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5 Quick Tips for Travelling in Nepal

When you search ‘Nepal Travel Advice’ online and scan the immediate results, it’s easy to see why Nepal may be on the bottom of some traveller’s lists. Many official government sites are still issuing ‘High Risk’ warnings for trekking routes following the Gorkha Earthquake in 2015.  A number of trekking routes directly affected by the Earthquake were closed for some time after the Natural disaster struck however most are now reopened and safe to explore, while other beautiful trekking routes remained open and unaffected throughout.

Having travelled to Nepal earlier this year, I have nothing but positives to report and cannot recommend a trip to this diverse, beautiful and friendly country more. You can see from my pervious posts on the blog just how much I enjoyed my visit and how much there is to do in Nepal. Whilst travelling I noted down a couple of lighthearted, handy tips for those wishing to travel to Nepal and digging through the notebook yesterday I came across that list;

1. Always keep your head torch handy. You never know when the power might cut out, leaving you in complete darkness staring at your book wondering what ever happened to Harry in the chamber (the Harry Potter books were my chosen novels for the trip!) In the same way, always charge batteries when the power is on, even if at home you’d count on them being full enough. When you’re waiting to charge your laptop or camera batteries, the unmistakable hum of power returning is an uplifting sound- when you’ll hear that is often anyone’s guess. As a side note here, don’t panic about adaptors like I did. Being unable to find any definitive advice on which plug I could use, I ended up brining European, American and South African adaptors, all of which work here! The Nepali have ingenious plugs which take several different pins (apart from UK pins) so a standard US or Euro adaptor is perfect.

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2. Eat with your hands; But only the right one. Having been old off for eating with your hands since you were old enough to remember, its a strange concept to now be shovelling rice and curry into your mouth using only your fingers. To use cutlery though is considered quite rude, especially when all those around you are eating with their hands. The right hand part is important, because the left is reserved for toilet duties. Irony of it is, when said time comes, my right hand is usually busier than the left. Either way, eating with your hands is surprisingly quite liberating and with such delicious food on offer it’s equally surprising how quickly you can shovel it in.

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3. Talk to people, ask questions and open up. The Nepali love to chat and this is easily the best way to find out where’s good to go, bus times and any other advice for that matter. Many people have moved to the city from surrounding villages for work so ask where people are from and about their family and home. (Just be prepared for the taxi driver to whip out his mobile phone to show you pictures of his babies whilst he weaves in and out of traffic, glancing up a concerningly few number of times.)

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4. Take the tea! It’s customary to be offered tea (and occasionally coffee) when you visit anyone, anywhere in Nepal and unlike at home, where people offer because they feel they have to then begrudgingly put the kettle on when you say yes, it’s rude to say no. If you’re offered, go for tea and if given a choice opt for Nepali tea or Masala tea. You will not be disappointed! At home, tea gives me a sort of heavy head and on a morning where the coffee pot is empty I am thrown into disarray and horrified at the suggestion of a cuppa tea instead but the tea in Nepal is delicious, refreshing and most of the time (unless you’re in a coffee shop) free!

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5. Be sensible. If you’ve already decided to travel to Nepal despite the unrelenting (and often unfair) bad press chances are you’ve already looked into safety and are prepared to be quite sensible. Avoid the tourist related crimes reported by not going out late at night alone (if I needed to go out late one of the hostel workers would usually insist on coming with me whilst staying in Kathmandu), not carrying visible wads of cash (people will point at money in your pocket and urge you to hide it if its on show) and don’t overdo it on the cheap beer (obviously). No adventure is the same without taking a couple of risks, but never put yourself in a vulnerable position.

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If you’re taking a trip to Nepal soon and have a few questions about what to take, where to go and what to see just drop me an e-mail at nia@nia-haf.co.uk.

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