Everest Base Camp Trekking: How not to offend the locals?
You are on Everest Base Camp Trekking, the trek of a lifetime, and you can’t enjoy the trek because you have annoyed the locals. Doesn’t sound good right? If you are to enjoy the trek thoroughly, befriend the locals and get an insight into their culture, traditions lifestyle and many more, try not to offend the locals along the trail. This helps you during the trek and gets you full enjoyment from this beautiful and adventurous trek.
While you are trying to figure out how not to create annoyance for the locals, including the porters, guides and other trekkers from Nepal, here are few recommendations for you.
1. Dress appropriately
This is one of the most common yet the most important thing where you could be annoying the locals, directly or indirectly. Most of the villages along the trekking trail in Everest Base Camp still maintain the conservative attitude, especially regarding the lifestyle culture and traditional values and clothing is the face of these legacies they have inherited from their ancestors. Dress conservatively. Don’t wear dresses that expose your body much or are skin tight. Even if you feel comfortable with such clothes try wearing another thin layer cloth that covers up the skin tight clothing. This informal rule is much stricter if you happen to visit religious places or ceremonies. Keep this in mind.
2. Know about special etiquettes to be followed
There are some things that are particular to the Everest region that are of some value to the locals that you should respect as well. For example, when you are circumambulating around a Gompa or Chorten you need to go around them in clockwise direction. Similarly, when you are entering inside the religious places you need to keep your shoes, slippers and other footwear outside the entrance to the main place of religious worship. You need to maintain noise to the minimum level inside the monastery or other such places. If possible carry some prayer flags and festoon them with the suspension bridge you encounter along the trail. Eating with right hand is the general way of having dish and you have to wash your hands before having meal, if you are having meal with your hands. Get detailed information before you start on your trek.
3. Respect religious sentiments
This is something really sensitive when you are going to any foreign land. The communities along Everest Base Camp route are mostly Sherpa people who follow Buddhism. Know in more detail about the religious customaries these people follow. Some Sherpa people may still have the practice of polyandry which may be strange for you. Don’t pass comments on such practices in the society. Respect that they have different values and systems than yours back in your native place. This shall keep you in peace with the locals during your trek.
4. Keep in mind the cultural differences
You may have several new sights and experiences or witness different attitudes of solving problems during your trek to the Everest region. Have in mind that these are part of your challenges during this trek and respect the difference that you encounter. The way of eating food, the cultural values or attachments for a particular food, the toilet hygiene and dressing approach are all part of these differences, that you should be cautious of not encroaching. Respect these things, broaden your mind and enjoy the trek.
5. Do responsible and eco-friendly trekking
Think of your reaction if some foreigner comes to your locality and litters around or brings in with him the guides and makes minimum expenditure that benefits your community. You get disappointed or even angry, isn’t it? So when it comes to your turn, trek responsibly. For your trek to Everest Base Camp, make sure that the expenses you make goes to the hands of locals. Use the teahouses run by local community people and hire porters and guides of the same community. Similarly, try not to litter around in the trail. Use dustbins or dispose off the trash in proper place. Try not to create damage to local vegetation or disturb the habitat of the wildlife en route. As the saying goes, leave nothing but footprints and take nothing but memories.
Now that you have some ideas on not annoying the locals in the Everest Base Camp Trekking, try following these tips as neatly as possible. Be aware of the local customs, values and practices, food habits and clothing tips before you embark on the trek. It’s not that you won’t be able to trek at all without knowing these but keeping yourself close to local way of living enriches your experience in this unique landscape full of diversity. Respect locals and locals will respect you. Isn’t it?