In general Nepal is considered a safe country to travel alone. Indeed, travelers coming up from India often say there is no comparison, with Nepal being the safer of the two nations. Part of this is due to Nepal's conservative society and its openness to all cultures along with religions.
However, there are some issues, precautions to be aware of in particular for trekkers thinking of going on treks alone to Nepal that you should really consider strongly. There's also a dedicated page for solo female travelers in Nepal.
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Single rooms in Nepal are commonplace and often cheaper than doubles or hostel dorms. Do read accommodation in Kathmandu for recommendations.
Traveling alone in Nepal means you'll be treated the same as couples or groups. There is no discrimination or additional charges for rooms or entrance fees. Much like anywhere, traveling with a friend or partner will mean sharing expenses and things will be cheaper.
Solo travelers in hotels can opt for a single or double room. In the off season rates drop and both rooms are largely priced the same. In the peak season double rooms will cost more than singles.
In the past two years hostels and dorms have started opening. There's little difference in a hostel bed price and single room. However, hostels do offer an easier way of meeting people than a hotel.
In restaurants there are no stigmas when someone wants to dine alone. There's very little change of anyone "chatting you up" or asking to join your table in the evenings either. That said, in crowded or busy restaurants people often ask to join a table if there are spare places - you can of course refuse but it is one of the best ways to meet people in Nepal.
Going to a bar or club alone in Nepal brings about a little more stigma. People generally go to these places in a group. Going alone may raise a few eyebrows in terms of what you are "looking for". A better option for socializing would be to eat and then have a drink at one of Nepal's many restaurants that have live music.
It is perfectly legal to go trekking alone in Nepal. Do read about trekking in Nepal for full details. However, it is not something I recommend that either first time trekkers or first time trekkers in Nepal do. Every year there are many solo trekkers in Nepal that go missing.
Many of the trekkers that go missing do so due to simple things like getting lost, twisting an ankle or getting sick along the trails. Without a guide or someone with you disaster can and does strike quickly.
You might want to consider doing the following as a "backup" to feeling safer when trekking alone.
- Let your friends and family know your itinerary
- Get a local Nepali sim card that works well (not everywhere will have coverage) and stay in touch with people. Let them know where you are and if you think you won't have internet access for the next few days etc.
- Don't take chances. Stick to your route and don't try anything risky if you are alone.
Most people consider a trek in Nepal to be a trip of a lifetime but at the same time I get daily emails from people on a budget asking if they can go trekking alone. I simply don't recommend it for first timers. A life is worth more than cutting back on some money. In all cases do make sure you have the right type of travel insurance for trekking in Nepal.
Again, it's not all doom and gloom. Do read through my trekking in Nepal section for budget ideas and in my trekking in Nepal guidebook for even better budget treks to help with the costs.
Avoid couchsurfing or similar services all the way up to AirBnB. Hotels and guesthouses have a great range of accommodation for every budget. There have been incidents in the past of solo travellers having serious issues in local homes. These issues have included:
- Sexual advances
- Monetary issues
- Emotional blackmail
None of the above are regular occurrences, but they have happened in the past. They are part because of cultural misinterpretations and part because of misconceptions.
Community Homestays are becoming popular in Nepal but more often than not are run by tour companies behind the scenese. Local guesthouses are more often than not more genuine in regards to "staying with a family". Do note that rules and regulations are not enforced in Nepal so avoid putting yourself in any type of uncertainty.
Meeting other travelers who are alone in Nepal can be as easy or as difficult as you like. While some guidebooks claim you can put a note up in the Kathmandu Guest House looking to meeting up with others that is simply not the case anymore.
One of the better options to meet other solo travelers is by staying in a popular guesthouse and meeting others in a common room. Or by going to a popular restaurants where others stay and socialize in. Many new hostels have sprung up in Kathmandu and Pokhara which have lively social scenes. Kathmandu and Pokhara have several popular restaurants and they are listed in my Nepal guidebook.
Being a friendly open country, Nepal also makes it very easy to meet up with others on day trips to various attractions.
If you are traveling alone in Nepal you'll be glad to hear Nepali people are very friendly and easy to talk with. From conversations about Nepal or your own country to what you do for a living or the state of world affairs Nepali people will be glad of a chat!
It is important to be aware of some things though. Money and "love" are two subjects in Nepal best avoided if you are traveling alone or even as a group. One's heart is often pulled in many directions very easily.
Socializing with Nepali people can often involve conversations turning around to romance with intent to woo you. Or a trip to an orphanage center where "homeless" children are in need of donations. Likewise, the age old story of a sick relative in need of funds is a common plea. Do exercise caution.
Good long-lasting friendships can be made in Nepal so long as you can keep some separation when it comes to finances. Nepal is a fascinating place with an amazing culture filled with people wanting to tell you about it. Sticking with this sort of friendship can bring a the lone traveler a bevy of interesting stories and experiences.
Accommodation for tourists in Nepal is nearly always fairly central to tourist districts and transport hubs. For solo travelers arriving for the first time in Nepal it often feels safer to book in mid-range or higher range recommended hotels fir the first couple of nights.
Do read reviews and feel comfortable with your first nights accommodation location. Many hotels offer airport pickups.
Where to stay in Nepal if your are alone? The main tourist areas in Kathmandu are Thamel, Paknajol and Freak street. Bhaktapur is also becoming a popular location outside of Kathmandu city. Within easy reach of the airport Thamel and Paknajol are probably easier for solo travelers when first arriving in Kathmandu. In Pokhara, Lakeside is the best area to stay. In Chitwan the main road in Sauraha has a bevy of accommodation. Here's my list of recommended hotels in Kathmandu. n and ask for someone to go back and check your room for you.
Use my hotel search to find your ideal accommodation throughout Nepal
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