The Nepal Rupee (NPR) is pegged to the Indian Rupee (INR) at 160:100, and the current exchange rate is 1 US$ = NPR 108. The daily exchange rate is published in mot news websites. Major banks, hotels and exchange counters at Tribhuvan International Airport provide services for exchanging foreign currency
Remember to keep your foreign exchange encashment receipt while making foreign exchange payments or transferring foreign currency into Nepali rupees. The receipts may be needed to change left-over Nepali currency into hard currency before leaving the country.
Only 10 percent of the total amount may be converted back into foreign currency by the bank.
The Nepali Rupee (Rs.) is divided into 100 paisa (p). There are coins for denominations of one, two, five and 10 rupees and banknotes in denominations of one, two, five, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000 rupees. Away from major centers, changing Rs 1000 note can be difficult, so it is always a good idea to keep a stash of small-denomination notes.
Nepali is official language, widely understood and spoken. Many people may also understand basic Hindi and English in metropolitan area like Kathmandu.
Nepal is facing a severe power shortage, and electricity is rationed. But most hotels and restaurants have generators. When it is available, electric supply is 220 volts and 50 hz. There is no standardised wall socket, so it may be wise to bring along a universal plug adapter. A small torch may be handy.
Cell phone SIM cards from the two main providers (Nepal Telecom and NCell) are available at the airport and the city. You may be required to fill out a form and provide a photograph to obtain a SIM. Kathmandu and major cities have 3G data. Nepal’s area code is +99 and Kathmandu area code is 1.
HOTLINES AND IMPORTANT NUMBERS:
International Code: 977
Kathmandu City Code: 1
Directory Assistance: 197
Police & Fire: 100
Tourist Police: 4226358/4226403
Department of Immigration: 4223509/4222453
Ambulance Service(Red Cross): 4228094
Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA): 4472256/4472257
End-September is the tail end of the monsoon season, the days will be bright, warm and humid (highs of 27°C/80°F and lows of 17°C/63°F). There will be 75% chance of rain, and it falls mainly at night. Temperature at higher altitudes in the trekking areas will be colder. Pokhara is only at 800m above sea level and is semi-tropical, while the Chitwan National Park will have highs of 30°C, 87°F.
What to Wear
Dress casually, shorts and T-shorts are OK for walks around the city. Flipflops are OK, but since since the sidewalks and roads are rough, you may want walking shoes, but no hiking boots unless you are going for a post-conference trek.
Kathmandu streets can be dusty due to roadside construction and vehicular pollution can be a problem. Kathmandu is located at 1,180m above sea level so Altitude Sickness should not be a problem, unless you are trekking in the high mountains. It’s best to be careful about drinking water (don’t drink tap water, and avoid uncooked food and salads). Bring mosquito repellents and any prescription medicines that may not be available locally like antihistamines, antibiotics, anti allergy medications.
Nepal is a beautiful country located in South Asia between China in the north and India in the south, east and west comprising of multiple ethnic groups of people with diverse culture and religion. It is a home to ancient temples, breathtaking landscapes, mountains and himalayas where people greet you “Namaste” with a smile on their faces. Adding color to the lives of Nepalese are festivals the year round which they celebrate with much pomp and joy. “Mt. Everest”, the highest mountain in the world, known for catching the attention of many experienced climbers lies in Nepal.
Kathmandu used to a hippie destination, but has seen better days. The city has grown beyond its carrying capacity, but it still has the historic monument zones like the old palace squares of Patan and Bhaktapur. Some of the alleys in the old city have timber and steel columns supporting buildings damaged during the April 2015 earthquake. Some of the temples, like the famous Boudha and Swayambhu are being reconstructed.
Pokhara (20 min flight or 5 hour bus ride to the west from Kathmandu) is Nepal’s tourist hub, and offers fabulous scenery of the Annapurna range with a wide variety of adventure sports like bungee jumping, zip line, para gliding, mountain sightseeing flights on ultra-lights and and two-seater leisure aircraft, and even skydiving.
For wildlife enthusiasts, Chitwan National Park (15 minute flight or 3 hour) is worth a visit to see the tiger, one-horned rhinoceros and birdlife. Nepal has 867 species of birds, one of the highest diversity anywhere.
September-October is the best season for trekking, and the most popular areas are the Mt Everest region, Annapurna, Manang, Mustang. Check about the Manaslu and Langtang treks if the trails have been repaired after the earthquake.
Those who don’t have time to trek and take the one hour sightseeing flight that takes you to within 10 km of Mt Everest. There are up to 20 flights a day every morning from Kathmandu airport in the peak season.
Places to Explore in Nepal
Kathmandu Durbar Square (UNESCO World Heritage Site):
Situated in the heart of old Kathmandu city at Basantapur, Kathmandu Durbar Square never fails to impress first time visitors with its ensemble of palaces, courtyards and temples built during the Malla period. The Durbar Square includes the Hanuman Dhoka Royal Palace; the magnificent Taleju Temple; Kumari Ghar, the residence of the Living Goddess, Kumari; Ashok Vinayak, also called Kathmandu Ganesh, a temple without a filial ; and Kal Bhairav, the God of Wrath. The capital takes its name from the giant pagoda of Kasthamandap, which is said to have been built out of a single tree which has been destroyed during the devastating earthquake on April 25, 2015. Since the time of the Malla kings, the Durbar Square has been the city’s social, religious and political focal point.
Swyombhunath Stupa (UNESCO World Heritage Site):
Resting on a hillock 3 km west of Kathmandu, it is one of the holiest Buddhist Chaityas in Nepal. It is said to have evolved spontaneously when the valley was created out of a primordial lake more than 2,000 years ago. This stupa is the oldest of its kind in Nepal and has numerous shrines and monasteries on its premises.
Pashupatinath Temple (UNESCO World Heritage Site):
Situated 5 km east of Kathmandu, the two-tiered pagoda with golden roofs and silver doors’ temple of Lord Shiva is considered one of the most sacred Hindu shrines in the world. Chronicles indicate the temple existed before 400 A.D.
Bouddhanath Stupa (UNESCO World Heritage Site):
Situated 8 km to the east of downtown Kathmandu, Bouddhanath is one of the most imposing landmarks in Kathmandu, visible as soon as you land at the TIA. It is the largest stupa in the Kathmandu Valley and is the center of Tibetan Buddhism.
Patan Durbar Square (UNESCO World Heritage Site):
Like its counterpart in Kathmandu, Patan Durbar Square is located in the heart of the city and was once the palace of the kings of Patan. The square is an enchanting mélange of palace buildings, artistic courtyards and graceful pagoda temples – a display of Newari architecture that had reached its pinnacle during the reign of the Malla kings. Among its numerous courtyards, the Sundari Chowk with the sunken bath of Tusha Hiti is a showcase of exquisite woodcarvings, and stone and metal sculptures. The magnificent Krishna Temple with its 21 gilded spires, built in 1637, and the Manga Hiti, the sunken stone water spout, found in the palace complex are but a few examples of its opulence. The Krishna Temple, built entirely of stone, is said to be the first specimen of Shikhara-style architecture in Nepal.
Bhaktapur Durbar Square (UNESCO World Heritage Site):
Among the three durbar squares, the Bhaktapur Durbar Square is by far the most elegant with its large open space facing south. The 15th century Palace of 55 Carved Windows and the palace entrance, the Golden Gate – a masterpiece in repousse art – have added splendour to this palace square which consists of buildings dating from the 13th century to the 18th century. The extraordinary Durbar Square with its extraordinary monuments reflects the glory days of the Malla dynasty when art and architecture thrived in the three cities of the valley. The stone temple of Batsala Devi is full of intricate carvings and is a beautiful example of Shikhara-style architecture. There is a bronze bell on the terrace of the temple.
Located 32 kms. east of Kathmandu, Nepal, Nagarkot thrills visitors with its unrestricted view of the mountain range from Annapurna in the west to the Mt. Everest in the East.
Historically, Nagarkot was a place for the royals of Nepal to escape the scorching heat of summer and a hectic city life. In the 60’s explorers would battle the shivering winds and sleepless nights to see the stupendous sunrise and sunsets. Today, still people from all over World, from different walks of life, travel to Nagarkot, to enjoy the picturesque rural scenery of terraced rice fields, green pastures, the sunrise and sunsets.
Dhulikhel is one of the more popular places from which to observe the high Himalaya. From the edge of the ridge, a stunning panorama of peaks unfolds, from Langtang Lirung in the east, through Dorje Lakpa to the huge bulk of Gauri Shankar and nearby Melungtse (7181m) and as far as Numbur (5945m) in the east. This is a real Newari town, with a temple-lined village square and a life outside of exposing tourists to the views.
The Last Resort
A beautiful 4 hours ride from Kathmandu, The Last Resort is located on top of a river gorge close to the Tibetan border.
The last Resort offers amazing adventures in spectacular setting, including the world famous bungy jump, the amazing new Tandem Swing and thrilling White Watar Rafting. The natural surroundings and the spa make the resort also a great destination to those looking to just relax.
Pokhara (20 mins. flight or 5 hours bus ride to the west from Kathmandu) is Nepal’s tourist hub and offers fabulous scenery of the Annapurna range including the very famous Machapuchhre which is at the end of a long spur ridge, coming south out of the main backbone of the Annapurna Himal. Pokhara also offers wide variety of adventure sports like bungee jumping, zip line, para gliding, mountain sightseeing flights on ultra-lights and two seater leisure aircraft.
For wildlife enthusiasts, Chitwan National Park (15 mins. flight or 3 and half hours bus ride from Kathmandu) is worth a visit to see the tiger, one-horned rhinoceros and birdlife. Nepal has 867 species of birds, one of the highest diversity anywhere.
It is common to hear Nepalis say “Hi” or “Hello” to friends old and new.
Below are a few Nepali expressions that that could prove handy:
Namaste-with two palms joined close to chest(formal/informal/polite): Hello/Hi
Subha Prabhat (formal/polite) – Good Morning
Subha Raatri (formal/polite) – Good Night
Aaraamai hunuhunchha? (formal/polite) – Are you doing fine?
Ke chha? (informal) – How are you?
Sanchai chhu. (formal/polite) – I’m fine
Thik chha. (informal) – I’m fine
Aaunus. (informal) – Please, come in
Dhanyabaad. (formal/polite) – Thank you
Dherai Dherai Dhanyabaad. (formal/polite) – Thank you very much/Thanks a lot
Ho/hajur –affirmative nod (formal/informal) – Yes
Hoina –left to right nod (formal/informal) – No
Samay kati bhayo? (formal/polite) – What time is it?
Kati bajyo? (informal) – What time is it?
Kata laagnubhayo? (formal/polite) – Where are you going?
Kata hedeko? (informal) – Where are you going?
Kahan bata aaunubhayo? (formal/polite) – Where did you come from?
Hajur ko subha naam? (formal/polite) – What is your name?
Tapaai ko naam ke paryo? (informal) – What is your name?
Mero naam ________ ho (formal/informal) – I am ______ (name).
Tapaai ko umer kati bhayo? (formal/polite) – How old are you?
Kati barsa hunu bhayo? (informal) – How old are you?
Mero umer _______ barsa bhayo. (formal/polite) – I am _______ years old.
Ma _______ barsa puge/bhae (informal) – I am _______ years old.
Hajur ko ghar kata? (formal/polite) – Where do you live?
Tapai ko ghar kata? (informal) – Where do you live?
Khana khaanu bhayo? (formal/informal) – Have you eaten yet?
Yasko mulya kati? (formal) – How much is this please?
Yasko paisa kati? (informal) – How much?
Mahango bhayo (informal) – It’s expensive
Saarai mahango bhayo (informal)- Its very expensive
Malaai tapaai man paryo (friendly) – I like you
Ma tapaai laai maya garchhu – I love you
Below is a list of Nepali words and phrases used in giving or asking for directions.
Sidhaa jaanus/agaadi jaanus – go straight ahead
Daahine/daaya – on the right
Debre/baaya – on the left
Ghumnu hos/farkinu hos – turn around/come back
agaadi – in front
pachaadi – at the back/behind
uttar – north
purba – east
paschim – west
dakshin – south
maathi – on top
muni/tala – below/at the bottom
bhitra – inside
baahira – outside
Below is a list of Nepali question words with their corresponding meanings and examples in English.
ke? – What?
kun? – Which?
ko? – Who?
kata? – Where?
kina? – Why?
kaile? – When?
kasari? – How?
kati? – How much?
kata? – Where?