Nepal is a country full of beauty and nature, with its enormous mountains and its people. Going to Nepal and not trekking is like going to Peru and not visiting Machu Picchu. It is a country that receives many visitors a year, so you should be well informed before embarking on your trip. We understand that if it is your first trip or volunteer you may have many questions, so today we have brought some questions with answers from this wonderful country called Nepal.
CAN YOU DRINK TAP WATER IN NEPAL?
Water in Nepal is not very good to drink. In Kathmandu it is particularly dirty, also in other large urban areas.
Restaurants often give filtered water to drink with food. As a volunteer you have to decide if you want to drink that water or not. Being in the volunteer project at the host family’s house will provide you with good water, in case you don’t like the taste of the water, you can buy it at a nearby store.
HOW’S THE FOOD IN NEPAL?
Dal bhat, or lentils and rice, is the staple food in Nepal. You also find what is called Momos, a ball of Tibetan dough. For vegetarian volunteers you will also find many options. Kathmandu has a variety of international cafes and restaurants, and you can easily find good quality food from all over the world.
Tea houses often have a standard menu of dal-bhat and other specialties such as pasta, chow mein and pizza.
WHAT BASIC SAFETY PRECAUTIONS SHOULD I TAKE AT NEPAL?
As anywhere in the world, it is best to avoid walking alone at night.
- Kathmandu is generally a safe city, but you should also be aware of your things.
- Avoid eating on the street and drinking tap water.
- Political tensions continue in Nepal after a civil war, so you can see some demonstrations, don’t join them.
- In terms of transportation, we recommend that you avoid buses between cities. It is better to invest in a ticket for a comfortable and safer trip.
- Be sure to look both ways before crossing the street, as traffic is chaotic and unpredictable.
IS ENGLISH SPOKEN IN NEPALI?
Generally in Kathmandu most of the people who work in the area of tourism speak a little English. Also in the project both the coordinator and the local volunteers speak and understand English.
You will see that the middle class children or youth generally understand and speak basic English. They can have a short conversation.
HOW MUCH MONEY SHOULD I CONTEMPLATE FOR MY TRIP TO NEPAL?
As it is a solidarity or volunteer trip, most of it is covered by the donation made (accommodation, meals, airport pick-up).
The amount you should consider taking will depend on what you want to do in your free time or the excursions you plan to do.
An excursion in Kathmandu would cost you about $100. In Pokhara and Chitwan you can get around $150 depending on the quality of accommodation and food you choose.
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT NEPAL BEFORE I TRAVEL?
Maybe you are one of those people who knew about Nepal because of the situation that happened in 2015 with the earthquake. After several years, Nepal is still in the process of recovery, so check out the current events in the Nepali Times. Also in the process of organizing volunteering we will provide you with all the information you need before you travel and what you need to know when you are volunteering and visiting Nepal.
DO I NEED A VISA TO TRAVEL OR VOLUNTEER IN NEPAL?
Everyone who wants to go to Nepal needs a visa, except those of Indian nationality.
WHERE CAN I APPLY?
- At any Nepalese consulate or embassy. Also at border points such as: Nepalganj, Birganj, Sunauli, Kakarbhitta, Mahendranagar or Dhangadhi.
The visa allows you to stay in the country between 3 to 6 months from the date of issue. For children under 10 years of age, they also apply, but they do not pay.
Very importantly, the passport must be valid for at least six months.
You can apply for a multi-entry visa for the following period of time:
- 15 days costs around 40€.
- 30 days starts at 55€
- The 60 days have a cost of 120 €.
We also recommend you consult the website of the Nepalese consulate in your country. You can also apply for a non-multi-entry visa valid for 15, 30, 60 days at a cost of 25, 40 and 100 € approximately.
Always carry several passport type photographs in case you need to make any renewal or procedure while already in Nepal.
ARE THERE ATMS IN NEPAL?
Yes, in Kathmandu and Pokhara you can find many ATMs all over the city; however, in smaller towns and villages there are usually none. so we recommend that if you are going to visit or take a trip to a place far from the city, take cash (local currency) with you.
WHAT IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT NEPAL?
It is important for you to know that in Nepal there are areas located at different altitudes. So it is possible to visit Nepal at various times of the year. So depending on what you want to see and do in Nepal, we advise you to make a list of those places and check before going the climate that can do.
The climate in Nepal can change quickly at higher altitudes. The best time to travel to Nepal is during the dry season, which runs from September to November.
For the months from February to May the climate remains temperate, which makes the landscape very green. Contrary to the months of December and January it is usually very cold and for June to August there is usually a lot of rain, especially in high areas.
IS THERE A GOOD INTERNET CONNECTION AND TELEPHONE IN NEPAL?
Wifi and internet are available in Kathmandu, Pokhara and most major cities in Nepal. Even in small places or villages they have cell phone service. However, it is unlikely that you will get wifi during trekking. We generally recommend that the volunteer buy a SIM card when they arrive in Nepal, so that they do not depend on wifi to communicate with family or friends.
In most of the volunteer projects we collaborate with, you have a wifi connection. Also at times the connection may be low.
WHAT VACCINATIONS ARE RECOMMENDED FOR TRAVEL IN NEPAL?
Currently in Nepal is not required to have any vaccine. We also recommend that you call the Nepalese Embassy in your country and you will be able to check if there has been any last minute change.
We leave you some data of the recommendations that are given if you travel:
- Yellow fever. It is only obligatory if you are coming from a country where yellow fever exists or you have traveled some of these countries before traveling to Nepal.
- Tetanus: they recommend it in case you have a cut or injury.
- Measles, rubella, mumps vaccine: to prevent viruses.
- Hepatitis A and B
- Rabies: in case you are going to be in contact with animals
Remember that if you travel as a volunteer you must have travel insurance that covers you abroad and medical distributions.
HOW CAN I BE RESPECTFUL OF NEPALI CULTURE AND RELIGION?
Remember that Nepali culture can be more conservative than the culture in your country, so first observe, ask questions and listen to the local people. For example, in Nepal couples don’t touch in public, they usually shake hands, but only young couples. However, in your country it may be the opposite.
Nepalese are welcoming, kind and cheerful people, we just have to return their kindness and be respectful.
DO YOU HAVE ANY MORE QUESTIONS?
Just send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or leave us your message here. Also if you want to have news about programs, advice about the country, about volunteering, excursions, interviews, questions from listeners ….in addition to information on the web, emails or calls, you can also listen to the podcast that is published every Saturday called The journey of the volunteer in iVoox, iTunes, Spotify and now also in google podcast.