So you are ready to visit Nepal and are wondering what I should know about Nepal and its people. To make this easier, we have listed some Nepali customs and traditions which you might find different from your own.

  1. Namaste’ is our greeting which is done by joining palms together in front of your chin. The hand gesture is not always important and simply saying Namaste will suffice and is more in use now a days. Exchange of Namaste word is most popular now a days.
  2. People of Nepal are generally happy to see foreigners and are willing to talk to them and even help them. Most young people speak some English especially in town and cities so you won’t have too much problem communicating. Even though the level of English for most Nepali is rudimentary, it will be more than enough for communication.
  3. You may not hear ‘thank you’ and ‘sorry’ as much as you do in your culture. Please don’t be offended. Most Nepali  are fine this way and don’t express their gratitude too often. This is changing though.
  4. Even though Nepal is struggling with its economy and political instability, Nepalese people for the most part look happy and are always smiling.
  5. Oh boy this is not actually a custom or tradition but people might not be ‘‘on time’’. It may be rude sometimes however, it’s normal. (15, 20 and 30 minute or even later may be normal). Of course it doesn’t apply for all the people. We still need to learn the value of time.
  6. Nepalese people usually eat their food with their right hand. Use of left hand is usually avoided if possible while eating and serving food.
  7. Typically, Nepalese eat major course meal three times a day. Typical Nepali food (Rice, Lentil soup and pickles) is taken in the morning (around 9/10AM) and in the evening (around 7/8/9PM) and during a day people eat another course called “Khaja” which includes light food. Most popular Khaja in Nepal includes Mo:Mo: (dumplings), Chowmain (noodles), and Roti (Chapati).
  8. When Nepalese people pass by a temple, they will always keep the temple to their right even if it means walking around it. People generally walk around the temple and try to go around it by walking.
  9. Nepalese don’t like revealing cloth so if possible, you have to avoid it but no one will ask you to wear more cloth or scold you or harass you for it.
  10. Its normal for Nepalese to come forward and talk to you and initiate the conversation.
  11. Showing intimacy in public area is usually frowned upon in Nepal. Kissing should be avoided if possible in public.
  12. Tipping in restaurant and hotels are not mandatory. If you like the service, you can leave some tip but its not at all mandatory. Most restaurant will mention Service Charge in the bill so you don’t have to pay the tip at these places as well.
  13. Don’t forget to bargain while shopping. The asking price in most places will be highly inflated.
  14. Stepping over someone is avoided in all cases as Hindu culture take human body as a sacred and stepping over them is considered as offensive. Don’t step over body and even leg. Try to remove your leg if its in the path as Nepalese don’t step over it in most cases.
  15. If you receive gifts from someone, don’t open it in front of them and if you give gift to someone, don’t ask them to open it in front of you.
  16. Don’t be surprised if you get invitation at the very last moment. Don’t be offended. This happens a lot. If you are too busy and cannot stay for long, just showing your face in the party/event will be enough.
  17. Avoid using left hand in most cases. Don’t use left hand while eating food, serving food, hand shaking, passing/receiving things, exchanging money and almost all other activities.