Nepal isn’t exactly a country that you see very often on a travel ideas list. Because of that, people are missing out outstanding beauties such as the Mount Everest and many others. Since not many know a lot about the country, it goes by unnoticed when it comes to traveling, many people choosing other locations to spend their time.
More than that, they may ask themselves “Is Nepal safe to visit?”. Knowing how safe a country is can be hard unless you’re living there for a while. The question may come from the fact that Nepal is an active earthquake zone, and earthquakes are one of the most terrifying things to experience.
With some Nepal safety travel tips, though, you see that you are able to enjoy a wonderful vacation in this country. To ensure that, we came up with this Nepal safety guide, as an aid for when you are unsure where you’re going to spend your next holiday. Let’s see how things could unfold in Nepal!
Highest Risks You Expose Yourself to When Visiting Nepal
Overall Risks in Nepal: MEDIUM
When it comes to safety, Nepal is generally safe and you wouldn’t encounter as many problems as you would in other less visited countries.
Depending on when you’re going, one of the aspects you should pay attention to is the fact that there can be demonstrations occurring. Apparently, there were some political demonstrations announced from 21 November to 24 November 2018. The announcement was given by the Nepal Communist Party, and protests can occur anytime.
One of the biggest risks you’re exposing yourself to is the fact that there could be an earthquake at anytime, given Nepal is an active earthquake zone. Aftershocks are a usual thing too, thus people should learn safety procedures upon visiting.
Trekking can be dangerous if you go alone, which is why you should seek a reliable and reputable agency, and refrain from departing the established routes
In terms of terrorism, attacks can happen too, so this risk is one to consider as well. Terrorists are likely to carry them, making the country less safe in certain areas.
During June to September when the monsoon season goes, there’s the risk of landslides and flooding, which often occur as a consequence. Road travel, specifically in rural areas, can become really problematic.
Pickpocketing and Theft Risks in Nepal: LOW to MEDIUM
Bag snatching – a scenario that you’ve seen so much in movies and which you thing is barely likely to happen to you. While to an extent it’s true that you’re not always at risk of having your bag suddenly disappear, it’s certainly a factor to consider. As such, if you’re wondering “How safe is Nepal for tourists regarding theft?”, you will see that some things can’t be ruled out.
When you’re at the airport, there could be thieves preying on you to steal your belongings, considering that’s when you have all of them gathered together. Things like this could also happen in other areas where tourists go to or spend their time, such as buses and popular areas.
When the sun goes down, there’s an increased risk considering there are some poorly lit areas. There, it would be harder for you to defend yourself, especially since you wouldn’t be able to see the perpetrator. It is the same in quiet areas, because if you’re alone, you’re an easier victim in the eyes of some people.
If you carry around valuable things such as expensive jewelry, or you just happen to have too much cash with you, it could be a real problem if a thief attacked you. It is possible, especially since you’re a tourist.
- How to avoid pickpocketing and theft in Nepal?
First of all, it would be recommended to avoid walking alone at night, as you don’t want to encounter the worst case scenario. If possible, try to arrive at the hotel when it’s getting dark, so any possibility of a bad event isn’t existent. Moreover, don’t walk alone in quiet areas either, as if someone attacks you, there wouldn’t even be a witness to help you out.
Don’t take large sums of cash with you everywhere you go, because you’re not going to throw away all of the hard-worked money – unless you want to. Having too much money in your pocket could turn out bad if you’re mugged, because what are you going to do for the rest of the trip? Keep the money somewhere safe, such as the hotel room, and only take an amount that you need everyday. You don’t want it to go to waste because someone couldn’t work to support themselves and have to steal.
In addition, don’t go around dressed extravagantly, and certainly don’t wear expensive jewelry, because that could draw the attention of evil people. The last thing you want during a vacation is having your favorite necklace taken away forcefully. If you wear some, make sure it’s not too flashy.
Scam Risk in Nepal: LOW
There have been no reports of such incidents so far - however, this doesn't mean that you shouldn't be careful when traveling around the country. Given the fact that Nepal is usually heavily visited by tourists, you can expect some locals trying to take advantage of this.
In short, it is better to expect the unexpected when it comes to scams - you can never know what the person next to you or approaching you has in mind.
- How to avoid getting scammed in Nepal?
Naturally, the first advice we have to give you is to limit your interaction with the locals and strangers of any sorts - if they seem way too desperate to get your attention, then this might mean that something shady is going on.
You should also take care when withdrawing and handling money or any other valuable possessions, as such acts might draw the attention of scammers or individuals with malicious intents.
In short, be aware of your surroundings at all times and, once in a while, do take an extra step to ensure your safety and that of your valuables as well.
Kidnapping Risk in Nepal: LOW
At the moment, there are no reports that tell of incidents involving kidnappings and such - the people here are quite welcoming, except a couple of petty thieves, so to say; thus, you should not worry about getting kidnapped or such.
However, you should still pay attention to your surroundings and to the places you find yourself in.
- How to avoid getting kidnapped in Nepal?
As always, in the case of a low-rated risk of kidnapping, all you have to do is take some basic safety measures and equip yourself with some good old common sense.
Namely, you should avoid any remote areas, shady alleys, bad parts of the city/ region you are in, and walks after midnight - if you do all of these, you should face no problems at all.
Terrorism Risk in Nepal: MEDIUM
“How safe is Nepal for tourists when it comes to terrorism?” you may ask, and rightfully so. In the present days, terrorism is a big issue and many people are scared, so asking whether safety is ensured is not wrong.
In Nepal, attacks are likely to be carried out, and locals are not the only ones targeted. If you happen to be in the area at the time the incident takes place, it could end in a tragic manner. Basically, attacks are indiscriminate, thus it doesn’t matter if you’re finally enjoying some good time after so much stress from your daily routine. Terrorists make no exceptions.
Attacks could happen in areas tourists frequent, such as shops, religious sites, bus stations, and many others.
- How to avoid terrorism in Nepal?
When going to Nepal, you should stay vigilant at all times. Considering an attack could take place in an area tourists frequent, you should never let your guard down. Avoid religious events, and watch out for suspicious people.
If something happens nearby and you weren’t caught in it, it is recommended to seek shelter and not go to see it with your own eyes. It doesn’t mean that an attack will definitely happen, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Civil Unrest Risks: LOW to MEDIUM
Sometimes, a country’s political situation could escalate to the point where people are going to demonstrations to vent their frustrations. Considering there has been an announcement made by the Nepal Communist Party, the possibility of protests is there. They announced a series of political demonstrations from 21 November to 24 November, so keep an eye on the news, if possible, so you know what to do.
If you happen to see people engaging in a manifestation, keep the distance and don’t ever join them, because the outcome is unpredictable.
Risks for Women Traveling Alone in Nepal: LOW
If you’re a solo female traveler looking for some adventure, you can’t help but ask yourself “Is Nepal Safe for Solo Women Travelers?”. Women are seen as more vulnerable, so it only makes sense you go on and ask about that.
In terms of safety for women, Nepal is relatively safe. People are very welcoming and the risk is not as big as it would be in other parts of the world. As such, a trip to this country would only be beneficial to you, taking its mountains and other beauties into account.
- How to avoid crime as a solo woman traveler in Nepal?
At the same time, you shouldn’t dress inappropriately either, because you could draw some unwanted attention to yourself. Although it should be an unspoken rule when you’re going to a new place, a reminder could come in handy.
If anything, don’t walk alone at night, and stay away from quiet areas, because someone could be watching for the right moment to strike, which could be when you’re alone.
Rape Risk in Nepal: MEDIUM
When it comes to such incidents, it is safe to know that foreigners/ tourists aren't usually targeted by criminals - however, the problem of rape seems to be evolving in the past years, becoming one of the serious issues that the people of Nepal have to face.
In this respect, a number of statistics tell that in the years of 2016 and 2017, most people that have experienced such unwanted scenarios were aged between 11 and 16 years old, between 19 and 25, and, surprisingly, below 10 years old.
Taking this into consideration, we recommend extreme caution while on the streets of Nepal - naturally, it is advised that you do not travel alone, especially after dawn.
- How to avoid getting raped in Nepal?
As previously mentioned, you should not travel alone - while you can, in fact, experience little to no incidents while traveling through Nepal, it is better if you are somehow prepared for such incidents.
You should have your friends or a tour guide accompany you in order to increase your safety level. Naturally, you'll want to stay away from the remote areas, shady alleys, unpopulated places, and the slums of various regions.
Risks for People Traveling with Children in Nepal: MEDIUM
Given the previously mentioned issues that Nepal faces, traveling through Nepal with your children can be worrisome - first of all, beside having to take care of them at all times, you also have to make sure that no stranger approaches them.
Since mostly children are usually targeted as victims for rape, it is of utmost importance that you do not lose sight of them - even though such cases involving tourists are very rare.
- How to avoid unwanted scenarios?
Naturally, you'll want someone keep an eye on your children at all times - it is essential that you treat this manner with extreme importance, mainly because most tourists think that they can handle shopping for souvenirs and taking care of their children as well.
It is not entirely true - one moment of you not paying attention can lead to a long, tedious search for your children. Thus, the only thing you have to do to keep them safe it to keep them under surveillance, so to say.
Natural Disasters Risk: HIGH
Natural disasters are not uncommon in Nepal, and the worst thing is that you can’t avoid them, because nature is in charge. Earthquakes are pretty frequent, and some of them caused extensive damage to infrastructure and buildings, especially in parts of Rasuwa, Dolakha and Gorkha.
There are even some areas still being reconstructed because of the damage. Given tremors are a frequent thing in this country, you should take proper safety measures before deciding to visit. Experiencing an earthquake without preparation could increase the impact that such a natural disasters has.
In addition, the monsoon period is from June to September. During this, things such as landslides occur, and they make road travel unsafe as well. Therefore, traveling during this season can be hazardous, as the flooding and landslides can cut off villages and towns.
If your trip is somehow taking place during the monsoon area, there are still some precautions you should consider. If you’re driving a vehicle, ensure that it is equipped in such way that it deals with landslides. Also, research about safety measures during an earthquake, so in case one happens, you know what to do to protect yourself.
Transportation Risks in Nepal: MEDIUM
“Is Nepal safe to visit when it comes to driving?” you may ask yourself, wondering whether you should drive or just use local transport. Sadly, the road conditions are not the best out there, they are rather poor. During the monsoon period, things get even worse because of the weather conditions, making it unsafe.
Accidents are things that happen quite frequently so it’s not uncommon to hear of them. The worst thing is that there are a lot of deaths that occurred as a result of traffic accidents. Besides, even buses get overcrowded and they aren’t properly maintained either.
If you are thinking about driving during your time in Nepal, you should know that an International Driving Permit is required. However, it should also be mentioned that the driving standards are poor, and there are drivers with poorly maintained vehicles and no driving license. Moreover, there are even taxi drivers who are not respecting the procedure.
Motorbikes and bicycles are often ignored on the road, which makes it more dangerous if that’s the option you choose. An accident could occur at anytime and not because of you, but because of someone else.
Before anything, remember to always have the driving license in your possession in case of random checks by the authorities. Always pay attention to the road and make sure to know the driving rules before you hop in the car and take over the road. Also, if you’re deciding to ride a motorbike or bicycle, you should wear a helmet for protection.
Don’t travel on overcrowded and unstable buses. You’d have a higher level of comfort in tourist buses.
Before your plane takes off, it would be better to check the weather news in the area, because if you happen to go during the monsoon, road travel can be difficult. Also, earthquakes have affected a lot of roads, and some are still being reconstructed.
Night-Clubs, Pubs, and Bar Risks in Nepal: MEDIUM
First of all, keep in mind that, while in Nepal, you won't be able to party until dawn - here, the restaurants and bars close at midnight and those that are caught inside these types of premises after the closing hours are usually detained by the authorities.
Moreover, there have been several reports of people that have been harassed or swindled in the so-called "dance bars" - you should take care when inside one of those, or at least don't go accompanied.
When it comes to the famous drink spiking, there have been cases of tourists that have been sexually assaulted in night-clubs, pubs, and bars. Obviously, keep your drinks close and don't accept any type of offers from strangers.
Even if you want to party like crazy, remember the fact that you are in a foreign country, where people might be nothing like the ones you have back home.
Health Risks in Nepal
Outside Pokhara and Kathmandu Valley, healthcare comes in poor conditions usually - on the other hand, being treated at the clinics of the western travelers can be quite expensive.
In case of a medical emergency, a helicopter meant to evacuate you might have a hard time doing so, depending on the location you are in.
As always, make sure that you are traveling with proper travel health insurance and that you have more than enough funds to pay any of the medical treatments that you might have to undergo.
For example, if you require evacuation by helicopter, you can be taxed between $1000 to $2000 per hour. Moreover, the central public ambulance service is not available - as a matter of fact, it does not exist.
In the case of an emergency, it is advised that you call the local hospital.
List of Vaccines You Need in Nepal
Your doctor would be the only one capable of determining if you need any vaccinations before you step on Nepalese soil. Visit him at least 4-5 weeks before the day of departing, so the vaccines take effect. Some of the vaccines you may need to spend a vacation in Nepal are:
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Japanese Encephalitis
- Routine vaccines
- Yellow Fever
Most Dangerous Areas in Nepal
Concluding Remarks: Is Nepal Safe to Visit?
Now that you’ve read the Nepal safety guide up to this point, you should be aware whether you should go buy plane tickets and start packing. Despite having some things to consider before the trip, the country is generally safe.
The biggest threat is represented by natural disasters, considering Nepal is an active earthquake zone. However, that doesn’t make it fully unsafe to visit, because earthquakes don’t take place daily. If you follow these Nepal safety travel tips, you could have the best time in the country.