Nepal Travel Information
All baggage must be declared and cleared through the customs on arrival at the entry. Personal effects are permitted free entry.Passengers arriving at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) without any dutiable goods can proceed through the Green Channel for quick clearance without a baggage check. If you are carrying dutiable articles, you have to pass through the Red Channel for detailed customs clearance.
Apart from used personal belongings, visitors are allowed to bring to Nepal free of duty cigarette (200) or cigars (50), distilled liquor (one 1.15 liter bottle), and film (15 rolls). You can also bring in the following articles free of duty on condition that you take them out with you when you leave: binocular, movie or video camera, still camera, laptop computer, and portable music system.
The export of antiques require special certification from the Department of Archeology, National Archive Building, Ram Shah Path, Kathmandu. It is illegal to export objects over 100 years old like sacred images, paintings, manuscripts that are valued for culture and religious reasons. Visitors are advised not to purchase such items as they are Nepal's cultural heritage and belong here.
For more information on customs matters, contact the Chief Customs Administrator, TIA Customs Office (Phone: 4470110, 4472266).
Foreign Currency and Credit Cards
Payment in hotels, travel agencies, and airlines are made in foreign exchange. Credit cards like American Express, Master and Visa are widely accepted at major hotels, shops, and restaurants. Remember to keep your Foreign Exchange Encashment Receipt while making foreign exchange payments or transferring foreign currency into Nepalese rupees. The receipts may be needed to change left-over Nepalese Rupees into hard currency before leaving the country. However, only 10 percent of the total amount may be converted by the bank. ATM is widely in use in Kathmandu.
Major banks, hotels, and the exchange counters at Tribhuvan Airport provide services for exchanging foreign currency.
Exchange rates are published in English dailies such as The Rising Nepal, The Kathmandu Post and The Himalayan Times. Nepalese Rupees are found in denominations of 1000, 500, 100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1. Coins are found in denominations of 10, 25 and 50 paisa. One rupee equals 100 paisa.
Time and Business Hours:
Nepal is five hours 45 minutes ahead of GMT.
Business hours within the Valley:
Government offices are open from 9 am to 5 p.m. from Monday through Friday in the Kathmandu Valley. Outside the Kathmandu Valley it opens on Sunday also. Banks are open from Sunday through Friday from 10 am to 3.30 pm. open until 12 pm only on Friday. Most Business offices are open from 10 am to 5 p.m. Sunday through Friday. Embassies and international organizations are open from 9 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday. Most shops open after 10 am and close at about 8 pm and are usually closed on Saturdays.
Business hours outside the vValley:
Government offices outside Kathmandu valley open from 10 am to 5 p.m. from Sunday through Thursday. On Fridays they remain open until 3 pm. Banks are open from Sunday through Thursday from 10 am to 3 pm. On Fridays, banks remain open until 12 pm only. Business offices are open from 10 am to 5 pm Sunday through Friday. Embassies and international organizations are open from 9 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday. Most shops open after 10 am and close at about 8 pm and are usually closed on Saturdays.
Nepal observes numerous holidays, at the least a couple in a month. So please check the holiday calendar. Government offices observe all the national holidays and banks observe most of them. Businesses observe major holidays only.
The Central Post Office located near Dharahara Tower, is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The counters are open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and provide stamps, postcards and aerograms. Post Restante is available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Express Mail Service (EMS) is available at GPO and at Thamel, Basantapur and airport postal counters.
Telephone, fax, telex and telegraph services are available at the Nepal Telecommunications Corporation at Tripureshwar. Hotels and private communications centers provide long distance telephone. For calling from outside, country code for Nepal is 977 and the area code for Kathmandu is 1.
Several Internet cafes and communication centers have opened up in the Valley and around the country in the past few years. Visitors only have to find a place they are most comfortable in to use the facilities to keep in touch with home. E-mail and Internet services are also offered by hotels.
Nepali media has sped light years ahead in just a few years time and what used to be a controlled and tight knit community, is so no more. The government audio and television news networks are Radio Nepal and Nepal Television respectively. However, numerous FM radio stations and upcoming regional television stations are dominating the market. Major Nepali daily newspapers are Gorkhapatra and Kantipur, while the English dailies are The Rising Nepal, The Kathmandu Post and The Himalayan. A number of other newspapers and magazines are also available.
Major towns have electricity and the voltage available is 220-volts and 50 cycles. Load shedding is sometimes experienced. However, most major hotels have installed their own generators.
SOME DOS AND DON'TS
* The form of greeting in Nepal is "NAMASTE" and is performed by joining the palms together.
* Before entering a Nepalese home, temple, and stupa remember to remove your shoes.
* Be careful not to use your spoon, fork or a hand being used for your eating to touch other's food, plate, cooking utensil or the serving dish. Do not eat from other people's plate and do not drink from other people's bottle or glass. It is considered impure by the Nepalese.
* Never touch anything with your feet. This is considered an offence among Nepalese.
* While travelling dress appropriately. Women should specially avoid dressing in skimpy outfits.
* Seek permission first before entering a Hindu temple. Many Hindu temples do not allow westerners or non-Hindus to enter.
* Leather articles are prohibited to be taken inside the temple precinct.
* Walking around temples or stupas is traditionally done clockwise.
* Take photographs only after receiving permission for the object or person being photographed.
* Public displays of affection between man and woman are frowned upon. Do not do something that is totally alien to our environment.
* Remember, many times, when a person shakes his head from left to right, he may mean "Yes".
* Develop a genuine interest to meet and talk to Nepalese people and respect their local customs.