As travelers, we don’t just want to know where to go and what to see and do in a destination. We want to know what life is like, what the customs are and not just where to eat, but what to try, among other things. And there’s only one way to find out this kind of information — ask a local.
Experiencing a place through a local’s eyes is the surest way to connect with a culture. When guests book one of our homestays, it’s very rarely just about finding a place to stay, but about the experience they can have with our local hosts. Guests are able to immerse themselves in the way of life and learn a great deal about Nepal from our hosts.
Here are a few things travelers can learn from Nepali locals:
Where to go. Without an insider’s knowledge, many travelers visit the temples in Patan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in Kathmandu and don’t venture much further. But local hosts at Patan Community Homestay will make sure travelers know to explore the side streets, how to find the best local snacks and where to find traditional handicrafts (tip: the Newar people are famous for wood, metal and stone carving.)
How to get around. The women who run the Panauti Community Homestay often take guests around town and can lead them to the recently developed Sanga to Panauti trail. It’s an easy-to-moderate 10-kilometer hike with beautiful mountain views.
How to cook local foods. Travelers who want to get a taste of Nepal can learn to prepare some traditional Tharu dishes in the Barauli Community Homestay. Try ghonghi, an edible snail often boiled with spices, or dhikri, made of rice flour and often eaten with chutney or curry.
How to dance like a local. Piprahar is another Tharu village close to the Narayani River, which is considered sacred by Hindu pilgrims and is host to many religious celebrations. Learn folk songs and cultural dances that reveal a good deal about local traditions from the hosts here.
Where to see local wildlife. Bardia National Park is one of the best places to see Bengal tigers, elephants, rhinos and more. Hosts of the Bardia Community Homestay can share their tips on the best places to spot local wildlife. Options for a jungle walk, Jeep safari, rafting trip and more exist.
What life is like on a local farm. Patlekhet is an organic farming village and travelers who stay at the homestay here may learn everything from how to milk a cow to how to collect honey from a beehive. Even if travelers don’t want to get hands-on, they can watch the villagers as they go about their day-to-day farming activities.
While these lessons can be specific to a certain village, many Nepali hosts spend time with guests talking about local customs and history, as well as offering travel tips that only a local will know. Guests receive much more than a place to sleep for the night, and come away with not only a memorable experience but also a new perspective into the local culture that hotels simply cannot fulfill.