Some common Culture Shocks a Tourist may face in Nepal

Culture Shock (n) ~ the feeling of disorientation experienced by someone who is suddenly subjected to an unfamiliar culture, way of life, or set of attitudes.

A Tourist’s Life in Nepal

Sadhus seen at Kathmandu

Nepal is one of the most recognized South Asian nation throughout the world for its natural and archaeological riches and ancient culture and arts. The historical palaces, towering Himalaya peaks, scenic landscapes and rare religious artifacts are the major USPs of this small landlocked nation. With availability of varying ethnic tribes, every region of Nepal is unique and distinct in terms of lifestyle and culture.

A life of a foreigner in Nepal can come with many unseen difficulties due to drastic difference in lifestyle and culture. Culture shocks are common for tourists who have recently landed in Nepal. Despite, all the minor difficulties one might concur during the visit, the nation and its people are sure to offer the highest level of hospitality and love.

Common Culture Shocks in Nepal

#1 Nepalese Meals & Etiquette

Nepalese Dal Bhat
Set of Nepalese Dal Bhaat, eaten throughout Nepal

Steamed rice and lentils (Dal and Bhaat) is the staple diet of most Nepalese. One would eat dal and bhaat almost twice a day, everyday. A foreigner may find it odd and monotonous. The culture of trying out new dish at home is quite rare and mostly unheard of in the rural regions of Nepal.

Nepalese prefer using only a right hand while eating, while, the usage of left hand is forbidden entirely. The use of cutlery is rare and right hand always comes handy whenever needed.

#2 Toilet & Cleaning

Squat toilet
Squat toilet

It’s common to find a squat-toilet in Nepalese households. The use of sit-toilet is rare and mostly found only in hotels and diners. The use of toilet paper is uncommon in the households.

Because of lack of water supply in town, Kathmandu, and lack of budget, people choose to clean themselves without the use of a shower. It’s quite common to experience people bathing in an old manner, using bucket and a mug to pour water onto body.

#3 Driving & Transportation

Driving on left lane
Driving on left lane

In Nepal, it’s a norm to drive on a left lane. The vehicles are customized and sold to be used while driving on a left lane.

The rules of crossing the street using a traffic signal, zebra crossing and queuing is rare, therefore, people cross the street in any way they like, despite the possible dangers.

#4 Etiquette in Public

Kissing in public is prohibited
Kissing in public is prohibited

Expressing love or affection in public; kissing and cuddling etc, is forbidden, mainly because of culture and lifestyle restrictions. People may find it offending if a couple is seen kissing or cuddling in public places; streets, restaurants etc, therefore, it’s strongly recommended for a tourist to keep such activities inside a room or private place.

#5 Etiquette inside Home

Leaving footwear outside
Leaving footwear outside

Nepalese do not wear their footwear inside their home, mainly because of cultural and lifestyle restrictions and hygiene. It’s believed that footwear carry germs and evils and they shouldn’t be brought inside home, which is quite true, because, the streets in Nepal are filthy and unclean, therefore, it’s recommended to take off your shoes before entering inside Nepalese household.


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