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Ooaj Travel Guide, tourism, hotel reservation, residence, plane, cheap pension for you holidays in nepal
Free Travel guide Ooaj.com A free travel guide for holidays. Hotels in nepal, Bed and Breakfast!
Locked between the snow peaks of the Himalayas and the seething Ganges plain, Nepal has long been home to wandering ascetics and tantric yogis. Consequently, the country has a wealth of sacred sites:
Nepal is subject to Monsoon climate with four main seasons:
Note that every year can be different, with rains or freezes coming early or late, so check ahead before planning your travel.
Nepal's Tribhuvan International Airport is located just outside Kathmandu. The terminal is a one-room brick building with a large wooden table serving as both customs and immigration. Three month tourist visas are available on arrival. Money can be changed as well, but these services are only available directly after scheduled arrivals.
Outside the airport, all 'representatives' of the tourist industry are required to remain 10 meters from the front door. This does not prevent them from waving large signs and yelling in an attempt to encourage you to choose them as your guide/taxi/hotel/luggage carrier. Make your choice before crossing the line, or better yet, arrange your first night's accommodation before you arrive and ask the hotel to send someone to meet you.
Car rental in Nepal is almost unheard of, as is renting a car in India and taking it across the border. Some travellers have bought motorcycles in India and driven them into the country, but road conditions and erratic local drivers make this an adventurous choice.
A cargo train began operating between Sirsiya in southern Nepal, and the coastal Indian town of Raxaul in 2003. There is currently no international rail travel, and Nepal has no internal train system.
The official language of Nepal is Nepali. It's related to Hindi, Punjabi, and other Indo-Aryan languages, and is normally written with the Devanagari script (as is Hindi). While most Nepali speak at least some Nepali, a large percentage of the population has as their mother tongue another language, such as Tharu around Chitwan, Newari in the Kathmandu Valley, and Sherpa in the Everest area.
Although Nepal was never a British colony, proximity to India has made English somewhat widespread among educated Nepalis.
Learning even a few words of Nepali can be fun and very useful, especially outside of the tourist district and while trekking.
See: Nepali phrasebook
Most of the trekking Nepal is called "Tea-house trekking" as the day's hike is between guesthouse-filled towns. While this doesn't make the treks that much easier, it means there is no need for tents, food, water, or beer-- all those things, plus hot showers and apple-pie, can be purchased along the way. Remote trekking is possible as well, but guides or "porters" are recommended unless you are an experienced wilderness trekker. See also "Stay Safe" for information about Maoists rebels in remote areas.
Some tips for trekking in Nepal include:
Traveller's checks are your best bet. There are ATMs in Kathmandu and banks that will give you cash from ATM or cr cards-- for a charge, but often they are unavailable and you don't want to get stuck!
The Nepali national dish is daal bhaat tarkaari (lentils, rice, vegetable curry). This is the main course served in most Nepalese houses (for lunch and dinner). Nepali food is much less spicy than Indian food, and many dishes are Tibetan in origin. Some dishes to look for include momos, a meat or vegetable filled dumpling - similar to Chinese pot-stickers -often served with beer, and Tibetan Bread and Honey a puffy fried bread with heavy raw honey, great for breakfast. One delicacy that you do not want to miss while in Nepal is the dried meat (it especially complements with beer/alcoholic beverages). Newars, an ethnic group, are considered connoisseur of great foods, so watch out for Newari Restaurants (some of them even come with cultural shows... a great way to enjoy good food while having a crash-course in Nepalese culture). In the Everest region try the local Sherpa dish of potato pancakes (rikikul). They are delicious eaten straight off the griddle and covered with dzo (female yak) butter or cheese.
Pizza, Mexican, Thai and Chinese food, and Middle-Eastern food can all be found in the tourist districts of Kathmandu and Pokhara. If you are on a budget, sticking with local dishes will save a lot of money.
Note that many small restaurants are not prepared to cook several different dishes; try to stick with one or two dishes or you will find yourself waiting as the cook tries to make one after another on a single stove.
Nepali has several traditional alcohols:
Accommodations in Nepal can range between 50 rupees (less than a dollar) on up for a double. Cheaper rooms usually do not have sheets, blankets, towels, or anything else besides a bed and a door. Most budget hotels and guesthouses have a wide range of rooms, so be sure to see what you are getting, even if you have stayed there before. Accommodations will often be the cheapest part of your budget in Nepal.
Volunteer in Nepal
Volunteering in Nepal can be a rewarding alternative to simple tourism. Currently in Nepal, the tourism industry is far removed from the everyday village life of most of the population. Trekking or package tours often move too quickly through the country to provide an appreciation of the natural beauty and diverse cultures. Volunteering is sometimes the only way to see remote areas outside the Kathmandu Valley and well-trod trekking trails.
Teaching English is a popular project for volunteers and is often combined with courses in computer literacy or health and physical education. The Nepali school system, which many children only attend for a few years, requires English fluency so there is always a demand for native English speakers of all ages, races, and nationalities. There are no prerequisites for teaching beyond English fluency and, in some programs, any university level degree.
There are many options for finding volunteer opportunities. Several international organizations will find you a school, room, and boarding-- either at the school or with a local family-- for a fee. This fee can be from $500-$2000 US depending on the type and length of program. Some of this money will go to the school and host family, often they are too poor even to support a volunteer, but the bulk often goes to the agency. In some cases the agency will provide language and culture lessons as well as general teaching supplies and support. Once you make a deposit on a particular program there may be limited options for change. Programs can last from two weeks to six months, but keep in mind the longer stay is more rewarding for both you and the school, as it can take several weeks to get into the swing of things.
A option to paid placement is to find a local, grassroots program, or to contact schools directly in Kathmandu when you arrive. Local hostels and restaurants usually have bulletin boards full of requests for volunteers. More and more local groups are placing ads on the web as well. These programs are more likely to charge only for room & board, but you will need to do some research to find out the specifics of each group and what, if any, support you will receive. Waiting until you arrive also lets you get to know the areas you can volunteer in and allows you to shop around for a situation that best suits you. These placements tend to be longer term (3-6 months), but this is always negotiable with a specific school or project.
Also there are strikes ("bandas") and demonstrations to contend with. Businesses close and transportation halts. Ask about strikes at your hotel and make sure you have enough money to last. Food and water are still available in hotels, and much business goes on behind closed doors. Rallys and Demonstrations are routinely charged by police wielding laathis or long sticks. Tourists are advised to keep a low profile, and to avoid having their brains smashed out by riot police.
Insurgencies aside, Nepal is one of the safest urban environments on earth. Even pickpockets are rare. Still, don't flash cash or make ostentatious displays of wealth, out of respect for the nonmaterialistic reality of the people.
In 2005 two European tourists went missing within weeks of each other at Nagarjun forest. Sabine Gruneklee and Celine Henry both travelled alone into the forest. Bloodied items have been discovered and it is believed they were both murdered.
Drink only bottled water or juice (check to make sure the cap seal has not been broken) or beverages made from water that has been thoroughly boiled and filtered - tea or coffee from a tourist restaurant/cafe is 'generally' safe. After brushing teeth, rinse mouth with boiled and filtered water or bottled water.
Wash your hands. Everything you touch, every hand you shake, etc., is an invasion of local microscopic wildlife. Learn to ask, "Where can I wash?" Every restaurant has one, the locals will respect you for it, and cheerfully direct you to the soap and sink. Then air dry your hands!
Wash or peel fruits and vegetables.
Greet people with a warm "Namaste". Show marked respect to elders. Be friendly, be patient.
Feet are considered dirty. Don't point the bottoms of your feet (or your bum!) at people, or at religious icons. In this vein, be sure not to step over a person who may be seated or lying on the ground. Be sensitive to when it is proper to remove your hat or shoes.
Circumambulate temples, chortens, stupas, mani walls, etc. clockwise.
When haggling over prices, smile, laugh, and be friendly. Be prepared to allow a reasonable profit. Don't insult fine craftsmanship, it's much better to lament that you are too poor to afford such princely quality.
Many Hindu temples do not allow non-Hindus inside certain parts of the temple complex. Be aware and respectful of this fact, as these are places of worship, not tourist attractions.
Email is spreading like wildfire, but your best bet is always Kathmandu (especially in Thamel and around the Boudha Stupa in Boudhnath) or Pokhara. However, Namche, way up in the the Everest region, has several internet cafes that launch your messages out via satellite - though the price is much higher than in Kathmandu . Mail can be received at many guesthouses or shipping offices if you arrange ahead. Phone calls are best made from any of the international phone offices in Kathmandu-- Voice over Internet (VOI) is usually a fraction of the cost of a normal call and it's hard to tell the difference. Check for rates on "callbacks" (you make your call and have them call you back), some places will let you do it for free, others have a charge.