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Nepal Communications and Information
Phone/Fax and Dialing Codes - Dialing into the Country? Nepal has just recently begun to privatize telecommunications within the country. Cell phones and pagers have been made available as of Mid-1999. Long Distance calling is still in the dark-ages. VOIP (Voice Over IP) license is not yet provided. AT&T has linked up to allow card calls and access number is 0-800-77001. Remember Nepal's Country Code is 977, and Kathmandu's city code is 1. Normal and Mobile phone numbers are 7 and 10 digits respectively. Inquiries can be made at 197.
Making long distance call is easy from major cities like Kathmandu and Pokhara. Cyber cafes and communication shops offer phone and Internet services in every corner. They let you receive and send fax and provide computer for Internet access for a fee. Nepal Telecom, now it has become a Company Limited phone monopoly charges very high prices for international phone calls. Expect US $1 to US $2 a minute calling rates to most countries and expect to pay 10 to 20 % higher at the cyber cafes or communication shops. Most hotels and lodges also have phone and Internet access facilities these days. Internet phone is available everywhere in Kathmandu and Pokhara. The cost starts from Rs. 10 to 30 ( about 0.15 to 0.30 cent) per minute. Internet bandwidth is increasing so Internet calling is becoming realistic. Callback and Collect Calls charged to a credit card are available in some places. But many cyber cafes or communication shops in Thamel and Pokhara give you a call back option. You can call your home, give them the phone number of the shop or your hotel, and ask your friends or relatives to call you back. The cost to you would be the cost of one minute of long distance call. In most of places they offer FREE call receiving service for 15-30 minutes.
Basic telephone service tariff from Nepal Telecom:
Pre-paid Phone Cards - Nepal Telecom has introduced pre-paid phone card service. This allows service user to make phone calls from any DTMF telephone set and the call is charged to a card number provided by the user. When service user uses this service, he/she should enter access code, card number and corresponding PIN number. Only after confirming the validity of the card number and the PIN number, the service user is allowed to make call to the desired destination. During the call, real time billing will be conducted and the prepaid amount shall be deducted to pay the cost of the call and other services. With this service, customer can call any time to anywhere, and the Local PSTN number need not have prior long distance facilities from Nepal Telecom. Currently, Nepal Telecom has introduced Prepaid Calling Card service with three different face values i.e. Rs 200, Rs 500 & Rs 1000 to suit its customers which are valid for 6 months, 12 months and 18 months respectively.
Internet and Email - All Internet services are growing at a fast past and prices are dropping. See local tourist centers to check email or 'surf' the net for reasonable prices (less than US$ 0.40 per hour). In the main tourist centers of Kathmandu and Pokhara you will find cyber cafes in every corner.
Post, Freight and Cargo - The General Post Office (Ph: 4227499, 4470020) is located near Dharahara Tower and is open from 10 am to 5 pm from Monday to Thursday. On Fridays it remains open until 3 pm. Stamps, aerograms and postcards may be purchased from 7 am to 7 pm at the counters. Services like registration and insurance of mail and small packages, and exchange of IRCs are also available. Parcels can be sent and received through the Foreign Post Office next door. It is open from Sunday through Thursday from 10 am to 5 PM. On Fridays, the office remains open until 2 pm. EMS service is also available at the general post office, Thamel, Basantapur and airport postal counters in Kathmandu.
Real World Note - We've seen delivery times of 1 to 2 months for letters/postcards to travel from/to USA/Nepal and vice versa. Packages are freely opened by customs officials coming into the country. Electronics tend to disappear in the shuffle. DHL, FedEx and UPS are setup for service here, but there are no street addresses inside the country. You'll see what we mean when you get here.
Bookstores - The book selection in Nepal is fantastic. Surprisingly, the most known stores do such a tremendous business that they do not need to discount. It's easy to find smaller shops to buy, sell and trade books. But, don't expect the bargaining that you'll find on every other item in Nepal.
Newspapers and Cable TV - For those that just have to stay informed, you'll find the Herald Tribune in local shops and even the Asia Wall Street Journal in more expensive hotels. If you want to get a taste of local news and a new take on world events, pick up "The Kathmandu Post" or "The Rising Nepal". They are only 4 rupees and sure to entertain. Found in many of the local shops around Kathmandu. Indian newspapers are also available and offer fantastic reporting with an other-than-western view on world events (sorry Ted T. and Rupert M.). Nepalnews.com and Kantipuronline.com are online news from Nepal as it happens. They update news at least every day. Cable television is a fast growing business in Nepal. If you have access to cable TV at your hotel in Kathmandu, you can watch CNN and BBC world 24 hours a day.