Escorted tours to Nepal
Currency: Nepalese Rupee
Time Zone: NPT/GMT+4.45
Tipping: Use your discretion when tipping in Nepal, it is not compulsory, 5% is generally fine in cheaper restaurants, 10% is appropriate for more expensive restaurants.
Nepal - an introduction
Thanks to a strong Tibetan influence, vibrant mix of Buddhist and Hindu culture and an unrivalled mountainous playground, Nepal is gaining popularity as a holiday destination. Featuring eight of the world's ten highest peaks including Everest - the world's tallest - this ancient kingdom is a mecca for trekking, hiking and rafting. With capital Kathmandu starring in TripAdvisor's 2012 Destinations on the Rise, Nepal is definitely one to watch.
Nepal escorted tours will take in the chaotic and colourful city of Kathmandu, with its bright weave of prayer flags wishing visitors good luck for their onwards journey. Flying into Kathmandu airport is a memorable experience in itself as the majestic Himalayas rise above the clouds. As well as getting time to explore this 'city of temples' with its Monkey Temple and Durban Square, there may also be sightseeing in Patan and the chance to visit Dhulikhel, offering a stupendous view over the Himalayas. Away from the bustle of Kathmandu, Chitwan National Park with over 700 species including Bengal Tigers, leopards and rhinos also awaits.
Due to its proximity to India, touring holidays to Nepal are usually combined with visits to India where visitors can explore Varanasi, Jaipur, the Taj Mahal and Delhi. All trips include return flights from the UK as well as any internal flights, a full touring itinerary both on and off the beaten track, accommodation with meals and porterage as well as the services of a tour manager and local guide.
Things to do
If you're planning an escorted tour to Nepal, keep your eyes peeled on itineraries for these key places to visit whilst in this mountainous playground.
Fly into Kathmandu and you'll see the Himalaya mountains in the distance, peaking above the clouds - a truly spectacular sight in itself. The capital city has many attractions to keep you entertained, like the Thamel district, a bustling area which can sometimes overload your senses with the noises, smells and sheer amount of people, but an experience in itself. Durbar Square is an ancient square with palaces and temples and the most popular UNESCO World Heritage Site in Nepal. Monkey Temple, or Swayambhu as it is known locally, is a large stupa and a sacred Buddhist site. There are literally hundreds of monkeys running around the temple, which provide some great entertainment in addition to the fantastic views over the city but be prepared to walk up some steps! Other places to visit are the sacred Boudha Stupa and the Narayanhiti Palace Museum.
Bhaktapur is one of the three royal cities in the Kathmandu Valley, full of culture and history and a fantastic place to explore by foot as it's traffic free. The cobblestone streets are full of palaces, temples and monuments, a real cultural delight. Make sure you visit the 'Peacock Window' a traditionally carved wooden window and one of the main images of Nepal.
The interesting town of Dhulikhel is a great place to view the Himalayan mountain range, sit back and generally admire the spectacular scenery. A real Newari town, it offers a great place for those who wish to take a day trek into the countryside.
Thinking of travelling to Nepal? Check out the average temperatures for when you plan to visit courtesy of BBC Weather
Tips & Advice
The beauty of travelling in an escorted tour is that you'll be in the safest hands when it comes to holidaying in foreign lands. However, to help you have an enjoyable holiday in Nepal, take a look at these useful tips and advice provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO):
Health and Travel Insurance
It is wise to contact your GP around 8 weeks before travelling to Nepal as they will advise if you will need any vaccinations or preventive medication whilst away.
Medical treatment can be expensive at clinics for Western travellers in Nepal. Healthcare tends to be poor in most places outside of the capital city Kathmandu. It can be hard to get helicopter evacuation if you do fall seriously ill so ensure before you leave the UK that you have arranged appropriate travel insurance and have access to additional funds. Most tours offer the chance to purchase one-trip travel insurance at the time of booking.
If you do need to contact the emergency services, dial 102 to ask for an ambulance.
Pickpocketing and bag snatching is common in Nepal, especially on public transport. Take care when walking around at night, never walk on your own and do not carry large amounts of money. Restaurants and bars now close at midnight to prevent illegal activities.
When in bars and restaurants be wary of leaving drinks unattended and never accept them from strangers.
Local Laws and Customs
As with all countries drug offences have severe punishments in Nepal and as authorities are determined to tackle the problem, increasing numbers of people are being caught.
Women should dress modestly in public places as shorts and strappy tops may be seen as offensive.
You should carry your passport with you at all times and make sure you leave a photocopy with someone in the UK.
Do not enter any restricted areas.
You will need a visa when you travel to Nepal, which you can apply for at the Nepalese Embassy in London. They are also available on arrival into the country. You can pay for them in £GBP, bring two spare passport photos with you.
You passport should be valid for the entirety of your stay in Nepal. You do not need an additional period of validity beyond this.
If you are bringing medication into Nepal, you should always bring a copy of the prescription.
UK ETD (Emergency Travel Documents) are accepted for entry and exit from Nepal, as well as for airside transit.
Any other nationality looking to visit Nepal must contact the local embassy to check visa requirements.