We are so lucky to take participants to some of the most beautiful areas in the world, and Nepal is no exception. Located in the heart of the Himalayas it has captured the heart of many of the years, including our previous participants. Nepal is home to the beautiful Mount Everest, the birthplace of the Buddha and is one of the few countries in the wold never to have been colonized. So really, what’s not to love? But what can you expect when arriving in this stunning country.. we’ve listed some of the things we think any traveller should know before their arrival.
So firstly, what’s polite in Nepal? First things first, it’s good to note that it’s not acceptable to wear revealing clothing in Nepal (icluding shorts, particularly for women). PDA is also classed as inappropriate.
If you’re going to be meeting locals, or your guides, the traditional manner is to place your palms together in a prayer style and say “namste” or “namskar”. Those older than you should be addressed “didi” (woman) and “dai” (man).
When communicating, it’s also important to note that shaking your head does not mean “no” in Nepal. Nodding in Nepal means “no” and bobbing your head from side-to-side means “yes”. Random, but a practical thing to know!
So you now know how to greet the locals, and dress appropriately.. so let’s talk about the important stuff. What can you expect to eat? On the mountain, typically all food is vegetarian due to the inability to store meat. A typical Nepali food is Dal Bhat, this is made up of rice and lentils and is often served with side dishes such as potatoes and cauliflower. Traditional Nepali food is often spicy, but don’t panic! You can often specify how spicy you want the food when ordering in local restaurants! Another traditional food of Nepal is a momo (dumpling), previous trekkers have raved about these for days. Another important thing to note is that cows are sacred in Nepal, so you should expect to see no beef served here at all!
So you’ve now met some locals, experienced local cuisine, what else is there to do on your free day in Kathmandu?
Visit a Monkey Temple. Swayambhunath Temple is a short drive from Kathmandu, monkeys roam free all over the Buddhist shrines and even have their own pool to freshen up in! You cna also grab an amazing, panoramic view of the city from the top of the temple.
Shopping. Whether it be last minute trekking gear, pashminas or other souvenirs, Kathmandu has a great selection of stores and markets for you to have a browse!
The Garden of Dreams. Amongst the chaos of Kathmandu, there is a historic garden with Edwardian buildings and beautiful fountains. You could head here to relax on the grass, check out the pergolas, or head to the Kaiser cafe for some delicious food.
Jazz Bars and Rooftop Restaurants. After completing your trek, you’ll probably want to celebrate. What better way than at a jazz bar or rooftop restaurant? Kathmandu has some fantastic places to chill, enjoy a drink or a meal and admire a beautiful view, or a fantastic Jazz musician.
Nepal has it all, and we can’t wait to get even more reccomendations when our 2017 participants return.