Nepal is a small country situated on the lap of Himalayas. Although being a small country, Nepal hosts a wide range of adventure and cultural activities that attracts many tourists throughout the world. Adventure activities such as trekking, peak climbing, mountaineering, etc. attract adventure junkies from around the globe. Nepalese society is multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-religious, and Multi-cultural. There are altogether 126 ethnic caste groups in Nepal who altogether speak 123 different dialects. Wherever you travel in Nepal, you are most likely to encounter different people belonging to different religions following their unique culture and tradition. Each country has its own customs, tradition, and culture, any visitors should be respectful of the tradition and culture of the host country. As a tourist, if one can consider these things in mind then it will come handy during their visit. Therefore, here we have listed a bunch of etiquettes that might be helpful for you if you plan to travel to Nepal.
Greetings are very peculiar in Nepal. The traditional way how people greet here is by joining their both hands, as of praying position and saying ‘NAMASTE’ in a polite way. Handshakes are not much common outside of major cities. Restrain yourself from touching others especially females. Physical touch is only reserved for friends and relatives, however, people are a bit flexible in major cities.
The word “Thank you” or “Thanks” are usually understood by many people, so it is advised to use it more often. Moreover, the gesture of ‘yes’ and ‘no’ might be confusing to foreigners. If you tilt your head slightly to one side and then back to another, it will indicate the agreement. Else, you can shake your head up and down much like in western societies which also indicate “yes”.
The staple food of Nepalese is Dal Bhat which basically is rice with a lentil soup accompanied by vegetables, meat (optional), and pickles. People here prefer using their hand instead of using a spoon or fork. You can definitely ask for a spoon to use for yourself. If you ever decide to try using hands while eating, please use your right hand only, because left hand is used for washing after defecating. Also, be careful while passing food or anything using the right hand will be considered a good manner.
Another practice is that, once you touch your food, beverage or bottle with your lips, it becomes polluted; people here are conscious of polluting their food with the used spoons hence never serve others with the used spoon or share the food. Therefore, do not eat off form someone else plate and also do not offer from your plate once you have made it to your mouth.
Major Cities of Nepal are influenced by western culture and western practice however, the case is opposite when you travel to the rural areas of Nepal. Exposing much skin will give you unwanted attention. Especially, for women, it is advisable if you wear loose-fitting clothes that is not revealing the same goes with the men too but a bit flexible. Another thing to note is, you should not be wearing any leather attire while entering Temples; this is a big NO and is strictly prohibited. You should also take off your shoes, sandals before entering the main shrine of the temple. One of the best ideas is to follow what you see local people are doing.
Holding the hands of same-sex is normal here, it does not mean that they are in some sort of relationship. However, kissing or being intimate in a public place will raise some eyebrows so it is not advised.
Cultural sites etiquette
Always ask for permission before entering a Hindu Temple or a monastery. Remember to remove your shoes outside before entering such religious places. Also ask for permission before taking pictures of the deities as for some places it is prohibited to take the photographs.
Unfortunately, sighting of beggars are quite common in Nepal. Usually near Temples, Stupas or other religious sites you might encounter beggars of all ages. However, you should not feel mandatory to give alms to beggars, it is all up to you. It is better to avoid giving direct money to street children because there is a big chance they will use that money for buying drugs or alcoholic beverages. A simple ‘NO’ will work out, else ignoring them will be the best option for you.
Haggling is a part of many if not every transaction inside the country. You could always bargain to lower the price down with simple tactful communication with the seller but be careful not to overdo it.
In other case, touristic places might be full of touters, so being mentally prepare to deal with them would be a good thing. You could simply refuse them saying ‘NO’ or you just ignoring them will do the work.
Emergency and Important Numbers
Nepal’s Country Code +977
Police Hotline 100
Nepal provide on arrivals visas to most of the nationality on the airport. The Visa fee according on 2020 march is
Multiple entries 15 days USD 30
Multiple entries 60 days. USD 50
Multiple entries 90 days. USD 125
If you wish to extend your visa, you can do this at the Department of Immigration in Kathmandu
Visa Extension Fee
• Tourist visa extension is done for a minimum of 15 days with USD 45 and USD 3 per day for additional days.
• In the case of delay less than 150 days additional USD 5 per day as of late fine.
For more information http://www.nepalimmigration.gov.np/page/tourist-visa