Though being a landlocked country located in the southern region of Asia, Nepal has a varied landscape from the high Himalayas to midland mountains and the plains of Terai. The country is rich in it’s cultural heritage, natural beauty and distinguished history. All of the religious communities in Nepal (Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Christians & other minorities) peacefully stay together in Nepal. Even though below are some Do’s & Don’ts in Nepal which if known before your travel to Nepal will be helpful and add more fun to your travel
1. Cows are considered holy and sacred in Nepal. So, beef is strictly prohibited among Hindus and Buddhists. Never eat beef in front of Hindus & Buddhists. Don’t’ be surprised if you see a cow seen roaming freely in the streets of Kathmandu which is an offer to God and allowed to roam free.
2. Giving money to children asking for money isn’t suggested. This will in turn lead to young children dropping out of school and take up panhandling as their trade. These children are mainly from villages and come to the cities due to several reasons like poverty, parentless etc. They at last end up in the streets of Kathmandu and some may start begging. Social organizations are helping out these children. So if you wish to help, you can give to a trustworthy charity or organization.
3. Wearing a leather belt while entering any Hindu temples is strictly prohibited since leather is made out of cow or buffalos skins. So, entering with a leather belt is considered unholy in Nepal.
4. Stick to the tourist area like Thamel and don’t go to the places where you are told not to go, especially at night. Though Nepal is a safe destination for tourists but some precautions need to be taken. Thamel is the central tourist hub in Kathmandu where all facilities for tourists are available like hotels, pubs, bars, restaurants, departmental stores, trekking gear shops etc. 90% of the travelers coming to Nepal stay in and around Thamel area.
5. Giving money or gifts to Nepalese with your left hand isn’t recommended. It’s best to use your right hand while giving money or gifts to locals which will be greeted with gratitude. But you can still use the left hand but in these cases, if using the left hand will demonstrate that you are not satisfied with the services of the person you are paying.
6. While entering any Hindu temples always take off your shoes first then enter the site. Shoes aren’t allowed inside any Hindu temple. You can walk in and around the temples but entering the main temple area, one needs to take off their shoes. Also, be aware that some Hindu temples won’t allow non-Hindus to enter the premises.
7. Drug abuse and drug trafficking is a serious offense in Nepal. Possession of drugs in Nepal will be severely punished. Jails in Nepal are very unpleasant places so avoid any drug abuse or drug trafficking and make sure you don’t end up in one.
8. Showing physical display of affection (PDA) with your partner at public places isn’t acceptable in Nepal. It can be acceptable for two girls to hold hands as a sign of friendship and not to be taken any other way. For a homosexual couple, chances are that they will be stared at or gossiped about due to the unfamiliarity of such sexualities. One can’t see Nepali men and women displaying public affection and one must avoid it to gain unnecessary attention.
9. Do Not Use Tap Water. Nepal is a developing country so the best filtration systems for the water exiting the taps are yet to available. The country is prone to several water-related diseases. It is advisable to carry water purification tablets or buy packaged bottled water for drinking.
10. Using fake trekking equipment during your trek in the Himalayas isn’t suggested. Don’t be tempted by the cheaper price of this equipment such as trekking shoes, walking sticks, sweaters, windcheaters, thermals, etc. Though some of them work well for low altitude and short treks but for longer and high altitude trek, bringing good quality gears from home is recommended.