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Nepal

If you’re travelling to Nepal, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information.

Get travel and medical insurance

Before travelling, the Department strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.

If you are in Nepal or intend travelling to Nepal in the coming months, we advise that you check with your insurance provider the details which govern your policy cover in the event of an earthquake in the country.

Overview

Security status

We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution when visiting all areas of Nepal.

Latest Travel Alerts

Flooding

Extensive monsoon rains have recently caused widespread flooding in Nepal, leading to large scale disruption and significant impact in some parts of the country, specifically the south including Chitwan National Park The most seriously affected areas are Sunsari, Morang, Jhapa, Saptari, Sarlahi, Banke, Rautahat, Chitwan, Nawalparasi, Bardiya and Kailali. Many roads and bridges are blocked by landslides and floods causing difficulty for travellers to get to and from Bharatpur airport.

Irish citizens are advised to exercise extreme caution. You should consider your travel plans in light of the regions that you plan to visit and closely monitor weather alerts, speak with your tour operators and follow any instructions from local authorities- see the Meteorological Forecasting Division for latest updates and the Department of Hydrology and Metrology for flood forecasts. For those travellers considering trekking or climbing in the region, it is important to be aware that rains can cause terrain to become extremely hazardous and flooding may significantly hamper access for an emergency services.

Nepal experienced two very strong earthquakes in April and May 2015 resulting in extensive damage to various parts of the country. The earthquakes caused infrastructural damage, caused landslides and left many roads in a fragile state.

Delays at border crossings have caused a severe fuel shortage which is affecting travel and provision of some emergency services. Local ground and air transport options have been significantly curtailed by fuel rationing. The availability of normal goods and services is also affected.

Emergency Assistance     

Because there is no Irish Embassy or Consulate in Nepal, we’re limited in the help we can offer you in an emergency. However, if you need assistance, you can contact the Irish Embassy in New Delhi.

We suggest you learn as much as you can about Nepal before your trip from travel agents, tour operators and guide books. The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems when you’re in Nepal, try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.

Other EU embassies

You can contact the Embassies and Consulates of other EU countries represented in Nepal for emergency consular assistance, advice and support.

Our tips for safe travels

  • Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities
  • Add an alert for your destination within the Travelwise App.
  • Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly in an emergency, such as a natural disaster or a family emergency
  • Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates
  • Read our Topical ‘Know Before You Go’ guide

Safety and security

Terrorism

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.

Crime

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

Lost passport

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.

Serious crime

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.

Tourist scams

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.

Reporting crime

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.

Driving

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

Road safety

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.

Public transport

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).

Air safety

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

Communication

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.

Insurance

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.

Guides

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.

Itineraries

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).

Safety

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.

Local laws and customs

Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them. Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or may even be illegal.

Local culture

You should respect local customs and dress conservatively. Women should avoid wearing shorts and sleeveless tops in public places where this might be seen as inappropriate. Shoes should be removed before entering certain holy places. Non-Hindus are not permitted in certain temples.

Illegal drugs

Penalties for drugs related offences are severe. Possession of small amounts of marijuana can lead to a prison sentence in excess of five years, usually after a lengthy and expensive legal process.

Surrogacy

The Supreme Court of Nepal has issued an interim order to immediately halt commercial surrogacy services in Nepal. We strongly recommend that commissioning parents not consider surrogacy in Nepal.

Natural disasters and climate

Flooding

Extensive monsoon rains have recently caused widespread flooding in Nepal, leading to large scale disruption and significant impact in some parts of the country, specifically the south including Chitwan National Park The most seriously affected areas are Sunsari, Morang, Jhapa, Saptari, Sarlahi, Banke, Rautahat, Chitwan, Nawalparasi, Bardiya and Kailali. Many roads and bridges are blocked by landslides and floods causing difficulty for travellers to get to and from Bharatpur airport.

Irish citizens are advised to exercise extreme caution. You should consider your travel plans in light of the regions that you plan to visit and closely monitor weather alerts, speak with your tour operators and follow any instructions from local authorities- see the Meteorological Forecasting Division for latest updates and the Department of Hydrology and Metrology for flood forecasts. For those travellers considering trekking or climbing in the region, it is important to be aware that rains can cause terrain to become extremely hazardous and flooding may significantly hamper access for an emergency services.

Monsoon

Travel in the rural areas during the Monsoon season (June - September) can be dangerous and you should be careful. Monsoon rains cause flooding and landslides that can cut off some towns and villages for days at a time. You should check access routes before setting off on a journey.

Avalanche/landslide

Earth tremors are common in this region and can cause landslides and avalanches in hilly and mountainous areas. In 2012, an avalanche/landslide caused flash flooding on the Seti River in the Kaski district north of Pokhara resulting in fatalities. Be alert to the risk of landslides and flash floods in mountainous areas and alongside river banks.

Earthquakes

Nepal is considered to be at high risk of a major earthquake. In the event of a large scale earthquake the assistance that can be given to Irish citizens would be extremely limited. If major roads and the international airport are damaged, it may not be possible for people to be evacuated for several days.

Additional information

Entry requirements (visa/passport)

If you’re unsure of the entry requirements for Nepal, including visa and other immigration information, ask your travel agent or contact the Embassy of Nepal in London or Embassy or Consulate of Nepal nearest to you.

You can also check with them how long your passport must be valid for.

Health

Check with your doctor well in advance of travelling to see if you need any vaccinations for Nepal.

More travel advice

More travel advice can be found on the websites listed below: