Nepal is a land-locked country lying between China in the north and India in the south, and boasting a widely diverse landscape. Traveling from south to north, you will be amazed at the beautiful vistas across the Terai Plains; then gazing at the stature of the soaring Himalayas you may feel incredibly small. Nepal can proudly claim eight of the world's 10 highest peaks, including Mount Everest. Nepal has been remarked to be "a place where there are more temples than houses", so there is no shortage of impressive architecture and an overwhelming sense of faith and serenity. The country's romantic history includes a pantheon of Gods and Goddesses of both the Hindu and Buddhist religions. A monarchy for most of its history, Nepal now has a democratic government; their first president was sworn in on July 23, 2008.
Kathmandu is the capitol of Nepal, and therefore the least expensive city to fly into. From Kathmandu you have a wide choice of domestic airlines that fly to most cities of any size, or you can go trekking with one of the many companies that offer excursions across the country. From the U.S. it is less expensive to fly out of San Francisco than from just about any place else. From the U.K. EasyJet is the recommended budget airline.
Kathmandu is the home of the only International Airport in the country, Tribhuvan International Airport. Within Nepal there are 34 destination cities, but not all are serviced by commercial airlines. Most are serviced by the smaller domestic airlines; all seem to have an exceptional service record, regularly purchase new airplanes, and since Nepal thrives on the tourist industry, they know how to treat you right.
International Airlines into Nepal are numerous: Aeroflot Russian Airlines, Biman Bangladesh Airlines, British Airways, Dragon Air, Gulf Air, Indian Airlines, Lufthansa, Pakistan International Airlines, Qatar Airways, Royal Bhutan-Druk Air, Singapore Airlines, Transavia Airlines and Thai Airways. All domestic flights are about the same cost and are not expensive. Your decision on which airline to choose will most likely depend upon your schedule, and destination, and departure cities. The domestic airlines that fly within the country are Buddha Air, Cosmic Air, Gorkha Air, Royal Nepal Air, Sita Air, Sky Line and Yeti Airlines. Cosmic Air is considered the low-cost airline, though fares are close enough among all of the airlines that you may choose to take a higher cost airline for the sake of convenience.
As with any destination, it is wise to do your homework since schedules, flights and specials change almost daily. There are many forums where you will find people willing to share their travel experiences, including: things to avoid, what to see and what to eat, and how to get around. Taxis are available in the larger cities and are comparable to U.S. taxi fees. It is also recommended that you take a TATA bus at least once while in the country. They are rickety looking and not necessarily quiet, but they are exceptionally affordable and you will get a glimpse of the 'real' Nepal and its people. Traveling in December through February will probably result in the lowest cost. Their winters can be quite cold and windy, but also breathtaking and invigorating. The tourist trade slows during this period of time, so if you are seeking quiet, solitude or just the best deals, this is the time to go. If you are traveling to the Himalayas during these months, lodges will generally be offering their lowest rates and will be under-booked.
Nepal is a diverse country going through amazing changes right now. Everywhere you go you will see how the 'old' and the 'new' are learning to coexist. You will experience unique ancient history and you can spend days just going through the temples and absorbing the local culture. Nepal is a definite go-to destination!
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