Discover the Unspoken Realities: 34 Insider Tips for Traveling in Nepal

Nepal is a country with snow-capped peaks reaching the sky, quiet yak-grazing land, and prayer flags flowing in the wind. But now that I’ve personally experienced it, my point of view has entirely changed. Now, when I think of Nepal, I see calm lakes surrounded by mountains, colorful jungles teeming with life, rhinos lazily soaking in the water, monks chanting prayers, and yes, those iconic prayer flags still scattered over the landscape.

Regarding what to expect when visiting Nepal.

These are a few random, different kinds of useful information you should know before visiting Nepal.

There will undoubtedly be a power outage at some point while you are traveling in Nepal. Maybe more than once.

Power outages occur often in Nepal—often many times a day. Remain calm; this is entirely typical and the power will eventually return.

And then most likely go out once more.

While Western-style toilets are also readily available, squat toilets are common in Nepal.

So, what exactly is a Squatty toilet? Well, it’s rather straightforward: essentially, it’s just a hole in the ground with enough space on either side for your feet. You squat over it to do your business, and afterward, you clean up using the provided bucket of water and a clean cup.

…Well, at least that’s the idea.                           

Using a Squatty was a completely new experience for me in Nepal. They’re not commonly found outside of Asia, and my travels before this hadn’t taken me much through Asia.

Now that I’ve had the chance to try it out, here’s my take on Squatties: I dislike them.

The problem is that they are not at all obvious. They are not the same as throwing down a trow in the middle of nowhere, where all that matters is that your clothes stay dry and you can aim however you choose.

I am still confused about a couple of really basic squatty things, like, y’all. I have several inquiries such as:

  • Which direction should I face?
  • Should I space my feet apart?
  • To prevent my pant fabric from getting wet, where should I store it all?
  • Specifically, how does one aim?
  • When trying to aim and push the fabric of one’s pants out of the way, how does one avoid falling into a disgusting toilet hole?
  • Before you ask, I did bring one of these, but I also never was able to figure it out completely.

I never got the squatty down. I also developed the regrettable habit of dehydrating myself to avoid them because I came to hate them. Because roadside alternatives in Nepal are nearly always squatty, especially on long road trips.

Nearly, though. Thankfully, it’s not too difficult to locate Western restrooms—the blissfully simple Western restrooms, which I didn’t completely understand until I tried using a squatty for the first time! Restaurants usually have them, rest stops have one or two stalls at the very least, and every lodging I stayed at had a Western-style bathroom in each room.

You won’t be without luck unless you’re participating in a homestay. If so, I advise you to get started on your studies!

Nepal Money Is Very Complicated.  Till you work it out.

All of the bills of the Nepalese Rupee are different sizes, which feels like in Harry Potter and encountering wizard money for the first time. But then somebody pointed out that the money is organized by size: like, the smaller the value, the smaller the bill, and the larger the value, the larger the bill.

So I started sorting my banknotes by size rather than just staring stupidly at the mountains of cash in my hand while attempting to divide by several thousand at a time using complicated math. That was beneficial. Kind of.

Nepalese have gorgeous hairstyles and are constantly well-groomed.
I try not to generalize about people or cultures in general, but this is the case when I’m going to break that rule.

Fact: People from Nepal always have a great appearance.

Alright, so normally I try not to generalize about people and cultures too much, but this time I’m going to make a little exception.

The truth is that people from Nepal always seem so well put together.

Their hair? It’s not just about looking as healthy and silky as a living Herbal Essence commercial, let me assure you; it’s also about looking greatly chic, perfectly groomed, and perfectly cut.

Not to mention their great sense of style. Whether they’re dressed in traditional garb, religious gear, or casual streetwear, they appear to have stepped out of Nepal Vogue and are on their way to a Sartorialist street-style photo shoot.

This is true—I promise—from the busy streets of Kathmandu to the most remote towns we came across.

When something is awesome, you can remark something like “That’s so dangerous” if you know what I mean.

When hip, cool Nepali young people with fantastic hair say, “That’s so cool,” it’s this. I realize it sounds ridiculous; it might be a line from Archer or something. But I promise, that wasn’t fake!

Unfortunately, none of us at Practical Wanderlust are hip enough, trendy enough, or sufficiently in the know to be able to get away with using this regularly. Rather, our goal is to convince Jem’s high school students to embrace it. As of the last I heard, they were saying things like, “Mr. Martinez, quit trying to make that so dangerous.” Maybe another year…
In Kathmandu, The Quality Of The Air Is Awful.

Like, very bad. In the Yale Environmental Performance Index, Nepal came in at position 176 out of 180 nations. It’s really bad, the air in Kathmandu.

Wearing a breathing mask like this one—N95 or N99 should do the trick—is highly recommended whether you’re walking down the block or traveling in a taxi with the window open.

The positive information? Everywhere else I went, it felt like the air quality was perfect!


Lacking knowledge about Nepal? That’s alright, I wasn’t either! These are some useful and perhaps interesting facts about Nepal in general that you should be aware of.

After The Civil War, Nepal Is Still Recovering.

Just 14 years have passed since the start of the 10-year conflict that erupted in Nepal in the middle of the 1990s. Like all conflicts, it was terrible, bloody, and ruthless. The conflict united the monarchy against communism and on one odd occasion, the monarchy against monarchy. Both sides were calmed by a peace accord, which is now reflected in Nepal’s administration. Since then, Nepal has experienced peace.

But “ever since” is still only fourteen years, people. Therefore, even though it is safe to travel to Nepal, the nation is currently rebuilding.

Although it’s not necessary to hunt for Civil War scars, it’s crucial to understand the background.


A part of living through a civil war less than 20 years ago? A small amount of discomfort. For this reason, the Nepalese Army is still present all around the country. There are several checkpoints, but if you’re traveling with a guide, they will take care of all the paperwork and know exactly what to do, so you won’t have to worry about it.

One area that I wasn’t prepared for seeing so many army checkpoints. The forest. But with Chitwan National Park straddling India’s border, there are numerous army installations and checkpoints hidden away in the dense jungle. The safest and least damaging method of transportation through the jungle is by elephant, which is how the Nepalese Army travels.

Once more, if you’re going with a guide,


While some of you may be thinking, “duh,” quite a few folks we encountered in Nepal appeared taken away by this.

Indeed, Nepal is older than the United States of America (not to mention thousands of years of civilizations and societies that were here before the 1700s, which we’ll get into later). The Kingdom of Nepal was established in the 1760s.

However, Nepal is currently ranked among the world’s least developed nations by the United Nations. The average annual income for a person in Nepal is only $745. Although there has been growth, Nepal is still, in general, a very underdeveloped country.

As part of my profession as a travel blogger, which is I spend a lot of time thinking about and studying the tourism industry’s role in economic development and over-tourism, so I won’t go into the specifics here but is enough it to say that some countries wish for fewer visitors, while others wish for more visitors.

Nepal is a country that would welcome more tourists. For you, what does that mean? Reduced crowds, friendly neighbors, reasonable prices, and the satisfaction of knowing that you’re making a small but meaningful difference in the lives of many!

Following up on this, Nepal’s government organizes an annual travel conference for travel journalists, including myself, to encourage us to write about Nepal and draw in more tourists, as the country’s primary business is tourism. Because of the significant role you, as a visitor to Nepal, play in the growth of both the nation and its citizens.

As part of my job as a travel blogger, which is I spend a lot of time thinking about and studying the effects of the tourism industry on economic development and over-tourism, so I won’t go into the specifics here, but is enough it to say that some countries wish for fewer visitors, while others wish for more visitors.

The nation of Nepal longs for increased international tourism. Which way do you take that? More peace of mind knowing that you’re making a small but meaningful difference in the lives of many people, friendly locals, and cheaper prices!


Locate an area in Nepal that isn’t Mount Everest. Indeed, Base Camp and the whole of the Himalayas are included in that. Annapurna, you too.

Take your time.

If you managed to guess Kathmandu, you get a B. And if you didn’t even reach that point… well, you’re in good company!

Before my trip to Nepal, I had no clue about the other attractions the country had to offer. Despite my somewhat peculiar obsession with Everest, where I devour books, movies, and articles about it, my idea of a cozy Friday night involves watching “Into Thin Air” from the comfort of my couch (because as much as I enjoy learning about Everest, I have no desire to climb it).

But remember, folks—Everest is just one location in Nepal. I visited Nepal, but I did not see Everest there. During my entire trip, I saw only one snow-capped Himalaya peak (apparently, Annapurna could be seen once via an aircraft window, but I was seated on the wrong side and missed it).

My first real experience of the Himalayas was when I traveled to Pokhara, the adventurous town on a lake that serves as the entrance to the Annapurna Circuit. And there are lots of activities there besides trekking!

Thus, although the Himalayas are the main draw in the east, western Nepal offers an extensive number of additional destinations and experiences.

Regarding traveling throughout Nepal.

I traveled throughout Nepal for a full week in a tiny, crowded van filled with bloggers, travel brokers, and native guides. I spent more than ten hours a day driving from Kathmandu to Chitwan to Lumbini to Pokhara, taking in the scenery of Nepal’s rural areas.

However, there are a few things you need to be aware of first. As in…


As we mentioned before, Nepal is still a developing nation. It still has a good number of dirt roads as a result. This indicates that traveling by car in Nepal is a slow, uneventful experience that might or might not have air conditioning.

To add to the conspiracy, a perfectly good, recently paved road will occasionally turn to an uneven, bumpy path a few miles later. This path is frequently bordered with obstacle courses consisting of large stones and other building materials.

Make sure to pack a lot of Dramamine, download a few podcasts, and factor in extra time for travel if, like me, you plan on spending a lot of time driving throughout Nepal!

In Nepal, drivers take great pride in decorating their buses and trucks.

In Nepal, buses and trucks seem to make up the majority of the vehicles on the road. And they’re all beautifully and beautifully decorated.

It appears that drivers in Nepal take a REALLY big interest in decorating. We’re talking about the neighbor down the block who has a whole storage unit set aside for storing his extensive collection of Halloween and Christmas decorations.

Typically, the decorations found only in Nepal consist of religious statements and symbols, a lot of heart-shaped cutouts, excessively masculine English slogans such as ROAD KING, and strangely, arbitrary brand names and logos such as Apple, Nike, and even Facebook.

In the case of Mototaxis, Kathmandu has its own Uber version.

Using the Tootle app is far more affordable (though still a little scary) than calling a cab across Kathmandu.

However, if you have three friends who would like to ride together in the backseat of a car, don’t call one thinking it’s a local version of Uber; instead, you’ll just be left confused and dissatisfied because it’s not for cars and you forced some random guy to drive his motorcycle through traffic. Oops!

But do remember to include a breathing mask. One will be required. (Moreover, don’t forget to bring face wash with you.)


The wildlife was, without a doubt, the high point of my trip to Nepal. I observed an incredible amount of animals over our two days in Chitwan National Park at the eco-friendly Barahi Jungle Lodge. I had no idea Nepal has such a diverse range of wildlife.

Here are some things to be aware of regarding Nepal’s wild side.


Nepal offers it all, from exotic species focusing in lush and green tropical jungles to frozen tundra on the world’s highest peaks. Nepal is hard to top for diversity if you travel for the beauty and wildlife!


They are both located in the Himalayas! The highest mountain on Earth, Mount Everest, is a name you may be familiar with.

My guide from Nepal told me that Kali Gandaki Gorge is the deepest gorge on the planet. The statement is supported, according to Wikipedia, “if one measures the depth of a canyon by the difference between the heights of the highest peaks on either side.” I’m going to give Nepal this one even though it feels a little bit like cheating.

In any case, you can see it for yourself if you hike the Annapurna Circuit; it will pass just in front of you.


My research tells me that 75% of Nepal is made up of enormous, magnificent mountains. There are several beautiful treks in those highlands, such as the Mohare Dande Trek, which our friends from Two Wandering Soles hiked when visiting Nepal simultaneously.

However, don’t let the number of mountains fool you into ignoring the remainder of the nation! There is SO much more to see in Nepal, from the tropical lowlands of Chitwan National Park to the valleys of Pokhara and Kathmandu.


There is an incredible diversity of wildlife in Nepal, and the country is home to many cute, furry, and snuggly animals (since all animals are cute, fuzzy, and snuggly). Absolutely, including the large, frightening, furious, and scaly ones.

These people are my faves from Nepal:

Bengal Tigers: Strong, majestic cats that make me want to touch their bellies.
Snow leopards are magnificent, dangerous cats that enjoy playing in the snow.
The cutest animal on the planet is the red panda. It’s very adorable and resembles a fox combined with a panda.
Similar to large, wrinkled hippos, but with enormous horns, are one-horned rhinos. During my journey, I saw FIFTY rhinos!
Bears with slots: Basically, Balloo. Like, just giant, slack-jawed, naughty bears.
Marbled Cat: Reminds one’s eyes exactly of an affluent domestic feline. like the kind of Instagram account your cat would like to follow.
Elephants are compassionate, loving, and clever creatures but are also the most hazardous wild animals on this list.
Peacocks: Amazing and brilliant, enough

I still like to talk to all of them in sweet voices and fall in love with them even though it’s obvious that you cannot truly touch, connect with, or get close to any of them (and you need to run from anyone who tells you otherwise).

I stayed at the amazing Barahi Jungle Lodge, a sustainable eco-lodge situated on a quiet riverbank on the park’s edge, for a few days during my trip to Chitwan National Park in Nepal. We entered the park and enjoyed boat and jeep safaris as well as a forest walk, during which our rangers brandished sticks to frighten away any cooperative and hostile animals, an approach that did little to soothe my fears.

And we saw so many, people! Fifteen rhinos, the majority of them

Of course, it’s impossible to touch, befriend, or get close to any of them (and you should steer clear of anyone who suggests otherwise). But that doesn’t stop me from cooing to them in baby voices and falling head over heels for them from a distance.

During my visit to Nepal, I spent a few days in Chitwan National Park, staying at the incredible Barahi Jungle Lodge, an eco-friendly lodge nestled on a serene riverbank at the park’s edge. We ventured into the park for boat safaris, jeep safaris, and even a jungle walk (where our guides armed themselves with sticks to ward off any potentially hostile critters, though it didn’t do much to calm my nerves).

And let me tell you, we saw an incredible amount! We spotted fifteen rhinos, most of them enjoying a leisurely bath with their families in the river, seemingly unfazed by our silent boat gliding past. We observed wild boars foraging in the underbrush, a sloth bear ambling across our path, monkeys frolicking in the treetops, and peacocks strutting along the river’s edge.


Nepal has a huge variety of wildlife and so many endangered species that the government has set up a zero-tolerance policy for poachers.

As in, zero tolerance. Like, zero tolerance, kill at first sight. Oh my god.

Our advisors say that it works well. Particularly in light of the numerous army camps we passed through during our drive into the jungle—it would be difficult to get away with poaching under such conditions!


The largest animal in Nepal, elephants have been utilized for purposes similar to those of horses in ancient Europe.

Domesticating elephants has historically been incredibly significant and helpful for individuals who have lived in the region that is now Nepal for thousands of years, including Nepal’s 120+ diverse Indigenous communities. These people have used elephants for everything from farming to navigating to, long, long ago, fighting wars.

Elephants that have been controlled are still regarded as working animals today and are utilized for hard labor. The army and their park rangers, who work on conservation within the park, all ride through the jungle on elephant backs because, according to our guides at Chitwan National Park, this is the safest (and most environmentally friendly) method for a human to travel through the forest.

But hold on! Riding an elephant is illegal, right?

It does, indeed, present ethical concerns, but the solution is not as clear-cut as one might think.

The truth is that, unlike one person riding a horse, one person riding an elephant does not physically harm the animal. Furthermore, a family-reared captive elephant is not as horrible as a wild elephant that has been caught and trained.

The majority of domesticated elephants in Nepal that are used for practical duties were born, raised, and are only ever ridden by one person at a time. As an endangered species, Asian elephants are prohibited from being harmed, poached, or captured in the wild by legislation.

Many people in Nepal struggle just to grow enough food to eat because their country is among the poorest in the world. Even one domesticated elephant can be a huge benefit to a small settlement.

It’s not quite that simple, as you can see when you consider that Nepal is a Hindu nation with strongly held spiritual practices and beliefs regarding elephants.

To claim that all farmed elephants are evil and that the practice ought to end entirely would be ignoring the customs and way of life of the people who call Nepal home.

As someone who was born in the USA, where we don’t need to rely on giant domesticated animals for transportation or for feeding our communities, it would therefore be easy for me to criticize the entire idea of domesticated elephants.

However, I prefer to think of it as more of a gray area. Not my history, not my culture, not my spirituality, but rather

However, it is not acceptable to continue to see tourist activities that involve elephant riding.

Elephant riding is a relatively recent tourist activity in terms of history. It emerged only in the past fifty years or so. The possibility of using a resource they already have, farmed elephants, to generate revenue by charging tourists for rides is highly appealing to a poor nation like Nepal.

If that elephant were to carry you about for an hour instead of working in the fields all day, its owners might make a lot more money. I mean, who doesn’t want to feed their family? Thus, there was an easy supply to meet the demand for elephant riding.

Is it that bad?

Okay, so yeah. It’s one thing to include elephants in traditional communities, religious rituals, and nourishment duties over thousands of years.

All day, would tourists just climb onto an elephant’s back for a nice photo opportunity or story? That is a completely different matter.

You are more knowledgeable. It doesn’t matter if you are riding an elephant or if your family is going hungry. It’s not a deeply held custom that has been valued for centuries in your culture. It’s just an Instagram picture and a lovely narrative.
That isn’t worthwhile.

In this equation, the demand factor is you. You decide whether or not tourists can ride elephants.

Tourists can ride elephants and take elephant baths at our eco-lodge in Chitwan National Park. However, it’s just for one person at a time, for a few hours each day, and without a seat; in Nepal, this is regarded as a more “ethical” method of riding elephants.

The elephants utilized for this purpose were saved from more inhumane circumstances and are now residents of the adjacent community, most of whose people work for the lodge. They were also quite friendly to us tourists, which is always a positive indication. The elephants’ devoted caregivers, their trainers, have been with them since birth and often sleep in the same barn as the animals.

However, it is still not acceptable for us to ride them as tourists or for the resort to provide elephant rides to guests. For visitors, “relatively ethical” elephant riding is still elephant riding. And that’s exactly what we told our hosts. Despite the huge ongoing demand, they told us that they are working toward ceasing to provide people the opportunity to ride elephants.

However, as tourists, we too bear some of the blame. The demand is inside us. In the end, every Nepali I questioned about elephant riding stated that it only existed to satisfy tourist demand and that residents in Nepal do not support it.

Thus, avoid riding elephants. And also discourages everybody else from getting on them. It’s not acceptable.



Given that India borders Nepal on three sides and Tibet on one (which we’ll discuss in a moment), it seems sense that Indian cuisine has a huge influence on Nepali cuisine. Convenience stores in Nepal offer a wide variety of Indian food for purchase.

However, Nepali cuisine differs greatly from Indian cuisine, and this will become quite evident in ways that are difficult to put into words if you consume a lot of Indian food. Even though I’m not an expert on the cuisine, I have a lot of thoughts and opinions about it.

What specific differences exist between Nepali and Indian cuisine? Is it the way familiar foods taste, look, or feel? Yes, in all honesty—sometimes.

Overall though, I believe the spices make the biggest distinction. Simply put, Indian cuisine has more spice than Nepali cuisine. Furthermore, I’m not just referring to heat here—I mean, in general. There are moments when eating Nepali food makes me want spices whose names I truly don’t know.

Not because Nepali food isn’t delicious; to be honest, it’s still better than most of what I can get in my native country; it’s just… unique.

To be honest? You probably won’t even notice if you don’t consume a lot of Indian food.


Dhal Bat is essentially just some rice served with a small bowl of lentil soup and occasionally chapati. However, a normal Nepalese dhal bat typically comes in cute tiny bowls with a broad assortment of different vegetable side dishes.

Usually, you order a dhal bat based on the type of meat you like (or don’t), and then you take the side dishes that are delivered with it with appreciation. Sometimes they’re really good, like cauliflower and potatoes or paneer curry or stewed eggplant. They might occasionally be spicy, so you might want to order a mango lassi as a backup.

Occasionally, there are pickled bitter melons as well. Even though I’m an experimental eater, you guys Bitter melon pickled is not to my taste. Usually, you order a dhal bat based on the type of meat you like (or don’t), and then you take the side dishes that are delivered with it with appreciation. Sometimes they’re really good, like cauliflower and potatoes or paneer curry or stewed eggplant. They might occasionally be spicy, so you might want to order a mango lassi as a backup.

Occasionally, there are pickled bitter melons as well. Even though I’m an experimental eater, you guys Bitter melon pickled is not to my taste.


The Hub, a sustainable cooperative in Thamel that also offers culinary classes and is a great place to set up shop and work for a few hours, brews my favorite coffee in Kathmandu, coffee.


I gradually cut back on the amount of meat I ordered from restaurants during my stay in Nepal. How come? Did the climate-apocalyptic guilt haunt me forever? My adoration of creatures? The wide variety of delicious vegetarian cuisine available in Nepal?

Yes, all of the above, I see. However, Nepali meat isn’t all that good. It’s not exactly that it tastes horrible.

Just that you might conclude that maybe the tiny pieces of meat in your curry aren’t really worth all that effort after spitting out enough tiny, sharp little bones.

Or maybe the open grill of a restaurant is a little too close to the filthy, dusty, smoke-filled road for comfort.

Or perhaps the partner you are traveling with isn’t feeling well, and you find yourself thinking about the flies you noticed swarming around the kitchen. EEK!

In any event, when ordering in Nepal, think about going vegetarian. Because there are a ton of delectable vegetarian dishes available, after all, and you’ll be contributing to environmental preservation!

Momos are quite popular and have a dedicated fanbase.

After reading this post, you might have assumed that Nepal isn’t particularly famed for its cuisine. And I concur, with the obvious exception of momos.

While in Nepal, you should order momos. It would also be a good idea to get one of the many entertaining t-shirts with momo themes that can be found on any touristy street in Pokhara or Kathmandu. And you should head straight to a momo-only restaurant or street food stand to get some freaking momos.


Desserts are tougher to locate in Nepal, despite the country’s strong snack culture, which includes anything from momo-only eateries to snack cafes. which is unfortunate for my severe sugar addiction but possibly excellent for my health.

Having said that, the one time I DID have a traditional Nepalese sweet, known as “Mithai” or “Guleo Khaanaa” in Nepali, it was AMAZING.

Similar to handcrafted Sel Roti, which are deep-fried rice flour-based, mildly sweet donut rings from the Himalayas. Or a sticky, sweet, and crispy Jeri. Or a Jeri Swari Haluwa, which is SO FREAKING GOOD that I have been dreaming about it ever since. It’s like a crunchy, sweet, honey-soaked funnel cake with a scoop of soft halwa wrapped in fried flatbread.


Being a non-spiritual person, I didn’t anticipate being affected by Nepal’s strong spiritual culture.

However, the experience of spirituality in Nepal is pervasive and involves all five senses: vibrant prayer flags, chanting, ritual circling, ringing bells, shuffling prayer wheels, scents of burning candles made from animal fat, conversations among groups of monks (one of them even texted, which shocked me), and temples of every hue and size. One cannot resist absorbing the profound spirituality of Nepal!

This is the information you require.


In Nepal, people frequently greet each other using the customary Hindu greeting. In essence, it says, “The divine spirit within me acknowledges the divine spirit within you,” which is in line with the Hindu concept that every human being is made up of some portion of the universal spirit known as Brahman.

Or, to put it less mystically and more understandably for non-Hindus, it means “my soul knows your soul.” This greeting, “namaste,” strikes a deep and lovely chord with me. It’s also interesting that, despite taking many yoga sessions where namaste is frequently used, I had never met this attitude before.

Everyone will greet you with Namaste, and you will receive the same greeting. In contrast to your final yoga session at home, it’s used everywhere in Nepal: as a greeting, a farewell, a thank you, a “pardon me, excuse me, you’re in my way,” and more.

Yes, feel free to incorporate the head bow and praying hands as well; it will come naturally to you quickly. Just be careful—you can come across as an educated douche canoe if you do it too much when you get home.


True enough, THE Buddha. He went by the name Siddartha, and he was born in Lumbini, Nepal, in 650 BC. Before realizing he didn’t want to live that privileged life and setting off on the path that would ultimately bring him to spiritual enlightenment, Siddartha resided here in a tiny palace with his high caste Kshatriya Hindu family after his mother passed away soon after giving birth.

These days, people go on religious pilgrimages to Lumbini. Each Buddhist country has built a magnificent temple in remembrance of this sacred site.

I’m not a Buddhist, but Lumbini is a very important place to visit, and it was remarkable to see how many individuals were clearly and significantly affected by their visit to the birthplace of Buddha.


Nepal is mostly a Hindu country, even though it is the birthplace of the Buddha. Before the Civil War, when it became formally secular, it was actually believed to be the sole Hindu nation in the world for a considerable amount of time. (Though Hinduism and Buddhism are both incredibly peaceful, it was not a religious conflict.)

90% of people living in Nepal are Hindu, 10% are Buddhist, and the remaining population is a mixed bag. Statues and devotions to the Buddha are common in Nepal, but so are Hindu symbols and temples.

You are free to practice your religion as you like, though you will often be requested to remove your shoes as a symbol of respect while entering temples. In fact, in Nepal, it is illegal to force a foreigner to convert.


It’s very true if your mental image of Nepal is of frayed prayer flags flapping in the wind in front of a snow-capped peak.

Buddhist prayer flags can be seen everywhere in Nepal, from temples to alleyways (yes, even on snow-capped hills), despite their true origins being in Tibet, Nepal’s neighbor.


A distinct element and even orientation are indicated by each hue. Above all, though, prayer flags must always be waving in the breeze! A Prayer Flag is better the more ragged it is.  

Why? A ragged, fading prayer flag indicates that it has answered a great deal of prayers, as the prayer flag’s main function is to send your requests into the wind.

Prayer flags are available for purchase at the numerous craft and souvenir stores located all around Nepal. Since you are expected to receive them as a gift, make sure to buy a couple to give to your loved ones back home! Just keep them off the ground; touching them is impolite.


Together, they make up an astounding 35% of Nepal’s population (many think it’s even more). Each has their own culture, language, and history.

However, the Indigenous Nationalities of Nepal are neglected and are battling for rights and recognition from the Nepalese government, just like many other Indigenous communities throughout the world (including here in the USA).

Furthermore, I had little opportunity to learn about Nepal’s indigenous peoples because I was a guest of the Nepalese government, which organized and hosted my trip. When I visit Nepal again in the future, I will surely look into that.


One of the most well-known Indigenous groups in Nepal is the Newari people, who still account for a significant portion of the population and are the original occupants of the Kathmandu Valley. Newari speakers are regarded as belonging to their ethnic group, even if they speak Nepalese as their primary language.

Palpa and throughout Kathmandu are home to traditional Newari architecture, art, and food. Their festivals, calendar, spiritual rituals, and even the concept of a birthday are all exclusive to them and change annually.

If you happen to find yourself in a Newari temple in Kathmandu, it’s because the Newari people think that running towards a large group of pigeons will cause the wind from all those wings to sway at you, which is cleansing. That was unsettling to me.

Try some Newari food (this site has some great recommendations) or, if you can, incorporate a Newari homestay into your Nepal itinerary to get a taste of Newari culture. A homestay is an excellent opportunity to meet locals and provide direct support to a local family and community. A Newari homestay can be reserved through Community Homestays or even through TripAdvisor.


One thing that stood out to me in my two weeks in Nepal was how much dancing we did! In Nepal, dancing is a very old and customary activity. Whenever we went somewhere, people would perform music and traditional dances for us, and we were always welcome to join in.

The excitement and music were so contagious that even though we had no idea what we were doing and probably looked stupid, we were all having a great time together!

That is what I will remember most about my vacation to Nepal—the kind people, the rich spirituality, the extensive history, the happiness, and the dancing.

I hope you now know a few things about Nepal that you were unaware of! If you’re like me, you probably had a mental picture of melancholic mountains, prayer flags flapping in the wind, and white guys dangling from the side of mountains during endless snowfall.

And while all of that is undoubtedly present, Nepal offers SO much more to see and experience!

Have we raised your curiosity about visiting Nepal? What amazed you the most about Nepal that no one tells you?

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