Safety and security
There’s a risk of terrorist attacks in Nepal, particularly in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers. There continue to be isolated incidents of bomb attacks (small improvised explosive devices), shootings and political violence across Nepal, including in Kathmandu. You should be cautious in public places and take local advice.
Most visitors to Nepal experience a trouble-free stay. However, crimes such as assault and theft against foreigners in Kathmandu and throughout the country continue to increase. You should take sensible precautions:
- Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place – never leave them unattended in your hotel room
- Don’t carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home
- Consider exchanging money only at banks and hotels
- Pick-pocketing and bag-snatching are common in Kathmandu, particularly in tourist areas
If you lose your passport in Nepal, most travellers can get an emergency travel document to allow them to travel back to Ireland. If you are not resident in Ireland, you will have to apply for an emergency passport at the Irish Embassy in New Delhi. This can take 7 to 10 days to arrange. If you lose your passport in Nepal, you will have to get an exit visa which can take some time. E-mail copies of your passport and visa to yourself. This can help speed up the process if you do lose your passport.
Airports, buses and hotel rooms are targeted by criminals and the number of bag-snatchings by motor-bikers, particularly in relatively quieter areas of Kathmandu Valley, is on the rise. There are also increasing reports of foreigners being injured during these incidents.
Assaults and robberies often take place in the evening in areas that are poorly lit, so you should be very cautious at night.
You should exercise caution when entering ‘dance bars’ as some foreigners have been swindled or harassed in some of these places. Always be cautious when accepting drinks from strangers, and don’t leave your drinks unattended.
If you’re a victim of a crime while in Nepal, report it to the local police or the Tourist Police in Kathmandu on (+377) (0)1 4700750 or the Tourist Police headquarters on (+377) (0)1 4247041. And you can contact us at the Irish Embassy in New Delhi if you need help.
If you’re planning to drive in Nepal, you should be extremely careful. Traffic drives on the left, as in Ireland, but road travel in general carries risk. Bring your full Irish driver’s licence and your international driving permit. If you stay longer than 15 days, you’ll need to apply for a local licence
The general standard of driving throughout the country is poor and badly regulated. Roads in Kathmandu are very congested, many drivers are not properly licensed, trained or insured and vehicles are poorly maintained. There are few pavements outside central Kathmandu and motorists don’t yield right of way to pedestrians.
During the monsoon season (June to September) many roads outside the Kathmandu valley are prone to landslides and become impassable.
Bus travel is particularly hazardous and fatal accidents are common. You should avoid travel on overnight buses.
Hiring a vehicle
If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.
Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).
Domestic air travel in Nepal can be dangerous due to the mountainous nature of the country, difficult approaches to airstrips and unpredictable mountain weather. There have been several fatal accidents involving a number of domestic airlines in recent years in Nepal. Your travel insurance may not cover you for internal domestic flights in Nepal due to the poor safety record of local airlines. Check with your travel insurance before you travel.
Check weather conditions before travelling with domestic airlines. Bad weather conditions can increase the risk and cause lengthy delays.
Information on global airline safety is available from the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s audit of aviation safety oversight and the Aviation Safety network.
Trekking in Nepal often involves travelling to remote areas, where internet and phone services are extremely limited. Treks often take longer than expected by several days, and family and friends often become worried if they don’t hear from a trekker when expected.
If you’re planning to trek in Nepal it’s extremely important that your insurance covers you for the altitude that you are due to be trekking at.
Always use a reputable trekking company as there are a number of rogue guides who have reportedly robbed trekkers. Hire a guide and ensure that your trekking guide or company is registered with the Trekking Agency Association of Nepal, and that they have registered your trek with the Trekkers Information Management System.
We strongly advise you to remain on established routes, and to walk in groups. Don’t trek alone and avoid becoming separated from your group.
Give a copy of your itinerary to a friend and/or family member, as well as to the Irish Embassy in New Delhi. Never venture from your scheduled itinerary without first advising a friend/family member of your new plans. Make sure you’re aware of the symptoms of acute mountain sickness (AMS).
There have been reports of trekkers being robbed. Isolated incidences of rape have also been reported on trekking routes, and female travellers in particular should be vigilant.
Fri, 13 May 2016 16:41:09 BST