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1. How can a person apply for a Nepalese Visa?

One can apply for a Nepalese Visa by two different procedures: upon arrival in the country or via the Nepalese diplomatic missions or embassies across the world.

A tourist visa will be valid for a maximum of three months and bears multiple re-entry facilities. Upon your arrival at the entry/exit points of Nepal, you can fill a form to procure a Nepalese Visa. These entry-exit points are located at the Nepal-Tibet and Nepal-India land border or at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu.

You can also get the Visa from Nepalese Diplomatic Missions or embassies which are located abroad. This is valid for only six months which means you will have to enter Nepal within six months to validate this Visa.

Refer to the information available at the official website of Department of Immigration of Nepal at http://www.nepalimmigration.gov.np/page/tourist-visa.

2. How can I access the Internet in Nepal and do I need to have a SIM Card?

The Internet can be easily accessed across the country using various mediums. The most popular methods remain mobile data and Wi-Fi.

Wi-Fi is available in most of the major cities like Kathmandu, Pokhara, Biratnagar, Chitwan, Lumbini, etc. Most of the hotels and restaurants in these areas provide free Wi-Fi. Generally, if you are searching for good internet access then it will be provided at a major tourist destination. However, you will not get good internet and Wi-Fi facilities while you are on a trek to higher altitudes.

SIM Cards come in very handy during such situations. Nepal has three main network providers i.e. Nepal Telecom (NTC), Ncell, and Smart Cell. All three of these companies provide data connectivity including 4G services. You can buy these SIM cards at Kathmandu International Airport or local mobile stores in Thamel. These SIM Cards allow you to communicate and access the internet as well. Thus, they are a must on your trips to Nepal. 

3. What is the best time of the year for trekking in Nepal?

The best time to trek in Nepal depends upon your preferences and trekking destination. Most would argue that the best time for trekking is spring (March to May). This season greets you with pleasant weather conditions with blossoming flora. So, you can enjoy your trek in lower as well as higher altitudes.

If what you are looking for clear skies and moderate trekking days then you can also choose to trek in autumn (September to November). This is the best place time to trek on higher altitudes of Nepal as most days are met with a sun shining directly above your head. The view of the Himalayas and surrounding scenery are also better during this season.

If what you prefer is less number of people you want to meet on your trek then, monsoon (June to August) and winter (December to February) are your best choices. There are trekking destinations like Mustang and Dolpo which can be trekked during monsoon. Similarly, treks like in lower region of Annapurna, Everest and Langtang can also be done during the winter season. However, beware of the adverse climates that you may meet on your way. 

4. What is the temperature during the day and night in Nepal?

In Nepal, the temperature varies as per the altitude. There are three geographical divisions in Nepal, namely: Terai, Hill, and the Himalayas.

The Terai region is hot and humid throughout the year, except during winters. The average temperature here is 15 degree Celsius during winter and drops even lower at night. During summer the temperature may rise as high as 40 degree Celsius. 

Areas below the 3500-meter altitude fall under temperate regions. The temperature here can range from 8 degree Celsius in December to 22 degree Celsius in mid-July. The temperature of Kathmandu alone goes below 1 degree Celsius in the winter and can rise up to 25 degree Celsius in the summer. 

The Himalayas that are in the highest altitudes above 3500 meters can get up to sub-zero temperatures in the night. The sun blaze during the day might bring you some warmth. On an average the temperature drops by 6 degrees with 1000 meters in altitude. In winter, the temperature drops below 0 degree Celsius. 

5. What are the difficulty level of treks in Nepal and the level of physical fitness to do those treks?

There are easy, moderate, and challenging trekking routes in Nepal that you can indulge in according to your taste. The level of physical fitness also depends upon the trek you choose. The easy treks explore the hilly trails which are smooth and do not involve a longer duration of treks. These can be done by any age group. Moderate treks include difficult trails and even cross high altitude passes. These require an individual to be at a decent physical condition. They also involve longer walking duration at around 7-8 hours on average. Lastly, the strenuous ones are the ones which require trekking expertise and mental fortitude. It is a must to have a good physical condition as the trails cross 5000 meters.

6. Which type of trek is better? Tea house/lodge trek or camping trek

Due to most of the trekking routes being a hot spot for treks, you can find an abundance of tea houses and lodges. Tea house trekking can give you the benefit of not having to worry about accommodation and dining. Trekkers can stop and rest at teahouses available at strategic locations on the trekking trail. As such, teahouse trekking is also the most famous trekking in Nepal. 

However, you can also choose camping treks. These treks allow you to enjoy the originality of nature and Nepalese communities from afar. Most of the time, you will require a crew to help to set up tents, cook food, and carry your luggage. This may make camping trek more expensive than the famous teahouse treks. 

7. What is AMS and how to prevent or treat it?

Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) is an illness faced by trekkers who travel to a higher altitude. Usually, the symptoms of AMS begin to appear as you cross the 2400 meters in altitude. Common symptoms of AMS are nausea, vomiting, dizziness, headache, loss of appetite, and difficulty in breathing. 

These are the steps you should take in the case of AMS while trekking on the routes of Nepal:

  • Inform you, trip leader, immediately and do as per his/her instructions.
  • Immediately descend the victim to a lower altitude.
  • Prior communication is a crucial key so always aware of the guides of your condition beforehand so that it can protect you from an unfortunate future.

In the most severe conditions, helicopter evacuation is the best option. If the helicopter evacuation seems impossible then the feasible choice will be to follow the horse evacuation which is cheaper in the case of minor symptoms. You can also have porters haul the victims on their backs and descend to the nearest tea house.

8. Should I carry a Personal Medication and First Aid Kit?

If you have a guide with you then he may have a well-equipped medical kit with him but, it is always an advantage to have one with yourself. While trekking, you might come across minor physical problems that might disturb the pace of the trek. So, having medication and first aid kit helps you to tackle and be ready to tackle such problems.  
You can consider carrying the following items in your medical kit:

Personal Medication:

  • Eye Drops
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Azithromycin
  • Decongestants
  • Paracetamol
  • Pain killers etc.

First Aid Kit:

  • Insect repellent
  • Antiseptic Cream
  • Sun cream/Face cream
  • Throat Lozenges
  • Gauze
  • Bandages
  • Multivitamin tablets etc.

9. What is the checklist for personal gear/equipment on a trek?

Having a well-equipped backpack is a must for all the aspiring trekkers. However, you need to have an idea of how much is enough and how much is too much or too little. This also depends upon your personal preferences and trekking destination but, here is a list of some of the important trekking gears and equipment.

  • A medical kit (With personal medications and first aid kit)
  • A traveling bag (Duffel bags or rucksacks with waterproof cover)
  • A day pack to carry all your essentials
  • Lightweight and waterproof clothes (Long sleeves and lightweight t-shirts,  Synthetic thermal vests, lightweight thermal tops, Fleece jackets or pullovers, Waterproof jackets, etc) 
  • Proper Footwear (Thin inner socks and warm wool hiking socks matched with proper hiking boots. You can bring camp sandals and walking poles with you if you want)
  • Heavyweight or lightweight gloves
  • Proper Headwear
  • Water bottles
  • Hand Sanitizers
  • Wet wipes
  • Toiletries

10. Do I need to carry extra money for personal expenditure and how good are the ATM facilities in Nepal?

Nepali currency, Rupee, is the best option to have with you while traveling around Nepal. You can easily exchange your currency with Nepali currency on the ongoing rates at money exchanger's outlets in city areas like Kathmandu, Pokhara. However, you should be cautious about the legitimacy of the money exchange and current exchange rates. To check the daily exchange rates, you can head to the official website of Nepal Rastra bank at https://www.nrb.org.np/fxmexchangerate.php.

It is useful to carry extra money with you while traveling to higher altitudes because you might need it during emergencies or for casual shopping. ATMs are widely available in major cities; however, it is not the case when you trek to remote areas. While ATMs might be available, they might not always be functioning properly. So, it is wise to withdraw sufficient money while you are in the areas which provide reliable ATM access.

11. Are there any safety issues while traveling in Nepal?

Nepal is one of the safest destinations around the world to travel and trek. Of course, natural calamities and unexpected situations might occur but, the trekking routes of Nepal are well-equipped to tackle most of the problems. Recently, a police branch called Tourist Police has been allocated to help tourists in Nepal. They assist travelers and ensure their safety throughout their stay in Nepal. You can find more information on the Tourist Police at the official website of Nepal Tourism Board at https://www.welcomenepal.com/plan-your-trip/tourist-police.html

The concerns, however, depending on how you carry yourself on the trek. You need to be alert for adverse climates and natural conditions and keep tabs on the changes by knowing extensively about the place you are visiting. You also need to be careful about how you dress as you can be at the risk of getting hypothermia or other conditions related to cold weathers. You should also keep yourself well equipped with emergency lodging requirements as well as food and water. The most helpful tip is to keep a slow pace as climbing to higher altitudes on a rush can cause you to have extreme cases of altitude sickness.

12. What are the possibilities of domestic flight delays or cancellation and buffer day?

Due to the variation in climate and geography, the domestic flights in Nepal are often delayed. Autumn and spring are the most ideal traveling time when the flights are less delayed because the weather is mostly stable. Winter and monsoon are a different case as flights tend to be delayed due to heavy rains and thick fog. This is especially true in case of Himalayan regions and airport in such areas like the Lukla Airport, Jomsom Airport, Juphal Airport, Phaplu Airport, Simikot Airport.

Given these unpredictable conditions, it is best to travel with two or three buffer days to spare. In the case of cancellation of flights due to the unpredictable weather, it is better to have some spare days and travel insurance. This can help you charter a helicopter in the case of dire need or claim for a refund.

13. Should I have an International Travel Insurance while traveling in Nepal?

International Travel Insurance is a crucial document if you are planning on trekking to Nepal. It is useful to have one made in your own country before traveling to Nepal for trekking. You should also make sure you are covered for adventure activities and travel over a certain altitude while choosing travel insurance. It is also a must to have insurance that covers medical issues and emergency evacuation. It can save you from costing you your health as well as a bank account. 

14. What type of food should I eat during the trek and are hygienic food and accommodation available during the trek?

While trekking, you need to be mindful not to eat raw vegetables and uncooked food. The risk of getting a gastrointestinal disease is quite high so, you are advised to take care of what to eat. Eating heavily colored food and unwashed fruits should also be prohibited during the trek to avoid food poisoning.

Also, your main accommodation during the trip will be teahouses and lodges. These are comfortable and hygienic as well since they are run to serve the necessities of the travelers. Here, most of the food you consume are mostly vegetarian or vegan food. You need to be extra careful while eating meats in the higher altitudes though as the meat may be uncooked or unhealthy. All in all, the food and accommodation are healthy and hygienic when you trek in higher altitude.

15. Is safe drinking water available during the trek?

You are advised to drink boiled, filtered, and purified water instead of tap water or stream water while traveling. You can ask your accommodation to provide you with boiled or mineral water. It will be helpful having purification tablets or filters with you, or you can use UV light treatments as well. Carrying Life Straw can also be crucial to any trekking adventure. As Life Straw is portable and easily usable in any situation, you must have one in your backpack.

16. Is electricity available during the treks during the trek?

Major trekking routes are always well equipped and have the facility of electricity. Hydroelectricity and Solar-generated electricity are two of the biggest sources of electricity in Nepal. However, electricity might only be available for lighting purposes as you trek to the higher altitude. So, you should bring along your own portable chargers with you just in case. Solar charged batteries can also be helpful during the trek.

The voltage in Nepal is 220-240 volts so, you can’t use the electrical appliances of different voltage specifications. Also, flat prongs are hard to find in the trekking routes so, having a power socket is a huge help.

17. Are the staffs of the company fully equipped and insured?

Guides and porters of Swiss Family Treks and Expedition are well provided for and equipped with ample tools during the treks. We provide all the equipment and insurance to our staff beforehand. Moreover, they are also skilled in their respective field to make your travel experience as pleasant as possible.

18. What documents are required to travel in Nepal?

The documents that you require for your travel are:

  • Visa
  • Passport
  • A photocopy of the passport (Just in case it is needed)
  • Insurance papers (It is beneficial to get travel insurance in your own country)
  • A list of the prescribed medications that you are using 
  • PP-sized photos for different permits

19. Can I trek during the monsoon or winter?

Monsoon and winter are not the best times to be trekking in the higher places of Nepal. Monsoon is filled with unpredictable rain and clouds resulting in muddy and slippery trails. The same can also be said for the winter season. The mountains see extremely harsh weather conditions. 

However, lower altitude treks can still be done even during these seasons. You can also trek to rain-shadow areas which receive little to no rainfall. Humla, Jumla, Simikot, Dolpo, Mustang, etc. are favorite places to travel in the monsoon and lower region of Nepal such as Everest, Annapurna and Langtang in winter seasons. 

20. What are the types of hotels available in Kathmandu and do they store my luggage?

As Kathmandu is the capital of the country, there are a variety of hotels available. Most of the big and spacious hotels are situated here. Even small hotels are well equipped with water, electricity and internet facility along with some even providing transportation. From 1-star hotels to 5-star ones, travelers have a number of options to choose from.

Yes, the hotels in Kathmandu offer you the facility of storing your luggage. Most of the tourists stay in the hotels for some days and then keep their extra luggage in the hotel they are staying in. The hotels generally keep the luggage for free or with a minimum charge but you need to stay in the same place after your return. If your hotel isn’t ready yet or you want to look around before searching for one then there are also separate luggage storage places available in Kathmandu. We at Swiss Family Treks and Expedition provides duffle bags to our customers for storing their luggage.

21. What mode of private transportation should I use?

The best option for private transportation, after tourist buses, are Jeeps and Land Rovers. As the geography of Nepal is diverse and most of the roads are rough, it is more fruitful to use four-wheelers during the trek. They are used mainly to reach the starting point of the trek and are comfortable to travel around on. These vehicles also have AC which is great during the drive. 

22. Do I rent or buy trekking equipment in Kathmandu?

If your plan is to trek only once or twice then you can rent the equipment needed. Jackets, pants, and sleeping bags are available to be rented for a specific amount of time. It is less costly if your plan is to trek only for a short period of time.

However, for long treks, you can buy your personal equipment in Kathmandu as well. There are many branded stores for buying equipment in Kathmandu and they are available in various price ranges as well. Nepali branded products are also just as good for use. So, you can choose whether to buy or rent according to your need.

23. What procedures should I follow at the airport?

The Tribhuvan International Airport is the only entry and exit point by air in Nepal. The first thing to do when you reach here is to get your Visa, the On-Arrival Visa, or approve of your Visa if you have it beforehand. While taking the luggage it is useful to keep your tags in your hand in case it is necessary as the airport is mostly busy and you might have to stand in a long queue for your luggage.

There are exchange counters beside the arrival terminal where you can exchange some money to pay for the taxi which will take you to your destination. The journey back is also the same but you will have to go through immigration check while returning.

24. Which one is better: private trip or group trip/Fixed departure?

Private trips can be more attractive for people who like to travel with minimum people. These trips are equipped with personal guide and porter for your trip which can be a bit expensive. But they guarantee great trekking experience since you can customize the trips as per your preference.

However, a group trip with fixed departure is more advisable when you are trekking to higher altitudes. It is also better to have company when you undertake strenuous treks. Also, traveling in a group can make the trip less expensive and more enjoyable.

25. What are the necessary permits while traveling in Nepal?

Most of the famous trekking routes of Nepal fall under protected areas like national parks, conservation areas, restricted area and wildlife reserves. So, you are required to have the permit to trek through such areas. Whether you are traveling on your own or with a guide, you need to get the permit beforehand and keep a copy of your passport with you as well. The permit fees of various trekking destinations and protected areas in Nepal can be found at the official website of the Department of Immigration at http://www.nepalimmigration.gov.np/page/trekking-route.

26. What are the local customs and culture?

Nepal is a mix of several ethnic and indigenous group united with the custom of treating the guests like god. You will meet people from all cultures during your trip. All these ethnic communities are welcoming in nature and offer great hospitality. Similarly, Nepalese societies are a mix of old-fashioned adults and modern generation. As such, societies still have conventional norms. Travelers should not wear clothing that shows too much skin except in city areas. Similarly, you should always respect the privacy of the people and abide by the instructions while visiting religious shrines.

27. Are your guides, porters, and drivers qualified?

We, at Swiss Family Treks and Expedition, ensure to provide you with experienced and trained guides and porters according to your need. They are skilled and highly-experienced in terms of trekking. They are also good in English and promote teamwork during the treks.

Small amount of Tips to drivers, hotels, restaurants, and tea houses or lodges are also at all necessary. However, you can tip more to the guide and porters as you wish.

28. What do I do in the extra spare time after the trek?

Nepal is filled with natural scenery and serenity so one of the best options would be to relax and sightseeing. You can travel around the major cities like Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, and Lalitpur where you can enjoy our cultural monuments. You can also travel to other places for sightseeing like Pokhara, Chitwan, and Lumbini. 

If you are more of an adventurer who likes adventure sports, you can enjoy your time paragliding, bungee jumping, rafting, or mountain biking.

29. How to enter Nepal?

The only entry/exit point by air in Nepal is the Tribhuvan International Airport. There are numerous international flights that will bring you to Nepal. Similarly, there are a number of land entry and exit points as well. Kakarvitta, Nepalgunj, Birgunj, Bhairahawa, Dhangadi, and Mahendranagar are the land entry points at the Nepal-India border. Similarly, Kerung is the entry/exit point at the Nepal-Tibet border. The railway from Jayanagar in India to Raxaul in Nepal and bus routes also connect Nepal and India. There are no other ways to enter/exit Nepal as it is a landlocked country.

30. Are there any Multi-country trips?

The Asian countries like Tibet, Bhutan, India, and Myanmar are countries near Nepal. Most of these places are connected by land and are easily accessible via both land and air. If you are looking for a multi-country trip then, you can easily look at our packages. Most of these packages include Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan, India, and Myanmar. All of these countries have shared a few cultural and religious beliefs. You can enjoy traveling through high mountains and cultural magnificence. You can also customize the trips easily and make necessary changes to your itinerary on the multi-country trips.