Solo trekking ban in Nepal on hold

Posted by Lindsay Griffin on 05/09/2012
Is this the end for solo trekking? Photo: Messenger.
View 1 of 3

A recent announcement by Nepal's Ministry of Home Affairs had threatened a ban on tourists wanting to trek alone in any part of the country. But the decision has now been delayed as a review takes place. It is the BMC's understanding that a ban on solo trekkers in Langtang continues to apply.

The new policy, which was slated to come into effect in September, would require solo trekkers or FITs (Free Independent Trekkers) to take at least one local support staff, either a guide or porter.

The Nepalese Government, which will now wait for the Ministry of Tourism to make the decision mandatory, has apparently brought in the new policy after increasing concern about the safety of trekkers.

It follows a government ban on FITs in the Langtang National Park after the death in June of a young Belgian female solo trekker.

The 23-year-old had set out alone to complete the well-known trek to the sacred Gosaikunda Lakes and was later found beheaded, though both rape and robbery seem to have been ruled out.

On two separate occasions late last year foreign women were attacked while trekking alone in Langtang, and two years ago a young American female completely disappeared in this region.

Unfortunately, over the years several popular areas of Nepal have developed a reputation for mugging or worse, Gosaikunda and the Helambu region immediately south being one, the tail end of the Annapurna Circuit from Ghorapani onwards another.

Similar incidents were reported in the Everest region last year and a general increase in crime rates has led to a perceived negative impact on Nepal's trekking and tourism industry.

Recommendations from trekking agencies, embassies, the international media, and relatives of missing trekkers appear to have created pressure on the government to act.

The Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal has naturally welcomed the decision. Group trekkers are already obliged to employ the services of government registered trekking agencies, and it now appears all trekkers may have to do the same.

It's estimated that more than 40% of foreign visitors to Nepal come to trek, and the vast majority of these go to the Annapurna, Langtang, Helambu or Khumbu regions, for which no fee-paying "trekking permit" is needed (other areas are generally considered "remote" and group permits at variable cost can be obtained through registered trekking agencies).

The introduction of the TIMS card (Trekkers Management Information System) a couple of years ago for every trekker making a one-off nominal payment ensured there was an authentic computerized database of each trekker's personal details. This would help carry out search and rescue operations after accidents, incidents and natural catastrophes.

Implementation of these cards would also give authorities better control over unauthorized trekking operations, and income from their provision has been  stated to cover administration, looking after the welfare of local helpers, and maintaining trails, promoting new destinations etc. 

Trekkers also need to pay conservation area permits and national park entrance fees.
 



« Back

Post a comment Print this article

This article has been read 23118 times

TAGS

Click on the tags to explore more

RELATED ARTICLES

Kilian Jornet climbed Everest twice, but did he set a speed record?
0
Kilian Jornet climbed Everest twice, but did he set a speed record?

The 29-year-old Catalan mountain runner has just returned from Everest, where he was plagued by surprise 60kph winds and an upset stomach. Despite this, he raced to the summit twice within a week, hoping to set a speed record without using fixed ropes or oxygen. Sarah Stirling interviews to find out how he got on and what his Bob Graham Round plans are.
Read more »

BMC summits Mount Everest with Scott Mackenzie
2
BMC summits Mount Everest with Scott Mackenzie

BMC member Scott Mackenzie recently journeyed to the top of the world, and was kind enough to take us along for the ride! His recent summit of Mount Everest took him past the infamous Hillary Step, which is reported to have changed as a result of the 2015 earthquake. We tracked Scott down to find out more.
Read more »

Nominate a BMC volunteer for the George Band Award 2017
0
Nominate a BMC volunteer for the George Band Award 2017

It's nomination time for the George Band Award for Exceptional Voluntary Contribution to Mountaineering. The aim of the award is to recognise people who have made a significant voluntary contribution to the BMC’s work over an extended period of time.
Read more »

Post a Comment
Posting as Anonymous Community Standards
3000 characters remaining
Submit
Your comment has been posted below, click here to view it
Comments are currently on | Turn off comments
25
1) Anonymous
07/08/2012
This comment broke the house rules and has been removed
2) Anonymous User
13/08/2012
This is really sad news:( I just don't want to employ local guides, it seems that my October's trek will be more expensive than I thought. I think we need to cheat and arranged through local agencies "ghost guides".
3) Anonymous User
13/08/2012
this comes up every couple of years, its likely to have the same fate as last time. the real reason is that banning individual travel forces more people to use KTM trek agencies rather than local guys. Its nothing to do with safety. Given the fact of thousands of trekkers in the Khumbu alone the individual risk is probably less than walking home alone from the pub. On the plus side wahts wrong with putting money into the local economy?
captain bruce
4) Anonymous User
15/08/2012
Why not just have issued permits to groups of 2 or above for different treks??
Sounds like a money spinner to me and will probably affect the number of Budget Trekkers in Nepal. GBP15 per day doesn’t sound much but could easily be doubling the cost of a trek to a traveller.
It doesn’t affect me directly I’m happy to say but how would you feel if similar permits were needed for your hiking routes in the U.K. under the pretext of covering mountain rescue costs or some other reason???
Yes Guides are good and can give a lot to a trekker but they cost money! So I say again; Why not just have issued permits to groups of 2 or above for different treks??
5) Anonymous User
15/08/2012
Sad news if this happens I been tekking alone in Nepal last year & it was one of the best times i had, a advence at know time did I feel in danger. Trevor
6) Anonymous User
17/08/2012
Every solo trekker should carry a gun there and the government should support that. A guide without a weapon is nonsense.
7) Anonymous User
19/08/2012
Being a guide, I welcome the decision of the government. I do not think it will reduce the number of tourists in Nepal. In my opinion, it is always good to take a guide along with. There are so many benefits to hire the locals:
1- Trek in Nepal is not done only for reducing the some kilo weight and see the mountains. There are so many diversities and so many interesting in Nepal which you can not know reading the lonely planet. If you take a professional guide, you will gain the knowledge of it.
2- Your trip will be safe.
3- You will not only have a safe and joyful trip, but you will be contributing the poor guides children's education and their food.
4- Go always through the registered company otherwise you will get the same problem(unsafe tour) by taking the street guide. Our guide association is working for the guides to provide more salary from the agencies.
8) Anonymous User
19/08/2012
Being a guide, I welcome the decision of the government. I do not think it will reduce the number of tourists in Nepal. In my opinion, it is always good to take a guide along with. There are so many benefits to hire the locals:
1- Trek in Nepal is not done only for reducing the some kilo weight and see the mountains. There are so many diversities and so many interesting in Nepal which you can not know reading the lonely planet. If you take a professional guide, you will gain the knowledge of it.
2- Your trip will be safe.
3- You will not only have a safe and joyful trip, but you will be contributing the poor guides children's education and their food.
4- Go always through the registered company otherwise you will get the same problem(unsafe tour) by taking the street guide. Our guide association is working for the guides to provide more salary from the agencies.
9) Anonymous User
19/08/2012
Being a guide, I welcome the decision of the government. I do not think it will reduce the number of tourists in Nepal. In my opinion, it is always good to take a guide along with. There are so many benefits to hire the locals:
1- Trek in Nepal is not done only for reducing the some kilo weight and see the mountains. There are so many diversities and so many interesting in Nepal which you can not know reading the lonely planet. If you take a professional guide, you will gain the knowledge of it.
2- Your trip will be safe.
3- You will not only have a safe and joyful trip, but you will be contributing the poor guides children's education and their food.
4- Go always through the registered company otherwise you will get the same problem(unsafe tour) by taking the street guide. Our guide association is working for the guides to provide more salary from the agencies.
10) Anonymous User
19/08/2012
to: Being a guide
You are absolutely right! but... this decision will be made because in Nepal you've got stupid communist government which wants to control every aspect of people's life.
Conclusion: I and my friends just prefer to do all things independently, Gov decision means we need to stop to go to Nepal.

Max
11) Anonymous User
26/08/2012
as a climber and a guide, i wonder what the impact for those of us who wish to pursue peaks which only require a trekker's permit currently? i hope that the hiring of local porters is sufficient to meet the government's requirements. I don't see the problem here, otherwise... trekkers seem to be claiming that they wish to be independent, yet it would be hard to imagine a single one who is not dependent on the locals and their economy anyway for their day-to-day survival in the region. we westerners have inundated their lands with hoards of tourists, many of whom behave in deplorable fashion, and then we have the gall to complain when we can't do exactly what we want... in an Other's place. Remember the spirit of the mountaineers whose footsteps you follow. Remember the regard they held for the locals. They trained them to be porters for their expeditions and support on the mountain. Now, an entire economy relies on what they started. This is what allows you to be in their place at all. Remember that.
12) Anonymous User
02/09/2012
that be great idea from government if the tourist have a guide they are more safe and enjoy the trek, the guide exepalation every things ..............................
Nepalguideinfo
13) Anonymous User
11/09/2012
It's all about money for guides!
That's bullshit when they talking about the safety.
I hate guides when I don't want them. I don't understant one thing, if people want to take guide they take him, but if they don't want why do they must to do it?
I want just make a simple treks with my wife, without any third man, who will be talking any time and he don't need even to show the road, and I don't want to see him before us. Do I have to pay somebody 10$ a day just to be behind us as far as posible?
14) Anonymous User
25/09/2012
No ban even in Langtang Valley, that is a hoax of trekking agencies from KTM, who are greedy for bigger pie than before.
http://www.ekantipur.com/the-kathmandu-post/2012/08/27/development/solo-trek-ban-rumour-has-tourists-worried/238898.html

Please support local communnities - if you need, please hire local guides and porters not KTM fat cats! And stay in less popular lodgies - there you can bargain lower prices.
15) Anonymous User
05/10/2012
The rules has been broke. but still danger to travel in Langtang region.
http://www.greathimalaya.com
16) Anonymous
29/10/2012
This comment broke the house rules and has been removed
17) Anonymous
10/11/2012
This comment broke the house rules and has been removed
18) Anonymous
21/11/2012
This comment broke the house rules and has been removed
19) Anonymous User
25/12/2012
Hi!
I went to Everest Base Camp and was going to Annapurna this past April/May. I can tell you that I found good prices in Kathmandu. I went shopping with my guide though and he seemed to get good deals. I think he rents-out sleeping bags. You can get them in Pokhara too, but you will find a bigger selection in Thamel. this means you can get better deals and will be able to talk them down on the price. It is a Nepali custom (I read in a guide) to bargain. It is fun. You will have no problems wih the weight on the plane. My bag was a bit big, I have a hard time traveling light.
I did hire a guide and he took care of hiring a porter. He works with trusted people. I can recommend my guide. He was knowledgeable, friendly, and most of all looked-out for my safety. He seemed to know just about everyone in Kathmandu and many, many guides and people on the mountain. Because Sanjib knows so many people he was constantly getting updates from up the mountain, or down the mountain. It was great to travel with a guide that has so many established relationships. I found him by chance through a travel forum and then got references from him. That is, I emailed past clients. In no time, I received emails from Italy, Germany and the U.S. singing this guy's praises, so that is how I went about finding my guide. I found the price very reasonable and I liked the fact that you do not pay until you get there, so you avoid the big down payments and the advance payments as well. I was happy to travel solo. Traveling in a group is great, but for sure, you will not get personalized attention. You can meet a lot of people at the tea houses, or as you go along the trek you will become familiar with others "going your way." You can contact Sanjib Adhikari at sanjib-adhikari@hotmail.com.
www.nepalguideinfo.com and Mobile No +9779841613822. I recommend email. I am sure he will be happy to provide you with references. Let me know if you have more questions and enjoy!
Welcome To Nepal For Trekking In Everest, Annapurna and Langtang...
Everest Region
The Everest region under the shadow of Mt. Everest is one of the best-known trekking areas in the world. It is the homeland of the legendary Sherpas and mysterious Yeti. Walking through famous Sherpa village of Namche Bazaar and Tengboche monastery with a spectacular view of the mesmerizing peaks of Ama Dablam, Lhotse and other surrounding peaks give you a life-time experience.
Popular Treks In Everest Region
14 Days Everest Base Camp Trek
14 Days Gokyo Valley Trek
16 Days Gokyo-Chola Pass Trek
22 Days Jiri-Everest Base Camp Trek
http://www.nepalguideinfo.com/everest-region.php http://www.nepalguideinfo.com/Everest-Base-Camp.php http://www.nepalguideinfo.com/Gokyo-Chola-Pass-Trek.php http://www.nepalguideinfo.com/Jiri-Everest-Base-camp-Trek.php
23/06/2013
It is really good that people will not lost in mountain, for security and safety it is always good.
http//www.oshoadventure.com
23/06/2013
It is really good that people will not lost in mountain, for security and safety it is always good.
http//www.oshoadventure.com
22) Anonymous User
20/11/2013
Employing porters and guides is a great way to experience the Himalayas. It never affects your experience of the wilderness or of time alone, it adds to it, it allows you to be able to get to know the locals and it helps with communication barriers. Also, employing a guide and a sherpa gives back to the local economy and provides employment for these men.
23) Anonymous
11/06/2014
This comment broke the house rules and has been removed
24) Anonymous
15/03/2017
This comment broke the house rules and has been removed
25) Anonymous User
13/09/2017
We would like to draw your kind attention regarding safety issues while trekking alone in the vast and rugged mountains in Nepal. We are extremely concerned that dozens of trekkers have vanished on popular trekking routes in the last decade.

We believed that trekking alone could lead some personal risk of getting injured by natural accidents; the worse case even has gone missing because hiking alone in the unfamiliar rugged mountains. If anyone intended to trek in the coming days in Nepal, please make every effort to hire an experienced local guide and ensure that the trekking company is registered with Nepal Government.

RELATED ARTICLES

Kilian Jornet climbed Everest twice, but did he set a speed record?
0

The 29-year-old Catalan mountain runner has just returned from Everest, where he was plagued by surprise 60kph winds and an upset stomach. Despite this, he raced to the summit twice within a week, hoping to set a speed record without using fixed ropes or oxygen. Sarah Stirling interviews to find out how he got on and what his Bob Graham Round plans are.
Read more »

BMC summits Mount Everest with Scott Mackenzie
2

BMC member Scott Mackenzie recently journeyed to the top of the world, and was kind enough to take us along for the ride! His recent summit of Mount Everest took him past the infamous Hillary Step, which is reported to have changed as a result of the 2015 earthquake. We tracked Scott down to find out more.
Read more »

Nominate a BMC volunteer for the George Band Award 2017
0

It's nomination time for the George Band Award for Exceptional Voluntary Contribution to Mountaineering. The aim of the award is to recognise people who have made a significant voluntary contribution to the BMC’s work over an extended period of time.
Read more »

BMC MEMBERSHIP
Join 82,000 BMC members and support British climbing, walking and mountaineering. Membership only £15.72.
Read more »
BMC SHOP
Great range of guidebooks, DVDs, books, calendars and maps.
All with discounts for members.
Read more »
TRAVEL INSURANCE
Get covered with BMC Insurance. Our five policies take you from the beach to Everest.
Read more »