16 Possible Tourist Scams you Should AVOID in Nepal

tourist scam in nepal

Nepal is among the most popular travel destinations for many travelers around the world. The diverse territory and the warm hospitality of the Nepalese locals entice many travelers on their overall visit.

Despite the popular fame some cheats are encountered, they try to manipulate you for their interest. So, you must be very attentive to avoid some scams while in Nepal.

You will find many such good-for-nothing people who may sometimes try to rob you, they may try to harm you or molest you. So, you must not trust everyone you meet on the route. You have a high chance of an encounter with such people in the big tourist hubs like Pokhara and Kathmandu.

As soon as you get out of the airport you may be hit with people trying to scam you.

Below is a list of some tourists’ experiences of the most common Nepalese scams to look out for.

Scams in Nepal:  Avoid These Travel Scams when Visiting Nepal

1. When someone tries to help carry your luggage.

As soon as you exit the Tribhuvan International Airport, the first thing you’ll do is look for the person waiting for you. Once you make contact with them and start following them to the car, a tout will approach you to help you with your luggage. You may think this person is from the tour company but actually, they’re pretending to help you in the hope of getting tips.

Once everything is in the car they will ask you for a tip. The best thing you can do to prevent this from happening is to say NO. And, even if they do end up carrying your bag, don’t tip them and simply say thank you. They can’t and won’t do anything else to you.

2. When someone says the hotel you want doesn’t exist, or they don’t know where it is.

When you take a prepaid taxi at the airport and tell them to go to a particular hotel, the taxi driver will pretend he doesn’t know a hotel of that name, and has no idea where it’s located. All he’s trying to do is take you to another hotel so he can get a commission.

To avoid going to a hotel other than the one you want, always keep the phone number of your hotel handy. And you can ask the driver to call the number himself. There will always be a phone at the prepaid taxi counter to enable you to do this.

Get in the taxi only after you have confirmed with them that they know the hotel you want.

3. When a taxi driver’s accomplice tries to sell you tours on the way from the airport to your hotel.

If you take a taxi from the airport to your hotel, very often another person will attempt to jump into your vehicle. That person is only trying to sell you something.

The best way to get rid of them is to tell them not to ride with you. Taxis have only one driver, so feel free to throw out any other parties who try and climb aboard.

4. Hashish sellers in Thamel

Whenever you walk around the streets of Thamel, a hashish seller will approach you in order to try and make a sale. Whatever you do, don’t buy anything from them as doing so is illegal.

Your friendly interaction with them may lead you to unnecessary legal issues. So, you must be very careful before going close to them.

Avoid this situation by saying ‘No, Thank You’, making sure you don’t raise your voice or start a fight.

5. Touts at attractions promising they’ll give you a guided tour for free but asking for money at the end.

When you are on tour like Kathmandu Heritages Day Tour and visiting place like Patan Durbar Square, someone may approach you and say they want to be your friend and show you around for free. At the end of the day, they are doing it for money.

So,  they may ultimately hassle you non-stop by asking you for tips. They won’t charge you for the guided tour but they’ll definitely want a decent tip at the end.

6. Massage

Once you’re back in the city after trekking, you will be approached by people who want you to go to their massage parlor.

It is better to avoid them. Better not to bother doing any research into the rate and quality of the message they’re offering.

Just go to a genuine message parlor where you will definitely have a pleasant experience after a long, hard trek.

7. Beggars asking money to buy milk for their children

You will see women with kids around Thamel in Kathmandu and Lake Side in Pokhara who approach and ask for money to buy milk.

If you agree to this, what they’ll do is take you to the supermarket, buy expensive milk powder, and later on return it to the shop and get half the money back for themselves.

So, if this happens, just ignore them and walk away.

8. Extra charges at an immigration office

If you have to extend your visa in order to stay in Nepal, you’ll have to go to an immigration office. Here you’ll be approached by people claiming to ‘help’ you with your visa renewal, but they may charge you more money than actually required by saying they’ll process it quickly.

The thing is, you can do all that by yourself for the same length of time without paying any extra money.

9. Overcharging for goods and services

I think it is similar wherever you go around the world. Some vendors, taxi drivers or tour operators always try their best to overcharge tourists. So, do your research and familiarize yourself with local prices of various things that you are planning to purchase or book.

10. Counterfeit goods

Be cautious when purchasing branded items, as counterfeit products can be prevalent in most of markets in Nepal. You will find that products of top brands like North Face, Nike, Adidas, Oakley etc, are sold all around local markets in Nepal, and in general, they are all fake. Don’t pay high charges as they are not genuine products.

11. Trekking scams

To have a good experience visiting Nepal, it is important to choose reputable trekking agencies or tour operators to organize your trip during your stay. You will find hawkers offering cheap packages on the streets of Thamel in Kathmandu and lakeside in Pokhara. Most of the time, tourists end up paying inflated prices, hidden fees and receiving poor services.

12. Fake charity or orphanage scams

If you have visited Paris, you may have noticed that young people stand at attractions to lure tourists into paying a certain amount as charity, which most of us know is a scam. The approach in Nepal might be similar or different, but some individuals or organizations are exploiting tourists’ goodwill by running fake charities or orphanages to solicit donations. Genuine orphanages and organizations operate with generous people like you, so it’s important to do your research and verify the legitimacy of such organizations before contributing to make sure it reaches the needed.

13. Fake travel permits

It has come to our attention that some shady companies are involved in issuing fake permits to tourists visiting Nepal. When visiting restricted areas or national parks, make sure you apply for genuine permits from authorized offices to avoid being scammed with counterfeit permits and facing hassle afterwards.

14. Never Accept any kind of HELP At the ATM

Whenever you use an ATM in Nepal, it’s essential to be careful and take necessary precautions. Scammers usually target tourists. They try to approach them and offer help while they withdraw money. 

These scammers might be looking to steal your card information or money. So, it is recommended to use ATMs located in secure areas, such as within a bank or a shopping mall. 

You have to avoid using ATMs in isolated areas, as they are more vulnerable to fraud. When you are careful and aware of your surroundings, then you can avoid falling victim to tourist scams in Nepal.

15. Verify entrance fees at tourist sites

It’s always a good idea to verify the entrance fees of tourist sites and museums in Nepal. It will help you to make sure that you are paying the correct amount. 

Some scammers may try to overcharge tourists. So it’s important to do your research beforehand and be aware of the typical prices. In fact,  you can also ask locals or other tourists for advice on what prices are reasonable for the area. 

These are some precautions you can follow. It will help you avoid scams and enjoy your time in Nepal with peace of mind.

16. Unofficial Trekking Agencies 

When you plan trekking in Nepal, it is important to prioritize safety. The best way to ensure your safety is that you need to choose a registered trekking agency. These agencies help you and guide you during your hike. 

On the other hand, unauthorized guides may need to be more experienced, which can put you at risk. To avoid any potential safety issues, it’s best to make arrangements only with authorized and registered trekking agencies.


Is Nepal Safe?

Absolutely! Nepal is generally safe, but it’s good to know about potential scams to protect yourself. Nepal scams are famous but it can happed any where in the world. So, Always choose a professional trekking group like Mosaic Adventure to safe any sort of problem.

What are some common scams to Avoid in Nepal?

When you are in Nepal, you need to be alert for a few scams. These include some tricks, like fake tour guides or inflated prices. So, you have to know what to look for that save yourself from trouble.

What Should I Avoid in Nepal?

The most necessary thing you can do is always to show respect for local customs. Keep yourself alert from your surroundings. Just avoid unnecessary risks, and your trip will be smooth and enjoyable.

Is It Safe to Drive in Nepal?

It totally depends on the area you are in. As the road conditions can be different, so drive carefully. If you need more clarification, prioritize local transportation.

Should American Tourists Visit Nepal?

Absolutely! Nepal has a lot to offer. You have to stay informed about local scams and enjoy the beauty of this incredible country.


Remember that these scams are not exclusive to Nepal and can occur in many popular tourist destinations wherever you go all around the world.

It’s always advisable to stay informed, exercise caution, and seek advice from trusted sources or local authorities to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip. Avoid these scams and book your tour with a reliable Nepalese tour operator so that you have a pleasant experience in Nepal with all its beautiful nature and wonderful people.

Do you know of any other scams in Nepal? Please write that in comment below and we will try to include it in our next update.

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