Nepal Travel Advice
Security travel advice for Nepal
Threat level: Medium
The current travel recommendations is to remain vigilant throughout your stay. There is significant political unrest in the country and demonstrations may turn violent. The country is also extremely prone to natural disasters and landmines continue to be a threat in a small number of areas.
Your trip to Nepal should be trouble-free if you ensure the correct precautions and vigilance is taken. The country holds base camp for Mt Everest which attracts hundreds of climbers each year, and contributes to the natural beautiful landscape.
Recent Security Risk Events
Political protests are a common occurrence in Nepal and recent years have seen demonstrations in the capital, Kathmandu, as well as in the south near the Nepal-India border. Such protests can sometimes turn violent and lead to supply shortages when there are tensions with India. Nepal’s new constitution has caused a polarisation of the country and consequently protests, rallies and strikes throughout Nepal.
There were a number of politically-motivated violent incidents in June 2016, many of which targeted some private companies and international NGO properties. This should not affect tourist destinations but you are advised to remain alert. Involvement in protests can lead to heavy fines and/or deportation.
There is an energy shortage in Nepal, therefore the country has planned electric power cuts known as ‘load shedding’. This can very between two hours a day during the monsoon season (June to September) to more than 12 hours daily towards the end of the dry season.
Crime in the country is generally low, however thieves will often target tourist areas and pick pocket valuables. You should ensure your valuable are kept close to you or in a safe in your accommodation.
Bars and clubs in the country close at midnight and you can be detained by the police if you remain beyond this. It is recommended that you do not accept drinks from strangers as there have been a small number of reported sexual assaults.
Nepal enjoys friendly relations with its neighbouring countries of Republic of China and India. The country’s foreign policy is directed towards addressing domestic economic and security issues. Bilateral relations are strong between Nepal and countries that provide major economic and military aid. Such countries include Japan, Switzerland, the United States, France and in particular the United Kingdom.
Public transport in Nepal is of very poor standard. Buses are commonly extremely overcrowded and combined with the poor standards of the roads, can lead to severe and potentially fatal accidents.
There have been a large number of reported bus accidents in recent years and it is recommended that you use tourist buses as the standard of driving is usually higher.
The general standard of driving in Nepal is poor, with drivers having little regard for pedestrians or other road users and often operating vehicles without a valid licence. There are few pavements outside the capital for pedestrians to walk along, so you should remain extremely cautious of pedestrians on the road.
In order to drive in the country, you must have an international driving permit to accompany your driving licence, both of which you should carry on you at all times.
Extreme weather and natural disasters
Nepal’s location in an active seismic zone means there is an underlying and continual risk of earthquakes, landslides and aftershocks. April 2015 saw a severe earthquake hit the country which killed over 8000 people. You should ensure that you familiarise yourself with the safety procedures and protocol if you get caught in an earthquake.
Currency: Nepalese Rupee
Time now in Kathmandu:
Most tourists visiting Nepal will require a visa to enter the country. You can apply for a visa through your closest Nepalese Embassy prior to travel. Alternatively, you will be able to purchase a visa upon arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu or via a number of land crossings. 15-day, 1-month or 3-month multiple entry tourist visas are available and you must ensure your visa is in date when leaving the country or you could face heavy fines or imprisonment.
You are required to provide 2 passport photos when applying for your visa. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the length of your proposed visit.
It is advised that visitors to Nepal are up-to-date with primary boosters such as MMR. You should ensure that you have been further vaccinated against diseases such as Tetanus, which are usually administered when you are a young baby. You may also want to consider Hepatitis A and Typhoid vaccinations.
Although there is no direct risk of Yellow Fever in Nepal, if you are coming from a country where there is a risk of the disease, or transiting for longer than 12 hours in an at risk country, you will be required to provide a vaccination certificate. Check with your local health professional prior to travel if you are unsure.
Other health risks
The medical facilities in Nepal are not as advanced as most western countries. Basic medical issues or injuries are treatable in Kathmandu, however anything deemed serious will require evacuation to a better equipped medical facility, which is often in a neighbouring country. You should ensure that your travel and medical insurance covers medical evacuation, as this can cost tens of thousands of dollars.
Trekkers should remain particularly cautious, as serious injury may require evacuation via helicopter to the capital city and this cost is huge. Insufficient resources means that medical facilities are often overwhelmed and underprepared, so you should take all precautions to avoid medical treatment.
Malaria is present in some of the Terai region, so you should remain cautious when visiting such areas. Stray dogs can be found, mainly in Kathmandu. Be aware that they may carry rabies, so any animal bites should be thoroughly cleaned and you should seek immediate medical advice.
Trekking and backpacking
Trekking in Nepal is a popular tourist activity, and if the correct precautions are taken, can make for an excellent trip. It is highly advised that you do not trek alone, you should use a reputable agency when planning your trip and hike with at least one other.
Hazards surrounding trekking include things such as sudden weather changes, landslides and floods, rock fall, altitude sickness and avalanches. You should be aware of the weather forecast and conditions for the duration of your trek and ensure that someone knows your planned route. It is important that your insurance covers you for this intended activity and includes mountain rescue services and helicopter costs.
U.S. Embassy Kathmandu
Telephone: +977 423 4500
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +977 400 7266 and +977 400 7269
Consular advice Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
British Embassy Kathmandu
PO Box 106,
Telephone: +977 423 7100
Other useful info
Fire emergency: 102
Medical emergency: 101