Published On:20 Aug,2016
In another few months, Nepal will enter its peak travel season. Millions of visitors from other parts of the world will flock to the land down under in search of their own adventures.
The most widely used word in Nepal is Namaste which is the simplest form means greetings. The deeper symbolism is Namaste is “I honour the soul in you”, but treat it as just a hello. Nepalese love to say Namaste to guest and in trekking trails or along the outskirts of Kathmandu, young people might be curious to know where you are from and with a show-off of their English skills, they might say “Namaste, where are you from?” so you tell them where you from when visiting Nepal. They love that.
Dhanyabad in Nepal means thank you. After any favour, it is always nice to say Dhanyabad. However, Dhanyabad is not too widely used by Nepalese. The assumption is that it is a duty of a person to provide service to another so no Dhanyabad is required but you can say Dhanyabad, is more common in tourism that in the traditional Nepali culture.
Let’s get the most important thing out of the way. Some Hindu temples have a clear sign that says in English “entrance for Hindus only”. Just don’t go if you are not a Hindu. In other temples, don’t wear shoes inside the temples. Visiting with shoes on are ok at Durbar Squares and outside of temples.
Nepalis love to make you feel special. If they put a flower garland on you or a cotton fabric “Khada” more popular in Nepal, which is a Buddhist cultural way to make you welcome. Also moreover, a red powder substance mixed with water which calls “Tika” is another symbol of the Nepali hospitality and honour which is more popular in Hindu Culture. If they put that on your forehand, they are welcoming you and honouring you. After all, one of the more popular practices of Nepali culture is “Guests are Gods”.
One thing that we see our customers and non-customers stress out more than the people of Nepal are the attire. Nepal sees a lot of tourists every year and they come in many types. Some like to stroll around the city and trek in shorts and some like to wear long pants to avoid bugs in warmer weather. Men and women very frequently wear shorts and t-shirts while trekking and that is more than fine. Nepali women might not wear shorts very often, but they do not expect you to be like them. They like you being you and enjoying their country. Rule of thumb: be comfortable. That’s all. We are not sure what the reaction would be if you were in your bikini except the fact that you’d probably be very uncomfortable yourself, not that you would do it!
It is not a common practice to bargain for goods in western cultures but boy or boy you paid too much if you do not bargain while shopping for souvenirs. Whether you are buying a knock off North face or a cute prayer wheel or a pashmina shawl. If the asking price is 1000 rupees, 700 rupees is a good benchmark. Our mission is not to be against those merchants, but we want to protect you as well. These items are priced knowing that you are going to bargain, so bargain away. Just make sure that you know that there is no bargaining in supermarkets that sell mineral water, soaps and shampoo etc.
Many people leave Nepal in a very sombre mood and perhaps that is why they say, “Nepal: once is not enough”. You become very close to the country, your guides, drivers, cooks if you are on an expedition and your hotel workers. That is indeed the beauty of Nepal. The drawback of this might be that you might feel that the regular tipping that you give to the folks that provided you service might not be enough.
There are not any fixed tipping rates. It depends on the services you get from guide and porters. If you are happy then you can give more tip while if you are not satisfied you can leave without tipping. Generally, people give tip from 15% +.
While it might feel daunting for many to be in a different culture, people of Nepal are free-spirited. If you do something unusual, they might laugh, but it will not have laughed at you; they will rather laugh with you.