There are tons of reasons to choose a homestay in Nepal over hotels. From helping out the local economy to enhancing your culture experience, there are many benefits. Not only can you see a side of Nepal unlike any other, but you can also leave as a part of the family.
Here are our top ten reasons to choose a homestay on your next visit
See Beyond the Tourist Trail
Staying with a host family allows you to see beyond the tourist trail. Get off the beaten path and discover the best local restaurants, the coolest hangouts, and the most stunning views without any of the crowds. While most hotels will give you a map with all the “popular tourist attractions,” a homestay will provide you with inside information that only locals know. You’ll get to see a side of the country few visitors ever experience.
Experience Distinctive Accommodation
While hotels may feel comfortable, homestays are a look into how locals live. There isn't a better way to dive into a new culture than to stay in an authentic Nepali home. Staying in a cottage at a remote village is a chance of a lifetime. Wake up to masala tea and watch a village come alive in the morning as everyone heads to the fields, or hang out around the fire at night exchanging stories with your host family.
Try Organic and Home Cooked Meals
Homestays are the perfect opportunity to try the local cuisine. The best way to experience the essence of a place is to try a home-cooked meal in someone’s home. Most people who live in rural areas work in agriculture and grow their own grains. Many also have gardens with organic vegetables. While staying in a homestay, you’ll get an opportunity to eat a meal that’s been grown, harvested, and cooked by your hosts. If that weren’t enough, you get to sit down and eat with the entire family, which is a sign of great respect.
Learn Local Culture and Customs
A lot of tourists read about the culture and customs of a country in their guidebooks. Instead of reading about it, why not experience it first hand? In a homestay, you’ll get the opportunity to talk to your host family about their life. They can teach you about their religion, cuisine, traditional clothing, local dances, and customs. Nepal has over 100 different ethnic groups and each one has a unique heritage. You could stay in ten different villages in Nepal and have ten completely different experiences.
Improve Your Language Skills
Staying at a homestay is a great opportunity to learn a new language. Even learning a few words a day is a great way to connect with locals. By the end of your stay, you might even be able to say a few key phrases. If your goal is to learn Nepali, there’s no quicker way then to immerse yourself in the language and practice it every day. Your host family will also be thrilled to practice their English with you.
The Economic Benefits
Homestays are a great value for your money. Not only will they keep you on budget, but staying there also helps the local economy. Homestays are often located in small villages or rural areas where agriculture is the only form of income. Giving villages another source of income ensures that they’ll be able to survive if something were to go wrong with their crop or livestock.
Become Part of the Family
While tourists arrive as visitors, they often leave as part of the family. Spending time with a local family and getting to know them allows you to interact in a way that isn’t possible in a typical hotel. In Nepal, calling someone father, mother, brother, or sister is a sign of respect, but it also shows how close-knit these communities are. How often do you visit a place and leave with lifelong friends?
Enjoy Unique Activities
Homestays offer a plethora of unique activities. You can learn how crops are cultivated, how to grow an organic garden, or even how to make beautiful handicrafts. Some offer yoga, volunteer opportunities, or cooking classes. Others give you a chance to learn about the local dress, dance, and festivals. You can even dive into religion and explore temples, learn to meditate or learn the rituals that are practiced daily.
Hotels are often modified to fit foreigners tastes. The rooms, food, and staff are all altered to feel more familiar. As a result, it’s hard to have an authentic experience in a hotel. When you talk to the staff of a hotel, it’s a very different experience than talking to a family. Eating a westernized version of Nepali food is different than a home-cooked dish. Hotels are often built-in highly touristic areas where locals rarely live. All around, there’s nothing more authentic than staying in a Nepali homestay.
Memories that Last a Lifetime
As cheesy as this may sound, you’ll walk away with memories that you wouldn’t trade for the world. The hosts are real, genuine people who become family. How often do you visit a hotel and have a meaningful conversation with the concierge or have the maid show you home-cooked recipes? In a homestay, it’s possible to walk away with the most incredible memories. Whether they show you a secret waterfall in the jungle or take you to get the best momos in town, you’re guaranteed to have tons of stories to share with your friends back home.