10 Things You Need To Know Before Going To Nepal

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Sole Sister Emma has volunteered in remote Nepal and started her own non-profit movement to help build a school for Nepalese children. She shares some very useful travel advice before you fly out to Nepal.

Nepal is every explorer’s dream. You can find yourself getting lost in its maze of temples, become mesmerized with the enormity of its mountains, fall in love with the kindness of its people, and returning time and time again.

More and more travellers put Nepal on their list of places to visit, and when you do, here are 10 things you need to know before going to Nepal.

Sole Sis Emma Nepal

1. You can feel safe in Nepal. 

Because Nepal's tourism industry is the largest source of revenue for the country, Nepalis are very welcoming, accommodating, and respectful to tourists. You may get overwhelmed with the chaos upon arriving in Kathmandu, but you will immediately feel a strike of charm. There is something about Nepal that radiates peace and comfort. Learn to trust the intention of the locals and keep in mind that not everyone is out to get you. Do follow your gut, but know that Nepalis are friendly and usually don’t mean any harm.

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2. Nepalis are very curious. 

Be prepared for them to ask you endless questions about where you are from. Locals will want to be your friend and chat for as long as they can, in order for them to practice speaking English. They might even invite you inside their home or shop for a cup of tea. I once stumbled inside a shop and the lady behind the counter was so inviting that I ended up visiting her for 3 days in a row. A small friendship grew and to this day, we keep in touch on Facebook.

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3. Use the prayer gesture for everything. 

Hold your palms together in a praying position and greet the locals by saying “Namaste”, for "Hello". You may bow your head if you wish, you may even just smile and hold the gesture and the locals will understand. Even to say thank you, you're welcome, or goodbye, you can hold up the gesture. You can use it as much as you like. It’s quite addictive actually.
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4. Nepalis are ambitious. 

They will share their dreams with you, and tell you all the things they want to achieve in life. They are compassionate and constantly give back to their people. As a result of the earthquake, locals strive to help their community through non-profit initiatives. The number of non-profits located in Nepal is endless, and their determination to improve the quality of life of those in their community is impressive.

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5. Don’t confuse the term “Sherpa”.

Most people use this term to describe a mountain guide or porter, but “Sherpa” is actually a Nepali ethnic group from the high mountains in the Himalayas. Mountain guides or porters could actually be Tamang, or Gurung, or any other ethnic group. However, because Sherpas are highly regarded elite mountaineers, they serve as the best guides due to their genetic adaptation to living in high altitudes. 
( Source: Kamler, K. (2004). Surviving the extremes: What happens to the body and mind at the limits of human endurance, p. 212. New York: Penguin.)

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6. Nepalis are minimalists. 

Even with the most minimal possessions, Nepalis are extremely grateful for all they have. They take their time to appreciate every moment of their day, even through their daily activities. The village life is all about embracing nature and cultivating everything by hand. From cutting grass for their cattle to walking the buffalos, to planting the next crop for the season, Nepalis are experts of their land. Despite the earthquake last April 2015, Nepalis are nonetheless grateful and content.

Even with the most minimal possessions, Nepalis are extremely grateful for all they have.

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7. Nepalis have a simple, old school way of living. 

No matter how many times you introduce the them to a more modern way of doing things, like cutting vegetables on a chopping board with a kitchen knife, Nepalis like to stick to their way of doing things, even if it seems a little bit more complicated for us. It is just their culture and the way they live and they’re comfortable with that.

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8. Nepalis take their time. 

Learn to adapt a slower pace of life and be flexible. Plan for the unexpected and be prepared for “Nepal Time”. Nepalis are rarely pressed on time. If you schedule a meeting, be prepared to meet an hour later. If you order a meal, be prepared to wait a little while. If they tell you a bus ride will take 6 hours, expect it to take 10. It is all part of their culture so embrace it and go with the flow.

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9. Nepalis are thoughtful people.

Mention something once, and they will never forget. Once when myself and a group of volunteers were working in the village, our family host had prepared for us our favorite Nepali dish, after remembering how much we loved the dish the first time we received it. It does take a bit of time for locals to get to know you, but once they get a good feeling about you, they will show you how much they care by giving you their time and showering you with love and attention.

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10. The Himalayas will blow you away. 

Nepal is home to the majestic Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world. Hundreds of climbers summit Mount Everest each year, and thousands travel there to simply experience the magical adventure. The exploration possibilities are endless and wherever you look, a mountain range appears in the distance. The Himalayas will engulf you in a magical spell, and your existence will feel so insignificant, yet grandiose.

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Preparing for my next Himalayan adventure, 
Sole Sister Emma

Build a School, Build a Future

This coming May 2016, I will be leading a group of volunteers from The Travelling Movement to build a school for 128 children in Nepal.

My recent campaign aims to raise money for building materials to make this school construction possible: Help Build A School in Nepal

Would you like to join us?

- Become a volunteer this May or June 2016
- Fundraise with us for the cause: join our campaign and help us raise money for building materials

Want to make a difference in the world with us? Feel free to send me your questions at activetravlr@gmail.com.

Sole Sister Emma of The Active Travlr is an adventure traveller from Canada. With the love for nature, an obsession for rock climbing, and a passion for meaningful travel, she packed her bags and decided to explore the world. Emma recently created her own non-profit organization, The Travelling Movement, which aims to improve lives in Nepal through travel. Join her and other volunteers this May and June 2016 to travel to Nepal and make a difference by building an elementary school in rural Nepal.

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5 sole trails

  1. My wife and I and five friends recently visited the Annapurna Base camp with the help of the Nepal Planet Treks. The trip was fantastic and the Nepal Planet Treks fabulous. I confidently recommend to any prospective trekkers that they seriously consider using the Nepal Planet Treks to conduct their tour. The performance of the Team was really good, from the very first email contact to our final departure from Kathmandu airport the staff of the company looked after us really well.

    Sanjib was our main contact and he designed a great trek from our request to "see the rhododendron forests and see Annapurna, but not too high an altitude". He picked exactly the right time to see the rhododendron forest in full bloom, and the best route to get to Annapurna Base Camp to see the full grandeur of the mountains there.

    He put together a support team of an expert guide (Vishnu Adhikari ), his assistant and four porters to do the heavy lifting. They were all cheerful, very competent, and helped us through any difficult spots (and there were a few, but nothing we could not manage with their willing help). VISHNU gave us a lot of information about the local customs, fauna and flora, as well as detailed and accurate advice about the nature and condition of the route we would take. He made the trip interesting and enjoyable and took us there and back safely. And the food and accommodation was great too with good meals in comfortable teahouses.

    Do you get the impression we enjoyed the trip and was in awe of the Planet Treks Team 's performance? That is exactly how we did feel, and thus have no hesitation in recommending them as a company that delivered a wonderful and memorable experience of the Annapurna Region forests and mountains.

    Thank you Sanjib, Vishnu and the Nepal Planet Treks.
    Visited February 2016

  2. Beautiful pictures and perfect article to describe any place. I have no plans to go to Nepal but the beauty is outstanding and forcing me to explore it at least once.

  3. Thanks for reading Makayla! Who knows? Maybe you'll go to Nepal one day.

  4. Very nice article about nepal , really vry interesting to read this post .


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