Are you planning to visit the country of the Himalayas? Be prepared with this list of 10 fun facts about Nepal! These are things that no one will tell you about. You won’t find them neither in the Lonely Planet, nor in any other guide. This is the truth! Sometimes it can hurt, sometimes can be nice: Let’s discover together what to expect from a visit to Nepal.But first, we ask for a second of your time: click here and like our Facebook page! Thank you! *Disclaimer: We truly loved Nepal and its people, always ready to help us in every situation. We wrote this post for fun and we didn’t mean to offend anyone. Skip it if you’ve no sense of humour!*
1 – People spit on the ground
We mean it. They do that, a lot. It’s not just the spit, it’s more about the sound they produce when doing it. It will probably be the first thing you hear in the morning, and the last thing before going to sleep. At the restaurants, shops, hotels, guest houses, buses, taxis: Every occasion is good for a big, healthy and loud spit. They first clear their throat with a scenic, nasty sound. Then they spit out the result of the operation. Why do they that continuously? Well, they probably enjoy it! And there is a lot of dust in Nepal, especially in Kathmandu. And this brings us straight to the next point.
2 – Kathmandu when it rains
Kathmandu is a big city with a lot of inhabitants, no doubts about that. Its heart is called Thamel: this neighborhood is crowded and full of shops, guest houses, restaurants and magnificent temples and historical sites. But… There is a but. Most of the streets are made of terrain. No concrete, guys. So the problems here are two: when the weather is dry, there is dust everywhere. You’ll even find it in your underwear. So maybe that’s why people are spitting all the time (see the previous point).
What happens when it rains? The streets are flooded. And there is a lot of mud. Well, mountains of mud waiting for your cool sneakers to stick in this brownish thing. And there are holes in the streets, full of water. So basically it’s very funny to walk in Kathmandu when it rains, as long as you leave your nice shoes at home and you don’t give a shit about getting dirty.
3 – You can’t always get what you want
Talking about food, we really love Nepalese food. Dal Bhat, Momo, Noodles soups, Chow Mein and so on. We even learned how to cook the most delicious Nepali dishes! But when you order something at a restaurant and they bring you something different, well, you have two choices. First, you shut up and eat your wrong dish: Can be anything, you know. But you just eat it because you don’t want to be rude, and you think it’s your fault. Yes, you should clearly state your order next time.
Second option, you can return the food. It usually goes like this: “Ehm, sorry… I’ve ordered something else. I asked for a black tea, not coffee. Could you please bring me my tea?”. Then, the waiter / waitress will stare at you, thinking “C’mon, it’s a black waterish slop anyway! What’s the difference, you spoiled westerner?”. There is that moment of embarrassment, where both of you are sure to be right. It happened quite often to us: Soups instead of omelets, coffees instead of teas, iguanas instead of cockroaches (just joking).
We know that English is neither our nor their language, so we found a solution. We started to point out with our finger on the menu, the dish we want to order. Does it work? Yes. Often. Well… Just sometimes.
4 – The local buses
We could write an entire post about Nepalese local buses, maybe build an entire website. If you guys don’t appreciate life enough, go for a ride on a local bus. Why should it be listed in the fun facts about Nepal? We’ve never seen such crumbling, bumpy and rowdy buses. Oh, not to mention dangerous. For us westerners, taking a ride on a local bus is an experience between life and death. Do you want adrenaline? Forget about bungee jumping, get on a local bus from Pokhara to Nayapool!
Even though, we must admit our unconditional love for these old crocks. On our trip from Bandipur to Pokhara, 4 goats were traveling with us, in the trunk. A chicken was more lucky, since it enjoyed the trip in the front, close to the driver. The view was so beautiful, poor goats! Another time, another bus: There were more rice and poultry feed bags on the bus than people.
However, there are two constants: The traditional music and the death just around the corner. The Nepalese music is similar to the Indian one. You know what we mean, right? 6 hours of traveling with this terrible music raping your eardrums. That’s what it feels like.
The roads are terrible, the tarmac is damaged and full of craters. The most of the roads are unpaved though, for a more meaningful experience. The style of driving is crazy: How cool is overtaking another bus just in the middle of a bend, whilst another vehicle is coming in the opposite direction. Should we add anything else?
Check the video to get a better picture:
5 – Eating with your hands
“Did you wash your hands before starting to eat?”, our mothers used to say when we were kids. For a good reason, especially in Nepal, where you can enjoy your food with your right hand. It’s like getting back to the old times, when you were a kid playing in the mud. With a good Dal Bhat (the national dish made of rice, lentil soup, vegetable curry and pickles) in front of you, you just don’t mind to get dirty. Mix the things in your dish and dunk your fingers in the tasty glop. You’ll enjoy it more than imagined! The food will taste great, you’ll have rice all over your beard and cumin seeds under your nails, but who cares?
6 – Marijuana grows wild
Definitely our favorite among the fun facts about Nepal. You can find Marijuana in the gardens of guest houses, in the terrace of restaurants or on trekking routes. In the courtyards of the houses just outside the city center, you’ll see dozens of happy plants growing spontaneously. While it’s formally illegal to smoke ganja and hashish in Nepal, it seemed to us that it’s quite tolerated. How can they arrest or fine you for having a wild Marijuana in the backyard? Is there a crime for “not having uprooted a plant”?
7 – Fun facts about Nepal? The Taxi fares!
In Nepal sometimes the prices for foreigners are a bit higher than the ones for the locals. Not always and not everywhere: in the markets and in the local restaurants the prices are usually very good and honest. Similarly to other Asian countries, bargain is good practice in many shops, and it requires a good dose of skills. Even greater skills and patience are needed with the taxis. The taxi drivers are often the most interesting people to bargain with, and Nepal is no exception. Usually they try to set a price up to two times the real one. And they all have different fares: for 1 hour and 20′ drive, for example, the first taxi asked 1.500 Rupees (around 15 Euro), while another one asked for 1.000, just after 300 meters of walking (then the final price was established in 800 Rupees).
The thing is: How come that for 8′ of driving into the city we’ve been asked 500 Rupees (5 Euro, and it was impossible to lower the price), whilst we paid 800 Rupees (8 Euro) for a 80′ ride? Well, we don’t know the logic behind it. Someone would help us?
8 – The Nepalese music
The first couple of days, you hear the traditional Nepalese music and you’re happy, you’re like: “I love it! It’s really exotic, it makes me want to dance!”. The third day, you’re thinking “Ok, it’s fun, yes… It’s nice”. After 7 days, you’ve been listening to this music, respectively:
- On the buses
- In the streets
- In the cars
- In the shops
- In the restaurants
- In the mountains (really? 3.000 MASL and still the music?)
And you just can’t tolerate it. You try, but you can’t. There’s no solution to this problem, unfortunately. It’s not your country, you need to assimilate. You’ll find yourself disconnecting your ears from your brain, and hoping that one day, all of this, will be over.
9 – People holding hands
Nothing unusual, you would say. Well, indeed it is a bit when people of the same sex do it. In western countries, we’re not used to see men holding hands while strolling around. Sometimes young girls, but not guys. Nothing bad about it, it’s just one of those fun facts about Nepal. In Nepal, as much as in other Asian countries, one should avoid showing public affections between different genders. It’s a matter of culture, so no kisses and holding hands in public. No one is going to kill you if you break the rule, but it’s a matter of respect to local people. The funny thing is that it isn’t nice to hold your girlfriend’s/boyfriend’s hand when you go for a walk, but it’s perfectly normal to grab your friend’s hand.
10 – No hot water
Here we go. We wanted to conclude the post with this “problem”. It’s very difficult to find hot water in the showers. From the cheapest guest houses to beautiful hotels, hot water seems to be taboo. We actually found it a couple of times during our trip in Nepal, and we were very happy about it. Anyway, we have to admit that we adapted also to the cold water: It is nice to refresh yourself after a hot day between temples and busy streets. On the other hand, we would have appreciated some hot water in Ghorepani, 2.800 MASL. Last advice: Every guest house states “Hot Shower” when you’re booking it. That isn’t always true!
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