GHT Blog

Speaking like a local – useful lingo for the trail

November 12, 2015

Learning the local language before heading out on your worldly adventures is always beneficial. It will give you a more intimate look into a foreign culture, make you and the local people you meet feel at ease and could be a helpful tool to get you out of a sticky situation in remote areas where English is not commonly known.  

There are more than 100 different languages and dialects in Nepal, which would take a few lifetimes to learn even for the most adept of linguists. To help you out, we’ve focused on a couple of helpful phrases in Nepali that will help you speak like a local during your trek on the Great Himalaya Trails, as well as provide some amusing moments for the locals you meet along the way.

Friendly greetings on the trail

NamasteHelloTapaailaai?How about you?
NamaskarRespectful version of NamasteKhaanaa Khaanu bhayo?Have you eaten? (Informal greeting)
HajurYes. Can also be used when someone calls your nameTapaai lai bhetera khusi laagyoNice to meet you!
Tapaailai kasto chha?How are you?Pheri BhetaunlaaSee you later!
 Malaai Thik ChhaI am fineDhanyabaadThank you

Getting to know each other

Tapaai ko naam k ho?What is your name?Tapaai kaha bata aunu bhayeko?Where are you from?
Mero naam John ho.My name is JohnMa Germany baata ayeko.I am from Germany

Addressing people

Aama/BuwaMother/FatherNanu/BabuYoung girl/Young boy
Didi/BahiniBig sister/Little sisterSaathiFriend
Dai/BhaiBig brother/Little brotherSaathiharuFriends

Useful phrases

Kati Bajyo?What time is it?Garmi bhayoI feel hot
Aile eeghara (11) bajyo.It’s 11 o’clockMaile bujhinaI don’t understand
Malaai biscuit (food item) kinnu paryoI’d like to buy biscuitsToilet kahaa chha?Where is the bathroom?
Malai thakaai laagyoI am tiredRamro hotel kataa chha?Where is a nice hotel?
Mero khuttaa dukhyoMy legs hurtMa hataar maa chhuI’m in a hurry
Malaai bhok laagyoI am hungryThamel kahaan ho?Where is Thamel?
Malaai pyaas laagyoI am thirstyThamel jane gadi kata paincha?Where can I get a public vehicle to Thamel?
Malaai sancho chainaI feel sickKati ho?How much? (useful for asking taxi drivers)
Mero pet sancho chainaMy stomach doesn’t feel goodEsko kati parcha?How much does this cost? (In shops)
Ausadhi chaahiyoI need some medicineJomsom  jane baato kun ho?Which is the road to Jomsom?
Sahayog!Help!Ma ali-ali Nepali bolchu I only speak a little Nepali
Jaado bhayoI feel cold

Useful words for neanderthal speak

Tato paniHot waterBatoRoad
Chiso paniCold waterGaunVillage


tinthreenauninechaalisfortyek sayeone hundred
chaarfourdastenpachaasfiftydui sayetwo hundred
paanchfivepandrafifteensaathisixtyek hazaarone thousand

Do you have any useful phrases that you’ve picked up during your visit to Nepal? Please share them with us!

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