Travel - Hot Spots - Nepal
Nepal is a landlocked country in Southern Asia, between China and India. It contains eight of the world's 10 highest peaks, including Mount Everest - the world's tallest - on the border with Tibet. It recently was declared a republic and has abolished the monarchy.
Places To See
Kathmandu is the arrival point for most of the visitors in Nepal. This small mountain sheltered valley is the historic center and the Capital of Nepal. This is the place where kingdoms rose and fell, palaces and temples are built and rebuilt, art and cultures are refined and protected. Kathmandu city is the largest in Nepal and is surrounded by green hills all over. Scattered around the valley are hundreds of temples and shrines, traditional villages and agriculture scenes of timeless beauty. You can see all these places by taxi, cycle, bus and by foot.
Patan is separated form Kathmandu only by the Bagmati River and is the second largest town in the valley. It is also known as Lalitpur, which means city of beauty. Patan has a long Buddhist history and have stupas at four corners. Like Kathmandu Durbar Square, Patan Durbar Square is also packed with temples. Most of these temples are built during the Malla kings period.
Bhaktapur is also known as Bhadgaon or the city of Devotees, is the third major town of the Kathmandu Valley. Bhaktapur was the capital of the whole valley during the 14th to 16th century. Much of the towns great architecture dates from the end of 17th century. This town is also well known as Newari Architecture town. Bhaktapur rises upon the northern bank of Hanumante River.
Durbar Square are charged a fee . Known as the jumping ground for the best trekking in Nepal, the Pokhara Valley lies 200 kms. west of Kathmandu, enriched with gorgeous lakes and surrounded by picturesque mountains.
Lumbini, the place where Lord Buddha was born, it has been a popular destination for Buddhist pilgrims along side visitors from many parts of the world, which has become a symbol of peace and understanding for the world community. Lumbini like Buddha stands peacefully and calm, away from the crowds of the cities, on the southern plains of the country, surrounded by forests. Buddha was believed to be born in Lumbini as Prince Sidhartha, when his mother Queen Mahamaya of Kapilbastu stopped to rest on her way to her parent's palace in a neighboring country some 2,600 years ago. People here also believe that she chose the place because of its peaceful setting. Although there are no cities or heavy population nearby, there are plans to develop the area, with gardens, trees, canal, accommodation facilities and even a library. Adequate lodging is available to the visitor and pilgrims, including a luxury hotel made by the Japanese.
The Patan Museum displays the traditional sacred art of Nepal in an illustrious architectural setting. Its home is an old residential court of Patan Darbar, one of the royal palaces of the former Malla kings of the Kathmandu Valley. Its gilded door and window face one of the most beautiful squares in the world. The museum's exhibits cover a long span of Nepal's cultural history and some rare objects are among its treasures. Their meaning and context within the living traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism are explained. Most of the objects are cast bronzes and gilt copper reposseŽ work, traditional crafts for which Patan is famous.
Jawalakhel Handicraft Center, the pioneer Tibetan Carpet industry in Nepal popularly known as Tibetan refugee camp was set up in 1960 under the initiative of International Red Cross and Swiss Development Corporation (S.D.C.) then know as Swiss Aid for Technical Assistance (S.A.T.A.) in co-operation with His Majesty's Government of Nepal. Its main objective is to help the Tibetan refugee to do something nice and support themselves.
When to go
Nepal has a typical monsoonal, two-season year. The dry season runs from October to May and there's the wet (monsoon) season from June to September. Autumn (September to November) and spring (March to May) bring almost perfect weather and are definitely the best times to come to Nepal.
October to November, the start of the dry season, is in many ways the absolute best time. With the monsoon only recently finished, the countryside is green and lush, the air is sparkling clean and the Himalayan views are near perfect. Furthermore, the weather is still balmy. There are some important and colourful festivals to enjoy, though the Dasain festival in October can be disruptive if you are on a tight schedule. For obvious reasons this is also the high tourist season but in recent years, due to the political problems, even Nepal's 'high season' has been pretty quiet.
In December and January the climate and visibility are still good, though it can get very cold at high altitudes. Heading for the Everest Base Camp at this time of year can be a real feat of endurance and the Annapurna Circuit is often closed by snow on the Thorung La. Down in Kathmandu, the cheaper hotels - where there is no heating - are chilly in the mornings and evenings. Tourists start to leave Kathmandu in December like flocks of migratory birds, headed for the warmer climes of India or Thailand. October to February are considered the best times to visit the Terai and Royal Chitwan National Park.
February to April, the tail end of the dry season, is the second-best time to visit. The weather gets warmer so high-altitude treks are not as arduous. Visibility is not as good as earlier in the dry season, but Nepal's wonderful rhododendrons and other flowers are in Technicolor bloom.
May and early June are not the best times to visit as it is extremely hot and dusty, with temperatures often above 30°C, and the coming monsoon seems to hang over you like a threat.
Mid-June to September, when the monsoon finally arrives, is the least popular time to visit Nepal. Although it doesn't rain all day it usually rains every day, and the trails and roads are muddy and plagued by leeches; the Himalaya disappear behind rain clouds; most rivers are too high to raft; and landslides often hold up transport. The latter part of the monsoon (August and September) is a time of festivals, which will certainly enliven a visit to Kathmandu, and this is also the best time to visit neighbouring Tibet.
Because of its lower altitude, Pokhara is warmer and more pleasant than Kathmandu during winter, but hotter before the monsoon and wetter during it.
Nepal Travel Tips
Passport/Visa Passport Required?
Other EU Yes
Other EU Yes
The most prevalent Nepali dish is 'Daal, Bhaat and Tarkaari' (lentils, rice, vegetable curry respectively). This is the main course served in the most Nepalese houses irrespective of the economic conditions, that too in both lunch as well as dinner. Nepali food is much less spicy than Indian food, and many dishes are Tibetan in origin. It seems that Indian influence is only confined to Southwestern part of Nepal. The rest of Nepal has more of Tibetan and Chinese influence in their cuisines.
Two of the most exclusive and authentic Nepalese delicacies include 'Momos', a meat or vegetable filled dumpling that is similar to Chinese pot-stickers and Tibetan Bread and Honey; a puffy fried bread with heavy raw honey. Both of these items are good for a light breakfast but are insufficient for a full meal. One delicacy that you do not want to miss while in Nepal is the Dried meat. It makes a deadly combo with beer or any other alcoholic beverages. Newars, an ethnic group, are considered connoisseur of great foods. Watch out for Newari Restaurants. Surely it will be a great way to enjoy good food. In the Everest region try the local Sherpa dish of potato pancakes that are called Rikikul. They are delicious eaten straight off the griddle and covered with yak butter or cheese.
International Airlines in Nepal
Tribhuwan International Airport at Kathmandu is the sole international airport in Nepal. The airport is well equipped to handle international flights of all kind, make and size. The airport has good transit facilities though service is not world class. The officials are co-operative and the immigration process is very simple.
As far as International flights are concerned, Nepal has lots of them. Apart from the government owned Royal Nepalese Airways, Nepal also has a couple of other operators such as Yak and Yeti Airlines and Cosmic airways. As far as International operators are concerned, 50 different airlines from all over the world provide their service to Kathmandu. All the major airlines in the world such as Virgin, Lufthansa, Aeroflot, Emirates, Air India, PIA and British Airlines provide their service in Kathmandu,
Kathmandu has direct or indirect flights from nearly all the major cities in Eurasia and Americas. There are direct flights to Asian cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Dhaka, Karachi, Islamabad, Sanghai, Singapore, Tokyo, Dubai, Doha and Abu Dhabi. Among the European cities, flights are available from Paris, London, Berlin, Berne, Frankfurt, Vienna, Munich, Moscow and Amsterdam. Apart from that, regular flights are available from New York, Los Angeles and Tel Aviv too.
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