With ten of the highest peaks in the world, stunning lakes, beautiful temples and countless colourful festivals, it’s no surprise that Nepal’s tourism is booming. But as with all foreign countries, there are a few pitfalls to be avoided. Fortunately, we’ve compiled this simple list of Nepal travel tips to make sure you get the most out of your trip.
No matter how long you plan on staying in Nepal, one thing is for sure, you’ll be spending a lot of time on your feet, so at least one pair of sturdy, comfortable shoes is a must. If you plan on doing some hiking, be sure to bring a reliable pair of hiking boots. Bear in mind that streets are rarely paved and rife with potholes and loose stones, so any kind of high heel is a no-go.
Power cuts are a daily occurrence in Nepal, with some lasting up to 14 hours. Be sure to bring a headlamp, some torches and plenty of spare batteries, and keep them close to hand since you don’t know when you’ll need them.
Plug sockets vary across Nepal, so a universal adapter is essential. The standard voltage is 230 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz, so a transformer may also be necessary.
Bring comfortable clothes, ideally thin clothes that can be layered on if you start feeling cold. If you’re travelling during the colder season, be sure to bring a warm winter hat, a good scarf and fleece-lined gloves.
Basic Travel Tips:
First Things First
The form of greeting in Nepal is “Namaste” performing by joining both palms together. It literally means “the divine in me salutes the divine in you”.
You cannot buy Nepalese rupees outside of the country and you won’t be able to exchange them when you leave the country, either. In fact, taking the local currency outside of the country is illegal, so be sure to exchange them for another currency before departing. As with all airports, their exchange rates are notoriously poor, so be sure to conduct your exchanges elsewhere. As always, be sure to count your money for clerical errors before you walk away from the counter.
Since the majority of inhabitants are Hindu, Nepal has a strict caste system and certain rules which visitors may not be aware of. For example, it is considered very rude to touch someone’s head or to sit showing the bottom of your feet towards them. You should also never touch somebody with your left hand.
Food for Thought
Tourists must also be aware of the rules around eating and drinking. You must wash your hands before and after meals, eat with your right hand and avoid touching others’ food and drink when eating in a group. Due to sanitary concerns, never drink water that isn’t boiled or bottled, ensure all food is thoroughly cooked and avoid raw vegetables and pre-cut fruit as much as possible.
The More the Merrier
Nepal is a tough country to navigate solo, so to get the most out of your trip you’re definitely better off joining a guided tour. Furthermore, due to safety concerns, you should never trek alone, always hire a guide or trek with a group.
Nepal Points of Interest:
If you want to feel on top of the world, Sagarmatha National Park is the place for you. Located in Nepal’s Khumbu region, it features the tallest peak in the world, Mount Everest, alongside other renowned peaks such as Lhotse, Cho Oyu, Pumori, Ama Dablam, Thamerku, Kwangde, Kangtaiga and Gyachyung Kang. It was declared a national park in 1976, and is the world’s highest national park, with its lowest point over 3000km above sea level.
With amazing temples that perfectly complement the surrounding mountain scenery, the medieval city-state of Bhaktapur is the perfect place to embrace your spirituality. Its Newari name Khwopa translates as ‘City of Devotees’. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a testament to religious architecture and a hub of traditional Nepali culture, almost entirely untouched by Western culture.
Kathmandu Valley is home to tons of incredible temples and pilgrimage sites, including Boudhanath, Pashupatinath, and Swayambhunath, also known as the Monkey Temple. Be careful though, as those monkeys are surprisingly crafty and are notorious for stealing from tourists!
If the Swayambhunath monkeys piqued your interest in Nepalese wildlife, a visit to the Royal Chitwan National Park is a must. The jungle safaris are not for the faint of heart, but for anyone feeling adventurous, you can’t miss the chance to see the incredibly rare one-horned rhinos and Bengal tigers. Other amazing creatures include leopards, wild elephants, crocodiles, and sloths.
If you fancy an escape from the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu, Kopan Monastery offers the perfect sanctuary. This beautiful structure is home to hundreds of Tibetan Buddhist monks and offers courses on meditation alongside daily dharma talks. It’s the ideal place to discover your inner tranquillity.