Here are the list of basic things, you to know before you are travelling to Nepal. Apart from these, if you think something is to be added, please write in the comment section.
Nepal is a travellers’ friendly country. Wherever you go, you can just greet the Nepalese people with formal greeting “NAMASTE” with smile while joining both palms together. In response, they greet you back with overwhelming smile. Namaste literally mean ‘the divine in me salutes the divine in you’.
Here are 19 basic things that you should take serious note while travelling in Nepal.
- Do not trek alone
In recent years, there have been reports of disappearance of solo trekkers in various destinations of Nepal. It is advisable to hire a guide or travel in group to ensure your travel. Try to communicate with your friends and family about your next day travel plan and get them updated. Sole women travellers have to take special attention while trekking – they seem more vulnerable.
- Hire a professional guide
Often the climates in the mountain region of Nepal are unpredictable. You never know what awaits further. So, hire a professional guide who knows about mountains, the trails and the climate. During peak tourist season, some destinations have scare accommodation availability. In such condition, hiring a guide help you to secure you place for accommodation at the destination.
- Food safety
Tap water is not safe to drink as it is not filtered or purified. Instead, you can buy bottled water. Some remote places charge you for boiled water as well. You should get some water purifying medicine or water purifying gadgets like Lifestraw. Avoid raw vegetable and pre-cut fruit as much as possible.
- Carry common medicine
Sometimes, our trekking journey won’t go smooth as we predict it to be. We might get ankle sprain, food poison, and diarrhoea or get hurt on the way. It is advisable to carry painkiller and some other medicine as some places don’t have health center for medication. (take medicine at your own risks)
- Don’t give money to beggars
The streets of major touristic destinations are full of street beggars. They might seem pitiful and poor and you might want to help them. But remember, you are not helping them rather you are encouraging them to beg. For those kind hearted people, you can donate or be part of charity organization and have a direct impact on those actual needy people. Your money will be well utilized.
- Bring anti-pollution mask
If you plan to stay in Kathmandu valley for quite long days, you better get anti-pollution mask. Because of road construction, infrastructure building, pollution, it might be difficult to breathe properly inside the Kathmandu valley as well as some other major cities. Outside the valley, environment is pristine and beautiful. Have your mask ready while travel through vehicles as well as road is under maintenance.
- Exchange back all the Nepalese currencies before you leave
Be sure to exchange back all the Nepalese currencies before you leave Nepal. It is illegal to take Nepalese currency outside Nepal. Even if you take some, they are not accepted or even get exchanged. Make sure you make proper thought about taking Nepalese currency.
- Marijuana is not legal
You might assume Marijuana (ganja) is legal. But it is not. While travelling, it is common to see those weeds on the roadside, on hillside, or on someone else fields. You can get in trouble for picking it for consumption or any other purpose. Some people might offer you to have some, but keep in mind about legal part as well before consuming it.
- Get a universal plug
Nepal uses 220v electric supply. You have to bring universal plug and voltage adapter to adjust the electric power supply for your electric devices.
- Get tissue paper & hand sanitizer
Keep your hands always clean and sanitize from contamination. While travelling, some of the places in Nepal have squat toilet so always have some tissue paper and hand sanitizer.
- Support non plastic campaign
Please, do not bring any kind plastic inside Nepal as far as possible. Single time used plastic is banned in some part of Nepal completely. Do not use any plastic product inside the country as well. Your supports mean a lot to minimize the plastic impacts on our environment and save the world. On the trekking trail, you can see plastic and littering. You can be a part of the campaign by cleaning the trail as little as possible too.
- No Photographs
Most of the historical buildings, religious sites, personal properties, ancient artifacts, security post etc have sign with ‘No Photographs’. If you are taking photographs on such areas please look for such sign or ask someone if it’s allowed or not. Sometimes, you might get into trouble because of photography. You have to take extra measure while take photos of people, ask them if it’s OK. Do not take the photo of girls/women on open bath (open bath is common in remote areas).
- Respect each other
While you are in Nepal, you are exploring various destinations and cultures. Sometimes, you might find some of the cultures offensive and quite different from yours. No matter what, it’s their own way of living and traditions. Get wet and enjoy the culture! Share your knowledge and cultures with each other. This is the best way to respect each other and have good bonding.
- Know some of the basic Nepali words
Having knowledge of some basic Nepali words helps you in your journey. These words come in handy to maintain good relationship with local. It’s a good feeling (for local) to hear Nepalese words from you. I promise!
- Buy your Nepal SIM card at the airport
If you are consistent internet user you can buy a Nepalese SIM at the airport. You can get a proper help to activate the internet plan as per your choice. You can also buy SIM outside the airport which is comparatively cheaper but keep in mind that activating internet plan is challenging (language barrier, extra supportive documents).
- Remove footwear before entering Temples/Gumbas and Nepalese houses
Removing the footwear before entering Temples/Gumbas and Nepalese houses is a common etiquette in Nepal. Nepalese houses are considered holy, home to Penates (household god) and footwear used outside the house are dirty. It is act of disrespectful to take the footwear inside. Take off your footwear and walk barefoot inside these sacred places.
- Not all Sherpa are Sherpa
There is a common belief that Sherpa are the porters or professional guide. In Nepal, Sherpa is ethnic group. You will find many people with surname Sherpa and they all are not porter or guide. They belong to ethnic group in Nepal.
- Keep your distance from dance bars in KTM and PKR
There are various dance bars in Kathmandu and Pokhara. Remember, those places are trap to scam you on buying alcohol and food at much inflated prices. If you don’t pay, they might resort to violence and intimidation. So, keep your distance from such places.
- Visa at the Airport
If you are planning to get the visa on arrival at the airport, make sure to have passport size photo available. If you do not have photo, you have to take photo at the booth at the airport. Make sure to bring all the require documents.