|Time Zone||NPT (UTC+05:45) DST not observed|
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|Reply to “How are you?”||Malaai sanchai cha. Tapaaiilaaii ni?|
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Nepal has one of the best climates in the world, so visitors can arrive at almost any time of the year and find things to do that they will enjoy, as it is a matter of ‘what’s good when’. Guidebooks recommend the pre-monsoon months of March and April, when the rhododendron forests are in bloom or the post-monsoon months of October-November as the best. These seasons offer excellent conditions for high altitude treks. Fringe periods are almost equally good with far fewer tourists. The winter sunshine and generally clear skies of December and January also have a great appeal, but one should be prepared for cold mornings and evenings. During the summer months of the monsoon, the paddy fields are at their lushest and there is a wonderful range of fascinating and colorful cultural festivals.
Kathmandu remains the centre and the start point for almost every tourist arriving in Nepal. As with many cities around the world, the traffic gets busy at peak hours, so adopt careful planning to make the most of your days. Enjoy the early morning Everest sightseeing flight, which means a pre-traffic start to the day. The architecture and cultural magnificence of the great Malla era durbars of the four main cities of the valley (Kathmandu, Patan, Bhaktapur and Kirtipur) are outstanding. There is much to see so best to take your time, reduce travelling as much as possible and plan to visit sights, which are near to each other. Choose an area, start out early, linger and enjoy. There are always tucked away places to find for a light lunch or take a packed lunch with you. Kathmandu has no shortage of wonderful cultural sites to visit; palaces, Hindu temples and shrines, Buddhist stupas. Many of these sites offer a unique blend of both Hinduism and Buddhism. It is a great city for shopping too, from pashima and cashmere to jewellery, thangka paintings and trinkets.
Flights to Nepal
Nowadays getting to Nepal is easier! There are many airlines, which fly into Kathmandu, from a number of European destinations, including Turkish Airways from Istanbul. There are flights via the Middle East, including Qatar airlines, Emirates, Etihad and Oman Air. Jet Airways and Indian Airlines fly from Delhi, Mumbai and Calcutta, and for those travelling in from the East: Thai Airways, Silk Air, Druk Air and Bangladesh Biman.
Travel companies with experience in Nepal
Nepal cannot be mentioned without the linked word ‘Trekking’. Commercial trekking to the foothills of the Himalayas only started in 1965. It can be anything from a 1 day hike on the rim of the Kathmandu valley to an epic 25-30 day challenge in the remote far west of Dolpa or crossing the three high passes in the Khumbu (Everest) region. The Annapurna foothills out of Pokhara offer wonderful variety and are accessible all year round. Two words of caution, firstly try to avoid the popular routes in peak season (1-20th October) and secondly do not be put off by stories that encroaching roads have ruined the finest treks. It simply is not true. There are alternate routes that have been created to avoid the roads and in any event there are few vehicles on these rough mountain roads.
Note of Caution: Lastly, never ever trek alone, have a guide, porter or friend with you. There are very rare cases of assault reported but equally a slip off the path when alone can end tragically.