TIMS Nepal

Nepal’s Trekkers’ Information Management Systems (TIMS)

Over the past couple of years, Nepal has established itself as a paradise for trekkers, attracting people from all over the globe to explore its wonderful terrain. This comes as no surprise considering that Nepal has numerous scenic hills and mountains, along with the magnificent Terai. True enough, the country offers some of the most spectacular trekking areas in the world.

Unfortunately, Nepal’s growing popularity as a trekking destination has its own set of cons. Most noteworthy is the difficulty in keeping track of trekking operations, posing problems for local authorities who have to perform rescue operations in case of accidents or calamities. With the safety of trekkers in mind, the Nepali government came up with a brilliant solution: the Trekkers’ Information Management Systems or TIMS.

The Trekkers’ Information Management Systems was first implemented on January 1, 2008. The maintenance and overseeing thereof is under the Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal (TAAN) and the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB).

What is the Trekkers’ Information Management Systems?

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Simply speaking, the TIMS is a database maintained by the TAAN and the NTB. The said database contains information on individuals who want to go trekking in Nepal. The provision on TIMS is designed so as to provide a mechanism by which illegal trekking operations in Nepal can be controlled, especially with so many people from different parts of the globe flocking to

Nepal for trekking. In addition to curbing illegal trekking operations, the TIMS is also designed so as to guarantee both the safety and security of trekkers in Nepal. By utilizing a Prompt Information Service, it becomes a lot easier to track not only trekking activities, but also the activities of individual trekkers. This comes particularly handy during rescue operations and in averting unfortunate eventualities which might come about as a result of natural disasters.

Basically, the TIMS serves as a response to events in the past wherein rescuers find difficulty in carrying out operations considering the lack of centralized information as to the trekkers in each particular trekking site as well as to their itineraries. By maintaining such database, it has thus become more convenient for authorities to find missing trekkers, as well as to regulate trekking activities in the country.

How does the Trekkers’ Information Management Systems work?

Since the effectivity of the TIMS provision, trekking agencies have started collecting information pertaining to trekkers in Nepal. This information is then entered into a central database. Once the pertinent details have been entered into the TIMS database, a TIMS card is then issued to the trekkers after payment of the requisite fees.

Having a TIMS card is a requirement before any individual can trek anywhere in Nepal. This requirement, however, is subject to certain exceptions. That said, having a TIMS card is not necessary in order to go trekking in Nepal in the following cases:

  1. When the trekker is a member of an expedition and has a mountaineering permit duly issued by the Nepali government and the Nepal Mountaineering Association;
  2. When the trekker is a visitor to the controlled areas and possesses a permit issued by the Department of Immigration;
  3. When the trekker is a foreign guest or visitor invited by the government of Nepal;
  4. When the trekker is an authority from any of the diplomatic missions in Nepal holds an official letter. It must be noted, however, that such authority is deemed to travel at their own risk;
  5. When the trekker is a visitor on a mission specifically recommended by the relevant governmental department or agency; and
  6. When the trekker is a foreign national holding a residential visa.

Why is the Trekkers’ Information Management Systems necessary?

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The TIMS is necessary because it regulates the growing trekking industry in Nepal – a venture that is profitable but not without accompanying dangers. Having a centralized database containing information on trekkers and trekking routes are useful in maintaining the trekkers’ safety and security.

By compiling information on each individual trekkers’ itinerary (e.g., trekking routes, handling agencies, stay duration), all concerned agencies will be better equipped to respond to the needs of trekkers. Information inputted into the database can be made accessible not only to government agencies, but also to tourism organizations, tour operators, and even diplomatic missions.

Moreover, since the TIMS operates in such a way as to control unauthorized trekking operations, it guarantees better trekking services for trekkers. This is a definite advantage not only for the trekkers themselves, but also for trekking companies as well as government agencies. This helps in preventing mishaps and accidents in trekking areas, all the while guaranteeing the sustainability of the trekking industry in Nepal.

What are the requirements for getting a TIMS card?

As previously mentioned, the provision on the Trekkers’ Information Management Systems mandates that every trekker be issued first with a TIMS card before they can go trekking in Nepal. So what are the requirements before one could get a TIMS? They are as follows:

  1. Passport (prepare a photocopy); and
  2. Two passport-sized photos

What information must be provided when getting a TIMS card?

Aside from the requirements above, trekkers must also provide other pieces of information relevant to their trekking activities in Nepal. Make sure that you have the following information ready when you apply for a TIMS card:

  1. Entry and exit dates for trekking. You may provide a rough estimate;
  2. Entry and exit points for trekking;
  3. Trekking route as well as itinerary;
  4. Emergency contact information while in Nepal. If you have a tour agency, you may provide them as emergency contact;
  5. Emergency contact information in your home country; and
  6. Insurance policy number, including their contact information and a statement of your insurance policy coverage.

Where to get a TIMS card?

The process of getting a TIMS card varies between individual trekkers and those who are part of an organized group, for free individual trekkers, they can obtain a TIMS card in various locations. They are as follows:

  1. Nepal Tourism Board offices located in Kathmandu and Pokhara;
  2. TAAn Secretariat located in Maligaon; and
  3. TAAN Secretariat in Pokhara.

The NTB offices have the same office hours as other government agencies in Nepal. The TIMS counter office at Kathmandu is open seven days a week and remains open even on public holidays. TAAN Secretariats, meanwhile, are open from 10 AM to 5 PM.

For organized trekkers, the trekking companies are the ones in charge of collecting the trekkers’ information and inputting the same into the TIMS database. After paying the requisite fee, they will also be providing the trekkers with the TIMS card. Trekking companies are typically open 12 hours a day everyday, although the actual operating hours may vary from one trekking agency to another.

That said, trekkers who do not want to go through the hassle of applying for the TIMS card themselves may sign up for an organized trekking. This is an especially viable option for first-time trekkers who can greatly benefit from trekking with a group and a having a trekking agency take care of the necessary paperwork.

What are the requisite fees that must be paid when getting a TIMS card?

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The requisite fees for obtaining a TIMS card also varies depending on the person applying for the said card. The fees that are required to be paid are as follows:

  1. For group trekkers – NRs. 1,000
  2. For free individual trekkers – NRs. 2,000

Note that the aforementioned fees are paid per trekking route and per point of entry.

For SAARC countries, different rates apply. The adjusted fees are as follows:

  1. For group trekkers – NRs. 300
  2. For free individual trekkers – NRs. 600

Note that the aforementioned fees are paid per trekking route and per point of entry.

Diplomats, meanwhile, are exempted from paying the aforementioned fees.
A portion of the TIMS card fees collected is allocated to the maintenance of the TIMS database, as well as in funding of rescue and emergency services to trekkers.

It must be noted that the TIMS card is non-transferable and non-endorsable. In addition, it is also valid for one entry and only in the prescribed trekking area. The validity of the TIMS card is also only for the duration indicated by the trekker during application.

Obtaining a TIMS card may not be particularly bothersome for organized trekkers, but it is a bit of a hassle for free individual trekkers. Nevertheless, the fees are minimal and the application for a TIMS card is quite straightforward, so the cons certainly outweigh the pros. By being part of the TIMS database, a trekker is afforded with more assistance and security while trekking. In case of untoward incidents, TIMS-registered trekkers are easier to find and rescue.

The provision for the Trekkers’ Information Management Systems is without a doubt a great move on the part of the government of Nepal. After all, not only does the TIMS database serve the interests of trekkers and trekking agencies, but it also helps the government in regulating trekking tourism within the country.

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Best Hotels in Nepal

Best Luxury Hotels in Nepal

As Nepal continues to rise in popularity as among the top hiking and trekking destinations in the world, more and more tourists are flocking to the country. This in-flux of tourists, especially during peak seasons, has also caused an increase in the number of accommodations being offered in the country. While Nepal is best known as a backpacker destination, this does not mean that tourists have no choice but to stay in small lodges. On the contrary, Nepal now offers a variety of accommodation options for various budgets, ranging from budget hotels to luxury ones.

Hotels in Nepal can best be classified into three – budget hotels, mid-range hotels, and luxury hotel. These hotels are scattered all over the country, albeit luxury hotels tend to be located near bigger and more densely populated cities.

Budget hotels can set you back by $10 to $25 a night. While you cannot expect much in terms of amenities, you can find fully-airconditioned, fully-furnished ones as long as you know where to look. Among the best budget hotels in Nepal are Shangri-La Boutique Hotel, Trekkers’ Home, Hotel Happy Home, Hotel Mums Home, and Aryatara Kathmandu Hotel.

Mid-range hotels, on the other hand, can set you back by $35 to $80. Complimentary breakfast is typically the norm. Check out Oasis Kathmandu Hotel and Kantipur Temple House, for example.

For those who want to make their Nepal trip as comfortable as possible, then luxury hotels are the best bet. Hotels like the Crowne Plaza Hotel Kathmandu-Soaltee and Dwarika’s Hotel certainly will not disappoint.

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A Complete Guide to Trekking and Hiking in Nepal

A Complete Guide to Trekking and Hiking in Nepal

Nepal has long established itself as a great trekking and hiking destination, so much so that no less than the Nepali government has decided to regulate trekking and hiking activities in the country. Although a lot of tourists flock to Nepal to try hiking, trekking, and mountaineering, a considerable number of first-time Nepal visitors still find trekking and hiking intimidating.

While hiking and trekking are not exactly the easiest outdoor activities, this is not to say that they are not beginner-friendly. On the contrary, even beginners and individuals with no prior experience in hiking and trekking can embark on a hiking adventure in Nepal. The trick is to do a bit of research beforehand so you can prepare accordingly.

When planning your first hiking or trekking trip to Nepal, the top two factors you have to consider are: (1) when you will go hiking or trekking and (2) whether you will hike or trek on your own or go with a guide.

Hiking and trekking during Fall and Spring are the most ideal for beginners, especially since the weather is most agreeable, making the views more spectacular and the trails friendlier. If you are a more experienced hiker, however, you might want to go during off peak when trails are less crowded and price hikes not much of a problem.

Deciding whether or not to get a hiking guide is also an important consideration, especially since they are of substantial help to beginners in terms of preparation and navigating through trails.

Read a Complete Guide to Trekking and Hiking in Nepal

Things to Do in Nepal

Things to Do in Nepal

Despite being a top hiking and trekking destination, Nepal is more than just snow capped peaks and wonderful hiking trails. While the numerous mountains and trails in Nepal are certainly attractive to expert mountaineers and hiking beginners, even those who are not big fans of the great outdoors will still find themselves quite preoccupied during their stay in the country. After all, Nepal has a very rich culture and heritage, as well as a unique location and topography that makes the country a great tourist destination overall.

Those planning to visit Nepal has a wide range of activities to choose from. Nature lovers who might not be into hiking or trekking can still try out other outdoor activities such as booking an Everest Mountain Flight. For something a little more adventurous, paragliding in Pokhara and Bungee jumping are equally fun outdoor activities which will certainly give one an adrenaline rush. For those who want to learn more about the culture and heritage of Nepal, exploring the temples of Kathmandu is certainly a worthwhile activity. For animal lovers, meanwhile, visiting the Chitwan National Parkwould certainly prove to be a one-of-a-kind experience.

For those who want a more chill Nepal experience, motorbiking across Nepal is a fun way of getting around and seeing the country or, if peace and quiet really is the goal – mountain yoga. Finally, for a more authentic Nepali experience, consider a homestay or a farmstay, and eating your fill of scrumptious Nepali cuisine which is as delicious as they are affordable.

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Where to Go in Nepal

Where to Go in Nepal

Nepal is not a big country, but that does not mean that the country is lacking in terms of sights and destinations. On the contrary, Nepal has a lot to offer – from its picturesque mountains to its well-preserved temples.

If you want to get the most out of your Nepal visit, then it is best to pick a city or town you want to explore, spend a couple of days there, and take the time to really explore local spots and have your fill of local cuisine.

If you have yet to make up your mind as to where to go in Nepal, then you might want to start with the more popular destinations. Kathmandu, the capital, is a place you really should not miss, especially since it has a lot of temples and historical sites. It is also a great place to go shopping and go on a food trip.

Other notable destinations in Nepal include Bhaktapur (formerly a Royal City) and Panauti (one of the oldest towns in Nepal). If you want to learn more about Buddhism, meanwhile, then you should go see Lumbini, the birthplace of Gautama Buddha. For those who want to appreciate Nepali architecture, Patan is certainly the city to see.

For the outdoorsy type, visit Nagarkot for its wondrous views of the Himalayas or Pokhara to see lush green forests and breathtaking underground caves, as well as waterfalls. Finally, try not to miss the Sagarmatha National Park which houses no less than Mount Everest.

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A Guide to Mountains in Nepal

A Complete Guide to Trekking and Hiking in Nepal

Having established its reputation as a great hiking and trekking destination, many tourists from all over the world flock to Nepal to visit its numerous mountains. Given the country’s topography, there really is no shortage of peaks to climb and there is always a trail for every climber regardless of skills and experience. The more experienced climbers can certainly attempt to climb eight of the 14 mountains exceeding the height of 8,000 meters in Nepal while those who have little to no trekking or hiking experience may opt to try the friendlier trails instead.

Each mountain caters to a different type of hiker or trekker and demands different levels of expertise. Regardless of whether you want to actually hike or just to see the mountains in all their majesty, it is worth paying the highest mountains in Nepal a visit.

The mountain which everyone wants to see when they visit Nepal is, quite obviously, Mount Everest. At an elevation of 8.848 meters, it is the highest mountain in the world and only a few have succeeded in reaching its summit. Next on the list are Kanchenjunga (third highest mountain in the world), Lhotse (fourth highest mountain in the world), Mount Makalu (fifth highest mountain and among the most difficult to climb in the world), Mount Cho Oyu (sixth highest mountain in the world and considered as the most climbable in Nepal) and Dhaulagiri I (the seventh highest mountain in the world). On top of these six notable mountains, there are still a numerous others which are equally majestic and breathtaking.

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Wildlife Photography in Nepal: A Guide

Where to practice wildlife photography in Nepal

Nepal’s unique topography makes the country a paradise from nature-lovers. Its majestic peaks and lush forests serve as wonderful sites for tourists who want to wind down amidst nature. But more than making the country a great backpacking and trekking destination, the country’s lush scenery also makes it an ideal refuge for wildlife.

That said, Nepal is a great spot for wildlife photographers. Nepal’s numerous well-preserved national parks allow wildlife to thrive and afford wildlife photographers a great chance to get a closer look, as well as take snaps of, different species of animals.

Some of the most interesting and well-preserved safaris in Nepal are as follows: the Chitwan National Park where one can spot elephants, rhinos, and crocodiles; the Bardia National Park where one can get a more rugged safari experience and have a chance at spotting the elusive Royal Bengal tigers; as well as the KoshiTappu Wildlife Reserve which houses over 400 bird species. The KoshiTappu Wildlife Reserve is an especially great place for photographers who really want to take their time in photographing the birds since the reserve offers various types of accommodations within the grounds.

There really are no hard and fast rules in doing wildlife photography in Nepal, but being respectful of the animals, knowing your equipment, and investing a trail camera would be a great start. And for those who are apprehensive about venturing into wildlife photography, it pays to bear in mind that sometimes the best approach is to just take as many pictures as possible.

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10 Travel Tips Before You Travel in a Campervan

Travel Tips Before You Travel in a Campervan

Travelling in a campervan is a great option for those who want to travel in groups or with their families without having to spend a lot on accommodations and transportation. While travelling in a campervan entails a sizable upfront expense, getting a campervan is actually budget-friendly in the long-run.

Aside from saving on transportation and accommodation expenses, another definite plus when it comes to travelling in a campervan is comfort. After all, you will no longer need to bring around heavy luggage. You can also stock your campervan with food and furniture which you want to enjoy even while travelling.

Of course, travelling in a campervan can be quite daunting for beginners, which is why it is incredibly necessary to find some information first before jumping right into the decision of getting a campervan. For example, it is necessary to know what kind of campervan to spend on, as well as to determine all upfront expenses. Things that are important include if the van has a portable toilet and a RV tankless water heater with hot running water. After getting a campervan, you also have to furnish it accordingly, making sure that you have the right gear and equipment, and enough supplies for your travels.

After that, you also have to find good camping spots, plan your trips accordingly, plan your daily drive, and ensure that you always have means of communication with you at all times. Finally, and most importantly, it is necessary to be as flexible as possible. After all, travelling in a campervan is not without its inconveniences. Allowing yourself some room for drawbacks or detours can help ensure that you still enjoy your trip.

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A Guide on Kayaking in Nepal

A Guide on Kayaking in Nepal

Although Nepal is best known for being a great destination for trekking, hiking, and mountaineering, this does not mean that the only outdoor activities you can do in the country are those involving the country’s numerous peaks. Interestingly, Nepal is starting to become popular as a great kayaking destination not only for long-time kayakers, but also for beginners. In fact, Nepal is considered as the ultimate kayaking playground, not only because of the country’s numerous rivers and rapids, but also because of its unique river culture.

Those who want to go kayaking in Nepal should visit the country during autumn, or from October to December. This is just after the monsoon season and the weather is more agreeable. For kayaking beginners, November is the ideal month to visit since most rivers and rapids are already quite manageable.

For experienced kayakers who want to bring their own kayak gear when they go kayaking in Nepal, renting a vehicle would be the most convenient option albeit an expensive one. Other viable options would be either taking a taxi or taking a bus but bear in mind that drive hours tend to be very long so taking a bus would be the most cost-efficient mode of transportation.

For first-timers to the Nepal kayaking scene, it is highly advisable to enlist the services of local kayaking operations and kayaking clinics. This way, you can get the necessary guidance when it comes to kayaking. Likewise, such services can provide you not only with training but with whatever else is necessary for kayaking in the country.

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Wildlife Photography in Nepal: A Guide

Nepal’s unique topography makes the country a nature-lover’s paradise. Its majestic peaks and rolling hills, coupled with its lush forests and breathtaking rapids, are all testament to the beauty of the great outdoors. That said, it is of little wonder that tourists go to Nepal not only to climb its numerous mountains, but also to revel in the beauty of nature.

Unlike most crowded tourist destinations, Nepal has managed to strike a balance between cosmopolitan business centers and lush scenery, thereby allowing wildlife to thrive in the country even as it continuously gains popularity as a backpacking and trekking destination. With the country’s thriving wildlife including rare finds like the Bengal tiger and the Indian rhinoceros, it is not surprising to find that many wildlife photographers flock to the country to capture the beauty of such exotic animals.

Do you want to venture into wildlife photography? Do you want to capture the vibrant wildlife in Nepal? Or maybe you just want to properly document your visit to Nepal? Regardless, here is a rough guide on wildlife photography in Nepal that will let you make the most out of your visit to the country.

Where to practice wildlife photography in Nepal

Wildlife Photography in NepalIf you are planning to try out wildlife photography, then it is probably safe to assume that you already have experience in photography in the past. That said, in this article, we will focus on the specifics of photographing wildlife in Nepal as opposed to talking about the basics of photography, although I will give you handy tips in taking wildlife photos while in the country (but more on that later).

Having said that, the most important question that you will have to confront when venturing into wildlife photography in Nepal is this: where is the best place to shoot photos of animals in the country? Of course, you will find animals wherever you go, but if you are looking for wildlife and some rare finds, then your best bet is to go on a safari adventure. Luckily for you, there are quite a lot of safaris in Nepal, so observing animals in their local habitats should not be too much of a problem insofar as the opportunity to spot rare finds is concerned. Not sure where you should be headed next? Here are a couple of safari adventures you definitely would not want to miss if you want to take great photos of wildlife:

1) Chitwan National Park

Where to practice wildlife photography in NepalFor those who want to spot elephants, rhinos, and even crocodiles, the Chitwan National park is certainly a must-see. This national park is easily accessible from Kathmandu and is well-known for running a successful rhinoceros conservation project. With over 600 rhinoceros roaming friendly in the national park, you should not have any difficulty in spotting one (or a couple, actually). In addition to the enormous rhinos, you will also find elephants, gharial crocodiles, deer, and a variety of birds and another smaller animals in the park.

You can explore the national park on foot or aboard a vehicle. If you want to take pictures of as many animals as possible, however, you might want to explore the park on a jeep in order to cover more ground. An ox cart is also another option you might take, especially if you do not want to disrupt the animals in the area.

2) Bardia National Park

Where to practice wildlife photography in NepalThe Bardia National Park is located in the far western part of Nepal. Unlike the Chitwan National Park, this safari is less frequented by tourists due to its location. Thus, if you are looking for a more rugged safari experience, then you will certainly enjoy exploring this national park.

The Bardia National park is an especially great venue if you want to spot the Royal Bengal Tigers. Although the elusive Royal Bengal Tigers can be found in different locations in Nepal, you have greater chances of spotting them in this area, mostly because foot traffic is not as heavy as in other national parks.

Also, since the Bardia National park is close to the Karnali River, you may also venture on a whitewater rafting trip while in the area. Not only will this be a superb outdoor activity, but you will also have a chance to see more of the animals that live near the river.

3) Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve

Where to practice wildlife photography in NepalFor the bird-lovers out there, the Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve is without a doubt a haven. This wildlife reserve is located on the eastern plains of Nepal and is not very far from Pokhara. Housing over 400 bird species, touring the wetlands is certainly a great way to catch glimpses of – and of course photograph – various birds in the area. You will also be able to find different species of ducks, geese, storks, and even eagles and kingfishers.

Another great thing about this wildlife reserve is that various accommodations have been set up in the area, so you can hang around the reserve for a couple of days and take your time in photographing various bird species. Staying in the reserve is also a great opportunity to meet fellow bird watchers and nature photographers from different parts of the world.

What are some tips for doing wildlife photography in Nepal

Wildlife Photography in NepalUnless you intend to be a prize-winning wildlife photographer, there really are no hard and fast rules when it comes to wildlife photography in Nepal. Nonetheless, there are a couple of tips which you can utilize in order to take better pictures and make the most out of your experience in Nepal. That said, here are some things which could come in handy when taking up wildlife photography in Nepal:

1) It is important to love and respect animals

This is the most crucial factor when it comes to wildlife photography. If you want to take great photos of wildlife, then it is imperative that you love animals. Love and appreciation of animals come with respect, and the latter really does wonders when it comes to taking photos of animals in their natural habitat. This does not go to say, however, that you need to favor all animals equally. You might have a preference for birds or for large mammals – that is perfectly fine. What is important is that you keep the welfare and safety of the animals in mind in the course of your wildlife photography session.

Safaris in Nepal span great areas of land, so if you want to cover a lot of ground and see a lot of animals, exploring on foot just will not cut it. As mentioned earlier, however, while taking a jeep or other motor vehicle is certainly the most efficient way to go about it, doing so is not respectful to the animals in the area you will be visiting and will most likely scare them away. Exploring the safari on an ox cart is certainly a more eco-friendly option, not to mention one which will serve your purposes better.

2) Just take pictures

Wildlife Photography in NepalIn the age of well-curated Instagram and Facebook feeds, it might be tempting to spend so much time taking aesthetically pleasing wildlife photographs. While there is nothing wrong with that, especially if you are a professional wildlife photographer, it might not be the best course of action to take for beginners. Obsessing over your shots can actually take the joy out of wildlife photography and that is certainly not what you are going for.

Instead of spending too much time on getting the perfect shot, start with taking photos of as many animals as you can. Learn how to spot animals quickly and how to take pictures of them without being noticed. Once you have these skills nailed down, you can move on to the more technical aspects of wildlife photography.

Of course, the ultimate goal is taking great photos of photos, but do not let your end goal distract you from your experience. After all, wildlife photography is also meant to celebrate wildlife and appreciate nature.

3) Know your equipment

There is no need to be a professional photographer in order to delve into wildlife photography but knowing your equipment will certainly work wonders when you are out in the safari, trying to spot rare animal species. This is especially the case if you really want to develop your skills as a photographer and take high quality photographs of animals in their natural habitat.

Bear in mind that the subject in wildlife photography are moving animals, many of which are not used to human presence or contact. That said, knowing your camera really well is an asset as you will often have to quickly change settings – sometimes without looking at your equipment lest you lose track of your subject.

Again, you do not have to be an expert just to take wildlife photographs, but a good rule is to stick with equipment you know by heart. Some people get too excited with the prospect of wildlife photography and would even buy new equipment to take with them to their Nepal trip. While there is nothing wrong with wanting to have a better-quality camera to document your foray into the wildlife, even the highest quality camera in the world will not be of much help if you cannot operate it properly. Worse, you might even end up damaging your camera as you fumble in the safari. So save your fancy equipment for more chill adventures where you can tinker with the camera settings and stick with the equipment you are used to while in the safari.

4) Consider investing in a trail camera

Wildlife Photography in NepalI am an advocate of sticking with equipment you are already familiar with, but I make an exception when it comes to trail cameras. Trail cams are particularly useful for two purposes: 1) researching wildlife photography locations and 2) capturing great wildlife photos.

The trick to being a good wildlife photographer is being very patient, especially if you are trying to get photos of elusive species. If you have a limited time to spend in Nepal, however, camping out for hours and waiting for certain animals to appear might not be the most viable option. This is where trail cams come in handy. You can buy a couple of low-cost trail cams and install them in several strategic locations. This way, you can document the kind of animals that typically pass by the area, allowing you to have a better idea of where you can find certain species.

Most people assume that trail cams are typically low-res, but that certainly is not the case. On the contrary, there are now trail cam brands that offer great resolution, allowing wildlife enthusiasts to take high-quality photographs of wildlife. In fact, some trail cam models have shutter speeds quick enough to capture still images of birds flying with so much clarity.

5) Get a guide

If this is your first time to try wildlife photography in Nepal, then it is better to go with a guide. A well-experienced guide can lead you to areas in the safari where you can get a better view of the animals or where you are more likely to see elusive species. In addition, a safari guide can also give you some tips when it comes to interacting with animals, more specifically, how to act around them. Venturing on your own might seem exciting, but for beginners, a good guide can really spell a lot of difference.

Wildlife photography can sound intimidating for beginners, but it really should not be. As long as you enjoy being out in nature and you have a decent camera, you are well on your way to taking great wildlife photographs. Unlike outdoor hobbies such as kayaking or mountaineering, wildlife photography does not require a lot of training. In fact, the best way to learn it and improve your skills is to get out there and start taking photos. So if you really want to try wildlife photography, just take your trusted camera with you and go for it – all while keeping the tips above in mind.

Traditional Nepali Dishes

No foreign country visit is complete without sampling local delicacies, so if you ever find yourself in Nepal, you have to make sure to try local food offerings. With more and more tourists visiting Nepal yearly, the increase in the number of restaurants in the country comes off as no surprise. In fact, over the years, more international restaurants have sprouted over the country, catering to a more diverse group of customers.

Despite the international food fare in Nepal, however, you should not pass up on the opportunity to try traditional Nepali dishes. After all, you can sample international cuisine anywhere in the world, but authentic Nepali dishes are a lot harder to come by outside Nepal.

Characteristics of Nepalese cuisine

Traditional Nepali DishesOf course, it is impossible to generalize the entirety of Nepalese cuisine, seeing as variations exist depending on the location. Nevertheless, there are a couple notable characteristics of Nepalese cuisine.

First, Nepali dishes tend to be gluten-free and vegetarian/vegan-friendly. That notwithstanding, bear in mind that Nepali dishes remain quite heavy so you might want to go easy on the portions, especially if you are trying out several dishes at a time.

Second, Nepali dishes use spices – a lot. Pickled spices and curries are a staple in Nepalese cuisine, so if you are not very fond of spicy food, you might be a bit too surprised. If you are dining out, consider asking the waiter about how spicy the dishes are and request that they put less spice. Feeling adventurous? Just go for it and maybe drink a lot of water.

Must-try traditional Nepali dishes

Nepal’s cuisine is as rich as its culture and heritage, so going on a Nepali food trip might be quite daunting for the first-time visitor. To make your food trip a lot easier and more enjoyable, and to make sure that you really get to sample the best dishes that Nepal has to offer, we put together a list of must-try traditional Nepali dishes for you. Try the following:

1) Dal bhat

The dal bhat may very well be every Nepali’s favorite dish. However, to call it a dish might be quite misleading, seeing as this rice and lentil curry is typically prepared with whatever vegetables are in season and meat curries. It is also often served with salad, pickles, or curd. The dal bhat is a staple in every home and restaurant serving Nepali dishes, so you really have not had the full Nepali experience until you have tried dal bhat.

2) Momos

This is Nepal’s version of the Tibetan dumplings and you definitely should not leave Nepal without sampling these treats.These are made by filling rice paper wrappers with finely chopped vegetables and minced buffalo or chicken meat. As with traditional dumplings, momos can be steamed, fried, or added to soup. Even better, momos are always made fresh. You might have to wait a bit longer for your order to arrive but, trust me, it is certainly worth it.

3) Gundruk

This is a side dish, not very much unlike the Korean kimchi, although the preparation is different. Gundruk is basically fermented green leafy vegetables, with a slightly salty and mushroomy taste. Gundruk is a perfect accompaniment to a good dal bhat.

4) Chiura

The chiura is less of a dish and more of a unique Nepali take on rice preparation. The chiura is made by beating rice until it flattens and then drying it out. You can eat it on its own, but is quite dry and does not really have much by way of taste, so it is best eaten with wet curries.

5) Sel roti

Traditional Nepali DishesThis is more of a snack than a full meal – not that anyone really is complaining. The sel roti is round and deep-fried, not unlike the donut, but with only a small hint of sweetness. Sel roti is among the dishes you will find practically anywhere in Nepal, from celebrations and festivals to everyday roadside snack stalls.

6) Bara

Speaking of snacks, bara is another popular Nepali snack. More specifically, bara is a distinctively Newari cuisine. It can be described as a savory rice-flour pancake and can be eaten on its own or with an egg and/or minced buffalo meat.

7) Chatamari

Like the bara, chatamari is a popular Newari snack which is very popular in Kathmandu. Chatamari is prepared with rice-flour crepe topped with chopped onions, coriander, minced meat, egg, and spices. Given its shape and preparation, it is often referred to as the “Nepali pizza”.

8) Yomari

Another Newari dish, the yomari is so special that it has a festival of its own – the YomariPunhi Festival. At the end of the rice harvest, locals prepare sweet yomari to celebrate. Yomari is basically dumplings in the shape of a fish, typically stuffed with sweet coconut or molasses. This is a seasonal dish and outside the duration of the festival, this dish can be quite hard to find.

9) Sandheko

If you love salad and spicy food, then Sandheko is the dish for you. This is another Newari dish and is typically made with potatoes, peanuts, onions, coriander, and a whole lot of chili.Sandheko is actually a popular bar snack so if you are planning to experience Nepal’s nightlife, you might want to check it out then.

10) Juju dhau

This is the Newari version of yogurt. Juju dhau is a sweetened yogurt made from buffalo milk. This is only available in Bhaktapur so make sure to try it out.

Nepal’s cuisine is certainly scrumptious. It is all about fresh produce and a nice kick from spices, so if you are used to eating at fast food chains, Nepali dishes will come as a welcome change. A lot of the dishes mentioned above are quite hard to find outside Nepal, so make the most out of your stay in the country and try out these delicious local delicacies. Even better? You do not need to go to fancy restaurants to try out most of these.

Best Hotels in Nepal

With so many tourists from all over the world flocking to Nepal, especially during the peak hiking and trekking season, it is not surprising that the country offers various forms of accommodations which cater to every budget. Although known as a backpacker destination, Nepal has its fair share of hotels and accommodations – from budget hotels to luxury ones.

In this article, I will give you a list of some of the best hotels in Nepal, classified into various price points. So whether you are traveling to Nepal on a budget or are ready to spend some cash on a lavish accommodations, you will certainly find something of interest here.

Best Budget Hotels in Nepal

Nepal is quite popular among tourists who are traveling on a budget, mostly because it is so easy to find affordable accommodations in the country. When looking for budget accommodations, you should stick to lodges and hostels located near the areas you intend to visit. This way, you could save on transportation expenses. If you are traveling light, you can also further save by checking in only for the night.

That said, here are some of the best budget hotels in Nepal:

1) Shangri-La Boutique Hotel

Best Budget Hotels in NepalWith price starting at around $10, this hotel is certainly for the budget-conscious traveler. Located at the center of Thamel, the Shangri-La Boutique Hotel is close to a lot of attractions and famous spots, but still reasonably far from the busiest parts of the city. The amenities are also complete.

2) Trekkers’ Home

Best Budget Hotels in NepalAlso at the $10-dollar range, Trekkers’ Home is a great choice for travelers on a budget. This accommodation is close enough to the city but without the hefty price tag. You can choose from a variety of rooms including single, double, triple, and even family suites.

3) Hotel Happy Home

Best Budget Hotels in NepalA little more expensive is the Hotel Happy Home, with rates starting at around $17. Nevertheless, the additional price is justifiable since the hotel is at a prime location, fully-furnished, fully-air conditioned, and even has free Wi-Fi as well as other complimentary items.

4) Hotel Mums Home

Best Budget Hotels in NepalIf you want a more comfortable accommodation without spending too much or moving too far away from the heart of Kathmandu, then this accommodation is perfect for you. Starting at $20, the Hotel Mums Home has fully-air conditioned rooms with a spacious garden and a terrace.

5) Aryatara Kathmandu Hotel

Best Budget Hotels in NepalIf you want a room with a great view but affordable rates, then you should try this hotel. With rates starting at $25, this is still budget-friendly. The hotel has modern furnishings and provides a great view of the mountains.

Best mid-range hotels in Nepal

If you have a little more to spend on your accommodation but do not want to spend too much, then you should check out some of the best mid-range hotels in Nepal:

1) Oasis Kathmandu Hotel

Best mid-range hotels in NepalStarting at $35, this bed and breakfast has great amenities. All rooms have access to the balcony, not to mention the fact that the hotel has a great, affordable restaurant which offers various cuisines.

2) Kantipur Temple House

Priced at around $50, this accommodation is a great refuge after a long day at the city. Despite being a mid-range hotel, the Kantipur Temple House exudes luxury. It also has a rooftop garden which is great for viewing the city at night.

3) Fairfield

With rates starting at $75, the Fairfield offers a great view, as well as topnotch services but without the hefty price tag. in addition, this hotel also has a great bar and restaurant.

Best mid-range hotels in Nepal4) Dalai-La Boutique Hotel

For around $80, you can enjoy staying at this heritage hotel in Kathmandu. On top of its amenities, the Dalai-La Boutique Hotel also has terrace and a courtyard.

5) Traditional Comfort

Best mid-range hotels in NepalIf you want to stay in a traditional hotel but do not want to give up the comfort of modern amenities, then this hotel is the perfect one for you. Although still mid-range, the hotel is splashed with a bit of luxury, perfect for relaxing after a particularly tiring day.

Best Luxury Hotels in Nepal

For those of you who have more cash to spend, you might want to check out some of the luxury hotels in Nepal. After all, why scrimp on luxury when you can avail of it for much cheaper in Nepal? Here are some luxury hotels worth checking out:

1) Crowne Plaza Hotel Kathmandu-Soaltee

Best Luxury Hotels in NepalWith over 12 acres of grounds, the Crowne Plaza certainly does not skip on amenities. You can try their outdoor pool, enjoy the international food fare at their restaurant, or have a chill barbecue afternoon. The interiors are remarkably elegant and characteristically Nepali.

2) Hotel Yak & Yeti

Best Luxury Hotels in NepalThis hotel is actually a heritage hotel palace, so you will certainly be in awe of the manicured gardens and the antique fountains. The hotel also has an outdoor pool, two tennis courts, and even an indoor casino.

3) Hyatt Regency Kathmandu

Best Luxury Hotels in NepalIf you have been to a Hyatt hotel before, then you know exactly what to expect when you visit the Hyatt Regency. The entire hotel is luxurious with beautiful landscaped gardens and modern fully-furnished rooms. The hotel also has an outdoor pool.

4) Gokarna Forest Resort

Best Luxury Hotels in NepalIf you want a break from the busy Kathmandu, then head to the outskirts and check in the Gokarna Forest Resort. Despite being located inside a forest, this resort has complete amenities, including a golf course, a spa, a health club, and various dining options.

5) Dwarika’s Hotel

Best Luxury Hotels in NepalThis hotel is perfect not only for accommodations, but also for sight-seeing. With an extensive collection of 13th-century arte facts, it is easy to see why it was awarded the PATA Heritage Award. Also, with an outdoor pool and various dining options, this hotel is really worth the bucks.

The hotel options in Nepal might not be as extensive as in other larger countries, but it does not mean that you do not have choices. On the contrary, you have quite a lot to choose from depending on your budget.

A Complete Guide to Trekking and Hiking in Nepal

Nepal has long established itself as a superb trekking and hiking destination. In fact, so many tourists from all over the world flock to the country for trekking and hiking, prompting the government of Nepal to put in place regulations for various trekking and hiking activities.

Despite the popularity of Nepal as a trekking and hiking destination, however, first-timers might still find the idea of embarking on a trek in Nepal to be quite intimidating. But just because you are unfamiliar with Nepal does not mean that you should refrain from trekking or hiking there. In this article, we will discuss everything you need top know about trekking and hiking in Nepal to get you ready for your much-awaited adventure.

When should you go hiking or trekking in Nepal?

A Complete Guide to Trekking and Hiking in Nepal Before you prepare anything, you should first determine the date for your hike or trek. You can go hiking or trekking in Nepal any time of the year, but for first-timers, it is recommended to visit the country during the peak seasons. There are two peak hiking seasons in Nepal – fall and spring. Fall is October to November and it is the most popular season for trekkers in Nepal. During this time, the mountain views are clear and it is generally sunny in the country with mild temperatures and very little rain.

Meanwhile, spring is March to April and is the second most popular season for trekkers. Rhododendron trees are in full bloom, the temperatures are mild, and you will have a great time viewing wildlife.

Of course, visiting Nepal during the peak seasons has its downsides. In particular, these times of the year tend to be very crowded, so be prepared to find packed trails. Prices also tend to go up during peak seasons, so you should be ready to spend a little more.

Hiking off peak can save you from the busy crowd and from price hikes, but the weather conditions are not exactly beginner-friendly. Unless you have previous experience when it comes to hiking or trekking, it will be better to go during the peak seasons. Regardless of your experience, it is greatly advised to stay away during the monsoon months of May to September.

Should you trek on your own or with a guide?

A Complete Guide to Trekking and Hiking in Nepal After you have decided when to go hiking or trekking in Nepal, the next step is to determine whether to embark on a solo trekking trip or avail of the services of a guide. Of course, the answer depends on a number of factors including your budget, experience, and personal preference.

Experienced trekkers who are planning to hike or trek along popular routes of minimal to moderate difficulty should do just fine even without a guide. Regardless of your experience, however, availing of the services of a guide will certainly be beneficial if you want to learn more about local culture. A good guide can also help you in meeting locals and in finding other tourist spots which are worth visiting.

Popular hiking trails in Annapurna and Everest are accessible to hikers of various experience levels and typically do not require guides. As long as you stick to these areas, you should be fine, especially since the trails are clearly marked and you will definitely be around a lot of other hikers. You just have to make sure to plan your itinerary carefully and to secure the necessary permits. Make sure to bring along a good map and a comprehensive hiking guide to help you. However, if you are planning to visit restricted hiking areas, you will definitely be required to avail of the services of a professional guide.

If you are a beginner in hiking or if you have apprehensions with regard to hiking or trekking by yourself, then you would greatly benefit from the help of a hiking guide.

How much does hiring a guide or a porter cost?

A Complete Guide to Trekking and Hiking in Nepal To put it simply, a guide is someone who will give you information about the trek, ensure your safety, and take care of logistics. A porter, on the other hand, is someone who can carry heavy gear for you. If you are planning to lug along a lot of equipment, then you might want to consider hiring the services of a porter.

Should you decide on hiring a guide or porter for the duration of your trek, then it would be wise to have a fair idea of how much such services will set you back. Guides and porters abound hiking and trekking sites, so you do not have to worry about the difficulty of finding one.

Although the rates will vary from one area to another and depending on the season, generally, a hiking or trekking guide will set you back by around $25 to $30 per day while a porter will cost you around $10 to $15 per day. If budget allows, try to tip at least 15% of the total fees to your guide or porter. A generous tip will go a long way in establishing goodwill especially if you intend to return to the trail in question.

What is Teahouse trekking?

A Complete Guide to Trekking and Hiking in Nepal If you want to experience trekking in Nepal but are not ready for a task so physically taxing, you might want to venture into teahouse trekking first. Teahouses refer to small mountain lodges which can be found along hiking trails. You will typically pass by a treehouse every hour or so and such places are great for resting, eating home-cooked meals, and meeting other travelers. You can also spend the night in teahouses, so you do not have to camp out for the night.

Trekking and hiking in a foreign country might seem intimidating at first, but with proper research and preparation, you should have no problem during your adventure. Hiking in Nepal is especially convenient since it is not difficult to find guides and trekking companies which are ready to provide all imaginable services you might need to make your hike or trek as enjoyable and smooth-sailing as possible.

10 Travel Tips Before You Travel in a Campervan

Travelling in a campervan is a great option for groups or families who want to see more of the country without spending a lot of money on accommodations and transportation options. Although getting a campervan entails spending quite a lot initially (mostly on the acquisition of the campervan, and in furnishing and supplying the same), using a campervan in your travels is in fact budget-friendly and will allow you to save money in the long-run.

In addition, travelling in a campervan is a great way of travelling in comfort. Since you do not have to constantly move around luggage and you can furnish your campervan however you want, you do not necessarily have to travel light. This is a great advantage if you are travelling with kids.
In this article, we will talk about some pointers which you have to keep in mind before deciding to travel in a campervan. Keeping these ten in mind will help you make the most out of your vacation without any accompanying hassle or mishaps.

Here are 10 things which you should bear in mind before travelling in a campervan:

1) Know what kind of campervan to purchase

Travel Tips Before You Travel in a CampervanThis is the most important factor which you have to consider before travelling in a campervan. Since your campervan will not only be your mode of transportation but will also essentially be your home for the duration of your trip, then it is extremely important to be discerning when it comes to which campervan to purchase. Campervans are not all that difficult to find today, and you may opt to buy campervans in websites or in physical outlets. Whichever option you might decide to go with, make sure that you are buying from reputable dealers.

A good tip to keep in mind is this: do not buy the first campervan you see. Look around first to have an idea of reasonable price points. This way, you can bargain properly, and you will not miss out on deals. Also, decide early on whether to get a 4-wheel drive or a 2-wheel drive. If you have plans of going off-road in your travels, then you should definitely consider investing in a 4WD.

2) Determine all upfront expenses

As with buying any vehicle, buying a campervan entails some upfront costs on top of the price of the actual campervan. Of course, you will have to get vehicle registration for your campervan which, depending on your area regulations, will also include getting insurance and/or securing roadworthy certificate. In addition, you will also have to prepare to shell out for routine mechanical checks (unless you have expertise in this area, in which case you will certainly save a lot of money). Remember that your campervan is both your transportation and your accommodation so do not scrimp on mechanical checks before your trips.

3) Furnish your campervan accordingly

Travel Tips Before You Travel in a CampervanA nice and comfortable campervan is one that is furnished in accordance to the needs of the people using it. Unless you are buying a furnished campervan, you will have to do most of the furnishing work yourself – from installing beds to finding storage solutions.

4) Make sure that you have the necessary gear and equipment

Your campervan will essentially be your mini-house for the duration of the trip, so it is incredibly necessary to make sure that you have all the necessary gear and equipment before heading out. Make sure that you have enough sleeping gear (especially if you are travelling with kids), the necessary cooking tools (make sure that you have something to cook food with, as well as something to store it in), as well as other necessities.

If you want your trip to be as comfortable as possible, then you should also consider investing in a composting toilet. Not only will having a composting toilet come in handy, especially if you are planning to take routes where camping sites are few and far between, but it is also more environment-friendly. In plain terms, a composting toilet is a type of toilet which turns human excreta into compost, all the while regulating odor. Many composting toilet designs use no water for flushing, making composting toilets the most viable option for campervan travelers. This way, you will not have to worry too much about your toilets using up too much water for the duration of your trip.

Travel Tips Before You Travel in a CampervanIn addition to a composting toilet, another important equipment is a portable tankless water heater. If you want to enjoy comfortable showers while travelling in a campervan, especially during the colder months, then you should definitely consider investing in a portable tankless water heater. While a tankless water heater is slightly more expensive than those which come with tanks, going tankless remains to be the better option if you are travelling with a lot of people. This way, you will not run out of hot water and will not have to wait for hours before someone can shower again.Unlike tank water heaters, you do not have to wait for the water in the tank to heat up but, instead, the water is heated as it passes through the mechanism.

5) Make sure that you always have enough supplies

Travel Tips Before You Travel in a CampervanThis goes without saying, but a lot of campervan travelers often rely on supermarkets and supply stores that they will find along the way. Unless you are very familiar with the routes you are taking, this is not a very good option since there is no certainty that you will be able to stock up on your supplies. Instead, you should make sure that you have enough supplies (and maybe a little extra) before heading out on your road trip. If anyone in your company has dietary restrictions, then all the more that you should have enough supplies. Also, do not forget to bring a first-aid kit with you, along with medicines. Hygiene products are also equally important so make sure to bring enough with you.

6) Find good camping spots

Travel Tips Before You Travel in a CampervanBefore driving off, make sure to find good camping spots along the way. Even if you have a toilet and a shower in your campervan, it is still important to find a spot where you can park safely and rest for the night. You can look for camping spots where you can restock your supplies or, if you really want to enjoy the outdoors, where you can set up a tent and appreciate the scenery. Some camping spots are free, but the better ones usually have a fee. If you want to use some amenities or want to stay somewhere more secured for the night, then it might be a good idea to shell out some cash for good camping spots.

7) Plan your trips well

This is not to say, of course, that you have to plan your trip down to the tiniest detail. If this is your first time to travel in a campervan, then chances are things will not go exactly according to plan. Deviations are inevitable and you might have to modify and readjust your itinerary every so often in order to accommodate last-minute changes and other unforeseeable occurrences.

Nonetheless, it is necessary to do some planning before heading out since being well-prepared can save you from a lot of headaches. At the very least, plan how long you will be travelling, which places you will visit, and where you will be camping out. This way, you can pack accordingly and get sufficient supplies before heading out. If there are activities which you want to do and require any special gear or equipment, making plans beforehand means that you get to bring all the necessities.

8) Plan your daily drive

Travel Tips Before You Travel in a CampervanSome flexibility is necessary when it comes to your trip in general, but your daily drive is a different thing altogether. Before driving out, make sure that you have a good idea as to how long it will take you from one point to another, especially if you are quite unfamiliar with the roads. As much as possible, aim to get to a camping spot before dark. For one, some roads are more dangerous after dark, especially if you are planning to go off-road. Also, it might be more difficult to ask for help after dark (you never know when your car might break down or you might have any other emergency), so as much as possible, try to set out early. Save long drives for the day and make the evenings a time for settling in, winding down, and relaxing.

That said, it is necessary for you to check routes beforehand so that you can have a fair estimate of how long it will take you from one camping ground to the next. As much as possible, plan your drives and routes around camping grounds and other destinations. It might be fun and quite adventurous to just drive off and see where your campervan takes you, but if you are unfamiliar with the area and you have limited supplies, it might not be the best course of action.

9) Always have a means of communication

This tip cannot be emphasized enough: it is incredibly important to have a means of communication with you at all times. Some travelers go travelling in their campervans in an effort to unplug, but while that is actually a good plan, make sure that you still have a means of communication just the same. For one, you cannot foresee emergencies, so it is better if you have a way of asking for help in case something goes wrong. Also, it is only wise that you make sure that someone always knows where you are.

Of course, you do not have to advertise on social media where you are at all times, but at least have a family member or a friend updated on your itinerary and whereabouts. This way, if something unexpected happens (say you get lost or encounter any emergency), then someone will come looking for you and will have the inkling that sending help is necessary. This is especially important if you are travelling to remote locations where signal might be intermittent. As much as possible, try to send a text to your emergency contact before heading out and another one when you get to your camping spot. This way, they will have a fair idea of where you are.

10) Be as flexible as possible

As mentioned earlier, no matter how much you plan your trip, unexpected things might still come up every so often. You might encounter detours and mishaps, so it is best to maintain a certain level of flexibility. That said, do not plan your drives and your activities to the minute and, whenever possible, have a couple of alternative routes and spots to visit at hand. This way, even if something goes wrong, you are still prepared and could simply do a last-minute change of plans.

Travelling in a campervan is something meant to be a little less structured and a little more adventurous, so do not be afraid of making changes to your itinerary. As long as you are well-prepared for your trip, you should be fine even if you will have to make a couple of changes here and there.

Travelling in a campervan might sound like a daunting task to some, especially those who have never tried it before, but it is actually quite enjoyable. You just have to be adequately prepared and have reasonable expectations of how the trip would be like. in fact, when done correctly, travelling in a campervan might even prove to be more comfortable and convenient, especially since you are not forced to travel light or to constantly lug around your gear and equipment.

That said, make sure to follow the 10 tips above before setting out on your first campervan adventure. This way, you can be assured that your trip will be as smooth-sailing as possible and you will be able to avoid any unnecessary hassle, problems, and inconvenience.

A Guide on Kayaking in Nepal

Nepal might be best known for being a top spot for hiking, trekking, and mountaineering, but that does not mean that the list of outdoor activi ies that can be done in the country ends there. While a lot of tourists might not know that kayaking is also quite popular in Nepal, the country is in fact the perfect destination for kayakers regardless of the level of skill and experience.

For those who are a little more familiar with the international kayaking community, Nepal is hailed as the ultimate kayaking playground, especially for those interested in whitewater kayaking. On top of the numerous rivers and rapids, there is also a unique river culture in Nepal, making it the ideal destination for kayakers from all over the world.

In this article, we will talk about everything you need to know about kayaking in Nepal, so sit back, relax, and strap along for the ride.

When to go kayaking in Nepal

A Guide on Kayaking in NepalThe prospect of going kayaking in Nepal is truly exciting, but that does not mean that you should book a ticket to the country right away. Before you do so, make sure that you are visiting at a month when the rivers and rapids are at a condition most suitable for your skill level.

Generally, tourists travel to Nepal during autumn, that is, from October to December. You can come earlier in September, but that is still monsoon season so you can expect constant rains and higher water levels. If you are a little apprehensive about higher water or if this will be your first time to kayak, then it is highly advisable to wait out until October towards the end of the monsoon season. By then, the weather will be more agreeable.

The weather is already hot around October and the water levels are already beginning to drop. By November, the water in most rivers and rapids are already quite manageable – perfect for kayaking beginners. You can still go kayaking around December, but you can expect the temperature to be colder with lower river flows. That said, November will be the most ideal month to go kayaking in Nepal.

The time when you will go kayaking in Nepal is also a determining factor when it comes to choosing the appropriate gear, so make sure to plan accordingly.

Mode of transportation

A Guide on Kayaking in NepalIf you are an experienced kayaker, then you probably bring your own gear when you go kayaking – from your kayaking outfit to your very own kayak. That said, transportation is a top consideration when you go to Nepal. If you can afford renting a vehicle for the duration of your stay in Nepal, then great for you. That means you would not have to worry about transporting your gear from the airport to your kayaking destination. This is especially handy if you are planning to kayak in different places in Nepal.

However, if you cannot afford to rent a vehicle, then you have to resort to taking public transport. You have two options in that case: taking a taxi or taking a bus. Taking a taxi is the more convenient option, of course, but with trips to kayaking destinations taking several hours, the costs can be really high. That said, if you want to keep your costs down, then taking a bus is the best option for you.

However, you have to note that you will often have to pay extra for your kayak, and it is up to you to make sure that your kayak is fastened securely to the roof of the bus. Bear in mind that roof racks may be rough, so unless you want your kayak to be damaged, it is necessary to have something to pad the roof with.

Buses are also the main mode of transportation in Nepal, so be prepared to have to squeeze yourself into crowded buses. The good news, however, is that you might be able to get a tourist bus for certain destinations (although you might have some persuasion to do with regard to your kayak). Tourist buses are less crowded than normal ones, plus you get to have a tourist guide.

Do note, however, that it could take you anywhere from six to 12 hours to get from the airport to your kayaking destination, so factor in your comfort when choosing a mode of transportation. While taking ordinary buses will certainly help you save money, it is not exactly the most viable option if you want to be comfortable for the duration of the trip. That said, if you are travelling with buddies, it might just be better to rent your own vehicle and split the costs among yourselves.

Local kayaking operations

A Guide on Kayaking in NepalFor kayaking beginners and first-timers, or those who are not willing to lug around all their kayaking gear for the entire duration of their Nepal trip, your best option is to check out local kayaking operations.

For one, these local outfits will be able to supply you with the necessary gear and equipment. This is especially convenient if you intend on travelling light and if you have a lot of activities planned for the duration of your stay.

Also, local kayaking operations can help you find great kayaking spots depending on your skills and experience. If you are looking for someone who can help you arrange plan your kayaking activities or if you are travelling by yourself but want to go kayaking with a group, then they can certainly assist you. Moreover, local kayaking operations often arrange transportation, as well, especially when it comes to more remote kayaking locations. Sure, you will have to spend a little more if you avail of the services of local kayaking operations, but the convenience and the added safety are well worth the extra costs.

Kayaking clinics

If you have never tried kayaking before and really want to try it out, then enrolling in a kayaking clinic is the best option for you. A kayaking clinic can help you learn everything you need to know about kayaking – from how to perform proper paddle strokes to how to stay safe while kayaking. Kayaking clinics will also help you prepare the proper gear for your first kayaking adventure and help you get better acquainted with kayaking spots in Nepal. Instructors in kayaking clinics are all certified and experienced, as well as well-versed in local kayaking regulations, so you do not have to be apprehensive even if you have never tried kayaking before.

Note, however, that kayaking courses offered by kayaking clinics typically span several days, so make sure to accommodate that in your schedule. Usual courses start with an introductory course on kayaking – choosing equipment and basic safety guidelines. From there, the course progresses to basic kayaking skills tested in calm water, gradually moving on to more difficult maneuvers and in trickier waters. The good thing about such courses is that you will progress at your own pace and you will not feel rushed in learning how to kayak. Plus, you will be taking lessons for only a few hours each day so you will still have plenty of time to explore local tourist spots.

Of course, if you will not be staying in Nepal for a very long time, this might not be the best option for you. However, if you want to have solid grounding when it comes to kayaking and if you intend to continue kayaking even after you leave Nepal, then enrolling in a kayaking clinic is a great learning experience.

Kayaking clinics are not that difficult to find, but if you are not sure which one to enroll in, you can start with the following clinics:

1) Equator Expeditions

A Guide on Kayaking in NepalEquator Expeditions operates in the Sukute Beach Resort. The resort is a great spot by the river with access to a private beach, making it an ideal spot for learning how to kayak. In addition, the resort is also a perfect spot for relaxing and lounging around after your kayaking lessons. The resort also has a bar area with pool tables, perfect for hanging out with fellow tourists and kayakers during your downtime.

2) Ultimate Rivers

Like the Equator expeditions, Ultimate Rivers is also a basic kayaking camp. It operates in Ultimate Rivers Bhote Koshi Resort. You can get a good four-day clinic experience for US$200, although you will have to take the bus or resort to other modes of transportation to get to the river from the resort.

3) Royal Beach Camp

Royal Beach Camp offers more flexible kayaking clinic programs and you can choose from any of their two to seven-day kayak clinic programs. The Royal beach Camp has a fixed camp at Kataudi on the Trisuli River, so you would not have to worry about your transportation from the resort to the river and back. In addition, Royal Beach Camp also has its own swimming pool where you can wind down after your kayaking lessons. In addition to providing kayaking lessons, Royal beach Camp also offers clinics on rafting, canyoning, and even hosts expeditions for families.

4) Ultimate Descents Nepal

If you are willing to spend a little more for a great kayaking experience, then you should try enrolling with Ultimate Descents Nepal. Its four-day clinic will cost you roughly US$260, but it is well worth the experience. The four-day camp takes place on the Seti River, known for being gentle and, hence, beginner-friendly. On your first day, you will be taught the basics on Phewa Tal while the rest of the camp will be spent on the Seti River. Even better, you will spend two nights camping by the Seti riverside, so it certainly is a great way to enjoy the outdoors. The Seti is also a wilderness river, allowing you to really feel closer to nature.

A Guide on Kayaking in NepalWhat you should look for in local kayaking operations and clinics
With more and more tourists visiting Nepal to try out kayaking, there has also been an increase in the number of local kayaking operations and clinics. So how do you know which services to actually avail of? Are there things you should always look for?

The honest answer is this: it really depends on what you need and how much you are willing to spend. If budget is not much of an issue, however, it is advisable to look for a kayaking operation or clinic which offers transportation before and after the kayaking trip, especially if the kayaking operation or clinic does not have a facility on the river itself. This way, you do not have to worry about transporting your gear and equipment. Transportation is especially important for more experienced kayakers who might opt to bring their own gear.

For beginners and first-timers, meanwhile, it is also advisable to look for kayaking packages which are inclusive of gears and equipment, including the paddle, the kayak, helmet and wet-suit, and a support raft. Try to inquire if the company also offers waterproof containers for your valuables, as well as dry bags for your clothes. If the kayaking package includes riverside camping in the itinerary, it is best to inquire of tents and sleeping bags will also be provided by the company, as well as food and other provisions. This way, you can still travel light even if you intend to go on a kayaking adventure. Also, knowing about these things in advance will allow you to prepare accordingly.

Nepal might be popular because of its peaks, but it does not mean that its kayaking spots are less impressive than its mountains. On the contrary, rapids and rivers in Nepal are equally astounding and anyone who wants to make the most out of their trip to the country really should not miss out on the opportunity to try kayaking and other whitewater activities. And even if you have never tried kayaking before, no need to worry, because there are a lot of kayaking spots in Nepal which are beginner-friendly. So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and try kayaking.

Things to Do in Nepal

Hiking and trekking might be the first things that come to mind at the mention of Nepal, but the activities you can enjoy while in the country are certainly not limited to these two. On the contrary, Nepal has a lot to offer to travelers with varied interests, even to those who are not exactly big fans of the great outdoors.

So before you back out of your scheduled Nepal trip because you are worried that there might not be enough things to do when you get there, make sure to finish reading this article first. Trust me, you would probably find your scheduled trip too short for ticking off everything on this list.

What activities can you do in Nepal?

You already know that Nepal is great for hiking, trekking, and mountaineering – no need to tell you that. So instead, let me present you with the top things you could try out in Nepal – other than climbing mountains, of course!

1) Book an Everest Mountain Flight

Things to Do in NepalClimbing the world’s highest peak is not for the casual traveler-cum-hiker, so unless you have months, if not years, of training, climbing Mount Everest is certainly not a very good idea. But that does not mean that you cannot see this majestic mountain in all its glory. If you still want to see Mount Everest and the other Himalayan peaks, you can book an Everest Mountain Flight and spend an hour flying over the pride of the Himalayas.

2) Go paragliding in Pokhara

Things to Do in NepalIf you do not want to go hiking but want to feel the rush, paragliding might just be the activity for you. Pokhara is one of top spots for paragliding, especially since the weather is generally agreeable and the city has an enormous lake which serves as a safety net for first-time paragliders.

3) Bungee jumping

Things to Do in NepalSpeaking of adrenaline rushes, here is another extreme sport you might want to try. there are numerous bungee jumping sites in Nepal, but if you are feeling particularly brave, go ahead and check out The Last Resort. This sports complex has the world’s highest bungee jump at 160 meters – certainly not for the faint of heart!

4) Explore the temples of Kathmandu

Things to Do in NepalKathmandu is possibly the busiest, most crowded city in all of Nepal, but that only adds to its charms. If you have gotten tired of jostling your way around market stalls, consider visiting its numerous temples like the Boudhanath, the Swayambhunath, and the Pashupatinath.

5) Visit the Chitwan National Park

Things to Do in NepalFor the animal lovers out there, visiting the jungle safari in Chitwan is certainly a worthwhile activity this jungle safari features lush greenery and houses some of the most majestic animals you would see. Get your cameras ready and be prepared to observe rhinos, elephants, various birds, and even the Bengal tiger, if you are lucky, in their natural habitats.

6) Motorbike across Nepal

Things to Do in NepalThere are a lot of transportation options in Nepal, but they are still not quite as convenient as in larger countries. That said, if you want to really explore the country without spending so much on transportation, you might want to consider cross-country motorbiking. You can rent a motorbike and explore Nepal, though you might have to be extra careful since some roads do require maintenance.

7) Try a community homestay

Things to Do in NepalIf you want to wind down, relax, and really enjoy the vibrant Nepali culture, then you might want to try a homestay. The Panauti Community Homestay is particularly remarkable, it being operated by a local women’s cooperative. Since you will be staying in a local home, you can really experience life in Nepal. Of course, you cannot really expect much by way of amenities, but you can be guaranteed that your stay will be comfortable.

8) Do a farmstay

Things to Do in NepalIf you find a homestay a little too uneventful, then why not try taking it a step further with a farmstay? A farmstay operates under the same principle, the main difference being the location and the activities you will be doing. You can try contacting the Nepal chapter of the World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) and ask them to hook you with a local farm where you can stay in exchange for helping with some farm work. It is a good way to experience local life and, at the same time, you get to save on board and lodging.

9) Mountain yoga

Things to Do in NepalWith so many temples in Nepal and with such a tranquil scenery, it is easy to see why it is the ideal place to pick up yoga for the first time. And with the Himalayan range surrounding the country, you might as well try mountain yoga. If you want to try it for the first time, you can enroll in the numerous yoga retreat in Nepal. The Sadhana Yoga Retreat is particularly noteworthy and has various options to cater to every individual.

10) Eat

Things to Do in NepalThe best way to understand a culture is to sample a cuisine and that holds true for Nepal as well. There are numerous restaurants and food stalls all over Nepal, so you certainly would not have a difficult time sampling local dishes. If you are on a budget, skip the restaurants and eat at local eateries, kiosks, and food joints. If you find yourself craving for some international cuisine, however, no need to fret because there are a lot of top-rated restaurants in the country offering international food fare. Trust me, you can certainly eat to your heart’s content.

Nepal might have been stereotyped as a hiking/trekking country, but it certainly is more than that. The country has a vibrant culture and heritage, and with tourists from all over the globe constantly flocking the country, the local scene has become even more vibrant. These 10 activities are just some of the things you can do in Nepal, and if you go around and keep an open mind, there are a lot more to discover. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and try new things in Nepal.

Where to Go in Nepal

Nepal might be just a small country, but it has so much to offer to tourists by way of sights, adventure, and culture. Although Nepal has recently gained reputation for being an exemplary hiking destination, the country has so much more to offer than just its beautiful trails and breathtaking – quite literally and figuratively – mountains.

If you intend to stay in Nepal for more than just a few days, then you might want to make the most out of your stay and visit the popular destinations in the country. Here are some places you would not want to miss.

What Are Must-See Places in Nepal?

If you have yet to put together your itinerary, then you might want to start with these destinations:

Kathmandu

Where to Go in NepalNepal’s capital is easily one of the most popular destinations for tourists – and for good reason. This bustling city has so much to offer – from food to activities to breathtaking sites. The busy streets of Kathmandu are lined with numerous restaurants, so you really would not have to worry about getting hungry while exploring the capital. Want to go shopping? Then the Thamel area is worth checking out.

Despite the busy streets, however, the city is not lacking in terms of temples and historical sites. Among the temples worth visiting are the Pashupatinath Temple, the Kopan Monastery, the Boudhanath Stupa (which is also a UNESCO site), and the Swayambhunath Temple.

Bhaktapur

Where to Go in NepalNot far from Kathmandu is Bhaktapur, formerly among the three Royal Cities in Nepal. Although no longer holding such designation, Bhaktapur remains a sight to behold, making it a top destination for tourists.

The Durbar Square is a good place to start if you are touring the city. From there, you can see the Royal palace, as well as the Nyatapola, Dattatreya, and Bhairavnath temples. Want to bring home something unique from Nepal? Then Bhaktapur is also a great place for shopping for puppets, pottery, and other handicrafts.

Panauti

Where to Go in NepalAnother notable city close to Kathmandu is Panauti, one of the oldest towns in Nepal. Despite Panauti being a mere 40 miles from the busy capital that is Kathmandu, Panauti’s old town charm certainly makes first-time visitors feel as though they have been transported to another time and place.

Should you find yourself in Panauti, make sure to visit notable temples like the Doleshwor Mahadeva and the Kali. To kill time on a lazy day, you can wander the old streets of Panauti and check out the historic street markets.

Lumbini

Where to Go in NepalSpeaking of temples, Lumbini is another site in Nepal which you definitely would not want to miss. In fact, Lumbini is hailed as one of the most significant sites in the Buddhist faith, it being the birthplace of Gautama Buddha.

The temples all over Lumbini are open to everyone and, regardless of your beliefs, you can certainly enjoy the peace and quiet that washes over the entire place. If you have the time to wind down and relax, try to make the rounds in the Maya Devi temple, the Royal Thai Monastery, and the Lumbini Monastic site.

Patan

Where to Go in NepalAlso referred to as Lalitpur (literally, “Beautiful City”), this picturesque city will certainly take your breath away with its art and architecture. All over the city, one can find beautiful feats of architecture, ranging from temples to museums. Among the most noteworthy structures are the Patan Durbar Square, the Krishna Mandir, the Golden Temple, and the Patan Museum.

This historic city also features a lot of unique and beautiful wooden carvings, as well as exquisite religious art. If you want to remain in the city but want to temporarily escape the bustle of business centers, then Patan will certainly offer some relief.

Nagarkot

Where to Go in NepalIf you want to make the most of your Nepal trip and fully take in the beauty of the Himalayas, then Nagarkot should definitely be on your list of places to visit. This is a quaint hill station which affords a great view of eight mountain ranges in the Himalaya. That said, you are guaranteed to experience spectacular sunrise and sunset during the warmer months.

Given the location, Nagarkot is also a great place for a lot of outdoor activities, including mountain biking, trekking, and even paragliding when the weather permits.

Pokhara

Where to Go in NepalIf you want to enjoy the great outdoors but want to see something more than just mountains, then Pokhara might just be the perfect city for you. Situated along the shores of Lake Phewa, one gets a great view of Annapurna range. In addition to the spectacular Himalayan view, Pokhara also feature lush green forests and the popular Valley of Orchids.

For the more adventurous, Pokhara also has numerous underground caves and waterfalls. The Massif Glaciers are also popular among tourists.

Sagarmatha National Park

Where to Go in NepalOf course, no visit to Nepal is complete without going to Sagarmatha National Park, home to none other than Mount Everest. Even if you are not planning to reach the highest peak in the world, you can still enjoy looking at other equally spectacular peaks such as the Lhotse and the Amadablam.

But the Sagarmatha National Park is more than its peaks and glaciers, it is also home to animal species that you will rarely see outside of the region. Here, you can see snow leopards, red pandas, and Himalayan tahrs.

When Nepal is mentioned, a lot of people picture glaciers and snow-capped peaks, but the country is so much more than a just a trekking destination. While there is no denying that the country offers magnificent hiking trails, if you really want to make the most out of your Nepal trip, then you should certainly visit the other popular sites all over the country.

Nepal has a great culture and history, and getting the full Nepal experience means visiting picturesque villages and quaint old cities. They might not be as adrenaline-inducing as going on extreme hikes, but they are certainly worth being excited over. After all, the country is without a doubt breathtaking.

A Guide to Mountains in Nepal

Having established itself as a hiking and trekking destination, Nepal certainly has something to offer to everyone. Regardless of your experience or skill set, there is always a hiking or trekking trail just right for you.
Of course, Nepal’s rise as one of the best countries for mountaineering comes off as no surprise, especially since the country is surrounded by no less than the Himalayan mountain ranges, multiple peaks, and eight of the 14 mountains exceeding the height of 8,000 meters.

If you want to experience hiking, trekking, or mountaineering in Nepal, then you should have at least a working knowledge of the mountains in the country. Consider this article as your quick guide to mountains in Nepal.

Highest mountains in Nepal

Each mountain has its own history and guidelines, which is why hiring a mountain guide on your first hike or trek in Nepal is incredibly important. Nonetheless, there are a couple of facts about mountains in Nepal which are, without a doubt, worth knowing. In this section, we will go through some the highest mountains in Nepal.

1) Mount Everest

Mountains in NepalFirst on the list, of course, is Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world at an elevation of 8,848 meters. Mount Everest is located in the Khumbu region and is part of the Mahalangur Himalayan range. The mountain has two main climbing routes: the first one accessible from Nepal and the other accessible from Tibet. This mountain is so high that its highest point penetrates the stratosphere, making the weather conditions at the peak of the mountain quite unforgiving. The popularity of this mountain generates high revenues in terms of tourism and the trekking business. Likewise, nearby towns and tourist spots have seen an upsurge in tourist visits over the years.

2) Kanchenjunga

Just 125 kilometers from Mount Everest is Kanchenjunga, the third highest mountain in the world, standing tall at an elevation of 8,586 meters. Part of the mountain is shared by a part of India. What makes the Kanchenjunga remarkable is that it has five prominent peaks, fondly referred to by the locals as “the five treasures of the snow”. This is because the peaks of Kanchenjunga are held by both Indians and Nepalis as sacred. Thus, very few individuals venture to hike this mountain.

3) Lhotse

Mountains in NepalStanding at a height of 8,516 meters, the Lhotse is the fourth highest mountain in the world and is, in fact, a part of the Everest massif. The Lhotse has three prominent summits. Given that the Lhotse has the same route as Mount Everest, it is often regarded as a hiking alternative to the latter.

4) Mount Makalu

Mountains in NepalThis is the fifth highest mountain in the world, with elevations of 8,481 meters. What makes Mount Makalu remarkable is that it is an isolated peak, right on the border between China and Nepal. Makalu also resembles a four-sided pyramid, making it a sight to behold. Given its steep gradients and sharp ridges, this mountain is considered one of the most difficult mountains to climb in the world.

5) Mount Cho Oyu

Mountains in NepalWith an elevation of 8,188 meters, Mount Cho Oyu is the sixth highest peak in the world. It lies just 20 kilometers from Mount Everest and serves as a natural border between China and Nepal. This peak’s name translates to “Turquoise Goddess” and was given to it due to its turquoise tint. Among the mountains above 8,000 meters, Mount Cho Oyu is considered as the most climbable. Due to its accessibility, Mount Cho Oyu is among the most popular peaks in Nepal and has a lot of recorded successful ascends.

6) Dhaulagiri

Mountains in NepalAt 8,167 meters, Dhaulagiri is the seventh highest mountain in the world. It forms part of the Mount Dhaulagiri massif. The Dhaulagiri is notable because it lies 35 kilometers west of Annapurna I. together, these two mountains create the deepest gorge in the world – the Kali Gandaki Gorge. Unlike most high mountains in Nepal which shares a border with neighboring countries, Dhaulagiri is entirely within Nepal.

Other popular mountains in Nepal

Of course, not everyone who visits Nepal is a professional mountain climber, so less intimidating mountains are also quite popular among tourists and locals alike. You certainly would not have a difficult time finding beginner-friendly trekking areas in Nepal, but the popular mountain trails are a good place to start if you want to make the most out of your Nepali experience.

ImjaTse, for example, is among the mountains below the 8,000-meter mark which is hailed as one of the most popular trekking peaks within the country. Kala Pattar is also a less intimidating mountain but is quite popular among hikers and trekkers, even those who are still beginners so to speak.

Unclimbed mountains in Nepal

With so many tourists flocking to Nepal to climb mountains, one would think that surely all mountains would have been climbed already – but this is certainly not the case. In fact, there are still a handful of mountains in Nepal which remain unexplored. A notable example is Mount Khumbila in the northeastern region of Nepal, which locals consider too sacred to climb. Mount Dragmarpo which lies at the border between Nepal and China has also yet to be explored.

Writing a comprehensive guide on the mountains in Nepal is an incredible feat which certainly cannot be accomplished in just one article. With the country’s unique topography, there are just so many mountains to talk about, each with its own unique characteristics. That said, for purposes of trekking, hiking, or mountaineering, your best bet is to pick one or two mountains and do extensive research on them. If this is your first time to climb a mountain, it is advisable that you avail of the services of a professional mountain guide who can give you a background on the mountain you intend to climb, while at the same time ensuring your safety during the entire adventure.

Nepal is truly a haven for mountain-lovers, so if you ever find yourself in the country, try to experience trekking in one of its numerous mountains.