Local Customs and Culture

The variation in ethnicity of the country also contributes in its rich culture and custom. Although exists different religions “Namaste” is the warmest greeting that is exchanged between people of any religion or ethnicity and also is understood by people throughout the country.

A. "Namaste" is a common greeting witnessed in entire Nepal done by putting the palms together in a prayer like gesture. Do not take it seriously if any Nepalese hesitates to shake hands because it really hasn't been very long since western traditions is adapted into the Nepalese way of life.

Use your right hand to eat and deal with food although in modern days people do not pay any attention to peoples preference in use of hand although people might give a surprising look in the rural. Also remember that most Nepalese use their fingers to eat and using spoons and forks is not common, specially when you are having "Daal Bhat" the staple Nepalese diet.

C. Once your lips have touched a food item or its container, it is considered Jutho (lipped) and would not be eaten by others. Don't eat off someone else's plate or offer anyone food you have taken a bite out of.

D. Major Hindu temples are usually off-limits to foreigners. Don't enter them or take pictures unless given permission to. Do not take leather merchandise inside the temple premises  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.

E. Men should not walk/trek around bare-chested. Shorts are acceptable, but long pants are better. Women are recommended to wear long skirts. Exposure of women's legs can bring unnecessary, so avoid wearing shorts and short skirts. See FAQ on Trekking for more detail on appropriate clothing during treks.

F. Public display of affection between man and woman is frowned upon. Kissing, cuddling, hugging in public is absolutely discouraged.

G. Time in Nepal is not an important aspect. Everything is approximate. Nothing happens on time and delays are very normal. Be patient. Anger and impatience will rarely make things better, if not worse. Also, double and triple confirm important arrangements; Nepalese have a way of taking everything very cool.

H. Bargaining is very common in Nepal. You would often need to bargain while shopping and riding cabs in Nepal. Bargaining in food and clothes in the markets are common. Only bargaining is not practiced in departmental stores where fixed discount is offered and in items with max retail price included on the tag.

Finally, be aware that the tradition of "bakshish" or tips in English- a word that literally means "gift" but is euphemistically used to refer to a bribe given in order to receive special consideration - thrives very well in Nepal. Especially when dealing with poorly compensated public officials, a couple of rupees in bakshish, offered in a quiet and discreet manner can ease and speed up things and services pretty surprisingly.

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