Nepal Overview

After the end of a ten-year civil war, Nepal was proclaimed a democratic republic on May 28, 2008. Despite the political change, the young republic remains one of the poorest countries in the world. The politically unstable situation, corruption, a weak infrastructure and the shortage of skilled workers are hampering development.

Subject areas

Country overview & natural area

With an area of 147,181 km², Nepal is about twice the size of Bavaria. The country in South Asia is a narrow strip in the southern Himalayas between India in the south and China in the north. More than a quarter of the country’s area is higher than 3000 m. Nepal fascinates with its botanical, zoological and scenic diversity.

History & State

On May 28, 2008 the abolition of the 240 year old Hindu monarchy was decided and the “Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal” was proclaimed. The very young republic is facing enormous challenges: fragile security situation, the ongoing reconciliation process, economic reform agenda, poverty reduction, etc..

Economy & Development

According to naturegnosis, Nepal is an agricultural country characterized by subsistence farming and one of the poorest countries in the world. Economic growth has been between two and four percent in recent years – too little to noticeably improve living conditions. Nepal is a priority country for German development cooperation.

Society & culture

The population of Nepal is 30.9 million people. You belong to numerous ethnic groups who cultivate their own languages and cultures. Around 80% of the population professes Hinduism. About a tenth are followers of Buddhism, Muslims and Christians are small minorities.

Everyday life & practical information

Nepal is a very hospitable country. Before entering the country, you should thoroughly inform yourself about entry and residence regulations, the security situation and health care. Questions about supply, transport and telecommunications can also be clarified in advance.

Official name: Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal

Area: 147,181 km²

Residents: 29.7 million (2018, estimated)

Growth of population: 1.7% per year (2019, estimated)

Seat of government: Kathmandu

Official language: Nepalese

Regional languages: Maithali, Bhojpuri, Tharu and others

Nepal has 29.7 million residents. The population density is an average of 209 residents per km² and is very unevenly distributed due to the landscape. The Terai, the tropical strip of land belonging to the Ganges plain, on which malaria-infested jungle stood fifty years ago, has become the country’s most important economic and industrial zone. More people now live there than in the mountain regions, although this area only makes up around 17% of the land area. Only 7% of the population lives in the high mountains.

The most densely populated is the Kathmandu Valley with the capital Kathmandu (approx. 1.2 million residents) and its sister cities Patan (Lalitpur) and Bhaktapur. Other important cities are Biratnagar (207,000 residents), located in the east on the Indian border, and Pokhara (235,000 residents), in central Nepal, at the foot of the Annapurna chain.

Bodhnath stupa in Kathmandu Nepal


The unfavorable topography of the country makes it much more difficult to develop traffic routes. Nepal has around 17,300 km of roads, only about half of which are paved and open all year round. The most important east-west connection is the 1030 km long east-west highway (Mahendra Hingway) in the Terai. With the support of the Asian Development Bank, it will be modernized and expanded by 2022. A 190 km mountain road, Tribhuvana Rajpath, connects Kathmandu with Raxaul in India; the 119 km long Arniko Highway leads from Kathmandu to Kodari on the Chinese border. Only a few motorways penetrate the mountainous region; mules and load carriers play an important role in the transport of goods.

The country’s only railway line is 29 km long and runs from Janakpur to Jaynagar, India. It was in recent years completely renovated and was back in December 2018 Operating taken.

Air traffic

The national airline Nepal Airlines serves 30 national and 9 international routes. The Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu is the only international airport in the country. Extensive renovation work has been carried out on the runway of Tribhuvan Airport since April 1, 2019, resulting in daily closings of the runway for several hours and changes in the flight schedule. Renovation work continued during the curfew due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A new airport in Nijgadh, 175 kilometers from Kathmandu, is being planned. There are a total of 44 national airports, some of which are served year-round, some of which are seasonal, as well as 96 helicopter stations.

For years there have been plans to expand the regional airport in Pokhara as an international airport. As early as 1975, the Nepalese state bought land in order to build a new airport for the city of Pokhara. The new connection is being built around three kilometers east of the current Pokhara airport and should be completed by July 10, 2021. The Chinese company China CAMC Engineering is responsible for this. The airport will have a runway 2,500 meters long and 45 meters wide, on which aircraft such as the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 can take off and land. An international terminal is being built on 10,000 square meters, a domestic terminal and a building for customs and freight on 4,000 square meters.

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