Spending a night or two in a homestay, in a thriving community, is one of the best ways to get beneath Nepal’s mountainous surface and experience the details beyond the tourist scene. By connecting with your local hosts, you’ll see a different side to the country that will bring new insight to your travels, allowing you to experience the ordinary (and extraordinary) moments found within the everyday experience of modern life in Nepal.
There are several homestay options on offer throughout the country, so wherever you’re headed you can enrich your experience with a night or two as guests of local hosts.
Run as cooperative community projects, these homestays range from specially-allocated individual dwellings to boutique-style hostels, all staffed and maintained by locals. Some are in smaller, rural villages, while others are in busier towns, offering a range of experiences of different aspects of Nepali life.
In Lalitpur Metropolitan City, historically Patan, you can stay in small, communal houses in the centre of town, soaking up the rich culture of this ancient city. Meet with other guests and your local hosts in the shared kitchen, cook and enjoy meals together, and chat about the day’s highlights over a drink in the lounge.
Further west, in the rural Terai region, the Barauli homestays offer the chance to stay in cosy, individual huts in the heart of a traditional Tharu community on the outskirts of Chitwan National Park. Welcomed with traditional song and dance on your arrival, you are included as an honorary member of the village for the duration of your stay. Chat with local residents, learn to cook traditional Nepali dishes, and get involved with one of the many festivals that take place throughout the year – with an average of one a month, there’s likely to be something going on whenever you visit!
Every homestay is as varied and interesting as the people that run it, and each one brings you close to a different Nepali community. Don’t expect hotel-level facilities and service, that’s not what these homestays are about. Here, the focus is on experiencing life as the locals do, in simple spaces full of welcome and warmth, and making tangible, memorable connections with the beating heart of Nepal.
Taking an alternative approach to a classic Nepal combination, this journey contrasts the heady and hectic streets of Kathmandu with the open savannah of Chitwan National Park. Slow down to search for tigers and rhinos amid the wilderness, before strapping up your boots for a light trek between two atmospheric lodges in the Himalayan foothills around Pokhara.