Here are few things you should keep in mind while travelling to Nepal.
1. Nepalese are friendly people
No it is not a polite smile, nor is it an obligatory acknowledgement. Nepalese are genuinely happy to see you. Remember, for them you are an object of curiosity. You look and behave differently. So don’t take it as an offence if they try to approach you and strike a conversation. Return that smile, it means a lot to them!!
2. When they greet you, greet them back
Or even better, be the first one to say “namaste”, the most popular form of greeting in Nepal. It has a loose connotation to “how are you doing today!!”
3. Address all women as your sister
Yes, unless a lady is your spouse, mother or daughter, Nepalese address rest of the women as ‘didi’ (elder sister) or ‘bahini” (younger sister). And it is the safest thing to do when you address any women in Nepal. You can use either didi or bahini, depending how how old (or young) she looks.
4. Say thank you, a lot
Nepalese themselves don’t use the term ‘dhanyabad’ (thank you) a lot, but curiously they expect a foreigner to say it when a Nepali does something for you. They feel happy and important and it does not hurt to say thank you, does it?
5. Understand the head gesture
Here’s a confusing one, if you ask a question to a Nepali (eg. can you help me find a place to eat?), you will see the person tilting his head sideways which appears as “no” to a foreigner. This actually means “yes, i have heard you and I might help you,” and more often than not, he will help you.
Have a great day, and enjoy Nepal!!