Welcome to Nepal!!
This country has been a republic since 2008 when democracy replaced the monarchy. It lies between 80°4' and 88°12' east longitude, 26°22' and 30°27' north latitude.
Nepal is nestled in the High Himalayan mountains between China and India. Our northern neighbor is the region of Tibet (People's Republic of China). On our eastern border are the Indian states of Sikkim and West Bengal. To our south and west is again India, with the states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
Nepal is not a large country, even though it has an incredible geography. It is 885 km (550 miles) east to west while from north to south, it varies between 145 to 241 km (90 – 149 miles) north to south. Total land area of Nepal is 147,181 sq. km. However, if you were to take and flatten out the mountains, making a level field, Nepal would stretch in size equal to the continental United States!.
Nepal lies in the temperate zone with high mountain peaks. Eight of the 14 highest mountains in the world (over 8,000 meters) are in Nepal. Most of Nepal is 1200 or meters above sea level, except in the Terai region in the south. The lowest point in Nepal is 70 meters above sea level in the Terai by India while the highest point is Mt. Everest at 8,848 meters on the border with Tibet.
The national language of Nepal is Nepali, although there are over 29 different tribal languages spoken. English is widely spoken and understood.
The population of Nepal is 27 ½ million. The largest religion is Hinduism followed by Buddhism and Christianity. There is a small Muslim population, mainly toward Nepalgunj. There is great harmony among the various religious groups.
Nepal has an unusual time zone, being five hours and 45 minutes ahead of GMT. Our clocks are 15 minutes ahead of India and 15 minutes behind Bangladesh. We are the only place on the Earth with such a unique time zone.
The Capital City is the historic city of Kathmandu located in the east central part of the country. Kathmandu is also the largest city in Nepal.
CLIMATE: Nepal's climate is pleasant and predictable. In Kathmandu, it rarely snows and has nice, moderate temperatures. Nepal is a country with four seasons:
SPRING – March to May. Generally dry, some afternoon rain may occur in May. Temperatures are the warmest in May ahead of monsoon seasons.
SUMMER – June to August. This is the rainy season, although it doesn't rain all the time. Tempertures are cooler in the summer, with average temperatures reaching around 30 - 32° in Kathmandu.
AUTUMN – September to November – The weather is beautiful, with clear skies. It is usually dry with no rain. WINTER – December to February – This is the coldest time of year. It will snow up in the mountains, but not in many of the valleys, including Kathmandu and Pokhara.
The monsoon season is approximately from the middle of June to mid September. During this tiem, 80% of the annual rainfall for Nepal occurs during this time. Yet, it does not rain all the time in the monsoon season, and there are plenty of sunny days. Nepal does not get the rainfall during the monsoon seasons like India. However, the Terai region in the south does get more rain than farther north.
Spring and autumn are relatively dry, with moderate temperatures. The winters can see freezing temperatures and snow up in the mountains, but in places like Kathmandu and Pokhara, daytime highs can be around 20°-22° (68°-72°F)
Temperatures in the Terai region can range from more than 40°C (104°F) in late spring to winter which will have a highs of 23°C (74°F) to sometimes lows of 7°C (45°F). Kathmandu's elevation is 1310 meters (4,297 ft) with temperatures ranging from 19°-32° C (67° - 89°F) in summer to 2°-20° C (34° - 68° F) in winter. In winter, you can count on sunny days, so the days feel warm and pleasant.
Himalayas – There is no place on earth quite like Nepal. Nepal is synonymous to the name Himalayas. Of the 14 peaks in the world over 8,000 meters, Nepal is home to eight of them! In addition, we have several thousand peaks over 6,000 meters. There are snowcapped peaks everywhere, and plenty of beautiful scenery to behold. From mountain lakes to snowcapped summits, we are Himalaya!
Heritage Sites – Nepal is home to nine of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, of which seven are in the Kathmandu valley. In our borders is the birthplace of Lord Buddha. There are ancient Hindu temples, Buddhist stupas, royal palaces, living goddesses and much more, all awaiting for you to explore.
Wildlife – Looking to see the beautiful Royal Bengal Tiger? It lives in Nepal. The same goes for the rare Indian or One-Horned Rhinocerous. We have all kinds of wildlife, from bear and deer, to crocodiles, monkeys, hundreds of varieties of birds, mountain goats, yaks, and even an occasional yeti. There are many varieties of butterflies, snakes, reptiles and more. The wildlife of Nepal varies from those found in the jungles of the Terai to those that live in the high alpine areas. And, of course, Nepal is home to the rare and shy red panda.
Water Sports – Rafting and kayaking are just two of the water sports that you can do in Nepal. But there is more. Participate in an elephant bath in Chitwan National Park. Swim in a pool under a waterfall. Shoot rapids in a kayak or ride the whitewater in remote mountain rivers. Soak in the many hot springs. The list goes on in all that you can do in water sports in Nepal.
Festivals – There isn't a week that goes by when you can experience a festival in Nepal. Every ethnic group and religion in our country has plenty of Festivals. In fact, the Hindus love festivals and don't need much of an excuse to celebrate. For a list of major festivals, call or write us and we can give you the most recent updates. This is a land where the people love to celebrate.
Folk Culture – There are many different cultures and tribal people in Nepal. In the mountains, there is the culture of the Magars, Gurung, Tamang, Sherpa, Limbu and more. In Kathmandu, enjoy a festival with the Newar people. And down in the Terai, spend the night in a Tharu home. This is just the tip of the iceberg – there are many more ethnic groups to see and discover. And, of course, Nepal has a large population of Tibetans who practice their age-old culture. Come and experience!
Nepalese Typical People – What is typical is that we are a friendly people. With have many ethnic groups living side by side in peace and harmony. Nowhere else in the world do so many ethnic groups live together in one brotherhood. This is what makes Nepal so different and enjoyable. We have found the foundation for world peace.
Himalayan Expedition – Trek into the high Himalayas and/or climb a mountain. This is all part of what you can do in Nepal. We can put together an expedition into the far reaches of the country for as many or few days as you'd like.
Please Note: Nepal can be visited year around. Each of the four seasons offers its own special charms and enjoyment.
What to Wear: Nepal is a pretty informal country, and you can feel comfortable in wearing whatever is comfortable. Conservative dress is suggested when visiting a temple. Light, casual clothes are ideal for traveling, while some warmer coats are needed for the late fall and winter season. An umbrella and/or rain gear is advisable during the monsoon season.
Currency and Foreign Exchange – Nepal uses the Nepali rupee, which is available in notes of Rs. 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000. We currently use coins only for Rs 1 and 2. Money can be exchanged at banks or at authorized money changers, of which there are many in Thamel region of Kathmandu. There is even a currency exchange counter at the airport for your convenience. The exchange rate fluxuates on a daily basis, and your best rates are in the banks. Credit cards can be used in many locations, especially in Kathmandu and Pokhara. The Nepali Rupee is fixed at a rate of NRS 100 = 60 Indian rupees.
By Air: Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu is the only international airport in the country. Some of the airlines that serve Kathmandu include Indian Airlines, Turkish Airways, Emirates Air, Bangladesh Biman Airlines, Qatar Air, Indian Airlines, Thai International, Southwestern Airlines, Druk Air, PIA (Pakistan International Airlines), Sahara Airlines and more. Each year, we see many more new airlines coming into the country, connecting Nepal to the world. From Nepal, you can fly anywhere in the world.
Via Asia: You can travel to Nepal via Dhaka, Bangladesh, Bangkok, Thailand; Singapore, Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi, Hong Kong, Qatar, Dubai and more. There are also flights to Thampu, Bhutan as well as Lhasa, Tibet as well as various cities in China.
By Land: You can cross over into India at six different crossings and there are two into Tibet (China).
Via India: There is now a direct but from Kathmandu to Delhi. Otherwise, you can take a bus to the various Indian borders, and then from there take the train or bus to a destination in India. There are many direct, first class buses from Indian border towns to Kathmandu.
Via Tibet: Nepal can be crossed at the village of Kodari on the Tibet/Nepal border.
Tourist Guides: Panda Treks & Expedition only hires government, registered guides who are fluent in a variety of languages. In addition to being government trained, we also provide additional training to our guides to insure only the best possible guides for your trip to Nepal.
Electricity: 220 V/50 Hz.
GEOGRAPHICAL REGIONS: Nepal is divided into three main geographical regions, which include Himalayan, Mountainous and Terai Regions.
Himalayan Region: This is the very northern part of the country and ranges in elevation from 4,877 to 8,848 meters in elevation. This high elevation tends to be cold and snowy with very few people.
Mountainous Region: This is the middle section of Nepal, ranging from as high as 4,877 meters at the Mahabharat range and the Churiya range in the south of Mahabharat. The lowest point in this region is 616 meters near the Terai. The mountain region covers approximately 64% of the total land, with a moderate climate. Kathmandu and Pokhara are locate in the Mountainous region.
Terai Region: The very southern part of Nepal that hugs the Indian border is known as the Terai. This is the land that is jungle and farmland, and 50% of Nepal's population lives here. Its land mass covers about 17% of the country. The altitude is between 70 and 315 meters above sea level. Temperatures are the warmest here, and most like northern India.