ABOUT Because of its elevation, Nepal can be divided into three zones – the high mountains, the mid-hills and the flat plains called the Terai. All foreign nationals, except Indians, need visas to enter Nepal. Multiple entry visas for 15 days (US$ 25 or equivalent convertible currency), 30 days (US$ 40) or 90 days (US$ 100) can be obtained from any Nepalese embassy or consulate. You can also get a visa on arrival at the Tribhuvan International Airport , Kathmandu or at the Immigration Office at the entry points of Nepal. The Nepalese currency is the rupee and is divided into 100 paisa. Bank notes come in denominations of Rs. 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1,000. Coins are of 1, 2 and 5 rupee denomination. Although specific immunization is not required to enter Nepal, it is, however, best to protect yourself against diseases such hepatitis, meningitis and Japanese encephalitis. Malaria has been reported in the Terai plains of Nepal, so take precautions against being bitten by mosquitoes. Please notify the authorities or the hotel of any symptoms of bird or swine flu or any endemic.

CLIMATE The Everest, Langtang and Annpurna trekking destinations in the mountains are cool throughout the year. The mid-hills, including Kathmandu and Pokhara, are cool except in the summer months from May to July. Temperatures in these cities during the summer remain much cooler than in many cities of the region. Lumbini, Chitwan and Janakpur in the Terai plains are hot in summer (March –July) but cold in winter (December-February). So if you are going trekking, the best months for walking are between September and November and between February and May when the weather is fair during the day and the temperatures do not drop rapidly during the night.

BEWARE It is safe to take a walk around the city from morning to late evening until the shops are closed. But you are advised not to trek alone. Trekking with a guide from a registered agency is the best security. Most visitors to Nepal experience a trouble-free stay. But crimes such as assault and theft against foreigners in Kathmandu and throughout the country continue to increase. Pick-pocketing and bag-snatching are common in Kathmandu, particularly in tourist areas. Airports, buses and hotel rooms are also targeted by criminals. The areas of Thamel, Sanepa and Kupondol in Kathmandu have seen a sharp rise in petty theft and burglary against foreigners. Incidents of bag-snatching by motor-bikers are on the rise, particularly in relatively quieter areas of Kathmandu Valley. There are increasing reports of foreigners being injured in the course of such incidents. Assaults and robberies often occur in the evening in areas that are poorly lit; however, attacks against foreigners have occurred in broad daylight. You should exercise caution when walking around Kathmandu at night, especially in areas experiencing power cuts. Avoid walking on your own. Bars and restaurants are now required to close at midnight as part of a Government crackdown on illegal activities. This means that after this time the streets around the city are poorly lit and relatively few people are about. Foreigners remaining in bars and clubs after hours are known to have been detained by the police. You should exercise caution when entering ‘dance bars’ as some foreigners have been swindled or harassed in some of these establishments. As elsewhere, you should exercise judgement when accepting drinks from strangers, and should not leave your drinks unattended.

 



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