Conference on the lap of Himalayas:
• NEPAL: An Emerging Modern Conference Center
• Why Nepal
• Conference facilities
• Luxury hotels
• Entry formalities and customs
• Pre-and post-conference engagements
• Everest flight
• For those no constrained by time…
• Bungee jumping
• Jungle safari
An Emerging modern Conference Center
Long before the convention centers and star hotels made their scene here, Kathmandu was already a meeting hub for outsiders. Located as it was at the center of the thriving trans-Himalayan Trade, it made an important rendezvous for merchants not only for the exchange of goods but also ideas and philosophies.
Over the decades, motorized transportation has replaced the mule caravans, but Kathmandu continues to live up to its legacy as a meeting jaunt.
Today, the city boasts international standard meeting facilities, and offers delegates a choice of exciting pre-and post-conference tours to make any caucus successful as well as rewarding.
Nepal’s international recognition as an exceptional meeting place dates from 11987 when it successfully held the third SAARC Summit, the annual conclave of the Heads of state or Government of the South Asian region, in Kathmandu.
Since then, many regional and international congregations have chosen Nepal as the venue for their deliberations largely because Nepal is the best destination for MICE activities in Asia. They include several Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) conventions and PATA Adventure Travel & Ecotourism conferences and marts.
It is not without reason that in repeated polls at Incentive & Business Travel & Meetings exhibitions, Nepal has been ranked as one of the destinations perceived to be a “hot” prospect for the meetings and incentives market. Here you will find everything that one could possibly look for in holding a successful world-class caucus- great location, excellent infrastructure, comprehensive high-tech-convention facilities and the level of expertise available in staging international events successfully.
And a conference, seminar or special incentive need no longer be held only in the capital city. Given Nepal’s scenic splendors and unique blend of cultures, a seminar or conference in mountainous Jomsom, or in the hill resort of Nagarkot or Dhulikhel, or in the lake city of Pokhara, or in the plains of Biratnagar or Birgunj can be an experience too cherish.
A conference in the historic city of Kathmandu with its artistic monuments and endless festivals and ceremonies is a great cultural experience. Much of the exquisite architecture, ornate palaces and artistic temples found in the Kathmandu Valley owe their creativity to the Malla Kings who ruled the Kathmandu Valley from 12th-18th centuries.
The Kathmandu Valley, which comprises the three royal cities of Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur, share among themselves seven UNESCO-designated World Heritage Monumental Zones. They comprise the three historical palace premises, namely, Kathmandu Durbar Square, Patan Durbar Square and Bhaktapur Durbar Square; two Buddhist stupas- Swayambhunath and Bouddhanath; and two Hindu temples – Pashupatinath and Changu Narayan. Since all of these monumental zones are located not very far from the citycenter, a visitor constrained by time has the luxury of seeing all of them in a short period.
The Birendra Intermational Convention Center (BICC) located at New Baneswor in Kathmandu is a state-of-the-art convention facility, consisting of numerous halls of different sizes with seating flexibility to cater to various needs.
The convention is currently being used for official purpose by Government of Nepal.
Other venues in Kathmandu include the Nepal Academy, Rastriya Sabha Griha and Rastriya Nachghar.
The Nepal Academy Hall is located at Kamaladi in Kathmandu and is available for conferences and events. Its auditorium seats 1,250 persons. The Rastriya Sabha Griha, or the city Hall, on Exhibition Road in the capital can accommodate 676 persons and is ideal for conferences and cultural performances. The newly constructed Rastriya Nachghar, or National Theater, at Rani Pokhari seats 750 people.
Apart ffrom these convention centers, Kathmandu boasts numerous standard conference facilities built into the luxury hotels. In fact, hotels, especially in Kathmandu, were already being built in the 70s with an eye on the future by incorporating meeting and conference organizers a high degree of flexibility and choices.
The convention centers feature a wide variety of superbly equipped rooms under a single roof. The conference rooms can accommodate delegates in reception, theatre, classroom and U-shaped styles. The gadgets available include public address systems, tiepin microphones, cordless microphones, overhead, slide and multimedia projectors, TV screens, and laser pana boards and laser pointers.
Convention facilities elsewhere
First class convention facilities with state- of art technologies that cater to international meetings and conferences are, however, no longer limited to Kathmandu. The picturesque lake resort town of pokhara is especially not far behind. Its Dipendra sabha Griha (convention center) is suitable for larger conferences. Even the hill resorts, particularly Nagarkot and Dhulikhel, dotting the Kathmandu Valley rim, have arrangement offer hosting meetings, though of a smaller size.
And the border towns of Biratnagar, Birgunj, Bhairahawa near Lumbini, the birthplace of the Buddha, and Nepalgunj in southern Nepal are potential MICE destinations for business partners and agencies from across the border. Since no visas are required for Indian nationals to enter the country, there could be a lot of corporate clients coming and going across the open border. These cities are served by cross border transportation. And once in Neal, domestic airlines and surface transport link them with all major points in the country.
Lavish world—class hotels are one of the biggest advantages Kathmandu offers its delegates. You will find here international class accommodation, competitive price, hospitable staff and personalized service. To complement the facilities, the hotels offer various theme packages to make parties, conferences and incentives truly memorable.
Logistically speaking, Kathmandu has some of the best chain hotels. All star hotels in Kathmandu offer more than 4,000 rooms.
Outside the Kathmandu Valley, too, there is accommodation ranging from luxury hotels and resorts to comfortable lodges in major tourists spots. Hotels in pokhara like The Fulbari Resort Spa and Shangri-la Village Resort offer international standard amenities and convention facilities.
Good accommodation is also available in the southern border towns of Biratnagar, Birgunj, Bhairahawa and Nepalgunj.
Nepal is well connected with major cities around the world. Nepal Airlines is the national flag carrier of Nepal with flights to/from Delhi, Dubai, Bangkok, Doha, Hong Kong and kuala Lumpur. Other international airlines operating from/to Kathmandu are Air Arabia (sharjah), Air Asia (kuala Lumpur), Air china (Lhasa, Chengdu), Arke Fly (Amsterdam), Biman Bangladesh (Dhaka), Buddha Air (Paro, Varanasi), China Eastern Airlines (Kunming), China southern Airlines (Guanzhou), Dragon Air (Hong Kong), Druk Air (Delhi, Paro), Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi), Fly Dubai (Dubai), Indian Airlines (Delhi, Kolkotta, Varanasi), Indigo Airlines (delhi), Jet airways (Delhi, Mumbai), Korean Air (Seoul), Malaysia Airline (Kuala Lumpur), Oman Air (Muscat), RAK Air (Ras al-Khaimah), Silk Air (Singapore), SpiceJet (Delhi), Thai Airways (Bangkok), Turkish Airlines (Istanbul) and United Airways (Dhaka) and many more. Thus transporting delegates and goods to and from the venue country is easy.
And within Nepal, a number of domestic airlines connect destinations in the mountains, hills and plains throughout the country. For those who wish to fly to the remote corners of the Himalaya by helicopter, it could be quite memorable and exciting experience.
Entry Formalities and Customs
Entry formalities and customs in Nepal are not cumbersome. After checking in at the immigration desk, passengers without duitable goods can proceed through the green channel for quick clearance without a baggage check. Only those carrying duitable goods need to proceed through the Red Channel.
Multiple entry visa for 15 days (US$ 25 or equivalent convertible currency), 30 days (US$ 40) or 90 days (US$ 100) can be obtained from any Nepalese Embassy or consulate. You can also get a visa on arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport.
Gratis Visas for 30 days are available for nationals of the South Asian countries of Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Indian nationals do not require visas to enter Nepal.
Nepal’s climate, particularly in the Kathmandu Valley and in the hills, is a great advantage as it remains balmy during most times of the year. Temperatures during the summer remain much cooler than in many cities of the region.
Cost is, perhaps, one of the greatest advantages of hosting a conference in Nepal. Despite the excellent infrastructure and comprehensive high-tech convention facilities, one will find that due to the lower overhead expenses, the overall cost of hosting MICE in Nepal is much lower than in other capitals and cities of Asia.
Pre- and Post-conference engagements
For pre and post conference tours, Nepal makes for a perfect destination because everything that one must see and feel is close to its capital Kathmandu.
Both Kathmandu and Pokhara offer plenty of opportunities for conference delegates to mix business with pleasure. Sight-seeing tours in and around Kathmandu with seven world Heritage monumental zones, excursions to the hill resorts for mountain viewing, shopping for indigenous products as well as international brand labels, casinos, gourmet dining, mountain flights, helicopter sight-seeing, golfing, jungle safari – the choices are immense.
After a hectic business schedule, people look up to some entertainment in the evening, and Kathmandu offers the best –upbeat music, exciting dances, choicest drinks, tasty food, good cinema halls and glittering casinos.
Wining & dining is a serious sport in Kathmandu. There are more than a thousand pubs and restaurants in the capital – from cultural evenings at the star hotels to simple trekkers’ joints. At Kathmandu’s restaurants, one get infinite choices – from traditional Nepalese food to Italian delicacies, Russian delights and spicy Indian specialties.
Nepal is a shopping destination for designer products such as Christian Dior, Gucci, Yves Laurent, Chanel, Nike, Givenchy, you name it. And thanks to lower overhead costs, Nepal’s departmental stores and malls offer them at unbeatable bargain prices.
As for Nepal’s handicrafts, they need no introduction. They have been coveted items since ancient times for their fine craftsmanship and supreme quality. The shops offer a choice even for the most discerning, such as hand-knotted woolen carpets, jewelery, pashmina shawls, woolen knitwares, embroidery, thanka, paintings, wood carvings, metal works, ceramics and pottery, rice paper and stationery.
Nepal offers challenging golf courses – two in Kathmandu and one in pokhara- set against the most scenic background of greenery and mountains. Some of the courses that range from 9 to 18 holes have been developed by world-class developers.
It’s an hour flight usually in the morning that gives you eye-level views of the snow peaks above eight thousands meters, including Mount Everest, the world’s tallest at 8,848 m. It is something not to be missed.
For those not constrained by time…
On the Arniko Highway leading to the Nepal- China border, one can enjoy this demanding sport. Lying approximately 90 Km from Kathmandu at Kodari, it is a 3-hours scenic drive. The plunge from the suspension bridge is approximately 160 m.
Another is at Pokhara.
The Chitwan National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is just a hop away from Kathmandu, where the one-horned rhinoceros and the Royal Bengal Tiger roam the dense jungles. A Typical two-night/three day jungle safari includes wildlife safari on elephants, canoe ride to watch the crocodiles and water birds, rural tour to view the lifestyle of the indigenous Tharu people, and nature walks to view the exotic flora and fauna.
Rafting and Kayaking are for those on the lookout for real adventure. Due to Nepal’s steep terrain, the rivers offer some of the best white waters in the world. Apart from the thrills of rafting down a roaring Himalayan river, the trips also offer an opportunity to view some of the most magnificient scenery on the way.
Paragliding is a relatively new adventure sport in Nepal. You can experience unparalled scenic grandeur of the pokhara Valley as you float over villages, monasteries, temples, lakes and jungles, with the majestic Himalayas forming the backdrop.
There are many more exciting things to do during your trip to nepal. All you need to do is contact one of the numerous travel agencies that will offer you activities just tailor made for you.