Manaslu circuit trek

Nepal is open for tourism | Tourism activities to commence from October 17

Nepal to open the autumn season for trekking and climbing for domestic and international tourists from October 17 2020. 

Tourism in Nepal has been completely shut down since March 2020 after the second case of COVID-19 was traced. The country went under a full lockdown for almost 3 months and began to ease the restrictions slowly under different phases. Now, after almost 8 months, the government has announced, Nepal is open for tourists activities such as trekking and mountaineering from October 17. 

On 21 July 2020, a high-level committee announced that all tourism-related activities will resume for the upcoming autumn season but it was later overruled with cases increasing. Now, the date of tourism opening in Nepal has been set to October 17. In the meantime, few climbing permits have been issued for domestic tourists. 

In March, just as the mountaineering season was round the corner, the government of Nepal mandated a lockdown, restricting flights and movement across the nation in order to contain the virus. The spread has not been fully contained till now but the government is bidding to resume the travel safely. 

On 17 August, the Nepal government announced to resume international flights for Nepali nationals and foreign diplomats. Limited flights were conducted at the earlier stage and today more flights are being conducted. Passengers were required to produce PCR Test report of COVID negative at the boarding area. Only those having a COVID free certificate, tested no more than 72 hrs before the arrival date in Kathmandu were permitted to board the aircraft. 

Likewise, domestic flights, hotels and restaurants are set to resume from Sept 17 following proper guidelines. Prince of Bahrain has also arrived in Kathmandu on September 16 for Lobuche East peak climbing and Manaslu expedition.   

With the recovery rate increasing lately, things are now getting back to normalcy here in Nepal. Nepal government is now planning to resume all tourism-related activities for upcoming autumn season 2020. Other essential businesses and public transportation have already resumed nationwide. 

On Sept 28, the Government of Nepal has announced the arrival protocols for tourists visiting Nepal this autumn. All tourists arriving Nepal from Oct 17 for trekking and mountaineering purpose will have to adhere to the following guidelines:

1. All arriving tourists will need to produce a PCR test report of COVID-19 free conducted no more than 72 hrs before arrival.
2. All arriving tourists will need to obtain a visa from their respected countries. 
3. All arriving tourists will need to stay 7 days quarantine in Kathmandu after arrival with the PCR test conducted again on Day 5.

The situation on the mountain will be completely different for this season and as a responsible adventure company, we will strictly adhere to the safety protocol and operation guidelines set by the government of Nepal and WHO. Read what you should expect if you are travelling to Nepal this autumn. 

FAQs about visiting Nepal this autumn

Yes, you will need to bring a PCR test report attesting COVID-19 free, conducted no more than 72 hrs before.
All arriving passengers will need to obtain Visa from their respected countries. For countries, where Nepal embassy or consulate is not present, they can obtain Visa after arrival in Kathmandu but they should be a part of a group tour. Meaning, individual travellers may be restricted from visiting Nepal this autumn.
The government has mandated 7 days of quarantine protocol for all arriving tourists. They will need to submit the detail of the hotel where they will be staying at the immigration counter.
Getting travel insurance is highly required now more than ever. With too many uncertainties regarding international travel in hand, having travel insurance is definitely a must. The general guideline of choosing Insurance remains the same as like before now, you should also consider having a COVID-19 insured insurance policy. Please check with your insurance provider if they can provide you with a policy that will cover if incase you contract COVID-19. Government of Nepal has mandated all tourists to have insurance coverage of USD 5000.
We definitely do not want to adapt the trial and error method in operating our trips especially when there are too many uncertainties. Safety is always a priority and we will assess every factor carefully and mitigate the risk in every way possible. For more information, read how we are preparing for our trips.
Most of the airlines that operate Nepal flight are likely to resume their flights soon. Many airlines are already conducting limited flights in a week. Please check with your airline if they are operating flights on your travel date.
Kathmandu and other lower region of the country have been affected by the COVID. Many of the trekking and climbing destinations are untouched by the COVID. If the arrival protocols and safety guidelines are implemented strictly then travelling to Nepal this year is safe. With fewer tourists visiting the mountains, you also get to enjoy the mountains all to yourself.

About Author

Highland Expeditions is a high altitude adventure travel company based in Kathmandu, Nepal founded by local alpine experts with over 30 years of experience in trekking and mountaineering in the Himalayas.

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