General Summary

This is part of a summary of the current situation in Nepal written by stilltrekkin for the Lonely Planet’s ThornTree forum:

  • You will find that movement of “Tourist Only” vehicles, buses, taxis, vans, hired cars/drivers etc. is usually not restricted during general strikes. They also are cleared through Security Check Points on a priority basis. Use of this form of transport is recommended.

  • With the exception of one day in February, 2005, Domestic flights have not been interrupted during Strikes. If your time is short, consider budgeting for flights where this option exists (e.g to Pokhara or to to Bharatpur when visiting Chitwan, etc.)

  • Be flexible with your travel plans. Make sure your itinerary is not too “tight”. Have time to postpone/delay plans in the event of unexpected situations.

  • Expect delays due to Security checkpoints when traveling on the highway – be patient.

  • Cooperate with authorities – losing your cool will not help the situation. Derogatory remarks just make the situation worse.

  • In the past two years there have been several threats made by Maoists against three upscale Hotels and other businesses. After prior warnings, small explosive devices were detonated in the Garden of the Crown Soaltee Hotel, the kitchen of the Fishtail Lodge in Pokhara and at the gates of the Malla Hotel in Kathmandu. Deliberate effort was made to ensure no Tourists would be harmed by the action. There has been no similar action taken in recent months.

  • NumerousTrekkers have reported back that they found the main trekking routes in Everest, Annapurna, and Langtang, safe for travel.

  • Repeated comments have recommended carefully research the situation before considering trekking in more remote areas. Local conditions can change quickly. Travel in the company of local people, knowledgeable about the area, alternate routes and conditions, is wise.

  • During past Bundhas (Strikes) the Nepal Tourism Board has organized shuttle buses to and from the airport and main hotel areas. Every effort is made to reduce the disruption and inconvenience for Tourists to a minimum.

  • Unlike terroist attacks that have occured in places like Bali, Indonesia, Israel, London & New York, there have been no random attacks in Nepal – Tourists are not the focus of this conflict.

  • There have been 2 situations in the past two years – one involving Russian climbers travelling in an unmarked taxi on the route to the Tibet border during a highway closure – and another a European Tourist who placed himself in the midst of a political demonstrators being routed by Armed Police – when foreigners have been injured as a result of the political situation. In addition, several reports have been made regarding solo trekkers who have been assaulted and robbed on the trail and at least two other men who have disappeared while trekking alone and who it appears have been victims of foul play. Last Fall (2005) two small groups of day walkers on two routes in the Pokhara area were robbed at knife point. These latter incidents have proven to be unrelated to the Maoist conflict – simply some local “bad apples” taking advantage of the situation. The disappearance from Thamel and murder of two women in the Nagarjun Forest area on the northern edge of Kathmandu in September and October, 2005, continues under investigation. So, yes, bad things do sometimes happen to Visitors in Nepal, just like every country in the World. These happenings are horrendous and devastating for the families of the victims. Put into perspective, however, these are not common, everyday occurances and not a reason to avoid travel in Nepal.
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