Electrical current is 220 volts, 50Hz. Round two- and
three-pin plugs are used.
Nepali is the official language. English is spoken in all
major tourist areas.
Restaurants and hotels may add 10% to bills in which case no
further tip is required; otherwise a 10% tip is customary in places
that cater to tourists. It is customary to tip guides and porters
on treks. Elsewhere it is not customary to tip, but gratuities are
There are safety concerns in Nepal following the 2008 elections,
when it became a secular republic. Demonstrations and public
gatherings should be avoided, as there is still a high risk of
violence. Due to previous bomb attacks and shootings in public
places, including the main tourist areas of Kathmandu, Pokhara and
Lukla, as well as on popular trekking routes, visitors are warned
to be particularly vigilant; foreign tourists have been involved in
several incidents. Foreigners have been the target of recent
attacks in the Thamel district of Kathmandu, and are advised to be
cautious after dark and to stay in a group if in the area at night.
There have been incidences of violent robbery against trekkers and
there is an armed Maoist presence on many of the major trekking
routes who demand a 'tax' before allowing trekkers to pass.
Trekkers are advised to stay on established routes and walk in a
group or with professional guides. Foreigners have been attacked in
the Nagarjun Forest Reserve just outside Kathmandu and visitors are
advised to be cautious in the area and to travel in a group.
Nepal has numerous cultural practices that are unusual to
foreigners. In the tourist areas there is a high degree of
tolerance towards visitors, but away from these places foreigners
should be sensitive to local customs. Never accept or offer
anything, or eat with the left hand. Do not eat from someone else's
plate or offer food from one's own. Women should dress
conservatively and cover as much as possible. Permission should be
sought before taking photographs, particularly at religious sites.
Public displays of affection between men and women are frowned
The Nepalese are warm and friendly, and business tends to be
conducted with a combination of formality and sincerity. Much time
is given to small talk and socialising. Handshakes are fairly
common, though one should wait to see if greeted with a hand, or a
a traditional greeting of a small bow accompanied
by hands clasped as if in prayer. Visitors should return the
greeting. Dress tends to be formal and conservative, with suits and
ties the norm. Titles and surnames are usually used; the elderly in
particular are treated with great respect and the word 'gi' is
added after the name as a polite form. Punctuality is important,
although it may take some time to get down to business, and
negotiation can be a long process. English is widely spoken and
understood, though discussions in Nepali may occur between Nepalese
themselves within a meeting. Business hours are usually 9.30am or
10am to 5pm Sunday to Thursday (closing at 4pm in winter). Saturday
is a holiday.
The country code for Nepal is +977, and the outgoing code is 00,
followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the UK).
City/area codes are in use, e.g. (0)1 for Kathmandu and (0)41 for
Pokhara. Two mobile phone operators provide GSM 900 network
coverage in the main cities and towns, but this does not extend to
the summit of Mount Everest! In the main tourist centres of
Kathmandu and Pokhara there are Internet cafes on every corner.
Travellers to Nepal do not have to pay duty on 200 cigarettes,
50 cigars or the equivalent in other tobacco products; 1 litre of
alcohol and perfume for personal use. It is illegal to export goods
that are over 100 years old.