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:

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.

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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.

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.

Want more information? Send us your query, and our experts will get back to you within 24 hrs.

About Author

Madhav started working as a porter in 2001 and then went on to work as a trekking guide. After working in the trekking and tourism industry for 8 years, he co-founded Mosaic Adventure in 2009.

Madhav has trekked to most of the treks in Nepal including Everest Base Camp Trek, Annapurna Base Camp, Annapurna Circuit Trek, Poon Hill Trek, Jomsom Muktinath Trek, Indigenous Peoples Trek, Langtang Valley Trek, Mardi Himal Trek and all of the day hikes around Kathmandu.

He has also extensively traveled to other countries like USA, UK, France, Hong Kong, Japan, China, Philippines, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Behrain, Thailand, Turkey and India. Madhav is the one who answers most of your questions about trekking and tours and helps to plan your trip by giving a personal touch.

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