MAKING NEWS!

  • NAC Annapurna A330-200 maiden passenger flight

    NAC Nepal Airlines Corporation's brand new aircraft "Annapurna" Airbus A330-200 made its first maiden flight 01 August 2018 with 250…

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  • Thai Lion Air commences flights to Nepal!

    Thai Lion commenced flights connecting Kathmandu Nepal with Bangkok Thailand making it the 3rd airline to directly connect these two cities. …

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  • Helicopter charter service in Lhasa

    Tourists will now enjoy a wings over view of Lhasa city provincial capital of Tibet Autonomous Region with the operation…

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  • New! Highway Kathmandu to Lhasa opens

    The overland highway between Nepal and Tibet TAR has opened now making it possible for International tourists to travel through…

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  • Boutique hotels in Kathmandu

    Boutique hotels in Kathmandu offer visitors the opportunity to stay close to World Heritage Sites and enjoy a unique experience. …

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  • Book Bhutan Festival Join - in Departures 2018

    Bhutan Festival Join-in Departures 2018 are set giving an opportunity for individuals and couples to enjoy these festivals in the…

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  • Nepal Heritage sites all open

    Nepal Heritage Sites have re-opened giving visitors opportunity to visitors to sightsee centuries old monuments and cultural highlights which the country…

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FAQs

Nepal FAQs

Access to Nepal

By Air, major international airlines and charter flights operate to Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport from Abu Dhabi, Bangalore, Bangkok, Bombay, Calcutta, Chengdu, Delhi, Dhaka, Doha, Dubai, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Kolkata, Kuala Lumpur, Kuming, Kuwait, Lhasa, Mumbai, Muscat, Paro, Shanghai, Sharjah, Singapore and Varanasi. Airlines operating into Nepal include Air Arabia, Air China, Air Asia, Air Sichuan, Bangladesh Biman, Bhutan Air, Buddha Air, China Eastern, China Southern, Dragon Cathay, Druk Air, fly Dubai, Emirates, Gulf Air, Himalaya Airlines, Indian Airlines, Indigo Air, Jet Airways, Malaysian Airlines, Malindo Air, Nepal Airlines, Oman Air, Qatar Air, Regent Airways, Silk Air, Thai International Airways, Thai Lion Air, Tibet Airlines, Turkish Air, US Bangla Air and Watanya Air.

 

By Land, overland travel is also possible from India through multiple entry points Kakarbitta, Raxaul, Sunauli, Jogbini to the south and to the north via Rasuwa Kyirong open to all tourists as of October 2017 a drive of 3 days to reach Lhasa, Tibet Autonomous Region of China.  Or land route available to trek across from the western town of Simikot Nepal to the Mt Kailash, Tibet, China.

 

Population

About 27.8 million; with approximately 18% of the populace live in the more than 20 cities and towns.  The rest live in the mid hill valleys of the southern “Terrai” plains and in scattered villages and mountain communities.

 

Religion

Officially 90% Hindu, 8% Buddhist 2% Islamic.  However Hinduism and Buddhism overlap and mingle in a manner which manifests in the worship of common deities, resulting in a peaceful co-existence between the world’s two great religions.

 

Language

Nepali is spoken by a majority of the populace and is the official language while Newari is spoken by 4% in and around the Kathmandu valley.  A dozen or so  ethnic groups speak as many as 50 different dialects  making up the remainder.

 

Geography

Landlocked, Nepal lies between India and Tibet, China.  Almost rectangular in shape, it is 885 kms from east to west and about 145 to 241 kms north to south.  From sub tropical jungle to icy Himalaya, it is home to eight of the world’s ten highest mountains.

 

Climate

Nepal’s climate is governed by the monsoon, a seasonal wind that draws moisture up from the Indian ocean from approximately mid-June till early October, and  blows dry air down from central Asia for most of the rest of the year.  The summer monsoon brings heavy rain  (or snow at very  high elevations) except north of the main Himalayan chain.  Precipitation varies, however, from east to west – the eastern part of the country getting most of the rain.  Mid-valley centres like Kathmandu, Pokhara enjoy ambient weather making it a very pleasant throughout the year.

 

Visa & Immigration

All visitors must hold valid passports for entry into the country.  Visas are available at various Nepales Embassies and Consulates or upon arrival in the country at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu and other land entry points.  A minimum 15 days visa costs US$ 25.  It can be extended for the second and third month at US $60 rate per month.  A gratis (free) transit visa is offered on arrival to visitors who stay for 72hrs or less.

 

Health

No innoculations are required for Nepal.  An updated list of preventive health procedures will be available before travel.

 

Clothing

Casual clothing is most suitable wherever you travel.  Warm clothing would be necessary from October through March while lighter clothing along with some rain gear is recommended for the summer months July - September.  Pre trip clothing check lists are sent on confirmation of booking.

 

Office Hours

Government offices and Banks are open from 10 am till 5 pm Sunday through Friday.  Saturday is a holiday but tourist shops and restaurants remain open seven days a week.  Embassies and international organisation observe the usual two day weekend.

 

Time

Nepal is 5 hrs and 40 mins ahead of GMT,  2hr 15min behind China time, 15min behind Bhutan time and 15min ahead of India time.

 

Money / Credit cards

The preferred currency to carry is U.S.Dollars or Euro in cash.  These are easily exchanged at banks, money exchange counters, hotels and travel agencies in major tourist centers at varying charges.  All major urban centres have multiple ATMs available for easy cash withdrawal in Nepali Rupees.  Visa, Master cards and American Express, Wechat Ali payment are accepted at major hotels, restaurants, souvenir shops throughout. The current exchange rate is Rupees 110.32 = US $ 1 as of 01 August 2018.

 

Duty Free Items

Apart from used personal belongings, visitors are allowed to bring free of duty cigarettes 200 or 50 cigars, distilled liquor one 1.15 liter bottle and 15 film rolls.  Tourists can bring the following articles duty free on condition that the items are taken out on departure : movie 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 cultural and religious reasons.  Visitors are advised not to purchase such items as they are Nepal’s cultural heritage and belong here.  If in doubt contact the Depart of Archaeology or the Chief Customs Administrator, TIA Customs Office.

 

Electricity / Telephone / Cable

Major towns in Nepal are electrified using 220 volts alternating current.  Inter regional phone systems within the country are excellent, making calls possible even from the remotest corners. International Direct Dialing system is available in all the cities and towns.  E-mail, internet calls service is readily found and inexpensive outside the hotels.

 

Hotels

All classes of accommodations are available from guest house types to luxury deluxe 5-stars, mountain resorts, boutique and heritage properties, wildlife jungle lodges to village hospitality.  Please check our section of hotels available.

 

Altitude & roads

Major highways in Nepal are broad roads often winding along scenic river valleys and the plains.  Those leading to trail head go up high passes and are mountain grade.  These are mostly broad enough for two vehicles to pass one another.  The east west highway is a remarkable cross-country journey to undertake.

Bhutan FAQs

 

ACCESS BY AIR, the national carrier Druk Air and private carrier Bhutan Air operates from the only international airport in Bhutan at Paro.  It has flight to Bagdogra, Bangkok, Delhi, Dhaka, Guwahati, Kathmandu, Kolkata, Mumbai and Singapore. Druk Air has ATR turboprop and Airbus A319 aircrafts whereas Bhutan Air operates Airbus A319.  Three domestic airports link Paro to Bathpalathang Bumthang, Gelephu and Yongphula Trashigang.

 

 

ACCESS BY ROAD, if travelling via Nepal, it is possible to fly from Kathmandu to the east of the country Bhadrapur airport and drive via India to the Bhutanese town of Phuntsholing, gateway point in the south west.  For those arriving in Bagdogra airport in India, it is a drive of 4 hour to Phuntsholing. One can also use the Samdrup Jongkhar in south east Bhutan connecting the state of Assam, India.

 

GEOGRAPHY :  Bhutan lies in between two immense land mass; to the north the Tibetan plateau and to the south the Gangetic plains of India.  It is located between 80*45' and 92*10' longitude east and between 26*40' and 28*15' latitude north and covers 47,000 sq kms.  It is basically mountainous with its mid valleys being the most inhabited, followed by the towns in the southern foothills of the country.  The far north is a sparsely inhabited.

 

CLIMATE :  Weather conditions are ideal for visiting the country in all seasons, but winter is cooler from 2nd  half of December to February.  Days are warm and sunny, though night time temperatures can take a dip.  The seasons can be designated as : Spring from March to May, Summer from June to mid July, Autumn from September to November, Winter from December to February. 

 

South Bhutan is tropical, with a monsoon season.  The east is warmer than the west.  The central valleys of Punakha, Wangdi Phodrang, Gangtey, Mongar, Tashigang and Lhuntshi enjoy a semi tropical climate with very cool winters; whereas Ha, Paro, Thimphu, Tongsa and Bumthang have a colder climate with ocassional snowfalls in the winter.

 

POPULATION :  Bhutan has a population of a little more than 700,000 people mostly living in scattered towns and the broad fertile valleys of the inner Himalayas at altitude of 1000 metres to 3000 metres.  Almost 90% of the populace are engaged in agriculture and livestock raising being the main pillars of the economy. 

 

RELIGION :  Almost 90% practice the Tantric form of Mahayana Buddhism of the Drukpa Kargyud Sect.  The balance 10% are Hindus Southern Bhutanese of Nepalese origins.  Bhutan has many Dzongs which are very large castle like complexes with religious and government administration offices alongside one another.

 

LANGUAGE :  The national language is "Dzongkha" meaning the language spoken in Dzongs.  The written form is derived from ancient sanscrit script.  Nepali is spoken in towns and by a majority of people engaged in business.  Local dialets include Sharchopkha and Khenkha.

 

VISA :  All visitors to Bhutan must hold valid passports for entry into the country.  Visas are issued only after a tour program is booked and confirmed.  Asian - Bhrikuti will advice on the procedures to be followed.  A US$40 flat visa fee is valid for the period of visit prepaid by the agency.

 

HEALTH :  No major immunisation are required for a visit to Bhutan.  An updated list is available for possible prevention before travel.

 

MONEY :  US Dollars cash can be changed in hotels and banks.  It is adviced to have them exchanged in larger towns Paro, Thimphu, Phuntsholing and Bumthang.  Credit cards are gradually being accepted in hotels but still limited with shops.  There are ATMs in Thimphu, Paro and Bumthang.  No exchange is available while on trekking.  The exchange rate is Ngultrum 68.60 = US $1.00 as of 01 August 2018.

 

CLOTHING :  The wide range of temperatures makes dressing a little challenging.  Asian Encounters – Bhrikuti Himalayan Treks has a comprehensive clothing list for specific trips when bookings are confirmed.  Layered clothings are recommended for all seasons.  During most of the year light woolens with wind breakers are sufficient for day wear, conservative sportswear is the appropriate style for a traveller.  Comfortable sports shoes are suggested; whereas trekking boots only if you plan on hiking.

 

OFFICE HOURS :  Most office, banks, government offices are open from 10 am to 5 pm Monday through to mid Saturday.  Shops and restaurant usually open seven days a week.  In the winter months though the work day time are 10 am to 2 pm.  Embassies (only Bangladesh, India and Thailand) and International organisations are closed on Saturdays and Sundays.

 

TIME :  Bhutan is 6 hrs ahead of Greenwich Mean Time.  It is half an hour later than India's and 20 mins ahead of Nepal time. 

 

ELECTRICITY/TELEPHONE/CABLE :  Bhutan uses 220 volts alternating current.  All urban and rural areas have phone and mobile communication.  International Direct Dialing system and Internet is available in all the major towns. SIM cards of Druk Cell and Tashi Cell can be purchased for local use. Certain international SIM mobile phones can also avail of service.

 

HOTELS : The hotels and guest houses considered for use in the tours are the best available reflecting traditional Bhutanese architecture and of generally good standards.  All have their own restaurant and bar, toilet and bathing facilities.  While all meals are served in the hotels, in Thimphu and Paro there would be opportunity to eat in speciality restaurants.  On special occasions outdoor catering is done as well.  Bhutan’s very modest tourist arrivals make it incumbent that all the hotels built are of corresponding small size.  A big hotel could be one with not more than 80 double rooms! A very important segment of super deluxe boutique hotels such as the Aman Resorts available in 5 locations, Uma Cumo Resort Paro, Le Meridien hotels in Thimphu and Paro have opened to fave reviews and eclectic clientle.  Asian – Bhrikuti will provide the accommodation as per client’s preference and up-grades are available.

 

RESTAURANTS / FOOD : Dining is a mix of Continental, Pan Asian including Chinese and Thai cuisine,  delicious Bhutanese meals and for those adventurous a dash of the famous hot chillies the Bhutanese love.  Emphasis is on fresh vegetables, rice and noodles with chicken, beef and pork.  Meals are often served buffet style.  Both fresh and canned fruits and juices from orchards in the south are frequently offered.  Hotel bars are modestly stocked with more local than foreign liquor, bottled beer and mineral water

 

ALTITUDE & ROADS : All roads are mountain highways often winding along scenic river valleys or going up high passes and forests.  Since traffic is very light it is a delight to travel here.  Mode of transport within the country is by a fleet of modern mini-buses, cars and 4-wheel drive vehicles.  There are no domestic airlines or trains.  Roads are uniformly well maintained and  connect to all major sightseeing places. The mountainous terrain restrict the average speed of vehicles to less than about 40 km per hour. The mean average altitude of the towns being not much over 3000 metre, travellers do not experience any situation caused by high altitude.

 

THE PEOPLE : With the opening of roads, small towns have sprung up and visitors can occasionally find modern automobiles parked in front of centuries old temples.  But most of Bhutan continues to live as it has for hundreds of years – in rustic, rural homes surrounded by fields of rice, maize, buckwheat and wheat or, at higher altitudes in nomadic tents woven of yak hair.  This life close to nature has moulded the hardy charter of the Bhutanese.

 

ETHNIC ORIGINS : The Bhutanese fall into 3 broad ethnic groups – the Sharchops who live mostly in the east, the Ngalops living in the western part of Bhutan and Lhotsampa people of Nepalese origin who are in the south.  In the high reaches live nomadic yak herders.  The mid-hill valley are inhabited by farmers and the foothills support trading communities and orchards.

 

LANGUAGE : The national language is Dzongkha and each region has its own dialect.  English has been the principal medium of instruction in public schools since the 1960’s and is spoken by many.  Nepali is also widely used in the country.

 

COSTUME : The national dress of the country is Kira and Gho which is worn as a matter of rule.  The women wear the Kira a long finely woven dress secured at the waist by a cotton belt.  Under it is worn a silk or cotton long sleeved blouse “thyogho”.  The men wear Gho similar to the Tibetan dress, a sort of highland plaid with a huge fold above the belt forming a pouch.  Under this is worn a long sleeved shirt with broad cuff. 

 

ARCHERY : Archers throughout take great pride in hitting any portion of a dinner plate sized target placed 140 metre away.  Every village has its own archery teams and range; high spirited competitions take place as part of every festival. 

Tibet TAR FAQs

GETTING THERE : By air, Air China and Air Sichuan operate Lhasa – Kathmandu – Lhasa year round flights though schedules however are subject to change without notice.  

 

From Lhasa, there are flights connecting to all major cities of China viz Beijing, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Kunming, Shanghai, Xian connecting international overseas destinations. Lhasa Gonggar Airport is 65 kms from Lhasa, a drive of approximately 1 hr.

 

BY ROAD, from Nepal the entry point to Lhasa overland is from the south west Nepalese border town of Rasuwa adjoining Kyirong or Gyirong, Tibet TAR.  From Kathmandu, capital of Nepal it is just 3 days drive away.  To the east it is a 5 or more day drive from Chengdu and a shorter time from Golmud.

 

BY TRAIN, one of the most spectacular train journeys in the world on the highland of the Tibetan plateau. Daily train service connects to Beijing, Chengdu, Golmud, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Xining.  Chair car seating and soft sleepers are available.  A dining car serves excellent meals and light snacks on push carts are available.  Views of snow mountains, rugged terrain, azure blue sky, vast lakes, rivers and yak pastures can be seen on this remarkable trip.  Wild yaks, Tibetan gazelles, wild ass, marmot, wolf, many species inhabit this permafrost region. 

 

GEOGRAPHY : a rich and beautiful land, Tibet is located at the main part of Qinghai-Tibet plateau, south west of China.  It has an average altitude of 4,000 metre above sea level.  Tibet has more than fifty peaks above 7,000 metre among which eleven are over 8,000 metre.  It borders with Sichuan, Yunnan, Qinghai and Xingjiang; to the south contiguous to India, Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan and Burma.  It has an area of 1.2 million sq. km.

 

POPULATION : there are 2 million people mostly living in the central area in cities like Lhasa, Xigatse, Gyantse and Tsedang.  Many more live in smaller communities in valleys and alpine pastures.  The far west and southern areas towards the Himalayan range are sparsely populated.  A majority are farmers and raise yak and sheep. A growing agriculture farming under hot houses have sprung up throughout the region.

 

RELIGION : almost all practice Mahayana Buddhism. There are also pre Buddhist Bon-po and Islam. 

 

LANGUAGE : is derived from the Sanskrit text.  There are more than 20 local dialects that are spoken.  Tourism related individuals speak working English.

 

CLIMATE :  the best time to visit Tibet is from April through to November.  When the rest of the South Asian subcontinent is hot and humid, the highland plateau of Tibet is most inviting.  Spring is from April to June, followed by a short Summer in July to August when it rains a little, Autumn from September to November and Winter from December to March.

 

VISA : all visitors to Tibet must travel with passports with a minimum 6 months validity.  After a package tour is confirmed, visa is issued by the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu on presentation of passport.  Visitors travelling from mainland China require a Tibet Travel Permit from the point of entry while boarding flight, train or road journey. Fees vary according to country and how soon visa need to be processed. 

 

ELECTRICITY / TELPHONE :  all towns in Tibet are electrified using 220 volts alternating current.  Most major cities have International call facilities.  Mobile connectivity has made good progress and internet is available.  Satellite phones are also available for rentals especially for expeditions.

 

HOTELS / ACCOMMODATIONS : Tibet has seen a proliferation of 3 to 4 star hotels and luxe category which include St Regis, Hotel Shangrila, 4 Points by Sheraton, Inter Continental hotel and many Boutique styled accommodations especially in Lhasa.  Tourist standard hotels are 2 to 3 star, the further away from cities the standards are lower.  Some journeys viz Mt Kailash mean roughing it out in local guest house styled accommodation which are very basic. Major hotels are clean and serve good meals. The hotels used are the best in class.

 

RESTAURANTS : there are always restaurants outside hotels.  Our guides will recommend the better ones.  For trips away from the big cities Tibet have less choices and Tibetan cuisine are limited in variety.  For treks or distant excursion, it is handy to carry anything that can be brewed with hot water especially instant noodle, soups, etc.

 

ROADS : the major highways are well maintained.  Where expedition grade trips are booked, expect dirt road and these can be very bumpy and dusty.  Most travel is either by 4-wheel drive vehicle, mini van or coaches. The new entry point of Rasuwa - Kyirong 146kms north east of Kathmandu is open since October 2017 to all tourists.

 

CUSTOMS : There is no restriction on use of still and video cameras, camcorders as long as they are registered by a customs official on your passport.  Printed matters considered unsuitable by the Chinese Government are prohibited.  Customs regulations forbid the export of art objects created prior to 1959 or souvenirs in amounts deemed to be excessive.

 

TIME : 08 hours ahead of GMT.  Note Tibet is linked to Beijing time so when you cross the border from Nepal the time change is considerable.  Nepal is 05 hours and 45 minutes ahead of GMT.

 

BUSINESS HOURS : Most shops are open between 0900 hrs and 1230 hrs and from 1430 hrs until 1730 hrs, these close on SUNDAYS.  Government offices are usually closed on SATURDAY afternoon and all day SUNDAY. There are many banks and ATMs in major urban areas.  Opening hours are from 1000 hrs to 1330 hrs and from 1600 hrs. to 1830 hrs.  It is closed all day on SUNDAY.

 

MONEY : RENMINBI or YUAN the people's money used by millions of Chinese everyday, circulates in notes of 1,2,5, 10 and 50 yuan; 1,2 and 5 jiao; 1,2 and 5 fen.  There are also coins for 1,2 and 5 fen.  With the Chinese Currency, Renminbi, one Yuan is divided into 10 jiao; One jiao into 10 fen. The preferred curry to use while travelling is US Dollars cash.  Exchange rate is US$ 01 = RMB 6.80 as on 01 August 2018.

 

HEALTH & ALTITUDE PROBLEMS : Travelling in Tibet involves high altitude and can be strenuous.  Clients with heart, lung or kidney or blood illness should consult their doctor before booking the trip.  Simple headache, fever, loss of appetite or stomach disorders can happen before the acclimatisation.  In case of more serious high altitude symptoms, house Doctors are available for consultation.  Advise, drink about 3 litre of water per day, do not strain yourself, move slowly, breath deeply and take regular rests. There are six  hospitals in Lhasa and major cities like Tsedang, Xigatse, Gyantse and Zhangmu but elsewhere in Tibet medical facilities are scarce.  Travellers should consult their physician before visiting Tibet and bring their own personal medication.  No special inoculations are required to visit Tibet.  Please read our “Pre Tibet trip advice” for further information on this.

 

CLOTHING & ACCESSORIES : From Oct-March warm clothes are required to match the frosty cold and from April-September light clothes to protect from the scorching day heat.  However a jacket and a sweater are advised throughout the year as the weather may unexpectedly change at any time.  Wearing layered clothing is a recommended option of dressing for travel in Tibet.  A warm jacket or windproof goretex with heavy inner liner is recommended for the months of Nov through to Mar.  At other times, light jacket outer shell with inner layer of sweater, shirt, undervest is adequate.

 

The check-list items are :  Comfortable walking shoes, dust masks, sun hat, sun glasses, suntan lotion, a flashlight, personal first aid, toiletand recommended clothing items.