Nepal (officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal) is a landlocked country in Southern Asia and is bordered to the north by China and to the south, east and west by India.
Nepal is a country of highly diverse and rich geography, culture, and religions. The mountainous north has eight of the world's ten highest mountains, including the highest, Sagarmatha, known in English as Mount Everest. Nepal contains over 240 peaks more than 20,000 ft (6,096 metres) above sea level. The south is more fertile and humid, and more heavily urbanized. Kathmandu is the capital and largest city in Nepal and has a population of approximately 990,000 people. July to September is the monsoon season.
By some measures, Hinduism is practised by a larger majority of people in Nepal than in any other nation. Buddhism, though a minority faith in the country, is linked historically with Nepal as the birthplace of Siddhartha Gautama, who gave birth to the Buddhist tradition.
Nepal has had a monarchy throughout most of its history, but is now a federal democratic republic (since 28th May 2008). In 1951 the monarchy instituted a cabinet system of government and, following reforms in 1990, a multiparty democracy within the framework of a constitutional monarchy was formed. An insurgency led by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) broke out in 1996, which led to a 10 year civil war between insurgents and government forces. Following a peace accord in November 2006, and an election in 2008 the first president of Nepal, Ram Baran Yadav, was sworn in on the 23rd July 2008 and the monarchy was abolished.
Population: The most recent estimate of Nepal’s population is 28,514,000 (WHO, 2015). The average life expectancy at birth for males is 68 years and 71 years for females (WHO, 2015). About quarter of the population live below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day (UNICEF, 2007-2011). More information about the population of Nepal can be found on the WHO website. The population density of Nepal is approximately 202 people per square kilometer (World Bank, 2016), but this figure varies significantly between areas and regions of Nepal. The population density of the UK is approximately 271 people per square kilometer.
Language: The official language of Nepal is Nepali: if everyone knows a few phrases before you go this will be a great advantage! Even if you can only say hello, it goes a long way in the minds of the local people. Check out Adventure Alternative's list of helpful Nepali words and phrases. In the villages you will be travelling to, the people speak the Sherpa language, in addition to Nepali.
Nepali uses Sanskrit, a script-based character system. English is spoken on major trekking and tourist routes throughout Nepal. Signs are mainly written in Nepali, although occasionally signs are written in English, especially in areas that are frequented by trekkers, tourists, and climbers.
Healthcare: In Nepal there are approximately 0.21 physicians/1,000 of the population (WHO, 2008) and hospital bed density is 5 beds/1,000 of the population (WHO, 2008). In the UK there are approximately 2.81 physicians/1,000 of the population (2015) and hospital bed density is 2.9 beds/1,000 of the population (2011). The World Health Organisation have published a document discussing the health system in Nepal and this paper gives a helpful introduction to the health system in Nepal. For further statistical information about health in Nepal see the links below:
Education: In Nepal the average literacy rate is 52.6%: 62.7% for males and 34.9% for females.
Currency: The local money is the Nepalese Rupee. There are approximately 136 rupees to the pound. You can find the most up-to-date exchange rate here. There are plenty of ATMs, banks and money exchange outlets in Kathmandu where you can change British Pounds or US Dollars to Nepalese Rupees. There will be no where you can get money out one you have left Kathmandu to go to the villages. See section here for more information about money on your trip.
Electrical Supply: Nepal uses a Type D Indian 5 amp BS-546 plug (3 round pin) or the European CEE 7/16 Europlug (2 round pin). The voltage is 220-240. Electricity is widely available in larger cities such as Pokhara and Kathmandu. You can charge your electronics along trekking routes in Nepal for a small fee at the teahouses. Keep in mind that many of the more remote areas rely on solar power.
When traveling in cold temperatures you should carry your phone or camera battery close to your body. At night, keep your batteries and electronics in your sleeping bag in order to keep the battery from draining. A portable battery pack or solar charger, although not necessary, is certainly a useful tool while trekking and climbing in Nepal.
Time: Nepal is 5 hours and 45 minutes ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), with no daylight saving hours.
International Dialling code: +977.