Frequently Asked Questions: travelling

by samyak
Frequently Asked Questions: travelling
Frequently Asked Questions: Travelling to Nepal

Other Odd FAQ


I don’t have much time to trek around all over the country. But I would still like to see as many mountains as I can. What can I do?

An excellent way to see the breath-taking mountains of Nepal is to take the “mountain flight”. Royal Nepal Airlines and other private airlines such as Buddha Air, Cosmic Air, Gorkha Airlines and Necon Air offer these spectacular mountain flights several times a day in Nepal. You can check for the mountain flight schedule at the websites of Necon Air and Gorkha Airlines.


I am an avid reader. Do I need to take my own books?

Don’t bother. Kathmandu and Pokhara have dozens of book stores to satisfy all sorts of readers. New and used English and other European language books are available in these stores. Most will buy or trade your used books. Check out Pilgrims Book House for more information on Books of Nepal.


Contraceptives?

Condoms are cheaply available in every drug store and so are Pills.


Can I take my children with me?

Yes, but poor sanitation, long arduous treks, different food tastes are some of the things parents need to watch out for. However, there are many shopping stores that provide lot of children’s goods.


Toilets?

Except in tourist lodges and restaurants in Kathmandu and Pokhara, the general norm is that toilets are smelly squat if at all available. In most cases, the open field is all yours! Nepalese use water and their left hand to clean themselves afterwards. So, you may want to carry your own toilet paper (easily available in Nepal).
Bury your produce and burn the used toilet paper for environmental and health reasons during a trek.


Should I bring my electronic/electric gadgets along?

In most cases it is not worth the trouble. Only 10 percent of Nepal has electricity. Moreover, it is very unreliable both due to frequent black-outs and occasional surge voltage. Where and when available, the electricity is 220 volts AC. However, a battery-run short-wave radio may be helpful during treks to listen to weather forecasts and news.


What sort of bag is best to carry my personal belongings to and within Nepal?

An internal frame backpack or rucksack is ideal. Suitcases can be very inconvenient while traveling and trekking within Nepal. Also bring along a small day-time backpack to carry around things needed while touring around during the day. A money-belt or pouch to strap around your waist for your money, passport and other valuables is recommended. Specialized gear for trekking need are available for rent in Kathmandu.


I am disabled.

Treks may be hard for you, depending on the nature and severity of your disability. Steps, stairs and steep slopes are everywhere. A quiet holiday in Kathmandu or one of the wildlife parks in the Tarai can be great though. However, note that except in the more expensive hotels, handicap facilities are non-existent.


I am gay.

Nepal, like many countries around the world, denies its naturalness. In a country where love of sexual nature is a very personal business and even heterosexual display of affection in public is absolutely frowned upon, you will be fine as long as you keep your homosexuality a private affair.


I have heard a lot about drugs being freely available in Nepal. Is it true?

Cannabis does grow wild in the hills of Nepal, though its farming is illegal. You will get your share of offers for hash, opium, heroin and other drugs. If you are not interested, just offer back a deaf ear, or politely but firmly say no: peddlers will not hassle you. If you are interested, be aware that it is illegal and can land you into a lot of trouble. Jails in Nepal can be quite an experience. That said, however, discreet possession of dope is almost riskless; just don’t flash it around.


What do I do in case of emergency?

The Nepal Police has a unit known as the Tourist Police, trained specially to assist vistors regarding security and other travel related problems. Telephone 247041 and an English speaking officer will take your call from 11am to 5pm. Other than this, you can also dial 100 for the police and if there is fire, dial 102. Emergency in Nepal is one thing where prevention is certainly better than cure. Also, registering with your embassy or consulate in Kathmandu can help. See For-mission.html to see if your country has a diplomatic mission in Nepal. For trekking related emergencies see FAQ on Trekking.


Laundry?

Washing machines and dryers are not anymore rare in Nepal. You can get one day laundary service at Thamel in Kathmandu and Lakeside in Pokhara.
However, if you do not want to spend money on laundary shops, you can buy washing soaps and detergents like “Arial” or “Surf” in any retail shops in Nepal.


I have heard that Nepal has recently been facing severe environmental problems, is there anything I can do about it?

Yes, a lot. Because a foreign visitor to Nepal consumes far more resources in a day than an average Nepali would in a week, even minor environmental deliberateness on your part can add up to a lot.

When in Kathmandu, use water sparingly. For example, make your showers brief. Water shortages in Kathmandu is very acute (especially during the dry seasons between May and October, which unfortunately also coincides with the main tourist season). Households can go without any water supply for days! On better days, direct water supply is available in neighborhood water-supply taps for about two hours in the morning and two in the evening. People carrying their day’s water supply in various containers from these taps is a normal scene of early morning and early evening in Kathmandu. Remember that every time you flush your toilet, you use about a family’s water supply for a day. While your hotel will have a storage tank from which running water will be supplied to you through out the day, the water in the storage tank comes from the same supply network that serves the rest of the city.

While trekking, try to patronize teahouses and lodges which use kerosene, electricity or solar energy instead of wood where possible. Rely more on warm clothes than wood-stoves to keep yourself warm. Supplying for energy requirement for travelers make up a significant part of deforestation that goes on in the hills of Nepal: it has been estimated that a trekker consumes, directly or indirectly, up to ten times more firewood in a day than a Nepali. Bring back with you all unburnable litter such as plastic packaging and cans from treks. Also, if there is no latrines out in the trails, keep away from water sources. Burn used toilet paper.

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