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The First Timer's Nepal

NEPAL | Thursday, 4 August 2011 | Views [4777] | Comments [1]

Imagine a land filled with lush landscapes, soaring mountain peaks, colorful, friendly locals and a fascinating culture as old as the day is long.  Now imagine you have arrived at this land and are immediately met with exhilarating adventure, from trekking to biking to white water rafting and everything in between – where you play and discover all day, dine on delicious local cuisine at night and learn about some of the most interesting and benevolent people in the world.  What you’ve imagined isn’t a fantasy – it’s the country of Nepal, where the adventure is matched only by the warm hospitality and the incredible nature that surrounds you. 

A trip to this exotic country is certain to delight and intrigue even the worldliest traveler, and will undoubtedly leave an indelible mark on your heart and in your soul.  But before you pack your bags and set out on your own Nepali expedition, here are a few travel tips from the experts at Ace the Himalaya to help you get the most out your journey.

1.) Buyer Beware

If the price tag seems too good to be true, as in most small stores, it probably is.  For instance, the North Face - with possibly a slight variation in the name, like Narth Foce- merchandise will not last you more than a month.

2.) Careful Respect 

Always remove your shoes before entering a temple - but do make sure they're kept somewhere safe, where people and native temple monkeys can't find them.

3.) Toilet Time 

It may not be your favorite subject, but let’s face it – everybody does it.  First thing you want to do is check the toilet paper situation.  To be on the safe side, you may even want to consider carrying your own stock.  Oh, and don't forget to stretch your legs before you squat. 

4.) Don't Mind the Cows

The cow is the national animal of Nepal and is also revered as a holy Hindu animal, which means beef is banned throughout the country.  Stray cows (along with dogs and occasionally, pigs) wander freely about the streets of Nepal, including in the busy highways and the narrow alleys of Kathmandu, the capital city.  Even the rowdiest of drivers don’t tend to mind the cows in the streets.

5.) Eating Etiquette

Avoid "disrespecting" the food by inadvertently touching it or bringing it into contact with a used plate or utensil.  Using your own fork or spoon to serve more food is not acceptable.  Always wait to be served by the host.

6.) Come with a Huge Appetite

If you feel you have been given too much food, ask your hosts to take some away before you commence eating; this is perfectly okay and is more appreciated than wasting food.  

Of eating in Nepal, a traveller once noted:  If you don't hold your hand over your plate, it doesn't matter how many times you tell people you're full - they will just keep heaping food on your plate. If holding your hand over your plate doesn't work, try bending your whole torso over the plate to block the incoming food with a little more bulk.”

7.) Questions and Answers

Be prepared for lots of questions.  Just walking in the streets you may be asked: "What's your name? Where are you from? How old are you? Where are you going?"  (Perhaps questions you may consider personal).  Don't be affronted or consider it rude or an invasion of privacy.  It's usually genuine curiosity, friendliness or a desire to practice their English. Respond with patience and in a cheerful manner.  Concepts of privacy in some countries can be very different to your home country.

Nepal is so much more than just a lovely place to visit.  The terrain is some of the most beautiful on earth, and the amazingly hospitable locals welcome visitors with open arms, inviting them to truly discover what their beautiful country has to offer.  The endless activities and challenges to conquer mean you’ll never be bored, and the unique cultural experiences mean you’ll never forget your journey into Nepal.  These travel tips will ensure that you get the most out of your adventure and create lasting memories for all the right reasons.

About Ace the Himalaya

Ace the Himalaya Community Service Volunteer Program provides a unique opportunity for volunteers to live and work in Nepal. Volunteers may contribute in areas such as school education, health, community development, forest conservation, agriculture, culture preservation and fund raising and maintenance of the drinking water resources.  With Ace the Himalaya, volunteering is about building bridges, creating links, it's about inspiring, it’s about sharing, and more than anything, it's about giving.

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Tags: asia, culture, etiquette, food, health, nepal, travel, travel tips

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