All the information below is provided by Pink Pangea community members based on their experiences abroad. Add your voice!
Feminine Hygienic Products
Anonymous says: Pads are found abundantly in most grocery stores and pharmacies. Tampons are also found, but more sparsely. There are only one or two brands, usually sold in quantities of ten. If your nearest grocery store doesn’t carry them, then the pharmacy should.
Anonymous says: Plenty of pads available in the supermarkets, especially in Kathmandu. Might be more difficult in smaller towns where there aren’t supermarkets per se (although there always seem to be pharmacies). Tampons are available in Kathmandu supermarkets, but they’re more expensive and there’s not much variety.
Anonymous says: Foreign women do often hook up with Nepali men (much more common than foreign men with Nepali women it seems!) but there can be a general idea that western women are easy, so I would be cautious in my dealings with Nepali men so as not to perpetuate that stereotype.
Types of Men
Anonymous says: I don’t think it’s a good idea to pigeon-hole people into types… Nepali men are generally easy going, don’t stare or harass women publicly, not a problem for foreign female travellers at all. That said, behaviour towards Nepali women is likely to be different as there are strong patriarchal tendencies in Nepali society.
Anonymous says: On paper, yes, Nepal is LGBTQ friendly, the best in the region by far. But I don’t think anything but discreet relationships and interactions would be tolerated publicly. They are legally liberal, but socially conservative.
Anonymous says: Women in Nepal are much less educated, poorer, and have worse health than men. It’s not that you can ‘tell’ as a tourist, but the development indices are terrible. In Kathmandu there are plenty of educated women in professional workplaces, or serving in shops, but the country in general has a long way to go in this regard.
Anonymous says: They tend to wear saris a lot, I don’t, but if you wear reasonably modest clothes as a foreign woman you’ll fit in. Nepali women are more discreet in their alcohol drinking habits than most foreign women! They often marry younger and have children younger, even middle class women being encouraged or expected to marry after finishing college. It might seem surprising to them, then, that a western woman in her late 20s or 30s doesn’t have children, but they aren’t overtly rude about this, just curious usually.
Anonymous says: There are special Hindu festivals that are very much women’s affairs, a couple of times a year, and these would be good days to visit Hindu temples to join in the festivities. Other than that there are no distinct boundaries, though where a foreign woman can get away with going is quite different from where a Nepali woman can. There aren’t really the same kinds of male-only bars/restaurants here in the same numbers as there are in other parts of South Asia, but still, if a place was frequented only by men I would avoid it for comfort’s sake. In terms of religious buildings, women are allowed to go to Hindu and Buddhist places with no restrictions.
Perception of American Women
Anonymous says: Generally they’re curious about western countries, but don’t really know much beyond stereotypes or generalities. But I’ve found that in Nepal people are less likely to challenge you openly on these matters (such as pre-marital sex or the prevelance of atheism in western countries) as they are in India.
Anonymous says: I wouldn’t take night buses alone, but I wouldn’t do that anywhere. Day buses (local and long distance) and taxis are perfectly safe. Some Nepali women suggest having a regular driver you can contact if you are going to be out alone at night, which is probably a good idea, but I generally avoid needing a taxi alone at night anyway. Most drivers even at night would be fine, but sometimes you encounter someone obviously drunk or on drugs, so these individuals can lower the tone.
Shady Areas for Women
Anonymous says: Nepal is pretty safe. Obviously, dark streets at night are not a great idea, I’ve heard of gropings happening, but probably still safer than most places in the west. Solo trekking is also not encouraged.
Anonymous says: Attitudes are more relaxed than in most South Asian countries. Young Nepali women in Kathmandu often wear tight jeans or tops, though they rarely show much flesh (other than arms and lower legs). Generally though it’s a good idea to keep skirts at or below knee length, and if you’re going to wear sleeveless tops make sure they aren’t low cut or too strappy. You can’t go wrong with the ubiquitous salwar-kameez (long tunic and baggy trousers) but most western-style clothing that is reasonably modest is perfectly acceptable. People don’t stare here at all, but it’s still nice to be respectful.