Highest mountains in the world, beautiful landscapes, diverse flora and fauna, and the list goes on. This unique experience is why Nepal is famous across the world for its trekking adventures.
Trekking is one of the most popular activities to do in Nepal. There are varieties of trekking options for people of different age and capability. The trekking experience in Nepal provides an opportunity of understanding the local culture and traditions.
Similarly, Nepal is a safe country for solo female travelers or trekkers. The country’s exposure to different cultures and traditions makes Nepal a safe destination.
The people of Nepal are known for their warm hospitality. They are very respectful and helpful. They are less prone to gazing or making annoying comments. They will ensure your safety and good stay in the country.
However, if you are a female traveler, you need to be cautious at all times. Sexual harassment is low-key but still does exist in the society. So, it is better to be aware of your surroundings and people around you.
The crime rate of Nepal is less compared to its neighbor India. The crime index is 36% whereas the safety index is 64%.
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How are women treated in Nepal?
If you are a woman traveler, you will be respected whether you are alone or in a group at all times. Nepalese men mostly respect and are protective of solo female travelers.
There may be a few exceptions but the people around will help you if any such problem arises. Catcalling, whistling and other teasing are unlikely to happen in public.
Nepalese women are very friendly to solo female travelers. During the journey, in most of the areas, woman travelers are more welcome than male travelers.
Trekking Solo as a Woman
You are advised to take an experienced and knowledgeable trekking guide along whether you are a man or a woman. It is in view of the safety of the travelers as they are not familiar with the terrain of the country. Hence, choosing the right trekking guide is a must.
Female trekkers have the choice of hiring a female guide in Nepal. It is more comfortable and safe for female trekkers to hire a female guide.
Before hiring a female guide, you can check her background, references, and points of contact to ensure that she is the right person. Also, make sure that you have the right travel insurance that covers up for medical evacuation.
Tips for Female Travelers
- As Nepal is a conservative country, you will have to dress modestly covering your thighs and cleavage. Short dresses, hot pants, sleeveless tops are considered disrespectful in certain areas. Revealing or tight clothing will only gather unwanted attention.But you will not face these problems in major cities like Kathmandu and Pokhara. The dressing code applies to men as well.
- Menstruation is not a common topic in Nepal. People are reluctant to talk about it.Various types of feminine hygiene products like pads, tampons, and menstrual cups are available in the major cities of Nepal. However, these may not be available during trekking. So it’s advisable to bring your own supply.
- Toilet paper is not used in Nepal. You may find it in hotels in the major cities but you will have to carry it during trekking. Or you can learn the traditional way with water.
- Carry comfortable and waterproof footwear designed for trekking. Don’t carry unnecessary high heels. You can also carry a sandal to wear during the night.
- Packing strategically is a must. Don’t carry too many beauty products as you won’t be needing them. Packing a sunscreen with high SPF rate will be enough.Make sure to carry enough pair of socks and a change of shoes. Pack both warm and cold weather gear and clothing.
- Trekking will leave you hungry most of the times. So, don’t forget to carry extra snacks. Get it in the major cities before leaving for the countryside. There will not be many options in the countryside.
- There is an inadequate supply of energy as you go higher up or to remote areas of Nepal. Hence, always carry a torch with you. Also, carry spare batteries to charge your devices.
- Make sure to get a travel insurance covering medical evacuation from high altitudes.
- Make sure that you have all the necessary permits and documents along with you at all times.
- Plan extra days so you wouldn’t be surprised if there is any delay in the flights.
- Trekking alone is a bad idea for both men and women. You will need help if you slip or fall down. Taking a guide with you is ideal but trekking with a group and partner is safer.Nepal is a safe place for trekkers, however, there have been various instances of disappearances too. Better to be safe than sorry!
- Find a trekking partner from the internet before arrival or in the cafe during your stay in Kathmandu. You can find many lone travelers/trekkers in tourist areas. Befriend one and get a trekking partner.
- Hire a porter as it will be hard to carry all your bags while trekking. It will help you have a pleasant trek.
- The majority of Nepalese men are respectful and helpful towards female tourists in public. But if you feel like someone is harassing you, don’t be afraid to speak up. Public confrontation is embarrassing for a man if you speak up, so they will eventually leave you alone.If they don’t leave, you can call the police by dialing 100.
- If you want to save money, try being a vegetarian and eat local cuisine.
- Listening to your guide is a must. They are knowledgeable and experienced. And, their work is to keep you safe.
- Stop and look at the scenery from time to time. Be careful when taking pictures or selfies near cliffs or edges. A little mishap or misstep and you may fall off the hill. So, be alert!
- Be prepared about altitude sickness. Don’t ignore the symptoms as it can hit even the fittest person. Take it easy and inform your guide about the symptoms if any.
- Drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated will help you prevent altitude sickness. Also, carry a thermos and hot water bag to get rid of cramps.
It will aid in successfully completing your trek.
- Plan the trek according to your menstrual cycle. The toilet facilities may be a problem during the trek, so try to avoid going on a trek during those days.
- Usually, Nepali people don’t mind taking photographs. But ask for permission first. Instead of providing money for the photographs, you can be friendly with them through conversation and gestures.
- Bargain for souvenirs and gifts as the shopkeepers tend to ask for higher prices from tourists. But respect the initial price while bargaining.
- Many gestures may be considered as offensive. Following gestures must be used:
- Use two hands while receiving or giving something.
- Don’t point to indicate a religious or sacred object using one finger.
- Do ‘Namaste’ by joining two palms together and bowing down while greeting.
- Eat with your right hand.
- Remove shoes while entering people’s house, temple, monastery and other religious places.
- Don’t step on or point using your feet to another person or religious objects.
- Avoid smoking and drinking in religious places.
- Don’t offer food from your plate or eat from a common pot.
- Avoid drinking water touching your lips from a shared water pot.
- Don’t forget to take medications related to stomach issues. Don’t eat unpeeled fruits. Drink boiled water or carry water purifiers. Wash your hands before eating.
- If you are traveling alone, always carry the contact number of your embassy. You should submit your information like phone number, family or friends contact at the embassy.
- Always keep your ID and password along with their copies with you.
- Carry cash instead of ATM card as it is more convenient.
- Don’t show off your valuables like jewelry, phones, and money in public places.
- Always show that you know where you are going. A confused woman may be considered vulnerable.
- Write down the address of your accommodation and keep it always with you. It will easier to ask for help if you get lost.
- Take your phone with you and get a Sim card. Provide your number to the embassy and your family or friends.
The network may be disrupted as you go higher during your trek. Contact your family as soon as you get the network and inform them about your location.
- Copy the style and dressing code of the local women. It will help you fit in and learn more about their culture.
Nepal is a safe haven for women trekkers with just the right preparation. Still, taking various precautions is necessary for a safe and comfortable travel. Better be safe than sorry!
Dressing modestly, respecting the culture, being confident, packing strategically, getting insurance, carrying necessary medicines and products can help make your trek easier and convenient.
But always remember there are several Dos and Don’t which you need to check before starting your trek.