‘Namaste’ is the word you use for greetings in Nepal. In rural parts of Nepal, as people recognize you as a tourist everyone greets you by saying Namaste. While saying Namaste you need to stick your two palms and bow your head at the same time.
Namaste is a good way of greeting because some women might hesitate to shake hands. It is also an expression of thankfulness and gratefulness. Use both hands to receive or give something like money, food, etc. It is a gesture of politeness in Nepalese culture. If someone greets, you also greet back otherwise people consider it rude/impolite.
Carry a torch or flashlight
Nepal is a developing country, the supply of electricity is not much trustworthy. There might be a power cut at night time so carrying a torchlight or flashlight is the best option for you. Decent hotels in Kathmandu valley and Pokhara valley have power backups.
You may have to trek till evening, so it is necessary for you to carry torchlight. Though Nepal is already declared as a load-shedding free country, there may be power cuts due to some construction or maintenance work.
Carry international multi-plug adapter and voltage adapter
You will generally see two or three holes rounded plugs point in Nepal which is similar to the ones in the UK. There are flats prongs in the USA, which is rarely found in Nepal so it is better to carry a multi-plug adapter.
Nepal uses 50 HZ and 220V power in an electric outlet. Your electric devices may need more power so it is better to carry a voltage adapter as well.
Support Non-Plastic initiative
Nepal is trying to minimize the usage of single-use plastic. There is no proper waste management of plastic bags, jars, bottles, plastics, etc.
Tourists carrying plastic water bottles is one of the major sources of plastic waste in the Himalayan region. It is better if you use your own water bottle and reusable bags during treks.
Insist taxi on using a meter
You may need to hire a taxi particularly in Kathmandu or Pokhara valley. A taxi driver may not agree to go on a meter but you must insist on him/her. They try to bargain with you but you must insist on using the meter because it costs less. The taxi fare may be double during night time that is after 10 pm.
Change all Nepalese currency before departing
It is illegal to carry Nepalese currency outside Nepal. So, you must exchange all the currency you have. You can exchange it at your travel agency or hotel before leaving for the airport.
Buy or use drugs
It is illegal to buy, sell or use cannabis/marijuana in Nepal. It is legal in many parts of the world but not here.
The rules regarding these activities are quite strict in Nepal. You might end up in jail for carrying out this illegal activity and Nepalese jails are not a good place to be in.
Touch someone’s body
Touching is not considered a good gesture in Nepal. It is regarded as impolite to touch in someone’s head, it is not appreciated here.
There is a cultural difference between Asian nations and Western nations. People here believe the ‘head’ to be a sacred part of the human body. Therefore you should not touch or pat someone’s head.
Also, you should not consider touching a woman even as gratitude or affection. In such a case, Namaste is always the best option for you.
Apart from major cities, you need to be conscious of your dressing sense. Especially for women, it is better to wear full clothes that cover your body. If you are in any doubt your dress should cover your shoulders and knee. You won’t like unwanted attraction from the general public.
Nepali ladies wear t-shirts, jeans, kurta, and sari. If you are traveling towards rural Nepal you might see people wearing traditional clothes.
Give money to beggars
It is not a good idea to give money to beggars, seeing tourists they might ask you, even follow you but you should deny it. Though it is not common as in India, you might some while traveling around the city.
There might be some cute-cheeky kids asking for money but you should not encourage them. Saying this you should not be rude too, you can deny them politely too.
Drink tap water
Tap water is not considered healthy enough to drink even if you are in a 5-star hotel or a simple tea house. They provide you safe drinking water but tap water is not good. It is better if you carry your own water bottle of safe drinking water. If you are in doubt consult with your guide.
Public display of affection
Don’t show any physical contact if you are in the public area. Nepal is still conservative in that sense. In major cities, you can see boys and girls holding hands, it is normal. But, if you are a homosexual couple, people may stare at you and gossip about it.
You will see boys walking arm in arm and hugging around, be cool with it, these are signs of friendship. It is unlikely that you see Nepali men and women showing affection publicly.
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Things to consider before visiting Nepal
Nepal is rich in its culture, history and natural resources. People of Nepal treat tourists/guests as God, they welcome you with maximum gratitude. Nepal offers a visa on arrival when you reach the airport. Here are a few things that you need to consider before visiting Nepal.
Nepalese currency is the Nepalese Rupee(NPR). You can exchange the currency at the airport or travel agency. Nepalese currency fluctuates with USD almost every day, so it is better you check these exchange rates early on the tour. As per 2020/02/12, the exchange rate is 1 USD = 113 NPR.
You can find ATMs and money exchange in major cities but it may be difficult if you are visiting rural areas too. If you are here to trek for a couple of weeks, you need to exchange the currency and keep some changes too.
The primary language here is Nepali. However, in major cities, people communicate through the English language too. If you come from a non-English speaking nation, it may be quite difficult here. You should consult with your travel agency and get a translator.
Most of the people in urban areas understand the Hindi language and few of them can speak too.
The food in Nepal has Indian and Tibetan influences. Dal-Bhat is a basic and common dish around Nepal. You can find this traditional but delicious meal around a few south Asian countries like India, Bhutan, and Bangladesh.
Dal-Bhat is basically rice, curry, pulses, veggies, and pickles. This is heavy food, you gain a lot of energy after eating this food. If you are here to trek then Dal-Bhat is the best option for you. You can have your favorite cuisine around the Thamel area.
MoMos is another favorite and popular dish among Nepalese. It is a Nepalese version of dumplings with some spices. It has varieties like steamed, fried, jhol, barbeque, and many more.
Nepal belongs to left-hand traffic that means you drive and walk through the left side of the road. The majority of European and American countries follow the right- hand traffic. You should prepare yourself for it. Some traffic rules may also vary, you can learn it through the internet.
Hindu and Buddhist influence
The majority of people here follow Hinduism and Buddhism. Kathmandu is not only the country’s capital but also a cultural capital too. Nepal is a spiritual and religious country.
Remove your shoes while entering the temple premises or local’s house. Most of the temple does not allow other than Hindu persons to enter inside it. The temple may not allow you to take photos so look for it too.
Much more than mountains
Nepal is always known as a beautiful mountainous country but Nepal is much more than just mountains. Nepal has rivers, forests, valleys, glaciers, lakes, and many more. Nepal has beautiful green terai in the south, Chitwan and Lumbini are major tourist attractions from the south. Wildlife safari is a famous tourist activity here, you can see Rhinos, Tigers, and various other wild animals.
The birthplace of Lord Buddha, Lumbini is another famous tourist destination. Tourists from all over Asia and Europe visit this place to find peace and calmness inside them. Here are various temples and stupas built by Buddhist countries like Japan, Myanmar, China, and many more.
Different countries have different social and cultural restrictions. There is no other option except respecting it. It may be a developed or developing country, there are some dos and don’t everywhere.
It won’t be difficult if you learn some dos and don’t in Nepal. Nepal is a tourist-friendly country, it will welcome you with open arms.
If you have further queries or any suggestions, please feel free to contact Index Adventure.
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