Maoist violence escalates
Nepal, which used to be a peaceful, safe country in which it was possible to walk from village to village without any hassels has, unfortunately, become a place where both locals and travellers are subjected to delays, harassment and, in a few cases, danger.
The issues in Nepal involve the royal massacre in June 2001, the inept and corrupt government ministers that ruled from 1990 until August 2002, the dismissal of the government by the king and, most importantly, the escalation of violence associated with the maoist rebellion that had permeated the coutryside.
The violence has escalated with the ending of the ceasefire on August 27, the burning of Gaida Wildlife Camp and the abduction of a British Gurkha recreuiting party during October 2003. It's difficult to evaluate the situation completely enough to give definitive advice on safety for tourists, but you should heed the following suggestions:
  • Limit your trekking to the Annapurna region and the Everest region north of Lukla
  • Don't trek alone. Always travel with a companion or a reliable guide.
  • Be prepared for atrikes and bandhs*. You might have to take a riskshaw to or from the airport and may have trouble finding a restaurant that's open.
  • If you encounter a demonstration or crowd stay away
  • Plan to eat early in Kathmandu. Most places close by 9 pm
  • Register with your embassy and follow their travel advice. Avoid the areas they say are unsafe.
    * bandh - an strike enforced by a dissident group in which all shops are closed and no vehicles drive on the roads.

    To date no tourists have been harmed by maoist groups, though several trekkers have been asked for donations, with suggested amounts ranging from Rs 1000 to US$100.

    Links to sites relating to security concerns in Nepal

    Updated 9 September 2004