Nepal is a majestic nation that has in recent years made its way as a prime travel destination in Asia. Located in South Asia between China and India, this nation is still new to travelers. Although the internet has several things to say about this country, sometimes misleading or downright wrong information is not unusual. As a country located between huge cultural and travel centers, it is easy to mistake Nepal for some other place too. Among many travel myths, the number one myth about Nepal is that it is part of India which is absolutely false. Actually, Nepal is an independent, indivisible, sovereign, secular, inclusive, democratic, socialism-oriented, federal democratic republican state. From culture to tradition, geography, and travel-reality, we will try to make your view of Nepal clearer with this article.
As a traveler planning to head to a new country having less or wrong information never helps. Sometimes these myths might even hamper or change plans. Nepal is too good of a destination for anyone not to travel while in Asia. Here are 17 of the most common travel myths about Nepal that are not true.
1. Nepal is all Mountains
One of the most common misconceptions about Nepal is that it is completely a mountainous country. Nepal does have eight of the top 10 highest mountains in the world and most of the central Himalayas but that’s the northern segment of the country. The geography of Nepal is very diverse. Only 20-25 percent of the total land area is the mountains here. All the rest constitute from small hills to the Terai-plains here. So, if you are a traveler seeking a complete vacation, Nepal might hold the answers for you.
2. Nepalese people don’t understand/speak English
Nepali is the official language of the Nepalese people. However, almost everyone you’ll interact with throughout your time here will understand and even speak Basic English. This is due to the growing tourism industry and the literacy rate of Nepal over the years. Your guides are likely to be fluent in English, Nepali, and even the local dialects which will be beneficial for anyone here.
3. The Society is Extremely Conservative
Nepal has slowly but surely started modernizing and following western trends. That means there are only a few conservative families in the urban regions here. Being polite and understanding the boundaries is important and you will be just fine as a traveler.
4. A travel vacation in Nepal is costly for solo Travelers
With the abundance of the group or fixed tours marketed in Nepal, you might think solo traveling here is expensive. Well, it is not entirely true. Obviously, a group tour will use shared transportation, guide, and accommodation decreasing the trip cost. But sometimes you need to travel in a pre-planned format declining some adventure and surprises that Nepal offers you. As a solo traveler, you can select plenty of budget options ideal for you and complete your Nepalese tour more efficiently.
5. Nepal is not safe
Nepal is one of the safest countries in the world. Peace and hospitality are very important factors assuring your safety. It is the case for all solo, female, and elderly travelers. With the introduction of multiple help desk, information centers, and tourist police, Travelers are safer than ever while here.
6. Hospitality and friendliness costs you some fortune in Nepal
No. And this is the major difference between Nepal and other major travel destinations around the world. Hospitality and welcomeness towards tourists or ‘Atithi’ exemplifies Nepalese as traditional values. You are not getting them because you have paid some money. It is common for every traveler to this country no matter where you go.
7. Nepal is cold throughout the year
Nepal is not cold all year round. Summer in the Terai plains here goes well over 30 degrees Celsius every day. Even the Himalayas during the peak of the day is warm. Nepal experiences four climates as hot and wet summer, pleasant spring and autumn, and comparatively colder winter. If you are a traveler driven by good pleasant weather, the Travel season of Nepal fits your criteria perfectly.
8. Only Hindus are welcomed in Nepalese temples
There are only a handful of temples (among thousands) that strictly prohibit non-Hindus entrance. If you ever find yourself near one of these a sign will not be hard to find stating such rules. Apart from these few as a traveler you are welcomed in all Hindu Temples. You can witness the Hindu prayers, rituals, and ways of devotion from close while you are in Nepal.
9. You’ll land straight in the Himalayas upon entering Nepal
This myth is cleared pretty much at the very instant that you land at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu. Although clear views of the mountains are clear from most vantage points of Kathmandu Valley, you must travel further to be in the Actual Himalayas. The nearest Major Mountain range from the valley is LangtangLirung.
10. Festivals in Nepal are the same as those in India
This myth connects with many people not knowing the difference between India and Nepal. Some Main festivals are similar in both nations but there are plenty more unique as well. For example, Dussera and Dashain, Diwali and Tihar, Holi, Shivaratri, and Krishna Janmasthami are celebrated in Nepal and India slightly differently. On the other hand, Teej, Maghi, Jatra, JanaiPurnima, and more authentic festivals can only be experienced in Nepal.
11. Everyone in Nepal are Mountain Climbers
Nepal does have some of the finest mountain climbers in the world. They come from the sherpa community and are often known as ‘Sherpas’. However, they are only a specific group of skilled people in the Himalayas having grown up in the mountains themselves. Not every Nepali person is a mountaineer and sherpas are special.
12. Shopping In Nepal is not accessible
Nepal is a developing country and one might expect from the get-go that shopping is difficult around here. It is true in urban and sub-urban regions of Nepal but the city scenario is different. Take the example of Kathmandu. Travelers can get everything they want in several stores here. In the past few years, e-commerce has seen major growth so you can enjoy their services too in the major cities of Nepal.
13. Getting help in anyways as a traveler in Nepal is difficult
One of the major concerns for travelers in New and different nations is what if they need help? or What happens if I get in trouble? Well, you can ask for help as simple as that. Travelers can head to the embassy of their respective nation easily and seek out solutions to their problems.
14. Culture and Tradition in Nepal is similar to that of Tibet or India
Nepal has some of the most diverse and rich cultures and ethnic diversity in Asia. You would be amazed at how much difference even a slight trip around this country one gets to experience. Some communities are influenced by the Tibetan and Indian beliefs, tradition, and culture but there is so much more diversity to explore in Nepal.
15. The Nepalese Police are not friendly to travelers
Nepal Police is time and again highlighted to be one of the best in the whole continent. As a tourist, you are more likely to get help and coordination with the Nepalese police. There is even a special unit of Nepal Police as Tourist Police for helping and dealing with the tourists in Nepal. With Such dedication and a service-oriented mindset, you can only expect help when required from Nepal Police.
16. Food options are only limited to the Nepalese Cuisine here
Globally popular Chinese and Indian Cuisine nearby overshadows Nepalese cuisine. But Nepal has some delicious regional cuisine that you can enjoy as a Traveler. The obvious option is the Nepali cuisine available all over the Nation. However, both Thakali and Newari Cuisine are the iconic duo of Nepali foods one should not miss in their visit here.
17. Different destinations of Nepal are polluted.
Pollution is a major problem in almost most major cities of Asia. We are afraid to admit that Kathmandu Valley is not an exception. However, once you are out of the valley towards your travel destination, Nepal is pure and untouched nature. You don’t have to worry about pollution or even any harmful substances. Ecotourism is the key attraction of the country and travelers will get exactly that.
Here are some tips and truths for travelers to know beforehand for a smooth vacation in Nepal
- If you have a camera on you ask before taking pictures in Religious sites or cultural monuments.
- Finger feeding is very common among the Nepalese locals. However, if you are not comfortable with that politely ask for a spoon and forks.
- Saturday is the official holiday and government offices are closed during that day.
- As a tourist, you might have to show your visa at multiple checkpoints in a single day.
- There are many unique festivals specific only to a particular group.
- You can either have a budget-friendly or a lavishing vacation which completely is your choice in Nepal.
- 2015 Earthquake was a major disaster. However, much of the country has recovered except few regions from it.
- It is not very surprising to get greetings from locals especially as a foreign traveler in Nepal. Everyone is naturally friendly and curious about you usually in the rural regions here.
- Local transportation is not strictly regulated in Nepal. While heading to your destination know your vehicle and driver better.
- A guide in Nepal is translators and experienced travel buddy. If you are ever in a doubt take a guide with you.
Nepal is still not very popular and well-documented for much of the world. It is very common to hear these kinds of travel myths as a new traveler to this beautiful country. Often you can talk with the locals or someone who has been to Nepal and clear your doubts. Do your research and know your destination better. Nepal is different and amazing for visitors. Be here and explore to know better.