SAFETY TIPS

SAFETY AND SECURITY

CRIME

Petty theft is common, particularly near tourist sites, on buses and in hotel rooms.

Take particular care when walking around Kupandol, Sanepa and Thamel, popular tourist spots in Kathmandu, where pickpocketing is common.

  • Do not leave personal belongings unattended. Armed robberies, particularly of solo trekkers, occur occasionally
  • Exercise caution in and around Kathmandu and other cities
  • Do not travel after dark

FESTIVAL SEASON

There is a significant increase in crime, including thefts, purse and bag snatchings, pickpocketing and break-ins, during the festival season, which extends from September to November. Maintain a high level of personal security awareness and ensure that your personal belongings and your passports are secure.

WOMEN’S SAFETY

Women are vulnerable to harassment and verbal abuse. Dress conservatively, particularly in remote areas.

Female tourists travelling alone are more at risk of violent attacks.

Safe-travel guide for women

POLITICAL TENSIONS

While Nepal continues its transition to a stable democracy, the political situation remains fragile and tensions can increase with little notice.

ACTS OF VIOLENCE

Small-scale, politically-motivated attacks occasionally occur, especially in Kathmandu. Past attacks have led to injuries and sometimes caused deaths. Foreigners have not been targeted. Further attacks are likely.

DEMONSTRATIONS

Political protests are common in Nepal and sometimes result in violence. Transport and public services may be disrupted at short notice.

Politically motivated protests have been particularly volatile in Kathmandu as well as in Nepal’s southern region bordering India, which has at times resulted in supply shortages and affected border crossings.

Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.

  • Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities
  • Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations

More about mass gatherings (large-scale events)

STRIKES

General strikes (locally referred to as bandhs) are a popular form of political expression and can occur on short notice throughout the country. Such strike action can affect access to services. While bandhs are usually peaceful, riots and violence are possible. During a bandh, businesses and roads may close and transportation services may be unavailable or severely disrupted.

Avoid travelling on public transportation during or immediately preceding bandhs, as tourists have been injured. Transportation to and from airports throughout Nepal could be affected. Army and police checkpoints are frequent, especially at night.

Follow the advice of local authorities and respect curfews and roadblocks.

ROAD SAFETY

Exercise caution when travelling by road as road conditions and driving standards are poor and traffic laws are not enforced.

Drivers often drive at excessive speed and often do not yield right-of-way to pedestrians.

Many mountain and hill roads, which can be hazardous even in the best weather, are intermittently impassable during the monsoon season due to landslides.

Traffic is congested in the Kathmandu Valley.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

Most public buses are often poorly maintained and accidents involving buses, often causing injuries and fatalities, are common.

Avoid travelling on overnight buses.

Tourist buses are generally safe.

Boat accidents are common due to the overloading and poor maintenance of vessels. Do not board vessels that appear overloaded or unfit, especially where there are strong currents.

AIR TRAVEL

We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.

General information about foreign domestic airlines

TREKKING AND MOUNTAIN CLIMBING

Emergency services such as evacuations and rescues from remote areas are available but can be hindered by:

  • the lack of immediate payment to helicopter rescue services
  • a positive response from clients of their insurance companies
  • limited access to regular phone service in many trekking areas

There have been helicopter rescue scams in the past. Ensure that you are dealing with reputable helicopter companies. Check with your trekking agency for updates on the security situation in the area.

If you intend to trek:

  • never do so alone and always hire an experienced guide from a reputable company
  • buy travel insurance that includes helicopter rescue and medical evacuation
  • ensure that your physical condition is good enough to meet the challenges of your activity
  • ensure that you’re properly equipped and well informed about weather and other conditions that may pose a hazard
  • inform a family member or friend of your itinerary, including when you expect to be back to camp
  • know the symptoms of acute altitude sickness, which can be fatal
  • obtain detailed information on trekking routes or ski slopes before setting out and do not venture off marked trails or slopes

TREKKERS’ INFORMATION MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

All trekkers must purchase a trekkers’ information management system (TIMS) card from one of the following entities:

  • the Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal
  • the Nepal Tourism Board
  • an authorized trekking company

NATIONAL PARK PERMIT

You must obtain a national park entry permit before entering official trekking regions or routes such as those in the Annapurna, Everest and Langtang regions.

Permits may be obtained from the national tourism board after arrival in Kathmandu or Pokhara.

More about trekking permits – Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal

RISKS

A number of hikers and guides have been stranded, injured or killed while trekking.

Many popular trekking trails ascend higher than 5,500 metres. You may experience acute mountain sickness at high altitudes and should be well informed on possible hazards in the high mountains.

Drops in temperature and changes in weather conditions, including blizzards and avalanches can occur suddenly in mountainous regions at any time of year.

Keep informed of regional weather forecasts, be prepared for varying weather conditions, avoid disaster areas and follow the advice of local authorities.

If heading to the high country, make sure you are well informed on trail conditions and possible hazards.

RAFTING

Organize white-water rafting excursions through reputable agencies only.

POWER CUTS

Due to an energy shortage, electric power cuts, termed “load shedding,” are a year-round occurrence. They occur frequently for short periods and without advance notice. 

LANDMINES

Landmines and unexploded ordnance constitute a risk in parts of the country, including in some trekking areas. Follow the advice of local authorities, and only travel on well-used roads and paths.