Nepal was struck by one of the biggest earthquakes after the 1934 Bihar earthquake on 25th April, 2015. The disaster took lives of around 8500 people and lefter thousands of homeless, hurt and disabled. Alone in Everest 18 climbers died and entire village of Langtang was buried, killing many. There were several hundred tremors for the next three months and one very big within the very 15 days.
After donations and relief work from national and international organizations and individuals the reconstruction was quick and is ongoing even after two years.
The hardest hit districts were the ones in the northeast of Kathmandu and Kathmandu as well. A lot of communities including the centuries old heritages were turned into rubble. The cities towards the south and west i.e. Pokhara, Lumbini, Chitwan, Palpa and further west did not get affected by the earthquake.
2 years after the earthquake, in 2017, every trekking route is open. That includes, Manaslu, Annapurna, Everest and all the other available routes. However, it is very important for you to know that people are still rebuilding. Also, you would see a lot of destroyed buildings, monuments and people still living under tents and tarpaulins.
Despite all this, Nepal still remains the same beautiful and people are still welcoming tourists. What destroyed or affected more than the earthquake is the tourist who never came back or came very late. Since Nepal is heavily dependent on tourism, people in rural places and along the trail heavily depend on the travellers visiting. Hence, if you visit to Nepal, you will spend money in these local communities which will eventually help them generate revenues which would help them rebuild the community directly.
Acquiring tourist visa is not very difficult for tourists. For many first world countries and neighboring countries the visa is on arrival. The visa process is manual and you will have to fill up a form after arrival in the airport terminal. To avoid all the hassles of queuing up and filling up the visa form after a long tedious flight, you can follow http://online.nepalimmigration.gov.np/ and select the visa type on the top of the page, fill the visa application form and print the printed application and bring along with your passport. You will as well need:
Passport photocopies (xerox ) ( bring 2-3 of them just in case)
Passport size pictures
Filling out the online form :
You need to know the name of the street that your hotel, hostel, guesthouse or homestay is located. You can usually find this information on the contact page of the property.
You as well need to know the ward number of your location. There are 46 wards in Kathmandu alone and the ward no of Thamel is 29. If you do not know of the ward number, you can simply google ward number of the place your hotel is located in.
What do you need to present in Tribhuvan international Airport
You will need to present the printed application you submitted online
You need to give your passport size pictures to the immigration officer
You will need to give your original passport along with the xerox copies
You will need pay your visa fee in United States Dollars
How long can you stay in Nepal and visa on arrival?
You can get 15 days, 30 days, 60 days and 90 days visa on arrival.
The maximum amount of days you can stay in Nepal is 150 days in a year.
Tribhuvan international airport was built in the 1950’s and since then not much has changed in terms of the runway and the facility. There are no terminals in the airport or let us say it is a single terminal airport with single runway. Around 40 national and international aircrafts fly in and out of the airport on today’s date. Transporting the passengers to and from the aircraft to the terminal is done by busses.
There are no 24 hour domestic of international flights in Nepal. The first flight comes as early as 6:30 in the morning and the last one arrives at as late as 12 in the midnight.
Yes, there are couple of atm’s in the international airport in Nepal. You can use your credit or debit card to vend money. However, since the atm is not able to cater the influx of people, it is advised to have some dollars, pounds or euros as backup.
Yes, there is a money exchange in the international airport of Nepal. It is advised that you carry US dollars, pound or euros as many other currencies are not exchanged.
Yes, the taxi is available day around but it is better to take a prepaid taxi if you are planning to take the taxi on your own. The local taxis can overcharge you. You can take local buses to your destination once you exit all the way out of the terminal and the airport gate. However, the city buses run only from 6:30 am in the morning to 7 - 8 pm in the evening.
There are several hotels right outside the international airport premises. There are budget as well as luxurious options available. You can as well go a kilometer further towards the temple of Pashupatinath and you will find more and better options.
The currency of Nepal is called Rupees or Rupiya and is different than the rupees in India. The smallest denomination of the currency rupees 5 and the biggest is 1000. The bills of almost all denominations are different except for the Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000. The currency is widely available in the banks or even can be dispensed from the money exchanges.
Other than the Nepalese currency, dollar is widely accepted. However, pounds, euros, Australian dollars and chinese currencies are as well exchanged. But remember this, you cannot use any other currency than Nepalese to buy food or other necessities in local shops and stores outside tourist areas. Other than Nepalese currencies, few places accept Indian rupees of lower denomination. Specially, in the cities close to India, Indian currency in readily accepted.
Banks, ATM and credit cards
Mobile phone, data and WIFI
Buying a sim card is not a problem in Nepal and there are 2 major carriers; Nepal telecom and Ncell. It's easier and more systematic to acquire Ncell sim card. You would require photocopy of your passport and two passport size pictures. It is easier for you to get your sim cards in major cities like Kathmandu and pokhara.
Data is available in either of the carriers but Nepal telecom offers 4G data whereas NCELL offers only 3G data speed. In order to activate data in Nepal telecom, the apn needs to be changed to ntnet and for Ncell it is gprs.
WIFI in Nepal is a common commodity in the present day. You can get access by simply asking the password in restaurants, hotels and lobbies. You can as well find wifi in some of the teahouses on the trail. In some regions wifi is available at free of cost.
Once you get a sim card you need to sometimes manually do following settings
Internet setting for NTC (Nepal Telecom)
Go to setting
Choose sim and network
Choose sim 1 or sim 2 (the sim slot you have put your sim card in)
Press Access point names
Press the first option and type name as NTC
In the APN section type ntnet
Save it and then either restart your phone or turn on the airplane mode and turn off