Nepal is amongst the most progressive countries in Asia for LGBTQ+ people. The Nepalese Constitution recognizes the rights of the LGBTQ+ community as fundamental rights. Moreover, it has been moving in a positive direction since a 2007 Supreme Court decision requiring the government to identify a third gender category and audit its LGBTQ+ policies.
Several laws introduced in 2015 incorporate security based on sexual orientation and gender identity, such as the right to display your preferred gender on identity cards; prohibition of discrimination on any grounds, including sex or sexual orientation by the State and private parties; and the right to access public services for all genders and sexual minorities. Same-sex marriage was discussed but hadn’t moved forward, and there is significant pressure to conform and marry a partner of the opposite sex.
LGBTQ+ Awareness in Nepal’s schools
The education board of Nepal has included gender and sexuality diversity as part of the school curriculum. The students of grades 6, 7 and 8 are taught this topic as part of their sexual and reproductive health subject.
The new syllabus on ‘Health and Physical Education includes components on same-sex attraction and third gender (transgender), are among other topics related to sexual health and awareness. Guidelines for instructors emphasize that these topics need to be respectful and sensitive towards the LGBTQ+ communities.
Tips and Safety Considerations for LGBTQ+ Visitors Nepal
Nepal is a much safer destination than its South Asian neighbours for LGBTQ+ travellers. Nepal scores 41 on the Spartacus Gay Travel Index (the joint highest with Taiwan for Asia). This is because the Nepalese are a bunch of welcoming people. There is a saying in Nepal – “Guests are Gods”. All visitors are respected highly. Everyone is welcome as long as some cultural practices (we are very accepting of mistakes) are followed.
Two persons of the same sex holding hands or hugging or even kissing on the cheeks were more acceptable as a sign of great friendship or closeness of relatives amongst the Nepalese. However, a heterosexual couple doing the same caused uneasiness amongst the locals in the recent past.
The younger Nepalese are more expressive, and they even dress up in Western clothing in the cities and towns. However, Nepal is still a conservative nation, and intimate affections still cause uneasiness amongst the locals.
Several International Hotel chains operate in Nepal. They are Crowne Plaza, Hyatt, Marriott group, Starwood group, Taj, Swissotel, to name a few.
There is an increasing number of small Boutique Hotels, with 10 to 50 rooms being constructed in Nepal. They are designed in ways to reflect our cultural heritage through artistic architecture. They also differentiate themselves by providing modern amenities blended tastefully with our artisanal crafts and environmentally sensitive designs.
Nepal is about the size of Austria and Switzerland in size. However, our diversity is quite extensive, with two significant races and numerous ethnic groups with their clans and sub-clans.
Nepalese Cuisine + Nightlife
Nepalese Cuisine is not as well known as our giant neighbours – India and China. The Nepalese Cuisine is a milder version of Indian food, and they have also adapted Tibetan and Chinese Cuisine.
The Newar Ethnic group of Kathmandu have something similar to Tapas, and their cuisine is one of the most elaborate amongst the Nepalese ethnic groups.
However, we have a pretty healthy diet, primarily organic vegetable-based, superfood, and herbs used for cooking. Like in most developing nations, almost every part of an animal is eaten.
Nepal has been a leader of International Cuisine since the late 1970s. We have an array of international restaurants. Many travellers who spent time in India love the plethora of “Western” meals available in Nepal.
We now have more restaurants springing up to cater for the more affluent Nepalese clientele in Kathmandu and the tourist hub of Pokhara city – 200 km west of Kathmandu.
We have many Restaurants, Cafes, Pubs and Discos in the main cities of Kathmandu, Pokhara and Sauraha (tourist area) in the Chitwan district.
Nepalese love lives bands that play rock, heavy metal, reggae and contemporary music. There are also upscale lounges, bars and nightclubs. There are plenty of venues in Kathmandu, Chitwan and Pokhara for Nightlife. In addition, aA few venues started by the LGBTQ community are beginning to spring up in Kathmandu.
Nepal is home to many colourful religious festivals during which life is celebrated.
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