Nepal has officially been called the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal since abolishing its century’s old monarchy in 2008. Bordering the People's Republic of China to the north and the Republic of India to the south, west and east, Nepal is a landlocked country sitting in the Himalayan mountain range. The capital city, which is its most populated as well, is Kathmandu.
There is both a public and private healthcare service in Nepal, both of which fall below international standards. The best level of healthcare is found in Kathmandu, with general hospitals and private clinics able to source modern medicines, but there are government health posts set up in rural parts of the country as well. Emergencies, however, are often transported to the capital city.
While overall healthcare in Nepal is improving, diseases and illnesses such as diarrhea, tuberculosis and even leprosy are still prevalent in rural parts of the country, and more so here than in other south Asian countries. Malnutrition is also a problem for the Nepalese, with just under half of children under the age of five considered stunted.
Expatriates would be wise to stay healthy by ensuring that they have any relevant vaccinations for the area that they will be living in, checking that food served in restaurants is thoroughly cooked and served hot, drinking only purified or bottled water, only swimming in official swimming areas, and making use of mosquito repellent in the summer months.
Education is also improving in Nepal. The literacy and enrolment rates are both increasing steadily, but few students complete their education, with there being a sharp drop out rate of students between primary and secondary school.
Nepal has six universities. Kathmandu University is an independent, public institution, but privately run. The university offers undergraduate and postgraduate programs in engineering, science, medical science, management, arts and education. Tribhuvan University is a government funded, public university and happens to be the oldest in the country. It consists of 85 integral colleges and more than 600 affiliated colleges nationwide.
Pokhara and Purbanchal Universities were established by the government as part of their policy for improved access to higher education, and a number of government officials are involved in the running of these establishments. The Nepal Sanskrit University was set up in December 1986 with the specific purpose of preserving and promoting Sanskrit education. Finally, the most recent of Nepal's universities is the Agriculture and Forestry University, founded in 2010, which aims to promote education, research, and development of agriculture and forestry in rural Nepal.
Nepal is located in the Himalayas, so as one might expect, transport is limited. The north of the country is hilly and isolated, whereas the valleys in the midlands and south are slightly better connected by both road and rail to India. According to a study undertaken in 2007, the country has approximately more than 10,000 km of paved road and roughly 7,000km of unpaved roads. Many of these roads become impassable during the rainy season and some townspeople have a two hour walk to their nearest road.
In Kathmandu, there are a few public transport options available, including both local and long distance bus services, and metered taxis. Many Nepalese choose to get around by bicycle, and expatriates can rent bikes also.
Air travel is slightly more advanced, with 47 airports across the country, 11 of them with paved runways. Nepal Airlines is the national flag carrier with regular flights to other Asian cities, including Bangkok, Delhi, Kuala Lumpur and Doha. A number of other international airlines fly to Kathmandu, from where expats can continue their journey throughout the country using domestic charter flights.
Due to the catastrophic damage caused by the Nepal earthquake in April 2015, which might take years to rebuild, we cannot ensure that the factual information in this article series is up-to-date for the entire country. It is yet unclear for how long, or in which way, issues like health and safety, transport, or the national economy will be affected. Thank you for your understanding!
InterNations Content & Communications Team