Nepal is a traveler’s country and a trekkers’ paradise. People travel to Nepal from all corners of the world, whether to experience her rich cultural diversity and simple way of life or the abundance of natural beauty she is blessed with. It’s only a matter of time that you would want to see the land in all its glory and what it has to offer for yourself.
Traveling to Nepal can be pretty exciting but nerve-wrecking at the same time. In all the excitement and flurry of preparations, here are the 10 things to do before traveling to Nepal:
1. Visa For Nepal –
A visa for Nepal can be issued either in the embassies and consulates of Nepal in a foreign country, or on arrival when entering the country either at Tribhuwan International Airport, or at the border of India and Tibet (China). However, it should be kept in mind there are certain nationalities that won’t be issued a visa on arrival, so it is always wise to check first.
Your passport should be valid for six months as the Nepali visa usually allows you to enter the country for 3 to 6 months from the issued date.
Besides the Indian nationality, all foreigners must have visas to enter Nepal.
The nationals of China and South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries- Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Pakistan) aren’t charged visa fees. Also, children under 10 are provided with a free visa for entering Nepal.
2. Inform Your Bank –
If you are planning to use your credit and debit cards while travelling (which would be very convenient), do inform your bank about your travel plans, so that, they know that all the expenses showing up in a foreign country is actually yours, and that you haven’t fallen victim to a scam.
Also, in case of theft or if you lose your cards, it’ll be easier for the bank to freeze those cards for preventing any misuse in the wrong hands, and issue another one for your convenience. You don’t want to be out of cash while traveling!
3. Travel Insurance –
Life is full of uncertainties, especially during travels. You never know what the next moment will bring, which is also part of the excitement and adventure involved in traveling. Make sure you have travel insurance that will cover all the expenses incurred because of theft, accident injuries and evacuation charges if you plan on doing some extreme sports.
Don’t forget to inform your travel insurance company about your travel plans to a foreign country.
4. Custom Rules And Regulations –
It’s very important to know necessary information on airport customs – what you’re allowed to bring into the country or take out of the country. It gets to be a hassle when you bring in or want to take something with you when you leave, only to find that it’s illegal or you have to pay extra duty on said items at the airport. Knowing a little about the restrictions will save you from a whole lot of bureaucratic annoyance.
5. Book A Hotel –
For the first day or two, stay at a hotel that you can book before you arrive in the country. It isn’t fun trudging along the roadside with a heavy luggage looking for a nice place to stay after a long and tiring flight. Before you book a hotel, don’t just depend on the pictures and what it says on their website; check for reviews from previous guests, as it again is a hassle to change hotels after a long flight if the one you booked turns out to be crap.
Book hotels for only a day or two to the place you’ll be visiting, so that if it’s unacceptable, you can always change it after staying for a day or two, and if it’s good, you can extend you stay there.
6. Festivals –
Like festivals and celebrations? Then, check for festivals and events of sorts when you are in the country. During most big festivals there is a public holiday which means it’s a bit harder to get around town, as there will be very less transportation options available, which too, are majorly packed. Plus, the hotels will be fully booked and are expensive. To fully enjoy the festivities without getting a hard time, make sure you have a good hotel to stay and know where and how to go around the place. If you’ve a guide or a friend who knows the place, it’s even better.
7. Flexible Trip –
It’s better to keep a couple of days extra, just in case. There are high chances for delays due to poor weather, transportation delays or sheer bad luck. It can also be that you want to enjoy more of the trip and want to either switch or add an activity or a place on your itinerary in the middle of your travels. Having a rigid itinerary can backfire and is taxing.
When you are already coming with an open mind, try and keep your itinerary open for inevitable changes too!
8. Exchange Rate –
It’s a good idea to have the knowledge about the current exchange rate of the country, if you plan to exchange the currency or are in a place where there are no ATMs.
9. Learn About Nepal –
Before landing directly here, read up a bit about Nepal and its people, culture, etiquette, food and what you can expect during your stay. Being clueless can send you in a culture shock and/or you can have unpleasant repercussions. To avoid this, learn at least how to greet in the local language; this can act as an ice-breaker while trying to interact with the locals.
10. Register With Your Embassy –
It’s definitely a wise decision to register with your embassy back home and inform them about you travel plans to Nepal. Provide them with your personal information, next of kin, picture, date and time of your arrival and departure in Nepal, travel itinerary and so on. If you come across any problem or get into an accident then the embassy will be able to help you smooth out all the bureaucratic formalities.
With all your ducks in row, are you ready for a trip to Nepal?!