Packing for Nepal can seem daunting: mountains, monsoon, tropical weather and the possibility of backpacking afterwards. There are so many things to consider! I have in this post tried to give some general tips on what to include based on experiences from my whole class.
Hot tip from everyone: Be critical and bring as little as possible! You will definitely be persuaded by the colorful clothes, beautiful jewellery and handy small items in Kathmandu and Pokhara, so you’ll probably have more kilos in the suitcase on the way back home. Also, the stay is only 10 weeks, so you will manage with three or four outfits as a starting point. And if you get tired of having too few clothes (which happened to me), you can always arrange some swapping of outfits with you roomie and friends.
Culture: In Nepal, India and Sri Lanka it is culturally expected that one wears clothes that cover knees and shoulders, especially women. One of the reasons is that one cannot enter temples and other holy places unless the body is “covered”. However, our experience was that although this was the general rule, it was okay to wear “less appropriate” clothing in the more touristy areas. In the daily routine we mostly kept to “our space” like the apartment, classroom and lakeside, so clothing wasn’t a big problem. When going out (to Busy Bee for example) there is a lot of people, and a majority of men, so I would recommend to choose an outfit that might keep you more “safe”. No need to prove anything, as there has been some scary and uncomfortable situations. It also means that one can happily give space to something other than attractive “party outfits”.
Weather: For clothing, I would recommend to bring loose pants (not jeans), because of the humidity and heat, and I like to bring plain t-shirts to more easily mix and match. The temperature is nice and “sticky” until end of october/beginning of november, then the nights start to get chilly. For the February-April group it’s opposite, so colder in the beginning and warmer and more humid towards the end. Many were very happy with bringing Birkenstocks (or lookalike) to have comfy everyday slip-on shoes.
Your “brands”: By this I mean “nice” things that you have at home and don’t want to spend money on buying again here. That would be stuff like: good hiking boots, good walking shoes, rain jacket, your makeup essentials etc.
The essentials: some things like toothpaste, soaps, hair oil, deodorant, lotions, shaving foam, tampons/pantyliner, paracetamol/other medicine, towel, underwear, socks, bottle, journal, pens etc. are things we need almost everyday, so it’s good to have enough to survive a week or two until you find a place to buy these things. Usually I have a preference of brand and style in these categories, and finding the same have been challenging in other countries. There is a Japanese shop called MINISO on New Road which is a good place to get the essentials (and a LOT of other things one doesn’t need).
Hard-to-find stuff: thin woolen pants and sweaters (ullundertøy), woolen socks, swimming wear, antiseptic (like pysicept) and good sunscreen.
Handy for a traveller: good backpack, mosquito net (not really required), sleeping liner, quick dry towel, mosquito repellent (!!!), scarf (yes, because: it’s a pillow, a banket, a sweater, a hat, a beach “blanket”, dress/skirt and much more!), sunglasses, small fanny pack/purse, card games. Note that adapter is not required in: Nepal, India, Sri Lanka or Vietnam.
DON’T FORGET: The code device from your bank (kodebrikke). We got SIM-cards here, so bank-ID on the phone was sometimes complicated, but not impossible, however, it’s always good to have a backup. Moneywise I can recommend a credit card for everyday use as it is safer, but when using an ATM, I figured that my debit/VISA card had a cheaper currency rate. Anyways it’s good to have a chat with your bank to make sure you have the best deal and that your card is not regionally blocked etc. And don’t forget the $100 in cash for the VISA at arrival on the airport!
From the gluten-allergy-club: Bring glutenfree crackers (knekkebrød). Otherwise the selection in Pokhara was not too bad, but not on the same level as Norway.
Lastly, remember to start thinking about this a couple of weeks before leaving so you have the chance to get hold of things you’re missing.
and please check out our wonderful Kathmandu-style!