Travelling in Nepal is one easy, enriching experience with easy trails, friendly people, helpful guides and affordable facilities. However, it is a country with numerous castes and creed and communicating effectively to everyone is not possible as not all people are well versed in English. So, if you want to enrich your travelling experience and make it an unforgettable one, you need to understand the people, their lifestyle and customs and how beautiful the nature and culture of the Himalayan kingdom is. There are certain phrases that might help make your visit a safe, fun and easy one.
It is a common way to say hello. One usually joins their two hands at the palms while saying Namaste or Namaskar. Nothing brightens up a Nepali’s day like hearing their native greeting being wished by a foreigner. In Sanskrit, it also means “the divine in me honors the divine in you”. Even if you cannot speak any other word or phrase a Namaste is sure to ensure good regards and help from the locals.
It is the word to thank the Nepalese for their warm hospitality and any kind of help- big or small and ensure a good bonding when you are meeting or parting ways.
Other common greetings are “Shubha Prabhat” for Good Morning and “Shubha Ratri” for Good Night.
You can say “Ramro cha” to mean you like something or that something is nice.
“Mitho cha” refers to taste and is highly appreciated if you tell the locals you like their cuisine.
“Ramailo cha” means you are having fun. It can be used when saying you are enjoying something or you like visiting Nepal.
“Bhok lagyo” means “I am hungry” which can be useful during treks in rural areas where you are in need of a great meal after a long day’s walk.
Other important phrases you might need while communicating with your guides, porters or others that could be important for your health and safety during long and difficult treks are as follows:
“Jado bhayo” to say I am cold.
“Garmi bhayo” to mean I feel hot.
“Huncha / Ho” is used to say Yes or express agreement and “Hudaina / Hunna” to say No or to express disagreement.
“Hijo” means yesterday
“Aaja” means Today
“Bholi” means Tomorrow
Chito means hurry or fast.
Ramro means good. You can say “Ramro” when you like or agree with something.
Naramro means bad. It can be said when you dislike or disapprove something.
Sasto means cheap and Mahango means expensive. You can use them to bargain for prices of accommodation or souvenirs/goods you are purchasing.
Sakahari means vegetarian so Ma Sakahari ho means I am a vegetarian. It is useful when you are visiting someone at their house for a meal or when ordering your food.
Malai sancho chaina can be said when you feel sick or when you are not alright during the trek.
Malai thakai lagyo means I am tired.
Malai tirkha lagyo means I am thirsty.
Aago means fire.
Chor means thief.
When you ask for directions it is important to know that Daya means left and Baya means right.
Maile Bujhina can be said when you don’t understand something.
Thikai cha to say it is ok.
Galti ko lagi maaf pau to apologize for a mistake. Nepalese are friendly, easy-going people who will easily forgive you for any mistake or misconduct.
And if you want to learn more about people or be in friendly terms, you should know how to introduce yourself.
Tapaiko naam k ho? to ask what is your name?
Mero naam … ho to say My Name is …
Feri Bhetaula / Chadai Bhetaula is farewell expressions which translate to “see you soon or see you again”.
Shuvakamana expresses congratulations or best wishes.
Basic food and drinks in Nepali are:
Khaja means a light snack.
Khana means a meal (lunch or dinner).
Pani refers to water.
Knowing the above basic words and phrases can help you a lot during your trip either in the city areas or the rural villages of your trek. They help you to establish a warm, strong bond with the trek partners while helping you to understand the culture and lifestyle of the people. You can understand the basic ways to express danger or discomfort and to ask for help which can even save your life in certain situations. Knowing the basic Nepali words and phrases can be a huge asset in turning you trip into an unforgettable experience.