Currency and banks
Foreign currencies must be exchanged only through the banks or authorized foreign exchange dealers. Credit cards are accepted and major foreign currencies can be converted in Nepalese Rupees. Exchange of Chinese Yuan RMB and Nepalese Rupees is allowed only for Chinese tourists and businesspeople.Most banks are open from 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. ATMs are located in main points. Funds can be transferred to and from your country at major banks and international money transfer agencies. Please retain your encasement slip.
All baggage must be declared and cleared through the customs on arrival at the entry. Personal effects are permitted free entry. A tourist may bring in dutiable goods, such as tobacco and liquor, within the prescribed quantity free of duty. Carrying narcotics, arms and ammunition are strictly prohibited. Visitors can export souvenirs to their respective countries. The export of antiques requires a special certificate from the Department of Archaeology, National Archive Building, Ram Shah Path, Kathmandu.
Rs.770/- (1$=63.05Rs as of Feb 12, 2008) per person for departure to SAARC (South Asian) countries and Rs.1,100/- for departure to other international destinations.
The prepaid taxis are available at the Tribhuvan International Airport. You will also find metered taxis with black number plates. From the Airport to the main tourist area, Thamel, is around 8km and should cost under $5. Metered taxis bear the taxi sign and can be hailed off the streets. There are regular bus services within the three cities of the Kathmandu Valley.
Similarly, scheduled bus services for destinations outside the valley operate from the Gongabu Bus Terminal. Traveling by bus will provide an excellent opportunity to meet the countries people and take in the beautiful landscape. You can also rent a vehicle, which will most likely include a driver. Driving on your own is not a good idea. Bike rental is easy and accessible. You must abide by the traffic laws. Unlike in China, there is left-hand driving system in Nepal.
Nepal has every category of accommodation facilities. These range from the international standard star hotels to budget hotels and lodges. In order to have an assured quality service, it is advisable to use the facilities and services of government registered hotels, lodges, travel agencies, and licensed tour guides only, and engage an authorized trekking guide or porter only through a registered travel/trekking agency.
Tourist Police deals with problems related to tourists. One can contact the Tourist Police at Tourist Service Center. Bhrikuti Mandap (Tel: 4247041, Bhrikuti Mandap (Exhibition road); 4429750 Thamel) to avail the services of Tourist Police.
To call police, dial 100.
Some travel agencies have guides who can speak Chinese. It is advisable to confirm that your guide has a valid license. It is recommended to arrange the sightseeing programs only through the government registered travel agencies.
Nepal Standard Time is 5 hours 45 minutes ahead of GMT.
Except public holidays, Saturdays are the weekend holidays in Nepal. Government offices are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the summer and from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. in the winter.
The country code for Nepal is 977 and the area code for Kathmandu is 1. There are “communication shops” and Internet Cafes available in main cities. The General Post Office is located near Dhrahara Tower, Sundhara. Post Restante and Express Mail Service services are also available in the GPO and other Post Offices.
Radio Nepal, Nepal Television and the Gorkhapatra and the Rising Nepal are state-owned medias. In addition, there are several private newspapers, Television and FM stations offering services in Nepali as well as English languages.
There are many types of entertainment in the city of Kathmandu. These include theatrical shows, art galleries, live performances, bars, golf courses, casinos, cinema and discos, etc.
Eating and drinking
Kathmandu offers an incredible selection of dining opportunities. There are many restaurants providing authentic Nepali food in an ethnic ambiance. In addition, Chinese, Continental, Indian, Japanese, Korean and Thai food are also readily available. A moderate dinner (excluding drinks) will cost around $5 in the main tourist areas. The Nepalese Beer and liquors are quite cheap, but imported products will be somewhat expensive. In general, one can eat freely in Nepal, but take some common precautions. Drinking bottled water is always a good idea.
Shopping can be exciting in Kathmandu. There are numerous tourists’ shops on the main streets and in the hotel arcades. Main tourist attraction is on handicraft items such as jewelry, statues, Nepalese, thangka paintings, pashmina, pottery, wood-carvings. Beside handicrafts, Nepal is also a good place to find genuine luxury goods in department stores and shopping plazas.