It’s August 7th, approximately half way through the monsoon. Heavy rains cause big and small landslides through this period and generally people don’t travel much from the villages and everybody waits until the rains are over before doing anything substantial.
Many people have been asking about safety for trekking in Nepal this coming season. Two areas have been checked out with respect to trail conditions, bridges and hotels. They pretty much say that apart from some identified work that must be completed, it looks good for trekking this coming season. I recommend you download read the reports below.
Below are brief answers some of the questions that travellers to Nepal have been asking some of the main tourism organisations in Nepal recently. It is not an exhaustive list so feel free to ask your question in the comments below so it can be added to the list.
Staying at home is safe, and even then there is risk. Travel anywhere has risk and risk can be minimised by getting good information and making safe choices. So we’re not going to call Nepal safe, as posed in the title, just as touring the States or Scotland has risks. Be smart, get informed, and you’ll travel safely. Please feel free to send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you may have.
Are the ATMs working?
Yes all as normal, just ensure you have told your bank you are travelling worldwide and will be using ATMs in Nepal. Standard Chartered is reliable and seems to have the least charge locally.
Is electricity still working?
Yes but we are still subject to the normal ‘load-shedding’ schedules – rolling powercuts. Most tourist hotels and restaurants have power backup.
What is the drinking water situation?
Mineral water is still available for travellers but if you want belt and braces there are many makes of water purification units around and readily available in the market (some are now in Nepal)
Can I get from point A to point B?
Travel is fine at the moment, the monsoon will no doubt loosen hill sides as it always does but there are many geologist groups in Nepal monitoring the situation, and will continue to do so after the monsoon. ICIMOD expect that there will be a very high risk of landslides in the 14 worst earthquake affected districts but the rest of Nepal will be at the same level of risk as pre-earthquake.
Is Everest buried?
It is believed that Everest has sunk about a centimetre but so far no scientific surveys have been completed with published results. It’s definitely still there
Is Kathmandu flattened?
Definitely not! Most parts of the city are working as normal. In many places you would not know there had been an earthquake – this includes the major tourism hub of Thamel
Are you living in rubble?
No and there are very few piles of rubble around, the majority have now been managed or are in the process of being managed and removed.
Which ones are the safest hotels in Kathmandu, Nagarkot?
Nearly all of the top end hotels have been checked and are now open as before, certainly the high profile (not necessarily the most expensive) ones are. The majority of Thamel hotels have not yet had government engineers surveys but they are open for business as normal. When considering a hotel choice please look for the ‘Green Sticker’, the official survey stamp that the building is safe. http://www.drupartment.com/nepal-hotel-status – you can check this portal for hotels that are open for business as normal
Is Wifi free at all the hotels and restaurants?
Those that have this service are still providing it
What about food?
Most of the favourite and popular restaurants are open for business as usual but the same travel advice applies as it always has done – use hand gel and avoid small ‘local’ back street restaurants to stay healthy. Many restaurants are closing early (9pm) but only because there is so little trade
Does the phone and Internet work?
All communication systems work as you would normally expect.
Is there lawless behaviour like looting?
No, Kathmandu is back to its normal, gently bustling self. Compared to other countries, tourists are very seldom affected by crime and that remains so. There is also quite an atmosphere of togetherness as people are pitching in to help with rebuilding.
Is there a likelihood of aftershocks during my visit?
Nepal has always had earthquakes, on average it gets over twenty per year, many under 4 magnitude so there always have been tremors. These are now happening in a very short and mostly gentle form on a regular basis however most people are not even aware of them happening.
You can get an up-to-date picture from the USGS here on their real time earthquake map for the past 7 days. Zoom in to the Nepal area.
Has there been outbreaks of illness?
NO but follow all the usual precautions as previously advised