Nepal is a country rich in culture and tradition and one of my favourite places in the world. Before embarking on your own journey to the birth place of lord Buddha and the homeland of the mighty Mount Everest, I have noted down my tips to ensure you have a safe and respectful time. I have been to Nepal 6 times and learnt a lot along the way!
Greetings – Always greet locals by placing your palms together in the prayer position and saying namaste or more formally ‘namaskar’.
A respectful way to greet men who are older than you, is by calling them dai (big brother) and for women you can call them didi (big sister). You will regularly hear these names being used. I personally love this, even though you could be speaking to someone you’ve never met before, it has such a warm and loving feel to it.
Food & Drinks – The tap water in Nepal is never safe to drink, even using a small amount when brushing your teeth is never a good idea. You’ll end up with a stomach bug or a serious case of diarrhoea.
If you choose to eat as the Nepalese do, with your hands, only use the right hand, the left is reserved for washing up in the bathroom.
Dress – It’s never ok to wear revealing clothing in Nepal, especially for women. If you plan on swimming it’s advisable to stick with the one piece bathing suit or wearing a T’shirt over the top.
If you are visiting someones home, you should always take your shoes off before entering.
PDA – Even if you love them – Public displays of affection are frowned upon in Nepal, so if you’ve just met up with your significant other after time apart, I suggest going straight to your hotel room.
Begging – Throughout Kathmandu you will seeing many men and women, of all ages, begging on the streets, especially during festival times and this is a very hard situation. It’s near impossible for a foreigner to determine whether the people they are seeing on the streets legitimately need our help or are just wanting some extra cash. Or even worse, being forced to sit on the hot dusty streets all day, then only receiving a small amount of the money. I have been told that it’s a common occurrence for children to be left on the streets to beg, then required to hand the money over to older relatives, to be most likely spent on alcohol. Also during festival times “organisations” will place people all over the city, then at the end of the day only give them a small cut of the money they receive. There is no unemployment benefit in Nepal so I have no doubt many people legitimately need our help. Personally I would prefer to hand over food, clothes and blankets to people on the streets, more so than cash.
It’s great to know to there are many non-government organisation that are doing amazing work all over Nepal and really are making a difference to people’s lives. If money is something you would like to provide people with, why not donate to them so at least you know it’s being spent in the right ways.
An NGO I regularly donate money to is IGWR. I personally know everyone involved in this organisation and have no doubt the money they raise is making a real difference. Click here if you want to know more.
Nepal is such a beautiful country and if you provide the locals with the respect they deserve thats exactly what you’ll receive back.
I hope you love Nepal as much as I do.
Does anyone know way NEPAL stands for?
Never Ending Peace And Love