Do's and Don't
We have categorized this into different topics to find it easily.
Health & safety
Liquids/Drinks: Don’t drink any water unless it is boiled, treated with iodine solution, or is provided in a securely sealed, commercially-produced, bottle. Coffee and tea are OK as is beer, wine, and carbonated brand-name sodas such as Coca-Cola. Don’t accept drinks having ice-cubes in them. Don‘t brush your teeth with local water or get water in your mouth when bathing.
An excellent way to purify water when traveling is to put two drops of Tincture of Iodine in a glass of water, stir the water, and wait 10 minutes. Larger quantities of water in a bottle can be treated proportionately — with about 4 drops – for use as drinking water and if or brushing teeth. Or you can use Iodine Tablets (sold in the camping section of Wal-Mart as “Potable Aqua”) in
Food: Eat only hot, freshly-cooked food (which is sterile). Never eat salads, since they’re not cooked and possibly loaded with bacteria and parasites. Similarly, you never know if cold food, including deserts and bread, has had flies land on it. Hot toast and freshly cooked breads are OK.
Fruits: The inside of fruits that you have peeled is OK, such as oranges and bananas.
Packaged snacks: Packaged snacks like candy bars and nuts should be OK.
Medical Attention: Even if you are an experienced medical practitioner, it is not wise to give medicine to a sick Nepali on the trek unless you can watch his or her reaction. Most Nepalese have never been exposed to Western medicine and may react unpredictably. Encourage villagers to wash cuts with soap and boiled water, and to see their closest clinic for medical treatment.
Trek with Others: Never trek alone; if you run into trouble or take a tumble no one will know. Trekking with an agency assures the greatest security.
Security: Watch your gear carefully in lodges and on the trail. Don't be showy with expensive items, and always lock your room or baggage.
High Altitude Sickness: Find out more staying healthy in Nepal. Always register your trekking plans with your embassy or consulate if you are not going with an agency. Beware of other trail hazards, watch where you are going and don't over-extend yourself.
Men and Women: Nepal is a very modest society. Men and women don’t touch one another in public. So don’t hug someone of the opposite sex or even shake their hands unless the person puts out his or her hand first. Instead, put your hands together (as when praying), look at the person, and say “Namaste” [Nah-ma-ste] — which is equivalent to saying “hello” (You can also say “Namaste” when leaving, as “good-bye”)
Men and Men: Men do touch one another in a friendly way. So don’t be surprised if you are a man and a Nepalese male colleague holds hands with you while strolling down the street or a hallway.
Left and Right Hands: In South Asian countries, the left hand is used to wipe oneself after going to the bathroom. So that hand is considered to be unclean. Therefore, don’t give people things with your left hand. Use your right hand or both hands at once. Also, eat with your right hand. Don’t put things in your mouth with your left hand unless you want to be considered “odd.”
Feet, legs, and head: The feet are the most unclean part of the body while the head is the purest. So (1) don’t step over anyone, (2) don’t point the bottom of your feet at anyone, (3) don’t touch anyone with your foot (and if you do, apologize), and (4) don’t touch anyone‘s head.
Eating & Drinking: Once you eat something with your hand, that hand is considered to be impure until it is washed. Anything it touches also becomes impure. So, during a meal, eat only using your right hand, so that your left hand doesn’t become contaminated and you can use it to take second helpings. Don’t take seconds using your right hand, or else the food it touches will become impure and others may not eat it. Instead, use your left hand to serve yourself. Do not offer food from your plate, nor eat from a common pot, and avoid touching your lips to a shared drinking vessel.
Visiting Temple and Home: Remove your shoes when entering a home, temple or monastery (and leather items in Hindu temples) and avoid smoking and wearing scant dress in religious settings.
Dress and Attire
Baggy pants or calf-length skirts with a loose top are appropriate trekking and touring wear for women. Men should wear a shirt at all times. Men's knee-length hiking shorts are fine for trekking but not when visiting temples, monasteries or homes.
Nudity is particularly offensive. Whether bathing in a stream or at a village tap, men should wear shorts or underwear, women can wrap in a loongi (sarong) and douse themselves as the village women do. Only sport a swimsuit if well secluded from village eyes. Public affection is likewise frowned upon.
Artifacts and Antiques
It is illegal to export anything older than 100 years. Please do not take any religious objects (prayer stones, statues, temple ritual objects, prayer flags, etc.) away from sacred sites and discourage others from doing so. Do not purchase items made from wild animals skins or furs.
Most Nepalese don't mind being photographed, but some do. Ask first, especially if photographing ceremonies or older people. Paying for a picture reinforces a hand-out mentality. Try instead to establish a friendly rapport with a few words or gestures.
Do not give candy, pens, trinkets or money to children but instead donate to a school, monastery or hospital. Nepalese give a few rupees to the handicapped and religious mendicants; you can do the same.
Another common scam in Nepal is that a child or his / her mom approaches tourists and asks them to buy some milk for a baby. They will resell in to the same shopkeeper in a half price and take the money. Never give them anything.
Bargain for souvenirs but respect posted prices in restaurants and lodges. Ask around to establish a fair price: paying too much adds to inflation and paying too little denies the merchant of a fair return.
Tipping is a newly accepted custom in Nepal. Hotel & restaurant already include their service charge to your bill so no need to pay them extra. Touring and trekking organization staff members often make up for relatively meager wages with tips. But, it should only reward good work. Don't tip for short taxi rides in town or any service person you've bargain with. Groups might give a reasonable amount per day to a tip pool to be divided among the staff, generally relative to rank, for good service.
Litter Free: Carry all your trash (including toilet paper, unless you thoroughly burn it on the spot) to your campsite, lodge or hotel for proper disposal. If trekking with an agency, ask the staff to designate separate places for biodegradable and others (i.e., bottles, tins, plastics, foil, batteries etc.) which should be packed out to Kathmandu or the next refuse pit. As fires are considered sacred, don't put trash in the flames until the cooking is done and always inquire first.
Lady Details: Sanitary napkins and tampons should be wrapped well and packed out. Take batteries back to your home country for safe disposal.
Toilet Sites: Make sure your trek operator provides a toilet tent, set up at least 50 meters (150 feet) away from any water source. If you are tea-house trekking, select lodges with a well-sited latrines. Otherwise, pick a spot away from water and religious sites. Bury all excreta. In the cities and en route, public toilets are hard to find so be discreet and keep away from holy sites.
Biodegradable Washing: When bathing or washing clothes near streams, use biodegradable soaps and a pan for rinsing. Toss soapy water away from the stream.
Use Established Campsites: Encourage your trekking staff to camp in established campsites and to leave no trace: no trash, no tent trenches, no fire pit, and a toilet pit filled in to look as it did before digging.
Cook with Kerosene: If you are camping, request that cooking be done on kerosene or gas, not wood. If you're stuck using wood, reduce the amount by using iodine to treat water rather than boiling it. Choose lodges that use kerosene or fuel efficient stoves, such as the back-boiler which heats water while food cooks. You can also reduce firewood consumption by ordering the same food at the same time as others.
Solar Heated Showers: Limit your hot showers to those heated by solar energy, by hydroelectricity or by the back-boiler method.
Warm Clothes: Bring adequate clothes rather than relying on lodge hearths for heat and never ask your trekking staff for a bonfire.
Do Not Disturb: Avoid creating new trails across switchbacks, meadows and in high fragile areas. Make sketches or take photos rather than collect flower, plants and seeds. Take care while walking through farmland and always stay to the uphill side of livestock on trails.