China ups travelling charges for Kailash Manasarovar

China ups travelling charges for Kailash Manasarovar
Kailash Yatra Map

Kailash Yatra Map

Jun 11, 2018-China has abruptly raised travelling charges for devotees going on the Kailash Manasarovar tour to the distress of Nepali and Indian tour operators. Hindus believe that bathing in Lake Manasarovar and drinking its water will cleanse them from all sin.

As per the new tariff that went into effect on June 3, pilgrims travelling to Kailash Manasarovar over the Nepalgunj-Simikot-Hilsa route will have to pay an extra $180 per head, and pilgrims taking the Rasuwagadhi-Kerung route will have to pay an additional $140 per head.

However, the new rates will not apply to pilgrims who have already purchased tour package this year. “Instead, it has created a huge burden for tour operators,” said a Nepali tour operator who did not wish to be named. “The new rules that were imposed unilaterally by the China-India Pilgrims Service Centre in China are expected to create a burden of Rs360 million for Nepali operators alone.”

Kailash Yatra by Helicopter

Kailash Yatra by Helicopter

“We are just a tour operator. We cannot afford to pay such a huge amount of money,” the operator said, adding that each operator would have to pay at least Rs15 million from their own pockets.

Until last year, the devotees had to pay $1,085 per person for a three-night package using the Nepalgunj-Simikot-Hilsa route. Now it has gone up to $1,265 per person. Similarly, a five-night package using the Rasuwagadhi-Kerung route which used to cost $895 per person will now cost $1,035 per person.

This is a mandatory fee that needs to be paid to the China-India Pilgrims Service Centre. According to operators, the new rule was enforced immediately after Wan Quan Lin was appointed the CEO of the centre.

The fee covers food, hotel, vehicle service and guide as the centre does not allow Nepali or Indian tour operators to provide these services on their own.

“The centre has also barred Indian pilgrims from carrying food, and they have to eat at the Chinese hotel and restaurants whether they like it or not,” said operators, adding that the fee was non-refundable if any pilgrim chooses not to eat the food served by the Chinese restaurants. “It’s a kind of cartel imposed by Chinese authorities after they saw pilgrim numbers from Nepal growing each year.”

Kailash Mansarovar

Kailash Mansarovar

This year, tour operators are optimistic about receiving around 20,000 to 25,000 Indian pilgrims. Last year, nearly 15,000 Indians visited the holy sites The Kailash Manasarovar Yatra normally begins in May and lasts till September. There are five routes to Mt Kailash and Lake Manasarovar. Two of them, Uttarakhand and Nathula, Sikkim, are in India. They are the longest and most expensive routes. It takes nearly three weeks to reach the holy place using these routes.

Nepal offers three routes to the holy sites through the Tatopani and Rasuwagadhi border points. However, there are no movements from Tatopani after the Chinese government closed the Tatopani border point in 2015. Pilgrims have also started to go through Rasuwagadhi after the road was opened this year.

According to operators, the Nepalgunj-Simikot-Humla route costs IRs175,000 per person, including the cost of flying by fixed with aircraft from Nepalgunj to Simikot, and by helicopter from Simikot to Hilsa. The package from Rasuwagadhi is IRs125,000 per person. Due to the cost factor, around 25 percent of the pilgrims are expected to choose the Rasuwagadhi route this year.

Source: Kathmandupost

Asia’s Top 10 Destinations for Vegetarian Travelers

Asia’s Top 10 Destinations for Vegetarian Travelers

Living as a vegetarian is often a challenging life in many parts of the world. The problems may get worse if you love traveling. Luckily, there are many places which are veg-friendly. Some countries listed below have vegetarian tradition deeply rooted into their culture for ages while some of them have recently developed as veg-friendly destinations.

  1. India

India has more vegetarians than anywhere in the world. Traditional beliefs in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism inspires people to be vegetarian. The Indian menu is often filled-up with majority of veg dishes. Ingredients like heat, rice, roots and pulses are major ingredients of Indian food. You will find variety of dishes as you move to different parts of India. Dishes like Idli, Dosha, Uthappam with rice as major ingredient is found in Southern India. Northern India offer dishes like Roti, Naan, Samosa with wheat as major ingredient. Happycow has listed 440 veg-friendly restaurants but you will find thousands more when you visit the country.

Idli and Samber found in Southern Part of India.

Idli and Samber found in Southern Part of India.

  1. Thailand

With attractions like diving sites, sandy beaches, tropical islands, Buddhist Temples and archaelogical sites, Thailand is one of the major tourist destinations in Asia. Thanks to its large Buddhist population, you will be able to find plenty of vegetarian restaurants in Thailand. Chiang Mai alone has over 80 veg restaurants. Happycow list 612 veg-friendly restaurants in Thailand. Dont miss out tom yum soup, pad thai, salads and coconut-milk based curries.

Tom Yum soup in Thailand

Tom Yum soup in Thailand

  1. Israel

With numerous tourist attractions including Dead sea, Negev desert and plenty of religious and cultural places, Israel has been a major tourist attraction. There has been a vegan revolution all over Israel in past few years. 8% people in Israel follow vegetariasm and you will be able to find veg dishes almost everywhere. Vegan restaurants are being established everywhere. Happycow lists 279 veg-friendly restaurants in Israel. Dont miss out Hummus, Sambusak and Pita bread if you ever visit the country.

  1. Nepal

With 8 of worlds highest ten mountains, Nepal is a paradise for trekkers and people who love extreme sports. As the majority of the people in Nepal are Hindu or Buddhists, vegetarianism is widely adopted all over Nepal. You will often find at least one vegetarian dish in Nepalese menu. Indian veg-dishes are also available all over Nepal. Happycow lists 56 veg-friendly restaurants in Nepal but you will find thousand more if you visit the country. Dont miss Nepali Veg thali (Dal, Bhat and Tarkari), Veg Momos (Dumplings) and Ju Ju Dhau (Yoghurt made in Bhaktapur) in Nepal.

Assamese_thali

Typical Nepali Thali (Dal, Bhat and Tarkari)

  1. Taiwan

With 13% people following vegetarian diet, Taiwan is often considered a heaven for vegan travels. There are more than 6,000 places serving vegetarian dishes in Taiwan. Taiwan has the best vegetarian labelling laws in the world. Dont miss shuǐ jio (Dumplings), glǐ (Japanese style curry) and tiey ban fàn (Steel-Cooked rice) if you are vegan visiting Taiwan. Happycow has a list of 436 veg-friendly restaurants in Taiwan.

Shuǐ Jiǎo (Dumplings) popular in Taiwan

Shuǐ Jiǎo (Dumplings) popular in Taiwan

  1. Vietnam

Vietnam has risen as one of the most affordable travel destination for people who love landscapes, beaches and rich culture. Buddhism is practiced by majority of the population due to which you can find vegeterian food almost everywhere. Its better to say I only eat Buddhist foods as a way to explain being vegan as word vegan or vegetarian can often confuse people. The country has dedicated Buddhist restaurants in major cities. Dont miss out pho and spring rolls. Happycow has a list of 405 veg-friendly restaurants in Vietnam.

  1. Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka can be great travel destination if you love beaches, mountains, wildlife and Buddhist Tradition. Vegetable curries are sold everywhere in Sri Lanka as most people are Buddhists who dont eat meat. Sri Lanka ranks as one of the least meat consuming countries in the world. You would find plenty of dishes with rice and coconut being the key ingredients. Dont miss out wonderful Lankan dishes like Kottu, Happer and Kevum. Happycow lists 39 veg-friendly restaurants in Sri Lanka but you will find plenty more there.

Hoppers(appa) made from coconut milk and rice

Hoppers(appa) made from coconut milk and rice

  1. South Korea

South Korea is often considered as a paradise for meat lovers. But you will find plenty of options for vegetarians as well. The best option is to go for a vegetarian restaurant like Loving Hut which has vegan chains all over the country. Vegeterian dishes are also common in South Korean menu but its best to double check if there’s meat in any of the specified menu. Happy has listed 102 veg-friendly restaurants in South Korea. Don’t miss out wonderful South Korean dishes like Kimchi – fermented Korean side dish made of vegetables, Bibimbap (mixed rice) and Somandu (dumplings) made solely from vegetables.

  1. Singapore:

Singapore has been considered as one of the best city attractions in Asia by many travelers. It is often associated with the words safe, clean, green and efficient. Traveling in Singapore as a vegetarian is not a problem. Almost every food court or stall will have an Indian stall with more than one vegetarian option. Apart from Indian, you can also find Japanese, Malay and Mediterranean vegetarian dishes. Happy Cow has listed 362 vegetarian-friendly restaurants in the country.

Indian Rojtak, a popular dish

Indian Rojtak, a popular dish

  1. Jordan

Situated in Middle east, Jordan is often considered as a safe heaven in the middle of conflict. Meals in Jordan start with Mezze — an array of appetizers followed by a main course. As most of the main course are meat-based, mezze dishes like Taboon(bread), Tabbouleh (salads), hummus (Dips), falafel and gourmet can make an excellent meal for vegetarians.

Tabbouleh (salads)

Tabbouleh (salads)

Source: Travel Helpr

Nepal hopes for more Indian tourists for rapid recovery

Only a third of a total 30,000 seats a week under an air service agreement with India is available due to the limited number of flights between Nepal and India. Tourism entrepreneurs say that gap needs to be cut airlines to help Nepal’s tourism sector recover after the earthquake of April.

Ujjwala Dali, the officiating director of the marketing and promotion department of Nepal Tourism Board (NTB), says Nepal needs to bring more Indian tourists not only to fill the remaining seats but also for the tourism industry to recover faster. In an effort to get back on their feet, four months after the devastating earthquake Nepal’s tourism entrepreneurs have travelled all the way to Bangalore and are organizing promotional events there to promote Nepal as a tourist destination and attract Indian tourists.

NTB organized promotional events at the Bangalore Press Club hoping the media there will help relay a message to the people there to visit Nepal.

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Speaking at the event, Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Nepal Chapter Chairman Suman Pandey said that recognized tour operators and renowned international organizations who had visited Nepal after the earthquake as well as positive advisories from different countries had declared Nepal a safe place to visit. Tourism was open in the country, he said.

Nepal has also launched the NEPAL: BACK ON TOP OF THE WORLD campaign to broadcast that tourism services had resumed and to help bring in foreign tourists.

At an event here in Bangalore, NTB also made public a logo and a slogan ‘NEPAL: BACK ON TOP OF THE WORLD’ to convey the message that Nepal was open for business and ready to welcome tourists.

“The logo and slogan are a part of our recovery campaign and will go on for six months. We request all of you to visit Nepal and be a part of the campaign and help Nepal rebuild,” NTB’s Dali said.

To bring in more Indian tourists to Nepal, Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) launched direct flights to Bangalore on September 1, and to Mumbai on Friday after a decade’s hiatus.

“We have announced a special ‘buy two tickets get one free’ offer on round-trip tickets on Kathmandu-Bangalore flights targeting Indian tourists,” Ram Hari Sharma, the corporate director of NAC, said.

Govinda Bahadur Karki, the director general of the Department of Tourism, says that as many as 61 districts out of the total of 75 are unaffected or least-affected by the quake and were ready to welcome tourists while the 14 quake-hit districts are also getting back on their feet and rebuilding.

“After the quake, Nepal had immediately formed the Nepal Tourism Promotion Committee (NTPC) for to work on the recovery of the tourism industry. We have also formed the Nepal Reconstruction Authority (NRA) as a high-powered authority to execute recovery and reconstruction programs,” Karki said.

Pandey says Nepal is expecting to bring in visitor levels to at least 60 to 70 percent of previous times this autumn and hopes to hit the previous levels in the spring of 2016. The country received around 800,000 tourists in 2014.

NAC TO FLY TO Kolkata, SRI LANKA

NAC says it will start flights to Kolkata and Sri Lanka in the near future. Saroj Kasaju, the commercial director of NAC, says the flag carrier is working to begin flights to Kolkata directly and plan to fly to Sri Lanka via Bangalore.

NAC says it may take at least three to four months to starts flights to Sri Lanka, which would be a new destination for NAC.

“Sri Lanka as a new destination and will help augment the flag carrier’s presence,” Sharma, the NAC corporate director, said.

NepalNOW.org WEBSITE IN OPERATION

NTB and a group of tourism entrepreneurs, with support of CBI — a Netherlands-based organization — have launched a public campaign for visiting Nepal through the NepalNOW.org website. The site provides current status information about Nepal.

The NepalNOW movement has received much appreciation from tourism entrepreneurs around the globe and has already created a buzz in the social media, people from the tourism sector say.

NAC resumes flights to Mumbai

Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) began scheduled flights to Mumbai on Friday.

According to a NAC statement, its Airbus 320 made fly to Mumbai from Kathmandu on Friday, carrying 52 passengers on board. The flag carrier will fly twice a week to Mumbai — on Mondays and Fridays, according to the statement. NAC has set the one-way fare for Kathmandu-Mumbai flights at Rs 11,109, while two-way fare for the service has been fixed at Rs 22,049.Meanwhile, NAC has also announced to an offer of a free ticket with the purchase of every two two-way tickets on its Kathmandu-Mumbai flights.NAC started flying to Mumbai after a gap of 11 years. The aim of the resumption of flights to the film city is to attract religious tourists, industrialists and tourists.

Source: myrepublica

Naturally Nepal needs tourists now more than ever, says Peter Athans

Naturally Nepal needs tourists now more than ever, says Peter Athans

In the wake of the devastating April 25 earthquake and its subsequent aftershocks, one of the world’s foremost high-altitude mountaineers Saturday appealed to foreign visitors to come to Nepal as the country was in need of tourists now more than ever to revive its vital tourism sector.

Peter Athens

Talking to this daily, Peter Athans, who summited Mt Everest seven times, noted that it was an opportunity for global tourism to help Nepal in time of need as the country was always very welcoming to visitors and travellers.

Peter, who is also embarking on a three-week trip to Mustang with his team to explore ancient cave dwellings as well as to summit a few mountains in the region, said there were numerous things to explore in Nepal beyond the world’s highest peak.

“Tourism sector in Nepalis really hurting now after the earthquakes and visiting tourists can only heal it,” he said, mentioning that it was also high time tourists gave back to the places they visited.

The motivational speaker is also highly concerned about ongoing recovery efforts. He says they should focus more on community-based approach. “From a high-altitude worker to a tea house owner along the hiking trail, recovery and rebuilding efforts must mean something to them,” he said, terming the country a tourist-friendly host with a big heart and an even bigger resilience.

Saying that the resilient communities were still struggling hard to rebuild their lives after the tragic disaster, the country’s tourism goodwill ambassador also requested world media to highlight the ongoing rebuilding process as well as the country’s flora and fauna that remains untouched by the earthquakes to their global audiences.

“It’s not the time to repeatedly draw global attention only to the rubble and debris as three months have already passed after the quake shook the nation,” he said, referring to the findings of recent assessment that substantiate the fact that the country is a safe destination for visitors with its famed nature and culture. According to him, the disaster has also brought all stakeholders together in efforts to build back a better country.

Peter arrived in Nepal for the first time in 1981. He said he has been visiting the Himalayan nation every year and has also led numerous expeditions to the mountains. Being a strong proponent of Sherpa culture, Peter has documented Sherpa talents at high altitude in books and films as his name has been synonymous with the exploration of Mt Everest. “Nepal has now become my first home and not the second one.”

Peter, who has also been awarded the American Alpine Club’s David J Sowles Award (with Todd Burleson) for unparalleled bravery and selflessness during the May 1996 Everest disaster, also launched Magic Yeti Library project to support children’s education.

The Bainbridge Island-based mountaineer is also associated with Himalayan Cataract Project that brings eye care to cataract patients in Nepal and has recently authored abook, Tales from the Top of the World: Climbing Mount Everest with Pete Athans. The highaltitude film-maker has earned credits on films for NOVA, National Geographic Society and also the feature film, ‘Seven Years in Tibet’.

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Source: The Himalayan Times

Tamang Heritage Trail opens for trekkers

Hotel Entrepreneurs Committee of Thuman, along the Tamang Heritage Trail in Lagtang Region on Thursday declared that most of the sections of trail are safe and ready to welcome visitors.

Tamang-Heritage-Trekking

Speaking at a program organized in Kathmandu, the entrepreneurs said hotels and lodges in Syafru, Gatlang, Tatopani, Nagthali, Thuman, Timure and Briddhim are safe and open for business. “There is no problem in the heritage trail,” Tshering Lama, a local hotelier, said.

“As 90 percent of homes and hotels in the Langtang region have been damaged by the earthquake, it is difficult for people to believe that Tamang Heritage Trial is still safe,” Lama said, adding, “As the trail as well as most of the hotels and lodges is intact, concerned authorities should help us to promote the trail.”

According to local hoteliers, most of the hotels and lodges along the heritage trail are made of wood and hence are completely safe.

Ramesh Kumar Adhikari, administrative chief of NTB, said the notion that the Langtang Region is completely devastated is wrong and hence has to be corrected. “Local entrepreneurs are ready to welcome tourists in the region and tourists have started getting Trekking Information Management System (TIMS) card for visiting the region,” Adhikari said.

Local hoteliers suggested trekking operators to devise attractive packages to woo more trekkers. “As the tourist season is coming, we must work out some packages or offer discounts for at least this autumn to attract more tourists,” he added.

Local hoteliers say they can accommodate 200 trekkers per day. They have also asked concerned authorities to allocate some budget for rehabilitation of some damaged sections of the trail. “We have submitted our proposal to the Department of Tourism. We are hopeful that we will get necessary support and cooperation from the government,” added Lama.

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Source: Republica

Nepal Tourism Is Back On

Nepal Tourism Is Back On

Despite concerns about safety and infrastructure following the earthquakes earlier this year, Nepal has gotten the all-clear for tourism, including on Mt. Everest.

Nepal-Kathmandu-Valley-cr-getty

Following devastating earthquakes this spring, Nepal has officially been cleared to welcome tourists again, just in time for peak hiking season. Miyamoto, a structural engineering firm, oversaw a survey of Nepal’s infrastructure that was paid for by the British government. They determined that the country—as well as Annapurna, Mt. Everest, and other places favored by international tourists—is safe to visit. While the Nepalese government, which counts on tourism money to help boost its economy, is happy about the news, not everyone feels the same way.

“Travel insurance is the major problem for us right now,” Shiva Dhakal, the owner of the Royal Mountain Travel tour company, told The Guardian. “Travelers from the U.K. are scared.” The survey’s methods also drew concern, as it was pulled together in a short amount of time, leading some critics to argue that it wasn’t entirely thorough.

But not everyone is put off. Tauck, a U.S.-based tour operator, has announced that its previously scheduled Nepal visits this fall will go on as scheduled. The 17-day itinerary is primarily across India but includes three days in Kathmandu. Tauck corporate communications manager Tom Armstrong told Condé Nast Traveler that he felt confident sending travelers back to Nepal after his own partners there had okayed the venues they would be visiting, including the famed Dwarika’s Hotel.”We’ve been in consultation with all of our partners in Nepal since the earthquake,” he said. “We sent one of our employees, who has been to Nepal many times, in [early] July to go visit all the places our guests visit on our tour. He inspected them and found that, much to his surprise, it was better than anticipated. Based on the media coverage, there were a lot of areas that were better than he expected them to be.”

Nepal Reopens Earthquake-Damaged UNESCO Sites

The Tauck itinerary in Kathmandu includes a flight seeing trip through the Himalayas, a Q&A with a Sherpa, and a visit to the historic village of Bhaktapur. It doesn’t involve any mountain climbing, one of Nepal’s riskiest outings. The only change to the itinerary, Armstrong reports, was a planned visit to Durbar Square, one of the UNESCO sites in Kathmandu that was seriously damaged during the quakes. It has been replaced with a visit to a similar monument in less-precarious condition. “It’s definitely not intended to be an adventure itinerary,” Armstrong added. “The Nepal component is much more about history and culture. Typically, this [tour] appeals to a seasoned traveler who is culturally curious, who has traveled extensively.” He believes that people who want to help Nepal’s recovery efforts should do so by going there and spending money, as tourism is such a key part of the country’s economy.

A second Miyamoto report, this one funded by the World Bank, is due this week. It’s also expected to say that Nepal is ready to welcome back tourists.

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Source: www.cntraveler.com