Nepal is one of the richest countries in the world in terms of bio-diversity due to its unique geographical position and altitude variation. The elevation of the country ranges from 60 meters above sea level to the highest point on earth, Mt. Everest at 8,848 meters, all within a distance of 150 kilometers resulting in climatic conditions from Sub-tropical to Arctic .
Area: 147,181 sq. kilometers
Geography: Situated between China in the north and India in the south .
Language: Nepali is the national language. However, travel-trade people understand and speak English as well.
Currency: Nepali Rupee.
Political System: Multi-party democracy.
Religion: Nepal enjoys the distinction of being the only Hindu Kingdom in the world. However, there is a harmonious blending of Hinduism and Buddhism.
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 the whole year round.
People: Nepal has more than 61 ethnic groups and 70 spoken languages.
What to Wear: Lightweight clothing is recommended for May through October. Warm garments are required in October through March. An umbrella or raincoat is a must for the rainy season.
Nepal 's climate varies according to elevation. The Terai of southern Nepal has a tropical monsoon climate characterized by rainy summers and the southwest winds of the monsoon, and almost dry winters. The effect of the southern monsoon climate extends northward into mountain valleys. In the Middle Himalayan valleys the amount of precipitation varies with the extent of exposure to the rain-bearing monsoon winds. Several high valleys located in the rain shadow (area where precipitation is partially blocked by mountains) are dry. In the Kathmandu Valley the average rainfall is about 2,300 mm (about 90 in), most of which occurs from June to September. Between elevations of about 500 and 2,700 m (about 1,640 and 8,860 ft) there is a warm temperate climate; between about 2,700 and 3,000 m (about 8,860 and 9,840 ft) a cool temperate climate prevails. Between about 3,500 and 4,100 m (about 11,480 and 13,450 ft) summers are cool and winters are very cold. Above 4,100 m (about 13,450 ft) a severely cold, alpine climate prevails.
Access to Nepal:
The Royal Nepal Airlines (RA) is the national flag carrier of Nepal with flight connections to: Delhi , Mumbai in India ; Bangkok in Thailand ; Osaka in Japan ; Hong Kong , Shanghai in China ; Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia ; Dubai in United Arab Emirates and Singapore . Other international airlines flying to Kathmandu are Thai Airways, Indian Airlines, PIA, Biman Bangladesh , Air China , Druk Air , Qatar Airways, Gulf Air, Jet Airways, Air Sahara, Martin Air, Austrian Airlines, and Cosmic Air.
Since Nepal has India in three sides and China in the north, coming to Nepal by land requires one to pass through India or China . The entry points to Nepal from India are Kakkarbhitta, Birgunj, Belhiya, Bhairawa, Nepalgunj, Dhangadi and Mahendra Nagar. The Kodari Pass in Nepal-China border is the entry point to Nepal from China . Tourists entering the kingdom by land must possess an international carnet.
Postal Services: The Central Post Office located near Dharahara Tower , is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The counters are open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and provide stamps, postcards and aerograms. Post Restante is available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Express Mail Service ( EMS ) is available at GPO and at Thamel, Basantapur and airport postal counters.
Telephone, fax, telex and telegraph services are available at the Nepal Telecommunications Corporation at Tripureshwar. Hotels and private communications centers provide long distance telephone. For calling from outside, country code for Nepal is 977 and the area code for Kathmandu is 1.
Several Internet cafes and communication centers have opened up in the Valley and around the country in the past few years. Visitors only have to find a place they are most comfortable in to use the facilities to keep in touch with home. E-mail and Internet services are also offered by hotels.
Nepali media has sped light years ahead in just a few years time and what used to be a controlled and tight knit community, is so no more. The government audio and television news networks are Radio Nepal and Nepal Television respectively. However, numerous FM radio stations and upcoming regional television stations are dominating the market. Major Nepali daily newspapers are Gorkhapatra and Kantipur, while the English dailies are The Rising Nepal, The Kathmandu Post and The Himalayan. A number of other newspapers and magazines are also available.
Major towns have electricity and the voltage available is 220-volts and 50 cycles. Load shedding is sometimes experienced. However, most major hotels have installed their own generators.
Medical facilities in Kathmandu Valley are sound. All kinds of medicines, including those imported from overseas are available in Kathmandu . Kathmandu Valley also offers the services of major general hospitals and private clinics. Health posts have been set up by the government in different parts of rural Nepal . However, facilities are not on par with those found in Kathmandu Valley .
A travel insurance policy that covers theft, loss and medical treatment is recommended. Make sure the insurance also covers the activities that you will be undertaking during your stay in Nepal such as trekking, rafting.
Visitors do not need any particular immunization for visit. Vaccinations for cholera, meningitis, tetanus and diphtheria, typhoid and gamma globulin should, however, be considered. It may be a good idea to get a complete check-up before departure.
A simple but adequate medical kit can be very useful while traveling. The following items are recommended: Aspirin or Panadol - for pain or fever; Antihistamine - as a decongestant for colds, allergies and to help prevent motion sickness; Antibiotics - useful if traveling off beaten track but they must be prescribed; Kaolin preparation (Pepto-Bismol), Imodium or Lomotil - for stomach upsets; Rehydration mixture - for treatment of severe diarrhoea; Antiseptic, mercurochrome and antibiotic powder or similar 'dry' spray - for cuts and grazes.
Other things to be include are:
Calamine lotion to ease irritation from bites or stings, bandages and band aids for minor injuries, scissors, tweezers, thermometer, insect repellent, sun block lotion, chopsticks, water-purification tablets, throat lozenges (Strepsils), moleskin, Sulamyd 10% eye drops, Acetaminophen (Paracetamol, Antacid tablets).
It would be hard to know all aspects of Nepal 's health problems. However, it would be useful to gather information on altitude sickness (AMS), diarrhoea, giardia, dysentery, cholera, hepatitis rabies, typhoid, tetanus, meningitis diphtheria, malaria and HIV/AIDS Common sense can often save lives.
Prevention, the Best Medicine:
Stomach upsets are the most likely travel health problem but the majority of these cases are minor problems. Thoroughly cooked food is the safest but not if it has been left to cool. One should be careful about what one eats and drinks. The number one rule is not to drink tap water or other water from open sources. Reputable brands of bottled water or soft drinks are available. While drinking and eating it is important to make sure that water which may be unsafe has not been added.
Do not drink unpasteurized milk. Boiled milk is fine if it is kept hygienically and yoghurt is usually good. Tea or coffee should also be all right since the water would have been boiled. Salads and fruit should be washed with purified water or peeled where possible. Food, drink and snack from reputable sources are usually safe. However beware of food that has been kept out in the open for long.
Wash your hands frequently, as it is quite easy to contaminate your own food. You should clean your teeth with purified water rather than straight from the tap. Avoid climatic extremes: keep out of the sun when it is hot, dress warmly when it is cold. Avoid potential diseases by dressing sensibly. Do not walk bare feet as it is easy to get worm infections through bare feet. Try to avoid insect bites by covering bare skin when insects are around, by screening windows or by using, insect repellents.