Our recommendation to visit Nepal
Our recommendation to visit Nepal and neighboring countries
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Exoticca Travel Stories
Creating unforgettable memories, one traveller at a time
Had a wonderful experience visiting Nepal
The guide and driver were fabulous. Nothing was too much trouble. They even took us to go on the longest zip line in the world! All the places we visited were wonderful, especially the flight to Everest which is a must-do. All hotels were great. The staff and food in hotels were lovely.
Nepal Travel advice
Events and festivals in Nepal
The popular festivals in Nepal are profuse and varied; its multiculturalism makes it one of the broadest holiday calendars in the world. For this reason, you can find events in Nepal during practically the whole year.
The traditions and culture of the Nepali population, mainly Hindu and Buddhist, mark the celebration of holidays in Nepal. On the other hand, travellers must bear in mind that the Nepalese calendar is a solar calendar which is totally different from our Gregorian calendar.
Be that as it may, the popular festivals in Nepal are spread throughout its geography. Let's see what the most traditional festivities of this multi-ethnic people are.
January - Prithvi Jayanti
On 15 January, the Nepalese celebrate the Prithvi Jayanti, which is the day on which homage is paid to the late King Prithvi Narayan, the founder of the current state of Nepal. This celebration gathers the population in front of the Singha Durbar temple, dressed in garlands with which to decorate the king's statue.
February - Sonam Losar
In February, specifically on the fifth, Sonam Losar takes place, one of the most traditional popular festivals in Nepal. This holiday commemorates the New Year for the Tamang ethnic group, who follow the Chinese-Tibetan calendar. Prior to the festivities, the Nepalese are thoroughly employed in cleaning their homes and decorating them, as well as placing offerings on family altars.
March - Maha Shivaratri
March is a particularly festive month, as it hosts different events in Nepal to celebrate various festivities. We start on 4 March with the Maha Shivaratri, or pilgrimage to the Hindu temple Pashupatinath. The faithful go to the temple to ask Shiva for their wishes by performing prayers and offerings.
On March 7, groups of Nepalese belonging to the Sherpa, Yolmo, Yuppie or Tibetan ethnic groups celebrate their new year, the Gyalpo Losar. This holiday is related to the Buddhist religion.
We arrive on 17 March to celebrate one of the most striking festivities in Nepal, the Ghode Jatra or Festival of Horses. This massive popular festival is especially celebrated in Kathmandu.
And the month ends with the celebration of Holi, on 20 March, a festival which is deeply rooted in the Hindu population of Nepal. The streets are filled with bright colours, dances and songs.
April - Ram Navami
We continue with the popular festivals in Nepal, this time on 14 April, when Ram Navami takes place, a religious celebration which consists of a procession of the statues of the gods Rama and Sita through the streets of Nepal.
Also in April, on the same day, the Nepalese New Year is celebrated throughout the country according to the official calendar, so you will find numerous events, processions, picnics, food and traditional music.
May - Buddha Jayanti
In May, you will be able to attend one of the most sacred festivals in Nepal in relation to the Buddhist religion: Buddha Jayanti or the birth of Buddha. Cities of Buddhist tradition, such as Bodnath, are filled with flowers, lights and flags. The birds, which have remained in cages until that moment, are released and prayers are recited in the temples.
On 28 May, on the other hand, the country celebrates the Day of the Republic of Nepal, a day to honour and celebrate democracy.
June - Ramjan Edul Fikra
On 5 June, the Muslim population of Hindu origin in Nepal celebrates the end of Ramadan with large banquets, drinks and music in the company of family and friends. This festival is known as Ramjan Edul Fikra, and it is an optional holiday which Nepalese may or may not include in their holiday calendar.
July and August - Feast of the Fraternity
During the warmer months, the Raksha Bandhan or the Feast of the Fraternity takes place in different regions of Nepal. This celebration is a way for Nepalese people to gather families to celebrate their blood ties together.
September - Hartalika Teej
September is once again one of the months with the most popular parties in Nepal. The month begins on the 1st with the festival in honour of the goddess Parvati, the Hartalika Teej, a celebration during which the women dress in red and celebrate the festivities in honour of their goddess for three days.
Once the celebration of Parvati is over, the Rishi Panchami begins on the 3rd; during this festivity, the Nepalese Hindus recite the oldest Vedic texts in honour of the seven rishis or sages of the ancient Hindu tradition.
October - Dashain Festival
October is a perfect month to visit Nepal, not only because of the weather but because it hosts the most famous popular festivals in Nepal. First, on the 8th, the Dashain Festival, the most important party in the country, is celebrated. There are kite competitions, the streets are decorated and there is abundant typical gastronomy.
The month ends with the celebration of Diwali on the 27th, carpets of flowers and lights flood the streets and houses of Nepal. It is one of the most beautiful and lively parties in the country.
November and December - Guru Nanak Jayanti
During the month of November, Guru Nanak Jayanti takes place, one of the most important events in Nepal for the Sikh community. The followers of this religion organise nocturnal meetings to leave offerings in the temples, to share gifts and food.
In December, on the other hand, the Tamu ethnic group celebrates its New Year, which takes place on 30 December. It should be noted that the western Christmas is also celebrated in many places in Nepal.
Now you can match your trip with one of the popular festivals of Nepal to enjoy the cultural tradition of this incredible country.LEARN MORE
Food in Nepal
There are a great variety of very tasty and healthy dishes to eat in Nepal, as it has a rich gastronomy. In the kingdom of the Himalayas, rice is the basis of the food, as well as cereals, pulses and vegetables. As a consequence, the traditional dishes of Nepal are varied and well-balanced.
The first thing that will surprise you about Nepalese gastronomy is its delicious breakfasts. Although the Nepalese begin the day with a bowl of rice and a tea, there are various types of breakfasts for travellers, each one more delicious and abundant. Not content with this, it is the custom in Nepal to have a second breakfast, this time with a spicy soup of vegetables and pulses.
But breakfasts apart, let’s take a look at what to eat in Nepal and which are the most traditional dishes of this country.
You will find momos in all places and at all times of the day. They are a pasty stuffed with vegetables or meat. To make them, the Nepalese fry or steam them and they are served with two types of sauce.
They can be eaten as a starter, for breakfast, as an afternoon snack or for supper. They are delicious and are the perfect way to appease hunger cravings. They are prepared with lean meat, onions, garlic, ginger, coriander and salt.
We could say that this is the national dish of Nepal, along with the momos. More than a dish, it is a tray with white boiled rice, accompanied by various bowls of vegetables, fish or meat, and a lentil soup, as well as vegetables.
This filling dish is very reminiscent of the traditional Hindu dish, the Thali, which in Nepal is also accompanied with a Naan, or Indian bread.
Apart from rice, something else to eat in Nepal is noodles. These are fried with onion and tomato, and egg, chicken or vegetables are also added. This is a very tasty dish which can also be eaten at any time.
There is also a soup version, called Thukpa, which is similar to the Japanese Ramen. To make this noodle soup, Tibetans add onions, garlic, ginger, tamari, tomatoes and hot peppers.
This Nepalese speciality consists of round-shaped pasties filled with meat. They are made from minced beef or lamb, to which are added onions, ginger, crushed garlic, cumin, soya sauce, sesame oil, flour and water. The result is finger-licking good.
Another traditional dish to try in Nepal, and one which you must not miss if you love meat, is the Kongpo Shaptak. To prepare this delicacy they use beef, red onion, paprika, garlic, ginger, tomato, blue cheese and jalapeno peppers. The meat is cut into small cubes and fried with the above ingredients. It is served accompanied with rice or with a traditional Naan.
For those who love chicken, we recommend you try this recipe for butter chicken. This is one of the tastiest traditional dishes of Nepal which is prepared with butter, powdered chilli, cashew nuts, garlic, ginger, and tomato puree. Added to this mixture are curry, garam masala (cinnamon, cloves and cardamon), lemon juice, turmeric and yogurt. The result is a marinated chicken which bursts with flavour in your mouth.
This traditional dish of Nepalese gastronomy is a Tibetan curry whose main ingredient is veal or lamb. The meat is cut into small cubes, along with some potatoes. You can also substitute the meat with tofu. It is fried with onion, garlic and ginger, and then seasoned with salt and turmeric.
To accompany the dish, they serve boiled bean and seaweed noodles, along with boiled white rice, and then sesame oil and curry are added. The resulting dish has a spectacular flavour.
The hot pot is a hot metal casserole containing a stew which is full of meat and vegetables. There is also a vegetarian version with egg, and a vegan version with tofu. This dish has Chinese origins, and is perfect for recovering your strength after a day out trekking in the mountains.
The Nepalese prepare different types of soups, among which the most famous is the garlic soup which prevents altitude sickness. Another traditional soup of Nepalese gastronomy is the Aloo Tama, or potato soup with curry and bamboo shoots. You can also find the Thukpa or noodle soup that we mentioned previously, with either vegetables or chicken. Or there is the famous Bhaat Tarkari, a soup made of lentils, rice and vegetable curry.
And to finish with something sweet after so many flavours, what better than the famous Juju Dhau or creamy yogurt. Don’t forget to try the famous Sikarni, or the yogurt shakes with cinnamon and dried fruit, at any time of the day.
Nepal is a country that will surprise you, not only due to the beauty of its landscapes, its mountains and its temples, but also because of the kindness of its people, and the richness of its gastronomy. So now you know what to eat in Nepal, organise your meals so that you are well prepared to try everything.LEARN MORE
Shopping in Nepal
For those who don’t know what to buy in Nepal, we would tell them to start getting their suitcase ready because there are lots of souvenirs you will want to take home with you. Wooden and bronze handicrafts, mountain clothing, Buddhist religious objects, tea, jewellery and a long etcetera of typical products.
This South Asian country is multicultural, multilingual and has been secular since 2008. Although Hinduism was the official religion up until 2006, the Buddhist population also makes up a significant percentage in Nepal.
Thamel in Kathmandu is the central shopping area, so if you want to buy typical products of Nepal, you have to visit the city. Let’s see what the most typical souvenirs are that travellers usually take home and what you can buy in Nepal.
The fact that the Himalayas can be accessed from Nepal means that millions of tourists who love hiking and trekking visit the country each year. The business of mountain clothing at a good price has grown exponentially in recent years.
For this reason, one of the things to buy in Nepal is mountain clothing at a good price. Indeed, there are many forgeries, so you have to look properly where to buy to obtain the quality necessary for tackling your adventure in the snowy mountains.
Nepal is one of the main producers of this kind of clothing which is sold in nearly all Spanish street markets. All types of colourful garments made of wool or cotton and some with natural dyes, fill the street stalls and the shops.
The price of this style of clothing is very low in comparison with the sales price on Spanish street stalls and tourist beaches. However, don't forget to haggle since they will try to sell to you at a higher price.
Precious and semi-precious stones
If you want to buy turquoise by the weight, Nepal is the ideal place to do so. Other stones used in jewellery such as amethyst, jade, amber and lapis lazuli are also sold. Choral is another of the typical products of Nepal which is used to make decorations and accessories.
Nepal has a strong tradition in jewellery, they form part of the country’s culture. The Nepalese artisans mostly use copper, but also gold and silver to make the pieces. Amongst their creations, it is common to see jewellery with representations in Sanskrit, the religious language of Buddhism.
You will be able to find rings, bracelets, necklaces, earrings and a myriad of jewellery to buy in Nepal as a gift. Normally they are hand carved according to thousand year old traditions and are combined mostly with turquoise and amber.
Within the category of souvenirs in Nepal, religious objects take up a prominent place. Everywhere you will see figurines of gods from the Hindu pantheon, Buddha figures, malas (Tibetan rosaries), prayer wheels, prayer flags, and everything related to the Buddhist religion.
Other typical products of Nepal par excellence are the Tibetan bowls. These bowls which are made of 7 metal alloys, produce a very specific sound, highly valued by music therapists and followers of the New Age. Its harmonics promise to balance the chakras and heal the body and mind from all types of energetic blocks.
These typical Nepalese knives are the ones the Gurkha fighters carried, so it could be one of the most original souvenirs from Nepal. They are of great value given that their blade curves like the handle and sheath that protect them, they are hand carved or even with inlays of bones, ivory or metal.
The importance of these knives is such that, from the age of five, a Nepalese child has their own knife. Each part of it has a very specific religious and cultural meaning, so you won't just be buying a typical product of Nepal, but also a piece of its culture.
Of all the things to buy in Nepal, antiques take up a prominent place. You can find true works of art in the form of antique furniture decorated with bright colours, boxes, musical instruments, jewellery, sculptures or paintings.
In Thannel there are antique shops with certificates of authenticity where you can buy unique pieces of great value. In these establishments, of course, haggling is not permitted. To do this, you will have to be daring in the street stalls, but there you will probably find replicas or forgeries.
Tea and spices
The fact that its population is multi-ethnic, but with clear Hindu influences, means this country uses spices abundantly in its gastronomy. Accordingly, you can buy hundreds of rich spices in the stalls and markets as a souvenir of Nepal.
Tea, in turn, is another of the main players, and a must buy in Nepal, you have a wide range of teas: black tea, chai tea, cardamom tea, green tea and peppermint tea. There are also mixes of herbs, sold as medicinal tea with a high purifying value.
As you can see, you have a long list of things to buy in Nepal, along with the art of haggling, it will be difficult for you to resist the temptation of bringing back lots of souvenirs from your trip to Nepal.LEARN MORE
Nepal tourist attractions
More information about Nepal
A landlocked South Asian nation, Nepal is nestled amidst the peaks of the magical Himalayas and is known as the country where ‘culture and nature meets’. A classic travel destination, a holiday to Nepal is the perfect blend of golden temples and stupas, abundant wildlife and soul-stirring Himilayan views; the kind of views you can only dream of!
In fact, Nepal is home to eight of the world's tallest mountains including mythical Mount Everest. Bordered by China, India and Bangladesh, Nepal offers both adrenalin-filled adventures, such as mountain climbing, safaris and deft-defying Everest flights, to more laid-back pursuits such as sightseeing in the medieval cities of Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur or simply soaking up spectacular panoramic views from a hill-top village.
Prayer flags, prayer wheels and jewel-toned stupas decorate your journey through the ‘roof of the world’. The iconic Durbar Squares offer insight into the days of the Newar Kings and the entire Kathmandu Valley acts as an open-air museum, with the capital, Kathmandu at the heart of all Nepal tours.
A trip to Nepal also offers an insight into the beliefs and practices of both Hinduism and Buddhism, important pillars of everyday life in the country, after all Lumbini, today an important pilgrimage site, is believed to be the birthplace of Buddha himself. Above all, travel to Nepal is all about the landscapes, in themselves spiritual.
History of Nepal
Nepal’s history is closely intertwined with that of the wider Indian subcontinent and the nation was first mentioned in ancient Vedic texts, dating back to the emergence of Hinduism. Around the 4th-century BC, Buddhism was introduced to Nepal, influenced by the teachings of Gautama Buddha. Today, you can visit the birthplace of Buddha himself in Lumbini during a tour of Nepal.
In the early centuries, the Licchavi dynasty flourished throughout India and Nepal and built many Hindu and Buddhist temples. This great kingdom began to decline in the 8th-century as Newar culture flourished. The traditions and practices of Newar culture are still prevalent in Nepal and form a distinct and unique cultural community who continue their age-old traditions, particularly in the Kathmandu Valley.
In the 15th-century the Malla dynasty divided Nepal into three kingdoms: Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur, reunited 300 years later in the 18th-century by the Gorka king Prithvi Narayan Shan, who is remembered for his expansion of Nepal’s borders, eventually facing rivalry with British India.
This led to the Anglo-Nepal War in the early 19th-century and a period of instability followed. The pro-British Rana dynasty took power in 1846, although their reign was somewhat tyrannous and it was not until over 100 years later that democracy was introduced to the country. Civil wars in the 1990s and 2000s resulted in the fall of the world’s last surviving Hindu monarchy in 2008, marking the beginning of the secular republic of Nepal.
Nature in Nepal
The land of Himalayas, Nepal is filled with magical landscapes to explore and admire. A treasure trove for nature lovers, Nepal holiday packages can encompass as many as four different climate zones due to the country’s varied altitude.
Himilayan animals, such as black bears and wild yak, contrast with the rare one-horned rhinos, elephants and elusive Bengal tigers of the subtropical lowlands, making Nepal a diverse destination for wildlife travel. 10 national parks and 20 protected areas, covered an amazing 23% of Nepal’s total territory, protect the pristine habitats and postcard-worthy landscapes.
Mount Everest National Park offers giant snow capped peaks and thrilling mountain-climbing opportunities, whilst the tropical jungles of Chitwan National Park invite travellers to experience the wild side of Nepal. Wildlife abounds here; Nepal is known for its plentiful butterfly species, with 11 of the 15 butterfly families found within the country, and it is even home to rare freshwater dolphins, found in the glistening Narayani and Ghaghara rivers. Avid birdwatchers would be wise to choose a Nepal holiday as the country is home to more than 850 bird species, such as the colourful Himalayan monal, the country’s national bird.
Culture in Nepal
Nepalese culture is closely tied to religion. Nepal is home to the largest percentage of Hindu’s in the world, as well as a notable Buddhist population. Until recently, Nepal was a Hindu Kingdom and a trip to Nepal is incomplete without exploring the temples, such as Pashupatinath Temple, a historic Hindu site, which highlight the significance of Hinduism on Nepalese culture.
Nepal is also an amazing example of the coexistence of religions. Buddhism and Hinduism have existed side by side in Nepal for centuries and the national culture incorporates parts of both traditions. Elaborate festivals are an important facet of Nepalese culture, from complex marriage rituals to the extensive Dashain Festival, a Hindu festival celebrated at the end of monsoon season every year.
Arranged marriages are very common in Nepal and a normal part of the family structure whilst distinct gender roles are still common-place. Although Nepal’s urban areas are growing, particularly Kathmandu, a favourite starting point for most tour packages of Nepal, the majority of the population depend on agriculture for their incomes and live in more rural parts of the country.
A long-time backpacker paradise, a Nepal tour is the perfect chance to understand a deeply religious and vibrant country, to hear the fluttering of prayer flags and to watch in awe as the sun rises over mythical Mount Everest. A holiday to Nepal offers, not only, temples, stupas and sacred historic sights, but also rich, diverse wildlife and charming hilltop villages where time seems to move at a slower pace. Travel to Nepal and capture the essence of the ‘roof of the world’.
Passport with a minimum of six months validity.
A visa is required. Issued on arrival in the country. Price approximately $25.
UTC + 05:45.
Tourist Office websiteVisit website
220 V. Electrical sockets are European style however an adapter may be useful.
Other useful information
People drive on the left-hand side of the road.
Please consult your doctor regarding malaria prophylaxis.