50 Facts about Nepal that will give Cultural Shock to Travelers

भ्रमण   |     |   The Mountain Trails
Best Nepali Food

Every country has their own norms and values, religion and practices. These practices could be a matter of shock for people visiting. My advice is not to be too cocky and enjoy different perception of a country and go with the flow, which is the best way to learn. Welcome to the Nepal, a country where “virginity is dignity” compared to that of “virginity is lack of opportunity” that I experience while studying in USA. The list goes like this:

  1. Let’s start from the airport, Tribhuwan International Airport is a very small, one terminal led airport, and one runway airport. Be ready to walk to and fro the bus which carries you to and from the aeroplane in the only international airport in Nepal. It looks like an unmaintained warehouse.
  2. The streets are filled with idiots. The lanes are separated but you will never be able to figure out which lane are you on as everything seems to be coming to your way until the very last moment.
  3. Driving in Nepal is like avoiding hitting each other and first come first go based. No one leaves way for pedestrians even while on zebra crossing
  4. Although there are traffic lights at some places, only in Kathmandu city, no one seems to be following it until and unless there is a traffic police.
  5.  livestock and dogs throughout the country in busy roads and highways walking freely and unharmed.
  6. Nepalese people eat 2 course of staple meal, Dal Bhat (rice and lentils) throughout the year.
  7. Nobody knows what personal space is in Nepal, your business is everyone’s business
  8. You will see girls holding girl’s hand and boys holding boys, you will also see people of same gender hugging and holding hands while walking amidst of the fact that they are not gays and lesbians
  9.  The taxicab is so small that merely 3 people can fit and the charges are never by the meter and every cab driver charges what he thinks is fare
  10. You cannot get any work done in government offices without benefiting the officers in some way, although this issue is getting a lot better than before
  11. The most favorite dish of people in Nepal after rice is momo (Nepalese style dumplings). It is available everywhere and everyone seems to be enjoying
  12. Most of the roads throughout the country has pot holes and are worn out, in monsoon the road turns out into mud puddle and sand dunes in the winter (dry season)
  13. While walking on the streets you may go unnoticed by other pedestrians and ever get hit by other fellow pedestrians with no intentions
  14.  The nightlife is picking up but probably not like in western country, places like Durbarmarg and Thamel experiences some nightlife in festivals and weekends
  15. The major festival celebrated is Dashain, Tihar, Shivaratri and Holi
  16. In Dashain the entire country is dead, countable operational transportation, nominal shops open. This is the time of the year where everyone goes for a long break, eats a lot of meat, drink liquor and play cards.
  17. Tihar may remind you of Halloween. Tihar is a festival of lights where people sing and dance and go to random houses, show performance and collect money, food and goods. Somewhat like trick or treat.
  18. In Shivaratri females fast for the entire day with no food and water where men get wasted smoking marijuana and drinking Bhang (an alcoholic drink)
  19. In holi people indulge with friends and family playing with color and water and eat sweet. If you are walking on the street be careful if you do not like people putting color on your face as they do not see if you are a national or international by passer.
  20. Offices open at 10 o'clock but it is always good to reach at the offices at 10:30 – 11:00 as people immediately do not start working immediately.
  21. You do get Beef in the restaurants but Cow is worshipped as mother. Cow is considered as a mother for the reason that we drink cow milk and that is connoted with the milk that we drink from our mothers.
  22. You would see people tossing papers and garbage anywhere, while walking, travelling or from the windows of the houses and complaining about Nepal being dirty parallelly 
  23. Public transportation or any commuter vehicle is filled with people way over the limit and still there would be space for another person.
  24.  Everybody honks for no reason despite no horn signal
  25. Everybody prefers eating food with their right hand over spoon and fork
  26. Almost every community in Nepal has their own identical dialect, clothes and customs.
  27. There are power cuts throughout the year, in monsoon power cuts remain very nominal and up to maximum 2 hours a day, in winter or dry season the power cuts can last up to 14-18 hours a day. Power cut is commonly termed as load shedding.
  28. Clothes of all brand names are available in the country but not genuine. People are not brand concerned although they might be wearing one.
  29. You will see people of all gender wearing t-shirts with funny prints or r-rated prints without knowing what it means.
  30. There are no 24 hour convenient shops yet
  31. There are over 50 national holidays in a year due to festivals of different communities  
  32. No one or very few will confront a girl or women in clubs or anywhere else and very few or none will offer a drink.          
  33. Although new generation is very liberal, very less will speak sexual desire openly
  34. Cycling is considered as poor man’s transportation
  35. You will see a lot of street children and beggars everywhere
  36. You will witness street gambling and people playing cards at all times           
  37. The trend of customer service has not yet developed but Nepalese consider guests as gods and will do the best in their conscience
  38. Busses, taxi or any other commuter vehicle would stop anywhere on the street to pick and drop
  39. Hitting, spanking and scolding friends or the kids are very common
  40.  People still visit witch doctors and sacrifice animals in the name of god
  41. Girls or women in menstrual cycle are known as impure and untouchable at periods.
  42. Nothing is on time, there is a thing called “Nepali Time”, which means not punctual
  43. People live in joint families, sometimes 3 generations in the same home
  44. Even if a guest arrives uninvited Nepalese do the best to make you feel home
  45. Nepal was never colonized so it does not have an independence day
  46. Bodies are not cremated after a loved one deceases but burned due to own religious values as written on the books of religion  
  47. You will witness young kids in front seat and there is no use of car seats
  48. People may shake their head left right as a notion of yes, it may look like they are in denial but it is good to take a verbal answer of yes or no.
  49. You will notice temples in every corner and every alley and shoes are prohibited in the temples
  50. In most of the places Nepalese pan style restrooms are in practice whereas there is a growing popularity of western style commode restrooms


There are a lot of things that are practiced in Nepal, apart from what is mentioned in this article, which would be a very unique experience for people traveling from different parts of the world. Please do not see these practices as a negative aspect but a positive aspect with an open mindedness. There are many things practiced in western land which is very unique to us and will put us in cultural shock as well.

- Shaurab Lohani