How to prepare
One of the most important things is your attitude of mind. Traveling is not just about admiring the scenery. It is also about trying to understand a different culture and interacting with local people. If you are ready not to judge the different culture, religion, and lifestyle, you may start on a journey.
*Things you need :
- Simple hiking wear (Check the weather ahead, and prepare depending on the season. As villages are in the mountain, it could be chilly or cold even in summer. Thin jackets are useful.)
- Comfortable shoes (Should be suitable for trekking or hiking.)
- Sun cap
- Sunscreen cream
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Quick-dry towel
- First-aid medicine
- Supplementary battery for your electronic devices
- Umbrella or raincoat and mosquito repellent in Summer
Shower : It’s a very local style. It’s not in the house. There’s a small shower booth in the yard. You can take a shower with the hose attached inside. (As mentioned earlier, you need to bring your own toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, and towel.)
Water : You’ll be provided with local water that village people drink. If there’s a store in the village, you can buy mineral water. Otherwise, bring your own water. You may ask people to boil local water for you.
Food : The staple food of Nepal is Dal Bhat. It consists of lentil soup called ‘Dal’ and steamed rice ‘Bhat’. It is served with local organic vegetables as side dishes. If the village raises chickens, you can order non-veg chicken Dal Bhat as well. Just ask your homestay host. Nepalese have Dal Bhat as lunch and dinner. They have ‘Khaja(snack)’ between lunch and dinner. It could be corns, roti(Nepalese flatbread), rice bread, eggs, or chiya. Nepalese have Khaja quite late, so dinner time will be 8-9p.m. in the evening. You’d better check the dinner time with your host. Chiya is Nepalese black or milk tea. When you have chiya, you’d better tell your host about the amount of sugar you take as Nepalese take chiya very sweet. Breakfast is usually chiya, eggs, and roti. If you have any preference, you might talk with your host about the next day’s breakfast in the evening. You may have a look at the kitchen while your host makes Dal Bhat and participate.
People : So many different ethnic groups coexist in Nepal. There are over 100 languages as well. We encourage you to look up some information about people in Nepal. In most villages, there are Gurung people. If you check up on any books, videos or documents especially about Gurung people before you come, you can get closer to local people’s lives. In Gurung villages, you can drink Raksi which is the traditional distilled alcoholic beverage. (Approx. 30-50NPR.)
Cultural programs : If you visit the village as a group, you can ask for a cultural program. You can enjoy traditional dance, music and all. It usually starts after dinner. You’ll have a delightful night, dancing and listening to music with village people. It could be a fixed price, and if it’s not, you may pay individually depending on your satisfaction.
Festivals and time to visit : Hinduism is a huge part of Nepal. However, Shamanism, Tibetan Buddhism and other religions and different groups of people make festivals more colorful. The best time to visit Nepal is from Feb to May and from Sep to Dec. The weather is wonderful during those months.
In March, there’s ‘Shiva Ratri’ which is to praise Shiva, one of the three main gods in Hinduism and ‘Holi’, the festival of colors. The Nepali New Year is in April. From mid-June to mid-July is called ‘Ashad’. It’s the busiest season to plant rice. You can see the villages getting colored with green while enjoying ‘Ropain’, the rice planting festival.
In mid-July, Nepalese women apply ‘Mehndi(Henna)’ on their arms while wearing green bracelets to celebrate ‘Saune Sankranti’, the solstice festival. And it is followed by many different Hindu festivals. ‘Teej’, the monsoon festival celebrated by women, is in September. The two biggest festivals ‘Dashain’ and ‘Tihar’ are in October and November.
* The Himalayas are not something that you can always see. Nepalese say that only God allows you to see. The mountains are hardly seen in the monsoon season. (June to August)
Homestay price : Most villages provide 3 meals and accommodation for $15. This is a base price and it can vary according to the options(liquor, cultural program and water etc.) you choose. Speaking of transportation, the condition between the local bus and rented vehicle is very different. Please check on the information of each route of village hikes.