What about the earthquake? Is it safe to travel to Nepal?
The earthquake and subsequent aftershocks in April 2015 affected the tourism industry in Nepal significantly. At the time some trekking routes were affected and tourist numbers are still significantly down on pre-earthquake numbers. Is it safe to visit Nepal? Here are some points of consideration.
- Currently all trekking routes in Nepal are open. The main trekking areas of Annapurna and Everest region have had only extremely minimal damage and apart from seeing the occasional damaged village house or land slide you are unlikely to see any damage from the earthquake. There is some damage in the Manaslu Region but the routes and lodges are unaffected. The Langtang area suffered the most damage and rebuilding in this region is in full swing. The trekking routes here are open but we are for the moment not recommending this area for trekking to inexperienced trekkers.
- Some of the UNESCO World Heritage sites in the Kathmandu Valley were seriously affected in the earthquake but restoration and rebuilding work is well under way in all of the affected areas. Pashupatinath was unaffected by the earthquake. Boudhanath area suffered minimal damage but the main stupa is currently being completely restored and surrounded by scaffolding (we estimate work will be ongoing until the end of 2016). Swayamhunath Stupa lost some of the monasteries and buildings surrounding it but the stupa was unaffected and has since been cleaned and repainted and currently shines brighter than ever. About 30% of the temples around the Bhaktapur Durbar Square area were damaged or destroyed. Rebuilding and restoration is in full swing here with the least damaged buildings being restored and supports being restored first. The area is still wonderful for visit and photography as the disruption is quite minimal compared to other sites. Patan is similar to Bhaktapur having suffered fairly minimal damage and with restoration works in full swing. Kathmandu Durbar Square suffered the greatest damage. It is safe to visit but many of the buildings have timber supports in place. Some of the buildings have a lot of earthquake damage. But it’s a good place to visit to get a look at the destructive power of the earthquake.
- 90% of all of the hotels and guesthouses in Kathmandu were unaffected; they are all running at full capacity. The ones damaged in the quake have since been repaired.
- Many of the shops and buildings in Kathmandu (and Nepal) have been refurbished since the earthquake with many business owners seeing it as an opportunity for renovation so things are looking better than ever.
- The tourism industry desperately needs our support to recover and rebuild. It is the perfect time for a holiday and as it is quieter than usual there is no better time to travel to Nepal.