Traveling in Nepal with kids

Traveling in Nepal with kids

What does Responsible Travel recommend?

People generally fall into two camps: those that would take their children to a third world country and those that wouldn’t. Parents should be aware that the country’s facilities and services will not be comparable to those in the western world and changing nappies is probably not much fun half way up a mountain either. Babies might be best left at home, but if your little ones are 6+, Nepal with kids is an adrenaline-filled playground with shorter hikes, mountain biking, rafting and wildlife all available for their amusement, not to mention Kathmandu’s bazaars, which are a fascinating assault on younger senses.

Health & safety in Nepal

Travel safely in Nepal with kids


  • Visit your GP or travel clinic at least 6-8 weeks before departure to ensure you have all the necessary vaccinations and that they are up to date.
  • Medical treatment is expensive at western travelers’ clinics in Nepal and healthcare is poor in most places outside the Kathmandu Valley and Pokhara. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad, emergency helicopter evacuation and repatriation.
  • If you do need to receive medical treatment in Nepal, up-front payment may be required even if it is covered by your insurance.
  • If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 102 and ask for an ambulance.
  • You may find the high mountain altitudes demanding. Familiarise yourself with the dangers of altitude sickness, especially if you are trekking in remote areas.
  • Many travelers experience stomach upsets in Nepal. These are not usually serious, but do be prepared, and bring medication including rehydration and diarrhoea remedies to ensure this disrupts your trip as little as possible.
  • There is no malaria risk in Kathmandu, Pokhara or the mountain trekking areas, but malaria does exist in the southern belt of Nepal (the Terai) and risk is highest in the months of June, July and August, so consult your doctor or travel clinic about the best medication to take, especially if traveling to Nepal with kids.
  • Only drink bottled water and avoid ice cubes.
  • Apply insect repellent to skin and clothing to being bitten: wear long sleeves, long trousers, hats and shoes (rather than sandals), and for rural and forested areas, boots are preferable, with trousers tucked in, to prevent tick bites.
  • Kathmandu’s polluted air gives many people respiratory infections within a few days of arrival; asthmatics should take particular care - minimize exposure by staying off the main streets, and think about bringing a filtering face mask if you’re spending much time in the Kathmandu Valley.
  • Personal hygiene is paramount in Nepal. Wash your hands often and use antibacterial soap or gel. Keep any cuts clean and disinfected.


Pick pocketing and bag snatching are common in Nepal, particularly in airports and on buses. Take particular care in the areas of Thamel, Sanepa and Kupondol in Kathmandu and be mindful that your valuables are not on show. Always use your hotel safe.

As in the case of reaching Everest, air travel is sometimes unavoidable in Nepal. Check the weather conditions before traveling - bad weather conditions in mountainous and hill regions could increase the risk to your safety and cause lengthy delays.

The general standard of driving throughout Nepal is poor and badly regulated. Roads are very congested, drivers are not properly licensed, and vehicles are poorly maintained. There are few pavements outside central Kathmandu, but pedestrian right of way doesn’t exist, so exercise extreme caution.

There is a gay scene in Kathmandu and the government are taking a more progressive stance, but homosexuality is still frowned upon, so same-sex couples should act discretely.

Trekking in Nepal often involves treks to very remote areas. Always use a reputable trek provider, don’t veer off established routes and walk in groups – never trek alone.

Keep an eye on the local press to find out about impending strikes, demonstrations and curfews. Don't ever break curfews as the green light has been given for those who do to be shot.

Activities for families in Nepal

What to do with little ones

Poon hill trek.
Trekking isn’t all about massive feats of endurance. The Poon Hill Trek, a four-day route in the Annapurnas with a maximum elevation of 3,210m and therefore minimum risk of altitude sickness, is a brilliant introduction to the good old great outdoors for little explorers that can’t sit still.  
Narayanhiti Royal Palace. It’s the gaudy faded glamour of the Narayanhiti Palace, scene of a 2001 royal bloodbath that saw Crown Prince Dipendra wipe out his entire family, that makes it appealing for kids. Everything is big and brash enough to capture their imaginations and, although us adults know they’re nothing to be proud of, the stuffed heads of tigers and rhino that line the walls will doubtless please them too.

Kathmandu’s bazaar.
The bazaar at Asan, a market square in Kathmandu renowned for its authenticity, is the convergence of six teeming streets that perpetually bustles attracting shoppers from all over to buy food, spices, textiles and electronics. It’s truly mesmerising and western kids take centre stage with the excitable, friendly vendors.

Traveling in Nepal with kids asks the experts

Keshav Karki from our supplier, Manakamana Treks shares his advice on things to do in Nepal with kids: “A visit to the Nepalese countryside to stay with a local family and experience traditional Nepali life is a wonderful and memorable experience for any western child. The Kavresthali village, situated about 10km north of Kathmandu, is a small very rural village surrounded by lush hills. The main occupation of the locals there is agriculture and they have a very simple way of life, which they are happy to share with visiting families. Children are children wherever they are in the world and have little idea of language or cultural barriers.”

Raj Gyawali from our supplier, Socialtours Nepal shares his thoughts on Nepal as a family destination: “There is no doubt that Nepal is becoming more of a family-friendly destination. Many trekking areas, the Annapurnas being a prime example, were marked early on as hard, very challenging trekking – even the simpler treks did not have much access or safety built in. Now, adventurers trek with mobile technology and the internet reaches everywhere, plus there are roads running up into the ranges, which many people consider a problem, but when you take into account the young, the elderly, or the disabled, these factors have become a safety net and a mark of accessibility, certainly for families with young children of five years and upwards. The country is not an endless playground for children – you can’t camp in the jungle unless you want to wake up with a rhino in your tent – but Nepal is an excellent opportunity for families that want to explore together whether that’s on foot in the mountains, by bike in the valleys, or spotting wildlife in the jungle.”
Photo credits: [Holi festival: Steven Gerner] [Poon Hill: Abel Pau] [Royal Palace: S Pakhrin] [Market: Elaphurus]
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