Located between India and Tibet, Nepal offers a fantastic array of attractions for visiting tourists. Nepal is best known as the home of Mount Everest but there is so much more to the country than just one mountain, albeit the highest mountain on earth. From the steamy jungles of the plains to the highest point in the world the range of scenery is so diverse and spectacular as to offer an unforgettable experience to everyone, whatever their tastes.
The people of Nepal are a cosmopolitan mixture of many different ethnic groups, some originating from the north and some having migrated from India. Over the centuries, newcomers have integrated into to present a mixture of people collectively known as Nepali. With more than 60 distinct ethnic groups speaking more than 70 different languages and dialects, and each having their own distinct culture, the experience for visitors to Nepal is unlike that to be found anywhere else.
Add to this a diverse flora and fauna that defies imagination, vegetation that ranges from Tropical to Alpine, more than 800 species of bird plus a host of endangered animals and it is hard to ask for much more.
The well-established tourism industry is geared to meet your every need. From luxury hotels to trekking tea houses, from mountaineering expeditions to white water rafting and jungle safaris, there is something for everyone.
Air: There are 15 International carriers operating to and out of Kathmandu International airport. There are 10 passenger airlines operating to almost 30 destinations in nearly all parts of Nepal – remote airfields to major hub cities. Today it is possible to reach most of the tourist destinations by air.
Rail: Nepal-Janakpur-Jayanagar Railway (NJJR) operates a freight and passenger service in the eastern Terai.
Roads: Buses, mini-buses, and three-wheeler tempos ply on fixed routes at regular intervals and the services, are fairly frequent. The last city buses stop running around 8 pm. City buses within Kathmandu go to Patan as well as those going to Kirtipur, Banepa, Dhulikhel, and Thankot, leave from the City Bus Park located at the eastern side of Tundikhel parade ground. Trolley buses to Bhaktapur leave from Tripureswor near the football stadium.
There are no international Car Rental agencies in Nepal and even the locals usually have a driver assigned to their personal car rather than deal with the terrible traffic conditions around the city.
Nepal – a country with a long historical tradition is an amalgamation of a number of medieval principalities. Before the campaign of national integration launched by King Prithvi Narayan Shah, the Kathmandu valley was ruled by the Malla Kings, whose contributions to art and culture are unique. In 1768AD the Shah dynasty ascended the throne of the Unified Kingdom. His Majesty King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev was the tenth king in the Shah dynasty.
The new democratic constitution of the Kingdom was promulgated on November 9, 1990. Nepal is one of the founder members of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation or SAARC, of which the third summit was held in Kathmandu in November 1987. In 2006 the Monarchy was disposed of altogether making Nepal the youngest of all Democratic Republics.
It is said about Nepal that every other structure is a holy shrine and every day a festival. Well, if the number of annual festivals, both religious and national, is any indication, the saying could not be truer. Festivals are an essential part of Nepalese life that garners tremendous local participation. Festivals also offer visitors a valuable opportunity not only for having fun but gaining insight into various aspects of Nepalese culture. The religious festivals have fixed dates but wherever or whenever you arrive in Nepal you can be pretty sure of being at the right time for one or more special events.
Hinduism and Buddhism constitute two major religions of Nepal. A remarkable feature of the country is the religious homogeneity what exists, particularly between the Hindu and Buddhist communities. Apart from these two groups, Muslims form the third largest religious group. The exquisite medieval art & architecture of the Kathmandu valley vividly reflects the artistic ingenuity and the religious traditions of the people.
Area: 147,181 sq. km Geography: Situated between China in the north and India in the south. Capital: Kathmandu Population: 29,331,000 (2009 estimate) People: Nepal has more than 60 ethnic groups and 70 spoken languages Language: Nepali is the national language. However, most of the people involved in the travel and trade understand and speak English. Currency: Nepalese Rupees Political System: Multi-Party Democracy(the youngest Democracy in the world)
The altitude of this region ranges between 4877m – 8848m, it includes eight of the highest 14 summits in the world which exceed the altitude of 8,000m including Annapurna, Makalu, and others.
This region accounts for about 64% of the total land area. It is formed by the Mahabharat range that soars up to 4,877m and the lower Churia range.
The low-land Terai occupies about 17% of the total land area of the country.
Nepal has a population of almost 30 million people made of different races living in different regions with diverse culture, languages, and dialects. The Gurungs and Magars live mainly in the west. The Rais, Limbus, and Sunuwars inhabit the slopes and valleys of the eastern mid hills. The Sherpas live in the Himalayan region while the Newars constitute an important ethnic group of the capital valley Kathmandu. There are Tharus, Yadavas, Satar, Rajvanshis, and Dhimals in the Terai region. The Brahmans, Chhetris and Thakuris are spread generally over all parts of the kingdom.
Nepal has four climatic seasons
* Spring: March-May
* Summer: June-August
* Autumn: September-November
* Winter: December-February.
There is no seasonal constraint on traveling in and through Nepal. Even in December and January, when the winter is at its severest, there are compensating bright sun and brilliant views. The monsoon season does affect the summer months, so be wary that trekking can be hazardous, although there are some regions that are actually best visited at this time – please see our list of treks for more information.