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Culture of Nepal - Cultural Do's and Dont's

Culture of Nepal – Some rules of etiquette in Nepal

  • Namaste is the way to greet someone – with palms pressed together in front of you. Shaking hands is not commonly practiced
  • Showing public affection is considered offensive (kissing and hugging) as is the holding of hands between men and women
  • It is considered offensive to wear skimpy or revealing clothing (like wearing your underwear in public)
  • Food is not eaten with the left hand
  • Ask before taking photographs of locals (or do it in a discreet manner)
  • Check if photography is permitted in monasteries or temples before you take photos
  • Some temples do not allow entrance to foreigners
  • Do not give money to children – it only encourages them to beg for money. You can donate to a local school or community organisation instead.
  • Among Hindu’s do not touch women or holy men
  • Use both hands when receiving something – it is a sign of respect
  • Don’t point with your finger but use your flat hand particularly in a sacred place
  • Don’t eat beef in front of Hindus and Buddhists – this is prohibited as cows are sacred in Nepal
  • Remove your shoes when entering a home, temple or monastery
  • Avoid touching your mouth to a shared drinking bottle
  • Do not touch someone’s head or point the bottom of your feet towards them. It is considered rude.
  • Always walk around a stupa clockwise, the walls and prayer wheels should be on your right. When passing a mani wall or stone (a wall covered in Tibetan script) always pass with the wall or stone on your right. Never remove any of the stones
  • Do not shout or raise your voice – this is considered to be very bad manners in Nepal
  • Make sure you get a certificate of authenticity when buying antiques otherwise you won’t be able to take it out of the country.
  • Don’t buy ivory or fur from endangered species or any other illegal goods – you won’t be able to take them home and it only encourages the trade in illegal goods
  • When trekking make sure that you dispose of rubbish correctly (in bins provided)

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