Recommended Do’s & Don’ts while travelling to Nepal
November 18, 2019 / by Navaraj
Do’s and Don’ts in Nepal
Do not feel offended if a Nepalese woman hesitates to give you a hand. Especially women, but greet you with “Namaste”, a gesture reminiscent of a praying position, in which the two palms are placed together.
Public gestures of affection between man and woman is not common in Nepal. Therefore, avoid such affection in public.
Drug abuse and drug trafficking are strictly followed. Possession of drugs is a serious offense in Nepal and will be severely punished!
Alms create more beggars, but not solve the underlying problems! For these reasons, you should not encourage beggary. If you really want to do good, ask your tour leader/guide then and donate money to a school, an orphanage, or other means, but not to street beggars (even if ever so enterprising stories dish!)
Use the hotel safe for valuables. Do not leave money or valuables in the room are open.
Table manners in Nepal are quite different. In a typical Nepalese household there may be no plates, knives, forks or spoons on the table. The Nepalese use the right hand for eating. However, this does not mean that guests may not use forks or spoons.
Do not offer your left hand offer food your left hand. The left hand is considered in many countries as ‘unclean’.
Put off your shoes when entering homes, since these are considered “unclean”. Make sure that your feet do point to anyone.
All bodily secretion and products are considered polluted. A Nepali person will not step over your feet or legs. You should not touch people on the head nor should you touch or point your feet at people. This can be a grave insult. The left hand is also considered polluted; you should never offer it to someone. Normally Nepali people do not use toilet paper or tissues they find it unhygienic. In the toilet there will be water for washing your parts with. You should use your left hand only for this. Don?t expect to find toilet paper in private houses esp. in remote areas. Also you should note that in most hotels and restaurants toilet paper is provided but you should put it in the bin provided, not flush it down the toilet as this can block the plumbing.
Men and women
Physical contact between men and women should be avoided in public. Though you will notice that it is acceptable for boys and to hold hands etc and vise versa for girls. Don?t be surprised to see boys walking arm in arm and hugging. These things are signs of friendship and should not be taken any other way. You will never see Nepali men and women displaying signs of affection towards each other.
At The Temple
You should be especially sensitive about etiquette in places of worship. Dress conservatively and keep shoulders and knees covered. Always take off your shoes before entering. Beware that some Hindu temples do not allow non Hindus to enter. Also you should ask before taking photos of religious festivals, cremation grounds and the inside of the temples. If you are wearing leather belt you will be refused entry into the temple. Also you should note that cows are a sacred animal in Nepal and injuring or killing them is an offence. You will find cows roaming freely all over the place.
- The dress code for men and women is important in Nepali Society. It is advised to wear socially accepted dress. It should not shock to the host society. Give special attention while visiting special ceremony, monastery, temple area.
- A well dressed person is always respected.
- Do not expose and show-off your prosperity. Do not display large sums of money. Carry only amount and equipment you expect to use.
- Lock your bags, whenever possible. Try to have all your belongings inside your bag. Keep small items buried inside the luggage. Do not let people get tempted.
- Do not leave bags alone. Be watchful.
- Use hotel security box to store valuables. Do not carry passports, international air tickets, credit cards during the adventure programs.
Shopping and Bargaining
- Never buy expensive goods in the street with hawkers.
- Never expect quality and genuine goos from hawkers and street shops.
- Never buy antiques and animal products.
- If guest to buy Khukuri, advise them keep in Checke-in luggage, never in hand carry.
- Carry local money in small denomination, calculator and always judge with your money to know the real value.
- If a guest do want to buy advise them not involve in bargaining. Once price is agreed it should be purchased.
- Once a price is agreed upon, it is fixed. Second time bargaining is not accepted.
- Bargaining takes time. So be leisurely and relaxed.
- Calculate the monetary value of the amount involved in dispute. Sometimes it may just be few cents and worth involve lots of haggle.
- Prices of certain items are fixed, such as food and bargaining is not appropriate.
- Remember that price of a product is the value you would like to pay.
- Nepali are very much concerned about ritual pollution of food when it is touched by outsider. Foreigners are treated as outsider. Thus, advise guest not to touch any cooked food though it is usually all right to handle uncooked food such as fruit and raw vegetables.
- While drinking from an container avoid touching your lip to it; pour the liquid into mouth.
- Wait for food to be served to your rather than helping yourself.
- Advise guest not to give leftovers to the hosts, even though it may be rare delicacies. Do not offer anything from their plate if they have taken a bite. This is “Jutho”-contaminated for others, if any food is touched by the lips, the food, glass, bottle, entire plate is contaminated. The utensils must be washed before anyone else uses them. All leftover food or dring must either be thrown away or fed to animal. Hence, do not accept more than one can eat.
- Do not touch food with left hand. Give and receive items with right hand. To receive with two hands is to show respect.
- Nepali way of greetings is “Namaste!”. It is done by clapping two hands together at the chest level.
- The fire and fireplace are considered secred. Thus, do not throw any refuse into a fireplace. Do not show shoe, feet to the fire.
- Shoes are considered as most degrading objects, so keep them on the floor or ground. Shoes, especially leather onces should always be removed before entering any kind of temple, gompa or monastery and before entering a Nepali home. If you are in doubt, follow the example of host. Do not tough anyone with shoes.
- The head of an adult Nepali is the most sacred or ritually clean part of the body. Never touch it. Similarly, do not touch any one with left hand.
- While sitting do not point the sole of feet at any one.
- Nepalese do not step over legs and feet. Be sure to draw them up to make a path for anyone coming or going. The same way, do not step over anybody.
- Garuda, lions, bull, rat etc with red colored carved stones are the carriers of the diety. Lotus, carved on the pavement is very common in old city. They mark the front of the shrines. These define the territory fo the shrine.
- Leather products such as belts, jackets, shoes and bags are prohibited in most religious places. Please leave them outside.
- While travelling, a guest may pass Buddhist mani-walls, stupas, chorten, temple or religious places or objects. Advise to keep them on their right as a sign of respect.
- Foreigners are not allowed inside Hindu temples.
Begging and Dealing with Children:
- Tourists in Nepal may encounter different types of beggers. Some beggers in the temple premises are in real need. It is the local religion to support them but as a foreigners do not involve with them. If you really want to help them support the institution and organization who take care of those people. Beggers and children of the tourist area are part time beggers. They want to try their luck with tourists only. Do not make them beggers. Holy men or Sadhus are the people who have left personal properties and materialistic world to attain salvation. They travel and beg as part of their life. Do not teach them to be greedy. There are some traditional beggers community-Gaine. They were the singing groups. You may enjoy their singing and contribute for their effort.
- Nepalese have had good dentel hygiene in the past due to low consumption of sugar. Do not work against this by giving candy.
- Do not encourage smoking by handing out cigarettes.
- Do not encourage children to beg. Help the Nepalese to maintain their self-respect. Donations, charity should be properly channelized so as to benefit the entire community. It is customary to leave a small donation when visiting monasteries/temples.
- Do not give money or items to the people who have not done special favors.
- Respect people’s desire not to be photographed.
- The freely available marijuana and hasis attract some foreigners. The plant grows as weed. Buying and selling and consumption of such items are illegal. Always avoid them. Never involve in illegal activities.
- One should not accept as gifts or buy objects or art, manuscripts, images etc, which have antique value. These need to stay where they are for future visitors. Whether something is antique or not can be established by the Department of Archeology.
- Entry to most temples is restricted to foreigners. So, you should confirm with local people and watch signboards.
- Taking photographs inside temple is not allowed. Ask local people to be confirmed.
- Never buy fire wood from the villagers. It will encourage villagers to cut down more trees. Discourage the use of campfires.
- Always camp at the prescribed sites. Do not camp inside bush cutting any branches of trees.
- Never pollute the mountain water and do not litter the path.
- Have orientation on Eco-friendly trekking and involve all staff and trekking members on this process.
- Leave all campsites with minimum impact.
- Never use open toilet.
- Bring back all the non-biodegradable items at the end of the trek.
- Leave your camping place cleaner than it was when you arrived.
- All non-biological items, like tins and bottles should be carried back. It is environmentally unacceptable to bury these.
- Wash your hands before each meal.
- Drink only boiled water. Bottled or canned drinks and tea are generally safe.
- Vegetables and fruits should be either cooked or peeled. Salad type vegetables can be washed and soaked in an iodine solution but avoid green leafy.
- Eat freshly cooked hot simple food. Avoid reheated food.
- Be wary of meat unless it is fresh and well cooked but its better to be vegetarian.
- Wear shoes especially near villages or on popular beaches.
- Dink plenty so that your urine is always clear.