Think that because you’re a veteran traveler you already have the perfect immune system. Don’t think you won’t suffer the toilet maladies you’ve heard so much about, you will. Squat toilets may appear to be weird, wacky un-western contraptions, but when it comes to diarrhoea, a straight colon is definitely your friend.
Leave getting cash out to pay for your visa until arriving at the airport. They tell you there’s no cash machine at Kathmandu airport and as I find out, there are none after security checks in Delhi airport either if that’s your route. It’s a royal pain in the arse, and probably not legal, to get someone (and trust them) to take your card outside and take out money on your behalf. Don’t do that. If you genuinely have no money then they conveniently get out a card machine and you pay via that, even if they’ve previously ignored your request for one. It’s an lot easier to have cash on you in the first place.
Get ill enough to use a local clinic. If you like lying in a dirty bed with people giving birth, being sick and generally defying any kind of privacy you might expect in a hospital environment then this place is for you. They give a great service but you wouldn’t want to hang around any longer than necessary. For 50 rupees though, it’s an absolute steal.
Get peed on by a spider. Why would I not want that privilege? I hear you ask. They leave a nasty looking, easily infected burn where the urine touches your skin. . . When you’ve got no idea why you suddenly appear to be really sunburnt in one particular area and it’s otherwise unexplainable, it could well be spider pee. Apart from the ‘that time I got peed on by a spider’ story, it’s really not appreciated.
Avoid sitting on the roof of a bus. Straddling the tires and bags on the top of the bus may sound mad and dangerous, but it allows you spectacular views and an adrenaline rush when you have to stoop to miss trees, wires and bamboo rods trying to knock you off. Do avoid sitting in the bus on the back row, the negligible knee room if you’re not vertically challenged is far from comfortable, bleeding knees are not uncommon.
Think that nothing has been lost in translation. Ordering food, buying goods, taking or giving directions; saying ‘yes’, giving a head-wobble and a smile is no guarantee of you actually getting your point across. You might think that a second opinion would help, but often you’re just stuck between two conflicting opinions. Patience is a virtue you’ll definitely need.
Trust a fart in Nepal. General life advice but particularly poignant in this spicy, bowel loosening land. Release at your peril.
Fall in love with a Nepalese girl. As beautiful and incredible as these women undoubtedly are, cultural differences cannot be avoided so unless you’re in it for the long term, it’ll only end in tears. Probably yours.
Get bored of eating Dal Bhat. If you plan on eating while you stay in Nepal then you’ll find that the no. 1 dish of choice is Dal Bhat, aka: rice with lentils, a spiced sauce, an assortment of vegetables and meat if you’re extremely lucky. The variation on this meal is incredible but it’s always very tasty and overly filling, even after many many weeks of every single lunch being Dal Bhat. No sarcasm, possibly.
Not get involved with an NGO. If you’re here for any length of time that isn’t just a few days – although why you’d do that I don’t know – you should volunteer. Sadly, volunteering at an Orphanage is a risk. It’s mired in controversy and you’re likely to not be helping anyone except someone’s wallet; instead volunteer with an NGO that’s helping get this amazing country back on its feet. Whether it’s as a day volunteer or something more long term, you’ll be doing an incredible thing and I guarantee you’ll enjoy it. My penny’s worth is with All Hands, but there are plenty out there, so do your research and get involved. It’ll add a whole other dimension to your trip and is of great benefit to everyone.