Cultural Tips

Local Customs, do’s and don’ts

Culture and customs in Nepal run deep. Some of them you will find interesting, some strange and others beyond logic. But as long as you show respect and sensitivity to local traditions, willingness to learn and adapt to Nepalese ways and values, you will be fine. For a people so deeply rooted in traditions and culture, Nepalese are remarkably open-minded and easy-going. If at any time, you have doubts, ask or simply do what other Nepalese do.

The list here is just a simple, brief introduction and in no way exhaustive

  • “Namaste” is a common act done by putting the palms together in a prayer like gesture to greet anyone in Nepal. Do not take it seriously if any Nepalese hesitates to shake hands because it really hasn’t been very long since western traditions crept into the Nepalese way of life. In Nepal, people especially ladies; do not normally shake hand when they greet one another.
  • Use your right hand to eat and deal with food. Nepalese use their left-hand to wash themselves after defecating. Also remember that most Nepalese use their fingers to eat and using spoons and forks is not common, especially when you are having “Daal Bhat” the staple Nepalese diet, but this does not mean, however that the guest are not to use fork, knives and spoons. We have table manner in Nepal is quite different from those at home.
  • Visit to a Hindu temple, Buddhist Stupas, Monasteries, rooms and some one’s houses are expected to be un-shoed as a mark of respect and clean.
  • Feet should never be pointed at anyone; drape something over them if you must stretch them out while sitting on the floor. Never step over anyone, and always move your feet to let people avoid stepping over you
  • Beef is prohibited among both the Hindus and Buddhists and no female animal is killed for food.
  • Once your lips have touched a food item or its container, it is considered “Jutho”(polluted) for others. Don’t eat off someone else’s plate or offer anyone food you have taken a bite out of.
  • Major Hindu temples are usually off-limits to foreigners. Don’t enter them or take pictures unless given permission to. Do not take leather articles inside the temple precinct as they are prohibited. Also there will be small circular or rectangular stones or metal Mandala on the ground in front of most shrines. Do not step on them.
  • Public display of affection between man and woman are uncivilized in our society and is frowned upon.
  • Please be patient. Anger and impatience will rarely make things better. Nepalese have a way of taking everything very cool.
  • Cheap charity breeds beggars but does not solve their basic problem. Therefore please do not encourage beggary by being benevolent.
  • Beware of touts who claim to be representatives of companies and offer to take you bargain.
  • Use hotel safety boxes for your valuables goods. Do not leave cash and other valuable things lying around in the room, while you’re out.

Basic Greetings and Pleasantries

NepaliEnglish Translation
NamasteHello, Greetings, I bless the divine in you
NamaskarThe more respectful version of Namaste
HajurAll purpose term meaning yes?
(Tapailai) Kasto Cha?How are you?
(Malai) Thik ChaI am fine
Khana khannu bhaiyo?Have you eaten? (used often as informal greeting)
DhanybhadThank you
Tapaiiko naam ke ho?What is you name?
Mero naam ….. hoMy name is …….
Maaph garnuhosExcuse me/ pardon me/ sorry
Maile bhujhinaI don’t understand
Maile bhujheI understand
Pheri bhetaunlaI hope we meet again