Ungroomed travellers may find themselves treated with significantly less courtesy.
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One underlying principle is that once you’ve touched something to your lips, it’s polluted () for everyone else.
If you take a sip from someone else’s water bottle, try not to let it touch your lips (and the same applies if it’s your own).
Nepal “abolished” the caste system in 1963, but millennia-old habits take time to change.
Though professions are changing and “love marriage” is more popular, caste and status still determine whom most Nepalis may (or must) marry, where they can live and who they can associate with.
In order to convey respect, offer money, food or gifts with both hands, or with the right hand while the left touches the wrist.
Nepalis are innately conservative in their attitudes to clothing, and it’s worth knowing how you may come across.
Don’t eat off someone else’s plate or offer anyone food you’ve taken a bite of, and don’t touch cooked food until you’ve bought it. The left hand is reserved for washing after defecating; you can use it to hold a glass or utensil while you eat, but don’t wipe your mouth, or pass food with it.
It’s considered good manners to give and receive everything with the right hand.
When Nepali men bathe in public, they do it in their underwear, and women bathe underneath a (sarong). In Nepal, the forehead is regarded as the most sacred part of the body and it’s impolite to touch an adult Nepali’s head.
The feet are the most unclean part, so don’t put yours on chairs or tables, and when sitting, try not to point the soles of your feet at anyone.
The following hints apply especially in temples and monasteries.