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

Namaste Hello Tapaailaai? How about you?
Namaskar Respectful version of Namaste Khaanaa Khaanu bhayo? Have you eaten? (Informal greeting)
Hajur Yes. Can also be used when someone calls your name Tapaai lai bhetera khusi laagyo Nice to meet you!
Tapaailai kasto chha? How are you? Pheri Bhetaunlaa See you later!
 Malaai Thik Chha I am fine Dhanyabaad Thank 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 John Ma Germany baata ayeko. I am from Germany

Addressing people

Aama/Buwa Mother/Father Nanu/Babu Young girl/Young boy
Didi/Bahini Big sister/Little sister Saathi Friend
Dai/Bhai Big brother/Little brother Saathiharu Friends

Useful phrases

Kati Bajyo? What time is it? Garmi bhayo I feel hot
Aile eeghara (11) bajyo. It’s 11 o’clock Maile bujhina I don’t understand
Malaai biscuit (food item) kinnu paryo I’d like to buy biscuits Toilet kahaa chha? Where is the bathroom?
Malai thakaai laagyo I am tired Ramro hotel kataa chha? Where is a nice hotel?
Mero khuttaa dukhyo My legs hurt Ma hataar maa chhu I’m in a hurry
Malaai bhok laagyo I am hungry Thamel kahaan ho? Where is Thamel?
Malaai pyaas laagyo I am thirsty Thamel jane gadi kata paincha? Where can I get a public vehicle to Thamel?
Malaai sancho chaina I feel sick Kati ho? How much? (useful for asking taxi drivers)
Mero pet sancho chaina My stomach doesn’t feel good Esko kati parcha? How much does this cost? (In shops)
Ausadhi chaahiyo I need some medicine Jomsom  jane baato kun ho? Which is the road to Jomsom?
Sahayog! Help! Ma ali-ali Nepali bolchu I only speak a little Nepali
Jaado bhayo I feel cold

Useful words for neanderthal speak

Pani Water Pul Bridge
Tato pani Hot water Bato Road
Chiso pani Cold water Gaun Village
Roti Bread Nadi River


ek one saat seven pachis twenty-five assi eighty
dui two aath eight tis thirty nabbe ninety
tin three nau nine chaalis forty ek saye one hundred
chaar four das ten pachaas fifty dui saye two hundred
paanch five pandra fifteen saathi sixty ek hazaar one thousand
chha six bis twenty sattari seventy

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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