The situation in Nepal has always been tourist friendly. Due to some sporadic reporting of Maoist activities in some parts of the Kingdom, extra measures for security were adopted which has indeed improved the law and order situation. Major tourist places continue to welcome tourists in large numbers. Tourists have never been directly targeted by the Maoists. Moreover, the Maoist leaders have categorically stated time and again that they would not disturb the tourism sanctity neither target the tourist in future. Hence, 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.
ENTRY AND EXIT REQUIREMENTS
A passport and visa are required for visitors other than Indian nationals. Tourist visas can be purchased upon arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu and at all other ports of entry. All foreigners must pay an airport exit tax, regardless of the length of their stay. Travelers may contact nearest Royal Nepalese Embassy/Consulates for further information. Indian nationals do not require visa. However, effective from October 1, 2000 Indians travelling to Nepal by air will have to show upon arrival at entry point either a passport, voter’s identity card issued by Election Commission of India, or an identity card with photograph issued by the Central or State Government of India. Children under 10 years need not show any identification.
INFORMATION FOR TRAVELERS
Nepal has abundance of offers to establish it as a round the year travel destination. Based on this fact, many international tourists are indeed incorporating Nepal in their wishful travel itinerary. Popular tourist areas in Nepal like Kathmandu, Pokhara, Chitwan, Everest Region, Annapurna Region, Langtang Region, Lumbini, Janakpur and others are absolutely free from any sorts of disturbances. This is a clear testimony that travel safety in Nepal is more a perception problem than the actual state of affairs. Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) always recommends travelers to get services through the registered companies which guarantee you safe, reliable, standard and value for money travel services. Travelling in Nepal typically involves walking for an extended time over rugged, steep terrain, to various luxurious stays during the course of their trip. Many popular trekking routes in Nepal cross passes as high as 18,000 feet. The Nepal Tourism Board requests all existing and potential travelers to exercise extreme caution while trekking at higher altitudes. The safest option for all trekkers is to join an organized group and/or use a reputable firm that provides an experienced guide and porter who communicates in both Nepali and English.
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: 4262746, Kathmandu) or your local travel or trekking agent.
After the establishment of various international Insurance Companies in the form of joint venture (JV), medical insurance is becoming popular in Nepal. Hence, all travelers are requested to insure through the reputed agencies. However, travelling within Nepal is adequately safe except in some remote government cautioned areas. Please check with your own insurance company to confirm whether your policy applies overseas, including provision for medical evacuation, and for adequacy of coverage. Supplemental health insurance that specifically covers overseas treatment and air evacuation to the nearest adequate medical facility is strongly recommended.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS
In major tourist destinations the condition of the Roads are fairly well maintained. Those travelling by their own vehicles must carry valid road maps. The East West Highway connects all major cities and towns. Further information may be sought from NTB or local agents. The accident rate in Nepal is comparatively very minimal and relatively fatalities from such accidents are rare as compared to other big cities of the globe. Likewise, there are several domestic private airlines operating within the nation, which has tremendously helped to connect the remote part of the country to the capital.
Travelling to Nepal by air is considered safe. Nepal is well connected by a dozen of international airlines from all major cities of Europe and Asia. It also has a fair no of domestic airlines, which cater to the needs of the travelers domestically. Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) infrastructures have been duly extended in order to meet the rising demand of the air travelers.
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 equipment.
Nepal Government is very conscious about maintaining the ecological balance. The preservation of the natural resources and conservation of the national heritages has been our prime concern. In order to give a fillip to this concept, Government of Nepal has already brought in to effect the emission control norms for the vehicles. Similarly HMG is coordinating with various experts, donors, INGOs and NGOs and others to manage the Solid waste management and also controlling the effluents discharged by the industries. As far as conservation and preservation is concerned, Annapurna Conservation (ACAP) area and Nepal’s densely populated forests are greatly appreciated models in the world.