Nepal is landlocked country in Southeast Asia and forms a part of the Indian Subcontinent. Nepal is often referred as a Himalayan kingdom and is blessed with lofty mountains and one of the friendliest populations on earth. Nepal’s crown jewel is the Mount Everest, the highest mountain peak in the world and every year it attracts millions of trekkers and glory seekers to Nepal in order to get a glimpse of Mount Everest or to climb to its peak. Nepal is a pre dominantly Hindu country and has cultural similarities of North India. Nepal is a beautiful country with snow clad hills and plenty of cultural heritages. This country is basically inhabited by the Sherpas and Gurkhas. The Sherpas are the renowned mountain climbers and often assisted trekkers and climbers to Mount Everest and other peaks. The Gurkhas are renowned for bravery, discipline, fighting spirit and for raw courage. Nepal is now one of the most visited countries in Asia and every year glory seekers arrived to admire this beautiful Himalayan country. Tourism is the major economy runner of Nepal and provides employment to millions of Nepalis. Today Nepal is developing its tourist infrastructure and providing more tourist oriented facilities to the visitors.
However, the country in this decade has seen political and social turmoil which leaves it a little destabilize due to security and political factors. Recently, the Maoist has signed a peace agreement and now once again democracy is functioning. One major challenges faced by Nepal is human trafficking and drugs trafficking. Nepal has become the recruitment grounds for forced labour and commercial sexual exploitation. Nepal is a poor country with average per capita income less than 1000 USD. Gross poverty fuelled large scale migration of Nepali population to India and Middle East for better wages and livelihood. Nepal has also become a playground for Intelligence agencies of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China and Tibet; all engaged in increasing influence in Nepal. Nepal also acts as a buffer state between India and China and therefore holds equal importance for both the mighty countries.
Nepal is a country which despite poverty and social problems is helpful and friendly. Most Nepalis will greet you with a smile. The Locals are very friendly and crime rate is less than most of the sub continent Countries. Nepal is a place where you can enjoy trekking and plenty of adventure sports. However, if you are not the adventure type person then Nepal offers you medieval period Hindu Temples and Shrines, peaceful ambience, beautiful views of the hills and complete peace of mind.
Nepal has a typical Monsoon climate with four main season spring, summer, monsoon and winter. Nepal receives heavy monsoonal rains from June to September. Clear and cool weather starts from October to December. Cold from January to March, with the temperature in Kathmandu often dropping as low as 0°C (32°F) at night, with extreme cold at high elevations. Dry and warm weather from April to June - there is an abundance of blooming flowers in the Himalayas at this time, with rhododendrons, in particular, adding a splash of colour to the landscape. Terai temperatures may reach or exceed 40°C (104°F) while Kathmandu temperatures are about 30°C (86°F). This is the best time to undertake mountain expeditions.
The Nepali national meal is daal bhaat tarkaari. It comprises of spiced lentils poured over boiled rice, and served with tarkari: vegetables such as mustard greens, daikon radish, potatoes, green beans, tomatoes, cauliflower, cabbage, squash etc, cooked with spices. If rice is scarce the grain part may be cornmeal mush called Ato, barley, or chapatis. The meal may be accompanied by dahi (yogurt) and a small helping of ultra-spicy fresh chutney or achar (pickle). Curried meat - goat or chicken- is an occasional luxury, and freshwater fish is often available near lakes and rivers. Some dishes, particularly in the Himalayan region, are Tibetan in origin and not at all spicy. Some dishes to look for include momos, a meat or vegetable filled dumpling often served with beer, and Tibetan Bread and Honey puffy fried bread with heavy raw honey that's great for breakfast. One delicacy that you do not want to miss while in Nepal is the dried meat up in the Himalayan Mountains; potatoes are the staple of the Sherpa people. Try the local dish of potato pancakes (rikikul). They are delicious eaten straight off the griddle and covered with dzo (female yak) butter or cheese.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Nepal is certainly during the summer season when the temperature is not harsh and sun is in its full glory. During the summer season Nepal is full of colours and looks charming. This is the time when climbing the lofty mountains is easier and trekking and adventure sports can be best enjoyed.
How to Reach
By Air: Nepal's Tribhuvan International Airport is located just outside of the Ring Road in Kathmandu. The terminal is a one-room brick building with a large wooden table serving as both customs and immigration. There are direct flights from Kathmandu to Bangkok with Thai Airways and the flag carrier Nepal Airlines. Currently Nepal Airlines doesn't offer yet an online booking system. You can make reservations through agencies. Kathmandu is also connected to Hong Kong with Dragon Air/Cathay Pacific. ArkeFly flies direct to Europe (Amsterdam, Netherlands). Many European destinations can be reached via Doha with Qatar Airways, Abu Dhabi with Ethihad, Dubai with Emirates or the low cost carrier Fly Dubai, Bahrain with Gulf Air. Flights are also available via Delhi on Jet Airways and UAE on Air Arabia.
By Bus: There are five border crossings open to tourists. The Sunauli-Bhairawa border crossing is the closest to Varanasi, the Raxaul-Birganj crossing to Patna, Kolkata, and Siliguri-Kakarbhitta is to Darjeeling. The Banbassa-Mahendrenagar border crossing in the extreme west of Nepal is the closest to Delhi. The bahraich-Nepalganj border is the one closest to Lucknow which is the easiest destination by air or train from Delhi.
By Train: Cargo and passenger trains operate between Sirsiya in southern Nepal, and the Indian town of Raxaul. However, except for Indians, foreigners are not allowed to cross border with it. Internal train network is limited to few kilometres of train network in Janakpur.