Nepal

Did you know?

*  Be careful to respect local customs:
   -  Never step over the feet of a person, always walk round.
   -  Never offer food and drink that you have tasted or bitten.
   -  Never offer or accept anything with the left hand, use the right or both
      hands.
   -  It is rude to point at a person or statue with a finger
      (or even with a foot.)
   -  When people shake their head, it often means 'yes'.
   -  Footwear should be removed when entering houses, especially kitchens,
      or shrines.
   -  Do not stand in front of a person who is eating.
   -  Shaking hands is not a common form of greeting; instead press the
      palms together in a prayer-like gesture (Namaste).
   -  Casual wear is suitable except for the most formal meetings or social
      occasions. However, bikinis, shorts, bare shoulders and    
      backs may not be appreciated. Men only remove their shirts when
      bathing. 
   -  Overt public displays of affection, especially near religious places, are
       inappropriate.
   -  Seek permission before entering a temple, and do not take leather 
      articles inside them.

 *  Stretch your legs on the short steep walk from Bandipur, south of Pokhara,
     to visit the Thani Mai Temple.
     The architecture is stunning around the perfectly preserved Newari village. 
     Even more impressive are the Himalaya views,
     particularly spectacular at sunset.
 
*  Before heading on to Pokhara, take time to visit Siddha Gufa, the largest 
    cave in the country with spectacular limestone formations, just outside
    Bandipur.

*  In Bhaktapur (the ‘Temple City'), have a look at unusual, colourful animal 
    paintings in the National Art Gallery, located in the old Malla Palace.
    Other museums include the National Woodworking Museum, showing fine
    examples of renowned Newari woodcarving, and the Brass and Bronze
    Museum.

*  In Patan, discover ancient historic and artistic landmarks, including Patan
   Durbar Square (also the location for the interesting Patan Museum), Krishna
   Mandir, the royal bath, the Kumbheshwor Temple and the Golden Temple.
   See exotic South Asian animals in the Jawalakhel Zoo.

*  Go to Pashputinath to see the sadhus, or wandering Hindu holy men, who
    make pilgrimages to the ghats and holy waters.

*  Visit the Shrine of Ganesh the Elephant God, reputed to bring good luck.
   There are four Ganesh temples in the valley, each a masterpiece of
   Nepalese architecture - one in Kathmandu's Durbar Square, one in
   Chabahil, one in Chobar and one near Bhaktapur.

*  National specialities:
    - Dal bhaat -lentils and rice. 
    - Tarkan -spiced vegetables. 
    - Gurr -a Sherpa dish of raw potatoes, pounded with spices, then grilled
       like pancakes on a hot, flat stone ground and mixed with milk,
       tea or water. 
    - Roti -flat pancake-like bread made from wheat
      or rice flour.
    - Choyla -roast, diced water buffalo meat, heavily spiced and eaten with 
       flat, beaten rice.

 *  National drinks:
    -  Chai -tea brewed with milk, sugar and spices; in the 
       mountains it is salted with yak butter. 
    -  Lassi -curd mixed with sugar in a 
       mixture of sweet and salty flavours.
    -  Arak -very strong potato alcohol. 
    -  Rakshi -wheat or rice spirit. 
    -  Chang -homebrewed beer made from fermented barley, maize, 
       rye or millet.
 
*  There's no wild nightlife scene in Kathmandu, but there are plenty of late
    bars and nightclubs, some with live music, around Thamel and the city's
    5-star hotels. Some restaurants put on traditional Newari dance shows for
    tourists and there are a couple of casinos. Watch movie blockbusters on
    DVD in restaurants around Thamel or sample Hindi films at cinemas.

*  Photography: Always ask permission first. In general, it is allowed outside 
    temples and at festivals, but not at religious ceremonies or inside temples;
    however, there is no hard and fast rule and the only way to be sure of not 
   giving offence is to ask first and accept the answer.