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Nepal update

Edinburgh, Scotland
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Nepal update

I received this from the FCO office in the UK. I am due to travel to Kathmandu on 3rd Feb till the 7th.

Anyone got any good constructive advice and how this is likely to affect a tourist who needs to eat and get around (including to the airport on the 7th)

Thank you in advance

__________________________________________

There is an unstable political situation in Nepal as a result of the ongoing conflict between the King’s Government and Maoist insurgents.

There is a high threat from terrorism in Nepal. Throughout 2005, Maoist rebels carried out a large number of attacks, including bombings and shootings, including in areas frequented by foreigners. Tourists have been caught up in some of these attacks, although none has been seriously injured.

Since the Maoists ended their unilateral ceasefire on 2 January 2006, they have carried out a series of bombings and launched armed attacks on security force targets in east and west Nepal. Six security force personnel have been killed and 17 civilians injured in the attacks. On 11 January 2006, the Maoists launched a major attack on the district headquarters for Kailali, injuring four policemen and one civilian. Violence is expected to continue in the run-up to the municipal elections on 8 February 2006, and the Maoist’s Bandh (shutdown) in February 2006.

Countrywide and local Bandhs (shutdowns) are regularly called and have caused widespread disruption including to transport. Bandhs and political demonstrations can flare up quickly and with little warning and may turn violent. During 2005, several demonstrations in Kathmandu resulted in violent clashes between the police and demonstrators. You are strongly advised to avoid all such demonstrations. The next bandh is due to take place from 5-11 February 2006.

The situation outside the Kathmandu Valley remains unpredictable and travel by road can be difficult, even when a bandh is not officially in operation. You should avoid travel by road during nationwide bandhs.

If you do decide to travel to Nepal, or are currently in Nepal, we advise you to exercise extreme caution and vigilance throughout your visit.

The majority of problems encountered by British tourists in Nepal are trekking accidents and drug-related incidents.

We very strongly recommend that trekkers travel in a group with an experienced guide. Travelling in groups will make you less vulnerable to theft and assault and will assist you greatly in the event of an accident. It also helps not to be alone in the face of Maoist demands for money on the main trekking routes (see Local Travel section).

In view of the often changing security situation in Nepal, if you are going to areas not normally visited by tourists, we recommend that you contact the British Embassy in Kathmandu beforehand for advice on the latest security situation in that area.

We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling. You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake

spokane
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1. Re: Nepal update

This will be the reality in Nepal for years to come. That said, actions against tourists are very rare. Stay away from political rallies, police and miliarty offices and the palace. Get a guide, very inexpensive and they can help read the situation and translate what is happening. Strikes are very common adn disrupt travel often, keek this in mind if you need to be back by a date certain.

NYC
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2. Re: Nepal update

the thing about travel advisories is that they often paint the picture to be far more dire than it is. I'm not saying Nepal is not in a political quagmire, but I don't think you should cancel your trip either. Such travel advisories have basically killed off the tourism industry in Nepal, which is a major source of income for a large percent of the population, and thus unfortunate. Where are you really free from violence nowadays? I was living in London during the subway bombings, and am now back in New York. Safety in today's world is mainly an illusion!

Being vigilant and staying away from any rallies that may occur would be wise (never understood the tourists who walk into the mass rallies armed with cameras... that's just asking for trouble)... It's almost like Nepalis have gotten used to the unrest, life goes on as usual for people, and adjusting to various circumstances has become a way of life. Getting to the airport is never an issue for tourists- the Tourism Authority arranges buses from hotels around the city to the airport for tourists.

During my last trip, a bandh (day where vehicles are not allowed in the city streets) turned out to be my favorite day as we could just roam the city walking on the streets (rather than the often crowded/nonexistant sidewalks) and people were having fun riding their bicycles on the road w.o worrying about cars. Lots of smiles as people walked to work taking in the morning sunshine. That's Nepal for you- through it all the people are resilient and continue about life with a smile.

Melbourne, Australia
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3. Re: Nepal update

The other 2 posters are correct, Nepal is a wonderful place with amazing people and should not be missed due to a governmental travel advisory. I felt very safe during my stay in Nepal in Oct/Nov 2004 & am planning to return later this year for my honeymoon.

The Maoists I encountered were pretty much poor farmers that are sick of the govt corruption that makes life very hard for the lower classes. They are armed & requested a 'tax' but if you treat them with respect & don't get involved in any political discussions (which us westerners know very little about) you will be fine.

Most of the action is in the far east of Nepal, with Kathmandu occasionally being a minor target.

Just enjoy your trip mate, it's a ripper place!

Aylesbury, United...
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4. Re: Nepal update

I visited Nepal last February with a small tour group. We had a wonderful time. But the Foreign Office in London are advising against all but essential travel. Please check your your travel insurance as I believe you are not covered if you travel against F.O advice.

I hope the situation resolves itself soon as so many people rely on tourism and we were made extremely welcome by the lovely Nepalese people.