Customs & Etiquette (Nepal)

In most cases, your Guide will brief you on etiquette; please also feel free to ask them during your tour. Roughly 80% of Nepal’s population is Hindu, 10% Buddhists and the remainder a mix of Muslim and ethnic minorities who practise shamanism. The laws, regulations and behaviour in Nepal are affected by this mix and we ask you to respect them by following some simple rules:

  • Always ask permission before taking anyone’s photograph and respect their decision if they say no. 
  • Don’t step over someone’s feet - walk around them.
  • Don’t touch anyone on the head.
  • Do not point the soles of your feet towards people or religious objects. You could inadvertently do this while laying down or sitting with your feet up.
  • Cameras are not allowed in some sightseeing spots, particularly temples and pagodas. Please consider the reason behind this before getting upset just because you may miss a souvenir photograph.
  • Public displays of affection are generally not acceptable.
  • Women should never touch a monk, or their robes.
  • Never offer or accept anything with the left hand, use the right or both hands.
  • Remove your shoes when entering houses (especially kitchen areas), shrines, pagodas or temples. If you do not want to remove them, you should remain outside. It is a good idea to pack a spare pair of socks for this reason.
  • Move around chortens, other shrines, alters and all religious objects in a clockwise direction, if you are unsure observe before commencing.
  • Things happen in their own time in Nepal and punctuality really has no meaning. Having patience and a sense of humour will be essential and only add to the enjoyment of your holiday.
  • The locals in this region dress conservatively and find revealing clothes, or men going without a shirt, offensive no matter the weather. For men, full-length cotton trousers are preferable, while shorts that cover the knees are acceptable. For women, skirts or pants that reach below the knee are ideal, worn with long sleeved tops (or at least tops that cover the shoulders). A “modesty shawl” – either a large shawl or sarong – can be useful to carry in your daypack while sightseeing, to cover up in these places.