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Tips for Nepal Travelers – DOs and DONTs

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If you’re planning on visiting Nepal for your vacation, work or even just for a couple of days, it might be a good idea to know how things go around in this Nepal. To make it easier for you, we have prepared a list of DOs and DON’Ts on certain areas while you’re traveling to Nepal.  

Greetings and Gestures

People in Nepal greet each other by saying “Namaste” and join their palms together with a slight bow as a gesture of respect and acknowledgment at the same time. The nodding gesture that people of Nepal use for ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ however might be slightly confusing for its visitors though. Occasionally people of Nepal nod the ‘No’ gesture with a slight tilt of the head to agree or to say ‘Yes’ which is contrary to what people from other countries especially westerners do. You might want to make sure you got your answer right. 

People and Culture

Image: Farmer returning home

Nepalese culture is very hospitable and people highly respect travelers and foreigners who visit Nepal. There is a saying in ancient Sanskrit “Atithi devo vawa” which basically means guests are a form of god and many people take it to their hearts. People try their best to share a bit of joy towards the travelers and you’ll get to experience it wherever you go. 

Nepal is a country deeply rooted in its cultural and religious practices which is why the societies, especially in villages outside of the city are quite conservative. People might not point out your dresses but it’s better to keep that in mind, especially while visiting religious sites and temples. Also, always ask for permission if you’re taking a photo of someone. Not everyone loves being filmed or captured. 

Shopping and the Streets

Image: Streets of Thamel at Night

 Shopping in Nepal can be really fun especially around the markets of Kathmandu and Pokhara. There are all sorts of souvenir shops and markets that you can explore and find something interesting. Things such as garments, ornaments, and local products are good value for their money. Bargaining can definitely get you a better deal and it’s a norm so don’t hold back to have a debate. However, keep in mind to do it as an enjoyable social exchange and be respectful about it. 

Besides that, you might encounter beggars when you are taking a stroll around the streets. Do what your heart desires but be aware that there are “professional beggars” as well, not everyone but there are quite a few. There are also children begging around the street and that might make you feel emotional and pitiful however it is advised to not offer them money or food for most of them use it for buying drugs or give it to their “boss”. You can find charitable organizations that actually help the underprivileged and it’s better to go through them if you want to help.  

Money 

Getting your money is not much difficult if you are inside the city areas of Nepal. Currencies can be exchanged through banks and money exchange shops which are plenty and there is an abundance of ATMs. Many places such as restaurants, hotels, and shops accept credit/debit cards in the cities of Nepal. However, if you’re traveling outside of the city it is advised to carry cash with you. Be sure to exchange your money on your way out of the country since they aren’t accepted outside of Nepal. 

Food and Water 

Restaurants are plentiful and food hunting is really fun to do around Kathmandu and Pokhara. There are varieties of restaurants offering unique cuisines from different corners of the world. However, we advise you to judge for yourselves regarding the hygiene of the place you visit. The local dish of Nepal is commonly referred to as “Dal-Bhat” which is a plate of rice with lentils, curry, and pickles which can be both veg and non-veg. You might see people eating with their hands and it’s very normal around Nepal. If you prefer cutleries, go for it. Do not eat raw vegetables and pre-cut fruits that you buy from the streets. Also, avoid water that is not bottled or boiled. 

Drinking and Smoking

 Drinking and smoking are allowed in Nepal however we would advise to not drink or smoke in public places. Carrying a can of beer and walking around would be fine but keep it moderate. The other important thing is don’t assume smoking pot (weed/marijuana/ganja) since it is illegal in Nepal. It is also illegal to have possession of marijuana even though you see it growing in public areas.  

Electronics 

 Nepal has a standard of 220V of power supply. It is recommended for you to bring a universal plug and voltage adapter kit for yourselves however you can buy in electronic shops as well if you are in need. Keep in mind that if you have more than necessary electronic items with you then you might get charged for extra tax at the Tribhuvan Int’l Airport. 

Transportation and getting around

Image: Taxi’s in Nepal

Taxis are the most common way for foreigners to travel around the cities of Nepal. There are public vehicle services too but they are quite a bit time consuming and sometimes not very reliable. Taxis are great but be careful about the money. Most taxis don’t want to use Running Meter and you need to insist on doing so. Even if they don’t and you’re in a hurry don’t agree with whatever price they come up with. Ask people from your hotel, your guide or someone you know to get the idea of the taxi fare. Drivers usually agree on less than what they initially ask for. Also, ride-sharing apps such as ‘Tootle’ and ‘Pathao’ are available which is a great travel substitute for a taxi if you’re traveling alone and they’re significantly cheaper.

Travels and Tours

It is highly recommended to get a tourist guide with you while traveling around Nepal which is provided by all the travel companies including CoreTreks. There have been reports of tourists who went missing while traveling alone. Make sure you’ve your insurance right since travel companies do not provide that for you. Try to make your travel schedule as lenient as possible and enjoy as much as you can. 

There you go, these are a few important details that might help you while you’re traveling in Nepal. Nepal is a free society and people aren’t obliged to specific code of conducts however respecting its laws and enjoying the country within the bounds are certainly welcomed. To know more about traveling to Nepal and travel packages visit our website or contact us at info@coretreks.com. 

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