Nepal has been making significant progress with its development in recent history. Ranked 145th on a list of 187 countries on the Human Development Index in 2014, this progress is demonstrated through improved literacy and education statistics, as well as income and life expectancy.
Nepal is split between three distinct regions: the mountainous northern region is home to eight of the world's ten tallest peaks and includes the famous Mount Everest, the highest point on Earth; the mid region, where the valleys of Kathmandu and Pokhara are, is covered in terraced rice fields; and the fertile, humid Terai plains where wildlife thrives.
The population at the 2011 census was 26.4 million and has since grown to an estimated 27.8 million. The majority of the population is concentrated in the mid and southern areas of the country, as might be expected. 101 different ethnic and castes groups are recognized in Nepal, with 126 languages being spoken, with Nepali (Khaskura bhasha) the most commonly spoken.
In the northern region of the Himalayas there are groups of Tibetan speakers, including Sherpas, Lopas and Manangis. The capital city of Kathmandu is a cultural melting pot, like most cities, but the native people are called Newars. The southern Terai people tend to speak northern Indian dialects and typically work within agriculture.
The principle religion is Hinduism, with approximately 81% of the country considering themselves Hindu. This gives Nepal the highest percentage of Hindus in the world. Buddhism is the second most popular religion, with roughly 9%, but many Nepalese identify themselves as being both Hindu and Buddhist. The remaining 10% of the population is split across various other religions, including Sikhism, Christianity and Islam.
The climate, much like the terrain, is vastly different from one area of Nepal to the other. The isolated north has cool summers and severe winters that can cut towns and villages off entirely, whereas the southern plains experience tropical summers and mild winters. There are considered to be five seasons in Nepal: spring, summer, monsoon (October-November), autumn and winter. The Kathmandu valley area experiences average temperatures of around 19-28°C in the summer and 3–19°C in the winter.
Next to short-term tourist visas, there is a range of visas available for expats moving to Nepal. These include among others a so-called non-tourist visa, as well as a business visa.
The non-tourist visa is available to expats — as well as their families — that are for example working as journalists, for GON, or have otherwise taken up employment that has been approved by the Nepali Government. Typically issued for one year, the visa can be renewed provided the reason for the stay is still valid.
The business visa can be issued for up to five years, and is meant for expatriates who are either licensed to invest in Nepali business, or who carry out export trade. Family members are again also eligible for this visa.
For more information on the different visa categories as well as their requirements, please refer to the website of the Department of Immigration.
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