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Nepal has banned solo travel. You must have a guide or go in a group

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Solo hiking in Nepal’s national parks will be banned from April 1. The country’s authorities explain this for security reasons and emphasize that the search for missing tourists who went on a solo trip is very difficult and expensive.

The Nepal Tourism Board announced last week that from April 1, it will be forbidden to hike alone in all Nepali national parks. According to director Mani R. Lamichhane, quoted by the “New York Times”, the decision is related to many events in which tourists wandering alone got lost on the trail and often died on it. According to him, these accidents contributed to the misconception among some travelers that Nepal is a dangerous country.

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Prohibition of solitary wanderings

The decision applies to tourists from all over the world, regardless of their experience in mountain expeditions. It means that it will be impossible to trek alone, e.g. popular hiking trail around Annapurna. Outside national parks, solo hiking will be allowed.

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Anyone wishing to hike the Nepalese trail will either need to do so in a group or hire a government-licensed guide. “If you’re walking alone, you have no one to help you in an emergency,” Lamichhane told CNN. He also noted that the costs of missing person search missions are very high and the possibilities are limited. – When tourists go missing or turn out to be dead, even the government (Nepali – ed.) is unable to track them when they have chosen distant routes – he pointed out.

Lamichhane hopes that the decision – in addition to reducing the number of missing people or fatalities – will help create additional jobs for guides and other people working in the tourism industry.

Last year, there were about 22,000 lone hikers in Nepal.Shutterstock

Hiking in Nepal

The trekking industry in Nepal is very developed and brings significant income. In 2019, over 400,000 people visited Nepalese national parks, of which about 46,000 was able to travel alone. After the pandemic, the number of tourists has slightly decreased, although the industry is gradually recovering. According to Lamichhane, there were about 22,000 lone wanderers in Nepal last year.

In 2017, Nepal already banned solo mountain climbing, including Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world. A total of 8 out of the 10 highest mountains are located at least partly in this country. There are fatal accidents every year.

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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