It is said that travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.However traveling to new place, learning the new culture and adapting to their lifestyle is not an easy task, especially when language is one of the barriers.Widely known as “Switzerland of the east”, Nepal has been one of the popular destination for the tourists since decades.Observing tourists in the streets of Nepal is something I have been used to but watching them struggling for simple things because of lack of information or lack of communication, I always wished if I could help them to make their trip less difficult.So, following are the few tips to make your visit to Nepal easier.
Hotels are pretty cheap in Nepal compared to rest of the world but if you are planning to stay in Nepal for a longer period and to spend your money on other important stuff or save some money instead of expensive hotels, I would suggest you avoid tourist area for your hotel location.The cheapest hotels are not in the “tourist areas. ” Book your room by calling the hotel directly.Don’t forget to keep your eye out for deals, things that are included and things that are not.Use your bargaining skills, trust me it works. Some guesthouses will also occasionally drop their price if you stay for several nights or arrive in a large group.
Water Safety and food
“Food poisoning” is one of the common terms I hear from foreigner which is basically due to the difference in purity level of water.If you plan on staying in Nepal for a while, my suggestion would be, stick to bottled water, which can be found in just about every store in the country.Try to avoid tap water even if it‘s from your hotel including fruit that may have been washed in contaminated water.Also to avoid ice in soft drinks or any other beverage as it may have been made from tap water.Avoid raw vegetables and pre-cut fruit as much as possible.
Best time to visit
Dashain is the biggest time of Nepal but it is not so exciting for tourist as there is nothing much for a tourist to observe. Everyone return to their village of origin and will be busy with their families.Most of the guest houses ,shops, restaurants will be closed during this time of the year and even the cooking staffs, hotel staffs house staff will be going back to their hometown.The major city like Kathmandu or Pokhara will be almost empty due to lack of people.Always beware of Strikes as they can alter all your travel plans substantially.
Bargaining is common practice in Nepal and happens on a daily basis between locals. Tourists are usually regarded as ultra-rich and are charged inflated price than the actual cost..The vendors are simply trying their luck and will often take down the price considerably if you engage in an act of bargaining. .Do not give money to beggars that you see on the streets. Even though they look pitiful, you’re encouraging them only to beg for more.
Plugs and voltage
The standard voltage used in Nepal is 220 volts. Primary sockets generally require round 3 pin plugs that are similar but not identical to European plugs.Better to pack a universal travel adaptor.For U.S appliances you need have voltage converter and plug adaptor.Load shedding is frequent in Nepal better to carry one power bank and torch-light for the emergency. If you work online or have other crucial reasons to access the internet reliably, it might well be worthwhile to use a USB modem with your laptop.If you already have your own international USB modem, it’s really very inexpensive to use this system in Nepal. Most importantly, it’s faster than wi-fi and is independent of daily power cuts.
Currency and exchange
Money can be exchanged both in banks and money changer. You can change your money in the airport itself.However, the rate in the city is better than in the airport.Banks have better rates most of the time but it is easier to change money with money change.There are plenty of ATM at the banks in Kathmandu and Pokhara, although as these are sometimes out-of-order and banks are not always open, better to bring some cash with you, preferably US dollars. It’s advisable to request bank notes in smaller denominations, as it can sometimes be hard to get change.Traveller’s Cheques are not recommended as they’re often difficult to exchange and incur high fees.Be sure to exchange back all the Nepalese currencies before you leave as they are not accepted outside of Nepal.
Buses and microbuses are major means of transportations.You can find taxis in the main city like Kathmandu or Pokhara. Insist for a Running Meter in the Taxi as sometimes they charge higher. After 10 PM you do pay double of the meter fare, however – that’s the commonly accepted norm but don’t forget to bargain.Main cities are crowded with traffic, full of smoke and bumpy and dusty. Hence traveling on a bicycle or a motorbike, for the most part, is not advisable and better to wear a mask.Driving during darkness is particularly dangerous in Nepal and any journey is best done during daylight hours.
Climate and allergy
Nepal’s climate is quite dry.After 2015 earthquake, Kathmandu & the surrounding Kathmandu Valley has become very dusty and apparently quite polluted as well.You might need a few days or a week to adjust to the less-than-ideal air when you arrive in Kathmandu and might suffer from a runny nose, stuffed up sinuses, mild headaches, dry mouth & lips.Better to buy & use a face mask or take allergy tablets.