What is a Tour?
Tour as opposed to trekking doesn’t involve walking or hiking in the Himalayas. Tours is about visiting different destinations and places that are within an easy reach and are well connected with roads. Most often that not, on tours, tourists travel on vehicles or four wheel drives, airplanes or helicopters and shuttle between different destinations.
Tours is a pleasurable and relaxing journey, especially targeted for those who want to see places and meet people quickly while travelling in the comfort of vehicles or aircraft.
There are different types of tours depending on what your interests. Pilgrimage tours, World Heritage site tours, jungle safari, city sightseeing are all one or other forms of tours. Tours are often of shorter duration than trekking and often involve larger number of people at one time.
What are the best tours in Nepal?
Nepal has variety of tours on offer. You can visit world heritages sites, or Buddhist monastery, Hindu shrines, museums, or indulge in city sightseeing or go for nature tours. Cultural and natural tours are mainstay of Nepal’s tourism industry. Chitwan National Park, Everest National Park, Tharu Culture, Sherpa Culture are some of the famous attractions of Nepal.
What is the duration of Tours?
Tours can range from a single day visit to weeklong programs. This depends upon your interests and time frame that you have in your hand.
Nepal basically has four seasons: Spring (March-May), Summer (June-August), Autumn (September-November) and Winter (December-February).
However, owing to its varied geography, weather conditions of Nepal vary from one place to another. The higher you give up north, it tends to be cooler whereas the deeper the south you go the hotter it is comparatively.
In the hilly and Himalayan regions, summers are cool and balmy and winters are severe, while in tropical plains of the Terai in the south, summers are tropical and winters are mild. The temperatures in the valleys of Kathmandu and Pokhara tend to be pleasant with average summer and winter temperatures.
The temperature ranges from below zero to 25 degrees in the Hills and Himalayas where as it can reach up to 35 degrees in flat lands of Terai.
The monsoon rain fall occurs during the summer. The average annual rainfall is 1,600 mm, but it varies by eco-climatic zones. Travelling in Nepal is possible throughout the year.
There are multitudes of trekking areas you can visit in Nepal throughout the year. Nevertheless, the best time to do trekking are during spring and autumn. These are also the seasons when many of the biggest festivals of Nepal are observed.
Nepal is well connected with major international destinations including Delhi, Kolkatta, Varanasi, Dhaka, Thimpu, Islamabad, Lhasa, Shanghai, Hong Kong Bangkok, Korea, Osaka, UAE, Dubai and Kuala Lumpur. Routine flights are operated by many international and private airlines to and from Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal.
Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) is the state-owned airline of Nepal, which has been in operation since 1958. It currently flies to Delhi, Varanasi, Osaka, Shanghai, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur. Private airlines of Nepal namely Cosmic Air and Flyyeti ( a joint venture between Nepali Yeti Airlines and UAE-based Gulf Air) are flying to Delhi, Varanasi, Kuala Lumpur and UAE.
Currently, there are 18 international airlines connecting Nepal among which include Jet Airways, Jet Lite, Etihad and Thai.
Presently Indian Airlines is flying to Delhi, Varanasi and Kolkatta; China Southwest flies thrice a week flight between Kathmandu and Lhasa; GMG airlines of Bangladesh flies between Dhaka and Kathmandu; Air Arabia between Katmandu and UAE; Dragon Air connects Kathmandu and Thimpu; Silk Air flies three flights a week between Kathmandu and Singapore; Korean Air operates one flight per week between from Seoul; Air Arabia flies four flights per week from Sharjah; China Southern operates three flights a week between Guangzhou and Kathmandu Pakistan Air also connects Islamabad with Kathmandu.
Hong Kong based Dragon Air and Orient Airways operate between Hong Kong and Kathmandu. The Thai Airways has been operating seven days a week flights to Nepal. Similarly Gulf Air and Qatar Airways are connecting Doha, Qatar, Kuala Lumpur and UAE with Kathmandu.
When it comes to regional networking within Nepal, most of the touristic places like Lukla, Nepalgunj, Pokhara, Chitwan, Dunai, Biratnagar are well connected by private airlines like Buddha Air, Yeti Air, Cosmic Air among others as well as NAC.
Access by Land
If you are traveling by road, then you can enter Nepal at check points located along the border with China and Nepal. If you traveling from India, Tauliwha at Bhairawa, Birjung, Kakadvitta etc offer visas. If you are traveling from China via Tibet, Kodari is only point where you can get the visa.
Hotels and Accommodation
Nepal offers many choices in accommodation standards to suit the tastes of varied tourists. From five-star hotels that cater to up-market clientele to lodges and guesthouses for average travelers, Nepal boasts of best standards and services in every category. The total number of star and non-star hotels in Nepal is over 24,000.
There are altogether seven five-star hotels in Kathmandu including internationally renowned brands like Hyatt, Radisson, Soaltee, Annapurna, Everest, Shangri La and Yak & Yeti. These hotels offer from deluxe suites to VIP rooms that have already served to clients like Hillary Clinton, Diana and Colin Powell.
Hyatt Hotel was recently ranked 7 in Asia and 22 worldwide in the category of Best Value Hotel by a premier travel magazine.
Fulbari Hotel, located in Pokhara, the gateway to Annapurna and other famous trekking destinations of Nepal, has also been awarded as one of the top ten spa hotels in South Asia. Star rated hotels are found in every big cities across Nepal. Some of the best lodges and guest houses in the world are also available in Nepal including the world famous Kathmandu Guest House (in Kathmandu) where icons like Ricky Martin stayed, Tiger Tops lodge (in Chitwan) where Mick Jagger spent quality time and Khumbu Lodge (in Everest region) where Jimmy Carter and his wife slept.
Trekking areas in Nepal have modest to well-facilitated lodges and hotels. Village tourism places like Sirubari, Bandipur and Ghalegaon have their own style of guest houses where tourists are invited to stay in local people’s houses and eat local food. This is a different and unique way of experiencing Nepal.
What to pack?
Lightweight walking boots "walked" on them prior to arrival in Nepal to avoid blisters.
During day-light weight cotton pants, shorts wrap around skirt.
At night-track top, pants.
Sun hat or sunburn
Thick outer woolen socks, thin inner cotton.
Vaseline for feet and crouch.
Water bottle-2 liters.
Iodine to purify water.
Sunglasses and strap.
Toilet paper and cig. Lighter, Toilet paper can be bought in Kathmandu and some villages in the mountains.
Small headlamp/ flashlight/ torch with spare batteries.
Personal medical supplies-do not forget band-aids, elastic bandage.
Pocket knife and sewing kit.
Sunscreen, sun bock, sun-tan lotion.
Small daypack-25 liters.
Rain jacket-poncho style to cover backpack.
Water proof pant.
First aid kit.
For Winter Season (Additional)
Warm down fiber filled jacket.
Sleeping bag to-15 c with inner sheet.
Thermal underwear, woolen shirts and thick sweaters.
Beanie with ear flaps.
A pair of gloves.
Sandals or slip on shoes.
Camera and film.
Spare boot laces.
Large plastic bag to line kit bag, day pack and for dirty clothes.