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Basics of the Nepali / Nepalese language for travelers

Learn to say more than hello in Nepali!

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Introduction - phrases - downloads - tips

Nepali / Nepalese language

The language spoken in Nepal is known as Nepali or Nepalese (नेपाली). It's roots lie in Indo/ Aryan history. It's written in Devanagari script, such as Hindi and Sanskrit are.

There are over 120 languages spoken in Nepal! However over two thirds of Nepal speak Nepali (Gorkhali) with the rest being made up variations such as Nepalese Bhasa.

Did you know?

Over 35% of the people in Bhutan speak Nepali. They are mainly located in the south. Due to an ethnic cleansing campaign in Bhutan in the 1980's over 100,000 were forced to leave. Many ended up in refugee camps in Eastern Nepal.

There are over 1, 400,000 Nepali speakers in North East India.

For the tourist to Nepal English is relatively well spoken in the main tourist areas. Most guesthouse in large cities and travel agents all speak English. Getting around is no problem.

However learning some basic phrases of Nepali is a great way to show respect and further your enjoyment when visiting Nepal.

It also ensures you know how to politely decline more food or local drinks! Best of all, basic Nepali is relatively easy to learn.

Basic phrases of Nepali for travel

Hello Namaste
What is your name? Tapaiko naam ke ho?
My name is ..... Mero naam___ ho
How are you?  Timlai sanchai cha?
Thank you.  Dhanyabaad 
Yes Hajur
No Chaina or Haina
Good Ramro
Bad Naramro
Clean Sapha
Dirty Phohar
Do you speak English?  Tapaai Angreji bolnuhunchha?
I don't understand.  Maile buhjina
Where is the toilet?  Toilet kata cha?
How do I get to ___ ___ kasari jhaane? 
Left Baayaa
Right  Dayaa
Straight ahead  Sidha
I'm lost Ma haraye
Get lost! / Go away! Yaha bata haat!
How much is this? Yes ko kati parchha? 
Do you have rooms available? K tapai sanga kunau kotha upalabda cha?
I'm a vegetarian. Ma masu kandina
I don't eat pork Ma bangoor khaadina
Food Kanna
Water Paani
Tea  Chiya
Coffee Coffee

Download free Nepali language courses

There are a few basic free Nepalese language courses/phrases to download that are quite good.

The first is from WorldNomads and the direct MP3 download is here. They also have an iphone app here.

There's a basic online Nepali course offered by Cornell here

Finally for those looking for something more intensive, expats or volunteers wanting to learn Nepali here's a 300+ page Nepalese language course.

There is also an extensive Nepalese online language resource located here.

Important Nepali words to learn

How much Nepalese do you need to know to visit Nepal? The most basic and important phrases are:

Hello - Namaste

Thank you - Dhanyabaad

How much is this? Yes ko kati parchha?

This is too expensive Yo ati mahanco cha

Nepali language tips for travel

If you are harassed by street kids simply put a hand up, keep walking and say Chaina or Haina (no). Making a fuss or saying some rude will only aggravate them.

Learning the basic numbers if you want to bargain in markets is important.

Downloading the MP3 Nepali phrases above and listening to them on your flight to Nepal or on a bus is a great way to get started.

If you are on a short stay holiday or vacation the chances are you'll be surrounded by Nepalese people who speak good English. Learning please and thank you in Nepali will work wonders on many an occasion!

Download my guidebooks to Nepal!

Liked this page? You'll love my books! My guidebooks are better than the rest. Yes, really! In them I cover all of the attractions with well researched information, photographs and travel tested walking tours.

They are interactive & printable guidebooks like no other.

Bhaktapur travel guidebook
Find out more!


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Learn to understand the basics of Nepali & converse with the locals!

Nepalese writing on stone
Click photo to see larger photograph of Nepalese writing on stone
Big photo of the way to Everest Base Camp sign Take a boat ride on the Rapti River in Chitwans jungle Nepal Om mani padme hum written onto stone Streets of Kathmandu
Huge photo of a Baby Elephant in Chitwan Learn more about Nepalese food starting with Dhal Bhat Visit the Swayambhunath Monkey Temple with this free guide See a huge photo of Mount Everest

Click a heading to browse my Nepal
travel guides


Full guide:
» Guide to Patan    
Central Patan
  - Patan Durbar Square
 South Patan
  - Mahaboudha Temple
  - Uku Bahal
  - Machchhendranath temple
North Patan
  - The Golden Temple
  - Kumbeshwar Temple Complex
West Patan
  - The Kumari Living Goddess
East Patan
  - The Balkumari Temple

Make the most out of your journey:
» Get my full guidebook to Patan!


Full guide:
» Guide to Bhaktapur City
Inside Bhaktapur city:  
» Guide to Bhaktapur Durbar Square
  - Erotic Elephants Temple (Shiva Parvati)
  - Basantapur Chowk (Sculptures)
  - National Art Gallery / Museum
  - The Golden Gate (Sundhoka)
  - Taleju Temple (Mul Chowk)
  - Naga Pokhari 
55 Window Palace
  - Siddhi Lakshmi
  - Stone Lions
  - Pashupatinath Temple (Bhaktapur)
  - Vatsala Durga Temple & Taleju Bell
  - Chyasalin Mandap
Near Durbar Square
» Taumadhi Square
» Pottery Square
» Dattatreya Square
Just outside Bhaktapur
» Kailashnath Mahadev (Tallest Shiva statue)
» Nagarkot

Like to know more?
» Get my full guidebook to Bhaktapur!

Bardia National Park

Nepali Numbers

1 ek 11 egaara 21 ek-kaais
2 dui 12 baara 22 baais
3 teen 13 tayra 23 tay-is
4 chaar 14 chaudha 24 chaubis
5 paa~ch 15 pandhra 25 pach-chis
6 chha 16 sora 26 chhab-bis
7 saat 17 satra 27 sat-taais
8 aatth 18 atthaara 28 att-tthaais
9 nau 19 un-naais 29 unantis
10 das 20 bees 30 tees
40 chaalis 50 pachaas 60 saatt-tthi
70 satri 80 as-si 90 nab-be
100 saya 1000 hazaar    

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