Kathmandu: Safety first

One of the most exciting thing for me about traveling is having great and unique experiences. I am an Indian who has been living in USA for several years now and who likes to travel frequently. This time when I was visiting my family in India, I decided to fly to Kathmandu for few days since its a very short flight from Delhi. I never thought that I will be having the most unique experience of my life there.

Kathmandu is a small city and major attractions here are old temples, nearby sites and trails, massage parlors and a very weird nightlife culture. The main nightlife area is Thamel which is full of bars, clubs and something new to me called “Dance Bars”. Dance bars are like strip clubs in USA but there is no stripping or lap dance kind of thing there. They have a stage where girls dance and other girls come and talk to you. When some girl approaches to talk to you, she will start with ordering fews drinks which you are supposed to pay.

On second day of my visit, I met a very friendly guy at a coffee place near my hotel. We talked far a while about Kathmandu and he said if I wanted to check out one of these dance bars he will come with me. We exchanged numbers and decided to meet in the evening and go somewhere.

In evening he picked me up and we went to one dance bars named Tara Bar Dance Restaurant” in Bag Bazar. The workers there knew this guy very well and were friendly to him. There was no one else there in the bar and we went there and ordered a beer each. He said that we should save money and shouldn’t buy a lot of drinks for girls. After around 30 mins he says that the bill will be around 5k and we shouldn’t spend much and pay and leave. He asked me for money and insisted on going to counter and paying the bill. I gave him the money to pay the bill. I waited around 5 mins but he was no where to be found. After that I made him a call and he said that he had run away with my money and I should pay the bill and leave as well. I asked for the bill and was surprised that the bill had reached 18K. They charged me for all the other girls drinking on other tables as well.

So now, since I was the only customer there, they locked the door from inside and started asking for money. There were a total of 6 guys there. I thought for a few mins for my options, tried shouting, talking gently but nothing worked. I checked my pocket and counted a total of around 8k. They asked me to keep my mobile with them and get the money from ATM. I had no option but to follow the orders. I went outside, got the cash, paid the money and got my mobile back.

I didn’t have enough energy to go to police and report all these. I do have his number but I am not sure if that will help any of the readers of this article. Anyways I will put it here : 9808966224

Now let me recommend few of the safety measures while traveling to Kathmandu :

Safety rule 1: Never fully trust any local here. Listen to what they are saying, but always double confirm/ validate that.

Safety rule 2: Try traveling in big groups. Going with 3–4 friends is better that traveling alone.

Safety rule 3: Don’t stay out late in night. If you must, keep everything at home. I mean all of phone/watch/cards/… and carry only limited amount of cash.

Safety rule 4: If you are in my situation, don’t try to fight them. This is how they run their business here and they are well prepared to deal with someone resisting.

Safety rule 5: Avoid dance bars. If you have been to a strip club in USA, trust me you won’t like it. If you really want to check them out, go there around 7 and leave by 8.

Safety rule 6: Avoid Tara Bar Dance Restaurant in Bag Bazar :) . They are definitely running their business by conning.

This was definitely one heck of a experience for me but hope this will help me avoid bigger risks later. Hope this article helps other readers. Please do recommend me if there is anything I can do remotely to report this and get some action taken against these guys.

Happy Traveling!