Welcome to Nepal
Nepal is one of the richest countries in the world in terms of biodiversity due to its unique geographical position and latitudinal variation. The elevation of the country ranges from 60m above the sea level to the highest point on earth, Mt. Everest 8,848m, all within a distance of 150km with climatic conditions ranging from sub-tropical to arctic. This wild variation fosters an incredible variety of ecosystems, the greatest mountain range on earth, thick tropical jungles teeming with a wealth of wildlife, thundering white water river, forested hills and frozen valleys.
Within this spectacular geography is also one of the richest cultural landscapes anywhere. The country is a potpourri of ethnic groups and sub-groups who speak over 70 languages and dialects. Nepal offers an astonishing diversity of sightseeing attractions and adventure opportunities found nowhere else on earth. And you can join in the numerous annual festivals that are celebrated throughout the year in traditional style highlighting enduring customs and beliefs.
Nepal is a land-locked country bordering with the Tibet Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China in the north and surrounded by India in the east, south, and west.
Nepali is the national language of Nepal. Educated people understand and speak English as well. There are hundreds of local dialects spoken by people from various ethnic groups.
Nepal has four major seasons, namely,(1) Winter: December-February, (2) Spring: March-May, (3) Summer: June-August and (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 Mangoloids (the Kirats). Before 2007 AD, Nepal was regarded as the only Hindu Kingdom in the world. But after that, the Government of Nepal has already announced the country to be secular country. The Hindu Temples and Buddhist Shrines are scattered all over the Kingdom. Nepal is the birthplace of Lord Buddha, Herald of Peace, the Light of Asia. Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, and Christians live together in harmony. And other nature worshippers, too, exist here.
Currency & Foreign Exchange
Nepali Rupee notes come in Rs. 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 25, 50, 100, 500, 1000 denominations. Coins come in Rs. 1, 2 , 5 and 10 denominations.
Foreign currencies must be exchanged only through banks or authorized money exchangers. The receipts of such 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 nationals have to make the payment in foreign currency (non-Indian currency) in the hotel, trekking agencies or travel agencies, and for air tickets.
Location: Southern Asia, between China and India
Geographic coordinates: 28 00 N, 84 00 E
Map references: Asia
Area: total: 147,181 sq km
Land: 143,181 sq km
Water: 4,000 sq km
Area – comparative: slightly larger than Arkansas
Land boundaries: Total: 2,926 km
border countries: China 1,236 km, India 1,690 km
Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims: none (landlocked)
Climate: varies from cool summers and severe winters in north to subtropical summers and mild winters in south
Terrain: Tarai or flat river plain of the Ganges in south, central hill region, rugged Himalayas in north
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Kanchan Kalan 70 m
Highest point: Mount Everest 8,848 m
Natural resources: quartz, water, timber, hydropower, scenic beauty, small deposits of lignite, copper, cobalt, iron ore
Land use: arable land: 16.07%
Permanent crops: 0.85%
Other: 83.08% (2005)
Irrigated land: 11,700 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 210.2 cu km (1999)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/ agricultural:total: 10.18 cu km/yr (3%/1%/96%) per capita: 375 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards: severe thunderstorms, flooding, landslides, drought, and famine depending on the timing, intensity, and duration of the summer monsoons
Environment – current issues: deforestation (overuse of wood for fuel and lack of alternatives); contaminated water (with human and animal wastes, agricultural runoff, and industrial effluents); wildlife conservation; vehicular emissions
Environment – international agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation
Geography – note: landlocked; strategic location between China and India; contains eight of world’s 10 highest peaks, including Mount Everest and Kanchenjunga – the world’s tallest and third tallest – on the borders with China and India respectively
Population:28,901,790 (July 2007 est.)
0-14 years: 38.3% (male 5,721,720/ female 5,360,391)
15-64 years: 57.9% (male 8,597,037/ female 8,134,115)
65 years and over: 3.8% (male 528,113/ female 560,414) (2007 est.)
total: 20.5 years
male: 20.3 years
female: 20.6 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.132% (2007 est.)
Birth rate: 30.46 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate: 9.14 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate:0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.067 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.057 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.942 male(s)/female
total population: 1.056 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 63.66 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 61.87 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 65.54 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Total population: 60.56 years
male: 60.78 years
female: 60.33 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate:
4.01 children born/woman (2007 est.)
noun: Nepalese (singular and plural)
Chhettri 15.5%, Brahman-Hill 12.5%, Magar 7%, Tharu 6.6%, Tamang 5.5%, Newar 5.4%, Muslim 4.2%, Kami 3.9%, Yadav 3.9%, other 32.7%, unspecified 2.8% (2001 census)
Hindu 80.6%, Buddhist 10.7%, Muslim 4.2%, Kirant 3.6%, other 0.9% (2001 census)
note: The Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal
Nepali 47.8%, Maithali 12.1%, Bhojpuri 7.4%, Tharu (Dagaura/Rana) 5.8%, Tamang 5.1%, Newar 3.6%, Magar 3.3%, Awadhi 2.4%, other 10%, unspecified 2.5% (2001 census)
note: many in government and business also speak English (2001 est.)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 48.6%
female: 34.9% (2001 census)
Red with a blue border around the unique shape of two overlapping right triangles; the smaller, upper triangle bears a white stylized moon and the larger, lower triangle bears a white 12-pointed sun
Major Trading Partners: China, India, European Union, United stated of America US, Australia African nation and south America
When to Go?
Climatic factors are very important in deciding when to visit Nepal. October-November, the start of the dry season, is in many ways the best time of year: the weather is balmy, the air is clean, visibility is perfect and the country is lush following the monsoon. February-April, the tail end of the dry season, is the second-best period: visibility is not so good because of dust, but the weather is warm and many of Nepal’s wonderful wildflowers are in bloom. In December and January, the climate and visibility are good but it can be chilly: trekkers need to be well prepared for snow, and for cheaper hotels in Kathmandu – nonexistent heating makes for rather gloomy evenings. The rest of the year is fairly unpleasant for travelling: May and early June are generally too hot and dusty for comfort, and the monsoon from mid-June to September obscures the mountains in cloud and turns trails and roads to mud.
Nepal’s festive calendar is hectic. Dasain, celebrated nationwide in October, is the most important of all Nepalese celebrations and features the biggest animal sacrifice of the year. Running a close second is Tihar (November), but unlike Dasain, animals are honoured rather than slaughtered. Other festivals celebrated nationally include the water-tinged Holi (March) and Chaitra Dasain (April), which is yet another bad day for animals. Hindu festivals number the Haribodhini Ekadashi (November) and Maha Shivaratri (March), both celebrated in Pashupatinath, the Gai Jatra (August) in Kathmandu and the Krishna Jayanti (August/September) in Patan. Buddhist celebrations are just as thick on the ground, and include Mani Rimdu (November) in Solu Khumbu, Buddha Jayanti (May) in Kathmandu, and Losar (Tibetan New Year) (February) in Swayambhunath, Jawalakhel and highland communities.
Templed out? Sick of stupas? Try trekking instead. The best trekking season is between September and early December, although March and April are also popular.
Popular treks from Kathmandu include the Everest Base Camp, Manaslu, Ganesh Himal ruby valley, Helambu, and Langtang treks. From Pokhara, the most popular is the Annapurna Circuit and the Jomsom trek. Less-traveled alternatives require more planning but include the Kanchenjunga Base Camp trek, the Dolpo region, Mustang, and Rara Lake.
Remember to minimize your impact on the environment by avoiding the use of non-biodegradable items, disposing of your garbage responsibly, staying at lodges that use kerosene instead of firewood, and by not using toilet paper.
Rafting and kayaking are incredibly popular, especially on the Trisuli River near Kathmandu and the Sun Kosi in Dolalghat. More remote challenges include the Karnali (a two-day trek from Surkhet) and the Tamur (a three-day trek from Dobhan in eastern Nepal). Other activities include mountain biking in the Kathmandu Valley, Pokhara and near the Tibetan border; and safariing in the Terai. A range of language, spiritual, medicinal and yoga courses can be taken in Kathmandu and at various temples and monasteries.