How safe is Nepal travel?
Many of us dream of going, but how safe is Nepal travel? In this post, I will be discussing all of the key considerations you need to know about before planning your trip to this incredible country.
Understandably many travellers have their reservations as we have all heard of the devastating 2015 earthquakes and the many accidents on the slopes of the Himalayas. The violence caused by the Maoists resonates in the west even today. However, the truth is that most trips to this incredible country go without incident and the Nepali people are some of the most friendly you could hope to find on earth.
Nepal is a country of extreme changes. Despite being completely landlocked, Nepal still offers a greater diversity of landscapes than almost any other country on the planet. It certainly is the place with the greatest range of altitude despite its tiny size. You can come from the steaming jungles of the Terai to the snowy peaks of the Himalayas in a single bus journey. It is also incredibly biologically diverse and blessed with a rich culture that’s steeped in history.
With all of this to offer an intrepid traveller, it is a small wonder it features so heavily on many of our bucket lists, but just how safe is Nepal travel? Let’s look in detail and see if we can not shed some light on this most fundamental question.
Crime in Nepal
Crime in Nepal is not especially high, and in all the time I have travelled in this country, I have not experienced or seen any. Not a thing! That’s saying something as I live in central London where I regularly witness some kind of crime, yet Nepal has a rather ominous reputation among some travellers.
This probably stems back to the Maoist uprisings in the 90s that had all the wrong kind of worldwide media coverage. Today this is not an issue, and there are even Maoist seats in parliament. The days of tourists being robbed then given a receipt are long since over with. Today the country is at peace, and large scale civil unrest is not quite unlikely. However, political demonstrations can get out of hand in a heartbeat and are best avoided. I think that is the same anywhere, though, right?
Petty theft in the big cities can be an issue, but with a little vigilance and common sense, these pitfalls can be avoided. Take care of your valuables, and do not leave your valuables unattended. I think it is fair to say that as a vast whole being a victim of crime in Nepal should be low down on your lists of concerns.
Safe travel in Nepal.
When I talk about safe travel in Nepal, I mean moving around the country. The biggest threat to travelling around Nepal safely is the transport itself. Nepali airlines have the worst track safety record of any in the world. Sometimes a domestic flight may be your only option and can be a big time saver. It would be wrong of me not to mention it, though. It could be that this statistic is only true because of the dodgy nature of landing an aeroplane at these tiny airports, but the fact still remains.
The roads are not really any better with accidents being very frequent indeed. The mountainous lay of the land simply poses all kinds of risks. With a lack of infrastructure, winding roads with huge overhangs and almost no bollards, you have a recipe for disaster. It is especially true in the rainy season, when landslides are common. Aside from avoiding travel at this time, there is little you can do to preserve your safety. Some of the roads can honestly have you wondering if there is a god or not as you meander precariously along them.
Just to add to the excitement, drink driving is rife, and there is some very daring driving going on. I frequently see lorries whizz around hairpin turns on the wrong side of the road! There is no way that driver could know what is coming, surely? Avoid night busses, obviously, as this just adds to the risk. Before hiring a motorbike or car, I would suggest how confident you are as a driver.
Environmental hazards in Nepal.
It should surprise no one to discover the environmental hazards in Nepal are many. It is baking hot in the south of the country and near desert-like in places, and the far north is cold and often inaccessible.
Your body is quite likely to take a beating while on the road here as to see it often involves your own two feet when the roads run out. However, trekking in the shadow of the Himalayas is one of the key reasons why we come anyway. However, it is not just in the north where you will have to trek. You will also have to trek through the dense jungles of the big national parks if spotting the wildlife is on your wish list.
The most common problem you face when undertaking a trek in Nepal is dehydration, sunstroke, altitude sickness, mosquito bourne illness and exhaustion. While in no way am I claiming to be a doctor, I have experienced every single one of these, so I have a bit to say on what you can do to keep yourself out of the hospital that you may find useful. Check out my post on staying healthy while you travel for my best tricks and tips.
For professional advice about Nepal travel from the British NHS, follow the link provided. It covers Coronavirus updates and a useful malaria map for you to follow. Honestly speaking, it is wise to check them both out.
It is not only in the wilderness where you will find environmental challenges. Pollution is a major problem in the cities, especially in the Kathmandu Valley, where it seems to build up in next level amounts. If you are asthmatic, make sure you factor this into how long you plan to stay here and make sure you have the relevant medicine should there be an issue.
As I mentioned before Nepal is notoriously tectonically active and the last major earthquake was in 2015 in the Kathmandu valley. It is unlikely there will be another earthquake of a similar magnitude anytime soon as it takes time to build up that sort of pressure. That is not to say there will be no further quakes further along the plates. In all reality, it will always be a very small but very real risk. I would not lose any sleep over it as things happen very slowly indeed over geological time frames.
In summary of my blog on how safe is Nepal travel?
Well, I hope you enjoyed that. It was not easy to fit all that information in such a brief post. I have placed lots of relevant links throughout for you to follow. If you have any more questions after that, then do not hesitate to ask. I am always happy to help. When it comes to answering the question of how safe Nepal travel is, it comparatively just fins,e although there are some considerations to make.
Certainly, nothing to prohibit you from visiting this magical country. I have been many times and will absolutely be going again, and there is nothing I would say to make you stay away. I think that’s all that needs to be said for now, so with that said; I will see you in the next post, guys.Follow me on social media 🙂