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Introduction

Nepal is a land of rare scenic splendor unrivaled in the Himalayas. Bordering the Tibetan Plateau, her territory stretches 800 kilometers East to West, the world’s highest peaks including Mt. Everest marking her northern most limits, cascading sharply downwards in a short 200-kilometers span through rugged mountains, cultural diversity, conifer, temperate and tropical forests, terraces of paddy, millet and corn to the low-lying foothills, birth place of Lord Buddha that form the Southern borders where they join with the plains of India.

Nepal is a land where lovers of nature may revel in a unique Himalayan setting of great beauty, choosing from a variety of ways, suitable to their personal ideals of relaxation and pleasure. There is no seasonal constraint on traveling in Nepal as all seasons are good for traveling. Each has its own unique charm.

LOCATION

Nepal borders with the Tibet Autonomous Region of the Peoples Republic of China in the North and India in the East, South and west respectively.

Area : 147,181 sq. Kilometers
Altitude : Varies from 70 meters to 8848 meters.
Capital : Kathmandu
Population : 22,000,000

LANGUAGE

Nepali is the national language of Nepal. Educated people understand and speak English as well.

Time

Nepal Time is 5 hours 45 minutes ahead of GMT and 15 minutes ahead of Indian standard time.

CLIMATE

Nepal has four major seasons, namely
1. Winter (December – February
2. Spring (March – May)
3. Summer (June – August)
4. Autumn (September – November) Nepal can be visited all year round.

PEOPLE AND RELIGION

Nepalese people are mainly divided into two distinct groups, the indo-Aryans and the Mongoloid. Kathmandu valley is the spiritual and cultural meeting point of all these groups. Nepal is the only Hindu kingdom in the world. Hindu Temples and Buddhist shrines are scattered all over the kingdom. Nepal is the birthplace of Lord Buddha, the light of Asia. Hindus and Buddhists live together harmoniously in Nepal.

CURRENCY & FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Nepal Rupee notes comes in Rs.1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 25, 50, 100, 500, 1000 denominations. Coins come 5p, 10p, 25p, Rs. 1, 2, 5, 10 and denominations.

Foreign currencies must be exchanged only through the banks or authorized foreign exchange dealers. The receipts from transaction are to be obtained and retained. Visitors can exchange foreign currency at the foreign exchange counter at the airport upon arrival. Visitors other than the Indian national have to make the payment in foreign currency in hotel, travel agencies or trekking agencies and air tickets. Non- Indian visitors are not allowed to import or export Indian currency. The approximate value of one US dollar is equivalent to Rs. 68.35 as of May 20,1999.

ENTRY PROCEDURES

All visitors expect the Indian nationals must hold a valid passport and visa. The visas can be obtained at the Nepalese Diplomatic Missions and Consulates abroad and entry points issue visa for visitors. The visa will be extended at the Department of immigration. New Baneswor, Telephone number: 494273, 494263. The Department also issues multi entry visa for the visitors.

TOURIST VISA

Entry: A visa is necessary to enter Nepal and can be obtained for the following duration from any Royal Nepalese Embassy or Consulate or at the entry in Nepal.

1. The single entry tourist visa can be obtained from the entry points of Nepal or
From the Royal Nepalese diplomatic missions abroad by paying US $ 30 for 60 days. If visitors who wish to obtain the facility of single, double or multiple re- entry, they can get it by paying additional US $ 25, US $ 40 and US $ 60 respectively.

2. If the visitor, who has already visited Nepal under tourist visa, intends to come again within 15 days of the same visa year he/she can obtain entry visa by paying US$ 50.00 for 30 days at the entry points or at the Royal Nepalese Diplomatic mission abroad.
3. The visitor who wish to stay for more that 60 days in Nepal can extend their tourist visa by paying the equivalent of US$ 50.00 in the Nepalese currency for 30 days from the Department of Immigration.

4. Business visa with multiple entry facility for the period of one year and five years can be obtained from the Department of Immigration on the recommendation of Ministry of Industry by paying the equivalent of US$ 100 and US$ 250.00 respectively in the Nepalese currency for the foreign investors.

ENTRY POINTS

By Air: Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu.
By land:
1. Kakarbhitta
2. Birgunj
3. Belhiya (Bhairahawa)
4. Nepalgunj
5. Dhangadi
6. Jogbani (Biratnagar)
7. Mahendra Nagar in Nepal-India border and
8. Kodari in Nepal-China border.

The overland tourists entering the kingdom with their vehicles must possess an international carnet.

The overland tourists entering the kingdom with their vehicles must possess an international carnet.

CUSTOMS FORMALITIES

All baggage must be declared and cleared through the customs on the part of entry. Personal effects are permitted free entry. The duty on articles brought by the visitor varies according to the volume and value of the goods. A tourist may bring in dutiable goods, such as tobacco and liquors, within the prescribed quantity free of duty. Carrying narcotics, arms and ammunition are strictly prohibited. Visitors can export souvenirs to their respective countries. The export of antiques required special certificate from the Department of Archaeology, National Archive Building, Ram Shah Path, Kathmandu (Tel: 215358). Gold, silver, precious stones, wild animals and their skins, horns, wild flora and fauna etc. and all drugs whether processed or in their natural state are prohibited to export.

TRAVEL ROUTE

Royal Nepal Airlines the national flag carrier of Nepal and other International airlines operate scheduled flight to Kathmandu from Bangkok, Bombay, Calcutta, Delhi, Dubai, Paro (Bhutan), Varanasi, Frankfurt, Paris, Hong Kong, Karachi, London, Moscow, Singapore, Osaka and Lhasa. The International Airlines operating their flights to Kathmandu include Aeroflot, Biman Bangladesh Airlines, China South West Airlines, Druk Air, Indian Airlines, Lufthansa, Pakistan International Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Thai International, Gulf Air and Qatar Airways.

AIRPORT TAX

Rs. 600 per person for departure to SAARC (South Asian) countries: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Rs.1100.00 for departure to other international destinations. For domestic flights those flying Nepal are required to pay Rs. 100.00 in rural area and Rs. 165.00 in urban areas and Rs. 165.00 per person in a helicopter.

INTERNAL AIRLINES

RNAC has an extensive network of air services in the interior of Nepal. This include Taplejung, Bhadrapur, Rajbiraj, Bhojpur, lukla, Lamidanda, Tumlingtar, Rumjatar, and Biratnagar in the East: Nepalgunj, Chaurjhari, Surkhet, Dang, Rolpha, and Jumla, in the Mid – West and Kolti, Mahendra Nagar, Dhangadi, Silgadi (Doti), Tikapur, Sanphebager, Baitadi, and Darchula in the Far – Western Region.

Besides Royal Nepal Airlines, the other domestic airlines such as lumbini Airways, Gorkha Airways, Buddha Airways, Dynasty Helicopter, Asian Airlines Helicopter, Necon Air, Yeti Airlines etc. Provide regular and charter services to different popular domestic destinations.

MOUNTAIN FLIGHT

RNAC as well as other domestic airlines like BUDDHA AIR, MOUNTAIN AIR, COSMIC AIR, NECON AIR etc. in the private sector operate breath taking mountain flight for the tourists round the year. Besides an awe – inspiring daily mountain flight culminating into an unbelievable eye-to-eye contact with the highest peak of the world – THE MOUNT EVEREST

AIRPORT TRANSPORTATION

In addition to metered taxis, limousine services are also available at the airport for transport to major hotels in the city.

OTHER TRANSPORT ARRANGEMENT

Metered taxis having black plates with white figures are available in Kathmandu. Metered tempos (three wheeler scooters) are also available and are slightly cheaper than taxis. Bicycle, motorcycles and rickshaws are also available on hire. There are regular bus services between the main town and interiors of the Kathmandu valley. The bus Terminal is located at Gongabu (new bus terminal) and Bagbazar (old bus terminal) . Similarly, scheduled bus services for outside the valley operate from the Gongabu Bus terminal, which is located at Balaju, Kathmandu

Popular legend has it that Goddess Manjushree, as incarnate of Lord Buddha, was responsible for carving out the Kathmandu valley with one swipe of her sword. Be it true or a legend the result was a spectacular setting which has brought forth endless praises from the pens of the great poets of Nepal. Surrounded by mountains and hills, Kathmandu today is hustle and bustle of a city, which Manujshree would hardly recognize as her own handiwork. Situated at an altitude of 4,423 ft. above the sea level and covering an area 218 sq. miles, it is a place that has been a source of fascination to visitors over the years.

The monuments of Buddhism and Hinduism in the valley has given the city a rich cultural mix of traditions and beliefs. it is a place filled with prayers, gods and legends which has given rise to monuments and have became world heritage sights.

Kathmandu Durbar Square is an overwhelming house of monuments. Within it are the Kumari Ghar or the house of the living goddess. Kashtamandap a huge resthouse that is said to have been built with the wood from a single tree and is the source of which Kathmandu valley got it’s name. Other sites around the Kathmandu Durbar Square are the furocious Kal Bhairab – the red monkey God- Hanuman, Hundreds of erotic carvings, temples and statues dedicated to different deities.

One of the biggest Hindu Pilgrim in this continent dated 1696 A.D, Golden roofs and Silver doors are famous for its superb architecture,, Shiva temple, Shiva is the greatest god of Hindus, God of Fertility, meaning lord of the beast, Lies 6 km east of Kathmandu near international airport, cremation platform, well decorated Sadhu ‘holy man’, Monkeys around jungle, sacred river Bagmati, Snake Charmer could be seen.

Pashupatinath, an ancient plinth, by the banks of the holy Bagmati River, stands the 16th century of Pashupatinath – Shiva, as Lord of all Creatures. The old buildings on the site were leveled by Muslem invaders in the 14th century its stone lingam smashed to dust, but it rose again behind their retreating backs. Succeed monarchs added votes temples, their images, and they and their subjects donated their wealth to buy a hasty entrance into heaven. Today, earnest Hindus about to die are brought to expire in its sacred and their remains burnt to ashes on the stone platforms lining the river’s banks.

One of the biggest Stupa in Asia, dedicated to Lord Buddha, lies 9 km. Northeast of Kathmandu, approx. 35 Monasteries around this Stupa, actual date of built is not known, Tibetan goods shops, prayer wheels, pink-robed lamas, Prayer lamas in morning (10 a.m.), Harati Mata temple adjoining to this temple shows the religious harmony of Hinduism and Buddhism.

A short distance off, the small Stupa at Chabahil and the 4th and 5th century statuary that litters its surround is all that remains of Buddhist convent founded by the widowed consort of a 3rd century prince. And still father, one comes upon the great hemisphere of Boudnath, great eyes gazing with serenity upon the valley and crowned a massive golden spire. A-flutter with streamers of colorful prayer – flags, the great base is crowded with pilgrims from far and near circumscribing the stupa came about and how it came by its two romantic monasteries – the flat plains around this monument support a good many, gaily painted, flicker with the flames of a million butter lamps.

Known as ‘Monkey Temple’ Swayambhu meaning self-born related to the history of Kathmandu Valley, at the top of the 90m. green hillock, lies 5 km. West of Kathmandu, , famous pilgrim for Buddhist as well as Hindius. Temple of Harati, goddess of smallpox, Monasteries, Tibetan Lamas, Prayer wheels sacred Monkeys all around the jungle. Entrance fee NPR. 50.00

Swayambhunath , “The self existent”, Is a gigantic stupa located on a hilltop and houses images of important deities of both Buddhists and Hindus. Swayambhu, is perhaps the best place to observe their ligious harmony in Nepal. In the shadows of the posing structure and beside the integratear architective can be found the daily surge of devotees faithfully offering their prayers to the gods. Swayambhu is a major landmark of the Kathmandu valley and looks like a beacon attracting hundreds of people towards it.

9 km. to the north, interesting 5m.Vishnu Image, he is god who maintains life according to Hindu philosophy. Interesting tall Vishnu image reclining on a bed of snakes partly submerged in the holy pond, less tourist than other area.

Lies 32 km. toward the east of Kathmandu, 16 km/30mins. straight way to Bhaktapur then uphill 30mins. Good view Drive, worth to stay 1night and enjoy sunrise & Sunset in the ranges of Himalayas including Mt. Everest, mountain houses, hay roofed huts, panoramic view of mountains, luxuries 5 star Club Himalaya Hotel, Fresh air breath, escaping from Katmandu’s pollution, leg-stretching hike can be done around villages or to the tower.

Nagarkot is one of the vintage points on the rim of the valley, from where on a clear day the magnificent High Himalayan may be viewed. A quiet cool spot that embraces several peaks in atmosphere make this a walker’s paradise.

This hike starts from Dhulikhel. One can make combined tour of Dhulikhel to stay, next day hike to Namobuddha and return to Panauti . Stay 1 night in Panauti or drive direct to Kathmandu.

Better to make a combined trip to Dhaksinkali, kirtipur and chovar. There is a gorge in Chovar connected to history of Kathmandu.

Tri-Bhuvan University, Old Kirtipur village, traditional Newari village, Hindus temples, Thai Monastary belongs to Buddha etc are the highlighted parts of this place.

This place is name after the temple of Gokarneshwor Mahadev; one of the name of lord Shiva. The name of this place is derived from the religious name and is located about 10 km north/east of main city of Kathmandu. most of the Hindu people go to offer their worship to this place once a year during July / August who have lost their father before. So, the day is called “Father’s day or “Gokrne Aunsi” the dark moon day. Afterwards, one can enjoy the Gokarna Safari Park, which is close by to this temple. This park attract the visitors as picnic spot, to enjoy the nature with the animal like spotted deer’s, monkeys, birds etc. after all this place also offers one of the best Golf course close to the city.

Eighty Kilometers southwest of Kathmandu at an altitude of about 2400 meters lies Daman. It is located on the Tribhuvan Highway between Kathmandu and the town of Birgunj. One can see world’s highest peak extending in one glittering are from the far west of Dhaulagiri to far east of Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest) . Other peaks are: Annapurna III , Phurbi Chuyachu, Choba Bhamre and Gaurishanke. Round trip from Kathmandu to Pkohara, Tensen, Lumbini, Narayangadh (Sauraha) is very rewarding.

Lies 30 Km east of Kathmandu, Old traditional Newari village, several temples. Many nice resorts around, Sunrise and panoramic mountain view are the most highlighted activities. One can do a day hike from Dhulikhel for mountain view and quite remote features of Nepali village.

This is another hill top view point and a quite country side retreat which lies north west of Kathmandu and takes about one hour drive. This hilltop faces a skyline of mountains like Gauri Shankar, Choba Bhamre, Langtang, Ganesh Himal, Manaslu, Hiunchuli on the northern part from east to west. There is a lodge with restaurant to stay overnight to view the sunset or sunrise.

This is the botanical garden located 18 km south-east of ktm inside the quite jungle of Godavari. Many collection of different species of flowers and herbs. Good place for picnickers.

Lies 28 kms. towards south from Kathmandu valley. Kali temple, who is bloodthirsty goddess according to Hinduism. Many prayers visit this site on Saterday and Tuesday, with different animals (cock, ducks, goat, etc) to fulfill the blood thirst of the Goddess Kali. Visitors on Saturday give animal sacrifice and celebrate picnic in the quite jungle of Dhaksinkali.

As most of the places in Nepal is named after Gods or Goddess, the place “Bajrabajihi” also goes after the power of Goddess. Bajra means the Thunder and Barahi means the bearer or holder so, in total Bajrabarahi means the powerful goddess of Thunderbearer. One can find a beautiful pagoda of the Goddess built by the Malla king of Patan centuries ago. This tranquil place is located on the famous Newar village “Lele” which is popular for handicrafts, clay works and agriculture. Most of the newar Tribe gather in Cortyard of the temple during the festival and feast themselves enjoying the life with relatives and friends.

At the north hill of Bhaktapur lies temple of Vishnu, called Changu Narayan. Those who are interested to do short 3 hrs. hiking, can hike from Tilkot ( 30min. down from Nagarkot ) to Changu Narayan is good view hike on the ridge of green hill that passes through small villages. From the Changu one can see Bhaktapur and Sankhu village on either side.

Lies near the Monkey Temple. Nice collection of images of God and Goddesses belongs to Hindu and Buddhist. Collections of weapons, used materials of Royalties and former Prime ministers. One can make combine trip of National museum with valley Sight Seeing.

Actual meaning of Durbar is Palace. From 14th to 18th Century Kathmandu valley was ruled by Mallas. Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur were three independent states at that time. Whole Nepal was divided into 54 small states. King Prithvinarayan Shah was the ancestor of Shah Dynasty, who started the unification of Nepal. These three states were united on 1768 A.D. The palaces of Mallas of these states are intersting sites in this time. These Darbar squares are also listed in world heritage sites.

KATHMANDU DURBAR SQUARE
PATAN DURBAR SQUARE
BHAKTAPUR DURBAR SQUARE

The Durbar square with it old temples and palaces focus the religious and cultural life of the people of the valley. The kings of Nepal are crowned and their coronation solemnized from Hanuman Dhoka (Kathmandu Durbar Square). Interesting things to see around are Taleju Temple built in 1545 AD, Kaal Bhaira the God of destruction, Nautale Durbar (Nine Floored Palace), Nasal Chowk (The coronation Place), the Gaddi Baithak, the statue of king Pratap Malla, the Big Bell, Big Drum, Sweta Bhairab, the resident temple of Kumari (The Living Goddess) and also Numismatic Museum where the photography is prohibited in side the museum. The temple of Ashok Binayak also known as Kathmandu Ganesh or Maru Ganesh and “Kasthamandap” after which the name “KATHMANDU” has been derived is said to be building of single tree built by King Laxmi Narasingha Malla in the beginning of Sixteenth century.

Afternoon, Patan being better for photography, known as Lalitpur, city of fine Art, Patan has the most impressive Durbar – square on the valley. Beautiful stone baths, repose images of river sprites, great golden audience windows, 14th century terra-cotta temples and 17th century stone. A terra-cotta shikara temple, each brick bearing an image of the Buddha. A sober Blackstone entrance to a temples of gold and an exquisite 5-story pagoda from the 14 century, earliest of the standing temples. Spring legend tells us rise in the holy lakes of Gosainkund to the north of Kathmandu. And walks through the side streets of the city, still busy today with the tap-tap of hammers and chisels and bronze and wood, as the descendants of the creators of this ancient splendor carry on the trade ancestors.

This was originally set up as a Tibetan refugee camp but over the years has been transformed by the refugees living there as a center for handicrafts. Things that are made her include traditional crafts such as wooden masks, carpets, thankas, etc. There are all made in the same manner as they were made centuries ago.

Best preserved of the Valley’s cities. Begin at the farther end of Bhaktapur, entering from the Nagarkot road. Here around the Dattatreya Square, the 9th century markets grew gradually, spreading to the Taumadi Square with its 3 – tiered temple of Bhairab and great 5 – storied temple to the Goddess of Light and Space and finally to the magic of the main Palace Square, Its statue of King Bhupatindra Malla frozen in gilt before the exquisite golden door he ordered for his tutelary deity, A hidden stone pool where Malla Queens bathed and sported, watched over by great stone cobras.

There are more than 50 Buddhist Monasteries in Kathmandu Valley and half of them you find only in Boudhanath area which is a focal point of Tibetan Buddhism in Nepal and around it has sprung up, what can be called – ‘Little Tibet’. Dhiya Gonpa is one of the oldest monasteries in Boudhanath. Thangu Gonpa runs a school for monks and for outsider children at Boudha and also has a retreat center in Namo Buddha. Che-chen Shedupling Gonpa, has a very special statue of Sakya-muni called ‘Chhowo Rimpoche’ very similar to Lhasa ‘Chhowo’ which is extremely famous. It has one retreat center in Pharping. Jamchhe Lhakhang has a special statue of Lord Buddha called ‘Jawa Shapma’ which is known as future Buddha. Shechen Gonpa has a very special statue of Lord Padma Sambava and three Buddhas of future, present and past in their main temple where they attain daily worship. Samteeling Gonpa which is also one of the oldest monasteries in Boudhanath as it was established by a Mongolian monk fifty years ago. Kopan Gonpa is also a popular monastery for its retreat center. These with Ka-Nying Gonpa and small several monasteries are the main monasteries of Boudhanath area.