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Holi is one of the happiest, most energizing festivals that you can take part in. Without a doubt if you are in Nepal when Holi is happening you need to get yourself involved. It will be messy, it will be colorful and most importantly it will be a lot of fun for you. Who doesn’t want to create life long memories?

As I sit here, with clean hair, after a three hour Holi power session, a half hour shower scrub up and waiting for my taxi to take me to the airport I thought it would be a grand idea to give you a very basic guide to preparing for Holi in Nepal. Straight from the proverbial horses mouth, as someone who has literally just finished enjoying this celebration. I was fortunate enough to celebrate with two girlfriends who I went to high school with.

Before you throw yourself head first into the rainbow of colours that is Holi you will need to do a little bit of preparation for your hair and skin. Now this guide isn’t meant to be gendered against the lads that are going to celebrate Holi. It’s just that there are a few female issues that need to be considered. These do translate across to the male or gender non-specific readers. No matter where you sit on the gender scale James and I love and respect your choice.

A Girls Guide to Preparing for the Colorful Festival of Holi, in Nepal.

Girls guide to Holi Nepal

Safety First When Celebrating Holi.

As previously mentioned Holi is a happy celebration. It’s a celebration of spring and all the good things that spring will bring with it. So very generally speaking Holi in Nepal, and in Kathmandu where we celebrated, is a safe and fun celebration. During Holi it is legally to smoke hashish and alcohol is free flowing on the streets. Don’t be surprised if you get sprayed with beer, as a happy young man sprays it across a group of people. It happens and if you are as prepared as I hope this guide gets you, then it won’t be an issue.
BUT with free flowing booze on the streets and hashish being puffed away some local men can be a bit hands on. We didn’t find it an issue, as most people respected our space and decisions not to be wrapped in a coloured and wet bear hug. Usually the No, means No, line works wonders. Just be firm and walk away if you can. 
I do recommend going to the streets to celebrate with a group and not on your own. The hotel we stayed at called us when another larger group was going out with a guide to see if wanted to join them. We chose not to as there was 3 of us and we had very little issue. Other then the usual throwing of colour and buckets of water from roof tops. 

Preparing Your Hair for Holi

Coconut oil is your BFF for Holi preparations. There is no way to actually know what is in the coloured powder that people throw at you, smush into your face and smack on your head. As someone who has assisted blonde hair, and my bestie who has natural blonde hair, there was a rather large risk of the dyes in the powders staining our hair. I did make a hair appointment for the day after I get home just in case, and also because Nepal is rather dry and damaging to hair.
Grab a good dollop/spoon of coconut oil.
Rub between your hands to melt the oil.
Starting at your roots, rubs down to the very tips.
Repeat at least once.
Braid your hair.
Add coconut oil to your hair line and touch up any dry areas.
Tip – don’t forget your ears! They need some coconut oil loving too.
Don’t worry about how gross it feels or looks. You’ll be thanking me later. The braiding helps to protect your hair. If you can’t braid, a low level bun will do a similar job.
If you are really worried, or plan on doing a big day out in Durbur Square, you may want to consider the above preparations, topped with a shower cap and a head scarf/buff to cover your hair. Don’t worry about looking like a fool. There are literally hundreds if not thousands of silly tourists who are doing the exact same thing. You’ll see some very unique and creative ways that people have taken to cover up their hair/camera gear.
You can buy coconut oil for less than $10 – Australian readers buy here.

Buy coconut oil for your Holi celebration preparation

Pre Holi girls looking super clean Traveling Honeybird

Oil up your body

Even the areas covered by clothing.
Now don’t think I’m trying to get you to film an episode of Girls Gone Wild. Instead channel your inner Greek Goddess and rub yourself to happiness. Like seriously oil up until you shine like a diamond. The coloured powders, the water bombs and the general filth and fun of Holi will soak through your clothing. Staining whatever is underneath including your skin. The coconut oil does work in stopping the dyed powder in staining your skin. 
How girls look after Holi celebrations in Nepal Traveling Honeybird

What to wear when celebrating Holi in Nepal.

Things that you never want to see again. From your toes to your nose. The basics you’ll need are –
  • White/light coloured tee shirt. 
  • Pants – not Daisy Duke shorts. The Nepalese are a fun but conservative people when it comes to clothing. So cover up a little bit.
  • Flipflops/water shoes. You can wear runners/hiking boots but seriously these will get soaked in water and colour. If you are ok with the new rainbow colour that you will be sporting.
  • Underwear that you don’t want to keep. Yes even my undies & bra got soaked and stained. The undies were abandoned but my sports bra will get some TLC treatment when I get home. 
The shops around Pokhara and Kathmandu will sell Happy Holi white t-shirts for around 800 rupees. Which is less then $10 USD. We didn’t find shops were selling loads of white clothing specifically for Holi. You can go into some of the shops and ask, or do as I did and get some sexy backpacker hippy pants. There is no shortage of shops pre-Holi to buy clothing from. 
My t-shirt and pants cost me 900 rupees all up. The t-shirt didn’t survive Holi but the pants I’ve packed to take home in the hope of saving them. For less then $10USD you can easily find an outfit. Now I don’t like disposable clothing like this, and my travelling companions just used clothing that they had and no longer cared about. 
Jean after Holi colour festival kathmandu Traveling Honeybird
Jean post Holi and post triple shower Traveling Honeybird

Post-Holi Hair Care.

Depending on how badly your get colour bombed you may need some fairly decent DIY hair care. The coconut oil is like walking around all day with a leave in treatment. So that will help the overly drying and dying effect of the colored powders.

Shampoo – shampoo – shampoo. And then condition. It’s best to leave your conditioner in for a good 5-10mins whilst you scrub your body and the bath/shower. Don’t be a dick and leave a filthy bathroom for the hotel staff to deal with.

For my hair it took three hard core shampoos and scrubs before the water ran clear. I had a Dr Fabulouso conditioning treatment that I travel with, to help keep my blonde locks golden and clean. After shampooing my hair I did a deep conditioning treatment, and used that time to clean up the bathroom. Even after this amazing treatment I needed to do one more condition to bring it back to semi normal. If you’re not as concerned about your hair you could probably get away with two shampoos and one condition.

Pro Tip – Leave your valuables behind.

It nearly broke my mental state not having my phone on me for half a day. Sad I know right! For the first time in years I opted to leave my phone at the hotel. The main reasons for this – firstly my phone is my life and my work life. If it had been damaged or stolen it would have been a real hassle for me. Now I have a beautiful Samsung S9+ that is a very tough phone. Even so I wasn’t prepared for the carnage that could happen. 
Having a smart phone or a big ass DSLR camera won’t protect you from the water bombs, the handfuls of colour or the puffs of powder in your face. We saw more people then not absolutely heart broken at having damaged some very expensive equipment.
If you’re not prepared to loose your items then don’t take them out.
You can try to wrap up all your gear but really is it worth it? 

Do you need any money to celebrate Holi?

The simple answer – Yes. Some shops will be open. You can buy the coloured powders for around 200 rupees for 3 bags from sellers off the streets. It really does vary between all the sellers and there are so many of them on the streets. We took out money for coffee and colored powders in a zip lock bag and stuffed that in my bra. Whilst we didn’t ever feel unsafe, we also avoided the really crowded area of Durbar Square. Where pickpockets are known to hang around and you may also be charged 1000 rupee for entry to the square as a foreigner. 
Holi festival coloured powered to buy in Nepal

How to avoid getting wet and coloured during Holi.

Stay inside. All day. Well most of the day. Don’t leave the hotel/hostel. Not everyone likes the idea of having random strangers touch them, throw unknown stuff at them. Or even the buckets of water from rooftops. And that’s perfectly ok. If you don’t like crowds and you don’t want randoms touching you then it’s best to stay inside. There was recently a law passed that makes it illegal to throw color/water at tourists during Holi. In all honesty I don’t see how anyone can police this law. The locals and even tourists are out, drinking, smoking hashish. The kids are looking forward to throwing water at you and cleansing you on your sins. 
If you’re outside you are fair game, be warned.

Book your luxury hotels in Kathmandu

The shops in Kathmandu are open on Holi.

Which shops is a very difficult question to answer. If you happen to arrive and need gear before trekking then you can get trekking things. It’s just that most stores in Thamel will be closed. A lot of restaraunts and cafes are also closed. Which is fair enough. Holi is akin to Christmas day and you don’t want people working on Christmas day and missing out on family time. We found that the Pumpernickel Cafe in Thamel was open and serving next level delicious croissants and some fairly good coffee. 
I’m sure you can also understand that many of the tourist and trekking shops, who hang their wares on the outside of their shops, don’t want to risk their goods being damaged by Holi celebrations. 

Here’s a nice and super cheap hotel in Kathmandu for you. Book today!

What time does the Holi Color Festival go for?

This will depend on where in Nepal you are. The trekking areas and outer regions may only do a small, if any, style festival. It just depends. Pokhara will indulge the tourists and it does allow the locals a chance to get back at all the shitty things tourists do when visiting. It’s a fair exchange.
In Kathmandu the main festivities started around 09.30am. Prior to that it was fairly safe to walk around the city. From 10am – 4pm it’s fair game to anyone that is on the streets. 
After these times, most people seem to go home to celebrate with family and the streets are somewhat safe. 

Is it worth experiencing Holi in Nepal?

Without a doubt. It’s one of the few random cultural experiences that I’ve stumbled into and really enjoyed. Unlike Thingyan in Myanmar which was a constant onslaught from dusk to dawn, Holi in Nepal really is a fun and exciting festival to be apart of. If you are in Nepal when Holi is happening I’d strongly suggest that you prepare, oil up and go out. Like my small group you may only want to go out in the morning when things are a bit calmer and before the booze and hashish kicks in.
Have you celebrated Holi in Nepal? I’d love to hear about your experience. If you have any questions drop them in the comments below and I’ll answer as soon as I can.




Founder, Principal Blogger & Coffee Drinker

Coffee Lover | Travel Blogger | Horse Rider | Adventure Racer | Donut Dame. Generally nice lady-enjoys wine, indie movies & random dance parties in my tent.

A Girls Guide to Preparing for Holi Celebrations in Nepal. All th tips and tricks that you need to have a great and safe time.


  1. Such a useful post for anyone planning to visit Nepal during Holi. The colours can really be a mess if not played well. Such a useful guide.

    • I was worried about that with my blonde hair

  2. Such a good guide. I didn’t know Holi is celebrated in Nepal too. I am happy to hear that it doesn’t get crazy as it does in India. I watched Instagram stories of a couple of blond girls who went to India for Holi and one of them had pink hair even after taking showers. I agree with you, always going with someone is better than going alone to a festival like Holi which can get out of control easily.

  3. I love the all-day leave-in coconut oil treatment that you suggest – sounds like it’s DEFINITELY needed for all the fun and festivities! I would probably also wear clothes that I have and just don’t care about anymore. Now that you’ve prepared me for it, I’d love to experience the Holi in Nepal one day 💃🏼

  4. This looks like a lot of fun, though I’m not sure I’d like all that color in my hair. Glad to know there was no issue for you given all the free flowing booze. These are great tips about the prepping your clothes and underwear. A great guide for those considering participating.

  5. So good to know you all played Holi and enjoyed it 🙂 Yes coconut oil helps. I always apply before taking part in the festival.

  6. What a clever way to use coconut oil! I have to admit, as someone who wears contact lenses, I would be afraid to get colors into my eyes during Holi. But, then almighty sunglasses might help. Or a snorkelling mask. 🙂 ))

    • I did see some girls with snorkling goggles on!

  7. Now this is one festival I would love to get in on, and its so colourful. Bookmarked this page as it is a through guide and hopefully I be in Nepal to check this out soon.

  8. I celebrated Holi festival in London and it was one of the best days of my life, so I can’t imagine how unbelievable and special it will be celebrating it in Nepal! I do like the idea of leaving the phone behind and just embracing the moment, but I’d def struggle

  9. Looks like you had a pyjama party in technicolour! Great tips about looking oiling your hair. I’ve been to Holi in Jaipur – it was so much fun – would never have thought of going to Holi in Nepal.

  10. I’m not much of a crowd person, but if I ever do holi, i’ll definitely have to remember the oil tip!

  11. Yes, agree with your tips. Such fantastic advice. — I’ve celebrated Holi a few times. The first time, I didn’t know about oil, and my face was hot pink for a week.

  12. Good advice to go out early before everyone is drunk! Holi sounds like a harmful enough celebration, as long as you don’t try to take pictures and get your camera damaged. Great tips for protecting skin and hair, too!

    • Hi Tami,

      The celebration is really safe and a whole lot of fun.

  13. Holi sounds so intense but now I want to go! This is a really practical guide to cleaning up in lieu of it. I never would have thought through the cleanup process that accompanies an event like this.

  14. Love this guide! So useful and the pictures are gorgeous

  15. Thanks for the thorough guide, I will be well prepared when I finally make it to Holi!


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