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Discover Gay Nepal with Kathmandu local boy Tilak

Discover Gay Nepal with Kathmandu local boy Tilak

Nepal ranks as one of our favourite destinations. It has some of the most beautiful scenery we’ve ever seen, particularly on the Annapurna circuit, and foodies will be excited to taste the many types of dal bhat. The icing on the cake, Nepal is a gay friendly country – by Asian standards of course.

Before arriving in Nepal, we expected it to be another very socially conservative South Asian country like the Maldives, India and Sri Lanka, where homosexuality is a crime. However, unlike it’s more conservative neighbours, the Nepalese government has over the past decade taken extremely positive steps to protect its LGBTQ community instead of criminalising them:

As visitors to Nepal, we first noticed this when having to complete our landing card when we arrived at Kathmandu airport; it contained a third “Other” tick box for a person’s sex:

Nepal Immigration Arrival Card

The push towards gay tolerance and acceptance by the government can be seen in Nepalese society. We felt extremely welcome travelling as a gay couple in Nepal. We never had problems getting a double bed, and only ever encountered warm friendly people, curious to know more about us.

In Kathmandu, we met local boy Tilak, who showed us the small gay scene in Thamel and told us more about what gay life is like in Nepal. Whilst the country is very progressive on paper, and to foreigners, for the local LGBTQ community, Nepal is still very conservative, and for this reason Tilak asked that we keep his identity anonymous.

Hello Tilak, please introduce yourself:

Namaste Stefan and Seby. I am Tilak, a 32 years old Nepali social worker, living and working in Kathmandu. I’ve spent a lot of time abroad, particularly in the US and the UK when I was a student.

Are you openly gay?

I am out to my immediate family (parents, siblings), close friends and some colleagues including my boss. I am lucky to have open minded parents They are extremely supportive and have no issues with it, but have asked me to be discrete to avoid ‘society’ gossiping.

I haven’t told anyone else, although I’m sure they’ve figured it out by now. I live in a society, where marriage is the norm: I am now in my 30s and am still not married, which is a big deal here!

Gay Nepal: out on the town in Kathmandu

Gay Nepal: discovering Kathmandu’s gay night life with Adheep and friends

What’s it like growing up gay in Nepal?

Nepal is a socially conservative country. Boys are expected to eventually marry in Hindu culture, and gayness is not particularly accepted.

But the capital city, Kathmandu, has become more international and touristy over the years, largely due to the trekking industry. So much so that we now even have local tour companies here dedicated to gay travel for example, which I think is amazing for a South Asian country! This has also really helped shift attitudes here, making it easier for the younger generation. 

One other related thing that comes to mind, growing up, we’re used to seeing two men holding hands and being very docile with each other in public. This is something you will see a lot of in Nepal, and also in India. This is not a gay thing at all, it’s just cultural for us – a sign of friendship amongst men, nothing more.

Gay Nepalese: boys in Kathmandu

Nepalese boys are very comfortable and affectionate with each other in public

What’s the gay scene in Kathmandu like?

The gay scene of Nepal is largely based in Thamel, central Kathmandu. Outside of the capital, there isn’t much of a gay scene anywhere else. We use gay mobile phone apps like Grindr and Scruff to connect with each other.

The main gay bars and clubs in Kathmandu are:

  • PINK Tiffany: this is the main gay bar here. By day it’s a restaurant, and in the evening it’s my favourite place to come for cocktails. It’s open everyday from 10am to midnight. It is located at: Thamel, Sathghumti, opposite the H2O pub, 44600 Kathmandu.
  • Fire: although this is primarily a straight club, on Friday nights it attracts a lot of local gay boys, and is the best gay club night out in Kathmandu. Best time to come is after 11pm. It is located at: Chaksibari Marga Thamel, Kathmandu. To go there, ask for the Reggae bar, which everybody knows – it is located on the first floor under the Reggae bar.
  • Purple Haze Rock Bar: one of the most popular clubs in Kathmandu and also very gay friendly. It’s a rock club and usually has some of Nepal’s best bands playing live. It attracts a fun, open minded and very mixed crowd, which is why we love it. It’s open everyday from 5pm till midnight. The address is: Thamel, Kathmandu, Nepal 977.
gay nepal night out in kathmandu

Boys night out in Kathmandu

Are there any gay friendly hotels you recommend in Kathmandu?

For Kathmandu, based on the opinions of gay friends from abroad who’ve visited Nepal, I would recommend these ones:

HOTEL HOLY HIMALAYA   Book online

  • This is the only hotel in Kathmandu who advertises itself as a gay-friendly hotel.
  • Located in the tourist center of Kathmandu,Thamel, where all the action happens. 
  • Prices start from $30 / £20 for a double room.

FIND A ROOM WITH MISTER BNB   Book online

  • You will experience a more authentic local experience with your gay host(s).
  • You can find rooms from $20 / £15 a night in a beautiful villa.

HYATT REGENCY KATHMANDU   Book online

  • A brand, welknown for its strong LGBT focus.
  • Located near Boudhanath Stupa, a UNESCO world heritage site.
  • Prices start from $180 / £120 per night. 
Banner hotels for nepal

Are there any popular gay pride events in Nepal?

We have an annual pride parade held in August/September on the day of Gaijatra (a local Nepali festival of cows). The turnout is pretty high and it’s a lot of fun.

Another popular event we love is a gay beauty contest called Mr Gay Handsome held every June in Kathmandu. It was started by The Blue Diamond Society, one of our most popular LGBTQ organisations.

Mr Handsome Nepal

Mr Handsome Nepal gay beauty contest held every June in Kathmandu

Finally, are there any particular styles of saris you recommend we wear for Kathmandu gay pride?

Hahaha I agree with you boys. The sarees are beautiful and make for a fabulous outfit, especially during pride.

To be honest, one would do, they’re all awesome! My favourite is the black/red saris worn by the Newar women, called haku patasi:

Newar women saris

Saris worn by the Newari women

 

If you enjoyed reading, please pin me:

Gay Nepal interview with Tilak from Kathmandu

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47 Comments

  1. Awwwwww, i need to admaire seby’s photo first, hahahahaaaaaaah.

    I’m glad to hear your guy’s interesting joural in Nepal.
    Nepal is really good place , starting by its third gender tick box on the arrival card. haha .. Its really open-mind for an Asian country i think… And it seems there are plenty of cute guys in Nepal from your nightout photo, so envy 😉

    greeting from China 🙂

    Reply
    • Thanks Leox!

      Reply
  2. Cool post. I want to go to the Mr Handsome show!! 🙂

    Reply
    • LOL we too!!!

      Reply
    • Bhaktapur I’d say is gay friendly because the village is so friendly. Gay or straight, no problem. That’s what I love most about Nepal, everyone is welcome.

      Hope to see you next trip to Nepal.

      Thanks for sharing this link with me. I’ll be posting it.

      Reply
      • Thanks Amanda

        Reply
  3. I’m so glad I stumbled upon this web page! My partner/husband and I are travelling to Kathmandu in a couple of months and wondered about the culture there and it’s views on same sex relationships! You all look like you had a fantastic time there! 😀

    Reply
    • Hi Paul thank you for your message. You will love Nepal- it was our favourite place on our travels. Will you be doing any trekking there?

      Reply
  4. Would love to have contacts in Nepal due to the devastating earthquake so that we know where to channel aid. Hope to go there personally to assist in the coming months. Cheers, John

    Reply
    • Nice one John 🙂

      Reply
  5. Nice pics .

    Unfortunate , Very sad that Nepal gone to rubble due to the natural calamity. Really shocked to see that. I don’t know whether the author of this page returned back from Nepal or not. Sir, Are you safe?.

    Reply
    • Thanks for your message Ram. Yes we are fine.

      Reply
  6. How are things in Kathmandu, three months after the quake?

    Reply
    • Generally they are ok from what we hear from friends there, but homes completely destroyed. So so sad to see this happen to such a beautiful country!

      Reply
  7. Would you say that teenage guys in Nepal probably have had at least fleeting gay experiences even if hetero

    Reply
    • Maybe – but no different then us?

      Reply
  8. I love Nepal so much, that’s why I visit this beautiful country every year. They re very kind and welcome to you from their heart. Nepali Boys are cute and I make relationship with one of them . it s the most great moment in my life.

    Reply
    • Thanks for your comment and fully agree with you. Whereabouts are you from?

      Reply
  9. I too am a gay living in Kathmandu and i am too in my 20s. It’s almost the same for me as tilak, but i have yet to disclose it to my parents though. I am sure they would be supportive as well. I have shared it to few of my friends and they have proven to be so supportive. I have yet to find a guy for me. Well it’s like this…. Almost all of them are straight!!! And the ones those aren’t straight are only up for something physical or hookups (the ones i have met so far…) And there are many who are too shy to come out. Although people are starting to support a person being gay, many are still afraid or shy to come out. It’s mostly because of our culture as well. It is still a “taboo” to almost all of the elderly people.
    There is also a misconception among people here that being gay means being a transgender. Most people neglect the fact that being gay doesn’t necessary means being a transgender. And another misconception is a gay is someone who “acts” very “girlish” and a man who is in touch with his feminine side more than he needs to be… Well to me thats just an offensive stereotype…
    I am very thankful to NGO like ‘Blue diamond society’ who are fighting for people like me and many others who choose to live this life style.
    It’s great that the nee constitution has some laws in favor of us but as long as the people of the country stay closed and traditional to their thoughts about love, marriage and sex it will be hard for a openly gay person to live normally in this society.

    Reply
    • Hi Baibhav thanks so much for your message. This is awful to hear. What sort of laws does the constitution have in favour please?

      Reply
      • Well the states gay marriages legal. It was legalised before at the previous constitution. Sorry i seriously do not follow politics and changing constitution. But as far as i know gay marriage has been legalised. 🙂 (yay!)….. But it doesn’t change much though. Even though gay marriage is legalised, i have not heard even one gay couple getting married. And even if there was one that i missed i am not sure if the society accepts their marriage… The people yet have to grow out of their traditional ways of thinking and accept the many changes happening in the society… Until that happens no matter what the law says it’s still going to be considered an ill-spoken Taboo.

        Reply
        • hey, I am also having similar problem like you. I am gay but out of valley.

          Reply
        • hey baibhav wats ur facebook id i want to add u. i am to gay

          Reply
          • my facebook name is Baibhav shrestha 🙂

    • Hi Baibhav would you like to be my friend???

      Reply
  10. It is hard to come out as gay in nepal because nepalese people still thinks that transgender and crossdresser are gays and gayism is a sin or psycological disorder. But it is great to know that nepal government is supporting gays.

    Reply
    • Agreed 🙂

      Reply
  11. Dear Sahil Shrestha,
    Soon i will visit nepal for the first time coming from europe. I would be happy to get some info from you about traveling in your beautiful country. So could you give me your facebook id or emailadres? Then i may chat with you directly. Thanks and regards Eric

    Reply
    • Hi Eric, I’ve just emailed you, introducing you to Shree.

      Reply
    • hi you most welcome to nepal

      Reply
      • Thanks Ramesh 🙂

        Reply
    • Hi Eric I’m myth from Nepal Kathmandu so did u visit to nepal or still not

      Reply
  12. I love my Nomadic boys, always giving great tips and informative interviews with locals.
    I’m coming to Nepal on the 1st of September travelling around a bit, but mostly based in Kathamandu. If any local guy wants to get in touch I’ll buy you a beer if you take me a good gay friendly bar 🙂

    Reply
    • You’re sure to have an amazing time 🙂

      Reply
  13. Hello!

    This article was a really good read, and the comments are very interesting. I noticed the ‘other’ gender as we arrived.

    I am here from England, and arrived here yesterday to the great surprise of the pride event!

    It was amazing to walk proudly with so many people, and I had the absolute pleasure of meeting some of the organisers of Blue Diamond. It was a truly special day.

    I am here two more nights, and would love to know if there are any LGBTQI+ bars/clubs that I could visit!

    Maybe someone is going, and would invite me along too?

    I look forward to hearing from you,

    Thank you

    Asher

    Reply
    • Oh how cool – do let us know if you do 🙂

      Reply
  14. Namaste ,
    Good article Tilak , and Thanks for sharing 🙂
    Greetings from Dalmatia
    Love and Peace

    Reply
    • 🙂

      Reply
      • Hello Stefan,
        Great article and comments. I will be visiting Kathmandu in March.
        Is the Fire Club still meeting every Friday?
        Would love to know!
        Richard, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.

        Reply
        • Actually don’t know but would love an update from you after your trip in March 🙂

          Reply
  15. I try to be friendly with some Nepal guys,they are very friendly & sweet but then they changebmind like scared or something, I like their looks can I gets to know real nice guys,never married,alone in USA,never feel this before,help..

    Reply
    • Agreed – they are lovely guys!

      Reply
  16. my name is rohit and im crossdresser from kathmandu and iam looking for people like me

    thank you

    Reply
  17. I will be in Nepal from April 15 till May 12th. Please let me know. I’m visiting from the USA. I am originally from Nepal and I haven’t been able to meet any Nepal gay in the US yet.

    I wanna come up with an idea how we can make a better and accepting community for Gays in Nepal. We can brainstorm together. 🙂

    Please email me at khadka.akash21@gmail.com

    Reply
  18. i am late to see this post. by the way i am happy for being so frank and motivational way to come out as gay. i am gay too. i have tried to tell them about it but they took it as the sign of my over-studied mental disorder. and they have taken all my book to home so that i will not study more to become more mad.

    by the way i want to find the friend of my age or near to it. and my age is 22. i am student of physics and bit of writer too. and mainly i want to celebrate for who i am?

    Reply
  19. As a practicing Buddhist, and gay man myself, I am glad to see Nepal is so open and acxwpting of our community. You should never have to hide who u are or who u love!

    Reply
    • Agreed!

      Reply

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