Nepal is blessed with natural beauty no doubt. But in any least developed country there’s a viscous cycle that hinders development and people suffer as an outcome.
Don’t worry I am not here to scare you. However I do want to give a heads up on what you can expect in Nepal. The beautiful landscape and the mountains would have you coming back for more but I cannot say the same for the man-made establishments.
Now this is a bit embarrassing but it is amongst the worst airport in the world. Comparatively I guess we can do better but it’s not as bad as it sounds.
You can expect a long line at the immigration booth. There is a priority to foreigners in the immigration so read the signs properly to know where you need to go.
It can be a bit crowded as the airport is small compared to other international airport.
Don’t expect to get last minute gifts for the local at the Duty Free as they won’t have much things but the coffee isn’t that bad.
The baggage belt is short and you may need to extend your neck a little to find your baggage belt so keep a good eye out.
There will not be any personnel guiding you so you need to read the signs at every step and look around at what people are doing.
Make sure you have the necessary documents and photographs for your VISA application and after it has been issued check the dates, signature and stamp carefully. You don’t want to end up paying a fine later
There is a lot of construction going on right now so there may be some blockage.
Besides this you can expect dents and pot holes so the ride can be jerky, cows in the middle of the roads
There are no designated lanes and can be messy.
The roads are narrow and you’ll be surprised to see how big busses get away with the roads here.
The rainy season can be worst you might want to take a boat rather than a car. Don’t worry it’s temporary (thank god!!!).
Good to say that the traffic has gotten a lot better in these couple of years. Except for few busy areas the traffic is not that bad. If you avoid the busy roads during the office hours you should be fine. The best way to get through the streets of Kathmandu is on a motorbike but the pollution won’t make it that easy.
The traffic lights don’t work in the main city (a shocker!!!!) but there will be traffic police guiding the vehicles.
Saturdays are amazingly deserted compared to other days.
You can also expect a lot of honking of the horns. You’ll know what’s it all about when you get here .
Like I said the construction work, no help to air pollution. There’s dust everywhere so you wouldn’t want to be out and about without a mask. You can get them easily at the drug store.
If you happen to be at a time when there’s a strike in the garbage disposal unit then you might find the streets stinky so again a mask helps.
One great news is that it’s only in Kathmandu that’s polluted other places is clean and green specially the village sides.
You can call it Zebra crossing because it looks like it but the general rule doesn’t apply. Don’t expect the cars or bikes to slow down in Zebra crossings. Take a good look around and cross only when the vehicles are far away.
Observe the locals how they do it before you cross. It’s not that the vehicles will run you over but it’s just a precaution you will need to take.
Load shedding and electricity are like two sides of a coin here, especially in the winter.
Expect a lot of power cuts in the winter, in summer it’s few hours less. Most hotels have inverters and generators to compensate but you need to make sure before you book the hotel.
It won’t be a bad idea to pack some torch lights and lamps for your trip to Nepal. A lot of villages still don’t have the luxury of electricity as well. It won’t hurt to pack extra batteries and solar chargers if you have them.
Whenever you get a room, do check the toilets. Although most of the hotels in Kathmandu have the European- styled commodes, but some still have the Indian styled- pans.
So, if you don’t want to squat to answer the call of nature (for I don’t know how long), check the bathrooms.
The other thing you need to be careful especially the ladies, don’t expect them to have toilet papers all the time. Good hotels will definitely have them but I cannot guarantee on the budget hotels. Also the public bathrooms of most areas will also not have the facilities so best to be prepared all the time.
Running water is a luxury in Nepal so hand sanitizers and wet wipes would be a blessing in disguise.
Call it a blessing or a curse but you can bargain for almost anything here. I personally don’t enjoy it but sometimes it can be fun.
There’s always a separate price for tourist and locals in tourist area so if you have a local friend use them.
You can always enhance your bargaining skills here, so get ready.
Be very careful with water. Always use bottled water or the jar re- fills. NEVER drink tap water, even if the locals assure you that it is safe.
We may be used to the water here may be because we have special Nepali- stomach- enzymes (hereditary or god- gifted or adaptation from childhood) to digest them. You could use purification tablets to treat water.
Mineral water are available everywhere but I would advice to go with good brands.
You will encounter them in every block especially in the touristy areas, either asking you for money or to buy their products.
If you don’t want to buy anything, just say no (as obvious). If you want to help the street children, get them something to eat instead of giving them money. They will most probably be doing drugs with the money you give.
Despite all these, I am pretty sure that you will enjoy your visit to Nepal and will be coming back here for more, to Expect the Unexpected!
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