Monday, November 01, 2010

Travel Advisory Update: November 2010

pic: Yoga in the mountains!

Just got informed via Facebook of the latest UK FCO Travel Advice on traveling to Nepal, so feel compelled to make my comments and put in my independent advice too from Nepal. Read the FCO Travel Advisory here.

On the whole, its very well written, and very comprehensive. I would only have a few comments.

The first point on the advisory says "There is a significant increase in crime during the festival season, which occurs from October to November, including thefts, purse and bag snatchings, pickpocketing, and break-ins." . Fair enough. But to make it more relative, it should be mentioning that the level of crime in Nepal is very low compared to similar populated cities in the world. Hence, the better advice here is to ask travellers to exercise caution as they would in any city in the world.

The second point talks of a seasonal outbreak of Dengue in Chitwan District. What it does not mention is what that season is (a bit confusing for one who might know about the regular Dengue breaking season (around the rainy season in July - September) and where exactly in Chitwan it broke (confusing because most tourism happens in the Chitwan National Park, where no case has not been reported).

Love how the last point mentions that most travel in Nepal is trouble free. This is an important one to note. Well done FCO.

The air travel section talks about the Agni plane crash where tourists earlier this year. This could be misleading. Whereas it did happen and tourists should be informed that this has happened, maybe its more relevant to put it to perspective. What is the percentage of air crashes in Nepal compared to successful flights? It is very low. Keeping it real is important. This is very well done in the AIDS section where its clearly mentioned that the prevalence rate is 0.5% of the adult population, giving the AIDS situation some perspective.

I love the portions where its clearly mentioned that one should rely on local knowledge. Always my chant time and again. Also great advice on the trekking in Nepal section. I wish some 'responsible travel' tips would also be integrated. The FCO could help us do a little 'promotion' of responsible practices.

Well done FCO... a great all round Travel Advice this time!

So, the prognosis, be cautious (as you would be in any country in the world), do not do things you would not do in a big city anywhere in the world (like walk alone as a woman in the early hours of the morning in the city), listen to locals, rely on good operators to design your trips, and most importantly, keep enjoying travel to this incredible country.

See you in the mountains!

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