Sandwiched between China and India, Nepal is one of the most fascinating places to visit on earth. Before you set foot on the hiking trails or walk the streets of Kathmandu, here are five things to know.
Home to majestic Mt. Everest, the birthplace of Lord Buddha, and one of few countries in the world never to have been colonized, this breathtaking country covers diverse landscapes from the Himalayan Mountains in the north to the flat expansive plains in the south. Deep gorges, towering mountains, vibrant culture and charismatic people – Nepal is the ideal destination for adventurers and culture vultures.
Our friend Prem Khatri from Ace the Himalaya shares five things you should know before you go.
1. Social Etiquette in Nepal
First and foremost, you‘ll want to know how to greet the locals. The traditional manner of greeting in Nepal involves placing your palms together in a prayer style and saying “namaste” or “namaskar”. Address anyone older than you with respect using the terms “dai” for men and “didi” for women. And avoid stepping over someone‘s outstretched legs or touching anyone with your feet as these are considered impolite.
Once you‘ve mastered this, you‘ll want to be sure to obey local culture so as not to offend. Note that it is never acceptable to wear revealing clothing (including shorts), particularly for women. While swimming, stick to a one-piece and leave the bikini at home. Public displays of affection are also frowned upon in Nepal.
If you are lucky enough to be invited into a Nepali home, remember to remove your shoes before entering. At dinner time, you must always wash your hands and mouth prior to eating. Always wait for the host to serve you and avoid “polluting” food by letting it come into contact with a used plate or utensil. Whatever you do, don‘t use your own spoon or fork to serve food. Bon appetit!
Want to know more about Nepal? Head to our Stories section to delve a little deeper.
2. Adventure Experiences in Nepal
Given Nepal‘s incredible terrain, it‘s no surprise that it‘s one of the world‘s most popular destinations for adventure tourism. When you‘re grabbing your gear, make sure you grab a buddy too. Trekking or hiking alone is dangerous for a number of reasons. You may also want to hire a guide, as the woods and mountain areas can be tricky and getting lost or injured is a real risk. If mountain climbing is on your itinerary, be aware of and prepared for the possibility of altitude sickness and frostbite. Dress accordingly and don‘t take on more than you can handle.
In addition to trekking and hiking, Nepal offers a huge variety of outdoor adventures sure to satisfy even the most daring traveler. Whitewater rafting in the Bhote Koshi and Trishuli, canyoning, rock climbing, mountain biking, mountaineering, and paragliding are just a few of the many exhilarating options. If you‘re particularly brave, you can experience the second-highest bungee jump in the world, which happens to take place over the mighty Bhote Koshi River. Whatever your pleasure, be aware of the risks and use caution during your adventures.
3. Water Safety in Nepal
If you plan on staying in Nepal for a while, you may want to pack a boiling pan and filter for the tap water. Water from the tap is not safe for consumption, even if it‘s from your hotel. Remember to also avoid fruit that may have been washed in contaminated water or drinking soft drinks with ice in them, as the ice may have been made from tap water. Stick to bottled water, which can be found in just about every store in the country.
4. Nepali Food (Dal Bhat)
When you‘re heading to Nepal, don‘t forget to bring your appetite. Offering everything from traditional fare to popular international dishes, you‘ll never go hungry there. Typical Nepali food is called Dal Bhat, and is made up of rice and lentils. Side dishes usually include a variety of fresh vegetables such as potatoes and cauliflower. Traditional Nepali food is often spicy, but you can usually specify how mild or hot you want it when ordering. You can get a taste of this customary cuisine at just about any local restaurant, which is plentiful throughout the country.
What about diseases to avoid?
5. Everest Mountain Flight Tours
If climbing the infamous mountain isn‘t your forte, you can still behold its wonders and majesty by taking a scenic flight, which are offered by a number of different local airlines. All flights depart from Kathmandu between the hours of 7 and 9. Drift above the clouds, over snowcapped peaks, and view the spectacular array of lakes, glaciers, rivers, and gorges below. Most of the aircraft used have clear, non-tinted windows that allow excellent photo opportunities. You‘ll want to capture this view for sure!
Of all the countries located in South Asia, Nepal is perhaps the most incredible to visit. From breathtaking terrain that practically begs to be explored to friendly, colorful locals who are eager to share their culture and traditions with visitors, a trip to this exotic land is sure to entice, excite and inspire even the most intrepid traveler. These five tips will give you the inside scoop on what to expect on your visit to Nepal and help you get the very most out of your amazing journey.