Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions concerning safe travel in Nepal, updated regularly. Dates are shown before responses.

FAQ

From: US Embassy in Nepal (https://np.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information-2/), 5 May 2021

Nepal Country-Specific Information: 

  • On April 26, the Government of Nepal announced a lock down of Kathmandu as a public health measure to help slow the spread of COVID-19. All lock down restrictions will go into effect at 0600 hours on April 29 and will remain in place until May 14, 2021.

  • In Kathmandu valley, certain lockdown enhancements have been announced that will be in place until May 12.

  • While most restrictions remain unchanged since first issued on April 26, modifications to the original order include:

    • Operational hours for grocery stores limited to hours between 0700 hours to 0900 hours, and pharmacies and health related shops are permitted to operate under normal hours.

      1. Most businesses, except for some banks and certain government offices, remain closed. Personal and public vehicles are also prohibited and only emergency vehicles will be permitted to travel.

      2. Individuals entering the Kathmandu valley are subject to a mandatory quarantine upon arrival and mask use and social distancing are mandated when out in town.

      3. Foreigners traveling to Kathmandu to join a scheduled flight should show their passport, valid visa, and flight ticket at checkpoints to facilitate travel into the Valley.

  • The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) announced on May 3 that international flights will be suspended from midnight on May 6 to midnight on May 14. CAAN also announced that all domestic flights will be suspended from midnight on May 3 to midnight on May 14. Please check with your airline regarding future flight availability and re-booking your flight. Operation of cargo flights, rescue flights, and evacuation flights will be carried out subject to special permission.

  • Two flights per week will be permitted between Nepal and India under the Air Travel Bubble Arrangement effective from midnight on May 6 and midnight on May 14, subject to certain conditions.

  • Foreigners requiring visa-related services should consult the Nepal Department of Immigration for information. https://www.immigration.gov.np/

  • The Nepal Ministry of Tourism has created a website to assist travelers with COVID information and includes a travel locator form to be filled out by travelers. See COVID – 19 Status Update (welcomenepal.com)

  • The government of Nepal has authorized local authorities to impose lockdowns within their jurisdictions. Limited lockdowns in Pokhara and many towns in the Terai remain possible. If you must travel locally, please inquire about local conditions.

  • Protests, rallies, demonstrations, and bandhs remain possible. Should you find yourself in a large crowd or unexpected protest, you should attempt to depart the area immediately. If you are unable to leave the area during the protest, please immediately find a safe place to shelter. Crowds can be highly dynamic and may become violent. See Nepal International Travel Information (state.gov)

  • For statistics about COVID-19 in Nepal, please refer to https://covid19.ndrrma.gov.np/

New (28 April 2021)—As reported by Christopher Noel in Nepal Tourism Think Tank:

“Everything [in Kathmandu] is quite closed today. Most shops are closed and there is virtually no traffic on the streets. Vehicle movement is restricted to odd/even plates. Restaurants are only allowed to provide takeaway. You should also be aware of the new 10-day arrival quarantine. Case numbers are also not going to stabilize for weeks to come, so expect restrictions to only get more severe.”

New (25 April 2021)—Linda Kentro and James Giambrone, who have lived in Nepal for decades, contracted COVID-19 recently -- they are recovering well, thankfully -- and have kindly shared their account of traveling from Nepal to the U.S. They departed KTM on March 28, which may have been around the time they were infected.

Dear friends, especially those of you considering travel -- this will be a cut and dried review of what we did, what might have happened, and what we should not have done:

 1.    Were we vaccinated? Nope. My father was ailing at that point. We chose not to get the first dose of AZ, given the strong possibility that second doses would be delayed, as seems to be the case. We checked and knew that we could get vaccinated in Santa Barbara, post-quarantine.  Our decision seemed reasonable, given what we knew.  Recommendation 1 – don’t travel without full vaccination, if you feel that you have the choice.

 2.    Our travel intinerary.  We departed Kathmandu, taking Qatar Business Class through Doha to LAX and drove from there in a rented vehicle to Santa Barbara.  We chose to drive because it seemed safer than flying either in a small plane from LAX to Santa Barbara or a larger plane with another transit point. We kept the car overnight and returned it the next morning.

 3.    How we most likely contracted COVID. Given the wide window of 2-14 days from infection to symptoms, we could have gotten it in Kathmandu, during travel, or in Santa Barbara.  However, the most common frame of 4-6 days from infection to symptoms correlates with our travel time.  We left on March 28 and I came down 4 days later. We think that I contracted it in one of the travel transit points. 

 Our biggest vulnerability seemed to be at the Kathmandu Airport where there was a crush of 100-150 people trying to get in the entry door, for maybe 30 mins, maybe half without masks.  When we were noticed as elders we were moved ahead.  Recommendation 2: press a travel agent or airlines to assure you rapid passage to the gate on the basis of age (should work for most of us).  We sat for 30 mins in the Business Class little lounge with only two other people in the room.  This was not a likely infection point, but I didn’t particularly assess the ventilation system.

 The Business Section was not full on either flight.  We had much space around us from Kathmandu to Doha.  From Doha to LAX we were virtually isolated in cubes with about 4.5 feet high enclosure.  Recommendation 3: Travel Business Class if you can.  We had the benefit of a special low Qatar price at that time, although we understand that it has risen. The attendants reminded passengers to keep their masks on whenever not eating and we did that and washed our hands a lot.  We didn’t, however, wipe everything down before entering our cubes.  Recommendation 4: be a wiper, as our son had encouraged us, and as has worked well for him.  Although I doubt that we contracted it in either leg of the flight, nonetheless, we will inform Jaya Travels and Qatar of our experience.

 We had 9-10 hours layover in Doha.  Recommendation 5: minimize layover time. The airport was neither crowded nor empty, but we were there too long.  We chose to lay in the semi-enclosed (walls did not connect to ceiling) sleeping lounge rather than go to the Business Class Lounge where we didn’t think that we could relax.  We walked and slept with masks, but there were ~30 people there. 

 When we hit LAX we got our bags quickly and took an almost empty connector bus to Avis where we had a vehicle reserved.  We were in the rather large Avis room with maybe 15 people for ~20 mins.  Possibly we contracted it in our poor decision to pick up some snacks for the ride LA to Santa Barbara, at a Ralph’s near the airport, notoriously affected city that it is.  Recommendation 6: Don’t stop anywhere; take snacks with you.

 4.    Where we don’t think we contracted it. We understand that a surge is underway in Kathmandu following the relaxation of restrictions.  Still, our routine in Kathmandu had not changed much – masked La Sherpa Saturday mornings and two outdoor gatherings of 5 and 10 cautious, “bubble” friends in that last week.  Those encounters seem unlikely sources and we haven’t heard of any of the involved friends getting infected. 

 We were poor quarantiners in Santa Barbara, for idiosyncratic reasons.  We chose to quarantine in an Airbnb for family safety reasons, but we didn’t have sufficient separation from the hosts.  Therefore, we chose to take walks and such, rather than be in the residence all the time. Recommendation 7: Take the recommended quarantine time very seriously and don’t share your space.  But it seems less likely that we contracted it here in Santa Barbara than in our airport or LA experiences.  We phoned to each food store or takeout place in SB that we had visited.  None had indications of any workers being infected, plus most of those interactions were short.

 We hope these musings might be a little helpful.  If we didn’t cover something specific, be welcomed to ask.  Beyond that, this is enough speculation for us. 

 Take care, friends.

Note (1 April 2021): New U.S. Embassy in Nepal COVID-10 Information guidelines covering updated Nepal-specific information, COVID-10 testing, entry and exit requirements, movement restrictions, quarantine information, transportation options, fines for non-mask compliance, Consular operations, local resources, and other travel related links are available at https://np.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information-2/

New (2 April 2021): Tourist Arrival Management Protocol by the Ministry of Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation, covering processes required before entering Nepal, entry into Nepal, required documents, after arrival in Nepal, special provisions for Indian tourists, and other provisions is now available. View PDF Document

Q: What airlines are currently flying direct to Kathmandu?

A, (1 April 2021)—International airlines flying into Kathmandu include NepaliAairlines, Himalayan Airlines, FlyDubai, Qatar Airlines, Air Arabia, Zazeera Airlines, Bhutan Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Malindo Air, and Air India.

A: (15 February 2021)--There are 15 airlines that fly direct to Kathmandu, but the most numerous flights into Nepal at the moment are with Nepal Airlines, Himalayan Airlines, Qatar and Turkish.  

A: (25 February 2021)--From the U.S., at present, Qatar and Turkish are the only practical routings, although Turkish flies into KTM only two days a week. Singapore Airlines might resume flights into Kathmandu in mid-March, followed possibly by Cathay Pacific/Dragonair. Round trip airfare on Qatar, USA-KTM-USA (from several US cities) is now running in the range of $1000.00.

Q: Is a tourist visa to Nepal available upon arrival at the Kathmandu airport (KTM)?  If not, how does one apply for a visa, and how long does it take?  

A. Updated 29 March 2021: Tourists should continue to obtain their entry visas at the Nepali embassies and diplomatic missions in their respective countries.

However, tourists from countries without a Nepali embassy or mission are allowed to apply for on-arrival visas at TIA. Required documents include (a) PCR negative report that has been taken 72 hours prior to their departure, (b) documents proving that they have been fully vaccinated, (c) a copy of a recommendation letter issued by the Nepal Tourism Board and Department of Tourism, (d) proof of hotel booking in Nepal, and (e) and travel insurance covering emergency search and rescue and treatment throughout their travel in Nepal.

A: (1 March 2021) As of this writing, for US citizens seeking a tourist visa, a visa-on-arrival is not available. US citizens must apply online at https://us.nepalembassy.gov.np/tourist-visa/, then send their passports to the Nepal Embassy in Washington, DC. Please note that there have been reports of the Nepal Embassy delaying or losing passports, so allow for adequate lead time, follow instructions carefully, and document all items that are couriered or mailed. See also the COVID-19 Crisis Management Center (CCMC), Kathmandu website at  https://ccmc.gov.np/arms/person_add_en.php

Q: What are the current Nepal entry restrictions regarding COVID?  What document(s) are required to get into the country (e.g. PCR test, evidence of vaccination, evidence of having contracted and recovered from COVID?)

Updated 29 March 2021: On Thursday, 26 March, 2021, Nepal announced new travel regulations removing the quarantine requirements for foreign tourists who have received both doses of Covid-19 vaccine. Vaccinated tourists must still undergo a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test within 72 hours prior to departure from the country of origin. Upon arrival in Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), they must show proof of a negative PCR test along with documents documenting administration of both doses of anti-coronavirus vaccines. After arrival in Nepal, visitors must conduct another PCR test at their own cost, and quarantine at their hotel until a second negative PCR result is obtained.

The mandatory provision of $5000.00 evacutation insurance has been removed. However, proof of having insurance “sufficient to cover emergency evacutation costs” is in effect.

Tourists should continue to obtain their entry visas at the Nepali embassies and diplomatic missions in their respective countries.

Updated 25 March 2021 (from Co-PI Dr. Shailendra Thakali, Kathmandu): For the past week, daily cases of COVID-19 in Nepal have been increasing, although the total number is still below 200. Many cities in India are now experiencing a second wave COVID-19 cases, and this may affect some traveling arrangements in Nepal in the future. The Government says it does not want t close its borders or have another lockdown, but if India opts for these measures, Nepal may follow the suit.

A: (Still current as of 25 March 2021):The Nepal government is currently discussing and considering changes to the COVID-19 entry, documentation and quarantine requirements for visitors, and these changes may include re-instatement of the visa-on-arrival and waiver of the requirement to quarantine — for those who can provide evidence of having been fully vaccinated (plus follow up time after the concluding shot). However please note that, currently (according to the COVID-19 notice on the U.S. Embassy website, https://us.nepalembassy.gov.np/), all travellers must have and show “…a COVID-19 PCR Negative Report (RT-PCR/Gene Xpert/True NAAT or equivalent) obtained within 72 hours prior to their departure from the first port of embarkation.” The site goes on to state that, “children below 5 years are exempted from submitting such a report. However, since airlines may have their own PCR report and other requirements, before going to the airport, inquire and make sure that you have all requirements. All travellers to Nepal should follow the health and safety related protocols of the Government of Nepal, including minimum 10-day mandatory quarantine from the day of entering Nepal or from the day of coming in contact with a COVID-19 infected individual and minimum 10-day mandatory isolation after having been tested positive for the infection.” (Note that tourists may quarantine for only 7 days providing they receive a negative COVID PCR test on day 5 after arrival in Nepal).

Update 25 March 2021: Other good general Nepal travel advice can be found at: https://www.dfa.ie/travel/travel-advice/a-z-list-of-countries/nepal/

Q: Have there been reports of trekkers becoming ill with COVID, or have any super-spreader events been identified?

A: (14 February 2021) No, as of mid-February.

Q: What regions are open to trekking (Khumbu, Langtang, Mustang)?

A: All regions are officially open for trekking and mountaineering. None are closed.

Q. How safe are Nepal’s airports in terms of mask wearing, social distancing, etc.?

A: (14 February 2021) Dr. Thakali reports that very few people at airports are paying attention to mask and distancing signs, social distancing, etc. However, masks are required to be worn during flights from the point of origin to the destination.

Q: What protocols are trekking lodges following?

A: In most cases, trekking lodge owner-operators practice mask wearing, social distancing, and limit maximum numbers of people in the dining areas. They also wash used bedding daily, and practice improved food handling protocols. Visitors are generally not allowed in kitchens. In Kathmandu, most hotels have installed hand sanitizers and digital thermometers at their entrances, with a door man who opens the door for visitors if they display normal temperatures.

 Q: What happens if I get sick while trekking (i.e., with COVID, or altitude sickness, pulmonary edema, dysentery, etc.)? Is helicopter evacuation available?  Should I get insurance?

A: (1 March 2021) Travelers should confirm with their health and/or travel insurance carrier that their policy covers COVID-19 in Nepal. In particular, although some policies cover helicopter evacuation from remote areas, COVID-19 may be excluded from heli evacuation coverage. Note that tourists need to have evidence of insurance in order to get airlifted. In Kathmandu, some private hospitals and the CIWEC Hosptial Travel Medicine Center have a COVID ward for tourists (see the interview here with Dr. Prativa Pandey, and https://ciwec-clinic.com/ ).

 Q: I haven’t been vaccinated yet. Will I be presenting risk to villagers if I trek in remote regions in Nepal?  (This would pre-suppose that a trekker has quarantined in Nepal for 14 days.)

A: (1 March 2021) In the spring of 2020, local people worried about getting sick from visitors, but that fear appears to have subsided with the drop in COVID-19 cases in Nepal. Residents along the trek routes now generally desire that life, and tourism, return to normal. If you practice mask wearing, hand washing, and social distancing, you should not be presenting a threat to local people.

 Q: What do you recommend as the safest places to trek in Nepal? Why?

A: (14 February 2021) There are no reported active cases along the most popular trekking and mountaineering areas, and trekking lodges remain open in the mountain regions (as of now, tourist numbers are very low. Domestic airports, however, may present a higher level of risk, though in mountainous regions the waiting areas are often outdoors.  

 Q: My Island Peak climb was cancelled last fall because of COVID. My trekking agency is encouraging me to come in May, 2021 and claims that it will be completely safe. Is it really safe to climb this spring?

A: The Prince of Bahrain and his team came for mountaineering last year when COVID-19 cases in Nepal wwere at a peak. He visited Khumbu region for training and climbed Mt. Manaslu. He and his team members were all safe.

Q: What safety protocols has the Government of Nepal issued? 

A: The Nepal Tourism Board has issued a set of trekking-related guidelines (see Resources).

 Q: What health information services can I locate on the Internet regarding the current COVID-19 situation in Nepal (number of cases, number of deaths, new warnings or protocols)?

A: (1 March 2021) Please check the following links for the most current information:

https://covid19.mohp.gov.np/
https://www.who.int/nepal
https://www.ccmc.gov.np/

=======================================================================

FAQ

New (19 April 2021)—International Travel Experiences (US to Kathmandu) by James Brady:

 Project Associate James Brady departed for Nepal on 18 April, 2021 from Anchorage, Alaska. He and Dr. Ken Zafren arrived safely in Kathmandu after an overnight layover in Kathmandu. James reports on the following experiences encountered before, during, and after the flight:

“There are a couple of forms that need to be filled out prior to departure.  We found the link to these on the Qatar Air website.

1. A COVID form required by Qatar Air, pretty basic that was filled out by hand and where I attached my PCR test results.  I had my test done at a drive-through clinic [in my hometown].  Test was performed on 4/14/21 at 11:00 am, and results were received at 1:45 am on 4/15, about a 15 hour turnaround.  I was notified by email and on the COVID Secure App.

 2. Nepal international arrival form.  I got the link to this from the Qatar Air website, which clearly directs you to the online form.  They note that upon completion of the form you get a bar code that you should print out to show upon arrival in Nepal.  The form came up in Nepali, but there is a button to click to switch to English.  I quickly learned that the drop downs for the form did not work properly with Safari, so I had to use Chrome or Fire Fox.  Some of the questions are confusing—e.g., they wanted a sponsor in Nepal and their address, none of which I had.  They also asked for your mother’s and father’s information, and finally came around to the PCR testing and standard COVID screening questions.  At the end you click a box certifying all answers are truthful, and then file the form.  However, I didn’t end up with a bar code, rather I received a message that it had timed out.  I had to fill out the form  several times before getting the bar code.  Then I was able to print the bar code and the completed form.

Departing Anchorage Airport in the US was straight forward, for pandemic travel.  Masking and social distancing.  No requirements for test results or vaccination.  In Seattle, the crowds at the gates were congested [editor’s note: the CDC maintains that crowded airport terminals represent one of the higher places of risk during travel].  I had a couple hours time to have a bite of lunch before heading over to S terminal where Qatar departs from.  I did not have boarding passes, so needed to check in at the counter.  The clerk took the form and the email printout of the COVID test.  He studied it carefully and then said this doesn’t say that it was a PCR test.  Fortunately I could pull up the COVID Secure app test results that confirmed that it was a PCR test, and he said all was good.  

It always feels like you are stepping into another world when you board an international flight, and this was especially true.  The attendants at the aircraft door were wearing disposable white hospital gowns tied at the waste over top of their uniforms. In addition they were wearing gloves, face masks, and protective glasses or face shields.  I seemed like walking onto a hazmat site.  Some have the maroon hats of Qatar Air.  I tried to take a picture but was told that was not allowed. The flight from SEA Seattle to Doha departs to the NW and goes literally over the North Pole on the great circle route.

I had an economy ticket, having booked on Orbitz, and they could not give me seat assignments online. When I got on the Qatar site to get a seat assignment, I was able to upgraded to a seat with more leg room for $70.  This was well worth it. I was able to get an exit row isle, at the bulkhead close to the lavatories.  Easy to get up and walk around for this 14 hour flight.

The “Sleep n Fly” pod at Doha Airport was a good deal.  The sleep pod is about 7’ x 3’.  It had a leather bench that reclines flat.  Bathrooms are outside the facility but nearby. I got a few hours of sleep which was nice waking up around 11:45 pm DOH time, did some stretching beforeventuring out.  The WiFi at the Sleep Pods is good.

 The gate area at DOH was crowded an hour and 45 min before boarding time. Social distancing was not being practiced as a long que formed for people to be checked into the waiting area. Rather than wait in the line, I went to the Starbucks across from the gate, had a late and some sort of a waffle cookie.  When the line was shorter I got in line. Ken walked up, as he had been in the business lounge, we coordinated plans for meeting at baggage claim in KTM.  He had a separate entrance for Business Class, but we ended up in the same waiting area. They checked my boarding pass but did not ask about COVID.  After passing the ticket counter we were all in the waiting area, with sections marked off for boarding zones I was zone 3. They were delayed boarding the plane, and when they called for those needing assistance everyone rushed for the gate only to be stopped.  No distancing was practiced, many people with masks below their noses, and a few had their masks off.  It is an international spectrum of travelers, many Nepalis, some tour groups.  I spoke with a young couple from Switzerland, heading for Nepal with no specific destination.  The young woman setting across from me was from Russia, she has a helmet and trekking boots and is heading for Everest basecamp with a tour group.  The young man to my left was Nepali, but lives in Kansas. From what I could tell, every seat on the flight was booked.  The Seattle to Doha flight had a few empty seats.

From KTM to Lukla we were not asked any COVID questions on check in.  The flight attendant was wearing a haz mat gown over her uniform and a face mask.”

Note (1 April 2021): New U.S. Embassy in Nepal COVID-10 Information guidelines covering updated Nepal-specific information, COVID-10 testing, entry and exit requirements, movement restrictions, quarantine information, transportation options, fines for non-mask compliance, Consular operations, local resources, and other travel related links are available at https://np.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information-2/

New (2 April 2021): Tourist Arrival Management Protocol by the Ministry of Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation, covering processes required before entering Nepal, entry into Nepal, required documents, after arrival in Nepal, special provisions for Indian tourists, and other provisions is now available. View PDF Document

Q: What airlines are currently flying direct to Kathmandu?

A, (1 April 2021)—International airlines flying into Kathmandu include NepaliAairlines, Himalayan Airlines, FlyDubai, Qatar Airlines, Air Arabia, Zazeera Airlines, Bhutan Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Malindo Air, and Air India.

A: (15 February 2021)--There are 15 airlines that fly direct to Kathmandu, but the most numerous flights into Nepal at the moment are with Nepal Airlines, Himalayan Airlines, Qatar and Turkish.  

A: (25 February 2021)--From the U.S., at present, Qatar and Turkish are the only practical routings, although Turkish flies into KTM only two days a week. Singapore Airlines might resume flights into Kathmandu in mid-March, followed possibly by Cathay Pacific/Dragonair. Round trip airfare on Qatar, USA-KTM-USA (from several US cities) is now running in the range of $1000.00.

Q: Is a tourist visa to Nepal available upon arrival at the Kathmandu airport (KTM)?  If not, how does one apply for a visa, and how long does it take?  

A. Updated 29 March 2021: Tourists should continue to obtain their entry visas at the Nepali embassies and diplomatic missions in their respective countries.

However, tourists from countries without a Nepali embassy or mission are allowed to apply for on-arrival visas at TIA. Required documents include (a) PCR negative report that has been taken 72 hours prior to their departure, (b) documents proving that they have been fully vaccinated, (c) a copy of a recommendation letter issued by the Nepal Tourism Board and Department of Tourism, (d) proof of hotel booking in Nepal, and (e) and travel insurance covering emergency search and rescue and treatment throughout their travel in Nepal.

A: (1 March 2021) As of this writing, for US citizens seeking a tourist visa, a visa-on-arrival is not available. US citizens must apply online at https://us.nepalembassy.gov.np/tourist-visa/, then send their passports to the Nepal Embassy in Washington, DC. Please note that there have been reports of the Nepal Embassy delaying or losing passports, so allow for adequate lead time, follow instructions carefully, and document all items that are couriered or mailed. See also the COVID-19 Crisis Management Center (CCMC), Kathmandu website at  https://ccmc.gov.np/arms/person_add_en.php

Q: What are the current Nepal entry restrictions regarding COVID?  What document(s) are required to get into the country (e.g. PCR test, evidence of vaccination, evidence of having contracted and recovered from COVID?)

Updated 29 March 2021: On Thursday, 26 March, 2021, Nepal announced new travel regulations removing the quarantine requirements for foreign tourists who have received both doses of Covid-19 vaccine. Vaccinated tourists must still undergo a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test within 72 hours prior to departure from the country of origin. Upon arrival in Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), they must show proof of a negative PCR test along with documents documenting administration of both doses of anti-coronavirus vaccines. After arrival in Nepal, visitors must conduct another PCR test at their own cost, and quarantine at their hotel until a second negative PCR result is obtained.

The mandatory provision of $5000.00 evacutation insurance has been removed. However, proof of having insurance “sufficient to cover emergency evacutation costs” is in effect.

Tourists should continue to obtain their entry visas at the Nepali embassies and diplomatic missions in their respective countries.

Updated 25 March 2021 (from Co-PI Dr. Shailendra Thakali, Kathmandu): For the past week, daily cases of COVID-19 in Nepal have been increasing, although the total number is still below 200. Many cities in India are now experiencing a second wave COVID-19 cases, and this may affect some traveling arrangements in Nepal in the future. The Government says it does not want t close its borders or have another lockdown, but if India opts for these measures, Nepal may follow the suit.

A: (Still current as of 25 March 2021):The Nepal government is currently discussing and considering changes to the COVID-19 entry, documentation and quarantine requirements for visitors, and these changes may include re-instatement of the visa-on-arrival and waiver of the requirement to quarantine — for those who can provide evidence of having been fully vaccinated (plus follow up time after the concluding shot). However please note that, currently (according to the COVID-19 notice on the U.S. Embassy website, https://us.nepalembassy.gov.np/), all travellers must have and show “…a COVID-19 PCR Negative Report (RT-PCR/Gene Xpert/True NAAT or equivalent) obtained within 72 hours prior to their departure from the first port of embarkation.” The site goes on to state that, “children below 5 years are exempted from submitting such a report. However, since airlines may have their own PCR report and other requirements, before going to the airport, inquire and make sure that you have all requirements. All travellers to Nepal should follow the health and safety related protocols of the Government of Nepal, including minimum 10-day mandatory quarantine from the day of entering Nepal or from the day of coming in contact with a COVID-19 infected individual and minimum 10-day mandatory isolation after having been tested positive for the infection.” (Note that tourists may quarantine for only 7 days providing they receive a negative COVID PCR test on day 5 after arrival in Nepal).

Update 25 March 2021: Other good general Nepal travel advice can be found at: https://www.dfa.ie/travel/travel-advice/a-z-list-of-countries/nepal/

Q: Have there been reports of trekkers becoming ill with COVID, or have any super-spreader events been identified?

A: (14 February 2021) No, as of mid-February.

Q: What regions are open to trekking (Khumbu, Langtang, Mustang)?

A: All regions are officially open for trekking and mountaineering. None are closed.

Q. How safe are Nepal’s airports in terms of mask wearing, social distancing, etc.?

A: (14 February 2021) Dr. Thakali reports that very few people at airports are paying attention to mask and distancing signs, social distancing, etc. However, masks are required to be worn during flights from the point of origin to the destination.

Q: What protocols are trekking lodges following?

A: In most cases, trekking lodge owner-operators practice mask wearing, social distancing, and limit maximum numbers of people in the dining areas. They also wash used bedding daily, and practice improved food handling protocols. Visitors are generally not allowed in kitchens. In Kathmandu, most hotels have installed hand sanitizers and digital thermometers at their entrances, with a door man who opens the door for visitors if they display normal temperatures.

 Q: What happens if I get sick while trekking (i.e., with COVID, or altitude sickness, pulmonary edema, dysentery, etc.)? Is helicopter evacuation available?  Should I get insurance?

A: (1 March 2021) Travelers should confirm with their health and/or travel insurance carrier that their policy covers COVID-19 in Nepal. In particular, although some policies cover helicopter evacuation from remote areas, COVID-19 may be excluded from heli evacuation coverage. Note that tourists need to have evidence of insurance in order to get airlifted. In Kathmandu, some private hospitals and the CIWEC Hosptial Travel Medicine Center have a COVID ward for tourists (see the interview here with Dr. Prativa Pandey, and https://ciwec-clinic.com/ ).

 Q: I haven’t been vaccinated yet. Will I be presenting risk to villagers if I trek in remote regions in Nepal?  (This would pre-suppose that a trekker has quarantined in Nepal for 14 days.)

A: (1 March 2021) In the spring of 2020, local people worried about getting sick from visitors, but that fear appears to have subsided with the drop in COVID-19 cases in Nepal. Residents along the trek routes now generally desire that life, and tourism, return to normal. If you practice mask wearing, hand washing, and social distancing, you should not be presenting a threat to local people.

 Q: What do you recommend as the safest places to trek in Nepal? Why?

A: (14 February 2021) There are no reported active cases along the most popular trekking and mountaineering areas, and trekking lodges remain open in the mountain regions (as of now, tourist numbers are very low. Domestic airports, however, may present a higher level of risk, though in mountainous regions the waiting areas are often outdoors.  

 Q: My Island Peak climb was cancelled last fall because of COVID. My trekking agency is encouraging me to come in May, 2021 and claims that it will be completely safe. Is it really safe to climb this spring?

A: The Prince of Bahrain and his team came for mountaineering last year when COVID-19 cases in Nepal wwere at a peak. He visited Khumbu region for training and climbed Mt. Manaslu. He and his team members were all safe.

Q: What safety protocols has the Government of Nepal issued? 

A: The Nepal Tourism Board has issued a set of trekking-related guidelines (see Resources).

 Q: What health information services can I locate on the Internet regarding the current COVID-19 situation in Nepal (number of cases, number of deaths, new warnings or protocols)?

A: (1 March 2021) Please check the following links for the most current information:

https://covid19.mohp.gov.np/
https://www.who.int/nepal
https://www.ccmc.gov.np/

=======================================================================