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What do you expect in a dirty border town under the pressure of insurgents and army house-to-house searches and curfews???
All sorts of scruffy stuff here, and you do best to avoid the company offered by some here or involve in any shadowy deals.
Until the situation with the maoists settles, be sure you are keeping out of trouble, and don't venture out too late (check the conditions...). If you go to a late dinner, ensure that you have a vehicle or rickshaw to wait for you to return to your hotel. The town is dead by 8 pm.
Hotel dinners may be the best option.
Another way to do an evening in Nepalgunj is to go to the main Surkhet Raod in the centre and have "sekuwa" BBQ street food and beer.
Dress Code: Only in the hotels and in the Kitchen Hut do you need to dress up more than in a longyi and shirt.
Written Jan 23, 2006
Karnali Hotel close to Nepalgunj airport is the holding place for a modest export of beans from Humla.
What to buy: Very colorful and tasty beans from Humla. OK, not really the thing for your wife-to-be, but Ihave certainly had success serving daal soup and bean stews and beans and chilli from those colorful beans from way up in the mountains.
You may also get them at the Machhapuchhare Hotel on Surkeht Rd in the middle of Nepalgunj.
What to pay: More expensive than regular brown beans, but how many kilos do you really want? It's not that much for a kilo or so.
Written May 20, 2006
There are many moslems who call Nepalgunj their home. In fact, there is a whole moslem section of town, with neat little mosques and horsecartloads of covered-up ladies out shopping and ferrying kids from school. Be sensitive to dress code and general behaviour; the Nepalese moslems deserve a honorable mention and sincere acknowledgement for their calm and sensibility in times of adversity and turbulence. They are really downtrodden in what now has become a Hindu republic, being the only community that has not seen any economic improvement the last decade. Most other Nepalis have - statistically speaking.
Written Feb 13, 2008
This could enter under "danger and annoyances" as well.... Frequently, travellers are stuck for days and days at Nepalgunj airport. The ordeal of getting through here if you are going especially to a mountain destination (Humla, Bjajura, Dolpo, Mugu) is tremendous. You sense it when you are alone as a tourist or a hapless local without connections to staff and other airlines and tower personnel at Nepalgunj airport. There are a number of issues, but the three most important for dealys here are the weather, cancellations or redirection of flights, and corruption. You may find your seat bought by somebody else. As dollarpaying tourist in a grou you are not likely to face much trouble with corruption, but the group staff may have to deal with it.
Unique Suggestions: Ensure that you have a fair idea of what you can expect: try to obtain a fair flight scenario ofor the day and next two, bring a good book, be prepared to make cell phone calls, be prepared to reroute to Surkhet (also flights to the mountains from there), to hop on a cargo helicopter or return.
Fun Alternatives: A cargo helicopter may be a real option. They normally fly out of Surkhet 3-4 hrs travel north of nepalgunj, and start early morning. Fare will be up to 200-250 usd for a one-way flight. If you can wait it out, enjoy Nepalgubnj for a day or two. A-Line travel agency up on Surkhet road near the kitchen Hut are good fixers and can help you out.
Written Sep 15, 2009
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Wear long sleeves, long trousers and plenaty of mosquito repellant in Nepalgunj at nightfall as the mosquitos here can be infernal. They hoover about you ankles unseen and unheard as your beer takes your mind of the trivia of the day. If staying longer and in exposed, primitive conditions (like no net, or in the rural areas having dinners on peoples`porches) do take malaria prophylaxis with you.
Written Feb 13, 2008
Hardly a tourist attraction, it's still well-worth knowing about social conditions in the Terai. Just a few years back thousands of domestic slaves, mostly of the Tharu peoples who inherited debt due toa big landowner, and daily interest matching a day's labour... became freed. They had nowhere to go, and a big action was organised to get them land and assistance to settle and build up new lives as agriculturalists. The success had been mediocre, but some have stayed on the new land and made use of the small opportunities given to them for subsistence agriculture. To see the Kamaiya camps for yourself, the nearest are up the Surkhet road to Kohalpur and then west on the Mahendra Hwy for some kilometres. Then, with local guides and assistance you will find at least one camp. Do not go there without a sense of purpose and local guides.
Written Jan 23, 2006