Solo Hikes in Nepal and Around Everest Are Now Banned

The Nepal Tourism Board just made the decision.

Starting April 1, visitors heading to Nepal will no longer be allowed to take solo treks according to a recent decision from the Nepal Tourism Board. The board said the decision was made to make sure that visitors and guests were safe during their trip to the country.

"This decision has been made for the tourists' benefit. While going on solo treks, tourists often get lost and might face insecurities. In order to mitigate that we have come to the decision to put a ban on solo treks. Starting from April 1, guides are mandatory for adventure tourism," said Maniraj Lamichhane, director of the board, in a statement to Hindustan Times.

Even as someone who loves to take long walks alone, I can see the logic in this decision. Going solo into terrain that includes major altitude and temperature changes is no evening stroll. The New York Times reported that at least 400 people went missing every year while trekking in Nepal before the pandemic began. In 2017, the nation banned visitors from making climbs up Mount Everest alone.

Travelers planning on trekking in the country will now need to book their journey with a guide. The Trekkers Information Management System card is required by all travelers entering Nepal. Called TIMS, the card is a permit that allows visitors to go on trekking and wilderness excursions. The cost of the permit has increased from about $7.50 to roughly $15. TIMS cards will not be issued to travelers who do not have guides.

This new policy means that you'll need to budget paying for a guide for your next trip to Nepal. But spending the money on traveling with an expert is worth it in the long run, when the alternative could be getting lost and being out of your element in the wilderness.

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Opheli Garcia Lawler is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @opheligarcia and Instagram @opheligarcia.