Traveling tips for travelers in Nepal

A Final Word on Functioning in Nepal:  Thoughts from a fellow ‘Athiti’

Some airlines require that your flight out is RECONFIRMED prior to departure.  We will reconfirm for you; please make sure you leave your tickets with us for this purpose.

CHECK-IN is usually three hours before departure.

In Nepal it’s called ‘Karma’; one’s disposition to life in general, and to the present day in particular. 

You are coming here because Nepal is not only spectacular but also very different.  Tourism on any scale is barely one generation old, and the Nepalese are still closely tied to their ancient cultures, religious traditions and regional differences (20 languages, four castes, 36 ethnic groups, even four different New Years and three totally different scripts – each with its own variants!).  This diversity is the basis of their exemplary tolerance of others; overseas visitors – honoured guests (Althitis) – especially.

Thus, for our purposes, Karma can be defined as maybe half that vital quality possessed by the sensible traveller – a mix of confidence and modesty – and half having a handle on a relatively few do’s, don’ts, tips and insights to smooth your path.  Thus equipped, you’ll be better in touch with the kindness, friendliness, helpfulness and sense of fun of the Nepalese.

Use local greeting ‘Namaste’  with open, upright hands together at your chin (it’s also the response).

Dress Modestly  – except perhaps on the river when bathers are okay.  Elsewhere lots of exposed skin is disrespectful and unhelpful. It offends and can be judged as attempting to impose foreign norms (and parents of Nepali teenagers won’t thank you!).

Women Visitors

– Contact will mostly be with Nepali men, men who have sisters for>whom they have protective, sibling feelings.

You will probably be called “Didi” (‘big sister’, a general term of respect to women). This is the notion to stay with.  However if there’s a little flirtatious banter, which is a part of the social norm in Nepal, it’s not a threat.  Just stay in charge of your visit.  You should not have to tolerate unwarranted attention – your sense of well-being is always to be respected.

Make to Take Off Your Shoes

before entering anyone’s home – though at that point you may be told it’s not necessary – but it’s still appreciated.

The Family Hearth

(actually the burning fire) – is a shrine – don’t throw anything into it.

Check Protocol Before Entering Temples

Hindu and Buddhist traditions vary.  Seek guidance on use/prohibition of cameras/shoes/leather wear.

Your Camera Can Be Intrusive

– The Nepalese are like you when it comes to a camera being pointed at us by a total stranger.  So establish a few friendly vibes.

The Towns of Nepal Are Shockingly Littered

so your contribution would only add a tiny drop to the ocean. But what’s the ocean made of?

BEGGINGin towns is not common and certainly not syndicated.  The need to beg may be criminal but hardly the poor beggar – you decide.  With Kids say NO!   In the countryside – DON’T GIVE.  There is a trend for kids to beg for money/pens/funds for the football team etc.  If not already a scam, it’s on its way to being one. 

Remember that western tourism has a massive influence and has introduced a lot of unfamiliar, hard to grasp, attitudes towards service.  The question has to be ‘”can these new, western concepts coexist with Nepal’s traditional values?”  We say “YES!”  Yes, when the respect is genuine and the harmony real.  

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