On the fateful morning of 25th April 2015, as I was standing on a lesser known streets of Thamel an earthquake of 7.8 magnitude hit the little Himalayan Kingdom of Nepal. This earthquake destroyed large parts of Nepal causing widespread losses.
International media was quick to respond to this situation by flashing images of a quake-ravaged Nepal. This helped the nation to get quick international aid. However, these images also sent a strong message to the unsuspecting viewers that the entire nation has been destroyed. Further, the rumours of the upcoming stronger earthquake removed Nepal from the travel plans of visitors for the year 2015.
Since I witnessed the Nepal earthquake first hand and also volunteered help in disaster management efforts, I can tell you the situation more clearly. Within few days, the nation was up again rebuilding itself. I could obviously hear cries and fears of people who lost their family, friends and belongings, but I also observed a strong faith and optimism in people that things will get better again.
Now after two months, I am very pleased to inform you that Nepal is all set for tourists again.
Six of the important tourist sites were opened last week for tourists. If you choose to travel in Nepal, you will not only bring the much-desired money to the travel dependent economy but also provide the much moral support. Nothing can boost the morale of people than seeing their country swarming with tourists again.
So the big question, is Nepal SAFE to visit?
Here are some facts released by the Nepal Tourism Board.
- The major tourist destinations – Pokhara, Chitwan, Bandipur and Lumbini – were unaffected by the earthquake.
- Out of 75 districts of Nepal, only 11 have been significantly affected.
- Only 3 out of 18 National Parks and Conservation areas were affected by the earthquake.
- Only three out of 35 popular trekking routes affected.
- Out of 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, only 1 have significant damages.
- The key sites of Patan Durbar Square, Basantapur, Bhaktapur, Bouddhanath, Swoyambhunath and Pashupatinath temple were officially opened on June 15, 2015.
- Most of tourist category hotels in Kathmandu valley are back to operation after going through structural assessment.
- All the International and National airports are in operation.
- Communication (Internet, phone calls, ATM’s, swipe machines) are functioning well.
- There’s been no major epidemics after the earthquake.
Fortunately, tourism infrastructure was not directly affected by the earthquake. And so Nepal is safe for tourists. I urge you all to consider Nepal in your travel itineraries.
Like in life, so in tragedy; we all look for support in family and neighbours. We, Indian citizens, are both for Nepal. So please don’t drop your plans for Nepal.
Read about my Nepal travel experience here.