How do I plan a trip to Nepal?
Many of you may be asking yourself, just how do I plan a trip to Nepal? After all, this magical Himalayan kingdom has quite the reputation, doesn’t it? I have to say that the reality is so much better, and you are unlikely to leave disappointed. I have visited Nepal more than ten times, and in this post, I will tell you everything I know about planning your perfect trip here.
Nepal is not a very big country, but some parts are very inaccessible indeed and can be time-consuming to reach. The first thing you will need to do is work out where you want to go and how long you can invest in your trip. It sounds straightforward enough, but this is the hardest part of planning. This is a personal dedication, and only you can answer it. The rest you will be able to learn from this guide.
Let’s have a look at how to plan your perfect trip in five easy steps because that is all it takes to be travelling like a pro. This blog is well worth your time to read as you can use this basic framework to plan a trip just about anywhere in the world. So without further ado, let’s jump straight in, shall we?
Plan how long and where do you want to go in Nepal?
First, you will need to plan how long and where do you want to go in Nepal. As I mentioned before, it is hands down your hardest decision as there is so much to do here and your time is so precious.
It is a very good idea not to get over creative with your itinerary if you only have a couple of weeks as much of the country is very hard to reach. In all reality, Nepal is one of those countries where things run in time rather than on time. After all, no one wants to be missing their expensive flight home now, do they? This is why it is the most important two steps. You will carefully have to measure what is achievable against what you actually want from your time and money.
Many of us will be limited to how much time we can dedicate to our trip as we have responsibilities at home and seldom can we dedicate the months on end it takes to see Nepal in any detail. If you can then enjoy yourself and you can officially consider yourself one of the lucky ones. Once you have this choice firmly made the rest of organising your dream trip is child play.
Plan your entry into Nepal
After that, you will have to plan your entry into Nepal. It is easy to work out what airport you will be arriving in as there is only one international airport in the whole country. That is the tiny yet busy Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu.
However, if you are planning on undertaking some of the more far-flung destinations you will probably have to book flights in advance as there is not many. These will save many days in transit although I would note that Nepali airlines have some of the worst track records for safety in the world. I would also note that it is not a hell of a lot more safe arriving by bus to some of these places in all fairness. It is up to you what you decide is best for you of cause but at least now you are well informed.
Nepal has many land borders with India and one very hard to use border with Tibet. Not many of us will be arriving from Lhasa but there will be a truckload of tourists coming from the Indian side. I have used most of the borders at some point, so I am in a position to give some practical advice on how best to use them. I have a whole post called the four best ways to reach Nepal where I cover all of the most popular methods in great detail.
Without question, the most popular crossing is the Sanuli border where I have written a whole separate post on it as there are quite a few considerations to make on that before you arrive.
Plan your visa for Nepal
Next, you will need to plan your visa for Nepal although this will not take very much. The Nepalese tourist industry is a very well oiled machine and yes the country is open for tourism post COVID19.
When you turn up to collect your visa, make sure you have US dollars ready for payment. If you try and use any other currency, including INR, you will get an awful deal on their exchange rate. The guards seem to be all into making a profit where ever they can. Oh, and no, you can not use your credit or debit card to pay as they are not excepted, although I am not completely sure about the airport, to be honest.
At the moment, the visa costs for foreign travellers are as follows:
- 15 days 30 USD
- 30 days 50 USD
- 90 days 125 USD.
This is subject to change at a moment’s notice, So here is the link to the Nepali department of immigration. Check it out for any changes and up to date advice. You can also fill out the online form on the same website provided on the link above and apply for visa 15 days before turning up. Visas will be issued on arrival. Ensure you also have standard sized passport photos, valid identity and a pen that works.
Other than that, it should be all smooth sailing. First, make sure your passport photo meets the normal criteria. Your visa will be issued on the spot if everything is in order. Citizens of India do not need a visa, and your pass will be valid for up to 30 days.
Trekkers will have to apply for any extra restricted area permits in Kathmandu or their home country as your visa does not cover you for access. Double-check if you need one, as some of the fees are insane. It depends on where you plan on trekking in Nepal, but they can easily run into hundreds of dollars.
Plan your equipment for Nepal.
Now you will need to plan your equipment for Nepal. This can cost a lot of money depending on what you want, but please remember not to take more than you absolutely need as you will have to carry every last thing on your back for your whole trip. The more expensive items such as your camera should be bought in advance. If you leave everything till the last minute, it can be both overwhelming and expensive. Somethings like medicines or toiletries are best bought closer to the time you start your visit if not while you travel.
If you are confused about what you should be buying, I have a whole Ebook for you to download you will probably find to be useful. It is completely free and it has taken me a whole lifetime to accrue this information. It simply makes sense as you can read in one hour what it has taken me a lifetime to learn.
I would also advise you to photocopy your visa and passport. There are numerous times you may need this such as applying for permits or at the borders. Trust me, it happens sometimes, and it is better to be organised than not. Passport photos would not go amiss either, although I tend to purchase them in Nepal if I can as they are far cheaper.
Change a few rupees at the airport when you arrive and change the rest in town for the best rates. If like most travellers you will be using your card mostly I would strongly recommend you tell your bank that you are coming to save any complications later. Please bear in mind Nepali rupees are a dead currency outside of Nepal and are not changeable. Whatever you have left will be a souvenir or if you are lucky you can sell them to a fellow traveller heading the other way so be mindful of what you decide to change towards the end of your journey.
In summary of my blog answering the question of how do I plan a trip to Nepal?
Planning your dream trip is honestly as simple as that! Now all that is left to do is to say goodbye to your families and get on the plane. You can let the adventures begin. I think that was quick and relatively painless right? However, there is not really a lot more that needs to be said without unnecessarily cutting into your busy days.
I hope you have enjoyed my post and have found it of value. I have certainly put some thought into it while making it as bite-sized as possible. I have sporadically posted the relevant links for further reading or to answer separate questions where I felt the links were needed. Do follow them in your own time and let me know what you think. With that said I believe that’s all that needs to be said for now so I will see you in the next post and take care guys.
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