Political Situation, Security & Safety
Over the past 25 years there has been much instability. Many political parties have sprung up. The Maoist people’s party achieved power in many regions of Nepal and is now main stream (and in 2018 became the governing party). Many other groups with affiliations to particular ethnic and language groups have also been active.
Some years ago there were many violent confrontations, mainly with police, army and active political nationals. Occasional similar events continue but the country has been far more stable in recent years. Political rallies and demonstrations occasionally occur but are generally peaceful. Sometimes ‘bandhs’ are announced, often at short notice, during which all road transport may stop and many shops close their shutters. These strikes may be localised or national events and are not always strictly adhered to. However road vehicles could be targets. We advise visitors to avoid any demonstrations and any travel on strike days. If travel is essential make sure you are in a vehicle clearly labelled as for tourists only.
After a period of several years while parties negotiated a new constitution, 7 provinces of the new federal republic were defined in 2015. Since then there has been a lot of activity setting up the new provincial governing bodies.
The royal family was ousted from power and from the royal palaces in 2006. The royals had lost much credibility following the much-publicised massacre (2001) of most family members including his father the king (Birendra), by the Crown prince (Dipendra), who also shot himself and died shortly afterwards. There were many rumours of plots behind this, but it seems to have been simply rogue violence and disaffection within the family. The initial result was that the principle remaining members of the family briefly came into power. Gyanendra became king and responded to the ineffectual and perhaps corrupt fledgling democratic government by dissolving parliament and taking back power to himself. This retrograde step was deeply felt by the Nepali people and other influential nations and eventually his position became untenable and he left the palace. Prior to this the Nepalese had venerated their kings as incarnations of a Hindu deity.
Natural disasters such as earthquakes, landslides and flooding are not uncommon in Nepal. Severe earthquakes in 2015 devastated some areas and became international news.
Crime in Nepal is limited and most international visitors can feel entirely safe. Indeed Nepalese people are famed for their honesty. However caution is advisable, especially if trekking alone in remote areas.
You can obtain up to date information from amongst others:
- British Embassy in Kathmandu phone Nepal: (977) (1) 4237100
- BBC world website, Nepal profile
- British Government Foreign and Commonwealth Office
- Nepali newspapers and magazines also publish on the web, many in English.
Also, check our Nepal Data page
Last updated November 2022