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10 interesting facts about Nepal which will surprise you

10 interesting facts about Nepal which will surprise you

Nepal ranks as one of the most beautiful countries we've visited in Asia. The treks like the Annapurna Circuit will blow your mind due to the incredible landscapes you pass in the Himalayas.

The icing on the cake are the Nepalese people. They are warm hearted, humble and love welcoming foreigners.

These are our 10 interesting facts about Nepal following our long trip around the country, which you can also watch in our video:

 

1. The ceiling of the world

Nepal is nicknamed “the ceiling of the world” because it has 8 of the 10 of the world's highest mountains. Here's the full top 10 list in order, 8 of which are in Nepal:

  1. Everest: 8,848m / 29,029 ft (Nepal)
  2. K2: 8,611m / 28,251 ft (Pakistan)
  3. Kangchenjunga: 8,586m / 28,169 ft (Nepal)
  4. Lhotse: 8,516m / 27,940 ft (Nepal)
  5. Makalu: 8,463m / 27,838 ft (Nepal)
  6. Cho Oyu: 8,201m / 26,864 ft (Nepal)
  7. Dhaulagiri: 8,167m / 26,795 ft (Nepal)
  8. Manaslu: 8,156m / 26,781 ft (Nepal)
  9. Nanga Parbat: 8,126m / 26,660 ft (Pakistan)
  10. Annapurna: 8,091m / 26,545 ft (Nepal)
 
Nepal interesting fact is the ceiling of the world
Nepal has 8 of the 10 highest peaks in the world!

2. Dal Bhat power 24 hour!

This is the staple, national food of Nepal. It means lentils (dal) with rice (bhat). When served, it consists of a large tray with several curries (a mix of meat or vegetables), served with rice, lentil soup, pickles and spinach.

We fell in love with dal bhat because it's always a guaranteed foodie orgie. There is no one common recipe for making the curries so it never gets boring. In addition, it's super healthy.

After a while in Nepal, you'll quickly pick up on the phrase “dal bhat power 24 hour“, which plays on the fact that this is the main food you'll eat throughout the day in Nepal. Just prepare for the extra special less savoury dal bhat power wind that comes out the other end after ingesting all those lentils…!

 
Dal bhat one of the most popular foods in Nepal
Dal bhat power, 24 hour!

3. The unique Nepalese time zone

Nepal is the only country in the world with its own time zone: the Nepal Standard Time. The NST has a +45 minutes (or -15 minutes) difference from the neighbouring time zone. Interestingly, the Chatham Islands (New Zealand territory) is the only other location in the world which uses a +45 minutes time difference.

Therefore when travelling around South Asia, make sure you set your clocks correctly to avoid being 15 minutes too early or late!

The Nepal Standard Time Zone one of our favourite interesting facts about Nepal

4. The Nepalese calendar: 56 years ahead

As well as its own time zone, Nepal also has its own calendar called the “Bikram Sambat“.  The Nepali Bikram Sambat Calendar is a full 56 years and 8 months ahead of the Gregorian calendar we use in the West and starts in mid April.

Another interesting facts about the Nepali calendar is that each month can have up to 32 days as opposed to the 30/31 days that we have in ours.

A happy new year sign in Kathmandu celebrating the year 2071
A happy new year sign in Kathmandu

5. Nepalese guys holding hands in public

This is one one interesting fact about Nepal we found completely endearing. Very similar to India, Nepalese guys are very docile and affectionate with each other, whether straight or gay.

One of the first things we noticed when we arrived in Kathmandu was boys and grown men walking the streets holding hands, sitting in each other's laps and stroking each other. It's one of those cultural norm that we're not really used to in the West and we love it!

Nepalese guys holding hands in public
Nepalese guys are very docile with each other in public

6. Lots of power cuts

One of the downsides to travelling in Nepal are the daily power cuts. It is caused by shortages in electricity supply due to Nepal's power sector lacking investment. As a result, most households face power cuts for over 80 hours a week.

In Nepal the power cuts are referred to as “load shedding” and unfortunately looks like it will continue to be the norm until drastic action is taken by the government to help boost the power sector.

Most upmarket hotels and restaurants will have generators for emergency supply during the power cuts. Despite this, we highly advise having battery packs to hand for charging smart phones and cameras during a power cut.

power cuts in Nepal means lots of candles used
Preparing for the next power cut…

7. Holy cow…12 years in prison?!!

That was our reaction when we found out how long you could be imprisonment for if you killed a cow in Nepal: 12 years!

Cows are considered very holy and sacred to Hindus, so are not to be harmed or killed. As such they are free to roam the streets of Nepal wherever and whenever they want!

Cows in the streets of Kathmandu
Cows roam the streets freely in Nepal whether in a large city or the countryside

8. Similarities between the French and Buddhist flag

During your treks in the Himalayas in Nepal, you will see what at first looks like the blue/white/red tricolor flag of France flying high.

This is in fact the Buddhist prayer flag with 5 colours not 3: blue, white, red with the addition of green and yellow (always in that order).

Each colour represents the 5 elements: blue for sky/space, white for air/wind, red for fire, green for water and yellow for earth. According to traditional Tibetan medicine, health and harmony are produced through the balance of these five elements.

The Buddhist flag in mountain villages
The Buddhist flag in mountain villages spotted during our Annapurna trek

9. Watch out for the goats on public buses

The Nepalese “Dashain” festival takes place in late September/mid October. It is the country's longest festival, symbolising the victory of good over evil. On the 8th day, goats are sacrificed to appease the blood thirsty Hindu goddess of destruction called “Kali“.

During this time, people return to their family villages from the big cities with lots of goats to hand to prepare for the festivities. Therefore buses during this period will be packed full of people…and their goats:

 

10. Colourful Hindu traditions

Nepal is one really colourful country. The saris alone will impress. Other colourful Hindu rituals we came across in Nepal included the red tika dot painted on foreheads, and the beautiful yellow marigold flower necklaces, which are particularly prevalent during the Dashain festival.

Nepalese Hindus also have really charming rituals for good luck. Our favourite is the one you'll see outside people's houses during the day – every morning, Hindu women in Nepal wake up early to carry a (copper) plate of gifts to their local temple as an offering to the gods. This includes red powder, rice and flowers. They leave some of it in the temple, then bring the rest back home and place it outside their front door for good luck:

Hindu morning offerings by Nepalese woman
Morning offering by Hindu women in Nepal outside their front doors for good luck

OUR FAVORITE TRAVEL RECOMMENDATIONS

⭐️ TRAVEL INSURANCE — We recommend you always take out travel insurance before your next vacation. What happens if you suffer from illness, injury, theft or a cancellation? With travel insurance, you can have peace of mind and not worry. We love World Nomads travel insurance and have been using it for years. Their comprehensive coverage is second to none and their online claims process is very user friendly.

⭐️ SAFETY & SECURITY — All travelers can sometimes encounter danger when traveling. CloseCircle is your “virtual body guard” mobile app which provides security alerts and support wherever you are in the world. They have a 24/7 emergency response team monitoring their users who will contact you immediately if the SOS swipe button is activated. Support can include anything from practical advice, to free evacuation from areas with extreme weather or security risks. You can read more about CloseCircle in our article about how to stay safe whilst traveling.

⭐️ ONLINE ANONYMITY — A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a must in many countries: it allows you to surf anonymously and maintain your privacy whilst traveling. You'll particularly need it in countries where dating apps are blocked by the government. We recommend ExpressVPN, a reliable and cost effective service which we used and loved during our travels.

⭐️ HOTELS or APARTMENTS — When we plan a trip, we always look for the best hotel deals. We love Booking.com because not only do they have a comprehensive listing of accommodation options, they also offer the best prices. Added bonus: they provide 24/7 support and free cancellation for most listings.

⭐️ SIGHTSEEING and ADVENTURES — When we travel somewhere, we like to seek out the best experiences, whether it is cooking with locals in Bangkok, hiking on a glacier in Patagonia, or going on a wildlife safari in Sri Lanka. Our favorite place to look is GetYourGuide because they have over 30,000 highly rated activities, a user-friendly booking process with free cancellation and a 24 hour customer support.

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10 interesting facts about Nepal you didn't know

7 Comments

  1. you guys are awesome and thanks for mentioning we are not india we are unique and the truth is Nepal has been always a sovereign Nation and a Beautiful heaven in Earth.

    Reply
  2. you take out the really the interesting facts about nepal . its just different from world.

    Reply
    • Beautiful country 🙂

      Reply
  3. They do the same hand-holding in India. I was shocked at first because of how conservative India is and then was told it had nothing to do with being gay. VERY interesting cultural difference, that’s for sure!

    Reply
    • Yes yes so true – we were wondering if we’d stumbled on Gay Pride Delhi… But despite gay being illegal in India they still have a few Pride events surprisingly 🙂

      Reply
  4. Vous êtes deux super Nomadic Boys ! J’adore ! Merci pour votre joie de vivre, vos partages de découvertes splendides et touchantes : paysages, lieux magiques, personnalités rencontrées , cuisine locale, faune et flore…
    Bisous à nos twińs

    Reply
    • Merci pour ton message Dominique. Cela nous fait super plaisir que tu nous suives :). A très bientôt !

      Reply

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