Lightweight suits or shirt and tie are recommended. The best time to visit is October to May.
Government office hours: Kathmandu Valley: Mon-Fri 0900-1700 (winter), 0900-1600 (summer). Other areas: Sun-Fri 1000-1700 (winter), 1000-1600 (summer).
Nepal is one of the world's least developed countries. Although little of the land can be cultivated, an estimated 90% of the working population finds employment in agriculture and forestry.
Foodstuffs and live animals provide about 30% of Nepal's export earnings. The manufacturing sector is very small and concentrated in light industries.
The country has a considerable hydroelectric potential, but the sector is relatively underdeveloped. There is some mining. Tourism declined with the political turmoil, but is certainly on the way to recovery.
Nepal relies on substantial amounts of foreign aid, and runs a large external debt. Agreements have been signed with several other governments, including China (PR). Nepal is a member of the Asian Development Bank and the Colombo Plan.
US$12.6 billion (2008).
Clothing, carpet, leather, jute goods and hydroelectric power.
Gold, machinery and equipment, petroleum products and fertiliser.
Roaming agreements exist with some international mobile phone companies. Coverage is sporadic and variable.
There are Internet cafes in Kathmandu, Patan and Pokhara - many with high-speed broadband links. Internet services are also provided by hotels.
Postal services are available in most centres. Make sure letters are hand-cancelled at the post office (post boxes should not be used for important communications).
Post office hours:
The general post office in Kathmandu (near the Dharahara Tower) is open Mon-Fri 0900-1700. Main hotels will also handle post.
English-language newspapers available in Nepal are The Himalayan Times, The Kathmandu Post, Rising Nepal and The Nepali Times. Other dailies include Kantipur and Annapurna Post. The International Herald Tribune, Newsweek and Time can all be found in Kathmandu.