* 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
- 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,
- 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
- Overt public displays of affection, especially near religious places, are
- 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
* 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
* 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.