Be culturally responsible

 

  • Try to learn some basic Nepali. Visit KEEP when you are in Kathmandu to find out about Nepali language courses. Greet people with the traditional ‘Namaste’ with hands clasped together in a prayer position.
  • Please don’t give money or sweets to begging children – donate to a suitable charity instead or give to a school, monastery or temple – this benefits the entire community.
  • When interacting with villagers, guides and porters, help dispel their misconceptions about the West’s infinite wealth and leisure. Create a realistic picture of your country and encourage pride in their own culture.
  • Pay fair prices for food, lodging and services. Buying local products benefits hill economies, but buying antiques and artefacts robs Nepal of its culture.
  • Be respectful when photographing people. Always ask first and accept when the answer is “no”. Never offer money.

Respect the customs and values of Nepali people in your dress and behaviour

  • Dress modestly in line with local custom: For women this means a mid-calf length shirt or loose pants and for men, long pants or knee-length shorts (long pants in monasteries.)
  • Don’t bathe nude in public. Women should wear a loongi (sarong) covering them from chest to knees.
  • Please try to avoid outward displays of physical affection.

Visiting religious sites

  • Out of respect to local beliefs pass monasteries, stupas, mani stones and prayer flags to the left (in a clockwise direction.)
  • Refrain from smoking, boisterousness and going to the toilet near sacred sites. Religious sites can be as obscure as a pile of rocks, or faded cloth hung from tree branches.
  • Remove your shoes before entering temples and don’t eat, drink or smoke. If you are visiting a Hindu temple or shrine don’t wear leather.
  • Avoid using flash inside monasteries, as repeated light exposure damages the paintwork.
  • Consider making a small donation when visiting a monastery.



 



 

If invited into a Nepali home

  • Always remove your shoes at the entrance.
  • Do not put litter into a cooking hearth or fire.
  • Never eat from someone else’s plate or share eating utensils.
  • Feet are viewed as unclean in Nepali society so avoid stepping over religious objects, eating surfaces or anyone’s legs or feet. When sitting try not to point your feet at anyone.

Be considerate when trekking

  • In some lodges the dining room doubles up as a sleeping area for your Nepali trekking staff so try not to stay up too late
  • Keep noise to a minimum at night and in the morning – you might want an early start but others where you’re staying may need their sleep
  • Try not to complain about facilities or the service unless you have a genuine grievance. The rooms, toilets and food may well be basic and it could take some time for your food to be cooked, but remember that you are in a remote mountainous area where everything needs to be carried in.
  • Above all, remember that you are representative of an outside culture and your impact lingers long after you return home.