Nepal: The Rough Guide

Nepal: The Rough Guide

by David Reed

Paperback(4th Edition)

$18.95

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781858284385
Publisher: DK Publishing, Inc.
Publication date: 09/01/1999
Series: Rough Guides Travel Series
Edition description: 4th Edition
Pages: 528
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.76(h) x 0.93(d)

Read an Excerpt

Recent trends
The past decade has brought great upheaval to Nepal, and there's probably more still to come. The country's political system, economic development and mercurial relationship with India all seem to be in a worrying state of flux.
But while political instability is unlikely to have much of a direct effect on your plans, other changes inevitably will. No guidebook can reliably predict quite how things will be by the time you get to Nepal, but the following recent trends give an idea of what's in store:
Maoist rebels are waging a guerrilla war against the government from their bases in remote hill areas. At the time of writing no incidents have involved tourists, and the rebels have stated publicly that they have no quarrel with foreigners, but seek the latest advice as you plan your trip.
New road-building is moving trailheads further into the hinterland, making some treks shorter and the transport to them longer. This year's great trek or bike ride is next year's dirt road, and the following year's paved road (and a few years later, it may be a trail again).
Tourist bus services are proliferating, making travel to certain places easier, but also turning those places into tourist traps.
Nepal is getting more and more packaged: for no good reason other than heavy marketing, organized tours, treks and safaris have become common, even for budget travellers.
The growth of budget tourist ghettos has been a major theme of the past decade. The commercialization is really dismaying in some areas, leading many returning travellers to complain that Nepal is "ruined". It's not, but parts of it are, so avoid them.
Fortunately, a Nepali cultural revival seems to be emerging, as Nepalis discover that they need not toss out traditional ways to cater to foreigners. Thus travellers dissatisfied with pseudo-Western food and facilities now have a growing range of good, indigenous alternatives to choose from.
Rural electrification is proceeding steadily, bringing not only lights but also videos, cable TV, email and a whole lot more contact with the outside world.
Rip-offs and theft are on the rise, owing to an influx of Indian immigrants, high unemployment and weak law enforcement. Nepal is still one of the mellowest and safest countries in the world, but it's no longer the hassle-free paradise it once was.
Prices have historically risen faster than average in the tourist areas, though oversupply is beginning to reverse this trend. Off the beaten track, prices if anything tend to decline in real terms.

Table of Contents

Introductionx
Part 1Basics1
Getting there by air3
Overland routes to Nepal12
Climate and when to go14
Red tape and visas16
Costs, money and banks17
Health and insurance20
Information, maps and guides27
Getting around30
Accommodation37
Eating and drinking40
Post, phones and the media46
Opening hours and holidays49
Festivals and entertainment50
Shopping53
Outdoor pursuits59
Village tourism62
Spiritual pursuits and alternative therapies63
Cultural hints65
Photography68
Beggars and touts70
Police and trouble71
Women's Nepal72
Travelling with children73
Disabled travellers74
Staying on75
Directory76
Metric conversion chart79
Part 2The Guide81
Chapter 1Kathmandu83
Orientation and arrival85
Information and maps89
Getting around90
Durbar Square92
North of Durbar Square100
South of Durbar Square104
Swayambhu109
Eastern neighbourhoods115
Accommodation117
Eating125
Nightlife and entertainment129
Shopping132
Trekking, rafting and other activities137
Meditation, yoga and astrology139
Alternative therapies140
Listings141
Moving on144
Chapter 2The Kathmandu Valley150
Pashupatinath154
Boudha (Boudhanath)160
The Sankhu and Sundarijal roads167
Budhanilkantha and Shivapuri169
Balaju, Nagarjun Ban and Ichangu Narayan171
Patan (Lalitpur)172
Kirtipur188
The Dakshin Kali road191
The Bungmati and Chapagaun roads195
The Godavari and Lubhu roads197
Bhaktapur (Bhadgaun)200
Changu Narayan211
Thimi (Madhyapur)214
Chapter 3The Central Hills216
Nagarkot217
Banepa, Nala and Panauti222
Dhulikhel225
To the Tibet border and Jiri229
The Trisuli Road235
The Tribhuwan Rajpath and Daman238
Chapter 4The Western Hills243
Along the Prithvi Highway245
Manakamana248
Gorkha250
Bandipur254
Pokhara256
The Pokhara Valley276
Tansen and around286
Chapter 5The Western Tarai292
Chitwan National Park296
Narayanghat, Bharatpur and Devghat313
Butwal to Sonauli316
Lumbini320
Tilaurakot326
Nepalganj and Birendra Nagar327
Bardia National Park331
West of the Karnali River338
Sukla Phanta Wildlife Reserve341
Chapter 6The Eastern Tarai and Hills344
Hetauda346
Birganj and the border349
Along the Mahendra Highway352
Janakpur353
Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve360
Biratnagar361
Kakarbhitta and the border364
Dharan367
Dhankuta369
Hile370
Basantapur371
Ilam372
Part 3Outdoor Pursuits375
Chapter 7Trekking377
Seasonal considerations377
Trekking independently379
Organized trekking381
Trekking peaks and mountaineering383
Preparations383
Health and emergencies386
Trekking life389
North of Pokhara: Annapurna392
North of Kathmandu: Helambu, Langtang and Gosainkund400
Everest (Solu-Khumbu)403
Eastern Nepal408
Far western Nepal411
Chapter 8Rafting and Kayaking415
When to go415
Rafting operators and agents415
Costs and red tape416
Equipment416
Safety and the environment417
Kayaking and other river sports417
The rivers418
Chapter 9Mountain-Biking423
Seasonal considerations423
Information and maps424
Organized tours424
Cycling independently425
Equipment425
Riding conditions428
Mountain-biking itineraries430
Part 4Contexts433
The historical framework435
Religion: Hinduism, Buddhism, Shamanism443
Music and dance452
Tibetan exiles in Nepal456
Development dilemmas460
Natural History475
Books482
Language488
Glossary of Nepali, Newari and Tibetan terms495
Index500

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