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Nepal

In addition to a distinctive ancient Hindu and Buddhist culture, Nepal has the world’s highest mountain, Everest, and spectacular scenery and wildlife. For walkers and trekkers, Nepal is a true paradise: the picturesque hamlets and mountain villages are linked by hundreds of trails that have been used for centuries, with little change noticeable even today. Numerous temples and Buddhist shrines can be also be discovered en route.

Practical Information

Area: 147 181 km² (56 827 miles²)

Capital: Kathmandu. Population: 1.5 million

Population: 26.3 million

Currency: Nepalese Rupee (NPR) = 100 paisa

Government: Constitutional monarchy.

Tipping: Only usual in tourist hotels and restaurants. 10% is sufficient.

Time zone: GMT + 575

Languages: Nepali

Additional descriptions

Nepal: Social customs

As a foreign visitor, one must be careful to respect local customs in order not to cause offence. The following are some local conventions it is advisable to adhere to: never step over the feet of a person,Read more always walk round; never offer food and drink which is ‘polluted’, in other words, food that you have tasted or bitten; never offer or accept anything with the left hand, use the right or both hands. It is rude to point at a person or statue with a finger (or even with a foot). Often when people shake their head, it means ’yes.’ Shoes and footwear should be removed when entering houses or shrines. Kitchens and eating areas of houses should also not be entered with footwear, as the hearth of a home is sacred. Do not stand in front of a person who is eating as this means your feet will be next to his food; squat or sit by his side. Local Chorten are built to pacify local demons or dead persons and should be passed by in a clockwise direction, as should temples; the earth and universe revolve in this direction. Small flat stones with inscriptions and supplications next to the Chorten should not be removed as souvenirs; this is considered sacrilege by the Nepalese. Avoid touching a Nepalese dressed all in white; his dress signifies a death in the family. Shaking hands is not a common form of greeting; the normal greeting is to press the palms together in a prayer-like gesture (Namaste). A gift given to a host or hostess will probably be laid aside unopened; to open a parcel in the presence of a guest is considered uncivil. Casual wear is suitable except for the most formal meetings or social occasions. Bikinis, shorts, bare shoulders and backs may not be appreciated. Men only remove their shirts when bathing. Overt public displays of affection, especially near religious places, are inappropriate. Seek permission before entering a temple; some do not allow westerners or non-Hindus to enter. Do not take leather articles into a temple. Nepalese cities are generally safe, but take sensible precautions with personal possessions.Photography: Always ask permission first. In general, it is allowed outside temples and at festivals, but not at religious ceremonies or inside temples; however, there is no hard and fast rule and the only way to be sure of not giving offence is to ask first and accept the answer.

Nepal: Food and local specialties

The national specialties are: Dal Bhat (lentils and rice). Tarkan (spiced vegetables). Gurr (a Sherpa dish of raw potatoes, pounded with spices, then grilled like pancakes on a hot, flat stone ground andRead more mixed with milk, tea or water). Rotis (flat pancake-like bread made from wheat or rice flour).

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