Law, Order and Safety

How safe is Nepal?

Nepal is one of the safest places in the world. Violent crimes are very rare, and the only real concern to a traveler is petty theft. However, if you take basic common sense precaution, there is nothing to fear. Don't bring valuable things with you unless necessary for your trip. Keep your money and other valuables in a money belt or pouch strapped around your waist. Lock your bags and luggage.

I am going to be traveling alone? Is there any reason to be concerned?

Not really. You will be fine in most well trafficked area. But if you will be trekking particularly in remote areas and during times of the year when there are fewer travelers (June-September), it is generally advisable to team up --especially if you are a woman-- with others even though cases of trouble are few. Teaming up not only deters potential trouble-makers, of which there are not many, but also will be of help in case of any other emergency. You can easily find welcoming fellow tourists along popular trekking routes or in Kathmandu and Pokhara.

I hate to ask this, but what if I am robbed?

Report it immediately to the police. They are normally at least comforting if not helpful. If you need a police report for insurance purposes, you have to go to the Interpol Section of Nepal Police located at Naxal. Dress smartly and be very polite, you will come out much ahead than otherwise.

Is there any law(s) I should particularly be aware of?

Yes, two. First, smuggling --particularly of drugs and gold-- into Nepal can run you into serious legal trouble. Second, proselytizing is against the law and is punishable by years in prison. Preaching of Christian religion by organized missionary groups has become quite widespread recently, but it is safest to keep your religion to yourself. There have been cases of unsuspecting tourists being jailed for distributing religious materials to locals.

I am a woman and I have heard horrible tales about harassment in South Asia. Am I likely to face harassment in Nepal?

Yes, especially in the form of staring and catcalling on the streets. But the problem does not even come close to what you will face in India and other parts of Asia. Just mind your own business, the harassers rarely do anything more. Accosting them only creates more trouble you would rather avoid. Many trekking guides and tourism business related locals, however, have had enough liaison with foreign women to make "moves" on you. If you are not interested, a firm but gentle disapproval will solve the problem.

How about street beggars and touts?

As in any poor country with enough "rich" foreigners, Nepal has its share of street beggars and middle-men touts trying to sell you everything from information to drugs. There is no need to be intimidated by them. If you are not interested, mind your own business or tell them to leave you alone. They will.