Nepal is safe
Nepal,  We12inspire

Nepal is safe!

Before I’m starting a long run of stories about our trek to Everest Base Camp, there’s one thing that has to be said and everybody in this world should know. NEPAL IS SAFE! During our three week trip, I have not felt either in danger or uncomfortable for one single second and I want to spread the word that nothing should keep you from traveling to one of the most beautiful countries in the world! A lot is being said about Nepal and its safety at the moment and people are scared of traveling there. With this blog, I hope to encourage fellow travellers to (still) consider Nepal for a visit and to take away some of the worries that future travellers may have.
 

How about the earthquake?

Unfortunately, the earthquake that hit Nepal back in April, has caused a lot of damage. We have only seen a small part of the country and therefore I can only base this blog on our own experiences. From what I’d heard before starting our trip, I was a little anxious about the damage we would encounter, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as some people made us believe. I’m sure there is a lot of damage, but not in the areas we went to. The only really bad damage we saw was at Durbar Square in Kathmandu and I’ll be honest, walking around there made me pretty sad. All this beautiful heritage was severely damaged and looking back at it, I’d rather not have visited because I felt incredibly powerless. However, I’m happy that by paying an entrance fee and buying some goodies there, we could contribute to rebuilding and restoring this beautiful place. Other than Durbar Square, we visited Thamel, Swayambhunath (the monkey temple) and the Garden of Dreams, which are all a bit damaged yet still accessible and pretty enough to pay a visit to.
 

Durbar Square after the eartquake
Durbar Square after the eartquake
 
In the Everest region, where the earthquake hit pretty hard, we did see some losses but in all honesty, we’ve also seen damaged houses on other tracks in the world and in various other Asian countries, it can be as messy, maybe even messier, than in Nepal. Some teahouses have decided not to open up for the season because they are too damaged but in the places we stayed, everything was restored and I felt entirely safe. If I wouldn’t have known, I’d not have even noticed there had been an earthquake. Call me stupid or blind, but I’ve learned to look beyond something that first meets the eye.
 
As for medication and medical services, we were in the unfortunate position that we ended up in a medical post twice and a hospital in Kathmandu, but luckily after a quick check-up, we were good to go again. To get our medication, we had to visit two different pharmacies to get all we needed in Kathmandu but that wasn’t too much of a hassle. In the end, we ended up using not even half of it, so we gave it back for future use. We actually felt pretty bad about using up much needed medication so left behind all we could but we had to take some meds in order to be able to fly home again.
 
After the earthquake, there was a drop in tourists of 35%. As I said earlier in another blog, I don’t get why people don’t want to travel to Nepal anymore. Did anybody stop going to Japan or New Zealand when they had massive earthquakes? Why are people still going to San Francisco when you know there is bound to be a massive shock sometime soon? Earthquakes can hit anywhere at any time. I’ve talked to many locals and asked them about the recent happenings. Many of them told me that they had never even experienced an earthquake before and they were as surprised as I would have been when such a thing would happen in The Netherlands. So please people, don’t stay away because you are afraid of earthquakes because they can hit anywhere.
 
Our guided Jangbu and Lila
Our guides Jangbu and Lila
 

And what about the fuel crisis?

Yes, the fuel crisis is an entire different story. Since September 2015 there is a shortage because India is no longer delivering fuel to Nepal. If you want to read the entire story, please refer to Lonely Planet or Wikipedia because I don’t want this blog to become a debate about the dispute between India and Nepal. The most important question here is if we were affected by the fuel crisis. The answer is yes, but only mildly. At some restaurants they had set menus because not all supplies were available (but really, who cares?) and basically, that was it. As we had pre-arranged everything, our taxi was there to pick us up and our flights to/from Lukla were booked and paid for so we had no issues with it (apart from the weather). The biggest issue was that Turkish Airlines changed the flight as they had to fly to Delhi first to fuel up, before returning to Istanbul. As it turned out, we’d miss our flight so we had to overnight in Istanbul, which was pretty inconvenient as this would extend our journey home with more than 14 hours.
 
The fuel crisis caused another loss of about 15% of Nepal’s tourists. Needless to say that the Nepali need you to come to their country. A lot of people rely on tourism as a part of their income and it made me sad to see that so many teahouses on the trek were empty and that shops were equally empty as well as restaurants and other places where tourists hang out. Locals cannot afford to buy fuel so they are forced to cook outside on a fire rather than their stove and they can’t move themselves around because they have no transportation.
 

Nepal is safe!

I’m not sure what I have to say or do to take away the worries that have nestled inside many of us. I want to scream NEPAL IS SAFE and I want to ask you, no, beg you to go. The Nepali are the friendliest people I have ever met and moreover very courageous. Despite all the misery they have been going and are still going through, the majority of them are still smiling. They are looking at the future with a smile on their face and are welcoming tourists more than ever into their country. Unfortunately, when you decide to go, I cannot prevent another force of nature to hit the country nor can I guarantee that the fuel crisis will be over. However, I can guarantee that a trip to Nepal will change you forever. It will learn you how to smile, enjoy, and live your life better than you have ever done before. Your journey, wherever you will go to, will be an unforgettable one!
 
Please help us spread the word that Nepal is safe by sharing this post!
 
Want to read more about Nepal? You may enjoy these:
Nepal – a head filled with emotions
Off to Nepal and Everest Base Camp!
Nepal Now: 5 things that I’m worried about!

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Anto is a 30-something outdoor fan who travels the world about 100 days a year, combined with a full-time office job. She loves to go hiking, enjoys a good class of wine and can usually be found with an iPhone in her hand. Favorite destinations: New Zealand, Patagonia, Austria and Alaska.

26 Comments

  • Hannah

    I have two other friends who have been to Nepal in the past month or so and had nothing but good things to say about it- especially in terms of friendly locals and safety. Unfortunately I’ve heard the fuel sitaution has been having a negative impact on things, though mostly as you say, for the locals who rely on it for their trades. I hope that comes to an end soon!

    • anto

      Happy to hear! To be honest I’ve never really heard any negative stories from travellers about Nepal, which makes me very happy, however if only the people who are in doubt about going would know that…

  • Ronald Robbins

    I’m so happy to see that you’re taking the initiative to make the statement that Nepal is safe to travel to. Just prior to the earthquake, I spend a solid 2 weeks backpacking around the area and must say it’s a region of the world many people need to visit.

    Post earthquake, I had several friends who flew in and helped build back what was lost, boosting the economy, and giving people homes again. All in all, I haven’t heard any trauma stories and everyone who made the adventure didn’t have any regrets. Good write-up, I’m sharing this now! 🙂

    • anto

      Yeah, like you say, many people need to visit, if only to learn how to smile again and be happy with less. Good that you haven’t heard of any trauma stories, they can break a country down even further, everyone I met has been so positive though!

  • Vanessa

    I often tell people that the time after a natural disaster is often the most safe time to go and visit a country. Obviously I mean once services have been restored – power, running water, hospitals operating at their usual level again. Here’s my thinking. In the year or two after a natural disaster, tourism sadly drops off. But that means fewer people to steal your belongings in a hostel (because sadly not all travel problems are caused by the country you are visiting) and it means fewer crowds and less congestion. It also means an extra warm welcome by locals who are keen to see visitors again to grow the economy. Chances are they’ll be extra protective of you. So long as your presence isn’t a burden on the local community, I say GO.

    • anto

      Yes, so true! To be honest, it was already quite busy on some parts of the trek and if it would have doubled or tripled, I’d have been really unhappy having to share it with so many other people… so yes to everyone, GO!!

  • anna

    Visiting a place after a disaster (once its all calm) is also a good way to support a community! Definitely a great post to help boost tourism in Nepal.

  • Marta

    I would really love to go to Nepal and I do hope that tourism picks up again for them. I think that when awful things happen, natural disasters or man made horrors, we must remember that they are not the norm: they happened, but what about all the days when they did not? Awareness is important, but so is overcoming excessive or irrational fears. Thank you for sharing this. PS Hope your trip to the hospital was for nothing serious?

    • anto

      Nah, Martijn got sick and passed out because of that because he couldn’t keep anything inside. They gave him medication and that helped… he was fine again when we got home, luckily!

  • Stefan

    TOTALLY agree! We did the Annapurna Circuit and it was absolutely fine. BUT go with a guide – you’re giving back helping the local community, but more importantly, having one will help give you confidence to fight altitude sickness and generally learn more about what you’re seeing.

  • Charli

    Bravo for highlighting the truth behind the hype. I’ve long wanted to explore Nepal and I have to admit the media coverage did make me question whether or not I should postpone my trip. I think it’s great that you are sharing your own experiences to help others make informed travel decisions.

  • Alli

    Amazing to hear this. I felt the same way in Cambodia, eeeeveryone said not to go. But the people were also as friendly as can be despite facing some of the most challenging hardships. It sounds like Nepal is so similar in that way, I’d love to visit and experience their culture 🙂

  • Laura

    It’s just sad when people take one incident and use that as proof that it’s unsafe somewhere. Just because there was an earthquake there recently, doesn’t mean there will be another one anytime soon, so that it’s inherently unsafe to travel there. There’s no way to convince those type of people though.

  • Mar

    Lovely to hear your experiences. I have been meaning to go again but seeing Durbr Square in ruins wold be such a shock. Though i’ve seen photos real life would make me extremely sad – thanks for spreading the word, tourism must come back to Nepal

  • Jenna

    Thanks for sharing–it’s so nice to hear updates from people who have actually been there. Media can make things seem so horrible, and it’s sad when people don’t look to other sources for information. And totally get what you mean–earthquakes don’t stop people from visiting so many places, so why should it be different in Nepal. Would love to visit–looks like such an amazing country and glad you had a great visit!

  • linda simeone

    Wow, what a great travel blog and video of EVEREST BASE CAMP. I am thinking about doing this and trying to accumulate so much info. It won’t be until next year, but getting started now, as a great BUCKET LIST adventure. Thank You, all that you wrote was extremely informative, well done and interesting. Thank You

    • anto

      Thanks so much Linda! I am happy to hear you find my blogs useful! I hope you will be able to make the trek next year, it’s an awesome adventure. Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you want to know anything else about Nepal or the EBC trek!

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