So what are the general misconceptions travelers have about Nepal? Elen Turner debunks the 8 common myths about Nepal that travelers get wrong in her recent article for Matadornetwork.com.
- The spring 2015 earthquakes destroyed the country
The earthquakes of April and May 2015 was devastating for the Himalayan nation. However, the scenes of destruction broadcasted around the world focused on specific heritage sites in Kathmandu and the worst hit regions in Nepal. Tourism infrastructure is pretty much intact and infact now is a great time to visit Nepal.
- ‘Sherpas’ are just the people who carry your bags up the mountain
Well the term ‘Sherpa’ is correctly applicable to men who porter bags up the mountains in expeditions, ‘Sherpa’ is actually an entire ethnic group from eastern Nepal. While many from the community are involved in the tourism industry as guides and porters, many more are lodge-owners, entrepreneurs, business-owners etc.
- All Nepalis are mountain climbers
Not all of Nepal is high mountains and not all Nepalis are mountaineers. Climbing requires months of training, hard work, lots of money, dedication, interest and so many other factors.
- Nepal is a Buddhist country
Depsite Nepal being the birthplace of Buddha, it is not actually a Buddhist country. Though it is central to Buddhist pilgrimage with many important religious sites around Kathmandu, only 11% of Nepalis practice Buddhism.
- Nepal is just a mountainous version of India
Nepal and India do have some cultural similarities, however the differences between the two are akin to those between Western and Eastern Europe that share cultural traits but are also very distinct from each other.
- Nepal is a mountain Shangri-la
The term ‘Shangri-la’ paints a picture of a permanently happy land of timeless, ageless people popularized through British author James Hilton’s 1933 novel Lost Horizon, set in the Himalayas. To describe Nepal as a Shagri-La is to obscure the realities of this country.
- Nepal is a kingdom
Nepal was a kingdom. The country chose to abolish monarchy and voted to become a republic on May 28, 2008. This was following a royal massacre of nine members of the Royal family in 2001.
- Kathmandu is colder than the North Pole
High up in the mountains it can get pretty cold and Kathmandu in the winter can be unpleasant due to lack of central heating. But average temperatures are 15 degrees Celsius so no snow and definitely no risk of frostbite!
The above post has been adapted from an article by the author on matadornetwork.com. Click below for the full story: