This blog post is supplimental to our Youtube channel: http://bit.ly/2NTzjyM
The first thing you’ll notice is that even if you are average looking or a bit over-weight, when you step off that airplane you will be made to think you are a star. You are so beautiful you can have your pick of all these awesome, handsome men in Nepal. Much of this applies to other parts of Asia, as well.
A lot of this is sincere, we look exotic and come from mysterious lands far away. However, there is a belief that finding one of us will be the best way to get out of Nepal to go to the ‘land of money.’ If you want a husband that may be someone people will say, ‘Wow, how did she land such a handsome husband?’ this is the place. They aren’t all exceptionally handsome, but they all want to go abroad.
On more serious note, if you think you have some sort of disease or condition you can get an inexpensive test in Nepal-very cheap. I’ve never been asked for my ID, so if you’ve been wanting to get tested, Nepal is the place to do it. Check on my blog posts to learn about some medical opportunities. But don’t just show up and think you can get a safe abortion or something. Write to me.
First, please understand that life doesn’t come with a manual and all we believe comes from our family and culture. Even though there are new laws against the practice of Chaupati, there are many deep rooted beliefs surrounding the women’s monthly cycle. If you stay in the Kathmandu Valley or where many tourists pass through, it will be fine. But if you plan to go out to a rural home-stay or volunteer stay you should ask in advance what the customs are for when you get your monthly. It might be that you simply cannot go into the kitchen, but please know that you are not going to change anyone’s mind; even if they act like you gave them some sort of epiphany.
Here’s our list:
1. Don’t take the local bus outside of the Kathmandu Valley, especially the night bus. They don’t stop long enough for women to find somewhere on the side of the road/mountain to relieve themselves.
If you really must take a local bus consider bringing a feminine, urinal straw Just be sure to clean it properly-which could be a problem. What I suggest in my eBook is to bring the kind of liquid soap you don’t need a lot of water to wash, like the soap a nurse would use to give a sponge bath.
One more reason not to take a local or night bus; they are not well maintained and some of the drivers drink. You can take a tourist bus, rent a car and driver on a ride share basis or fly. Nepal has domestic airports in Lumbini, Pokhara and Everest, and other places, as well.
2. If you plan to do trekking above 4,500 meter don’t go during your monthly. 1 out of 5 people get high altitude sickness, so if you are getting over a long illness, or are having your monthly (manse) take precautions. This also applies to you if you get a bad case of diarrhea, so just remember high altitude sickness can be serious. I’ll put the link to a blog post about altitude sickness in the description. Set some rules for yourself before you go because the first symptom is reduced brain function.
3. If you have a favorite brand of tampon be sure to bring it from home. You can find one brand of tampons in the supermarket in Kathmandu or you’ll be stuck with pads, which they have in abundance, but you may not be able to even find pads in the rural villages. If you are on the trekking trail you must carry everything out. Do you really want to baby-sit used pads? Tourist trash in the trekking routes is highly illegal in a lot of areas.
4. Do not go trekking alone.
A. We had a guest who told me story about a good friend of hers. The young woman met up with a young man from her home country and they decided to trek together. All was fine until they hit an area too dangerous for her to climb. They argued and finally parted ways at that point and the young man continued alone; has never been seen again.
B. Another guest/volunteer told of having to spend the night on a rock ledge on a mountain because a band a men were hunting him. He feared for his life.
If you don’t want to pay for a trekking company ($75-100 per day) you should at least take a local guide. They are easy to find, but you should make sure he has a license and take a picture of it and let someone know who you are going with. Seriously, hooking up with another tourist to go it on your own is really not very smart. You can get a local guide for less than $20 a day and isn’t your life worth that much?
5. Be careful with hygiene. Wash before and after when you change your tampon or moon cup with clean water. The water in the bathroom can be polluted, so if possible, bring liquid soap from a hospital pharmacy that doesn’t need to be rinsed off. This is soap a nurse would use to give a sponge bath. Try it before you leave to make sure it won’t cause irritation. If you haven’t yet, watch our video on how to find a toilet in Kathmandu.
6. Never use the bucket in the bathroom for splashing on your privates after using the toilet. Use your own water or at least know where it comes from.
7. Trim the bushes so you won’t always need to use toilet paper or water.
8. Do not have unprotected sex. You know that, but here are a few differences:
a. The men are not circumcised and they struggle with the same water issues. If the young man has neglected his keeping his ‘junk’ clean it can cause a lot of problems. Many of the women have fibroid cysts in Nepal, and hygiene can play an important part in this. We recently had a guest who was sleeping with her trekking guide. When she got her monthly she was at our guesthouse and for the first time she had cramps so bad she spent the entire day in bed. She couldn’t understand it, but my guess is it had something to do her sleeping arrangements.
b. Society doesn’t speak openly about such things so there is no information for your new friend to understand disease. They still think the common cold comes from the change of weather.
9. Inappropriate dress. Every time I go out to the nearby cities like Kathmandu or Bhaktapur I see young women wearing inappropriate clothing. Yes, you can get away with it in Kathmandu, but the older men and all the women will look at you in a bad way. If you wear it out in the rural villages you will bring disrespect to yourself. The trick is to keep your legs, stomach and shoulders covered-just to the knee and you can wear short sleeve shirt/T-shirt.
10. This should have been first. Never say the ‘F’ word. Don’t even think ‘Freak-in’ will work. There is no excuse and zero tolerance for such speech in this society.
There you have it, Ama’s list for staying safe and being a good tourist.
After writing about the need for women to remain covered while out in the rural areas I thought about an option for the cool, sleeveless blouses and such. If you'd like to support Nepal's textile industry you can buy tourist pants pretty cheap, around $10-12 for top and bottom or something like I had on in the video. They are made of cotton and don't need ironing. They are light and cool and don’t take much space. This is a great souvenir to take back for yourself. If you go somewhere and stay overnight you can easily pack them. You won’t have to wear your dress-up clothes home. They make good pajamas and lounge wear.
I’m going to include these in our shopping video so I hope you subscribe and turn notifications on so you’ll be notified.
I have to say that 90% of my friends are young Nepali men and they are really wonderful. I think they are some of the nicest people I’ve ever known. I admit I over-generalized. They are really kind, gentle and respectful. I just want you to understand on a deeper level so you’ll be safe.
OK, there you have it, Ama’s list of how to be safe and be a good girl in Nepal. I hope you took a look at our Youtube channel. It's pretty much like this blog post but more visual.