Although travel in Nepal, especially for woman, is safer then other developing countries there are still risks involved. Female travelers (as with men) can be targeted by scams but also face harassment, & unwelcome advances especially in towns where alcohol is readily available and consumed during festivals. Even on the trail, especially in more isolated sections woman, especially female solo travelers, have been targeted. We saw lots of woman traveling in Nepal & on the EBC but they were typically in groups of at least two people or accompanied by men. Despite suggestions below we are not inferring that woman are unwelcome or mistreated in Nepal, however having information and safety tips can be helpful to avoiding unwanted attention. Below is advice for woman traveling in Nepal:
-Dress modestly: Take cover ups (shawls) if entering a religious site. Most Nepali's especially in smaller villages dress modestly covering most of their body. This is not to say you have to wear a full burka but please be respectful and do not wear tube/tank tops and short shorts as this is seen as disrespectful and may encourage unwanted male attention. Many Nepali's expressed their dismay at male and female travelers on & off the trail who were scantly clad. Trail clothing is appropriate however be mindful.
-Touching between men & woman typically does not occur in public in Nepal. If a man attempts to shake your hand or is overly enthusiastic in their greetings that requires physical contact, respectfully withdraw & greet them with hands clasped as if in prayer and a nod of the head.
-Safety on the Trail: The EBC trail, especially above Lukla is so widely used that we rarely heard of woman being harassed however it does occur. Even on the sections below Lukla, villagers tend to be extraordinarily friendly and welcoming. However, we did not see many female trekkers below Lukla. We heard more stories of unwelcome advances and harassment on lesser used trails in Nepal. It's always recommended to trek with another person in case of injury and for other safety precautions.
-Guides: If you find a guide from a reputable agency and do your research you will typically not have a problem with harassment. However, if you gamble and use a guide from your hotel or off the streets in Kathmandu and don't do research, you may be subject to unwelcome advances. You may want to consider hiring a female guide/porter if concerned about safety. Contact the trekking agencies listed in this link: Recommended Guide Companies for more information.
-Safety in Kathmandu & large towns: Solo female travelers should take similar safety protocols as you would in other sprawling cities or large towns such as being aware of your surroundings especially if walking around at night. We have heard of some gem/drugging scams in Kathmandu where a shop employee/owner will invite a female customer in for tea, attempt to drug and take advantage of her. However, these scams are rare. Remember, you want to have a great experience but if your intuition tells you a situation is not quite right, kindly but firmly refuse any offers and quickly leave.
-Beware of Fake Sadhu's: Although not as frequent as in India, men dressed as Sadhu's may attempt to approach female travelers and offer to be their "guide or teacher" however they usually have an alternative agenda and become touchy feely very quickly. A real holy man or sadhu will rarely approach travelers and definitely not females unless to ask for alms as they have taken vows of celibacy and are more interested in furthering their enlightenment & spiritual practice. The same advice goes for men as for woman, if a so called "sadhu" approaches you on the street & brags about how holy he is, demands money, or other things he is only pretending to be a holy person & it is probably a scam.
-Female Lodge & Restaurant/Stall Owners on the EBC: You will notice that most lodges & restaurants, especially in less populated sections of the EBC are operated by Sherpa, Rai and woman from various regions of Nepal. If respectful, show appreciation for their food/lodge, and eat at their restaurant they are mostly very friendly and highly protective, especially towards female travelers. If you ever have a problem with a male traveler or local you can talk to the female lodge/restaurant operators and they will try to help you.