It's no exaggeration to call Nepal otherworldly. This landlocked mountainous land, sandwiched between China and India, boasts not only the birthplace of Lord Buddha at Lumbini and the Hindu Lord Sita at Janakpur, but living goddesses (or Kumari), legendary warriors (the Gurkhas) and, of course, Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world.

While the security situation has been of concern in the past, the Foreign Office states that the situation has improved. Nepal's people are poor and tourism is of great importance to the country. They are welcoming and friendly.

Kathmandu is capital and home to Trivuwan International at which flights to Nepal land. The city has almost weekly festivals - the most important are Dashain (September-mid October) a festival of lights, and Tihar. Fagu Purnima or Holi is the festival of colours.

The Kathmandu Valley alone boasts seven of Nepal’s eight World Cultural Heritage Sites: Durbar Squares of Hanuman Dhoka (Kathmandu), Patan and Bhaktapur, the Buddhist stupas of Swayambhu and Bauddhanath and the Hindu temples of Pashupati and Changu Narayan. Nepal is also home to the Natural World Heritage Sites of Everest National Park and Chitwan National Park.

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Nepal climate

Nepal has a variety of climates, depending on the altitude. Summer temperatures range between 19 and 27 degrees while winter temperatures climb from 2 to 20 degrees with occasional rain.

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When to fly to Nepal

Peak Season:

Unsurprisingly for this mountainous kingdom, the higher you go, the colder it gets. The best times to search for cheap flights to Nepal and visit are between September and November and from February to March when temperatures range between 24-28 degrees Celsius and there is little rain.

The main festivals of Dashain and Tihar occur during these months. Dashain, Nepal’s most important festival, commemorates the gods’ victory over demons. The celebrations are reminiscent of Christmas; homes are decorated, families get together and gifts are given. Tihar follows Dashain. This festival – worship of the Hindu Goddess of Fortune – lasts for five days and is all about celebrating one’s siblings and friends.

In March, the festival of colours (Fagu Purnima or Holi) takes place. This Hindu festival is marked by the throwing of coloured water or coloured powder.

Off Season:

Between November and March, temperatures at night can be close to freezing and heavy snows can block mountain passes. Conditions during May and June can be unpleasant – hot, humid and very wet.

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Getting around Nepal

Nepal Airlines offers a good range of domestic Nepal flights. It links Kathmandu to several cities including Janakpur, Biratnagar and Pokhara. Buddha Air also links Kathmandu with cities around Nepal such as Dhangadhi and Simara. Gorkha Airlines and Yeti Airways also provide services throughout Nepal.

Use local buses for the authentic Nepalese experience – crowds of people, standing-room only and animals. Don’t expect punctuality here. Buses often won’t set off until they are full. There are tourist buses, which are more comfortable however.

Tempos (three wheeler auto-rickshaws) can be flagged down on the streets.

It’s possible to rent a car in Kathmandu, driver included. Renting a motorbike is also possible.

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Nepal insider information

  • Mount Everest: you don’t have to scale the world’s highest mountain (8,848 metres / 29,000 feet); a trek to base camp, at a mere 5,340 metres (17,500 feet), will get the blood flowing. The best time to do this is spring, although autumn and winter can offer clearer skies and crisp views of Everest. Climbing Kala Patthar (mountain) will afford tourists a view of Everest from base camp to peak.
  • Kumari Devi, the Living Goddess, lives in the Kumari Ghar, in Durbar Square, Kathmandu. She was chosen from the Sakya community as a young girl. Kumari Devi travels through Kathmandu city on Indra Jatra (in September), local people pay tribute to her and she blesses the King.
  • The temple of Changu Narayan is said to be the most ancient temple in the Kathmandu Valley, dating back to the 4th century. It is one of the seven Unesco World Heritage Sites in the Kathmandu valley.
  • Lumbini, on the Terai plains in the south, is where Siddhartha Gautam, the Shakya Prince and the ultimate Buddha, the Enlighted One, was born in 623 BC. The sacred place, marked by a stone pillar erected by Emperor Ashoka of India in 249 BC, is a World Heritage Site.
  • The temple of Manakamana is on top of a 1,302-metre (4,271 feet) hill. The deity is one of the manifestations of the Hindu Goddess Bhagawati who is believed to have the power to fulfill wishes. It is one of the most popular pilgrimage sites in Nepal. Climb to the top by cable car.
  • The top tea-growing regions in Nepal are Dhankuta, Illam, Jhapa, Therathum and Panchthar. Nepalese tea is said to be very like Darjeeling. The altitude of tea gardens range between 1,000 metres (3,300 feet) to 2,194 metres (7,200 feet).

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Nepal airports

Tribhuvan International Airport (KTM) (website: www.tiairport.com.np) is located 5.5km (3.5 miles) east of Kathmandu.

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Passport/Visa

A tourist entry visa can be obtained in advance from the Embassy of Nepal in London or you can purchase one at the airport in Kathmandu when you arrive. The fee is £20 for 15 days, or £35 for 30 days.

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Entry requirements

A valid passport and visa are entry requirements to visit Nepal.

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Oonagh Shiel
Content Manager at Cheapflights whose travel life can be best summed up as BC (before children) and PC (post children). We only travel during the school holidays so short-haul trips and staycations are our specialities!
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