Is Kathmandu safe to visit this year
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The spread of COVID-19 continues to lead to restrictions in international air and travel traffic and impairment of public life.
Before unnecessary, tourist trips to Nepal will currentlywarned.
Nepal is particularly hard hit by COVID-19, the Nepalese health system is overloaded.
New, more contagious variants of COVID-19 have also been identified in Nepal, which is why Nepal is an area with a particularly high risk of infection (Virus variant area) is classified.
The World Health Organization (WHO) provides current and detailed figures.
International commercial air traffic has been suspended until further notice; Entry is only possible in special individual cases. Entry by land is also practically impossible.
Otherwise travelers need a visa. The "Visa-on-Arrival" service is suspended.
All travelers, with the exception of tourists, must present a “preapproval / recommendation letter” in addition to the visa. Depending on the purpose of your stay, this is issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of the Interior or the Ministry of Culture or the Nepalese embassy. This applies regardless of whether travelers live in Germany or abroad, or whether they already have a visa or are applying for the first time.
A negative PCR test (Gene Xpert / True NAAT or equivalent test) must also be presented prior to entry, which must not be older than 72 hours before departure (feeder flight). Children under five years of age are exempt from the obligation to test. All travelers must fill out an online form before departure and present the generated barcode as a printout or screenshot at check-in.
After entry, there is a 10-day quarantine obligation, which can be completed either at home, in a hotel or in a government facility. It is not possible to shorten the quarantine. Fully vaccinated persons with a negative PCR test before and a new test immediately after entering the country are exempt from the quarantine obligation.
When entering from a virus variant area (currently India, United Kingdom, South Africa, Brazil), a 10-day quarantine in a hotel is mandatory. It is not possible to shorten the quarantine.
When entering the Kathmandu Valley by land, there is also a 10-day quarantine obligation.
It is only possible to leave Nepal by air after submitting a negative test result, which can only be done in clinics specified by the government. Long waiting times are to be expected.
Transit and onward travel
Foreigners are not permitted to transit through Kathmandu International Airport.
Foreigners can only cross the border by land with a special permit. Short-term closings of individual border crossings are possible.
National and international air traffic has been suspended until further notice. This does not apply to individual flights to and from Delhi within the framework of a bilateral agreement. The extent to which charter or cargo flights or possibly medical repatriation flights can take place cannot be foreseen.
Due to the Coronavirus Entry Ordinance of May 12, 2021 and the classification of Nepal as a virus variant area, in addition to the existing registration and test obligation and extended and unconditional quarantine obligation, proof of a negative COVID-19 test in German and English must be provided when traveling from Nepal to Germany , French, Spanish or Italian language, even if travelers are already fully vaccinated. Airlines and other carriers are otherwise not allowed to take people over the age of six with them.
The underlying PCR test may have been carried out a maximum of 72 hours, and a rapid antigen test in accordance with the requirements of the Robert Koch Institute a maximum of 24 hours before the planned entry. The transport ban for people in cross-border rail, bus, ship and air traffic that applies to Nepal with effect from May 16, 2021 does not apply to German nationals and people with residence and right of residence in the Federal Republic of Germany, but may lead to changes in the flight schedule and others Reductions in flight connections to and from Germany lead, even if air traffic were to be resumed.
Restrictions in the country
Due to the rapidly increasing number of infections, almost the entire country is in lockdown with strict curfews and restrictions that are monitored by the police. An extensive lockdown has been imposed for the Kathmandu Valley (Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Bhaktapur) and Pokhara. When entering the Kathmandu Valley by land, a 10-day quarantine must also be carried out.
The local distance and hygiene rules have been tightened. Mouthguards are mandatory in public spaces.
- Make sure you comply with the AHA regulations and also follow the instructions from local authorities.
- If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or come into contact with infected people, contact the nearest hospital. A list of hospitals can be found on the website of the German Embassy Kathmandu.
- The German embassy only works to a limited extent; Visitors by appointment only. A standby service for emergencies has been set up.
- See the information from the Nepalese Immigration Service.
- Make sure you keep your entries in the crisis prevention list up to date.
- Stays in foreign countries can currently affect the possibility of entering other countries. Therefore, find out about the current regulations on entry, transit and quarantine in the respective travel countries via the travel and safety information before starting any trip.
- When you return to Germany, note the valid entry restrictions such as registration, proof and, if necessary, quarantine regulations, inquire about the current conditions of carriage at the relevant company or your tour operator, and if you are entering from a risk area, contact the health department of your residence or travel agency Place of residence. Further information is available in our continuously updated info box on COVID-19 / Coronavirus.
Blast attacks with injuries and deaths are to be expected again and again. Even if foreigners have not been the target of such attacks so far, they cannot be ruled out outside the capital either.
- Be especially vigilant in busy locations and on special occasions.
- Avoid large crowds if possible.
- Please note the worldwide safety information.
In Nepal there are occasional short-term “bandhs”, forced strikes with blockades or roadblocks, local violence, closed shops and schools, also in the Kathmandu Valley, which are sometimes enforced by force. These can seriously disrupt public life and lead to enormous obstacles to travel. Before the new elections called for the end of April / beginning of May, more bandhs are to be expected.
Especially in the Terai, the southern border region with India, protests and violent, possibly dangerous, clashes between various political groups and the security forces can be expected.
At the border crossings to India there may be delays in crossing the border due to the political situation on both the Nepalese and Indian sides.
- Find out about the local media or the tourist police at your location.
- Avoid demonstrations and large crowds in large areas.
- Follow the instructions of local security guards.
In tourist areas in particular, petty crimes such as pickpockets and handbag robberies can occur, but also break-ins. Such crimes occur more frequently during the festival season from September to November. Rape is occasionally reported, especially against women traveling alone, after dark.
In the past there have been attacks against trekkers traveling alone.
Criminal organizations and other groups occasionally try to blackmail national and international organizations, business people and individuals and sometimes use force to enforce claims. Trekking tourists are also occasionally the target of such "attempt to extort donations". A local guide can de-escalate in such cases.
When dealing with state security forces, it should be noted that there is sometimes a different legal understanding in Nepal.
- Keep your money, ID, driver's license, air tickets and other important documents safe.
- Prefer cashless payments and only take the cash you need for the day and no unnecessary valuables.
- Be particularly vigilant in large crowds such as at airports, in markets and on the bus, and watch out for your valuables.
- Do not trek alone, only in groups and book reliable travel agencies.
- Especially as a woman, be especially careful after dark and not go alone.
- Be as cooperative and patient with security forces as possible.
- Be skeptical of unfamiliar e-mails, requests for donations, offers and requests for help from alleged friends. Do not disclose any data about yourself; if necessary, make sure yourself personally or contact the police.
Nature and climate
Nepal is located in a seismically active zone, and the Himalayan region in particular is considered to be highly prone to earthquakes. In 2015, severe earthquakes with magnitudes of 7.8 and 7.2, each with numerous aftershocks, resulted in thousands of deaths, injuries and significant property damage, which continued to affect the infrastructure.
In the event of a severe earthquake, it must be assumed that medical facilities and general emergency equipment are overloaded.
There is a monsoon climate, tempered in the north by the altitude.
During the monsoon season, which lasts from June to the beginning of October, sudden and often prolonged storms cause floods, flash floods and landslides throughout Nepal, which can also affect and restrict the main travel routes.
- Pay attention to the severe weather warnings from the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology and be particularly careful on mountain slopes and rivers.
- Always observe prohibitions, information signs and warnings as well as the instructions of local authorities.
- Familiarize yourself with earthquake behavioral guidelines. These are provided by the fact sheets of the German Research Center for Geosciences.
Infrastructure / traffic
Traffic routes may be impaired due to measures related to COVID-19 containment, see Current.
As a result of the major earthquakes in 2015, infrastructure damage and impassable roads persist across the country.
Air traffic does not meet European safety standards. All Nepalese airlines are on the EU list of unsafe airlines.
There is left-hand traffic. Local taxis, buses and rental cars are available.
When traveling overland, disabilities such as, in particular, major delays due to inadequate infrastructure and strikes must be expected.
Technical inspections of vehicles are not carried out regularly in Nepal, the generally binding traffic rules are disregarded by the vast majority of drivers. Serious traffic accidents are frequent, especially when driving overland, especially normal intercity buses, often resulting in death.
Adequate medical care, especially in the event of emergencies or accidents, cannot be guaranteed in large parts of the country, and a reliably functioning rescue service does not exist. As a result of the not always trouble-free communication, considerable difficulties can arise in emergencies because assistance cannot be organized in good time. There is no or insufficient cellular and / or internet reception over long distances.
The recent protests and strikes in some areas of the Terais and the blocking of some important border crossings to India temporarily led to a shortage of important consumer goods such as diesel, petrol and bottled gas.
- Before traveling, check with your tour operator or local tour guide about feasibility
- Follow the local media during your stay.
- Select your means of transport and the route carefully and pay attention to minimum standards of safety.
- Do not use normal intercity buses, only marked tourist buses.
- Always drive defensively and with foresight yourself, and at a reasonable speed.
- Inform your hotel or family members about planned departure and arrival times as well as your travel route.
- A good knowledge of first aid can reduce the risk of a serious accident with permanent damage to health.
The international driver's license in conjunction with the national German driver's license is valid for up to 15 days, after which a Nepalese driver's license is required.
Hikes and trekking tours
Trekking and mountaineering in Nepal are enjoying increasing popularity, which means that many routes and also summit climbs are temporarily overcrowded and the risk of accidents and altitude sickness increases.
All trekkers must have a valid TIMS Card (Trekkers' Information Management System), which can be obtained from the TIMS offices of the Nepal Tourism Board (NTP) or the Trekking Agents Association of Nepal (TAAN). Travel agencies that do not belong to these associations must obtain the certificates from NTB or TAAN. A trekking permit is also required for certain restricted trekking areas.
There were repeated blackmailing of trekkers who were traveling with freely hired, unlicensed porters without proof of insurance for the porters. Engaging a reliable travel agency and having the appropriate proof of payment with you will prevent legal difficulties.
- Apply for a valid TMS card in good time.
- Only do well-known routes and stay in groups.
- Do not deviate from designated hiking routes.
- Use only reputable agencies and guides with the appropriate state license.
- Obtain updated information on the security situation before visiting remote areas.
- Be sure to register in the crisis prevention list, stating the trekking route and insurance data or membership in a rescue airline.
- Do not underestimate the risks of altitude sickness and descend again at the first signs such as nausea, headache or shortness of breath, see health.
Homosexual acts are no longer punishable in Nepal, but a restraint of acts that may be perceived as provocative in public and respect for local customs are nevertheless indicated.
The Nepalese police and judiciary systematically pursue drug offenses. Violations can result in long prison sentences.
For security reasons, foreigners should stay away from demonstrations and large crowds. Foreign nationals who take part in protests may be liable to prosecution.
The export of large amounts of foreign currency that have not been declared upon entry can also lead to severe fines and imprisonment.
Sexual acts with minors are also prohibited. The abuse of children by Germans abroad is criminally prosecuted and has recently led to heavy fines, arrests and long prison sentences in Nepal.
The Nepalese Electronic Transactions Act criminalizes posts in social and electronic media that disturb the social peace of Nepal or defame people. Foreigners can be punished with deportation and / or imprisonment.
Using drones without required permits can lead to confiscation and heavy fines. The liability for possible personal injury or property damage caused by the operation of the drone also rests with the person who flies the drone.
Money / credit cards
The local currency is the Nepalese rupee (NPR). In the Kathmandu Valley it is possible to get cash from ATMs. Most machines accept Visa and Master credit cards, bank cards are hardly accepted.
In addition to credit cards, we recommend taking euros or US dollars with you in cash, especially when traveling to less populated regions.
Foreign currencies can be exchanged in all major cities without any problems. The Indian rupee (INR) is freely convertible in Nepal, but notes are usually only accepted up to a maximum of 100 INR notes.
Entry and customs
Entry and transit regulations may currently differ due to measures to contain COVID-19, see Current.
Entry and import regulations for German citizens can change at short notice without the Foreign Office being informed beforehand. You can only obtain legally binding information and / or information that goes beyond this information on the entry and customs regulations for importing goods directly from the representatives of your destination country.
You can find the customs regulations for Germany on the website of the German customs and via the “Customs and Travel” app or you can inquire about them by telephone.
Entry is possible for German citizens with the following documents:
- Passport: Yes
- Temporary passport: Yes
- Identity card: No
- Provisional identity card: No
- Children's passport: Yes
Comments / minimum remaining validity:
Travel documents must be valid for at least six months at the time of entry.
German citizens require a visa to enter the country, which must be applied for in advance at a Nepalese diplomatic mission abroad.
The Department of Immigration and the Nepalese Embassy in Berlin offer current entry and visa regulations and fees.
Visa before entry
The pre-entry visa can be applied for in Germany at the Nepalese embassy in Berlin and at the Nepalese honorary consuls in Frankfurt, Hamburg, Cologne, Munich and Stuttgart. In your own interest, you should have the entry regulations confirmed there before you start your journey. In the arrival hall of Tribhuvan International Airport there are several machines where a visa application can be entered electronically and the passport photo can be taken.
According to the latest information from the Nepalese immigration authorities, the issuing of a visa should be possible until the end of the validity of the travel document. However, care should be taken to ensure that the passport has a minimum remaining validity of at least six months, as otherwise airlines have already refused to carry passengers.
Extension of stay
Tourist visas can be extended up to 150 days, provided that the responsible authorities consider the requirements for an extension to be given.
Stays without or with an expired visa lead to heavy fines and sometimes even prison sentences.
Exceeding the stay
Due to new guidelines, the overdrafts of issued visas and especially prohibited activities with tourist or student visas are being checked more strictly. If the stay in Nepal is continued illegally after the visa has expired, there is a risk of a fine of currently 2 US dollars for each day spent in Nepal without a residence permit. From the 31st day the daily rate increases to US $ 3, for more than 90 days to US $ 5. If the fine is not paid, a heavy prison sentence must be expected, with the fine only being reduced by about US $ 1 every three days. In the case of performing an unpaid job without a corresponding work permit, a fine and imprisonment can be expected.
Start of work / voluntary service
A work permit must be applied for in order to carry out gainful employment such as voluntary services. Carrying out these activities on a tourist visa is illegal and punishable. This also applies to medical aid campaigns in Nepal (so-called health camps), which also require the approval of the Nepal Medical Council.
Onward journey to India and the PR China
In the case of intended onward travel to India and the PR China, visas applied for through travel agencies or other intermediaries have resulted in various falsified visas being obtained. This can lead to complications when leaving Nepal.
There are no problems with travel documents containing visas from other countries.
- Apply for the required visas for onward travel directly from the respective representations of the countries and not through travel agencies or other intermediaries, except for group trips to Tibet.
- If you are traveling to India via India and from Nepal again, inquire in good time about the changed Indian visa regulations at the nearest Indian representation or the Indian Bureau of Immigration.
- If you are interested in traveling on to Tibet in the People's Republic of China, please inform yourself before entering Nepal at the Chinese embassy in Germany or Nepal about the options for issuing a visa, e.g. about responsibilities, processing times and fees. It should be noted in particular that Chinese visas are not issued all year round.
There are no special provisions for minors traveling alone, but it is recommended that minors do not travel unaccompanied. A corresponding declaration from the legal guardian should be carried with you.
The import of foreign currency is permitted without restriction, but must be declared. The export of larger amounts of foreign currency that have not been declared upon entry is a criminal offense.
The local currency may not be imported or exported.
Objects, food and medication that have already been used, subject to an import ban, see Department of Drug Administration DDA, for personal use may be imported or exported duty-free.
Products manufactured in Nepal, subject to an export ban, see Department of Customs, may be exported without a permit up to the amount declared on entry by travelers in foreign currency, which was exchanged at a bank or a state-authorized exchange office.
When exporting goods, the negative list of the Nepalese customs on protected cultural goods and products of protected animal and plant species of the Department of Customs must be observed.
Numerous permits must be obtained in advance for the import and use of drones (UAV - Unmanned Aerial Vehicle). At least the tourism authority and the Ministry of the Interior and, if necessary, the administration of the nature reserve concerned must issue a permit, and for drones over 2kg in weight, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAAN) as well. Additional rules apply to research projects.
The Nepalese Ministry of Finance can provide binding information on customs regulations.
Pets can be imported with adequate rabies vaccination protection and a current veterinary health certificate (not older than 24 hours). However, customs formalities can be tedious.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the disease COVID-19, which is triggered by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, a pandemic.
In January 2019, WHO declared delaying or skipping vaccinations as a threat to global health. In particular, the lack of vaccination against measles poses a high risk when the number of cases increases internationally.
- As part of your travel preparations, check your and your children's vaccination protection against measles and have this supplemented if necessary.
No compulsory vaccinations are required for direct entry from Germany. When entering from yellow fever endemic areas, all persons ≥ 9 months must provide evidence of valid yellow fever protection.
- Make sure that you and your children have the standard vaccinations according to the vaccination calendar of the Robert Koch Institute up to date.
- Vaccinations against hepatitis A and typhoid fever are recommended as travel vaccinations, and also against hepatitis B, rabies and Japanese encephalitis for long-term stays or special exposure.
- Please note the instructions for use and help for the indication in the travel vaccination recommendations leaflet.
- The DTG offers up-to-date, detailed travel vaccination recommendations for specialist groups.
In September 2019, an increasing number of dengue infections were reported across the country. While this was quite possible in recent years during and after the monsoon season in the southern and lower-lying parts of the country, several hundred demonstrably autochthonous transmissions in the urban area have now also been detected in Kathmandu (altitude above sea level 1,400 m).
Dengue viruses are nationwide by diurnal Aedes- Mosquitoes transmitted The disease is usually associated with fever, skin rash and pronounced pain in the limbs and is increasingly affecting travelers as well. In rare cases, especially in children, serious complications, including possible death, occur. Overall, however, complications for travelers are rare. There is neither a vaccination nor chemoprophylaxis nor a specific therapy against dengue fever, see information sheet on dengue fever.
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