Political tensions in Nepal remain high. There are frequent bandhs (shutdowns), rallies and demonstrations, which can be violent and cause widespread disruption. If you are travelling in Nepal, you should remain vigilant, avoid demonstrations, and stay in close touch with your tour operator.
Bars and restaurants are now required to close at 2300 as part of a Government crackdown on illegal activities. This means that after this time the streets around the city are poorly lit and relatively few people are about.
There is an underlying threat from terrorism. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers. Since 2006, a number of bombings, shootings and armed clashes have taken place across Nepal. On 14 January 2008, a small bomb was thrown at a moving micro-van (public transport) close to the venue of a mass political gathering in central Kathmandu, injuring several people. On 1 November 2007, a bomb exploded at the Ghantaghar chowk area in Birgunj. One person was killed and five people were injured. On 1 October 2007, a bomb exploded outside the Japanese Embassy in Panipokhari.
Since January 2007 there has been civil unrest and violence in the Terai district. Riots and roadblocks in the Terai severely disrupted transport and prevented supplies reaching the rest of the country. Tensions remain high between rival political groups and occasional clashes have broken out. In March 2007, at least 28 Maoists were killed during a clash with the Madhesis People's Rights Forum (MJF) cadres in Gaur, central Terai. The security situation in general throughout the Terai appears to be steadily deteriorating.
The Government of Nepal has announced that elections will be held on 10 April 2008. Related bandhs (shutdowns), rallies and demonstrations are likely to take place in the run-up. These events can cause widespread disruption and can be called at short notice. Transport can be severely disrupted, roads and major highways could be blocked. Travellers are advised to avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings and remain vigilant at all times. In January 2008, demonstrations, related to an increase in fuel prices, turned violent.
Following the murder of a political group leader, a number of violent incidents have occurred around the Kapilbastu district since 16 September 2007. Curfews are still in force in some areas around the Kapilbastu district, including Krishnagar and around the Chandrota Highway.
On 29 October 2007, an earthquake measuring 5.0 on the Richter scale affected parts of central Nepal, including the Kathmandu Valley.
This advice is based on information provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. It is correct at time of publishing. As the situation can change rapidly, visitors are advised to contact the following organisations for the latest travel advice:
British Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Tel: 0845 850 2829.
US Department of State