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Travel guide to Nepal

Passports
Your passport must be valid for 6 months after your return date with at least 1 blank page.
Visas
A tourist visa can be purchased online in advance of travel, or at the airport on arrival.
Health
There are no compulsory health requirements when visiting Nepal. There is no yellow fever in Nepal, but a yellow fever certificate is required from travellers arriving from a country with risk of yellow fever transmission. Malaria tablets are not usually recommended, but check with your doctor. As dengue fever is present, a good insect repellent and anti-histamine are also advised. The mosquito that spreads dengue bites during the day and is more common in urban areas. You should be up to date with your primary courses and boosters. Always check with your doctor at least 8 weeks before travel for any other inoculations recommended (eg Hepatitis A+B, Cholera, Diphtheria, Tetanus, Typhoid, Polio, Meningococcal Meningitis, Rabies and TB).
Currency
Nepalese Rupees (NPR) - You can exchange currency at the airport on arrival, but you will not be able to exchange any surplus currency afterwards. Remember to ask for small denominations, which are useful for tipping.
Language
There are 123 different languages, although Nepali is the official language. English is widely spoken in tourist areas.
Time Zone
GMT + 5.45 hours
Travel Tips
To ensure that you have the best possible holiday experience, we ask you to read the following information carefully. If you have any questions, please discuss them with us before you depart. 
 
Insurance - Emergency evacuation insurance is essential, if trekking in Nepal. 
 
Cash - it is essential to take foreign currency in small denominations, and only exchange the amount you are likely to use, as you will not be able to change any surplus back into hard currency. 
 
Hand Luggage – pack essential items for a day or two in your hand luggage, in case your bags go astray and take a few days to catch up with you, especially if you have any tight connecting flights. 
 
Baggage – if your itinerary includes a domestic flight, your luggage is often restricted to 15 kg after which excess baggage charges apply. 
 
Documents – take a copy of your travel insurance policy with you, and leave a copy of your passport with a reliable contact at home, in case the originals are lost or stolen. 
 
Electronic Devices – ensure these are all fully charge before travel, as you may be required to switch them on at airport security. Any device that does not switch on cannot be checked in and must be surrendered. 
 
Mobile Phones – make sure they are set up for international calls and turn off data roaming to avoid nasty bills. Most hotels offer free Wi-Fi but some rural regions may not have good cell phone coverage. 
 
Credit Cards – remember to inform your bank when travelling abroad. Credit cards are widely accepted by tourist hotels, but always ensure you have cash when shopping in cities and travelling in the countryside. 
 
Clothing – this will vary depending upon the season and altitude. Light clothing is the most comfortable in the summer months, although you will need some warmer clothes in the mountains. Warm clothing is essential in the winter months, when temperatures drop sharply at night even in the south and Kathmandu Valley. Mountain temperatures will be well below freezing in the winter and proper cold weather gear is essential. In general take good walking shoes, a day pack, T-shirts, shorts, fleece, jeans, sunhat, sun hat, sunglasses, swim suit and sunscreen. A head torch is very useful at night. To visit temples pack long sleeved tops or pashmina to cover your shoulders, long skirts or trousers to cover your knees. On safari take a good insect repellent. Rain gear is needed during the monsoon season. Sanitising hand cleaner/wet wipes and eye drops can be handy, especially if you wear contact lenses. 
 
Accessories – pack your phone (with charger and a spare battery pack), camera (with spare memory cards and batteries – a 200 mm zoom lens is good for wildlife photography), torch and binoculars (large 8x40 is best). If you are a keen birder we suggest one pair per person, as it can be frustrating to share. 
 
Plugs – type D (small round 3-pin). 
 
Books – pack a good travel guide, with information on the wildlife and birds of the region. Also a good supply of reading material for quiet evenings and when waiting for flights. 
 
Water – be fastidious and only drink bottled water. Avoid washed salads, local yoghurt, ice cream and ice cubes outside your hotel, as tap water is not safe to drink. Peel all fruit before eating it and remember to brush your teeth with bottled water. Pack diarrhoea tablets and rehydration sachets for emergencies. 
 
Food – Most food is vegetarian in this Buddhist country. Dal (lentils), bhat (rice) and tarkari (curried vegetables) are the staple diet. 
 
Shopping – it is customary to negotiate prices aggressively. Be aware that your guide will earn a commission on any purchases you make. You need to tell him very firmly if you don’t want to be taken to any more shops, as he will continue to do this until you make it very clear this is not what you want. 
 
Safety – as this is a third-world country take all sensible precautions. Leave valuable jewellery/watches at home, wear a money belt and be alert when outside your hotel. In particular, avoid taking out large wads of cash in public view and keep your spare cash in your hotel safe. 
 
Respect Local Customs – this is a Hindu and Buddhist country, so respect religious images and dress modestly away from your hotel. Always cover your shoulders and knees when visiting temples. 
 
Wild Animals – attacks by wild animals are rare, but we cannot guarantee that attacks will not occur so observe all sensible precautions. We cannot be held responsible for injuries caused during an incident with a wild animal. 
 
At high altitude take precautions against altitude sickness (i.e. moderate alcohol, walk slowly and drink plenty of water). 
 
Tipping – this is voluntary and should depend on the level of service, with "small but often” being a useful guide to tipping in Nepal. We suggest the local currency equivalent of the following USD per couple, but this can be reduced for longer stays: 
- overland driver: $10 per day 
- city guides: $10 per day ($5 for half day) 
- game ranger/tracker: $5/$2 per game drive 
- tipping box for hotel staff: $2 per day 
- waiters: 10%  
- porters: $1 per bag
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