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NEPAL – a country of sacred spaces and Himalayan vistas

A mountainous country of sacred spaces and Himalayan vistas, Nepal is an enchanting kingdom, nestled between China and India. For a small nation, it boasts an uncommonly diverse terrain, including eight of the world’s top 10 highest mountains. In May 2022, I cycled 1100 km solo across this beautiful country.

This travelogue has been divided into six separate posts that detail the places I visited and the activities I did, and I hope it will be useful to you if you plan to visit Nepal.
1. Nepal – travel guidelines
2. Kathmandu – city of Newars
3. Bhaktapur – cultural city & Patan – city of artisans
4. Pokhara – the adventure capital of Nepal
5. Tansen – a charming hill town
6. Lumbini – birthplace of the Lord Buddha


1. Nepal – travel guidelines

How to go to Nepal:

AIR: One can fly to Kathmandu from all the major airports in India. An international airport was inaugurated on May 16th in Lumbini and the new international one in Pokhara is expected to be ready by September. Hopefully, there will be direct flights to these airports from India soon.


ROAD: With six official border crossings with India, road travel is an economical and scenic way to reach Nepal. There are daily direct air-conditioned buses available, as well as private cars for hire.

For those coming from Delhi or Varanasi, the most convenient crossing point is Sunauli, near Bhairahawa. The other popular crossing is the Raxaul border, accessible from Patna, which leads you to Birganj in Central Nepal. Those travelling from West Bengal or Bihar can opt for this entrance. The next two frequently crossed include the Panitanki and Banbasa crossings that take you to Kakarbhitta and Bhimdatta in Nepal, respectively. Choose the first if you’re travelling from towns in North East India like Gangtok or Sikkim. And the latter if you’re coming from the Delhi and Uttarakhand side.


TRAIN: For now, there is no direct India to Nepal train. However, with Gorakhpur (UP) and Raxaul (Bihar) being the closest stations on the Nepal route, one can take trains up to there and make the rest of the journey by road.


Or if you wish to travel by cycle, you can follow my route: http://mycyclingdiary.barretomiranda.com


Best time to visit Nepal
It really depends on your destination, activities and season of travel. The favourable months are usually September – November and February – April. The monsoon season is from June to August.


Visa & Identity documents required for Indian citizen going to Nepal
Indians do not require a visa to travel to Nepal.
Any document with your photo on it, like a passport, election ID card, or Aadhaar card will do.


Time Zone
Nepal is + 15 minutes ahead of India and 5 hours + 45 minutes ahead of GMT.
The country does not observe Daylight Savings Time.


Language and Religion
Nepali is the official language. Hindi and English are understood by most people.
Nepal was the world’s last constitutionally declared Hindu state. However, after the movement for democracy in early 2006, the Nepali Parliament amended the constitution to make Nepal a secular state. A vast majority of the population is Hindu, but a small percentage follows Buddhism or other religious faiths.


Government Holiday
The official government holiday is on a Saturday (unlike India where Sunday is a holiday). Now they have added Sunday too. So plan your visit accordingly.


The national currency of Nepal is the Nepalese Rupee (NPR).
The exchange rate between the Indian rupee and the Nepali rupee is 1:1.60 (10 Indian Rupees = 16 Nepalese Rupees).
Indian currency is widely accepted across Nepal.
Officially, you are only permitted to take Rs. 20,000/- INR into Nepal and carrying of Indian currency notes in the denomination of Rs. 500 and above is prohibited.


Mastercard works at all the ATMs and the maximum one can withdraw at a time is Rs. 25,000 (NPR).
Rs. 500 (NPR) is the fee charged on every withdrawal.
Rupay card was not working at any of the ATMs.


Phone SIM
I brought a NCell sim when I entered Nepal and it worked through my journey.
Indian phone SIMs do not work in Nepal unless you have International roaming.
Free WiFi is provided in most of the hotels and restaurants.


The staple food of most people in Nepal is dal bhat. This consists of rice and lentil soup, generally served with vegetable curries, achar and sometimes chutney. There are many dining options, from traditional Nepali food to international cuisine, to suit all budgets and tastes. You’ll never go hungry in Nepal!


Did you know?
The Nepalese flag is the only national flag in the world that is not square.


Other posts in this Nepal travelogue:
2. Kathmandu – city of Newars
3. Bhaktapur – cultural city & Patan – city of artisans
4. Pokhara – the adventure capital of Nepal
5. Tansen – charming hill town
6. Lumbini – birthplace of the Lord Buddha


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