Nepal Travel Essential Guide
When is the best time to travel to Nepal
Nepal’s climate varies greatly depending on the season:
June – September: During this period the monsoon rains (mostly occur at night) can bring landslides in regional areas. Cloud cover often obscures mountain views with rain, with mud and leeches deterring most trekkers at this time of year.
Treks running in September can be quite hot and very humid at lower altitudes.
March – April: Spring brings warm weather and spectacular rhododendron blooms. A very popular time to visit for tourists and one of the peak times to trek.
October – November: Warm days and clear blue skies make autumn the peak season and the number one choice for many people.
December – February: Winter brings cold temperatures and snow to the mountains. Good trekking, less crowds, and amazing photos but remember to dress appropriately.
The monsoon season in Nepal is between June to September and can cause disruption to travel during this time due to flooding and landslides. Air travel disruption and airport closures are also possible. Be prepared that the itinerary may need to change at short notice.
Holi Festival is known as the festival of colours, is celebrated in March. It marks the arrival of spring and involves throwing vibrant colored powders and water at each other. It is a joyous celebration of love, friendship, and the triumph of good over evil. Travelling in Nepal can at times be dangerous due to revellers consuming intoxicating substances. The day is often associated with physical violence and danger so we advise people to be more vigilant and aware of their surroundings.
Diwali (27 October 2019, 14 November 2020) is known as the Festival of Lights, is celebrated in October or November. It is a five-day festival that honors different aspects of life, including animals, the goddess of wealth, and brothers. People decorate their homes with oil lamps, make colorful patterns called rangoli, and exchange gifts. During the Hindu festival Diwali, travelling can also be dangerous. During this time there are many displays of fireworks in the streets. There is also a lot of pollution caused by the fireworks and it can be very noisy for several days. As there are no restrictions on buying fireworks, there are often injuries caused by people exploding them inappropriately.
You may be required to alter your itinerary during this festival to avoid any dangerous areas to avoid putting the group at risk.
Dashain is the biggest and most widely celebrated festival in Nepal. It usually takes place in September or October and lasts for 15 days. The festival honors the victory of good over evil and involves worshipping the goddess Durga, family gatherings, feasts, flying kites, and playing traditional games.
Teej is a women-centric festival celebrated in August or September. Married women observe fasting and pray for the well-being and longevity of their husbands. They dress in red attire, sing and dance, and participate in various cultural activities.
Bisket Jatra is a traditional New Year festival celebrated in Bhaktapur. It usually falls in April and involves a chariot procession, tug-of-war competitions, and the ceremonial pulling of a chariot symbolizing the union of Lord Bhairav and Goddess Bhadrakali.
Shivaratri, the night of Lord Shiva, is celebrated in February or March. Devotees fast, visit Shiva temples, and perform rituals to seek blessings. Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu witnesses a large influx of devotees during this festival.
Buddha Jayanti, celebrated on the full moon day of May, Buddha Jayanti marks the birth, enlightenment, and death of Gautama Buddha. Devotees visit Buddhist monasteries, offer prayers, and engage in meditation practices.
Gai Jatra, the Cow Festival, is celebrated in August or September. It is a unique festival where people dress up in funny costumes and parade through the streets to commemorate the deceased and bring joy to grieving families.
Janai Purnima, also known as Raksha Bandhan, is observed in August. It is a festival celebrating the bond between brothers and sisters. Sisters tie a sacred thread (janai) around their brothers’ wrists, and brothers offer protection in return.
Indra Jatra is a week-long festival celebrated in Kathmandu in September. It involves chariot processions, cultural performances, mask dances, and the lowering of the sacred Indra’s idol from the Hanuman Dhoka Palace.
What are the top tourist attractions in Nepal?
Mount Everest: The world’s highest peak attracts adventurers and mountaineers from around the globe. While reaching the summit requires expertise, trekking to Everest Base Camp is a popular alternative.
Kathmandu Valley: The capital city of Kathmandu, along with its neighbouring cities of Bhaktapur and Patan, offers a treasure trove of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including ancient temples, palaces, and courtyards.
Pashupatinath Temple: Situated in Kathmandu, Pashupatinath is a significant Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is an important religious site and also hosts cremation ceremonies on the banks of the Bagmati River.
Bhaktapur Durbar Square: Located in the ancient city of Bhaktapur, this UNESCO World Heritage Site showcases traditional Newari architecture, intricate wood carvings, and historic palaces.
Lumbini: Considered a sacred pilgrimage site, Lumbini is the birthplace of Gautama Buddha. Visitors can explore the Maya Devi Temple, Ashoka Pillar, and various monasteries in the peaceful surroundings.
Pokhara: A picturesque city located near the Annapurna mountain range, Pokhara is a gateway to popular trekking routes. It is also famous for its serene lakes, including Phewa Lake, and offers stunning views of the Himalayas.
Chitwan National Park: Located in the Terai region, Chitwan is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the best wildlife viewing destinations in Nepal. The park is home to endangered species like the Bengal tiger, one-horned rhinoceros, and Asian elephants.
Sagarmatha National Park: Encompassing the Everest region, Sagarmatha National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its diverse flora and fauna, including the rare snow leopard and red panda.
Langtang National Park: Situated near the Tibetan border, Langtang National Park offers scenic trekking trails, beautiful landscapes, and the opportunity to explore traditional Tamang villages.
Travelling by air
Nepal’s only international airport, Tribhuvan International Airport, has a single runway that services both domestic and international flights. Cancellations and delays are frequent, especially during peak tourist seasons or in poor weather. Travellers have on occasion missed international connections as a result of this, particularly if flights from Lukla to Kathmandu are delayed.
Flights between Kathmandu and Lukla can often be delayed due to poor weather and there have been occasions (although not too often) when you have had to have your treks rescheduled. We will give you the most up-to-date information regarding delays to flights.
We only use airlines that have passed strict safety audits for internal flights in Nepal such as – Buddha Air, Yeti Air & Tara Air.
Domestic Baggage Limits
Domestic flights in Nepal have strict weight limits: 10kg of check-in luggage and 5kg of carry-on hand luggage per person are included with your flight ticket. Excess baggage (up to 5kg per person only) will be charged at your own expense.
However please be mindful that additional luggage taken will have to be carried by you and/or the porter so we recommend carrying the essentials only during your treks. Hotels will have the option to store any remaining items until you return.
Travelling by road
Nepal’s investment into infrastructure to graduate from a least developed country to a recognised developed country by 2022 has meant major roadworks and infrastructure projects in Nepal can cause significant delays on major roads within cities and highways between destinations. Road travel can also be disrupted due to demonstrations and strikes without warning.
There are major roadworks currently ongoing in and around Kathmandu and to Chitwan National Park.
And unfortunately delays, heavy traffic, poor road conditions and road dust are a reality of road travel in Nepal and cannot be avoided.
The official currency of Nepal is the Nepali rupee (NPR). Its symbol is often displayed as Rs. USD are also widely accepted in Nepal.
ATMs are limited and can only be found in Kathmandu, Pokhara, and Bhaktapur so make sure you carry sufficient cash to cover your needs when travelling outside of these main cities.
Money exchange facilities are available in Kathmandu, Namche, Pokhara, Chitwan (only outside the park) and Bhaktapur.
International credit cards are not widely accepted and should not be relied on.
Please be aware that the government of Nepal has banned the use of 500 and 1000 Indian rupee notes in Nepal. Please ensure you are not carrying these notes on arrival in Nepal as they will be confiscated from you and you could be fined.
It is also worth noting that most establishments in Asia will not accept notes of foreign currency that are old, torn and/or faded and they can be very difficult to exchange or extra fees can be added when exchanging at banks. Please ensure that you have new, clean notes where possible to reduce any risks.
Before departing on a trek, make sure you have enough Nepalese currency for snacks and drinks etc you may wish to purchase, and in smaller denominations where possible, and as there are no ATMs and larger notes (such as 1000R / $13 AUD) can be difficult to receive change.
Every traveller is a little different when it comes to spending money on any trip. You know your spending habits better than anyone, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals and drinks that are not included, shopping, any optional activities and laundry, WIFI, electricity where required.
It’s always better to bring more than you think you’ll need and common sense should prevail. Please also make sure you’ve read your trip details thoroughly so you know what’s included in the trip price and what isn’t. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact one of our team members for clarification.
At Youin Travel we try to plan for every eventuality, but like many things in life there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you have access to an extra US$500 (minimum) for emergencies like severe weather, natural disasters, civil unrest, airport closures or cancellations, strikes or any other events that would result in unavoidable changes to the itinerary.
Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to enable our trips to continue to run, and as a result there may be some extra costs involved.
Medical and health information
When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully to assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. In order to participate fully and comfortably on treks, all travellers need to be in good physical health.
Please note that if, in the opinion of our local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Youin Travel reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without a refund.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information and for any necessary vaccinations before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip.
Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
Written and Shared by Youin Travel Team
Call for a free consultation