Nepalese capital: Kathmandu
Kathmandu is the capital city of Nepal located in a valley in the Himalayas. It's a great place to experience the country's culture, history and vibrant atmosphere.
Festivals and weather in Kathmandu
The ideal time to travel is between October and April during the dry season. It's not a good idea to go during the monsoon season of June to October, as travellers can expect flooding and landslides.
Arrange your visit to coincide with Kathmandu's holidays and festivals. In March and April enjoy Ghode Jatra - festivals with horse parades, while the Nepalese New Year is also in April. In August there's the Gai Jatra, the Festival of Cows and September sees the Indra Jatra, an eight day festival with processions and dances in honour of the goddess Indra. October brings the Hindu Festival of Dashain and in November there's the Jazzmandu, an international Jazz Festival.
Preparing to go
Before travelling, a visa is needed. Visit the Nepalese Embassy in London to apply and note that passports must be valid for at least six months. Do check with your GP regarding vaccinations at least eight weeks before you go. Hepatitis A, Diphtheria, Typhus and Tetanus vaccines are recommended. For your safety avoid hiking alone and take overland bus tours in official tourist buses only. Exporting protected species is prohibited. Do avoid drinking tap water, drink bottled or boiled water and use for brushing teeth. Expect to pay about 200-400 NPR for a restaurant meal, 45 NPR for non-alcoholic drinks and around 320 NPR for beer. Local food Dal Bhat, rice and lentils with vegetables or try Tibetan dumplings, momos, a popular street meal.
Getting to Kathmandu and arranging accommodation
Sometimes airport transfers to the city centre are organised by hotels. Otherwise, expect to pay about 800 NPR for pre paid taxis (fixed charge paid in advance) or 500 NPR for a normal taxi - both taking around 25 minutes to central Kathmandu.
Buses do exist from airport into central Kathmandu but are often crowded and not regular, cost about 10 NPR taking 30 minutes. Backpacker hostel accommodation is roughly 365 NPR, guesthouses from about 850 NPR per person per night. A 3 star hotel will cost approximately 1200 NPR while holiday apartments are around 2100 NPR per night. Public transport, Microbus (Tempos) and buses fares are about 15 NPR, bus about 15-20 NPR. Do negotiate a rickshaw price before boarding, usually between 60-100 NPR. Taxi prices are from 200 NPR for 3 km+ then 60 NPR/km thereafter.
Walking is quicker as roads are quite busy. Be aware of frequent power cuts too.