Nepal Travel Safety Issues : How safe is Traveling to Nepal?
The situation in Nepal has always been tourist friendly. Major tourist places continue to welcome tourists in large numbers. Tourists have never been directly targeted by the demonstrations. Tourists have never been the victims of insurgency activities in Nepal. Travel to and within Nepal is a safe and enjoyable experience provided sensible precaution is taken. Tourists are advised to use the services of registered and reputed travel/trekking companies and hotels only. By using the services of government registered service providers, you will be ensuring the most comfortable and reliable holiday possible. Public demonstrations and strikes are popular forms of political expression in Nepal, as in other parts of the world and they may occur on short notice. These demonstrations are usually nonviolent and not directed towards foreigners. During general strikes (called “Bandh” in Nepal), many businesses close, and transportation and city services may be disrupted. Tourist buses, airport downtown-airport shuttle service and rickshaws are the only means of transportation available during bandhs. Travelers are requested to stay either at their hotel or homes or at the most in prominent touristic areas, where no any untoward incidents have taken place, so far. Tourists can also visit places of tourist interest within walking distance from their hotels.
Official records show that more than 14,000 people have died in the ongoing war between the Nepali Maoists and Nepali government. During 10 years of fighting, there was only one incident of tourist being killed, but the tourist was appeared to be in wrong place at the wrong time.
Traveling to Nepal is Safe and in fact safer than traveling to most cities like London and New York City. Maoist’s war is only with the Nepali Government, but not with tourists. Guest equals God – is the tradition of Every Nepalese and everyone welcomes guests in their land, and in their heart.
Visiting Nepal is safe.
Nepal has Tourist-Police patrolling most cities in Nepal offering immediate help to tourists. Tours and Travel operators have added extra security measures in their travel plans. Most hotels are equipped with extra security guards and are in immediate contact with the local police in case of emergency. Traveling to Nepal is safe. Much of the media hype scaring people to visit Nepal has failed because Nepal is so beautiful it will attract you – Nepal is a magnet!
Nepal Tourism Board : For Free travel news and information visit Nepal Tourism Board located at
Bhrikutimandap, Kathmandu (Sunday to Friday from 9 am to 4 p.m., Phone : 4256909, 4247039 :
As with any safety, precaution is the first rule. Avoid being near demonstrations, return to your hotel early in the evening if you can, Do not carry expensive gadgets when traveling. Avoid wearing jewelries and other wears, Use a guide from a trusted travel agent or tour operator. Visit only the trekking / tour areas marked `safe’ by your travel agent. Avoid road travel if possible otherwise have someone from your travel company with you. If you must travel by road, avoid traveling in the night time. Do not talk about politics, about the king, about the Maoists while you are in a restaurant or in other public places – After all, all you want to talk about is the beautiful mother nature Nepal but not the silly and ruthless rulers. Talk all you want about the real everyday hardworking poor but happy Nepali people. And also follow your own rules of safety! That’s all.
All travelers are requested to abide by the custom regulations of Nepal. The facilities that are given to travelers are of international norms except in the cases of heavy-duty import such as valuable metals, articles of archeological and religious importance, wildlife and related articles, drugs, arms and ammunition, and communications equipmen
All baggage must be declared and cleared through the customs on arrival at the entry point. Personal effects are permitted free entry. Passengers arriving at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) without any dutiable goods can proceed through the Green Channel for quick clearance without a baggage check. If you are carrying dutiable articles, you have to pass through the Red Channel for detailed customs clearance.
Apart from used personal belongings, visitors are allowed to bring to Nepal free of duty: cigarettes (200 sticks) or cigars (50 sticks), distilled liquor (one 1.15 liter bottle), and film (15 rolls). You can also bring in the following articles free of duty on condition that you take them out with you when you leave: binoculars, movie or video camera, still camera, laptop computer, and portable music system.
The export of antiques requires special certification from the Department of Archeology, National Archive Building, Ram Shah Path, Kathmandu. It is illegal to export objects over 100 years old, such as sacred images, paintings, manuscripts that are valued for culture and religious reasons. Visitors are advised not to purchase such items as they are Nepal’s cultural heritage and belong here.
Foreign Currency and Credit Cards
Payment in hotels, travel agencies, and airlines are made in foreign exchange. Credit cards like American Express, Master and Visa are widely accepted at major hotels, shops, and restaurants. Remember to keep your Foreign Exchange Encashment Receipt while making foreign exchange payments or transferring foreign currency into Nepalese rupees. The receipts may be needed to change left-over Nepalese Rupees into hard currency before leaving the country. However, only 10 percent of the total amount may be converted by the bank. ATM is widely in use in Kathmandu.
Major banks, hotels and exchange counters at Tribhuvan International Airport provide services for exchanging foreign currency.
Exchange rates are published in English dailies such as The Rising Nepal, The Kathmandu Post and The Himalayan Times. Nepalese Rupees are found in denominations of Rupees 1000, 500, 100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1. Coins are found in denominations of Rupees 5, 2 and 1. One rupee equals 100 paisa.
Time and Business Hours
Nepal is five hours 45 minutes ahead of GMT.
Business hours within the Valley: Government offices are open from 10 am to 5 p.m. from Sunday through Thursday and close at 3pm on Friday in the Kathmandu Valley. During the winter, they close at 4 pm. Most Business offices are open from 10 am to 5 p.m. Sunday through Friday. Embassies and international organizations are open from 9 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday. Most shops open after 10 am and close at about 8 pm and are usually closed on Saturdays.
Business hours outside the Valley:
Government offices outside Kathmandu valley open from 10 am to 5 p.m. from Sunday through Thursday. On Fridays they remain open until 3 pm. Banks are open from Sunday through Thursday from 10 am to 3 pm. On Fridays, banks remain open until 12 pm only. Business offices are open from 10 am to 5 pm Sunday through Friday. Recently many private banks have re-organized to have different branches open at various different times making banking hours longer. If one branch is closed another will be open.
Nepal observes numerous holidays, at the least a couple in a month. So please check the holiday calendar. The longest holiday in Nepal is during the Dashain festival in late September or October. Government offices observe all the national holidays and banks observe most of them. Businesses observe major holidays only.
Postal Services: The Central Post Office located near Dharahara Tower, is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday through Friday. The counters are open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and provide stamps, postcards and aerograms. Post Restante is available Sunday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Express Mail Service (EMS) is available at GPO and at Thamel, Basantapur and airport postal counters.
Telephone and fax services are available at the Nepal Telecommunications Corporation at Tripureshwar. Hotels and private communications centers provide long distance telephone and fax facilities. For calling from outside, country code for Nepal is 977 and the area code for Kathmandu is 1.
There are countless Internet cafes and communication centers have opened up in the Valley and around the country. Visitors only have to find a place they are most comfortable in to use the facilities to keep in touch with home. Internet services are also offered by hotels.
Nepali media has made a gigantic leap ahead in just a few years time and what used to be a controlled and tight knit community, is no more. The government audio and television news networks are Radio Nepal and Nepal Television respectively. However, numerous FM radio stations and regional television stations are dominating the market. Major Nepali daily newspapers are Gorkhapatra and Kantipur, while the English dailies are The Rising Nepal, The Kathmandu Post and The Himalayan Times. A number of other newspapers and magazines are also available.
Major towns have electricity and the voltage available is 220-volts and 50 cycles. Load shedding is a seasonal phenomenon during the dry season and eases off once it begins to rain. However, most major hotels have uninterrupted power supply through their own generators.
Medical care is widely available in the District head quarters and the towns and cities. Moreover, Kathmandu has the most modern medi-care facilities, equipment and most qualified doctors in order to provide a quality care. Serious illnesses often require evacuation to the nearest adequate medical facility. Illnesses and injuries suffered while on trek in remote areas often require rescue by helicopter. Various private Helicopter Companies including the Royal Nepal Army (at the Airport) provide rescue services. The cost is typically not much. For further information, please contact Himalayan Rescue Association (Phone: 26 2746, Kathmandu) or your local travel or trekking agent.
SPECIAL REQUEST TO VISITOR
Make sure the hotel you staying and your trekking staff uses kerosene, gas or electric. Supervise them to make sure they cover toilet pits and dispose of garbage properly. Do not damage, disturb or remove any plants, animals or religious artifacts. Respect Nepali customs. Ask permission to take photos and respect peoples right to privacy. DO NOT GIVE ANYTHING TO BEGGARS. And please ENCOURAGE YOUNG NEPALI’S TO BE PROUD OF THEIR CULTURE