Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Travel Advisory Summary

The US Travel Advisory (read the full advisory here) 

Not updated since May 2008 (that in itself is a good sign), the only thing that is still relevant now is probably the fact that the political rallies and demonstrations in the Valley and outside the valley tend to get violent sometimes, 

My advise: Please listen to what is happening when you are in the country. These things tend to be localized, so long as you avoid the areas, there is no danger to you.

The British Travel Advisory (read the FCO advice here)

Updated on 30th October, this is recent, and talks about the same issues really. Says there are chances of acts of Terrorism, strikes and general closures and to avoid hotspots.

My comment: I think this is pretty clean, though most of the acts of violence they quote are from around May 2008... nothing much has happened recently.

The Australian Travel Advise (read it here)

The Australians have tagged it at "high degree of caution" citing extortion on trekking trails, general strikes,  political rallies that turn violent, pick-pocketing and petty crime in the city, and even Taxis not agreeing to use the meter as examples.

My take on this: I think it is a bit "over the top"...  you have to be cautious, but nowadays when you travel anywhere in the world you have to exercise caution. A high degree of caution seems to indicate that you are attempting to enter a war zone!

I think these three advisories are indicative of the scores out there. The big problem is clear in all of them... the political gymnastics taking place, and the quick turn of events that is classical of how Nepal works.

So, as I tell in most of my posts

1. Have a little bit of extra time... you could get delayed due to the "hassle factor" of a check post, or a general strike... but if you have padded your trip well, you should be fine

2. Do exercise caution: No doubts there. You need to avoid hotspots, and know where something is planned, if it ever is! Rely on local information for this. All the advisories are clear on that... keep in touch with a local operator and keep your self informed. Most operators will provide this information for free anyways.

3. Be a bit flexible: ready to go with the flow. Travel in Nepal is full of  the unpredictable, you got to be the type to enjoy the inspiration that change brings... (somehow I cannot seem to even type the word 'change' without thinking of the American elections - Obama should brand it or something)

Enjoy! See you in the mountains!