Culture

Nepal is a land locked country that lies in-between India and China along the highest part of the Himalayan mountain range. The people are very poor with the majority of the population live on subsistent agriculture. Tourism is by far the largest income into Nepal with Trekking being the largest closely followed by Rafting and Kayaking.

But what the people lack in wealth, make up for in culture. The Nepali people are renowned as warm, welcoming and friendly people who are always willing to help. They welcome foreigners into their homes with genuine smiles and friendship. Nepal is mostly Hindu but there are many other religions, mainly Buddhist and Muslim.

There are a wide range of Nepali races and tribes. Each have their own religion, beliefs and ways of life. There are dozens of local languages throughout Nepal. Nepalese is the national language, and many know parts of English – most Nepali people actually know several languages (they are by no means a stupid people). You will be able to get by with just using English in Nepal; but if you choose to learn and use even a few Nepalese words, you will be met with eagerness of people wanting to help you learn more.

Monkey Temple (aka Swaymbhunath) in Nepal
A group of Nepalese children from the Panchamaul valley

The women will normally wear traditional dress whereas the men often prefer to wear more western dress. In terms of your own dress code feel free to wear what you like. However I would advise that when not on the river, for women not to wear ‘short shorts’ or a low cut top. Otherwise you will be surrounded by Nepali men trying to get a good view.

Customs you need to know:

• When visiting a temple, always walk around it in a clockwise direction.

• Take off your shoes before entering a temple or a Nepalese home.

• Entrance to some temples is forbidden, so look out for such notices.

• Seek permission to take photographs inside temples or of religious ceremonies.

• Show decency in dress and avoid any show of public affection.