BE INFORMED BEFORE YOU TRAVEL
Travel to and in Nepal is possible and in most areas is at the same level of risk as pre-earthquake.
The travel advice you’ll find in this document is therefore differentiated by geographical area.
· Yellow areas: do not travel – the 14 worst affected districts
· Orange areas: travel, but use caution
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There are further details on the following:
· Transport to and within Nepal
· Adventure activities
· Cultural and heritage tours
· Festivals, events and more
Background: Nepal suffered two major earthquakes on April 25th and May 12th 2015. These caused destruction and loss of life in and around the epicentres, Ghorkha and Dolakha districts respectively and across several other areas of the country including the capital, Kathmandu. The damage in Kathmandu was largely in isolated pockets and the city was functioning at near normal levels around a week after the first quake. Aftershocks continue to jolt the country on a regular basis, however these are generally of low intensity and have little effect on day to day life in most cases.
Nepal is currently experiencing monsoon
Many countries governments have travel warnings in action regarding travel to and in Nepal. Check your country’s travel advice. Be aware there are many inconsistencies between the various travel advisories out there.
Be safe, check information sources carefully before you travel.
It is possible to have an amazing and inspiring travel experience in Nepal. As with any journey, prepare well, use common sense and actively seek advice and information to get the best from your trip.
YELLOW - 14 worst affected districts: do not travel
The earthquakes of April 25th and May 12th severely affected 14 Districts in the north-centre of Nepal. These districts are still very unstable and experiencing severe problems.
We would not recommend travel to or through any of these areas, unless working specifically on aid, relief or rebuild missions. People needing to travel to these districts for the above purposes are strongly advised to work with a registered organisation and coordinated with local government offices and police / army.
ICIMOD has advised that these areas are at very high risk of landslide during the monsoon months as heavy rainfall loosens already unstable slopes in these areas.
Note: Ghorkha District includes the Manaslu trekking area; Rasuwa includes the Langtang area; Dolakha includes the Rolwaling / Ganesh Himal trekking areas.
Map sourced from http://kathmandulivinglabs.github.io/quake-maps/#affected-areas 07.07.15
ORANGE areas: travel, but exercise caution
Kathmandu: the mid hills and mountains in the centre of the country
Kathmandu Valley (including Bakhtapur and Patan): whilst the majority of the valley suffered only minor damage in both earthquakes there are still many walls, buildings and roads / trails that have been affected, some destroyed completely.
Buildings – the sticker system
We advise you to pay close attention to the buildings you frequent – you should look for the ‘Green Sticker’ on the building’s entrance. The green sticker shows that the building has been assessed for damage and is considered safe to use by government engineers.
Enter ‘Orange’ stickered buildings only if absolutely necessary
Avoid red stickered buildings – keep a good distance from them.
Walking, riding, moving around the city and valley villages
Many places in the city are virtually unaffected however we advise you pay attention to the routes you’re taking – check that walls are uncracked and not leaning, pay attention to the red taped areas around the heritage sites.
Walking around the Kathmandu city has always been a bit of an obstacle course, what with potholes, dirt tracks, traffic and the odd cow or even elephant wandering about. These things are still prevalent (it’s part of the charm!). In addition though be aware that not every wall / house has been checked so keep your eyes open and use common sense.
While the popular heritage sites in Kathmandu have seen some damage, the rubble has been removed and paths created for travellers. Nepal opened its heritage sites on 05th June 2015 officially. Stay clear of red-taped off areas and exercise common sense when moving through small alleyways etc.
One bonus of visiting at this time is a chance to see many of Nepal’s highly skilled artisans and craftsmen at work as they start the time-honoured job of rebuild and renewal (some of our monuments are still being repaired after the 1934 earthquake!)
Running and walking / cycling trails
Watch out for cracks and fractures in running, walking and hiking trails.
Tracks and trails in the valley and beyond change by the day in the monsoon time as heavy downpours cause erosion and small slips and slides. These effects may be heightened by quake loosed earth. The usual guidelines of trekking / biking apply – let someone know your route and expected return time; carry a phone and small first aid kit with you in case of mishaps; don’t be afraid to ask for directions or help from locals.
Mountain areas: trekking, mountain biking, trail running and climbing
At this time of year many of the mountain areas are difficult to access and to move through as heavy rains and dense cloud obscure visibility (for planes) and turn jeep tracks into muddy waterways. This is normal for Nepal. However in addition this year there are still some trail sections that are ay higher risk of landslide and some mountainous areas closer to the affected districts where we may reasonably expect more intense monsoon effects. Talk to locals, use your mountain skills and experience to risk assess routes before your travel and as you move. Stay alert and, as ever, be prepared to change or abandon your trip as conditions change. Use a reputable travel operator.
Trail, bridge and lodge assessments in the main trekking areas
Most reputable travel operators have carried out trail, bridge and lodge assessments in the areas they run trips. These should be available – just ask your agent.
We are also in the process of consolidating these reports into a cross-checked reference document.
In addition world experts teams from Miyamoto have assessed Everest and Annapurna. Their initial report gives both regions the all clear apart from a short section of trail which has already had diversions created. Their report is due on July 19th.
A Swiss backed team of geologists and rural trail experts have also assessed Manaslu area. Trail repairs and bridges are now being worked on. Their report is available on request.
As noted above it is not advised to travel to Langtang, Rolwaling and Manaslu at the moment.
Some areas of Solokhumbu (Kherikhola, Thame area) have been badly affected – check with your travel agency.
Blue areas – travel as same risk pre-earthquake
Many parts of the country were unaffected (or only mildly affected) by the earthquakes.
Lumbini, birthplace of Lord Gautauma Buddha; the tea plantations of Ilam; Lakeside and Pokhara; Janakphur; Chitwan, Bardia and Kosi Tappu National Parks are all operating as normal.
The Annapurnas, Mustang, Dolpo, the Far West and eastern mountains (Kanchenjunga) are largely unaffected by the earthquake. Trekkers and mountain bikers have been enjoying the empty trails there for the past few months. As above, monsoon can have big impacts on safe travel so do exercise caution.
Note: Mustang, Dolpo and Humla are generally not affected by monsoon as they are in the rain shadow.
Rafting – Limited: rafting opportunities are always limited in the monsoon period. The Bhote Khosi river and rafting area is in the YELLOW zone and not operating. Consult your Rafting Outfitter
Bungee Jumping - Limited. Consult your Tour Operator The second highest bungee in the world at the Last Resort is currently closed (YELLOW zone). There is a possibility it may re-open in autumn. The bungee in Pokhara is operating as normal.
Paragliding & Parahawking Operating as normal although flight opportunities are very limited in the monsoon. Most of the Paragliding and Parahawking happen in Pokhara which sustained little or no damage at all during the earthquake.
Paddle Boarding Operating as normal. This happens in Pokhara’s Phewa Lake and it has sustained no damage at all.
Canyoning - Not Advisable in popular areas. The most popular canyoning happens in the Bhote Koshi Corridor, in one of the YELLOW districts. In newer opened canyons, use caution as expert assessments have not been done. Talk to your specialist operator
Wildlife Watch / Birding - Operating as normal. Consult your Specialist Provider …..
Festivals - Good to Go. Nepal never stops with regards to festivals. Faith is so big in this country that this goes on. See a list of events here to check when you can enjoy it where.
Please take car the check your travel insurance is fully valid. Many insurers have ‘exclusions’ against travel to countries where the insured persons’ government has a travel warning in action.
Please check with your insurer before starting your journey.
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