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About Nepal

Nepal is a country of amazing extremes. Imagine a rectangle, 500 by 150 miles (800 by 240km), dividedMap of Nepal lengthwise into three strips. The northernmost strip is the Himalayas; Meaning "above of snow," and includes eight of ten highest mountains in the world. The southernmost region, called the Terai, is an extension of the Gangetic plain of northern India, containing, jungles with elephants, rhinoceros and tigers. These inhabitants contrast markedly with the yaks and snow leopard less than 100 miles (160 km) to the north. Nepal is a round-the-year destination with a difference, be it summer, monsoon, autumn or winter. One finds an unsurpassed splendor in all the seasons depending upon one's mood and choice. Mother nature has gifted this country with bountiful beauty in all the seasons-the balmy and moderate summer of the valleys provides with the opportunity of strolling around the temples, monuments and shrines in a leisurely manners; the monsoon provides the vies of the soothing green lush valleys and an occasional opening up of the snow-capped peaks all along the northern border. Summer or winter, during the both extremes of the weather the climate is surprisingly moderate and soothing. Customs & Airports Green Channel: 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. Import: Apart from used personal belongings, visitors are allowed to bring to Nepal free of duty cigarettes (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: binoculars, movie or video camera, still camera, laptop computer, and portable music system. Export: It is illegal to export objects over 100 years old (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. The Department of Archaeology at Ramshah Path near Singha Durbar has to certify all metal statues, sacred paintings and similar objects before they are allowed to be sent or carried out of the country. Handicraft dealers and travel agents are able to assist you in this process. For more information on customs matters, contact the Chief Customs Administrator, TIA Customs Office. Airport Tax: Passengers departing from the Tribhuvan International Airport are required to pay an airport tax of Rs. 700.00 if going to SAARC countries (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) and Rs. 1100.00 to all other international destinations. Domestic airport tax is Rs. 50.00. Money & 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. Major banks, hotels, and the exchange counters at Tribhuvan Airport provide services for exchanging foreign currency. US dollar travellers checks can be purchased from American Express at Durbar Marg and other major banks in Kathmandu. Banks are open 10 am to 2:30 pm Sunday through Thursday, and 10 am to 12 pm on Friday. Nepal Bank Ltd. on New Road is open 7 am to 7 pm all days of the week. The Kantipath branch is open 9 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday, 9 am to 1 pm on Saturday, and closed on Sunday. Rastriya Banijya Bank exchange counter at Bishal Bazaar is open 10 am to 3 pm daily except holidays. Nepal Bangladesh Bank at Ramshah Path is open 10 am to 3 pm, and its branch at New Road is open till 7 pm. Standard Chartered Bank branch at Thamel is open 9 am to 6 pm for credit card services. Counters of Himalayan Bank at Thamel and Bishal Bazaar are open 8 am to 8 pm, closed on Saturday and Sunday. Other banks are Nepal Arab Bank, Kantipath; Nepal SBI Bank, Durbar Marg; Everest Bank, New Baneshwor ; Nepal Indosuez Bank, Durbar Marg; Nepal Sri Lanka Merchant Bank, Bagh Bazar and the Bank of Kathmandu, Kamaladi. The counters of licensed money changers are open 12 hours a day. Exchange rates are published in English dailies such as The Rising Nepal and The Kathmandu Post. 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 & Business Hours Nepal is five hours 45 minutes ahead of GMT. Government offices are open from 10 am to 5 pm from Sunday through Friday (In Kathmandu valley Monday through Friday From 9 am to 6 pm). Banks are open from Monday through Friday (Outside the Kathmandu valley Sunday through Friday and on Friday Government offices & Banks remain open until 1:00 pm). 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. Although Nepal works seven days a week, it observes numerous holidays, at the least a couple a month. So please check the holiday calendar. Government offices observe all the holidays and banks observe most of them. Businesses observe the major holidays only. Visa & Trekking Department of Immigration The Department is located at Old Baneshwor, Kathmandu. Office Hours: Sunday to Thursday 10:00 am - 5:00 pm 10:00 am - 4:00 pm in winter Friday 10:00 am - 3:00 pm Tourist Visa Entry: A Visa is necessary to enter Nepal and can be obtained for the following durations from any Royal Nepal Embassy or Consulate or at the entry points in Nepal. Visa Extension: A tourist visa can be extended at the Department of Immigration, Kathmandu or the Immigration Office, Pokhara for a total of 120 days. If tourists require a visa extension beyond 120 days, an additional 30-day visa can be granted on reasonable grounds by the Department with the approval of the Home Ministry. In one visa year (January to December) a tourist may not stay in Nepal longer than a cumulative 120 days. Note: Visa (only for seven day overstay period) can be regularized at the Immigration Office at the exit point within the period of 120 days in a visa year. Fee exemption: Children under 10 years Tourist Information Center The Department of Tourism at Brikutimandap (Tel: 256909, 256230) and an Information Center at New Road provide brochures and free posters on Nepal from Sunday to Thursday from 9 am to 5 pm. On Fridays, it closes at 3 pm. The department stays open until 4 pm in winter. Tourism information centers are also located in Birgunj (Tel: 22083), Pokhara (Tel: 20028), Bhairahawa (Tel: 20304), Janakpur (Tel: 20755), and Kakarbhitta (Tel: 20208). Tourist Police Nepal Police has a unit of Tourist Police, trained to advise and assist the tourists in their safety and security while traveling, trekking, rafting or resting in any part of the Kingdom of Nepal. Please contact the Tourist Police for advise/assistance on Phone Nos. 247041 at Dept. of Tourism, Bhrikuti Mandap or 220818 at the Tourist Information Centre, Basantapur, Kathmandu or Tourist Police office at Thamel. Entry or exit points for all foreigners are below: » International Airport, Kathmandu » Kakarvitta, Jhapa (Eastern part) » Birgunj, Parsa (Central part) » Kodari (Northern Boarder, Central part) » Belhia, Bhairahawa (Rupandehi, Western part) » Jamunaha, Nepalgunj (Banke, Mid-Western part) » Mohana, Dhangadhi (Kailali, Far Western part) » Gadda Chauki, Mahendranagar (Kanchanpur, Far Western part) Some Trekking Rules » Trekking maybe under-taken for only one place or an area at a time. » Trekkers should follow the route prescribed for them by the Department of Immigration. » To trek along routes that are not prescribed may create serious problems regarding security, food and accommodation. » It is advised to arrange trekking through the registered trekking agencies to prevent oneself from any unseen accident which may occur at any time during the trekking period. » While trekking it is advisable to take only authorized guide and porter. » Be careful with matches around wooded or grassy areas. Forest and grass fires cause serious damages. » Be most economical with all fuel, specially regarding the local firewood. Use minimum fuel for hot showers and discourage camp-fire. » Trekkers are strictly forbidden to cut any green forest resources and to kill any wildlife. » Give preference to lodges and trekking companies that do not use firewood and encourage their efforts to conserve the environment. » Use washing and toilet facilities provided or if none are available make sure you are at least 30 meters away from any water source. Bury excreta and toilet papers and use biodegradable toiletries. Avoid the use of non biodegradable items as much as possible. » Support measures to reduce pollution and improve the environment. Some Do's and Don'ts With its diverse ethnic groups and traditional beliefs, Nepal has numerous cultural practices that may appear unusual to a person on his/her first visit to the country. However, to enjoy your stay in this remarkable country of white Himalayas and sparkling rivers, it is important to take into consideration the different cultural aspects of the country. Here is a list of things which may be helpful to you. 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 hands 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 especially avoid dressing in skimpy outfits. Seek permission first before entering a Hindu temple. Many Hindu temples do not allow westerners 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.h

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