Nepal
Nepal

Description Nepal

07-05-2020 2.025 Views

Nepal most commonly means Himalayas, treks, temples … This is a paradise for nature lovers, hiking and authenticity! Located between India and Tibet, Nepal is a small country in which culture, religion and breathtaking landscapes intermingle.

The country can be divided into three different geographical regions: the Himalayan region, the middle mountain region, and the Terai Plains region. The highest point of the country (and of the world!) is obviously Mount Everest (Sagarmatha), nicknamed «the roof of the world», which culminates at 8,848 m. The lowlands of Terai are home to forests renowned for their rich fauna, while the Middle Mountain region is home to the two beautiful valleys of Kathmandu and Pokhara, covered with rice fields and surrounded by wooded slopes. Finally, the high mountain region of the Himalayas includes alpine pastures, some temperate forests and eternal snow. In addition, Nepal is crossed by many rivers.

Nepal benefits from several climate zones (tropical, temperate, alpine), which allows it to have a great variety of ecosystems, and therefore to possess a great diversity of animal and plant species. These include the Asian elephant, the royal tiger of Bengal, the snow leopard … As for the plant species, let us note the rhododendron, the bamboo, the pine, the acacia, and so many others!

Nepali is the official language of Nepal. The writing system is the same as Hindi, Indian writing. Nepali is the mother tongue of 45% of Nepalese, nand serves as their lingua franca among the 123 mother tongues (!) recorded in the country in 2011. There are, however, two other languages spoken which benefit from a great written and literary tradition: Newari and Tibetan.

Have a nice trip to Nepal !


FROM NEPAL TO TIBET

Between temples and trekking, you will not be disappointed!
Discover two mysterious countries at the same time from South East Asia – two places considered as the as the cradles of Buddhism. Visit of the most known monuments displaying their historical, cultural and traditional values. Participation to the treks towards the world’s roof and admire the beautiful mountainous landscapes.
  • Nepal
  • 16 Days 15 Nights
  • Trek

ADVENTURE IN NEPAL

Adventure is the treasure that we discover every morning
Visit of Nepal’s capital and occasion to climb the highest summits in the world. Visit many original monuments : temples, palaces, pagodas, considered as world cultural heritage by UNESCO. Discover the 2 major religions of the region: Buddhism and Hindu by the vestiges in the valleys. Unbelievable landscapes.
  • Nepal
  • 14 Days 13 Nights
  • Adventure

GENTLE STAY IN NEPAL

What to look for and find is the serene sweetness of an unshakable peace
Visit many original monuments : temples, palaces, pagodas, considered as world cultural heritage by UNESCO. Discover the 2 major religions of the region: Buddhism and Hindu by the vestiges in the valleys. Unbelievable landscapes.
  • Nepal
  • 11 Days 10 Nights
  • Classic & cultural

THE ANNAPUNAS BASE CAMP FROM KATMANDOU

Easy trekking
Visit the capital of Nepal and have an opportunity to climb the highest peak in the world. Visit many original monuments : temples, palaces, pagodas, recognized as world heritage of mankind. Discover the 2 major religions of the region: Buddhism and Hindu. Unbelievable landscapes
  • Nepal
  • 15 Days 14 Nights
  • Trek

FROM KATHMANDU TO EVEREST

Direction : the top of the world!
Visit the capital of Nepal and opportunity to climb the highest peak in the world. Visit many original monuments : temples, palaces, pagodas, recognized as world heritage of mankind. Discover the 2 major religions of the region: Buddhism and Hindu. Unbelievable landscapes
  • Nepal
  • 15 Days 14 Nights
  • Trek
Culture
07-05-2020 2.025 Views
POPULATION :
 
 
A veritable crossroads of civilizations, Nepal is a point of junction between two major cultural areas: Hindu India and Buddhist Tibet. Mostly Hindu, Buddhism is however strongly rooted there, especially in the north of the country. More than fifty different languages and dialects are spoken. Nepali, the official language of Nepal, is spoken by the majority of the population.

The south of Nepal is inhabited by populations of Indo-European origins. The populations settled in the mountains in the north of the country are of Tibetan origin. These two large groups coexist in the middle part of the country (hills or middle mountains) where ethnic groups speaking Tibetan-Burmese languages are also settled. All these populations and ethnic groups have preserved to a large extent their languages, beliefs, customs and lifestyles, and Nepal is a veritable cultural mosaic.

Nepal is not very urbanised, although the Great Kathmandu Valley and the narrow Terai Plain are some of the cities that are the focal points for Nepalese people. However, the majority of the population of Nepal lives in small villages scattered in the lowlands, perched in the hills, hung on the mountainside or nestled in the hollow of the high Himalayan valleys. The higher one rises to the north, the more austere the habitat becomes, the more rustic the houses become, the more difficult the living conditions become. Beyond the tree line, there are only small pastures and temporary huts where shepherds shelter during the summer. Higher up, you end up in an essentially mineral world dominated by rock and eternal snow.

Everywhere at the strategic and touristic points of Nepal, and also in more remote areas, children know how to ask for a pen or a rupee. Why not, it is up to you to decide. However, avoid candy because the rules of dental hygiene are not like ours !

RELIGION :

The gods occupy a fundamental place in the life of the Nepalese. The main religion is Hinduism (80% of the population), but the country also has Buddhists (10%), some Muslims (4%) and a handful of Christians. Hinduism and Buddhism coexist and sometimes even merge, the faithful often taking part in the feasts of the two religions.

Respect for the cow is the sign of the ahimsa, of the lack of will to kill. It is also a sign of respect for the “universal mother”, the cow that symbolizes motherhood, charity and mercy.

More pious and more practical: the cow is the animal that allows the deceased to cross the river (Vaitarani) that separates him from paradise. By offering the priest a cow at the funeral, the deceased could cling to his tail and cross the Vaitarani towards bliss. Nepalese do not eat its flesh, but eat buffalo meat (water buffalo). People of high caste are content, them, with chicken or goat, when they are not simply vegetarians.

Some rules of local savoir-vivre:

  • Turn around the stûpas clockwise.
  • For those who decide to follow the local custom by eating the national dish (dal bhat) with their hand, use the right.
  • Men can go around in shorts and t-shirt, but never shirtless.
  • For women, avoid sexy outfits and shorts.
  • For a couple, public displays of affection are not appropriate.
THE FOOD :
 

The national dish, served for lunch and dinner, is the dal bhat, which consists of a dish of white rice (bhat) and lentil broth (dal), which is mixed with rice to enhance the taste. It is accompanied by a curry of vegetables (tarkari), often cauliflower elsewhere, and a mixture of various and spicy ingredients (achars). Most often vegetarian, it can nevertheless be served with chicken or sheep (more expensive).

In the newar kitchen, named after the Newar community, the dal bhat is made of dried and flattened rice petals, and dried beans, all crunching under the tooth! Otherwise, the principle is the same, with vegetable curry, green leaves and various side dishes. Dozens of other preparations exist, such as alu paratha (potato cake), alu tama (potatoes and bamboo sprouts)…

Vegetarian cuisine is widespread in Nepal (for religious reasons, but also because meat remains an expensive product); it is generally varied and excellent. Nepalese can eat chicken, sheep and goat, as well as buffalo, but they do not eat beef.

If there is a constant in Nepalese cuisine, it is the use of the «mixture of spices» (which is called masala): indeed, each cook composes a learned and personal alchemy of different spices (at least 10), thus making the charm and magic of his kitchen.

The other cuisine to discover is the Tibetan cuisine, with, in the first chef, the momos, ravioli stuffed with meat or vegetables that are served steamed, fried or kothey, that is to say fried only on one side (easy to remember!). It is often excellent and very cheap. Also try noodle soups with vegetables and meat, such as thukpa and thanthuk (bigger noodles). For a traditional feast, opt for the gyacok, but it is usually only served to order and for the whole table. It consists of rice noodles, vegetables, mountain mushrooms, meat, all accompanied by rice, Tibetan bread and momos.

Tea (pronounced “tchya”) is the national drink. In the gargotes, it will be served Indian style, burning, sweet and with milk. Nepali tea is the equivalent of Indian masala tea, that is, with spices like cloves, cardamom, etc. Tibetan tea is very different; it is salted and embellished with a little nak butter (the female of the yack). In hotels and restaurants, they only serve black tea in bags, without any taste.

You have to taste once the chang, this Tibetan beer produced by the fermentation of barley grains, to the taste of farm cider. Although not very alcoholic, she quickly turns her head.

The thomba, also Tibetan, is a millet-based beer … but served hot!

Rakshi is the Nepalese rice alcohol.


Before leaving
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PASSPORT & VISA
  • Multiple-entry tourist visas can be obtained at the Embassy of Nepal in Paris, online (http://www.nepalimmigration.gov.np) or on arrival at Kathmandu airport (bring two photographs ID).
  • Visa fees on arrival must be paid in cash. Euros, Swiss francs, pounds sterling, as well as US, Canadian and Australian dollars are among others accepted. Please note, however, that you can not pay these visa fees by credit card, Nepali and Indian currencies.
  • The durations and tariffs of the visas are the following ones:
    • 15 days: 25 USD
    • 30 days: 40 USD
    • 90 days: 100 USD
  • Travelers must have a passport valid for more than 6 months from the date of entry to Nepal, and blank pages to affix the visa.
  • Before leaving, we advise you to photocopy all important documents (passport, electronic equipment invoices, insurance policy, plane tickets, driving license ...). A very practical tip in case of loss of your papers or valuables!
HEALTH and VACCINES
  • We recommend that you consult your general practitioner or an international vaccination center to make an assessment of your state of health, to analyze the health risks and to benefit from health recommendations, especially about the vaccinations necessary or recommended.
  • It is generally recommended to be up to date in its usual vaccinations: diphtheria-tetanus-poliomyelitis (DTP), and rubella-mumps-measles (MMR) in addition to the child.
  • Depending on the local conditions of your trip, your doctor / vaccination center may advise you to get vaccinated against typhoid fever and viral hepatitis A and B, as well as bacterial meningitis, and possibly rabies and Japanese encephalitis. 
  • In the Himalayas, most trek routes involve several days in high altitude, where mountain sickness can hit. Mountain sickness can be benign or deadly. Get informed and learn to recognize its symptoms: altitude sickness can be manifested by breathing (shortness of breath) and / or neurological disorders (headache, nausea, vomiting, sleep disturbance) that can occur in excess of 3,000 meters of altitude. At a later stage, these manifestations may worsen and sometimes lead to death. Identifying the symptoms of mountain sickness can be difficult: it is essential to communicate permanently, without restriction, on one's physical state. In addition, the capacity of reflection and action of a victim of acute mountain sickness can be altered: it is then necessary, as far as possible, force this person to go back down. As soon as a serious case is suspected, the immediate descent as low as possible (and at least below 4,000 m) is imperative. Anyone, regardless of their physical condition, may be affected by mountain sickness. Gradual adaptation to high altitude is necessary to prevent this risk. The prevention of mountain sickness is based on essential rules:
    • follow a slow and gradual climb rather than taking medication to avoid acute mountain sickness (no more than 400 m of elevation gain between two consecutive nights from 2500 m) and stay hydrated
    • in case of symptoms of mountain sickness, stop climbing
    • if the symptoms persist or worsen, go back down, even at night
    • never leave alone a sick comrade.
  • Protect yourself from mosquitoes by using suitable repellents, and wearing coveralls at night and in the evening.
  • Also protect yourself against tick bites and insects, to avoid getting typhus brush that is a bacterial disease transmitted by mite bites (ticks or chiggers) present especially in the bushy areas.
  • Do not hesitate to provide a small pharmacy kit with some basic products, it will be very useful in case of first aid. Never consume drugs bought on the street (risk of counterfeiting).
CLIMATE
  • In Nepal the climate varies mainly according to the altitude: it goes from the subtropical climate with a rainy season in the southern plains band (the Terai), the moderate climate in the low mountains, and the freezing climate in the Himalayas .
  • Precipitation is abundant in the summer monsoon period (June to early October), which however penetrates with difficulty in some interior valleys and in the northern slopes. On the southern slopes, at equal altitude the east of the country is rainier than the west.
  • Temperatures in the Terai (the southern plains area of ​​Nepal) oscillate between 10 and 28 degrees from November to March, and between 20 and 38 degrees the other months. In June comes the summer monsoon, characterized by abundant rains. She retired in mid-October.
  • Above 800/1000 meters (in the cities of Kathmandu and Pokhara for example), the climate becomes temperate, while the rains remain the same. Temperatures range between 10 and 24 degrees from November to March, and between 17 and 30 degrees from April to October.
  • Climbing still higher, the temperature and the precipitation vary not only according to the height, but also the exposure of the slopes. However, as most mountains in Nepal are located on the southern slope, the climate is relatively mild, even at high altitudes. For example, in Jumla, which is 2,300 meters above sea level, temperatures range between -5 and 19 degrees from November to March, between 4 and 24 degrees in April, May and October, and between 12 and 26 degrees in June. September.
  • In general, the average January temperature drops to the freezing point at about 3,000 meters. Above 3,600 meters, you enter the area where the climate is subarctic, ie where the temperature of the hottest month does not exceed 10 ° C. The eternal snow in Nepal is at very high altitudes, around 6,000 meters.
  • The best time to visit Nepal in its entirety is from November to February, to avoid the summer monsoon, but also the heat of the plains that is felt from March to October.
  • To visit Kathmandu and especially for trekking in the mountains, you can prefer the half-seasons, especially in March and April, and from mid-October to mid-November, namely the periods during which you can avoid both the winter cold and the mud caused by the summer rains. The second period, autumn, is the best, because it is the driest and the air is particularly clear, allowing you to see the snow-capped mountains in the distance.
  • If you want to hike in a snowy landscape, you must go in winter above 3,000 meters (but being a dry season, it is not said that in a given period it snows). Sometimes, around this altitude, it can snow in spring and autumn. To be sure of seeing the snow, you have to go to the Everest or Annapurna base camp, which however require days of trekking to get there.
INSURANCE
 
All travelers have the obligation to take out an insurance policy for their trip before participating in our tours. In order to cope with hospitalization costs and sometimes very high health expenses abroad, it is highly recommended to have an assistance contract or insurance to cover all medical expenses (surgery, hospitalization ...) and medical repatriation, at the risk of not having access to care, including in the event of a vital emergency. These costs can not be supported by the embassy or consulates general of France on the spot.
 
MONEY
 
Be sure to ask your bank about the use of your credit card and the fees for using it. Travel options exist, so consider traveling at no extra cost.
 
ELECTRICITY
 
The voltage and frequency in Nepal are the same as in France (230 V, 50 Hz). So you can use all your devices. Electrical outlets may be type C, D or M. You do not normally need an adapter.

On the spot
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NATIONAL CURRENCY: the Nepalese rupee (NPR).
  • Hotels of a certain category, airline tickets, trekking permits and travel agency services are paid in US dollars. It is useful to provide greenbacks for all these expenses, although you can often pay them in rupees or euros (or by credit card).
  • No problem to change your euros to Nepalese rupees, there are exchange offices and banks in all tourist places, starting with Kathmandu and Pokhara. Do not accept tickets with holes or tears. However, if you go trekking, better change enough for the duration of the latter because, of course, in the mountains, you will not find anything.
  • Tipping in restaurants is not mandatory, but tends to become general. If the service is not already included in the bill, it is customary to leave 5 to 10% of the amount of the bill. For other services, a few rupees are enough.
  • If you go on trek with guide and porters, they will expect (if the benefits were correct) that you leave a tip at the end. A reasonable collective tip is of the order of 300 Rps per porter per day and 500 Rps per guide per day. Note that tipping is generally more important for tent treks than for lodge treks.
  • The current exchange rate is 1 EUR = 132.5 NPR.
 
PHONE 
  • To call Nepal from France, dial 00 977 + city code (without the 0) + number of the correspondent.
  • To call France / Switzerland / Belgium from Nepal, dial 00 33/00 41/00 32 + number of the correspondent (without the 0) respectively.
THE WATER 
  • Be very careful about the water you drink. Never drink tap water, always drink bottled water and check that it is properly capped. It is necessary to be vigilant also with ice cubes, consume only cubic ice cubes or with a cylindrical hole shape in the middle.
TRANSPORT ON SITE
  • Anarchy reigns at the level of road traffic. Pedestrians and two-wheelers are at the mercy of the drivers. This is the law of the strongest, trucks and buses in particular! all the above is made even more dangerous by the state of the network. There are few paved roads; most of the time, it is about tracks, sometimes broken down, without rails ...
A FEW USEFUL VOCABULARY WORDS
  • Hello / Good evening / Bye / Welcome: Namaste or Namaskar
  • How are you ? : San tché tcha?
  • Very well thank you and you ? : Malai sanchai chha, tapai?
  • I do not understand: Maile bujhina
  • Pardon: Birsi dinu
  • Thank you: do not say in Nepal
  • Excuse me / Please: Hajur
  • Yes / No: Ho / Hoïna
  • No thanks: Hoïna
  • How much is it ? : Kati?
  • I would like to buy ... this, this one: Kinnunuparyo

Attractions
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Despite the terrible earthquake that Nepal suffered from in 2015, the country’s power of fascination remains intact, as evidenced by the return of tourists. Of course, not everything has yet been rebuilt, and some monuments were unfortunately irreparably destroyed following the earthquake, but there are still many temples to discover, cultures as unique as ever in which to immerse oneself, of summits to conquer all higher and more beautiful than each other, not to mention the landscapes so varied according to the regions that you will not tire of admiring them!

THE ATTRACTIONS

Chitwan National Park

Bardia National Park

Lumbini

Katmandou

Patan

Bakhtapur

Pokhara

Bandipur

Nagarkot

Langtang National Park

The Annapurna

The Mount Everest

CHITWAN NATIONAL PARK

When we think of Nepal, we tend to remember only its mountainous terrain and its innumerable possibilities of trekking, and we forget that the south of Nepal is tropical, with a low altitudeThis is where Chitwan National Park is located, close to the Indian border. This is the realm of safaris lovers: you can see rhinos, bears, wild elephants, crocodiles, and, with a lot of luck, tigers! Not to mention the 500 species of birds in the park.

BARDIA NATIONAL PARK


Less known than Chitwan Park, Bardia Park is more difficult to access as it is located quite west of the southern plateau of Nepal. This situation makes it more preserved from tourism than Chitwan, which will delight lovers of authenticity and wild nature! Bardia is one of the largest tiger reserves in Bengal. Like in Chitwan, you can explore the park on foot (with a guide), in a jeep, on the back of an elephant …

LUMBINI


 
This city is famous for being the birthplace of Prince Siddharta Gautama, better known as the Buddha. Lumbini is therefore a very important place of pilgrimage for Buddhists from all over the world! You can discover Buddhist monasteries and shrines of different architectures (Burma, Chinese, Japanese, Thai etc.), but also parks and gardens, as well as the temple of Maya Devi (the mother of Buddha).

KATMANDOU


Although Kathmandu suffered a lot from the 2015 earthquake (for example, the historic Dharhara tower has completely collapsed), it is still worth the trip.

 

Let’s first talk about its famous Durbar Square, a true open-air museum of newar art, with temples, monasteries and finely decorated houses surrounding the former royal palace, as well as the house of the Kumari which is the home of a «living goddess», a little girl considered as the incarnation of Kali, the protector deity of Nepal.

Also worth seeing is the stupa of Bodnath with its hypnotic eyes and multicolored prayer flags, as well as that of Swayambhunath (also known as the "monkey temple"), and the funeral ceremonies at the Pashupatinath temple near the Bagmati River (you will also see sadhus, men covered in ash and almost naked or covered in orange, who gave up life in society to dedicate themselves to praying to the Hindu god Shiva). Finally, Thamel’s tourist area is the perfect place to stock up on supplies and equipment before heading out to explore the rest of the country.

PATAN

Also known as «Lalitpur», the city of Patan is 30 minutes south of Kathmandu, and is famous for its Durbar square (even more impressive than that of Kathmandu) with newar architecture, for its superb palace, as well as its surrounding streets that house a multitude of temples. The city was heavily affected by the 2015 earthquake, but most of the monuments can still be visited. In addition, the Patan Museum is renowned for being the best in the country!

BAKHTAPUR


Along with Kathmandu and Patan, Bakhtapur is one of the three ancient royal cities of the Kathmandu Valley. Easily accessible, it is located 10 km east of the capital, and the atmosphere is quieter; moreover, the city is less polluted because cars are forbidden. Even though the 2015 earthquake has wreaked havoc among the temples, those who remain standing are magnificent and force admiration!

POKHARA


Located 200 km west of Kathmandu, Pokhara is at the bottom of the highest mountains in the world, it is the starting point for trekking in the Annapurna.

In addition to this, the city is known for the many sports activities that are possible there: paragliding, rafting, bungee jumping, ziplining, mountain biking, boat or kayak ride on Lake Phewa, or motorcycle in the surroundings … There is something for everyone! In addition, the air in Pokhara is much more breathable than in Kathmandu.

BANDIPUR

Located halfway between Pokhara and Kathmandu, Bandipur is a small village with Newar architecture perched on the top of a hill.

The village is pedestrian, which allows to rest from the chaos that can represent traffic in Nepal! The charm of the village takes from its beautiful buildings decorated with flowers and dating from the eighteenth century, which gives it a medieval charm. But the main asset of the village is the breathtaking view of the Himalayan chain. From the village you can take a walk in the surrounding mountains to visit caves, villages and temples.

NAGARKOT

It is the nearest city to Kathmandu where you can see (with a little luck) the Everest!

And even if you don’t have the chance to see it, the view of the other summits of the Himalayas is simply grandiose. From Nagarkot, you can hike multiple times, each offering its own unique panoramas.

LANGTANG NATIONAL PARK

Langtang is a region north of Kathmandu, on the border with Tibet. Among the many peaks it hosts, the highest (the Langtang Lirung) reaches 7246 m!

Less known than the mountainous regions of Annapurna or Everest, its landscapes are no less grandiose and the possibilities of trekking are numerous (including the tour of Manaslu to name one, one of the most spectacular circuits in the country). Between high peaks, glaciers, high altitude lakes including the sacred lake Gosain Kud, the region has many attractions for nature lovers.

THE ANNAPURNA

Hikers access the Annapurna massif, which is part of the Himalayan chain, from Pokhara. With its dazzling panoramas, the region is really ideal for trekking; from the luxuriance of subtropical vegetation to the mineral solitudes of high altitudes, the itineraries will also make you discover on the way the different Nepalese ethnic groups.

THE MOUNT EVEREST

We can’t talk about Nepal without talking about Everest! The highest peak in the world, Mount Everest, located in the Himalayan Mountains, stands at 8,848 metres. A sacred place for Tibetans and Nepalese, it is surrounded by four summits over 8,000 metres high (Gosanthain, Makarluh, Zhuoyo and Shishabanma Mountains) and 14 other summits over 7,000 metres high.

This mountain range therefore creates a natural border between Tibet and Nepal. Mont Everest records in January an average temperature of -36°C that can go down to -60°C. In July, the warmest month, the average temperature is -19°C. The climatic conditions are therefore polar!

Fascinating climbers from all over the world, its ascent requires extreme training. The most important expedition was organized in 1975 by a Chinese team of 410 climbers. The region of Everest is the land of the Sherpas, an ethnic group that migrated from Tibet about 500 years ago; they inhabit mainly the two regions of Solu and Khumbu.

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