everything from public bathing ceremonies to people committing extreme feats of weight lifting with their body parts! With Tibetan rice wine flowing and an amazing array of festive food on offer - this is a great time to be in Kathmandu.
This eight-day festival held in Kathmandu features ceremonies, dancing and displays of spirituality, but none of these events compare to the spectacle of the third day when Kumari (the living goddess) tours the city streets aboard a chariot. Other popular gods also come out to play and parade, as masked dancers perform in Durbar Square in this exceptional display of local culture.
FAQs on Nepal
All foreign nationals (except Indians) require a visa to enter Nepal. Visas are obtainable from embassies abroad on arrival at 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.
Your visa application form may require you to state the dates on which you enter and exit that country. Please note we suggest you list your date of entry a few days before, and date of exit a few days after, your intended dates in case you encounter any delays or problems en route. To help calculate the exact dates of these crossings we have found the website www.timeanddate.com to be very useful.
Bottle of beer = 200-300 NPR
Simple lunch = 200 NPR
Simple dinner = 400-500 NPR
For more information on insurance, please go to: [site:intrepid_insurance_link]
Feb 15 Basant Panchami
Feb 18 Rashtriya Prajatantra Divas (National Democracy Day)
Mar 8 International Women's Day
Mar 10 Maha Shivaratri
Mar 26 Holi
Apr 3 Ghode Jatra (Festival of Horses)
Apr 11 Chaite Dashain
Apr 14 Navabarsha (New Year's Day)
Apr 19 Rama Nawami
May 25 Buddha Jayanti
Aug 28 Krishna Janmashtami
Oct 5 Ghatasthapana
Oct 11 Fulpati Saptami
Oct 12 Maha Ashtami
Oct 13 Maha Navami
Oct 14 Vijaya Dashami
Nov 3 Tihar
Nov 4 Govardhan Puja
Nov 9 Constitution Day
Please note these dates are for 2013. Many Hindu festivals are timed according to local astrological observances so it's difficult to predict specific dates ahead of time. Therefore, some of the dates of the festivals listed above are estimates only. For a current list of public holidays go to: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/Nepal/public-holidays
Health and Safety
Intrepid takes the health and safety of its travellers seriously, and takes every measure to ensure that trips are safe, fun and enjoyable for everyone. We recommend that all travellers check with their government or national travel advisory organisation for the latest information before departure:
From New Zealand?
Go to: http://www.voyage.gc.ca/
Go to: http://travel.state.gov/
Go to: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/
The World Health Organisation
also provides useful health information:
Go to: http://www.who.int/en/
Nepal Travel Tips
Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.
Top responsible travel tips for Nepal
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.
The Intrepid Foundation
The Intrepid Foundation provides travellers with an opportunity to give something back to the many wonderful communities we travel to. By donating to The Intrepid Foundation you can make a difference in local communities - in health care, education, human rights, child welfare and the protection of wildlife and the environment.
In Nepal, the Intrepid Foundation proudly supports:
Prisoners Assistance Nepal
The children of female prisoners in Nepal are amongst the most vulnerable and socially excluded individuals. PA Nepal helps support the rehabilitation and integration of prisoners’ children, out of prisons and into the community after equipping them with self-sustaining life skills and education.
This relatively small non-government organisation targets disadvantaged children living in dangerous and vulnerable situations on the streets; living with their impoverished families and/or those required to work for a living. They help support access to appropriate educational opportunities, vocational training, and greater stability and security at home.
Image supplied by Just One
Kathmandu Environmental Education Project (KEEP)
The Kathmandu Environmental Education Project is a non-profit organisation that provides impartial information to ensure the ecological and cultural prosperity of Nepal. Training, workshops and other programs help locals to preserve their precious culture and environment.
Image supplied by Niraj Shrestha.
To learn more or donate, go to: www.theintrepidfoundation.org
|Into Thin Air||Jon Krakauer|
|The Snow Leopard||Peter Matthiessen|
|Little Princes||Conor Grennan|
|Arresting God in Kathmandu||Samrat Upadhyay|
|Dark Summit: The True Story of Everest's Most Controversial Season||Nick Heil|