FAQ

The latest FAQs about Nepal

Are the ATMs working?

YES all as normal, just ensure you have told your bank you are travelling and will be using ATMs in Nepal

Is there a Cholera Outbreak?

NO but follow all the usual precautions as previously advised. In the last month the Government of Nepal issued a warning that cholera and several bacterial diseases have been found in the water supply, including the 20L jugged and bottled water. They advise boiling ALL water.

Is electricity still working?

YES but we are still subjected to the normal ‘load-shedding’ schedules. Check www.directionkathmandu.com for the latest schedule

What is the drinking water situation?

Mineral water is still available for travelers 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). You can also buy tablet and liquid purifiers. The commonly found make here in Kathmandu is Pyush.

Can I get from point A to point B?

Road travel is as normal in most areas of the country – pretty bumpy and slow, occasional blockades and protests, some landslides – but you can usually get through. Trekking trails in Annapurnas, Far West and Kanchenjunga regions are as normal. Trails in Everest are repaired and in use. Langtang, Rolwaling, Manaslu, Tsum, Ruby Trek still not recommended. Travel in and around Kathmandu valley is as normal. 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 centimeter but so far no scientific surveys have been completed with published results. It’s definitely still there! There is even a team climbing it this autumn

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 hubs of Thamel, Bhoudnath and Patan.

Are you living above a rubble mound?

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  Check our 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. Wifi is an intermittent service generally – you need patience.

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 behavior like looting?

No not in Kathmandu and the hill areas. Although there is now curfew in the Terai (plains) of Nepal as a result of Constitution protests. Travel to this area is not recommended.

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 fewer and fewer, happening in a very short and mostly gentle form and most people are not even aware of them

What health precautions need to be taken?

Initially on any visit to a new destination, do a good risk assessment: ask – where are the safe areas and areas to avoid. Once you have done that have a plan so that all of your group react in the same way more to the same points. If you are in a building pillars and door frames are generally the safest places but obviously if you can get outside into open spaces then that is the best course of action. If in outside move to open ground away from buildings etc and try to protect your head. Ideally have a ‘quick run bag’ prepared with essentials like clean water, money, snack bars, spare clothes etc. Regroup and take care of your own safety first.

If I need to see a doctor, where can I do so?

There are well-equipped general and specialized hospitals, nursing homes and private clinics manned by very competitive doctors in Kathmandu, Pokhara and other cities if you fall sick. Your hotel will provide good advice on the matter

What is Acute Mountain Sickness and how do you prevent it?
Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) is caused by thin air at high altitudes starting from 3, 000 meters upwards and may even lead to death. The main precaution that needs to be taken while trekking is not to go up too high too fast. So the body should be given enough time to acclimatize.

 

 

If you suffer from initial symptoms like headaches, shortness of breath, fatigue, nausea, inability to sleep, swelling of the face, hands and feet and loss of appetite, descend to a lower elevation immediately, and seek medical help.

Are there clinics to treat AMS on trekking routes?
The Himalayan Rescue Association (HRA), a non-profit organization that works to prevent casualties from AMS, operates a permanent aid post in Manang which is managed by volunteer doctors from HRA. It also operates a small aid post in the Khumbu village of Pheriche at 4,280 m during the trekking season by volunteer doctors. HRA also operates a camp at Everest Base Camp during the mountaineering season.

For more information,

Contact: 01-4440293

Is travel insurance necessary to go trekking in Nepal?
Helicopter services are available should you fall sick or meet with an accident while trekking. However, such rescue services are expensive. So comprehensive travel insurance is advised to cover emergencies like helicopter rescue and medical treatment.
Are there public toilets in Nepal?

Public toilets can be used for a small fee. But visitors are advised to use the toilets at the shopping malls, stores and restaurants which are cleaner.

What is the time difference in Nepal?

Nepali time is GMT plus 5 hours 45 minutes.

What is Trekkers’ Information Management System (TIMS)?

Where and how to obtain TIMS Card?

Tourists of all nationalities including Indians, who are interested to visit general trekking areas of Nepal, are required to receive TIMS Card through one of the following offices:

  • Kathmandu (NTB office, TAAN office and Government registered trekking companies)
  • Pokhara (NTB office, TAAN office and Government registered trekking companies)
  • To obtain a TIMS Card you need a photo copy of your passport details and two passport-size photographs.
  • 20 US $ equivalent Nepalese Rupees must be paid to obtain TIMS Card from NTB offices or TAAN offices which issue TIMS card only for Free Individual Trekkers (FIT) who do not take the services of both Guide and Porter.
  • However, 10 US $ equivalent Nepalese Rupees must be paid for obtaining TIMS card for Group Trekkers (GT- who take the services of both Guide and Porter) only from registered trekking agencies in Nepal.
  • The TIMS card is non-transferable, non-endorsable and valid only for one entry for prescribed area and duration.

Opening hours

  • TIMS counter at NTB offices will remain open from Sunday to Friday from 10 am to 4 pm except Saturdays and Public Holidays when it is closed.
  • TIMS counter at TAAN opens seven days a week from 10 am to 5 pm . It is also open on Saturdays and Public Holidays from 10 am to 12 pm.
  • During October, November and December working hours are from 10 am to 4 pm.

For more information,
please contact: Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) ,
Telephone + 9771-4256909 extn 224 or Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN)
Tel: 4443003, 4440920,
Web site: www.timsnepal.com).

Electricity Voltage

Electricity in Nepal is 230 volts, alternating at 50 cycles per second. A voltage converter is needed for a device that does not accept 230 volts at 50 MHz. Sockets in Nepal accept only round three or two pins. So if your electrical device uses flat pins, please bring a universal electric plug adaptor.

Are the local people emotionally and physically ready to welcome tourists?

Its already been 4 months since the earthquake, locals have moved on, they even called a press meet at Nepal Tourism Board to announce that they are physically and mentally ready to welcome tourists now

Am I taking resources away from the rebuilding?

No, you’re not. The only resources that are badly needed now is money, and you provide that by travelling to Nepal.

How much has been rebuilt?

Most of the rubble has been cleaned out. The rebuilding is different from one place to the next, some are almost done while others, specially in remote areas, still have a lot to do.

Hygiene: How has the earthquake affected sanitation, medical services, water quality?
Hospitals, water supplies and sewages are working as normal. Nepal is a poor country so that means same status as before the earthquake.

 

Transportation: Are airports and bus routes open?
Tribhuvan, the international airport in Kathmandu is open and operating as normal. Bus routes are operating as normal. Please consult with your tour operator as monsoon rains might impact your travel routes.
Monuments: is there anything to see?
While many monuments have been damaged and some even collapsed, most of them are still standing with the same grace as before. Others are being rebuilt which gives you a unique opportunity to watch the artisans create their amazing art craft and renovate what has been the pride of the country for thousands of years.
Are the hotels safe to stay in?
Yes, over 90% of the hotels have been evaluated and are considered safe. Most hotels are modern buildings are were not effected by the earthquake.
What are the changes of another earthquake?
Earthquakes are impossible to predict and Nepal is in an active earthquake zone. Big earthquakes strike the country approximately every 80 years. Aftershocks now are small and far apart and not dangerous to anyone, even at the epicenter.
How much of Nepal is damaged?
Nepal is a relatively big country. Only 11 out of 75 districts were impacted by the earthquake. Most of those 11 only had minor damages while those closest to the epicenter have suffered most. The epicenter was in Ghurka. If you are going close to the epicenter, contact your tour operator for detailed information about your routes and destination.
Where can I get detailed information?

Contact your tour operator in Nepal for detailed information about your destination.

What is the situation in Pokhara, Nagarkot, Bhaktapur, Thamel.. is it safe to go there?

Yes it is safe to travel to these regions and locally safety advice is available at the tourist sites and temples. Both districts were virtually untouched by the event. Hotels are open and ready to receive visitors

What can I do and see around Kathmandu/Patan/Bhaktapur.... basically in Nepal after this earthquake...?

All these areas have obviously been affected but there are many tourist sites, temples and treks that have been unaffected, these and the Durbar Squares and UNESCO sites are now open. An added attraction is to watch the craftsmen busy at work reconstructing the damaged areas.

I have kids with me...is it still safe to come to Nepal?

Yes just as long as you take into consideration the other relevant Q & A advice above

Is petrol available?

Yes all services requiring petrol are working normally

Are trekking staff available or are they all working in their villages?

Many of the trekking staff live in Kathmandu, even if they don’t reputable trekking agents will have a list of contacts in their trekking areas and all staff will welcome the opportunity to work to earn money to help improve their situation.

Are hill airstrips still in tacked?

Yes all are operating as usual subject to the normal weather conditions

Are there any food shortages and can I buy supplementary trek food in Kathmandu?

All supermarkets are open and they still stock all the food stuffs as pre April 2015, there is a wide choice of trekking ‘snack’ type food available. All other food is available as before

Can I purchase travel insurance in Kathmandu when I arrive?

You can purchase rescue and evacuation cover, but we’re still checking to find whether medical cover is also available. Note that medical cover bought here would not cover repatriation or out of country claims even if available

Are there any incentives to encourage trekkers to visit more distant destinations?

 Most agents agree that to reduce costs is not an appropriate reaction to the situation. What they are attempting to do is to provide a better quality of service, offer additional benefits and to provide a percentage of your trip cost to a recovery fund

Are the helicopters still commandeered by the Government or can we hire them for sightseeing trips?

 Yes they are offering all the usual site-seeing trips

Is Kathmandu still safe or has there been an increase in the crime rate against tourists?

Kathmandu and Nepal have always been very safe in this respect, just be sensible and follow all the usual ‘travel in foreign destination’ advice

Are there still 'cheap rate' hotel rooms available or is it just the more expensive hotels that are functioning at present?

There is  a good range of hotels open for business both in Thamel as well as in other areas in the Valley and further afield.

Are the Lodges safe and operational or should I intend to use tents and camp?

Lodge treks are available especially in the Everest and Annapurna regions. Langtang is still closed and other affected routes are getting reinstated and opened for trekkers. Advice differs for different areas seek specific advice from your trekking agent.

Are visitors welcome or do Nepalis have other things on their minds right now?

Visitors are more welcome than ever! Tourism is a vital part of the economy. The income tourists generate is very important. Even more important though is the signs of hope, connection to the outside world etc that visiting now brings

Can I volunteer?

Technically no, it’s illegal without a work permit. Work permits are like gold dust!

Is it a good idea to bring a sleeping bag or are guest houses available in most places?

This depends on how high in the mountains you’re going you. As usual if going to 3000m+ you’ll probably need a good sleeping bag in the tea houses and lodges. If you’re in the lower hills or plains then just bring a sheet sleeping bag or silk liner for budget accommodation. Mid to upper quality accommodation would have sheets and towels etc as one would expect

What other items are essential to bring?

This depends on where you are going and what you’re doing. You don’t need anything extra than the usual trek / travel personal gear. Essential to bring anywhere in Nepal is a sense of humour, the ability to work on Nepalese slippery time and to accept things work very differently here.

Is it necessary to book a tour from Kathmandu or is it also possible to just go off into the country and see what happens?

You’ll find it easier to work with a reputable agency to help with any permits and TIMS etc that you’ll need for trekking areas. You’ll probably find it easier to get a reliable guide / porter through an agency or through personal contacts. Definitely seek up to the moment advice on where to go / where to be careful etc before heading out on your own.

Is it easy to find somebody who speaks English, French or German outside the cities?

yes in the very popular and busy tourist destinations such as Everest, Annapurna, Chitwan and Pokhara (Lakeside). Everywhere else – no. Some basic Nepalese would really help.