Cycle tourism becomes popular in Mustang

Cycle tourism becomes popular in Mustang

MUSTANG: Cycling has become an attractive activity among tourists in Mustang district. It is not only the fuel shortage that has encouraged visitors to take to cycling; the lower part of the district, in particular, offers excellent terrain and stunning scenery for adventure seekers.

Bidur Bikram Kuikel, chief of the Annapurna Conservation Area Project, Jomsom, said the region was becoming an increasingly popular destination for sight-seeing and cycling. As cyclists can stop at any place to take panoramic photos of the Himalayan region, the activity has been drawing an increasing number of tourists in recent days he said.

Mustang-cycle-tour

Michel, a visitor from Poland, said he had been attracted by the snow capped mountains and hair pin bends on the trails in the region. It is fascinating to ride a bicycle in the pleasant environment, said Michel, who was one of the participants of an eight member European team which plans to bicycle all around lower Mustang.

The present time being the main tourist season, the favourable climatic condition has also added to the enjoyment of the bicycle riders.

A bicycle trip around lower Mustang takes three to five days. Many tourists bring their own bicycles while some hire them in Pokhara before visiting the Himalayan region.

Dhruba Bahadur Thapa, an entrepreneur from Pokhara, said he had been renting bicycles to tourists for the last eight years. According to him, he has rented dozens of bicycles this year too. He added that he recently accompanied a group of cyclists travelling on the Jomsom Kagbeni Muktinath Magi route.

Thapa said most visitors who like to travel by bicycle choose the Himalayan region. The scenery and the trails are the main attractions, he added.

Meanwhile, the flourishing bicycle renting business has led to the establishment of more than half a dozen mountain bike adventure services in Pokhara, the gateway to Mustang. According to the entrepreneurs, the Jomsom Muktinath Marpha cycling route in lower Mustang is the most popular route among cyclists.

Pradeep Thakali, an entrepreneur from Thini, said tourists enjoy the snow capped mountains, lakes, traditional villages and wildlife along the cycling routes.

If we can manage the cycling route properly, we can attract a greater number of tourists, he said.

The growing popularity of cycling among tourists has encouraged the authorities in Pokhara to plan to develop it as a bicycle friendly city.

Apart from Mustang, Pokhara rural areas are also highly popular destinations among bicycle riders.

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THE KATHMANDU POST

Is it time to go back to Nepal?

Is it time to go back to Nepal?

On 25 April and 12 May 2015, deadly earthquakes struck central Nepal, causing catastrophic damage to Kathmandu and the surrounding valleys. Harrowing pictures of magnificent temples turned to rubble and concrete hotels collapsed on their foundations were beamed around the world. Five months on from the disaster, Nepal has declared itself open for tourism, but is now the right time to come back to Nepal, and what exactly will you find when you get here?

ADB photo

Image by Asian Development Bank

Assessing the damage
Media images at the time of the earthquakes made it look as though Nepal was completely destroyed, with its astonishing cultural heritage in ruins. The truth makes for less sensational headlines: while 130 historic temples collapsed across the country, only 14 of Nepal’s 75 districts suffered damage, and many of Nepal’s most famous sights escaped completely unscathed.

Even at the height of the disaster, travellers were relaxing in the resort town of Pokhara, unaware of the destruction to towns just 50km away. In Kathmandu, the vast majority of hotels reopened within days of the earthquakes, with just a handful of historic heritage hotels remaining closed for repairs.

This is not the first time Nepal has faced an earthquake of this scale, and as in 1934, Nepalis have stepped in to save what can be saved, and are now rebuilding for the future. How quickly this can happen will depend to a large degree on how quickly tourists return to the country and invest in the local economy.

Here is an overview of how different parts of Nepal are recovering after the disaster.

Kathmandu suffered the full force of the earthquakes, and damage was extensive, but localised to specific parts of the city. Four of the iconic temples in the UNESCO-listed Durbar Square collapsed completely including the multi-tiered Maju Deval Temple, one of Kathmandu’s most famous landmarks but the majority of temples still stand and the square is once again open to sightseers.

The royal palace of Hanuman Dhoka remains closed due to structural damage to the southern courtyards, but work is underway to reopen the museum and palace chambers. Perhaps the most photographed casualty of the earthquake was the Bhimsen Tower, which collapsed completely for the second time in its history (it was also destroyed in the 1934 earthquake). Today, it stands as a ruined plinth, but developers have pledged to rebuild it.

Other major World Heritage Sites such as the magnificent Buddhist stupas at Swayambhunath and Bodhnath were only mildly affected; restoration work has repaired the most obvious damage and the most tangible evidence for the disaster is some lingering scaffolding. The sacred Hindu pilgrimage site of Pashupatinath saw a terrible tide of funeral cremations following the earthquake but the site itself was mostly undamaged.

Patan krishna Mandir

Image by Rene C. Nielsen

Patan, Bhaktapur & the Kathmandu Valley

Despite the loss of some landmark monuments, including the famous Char Narayan and Hari Shankar temples, Patan’s Durbar Square and its stunning Patan Museum are open as normal. The quakes took a heavy toll on the traditional brick buildings of Bhaktapur, but here too, most of the medieval temples are still standing, including Nepal’s tallest, the five-storey Nyatapola Temple.

Elsewhere in the Kathmandu Valley, the damage was patchy. Some places escaped with minor cracks, while towns like Sankhu and Bungamati saw temple after temple crumble to rubble. While the valley is definitely open to travellers, it’s worth checking with locals before heading off from Kathmandu to be clear on which areas are still off-limits due to reconstruction following the disaster.

pokhra-nepal

Image by Mike Behnken

Across the country

Looking beyond the Kathmandu Valley, the historic towns of Nuwakot and Gorkha and their fortress-palaces were particularly badly affected due to their proximity to the epicenters of the two tremors, and the quakes caused extensive damage to the road to the Tibetan border and the Langtang Valley. However, away from the center of the country, there are few signs that the earthquake ever happened.

The east and west of the country were not seriously affected by the disaster, and most damage is restricted to trekking routes in remote areas. The tourist and trekking hub of Pokhara was effectively untouched and the trekking routes around it have been surveyed and declared safe. Despite damage to some villages along the trails, trekking in the Everest region has also been declared safe.

In the lowlands, the towns and national parks of the Terai were almost entirely unaffected. Wildlife safaris in Chitwan National Park and Bardia National Park continue as normal and the number of tigers in Nepal is actually on the rise, bucking the regional trend. The birthplace of the Buddha at Lumbini – an increasingly popular stop on the overland route between India and Nepal – also escaped unharmed.

lukla-airport

Image by Chris Marquardt

Travelling to Nepal after the earthquake

The key thing to note is that infrastructure for tourists was remarkably unaffected by the disaster. Airports are operating as normal and almost all of Kathmandu’s tourist hotels and restaurants remain open, or will reopen for the winter tourist season, though business is currently slim. Kathmandu’s traveller district of Thamel is much as it was before the disaster, and transportation around the city, the Kathmandu Valley and the country continues as normal.

The main roads across Nepal are open to traffic (or as open as they ever were!), and the Arniko Hwy/Friendship Hwy to Tibet and Everest’s North Base Camp (in Tibet) is due to reopen for the 2015 winter season. However, roads are still cut off in some rural areas, where earthquake damage has been worsened by monsoon landslides. This situation is likely to persist for some time, so it pays to confirm that roads are clear and that accommodation will be available before leaving Kathmandu.

local

Image by Wonderlane

So should I go ?
In August, the US and UK lifted their country-wide travel advisories against travel to Nepal, meaning that travellers and companies can once again get travel insurance for upcoming trips. Most western travel companies plan to run trekking trips as normal for the 2015/16 winter and spring seasons and some companies are even offering special reconstruction treks, though it’s now more important than ever to do some research and partner with a reliable NGO that has long-established links with the country.

Of course, Nepal still has its problems – including a fuel shortage caused by a political stand-off with India over the new Nepali constitution – but these kinds of issues are part of the landscape when travelling in the subcontinent. Despite these problems, in many ways now is a great time to visit Nepal.

The infrastructure that travellers need is in place, but tourism is down by over 50%, which means fewer crowds on the popular trekking routes and discounts for hotels and airfares. More importantly, the money you spend when hiring a guide or porter, staying in a lodge or hotel, or eating in a restaurant will directly help local people. Given that 500,000 Nepalis work directly in tourism, the country needs travellers more than ever to rebuild its economy and bounce back stronger for the future.

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Source: www.lonelyplanet.com

Nepal Safe Destination for Travel

A recurring question, perhaps fueled by poor journalism or by out-of-date advice from Governments,  is ‘Is it safe to travel in Nepal ?

The short answer is yes, it is very safe in fact. Nepal feels more safe than most other countries around the globe, possibly due to the the religious nature of the people and their natural kindness. When Nepal shook under the impact of a 7.8 magnitude earthquake on April 25 followed up by a scourge of a series of powerful aftershocks, the country’s tourism industry was struck with a jolt of an equal magnitude.

Chitwan National Park

“We have found more than 90 percent of hotels that we monitored safe to accommodate tourists,” Kosh Nath Adhikari, senior divisional engineer of DoT, said. “Of the eight five-star hotels in Kathmandu, six have received green stickers while New Baneshwar-based The Everest Hotel has received red sticker. We are yet to assess the buildings of Hotel Yak & Yeti. “The five-star hotels, which have been declared fit to accommodate guests, are Radisson Hotel Kathmandu, Hotel Shangri La, The Malla Hotel, Hotel Annapurna, Hyatt Regency Kathmandu and Soaltee Crowne Plaza.We must be able to tell them that yes we have suffered collapsed structures, but still we have many places where you can visit,” Baral said. Pointing out that Lumbini and Pokhara remained intact,

Baral emphasized the only two trekking routes in Manaslu and Langtang areas suffered the impact of natural calamity, but many other trek routes are safe. “It has been hard,” said Sujan Sijapati, operations manager for Intrepid Travel in Nepal. “The earthquake meant that the season finished early and we’ve already written off the coming month to focus on rebuilding for the coming season.”

Tourism is critical to Nepal’s economy. The World Travel and Tourism Council reports that the industry contributed 8.9% to Nepal’s gross domestic product in 2014, supporting 1.1 million jobs. Before the earthquake, Nepal was the 26th fastest-growing tourism economy out of 188 countries. Most importantly, in the long term, it is essential that people travel to Nepal again in the future and contribute to its recovery by spending generously.

I recently spoke to .Dipendra Adhikari Tourism Entrepreneur and he said this season has ended early .He added we shouldn’t loose hope and we should be prepared for the Autumn season. For decades, tourism has been one of the pillar industries of Nepal and the main source of its foreign exchange reserve. No Doubt ,After things return to normal, Nepal should make more efforts to attract more tourists, who have become one of the largest groups of globetrotters and spenders in recent years.

After All Tourism is for All and It is a most promoting Industry ,we should not let this industry with a way ,Always need the unified vision and Action to establish this industry forever.

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Source: www.ajeybharat.com

Left intact in quake, Namche Bazaar awaits tourists

Left intact in quake, Namche Bazaar awaits tourists

Namche Bazaar, also known as the gateway of Mt Everest, that stood intact in the recent earthquake is now awaiting tourists.

Thousands of domestic and foreign tourists en route to the world’s highest mountain visit Namche Bazaar of Solukhumbu district every year to enjoy the scenic beauty of the place. However, rumors about devastation by quake have adversely affected tourism in the area.
Namche-bazaar
Angchhiring Sherpa, an hotelier, said, “Nothing except a few residential houses has been damaged here.” Fear among tourists is natural, especially after the strong aftershocks that followed the devastating April 25 earthquake. But Namche Bazaar, which stood intact in the quake, is without tourists these days. “Namche is still safe for tourists to visit,” Sherpa said.

Both the earthquakes of April 25 and May 12 have inflicted minor damage to Namche Bazaar area. Only around 250 private houses in the rural areas of Namche have been destroyed, while 150 residential houses have been damaged.

The news about complete destruction of Namche Bazaar is not true, according Angphinjo Sherpa, a civil society leader. “All the tourism entrepreneurs waiting to welcome tourists,” he said.

Namche is one of the most attractive tourist destinations in the world. It has 53 hotels and lodges. However, only two people lost their lives at the Everest Base Camp due to an avalanche triggered by the earthquake.

Bikram Thapa, a local radio journalist, of district headquarters, Salleri, has recently reached Namche Bazaar for reporting after four hours of trekking. “I found Namche stood unaffected,” he told Republica. “I found half of a dozen hotels and lodges have developed cracks due to the earthquake.”

However, most of those tourists who were in the Namche area at the time of the earthquake have already flown back to their countries.

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Source: myrepublica

Pokhara hotels unaffected by quake

Pokhara hotels unaffected by quake
Landmark-pokhara-hotel

Hotel Landmark Pokhara

Hotels and restaurants of Pokhara have not suffered any damage due to the earthquake of April 25.

Tourism entrepreneurs of the lake city say all hotels, ranging from five-star to tourist standard, are safe. Bharat Raj Parajuli, president of Paschimanchal Hotel Association Pokhara (PHAP), said the association has not received report of physical damage suffered by hotels in Pokhara so far. “Though the lakeside area wars a deserted look as there are not tourists, our hotels and restaurants are safe,” he added.There are around 400 hotels in the lakeside area. Among them, 300 hotels are affiliated with PHAP.

Following the earthquake, PHAP had asked its member hotels to submit report of physical damages caused by the earthquake. It has also directed its members to make assessment of the hotel structures from engineers.

“All our member hotels have already made physical assessment of their structures. None of the hotels have reported any damage. So we have concluded that all hotels here are safe,” he added.

Engineer Rijan Poudel, who made assessment of more than a dozen hotels, said he found no problem in structures of the hotels that he assessed. “I can say that these hotels are perfectly safe,” he added. “Even tall buildings are safe to stay.”

Hotel Landmark Pokhara

Hotel Landmark Pokhara

Sharada Mohan Kafle, an engineer with Pokhara Sub-Metropolitan Office, also said they have found no problem in hotel buildings. “Some big hotels have submitted applications to us, seeking our help for technical assessment of their buildings. Our engineers have not found any problem in buildings that they have assessed so far,” he added.

Tourism entrepreneurs say tourists will not have to worry about hotel buildings. “All the hotels in Pokhara are safe. Thus we have invited tourists to come here and stay without any tension,” Ganesh Bahadur Bhattarai, coordinator of Pokhara Tourism Recovery Committee, said.

source: Republica

First IMAX filmmaker at Everest base camp

First IMAX filmmaker at Everest base camp

An accomplished filmmaker yesterday reached Mt Everest Base Camp to support icefall doctors in preparing the safest route to the world’s highest mountain.

everest_base_camp

According to Ang Dorjee Sherpa, Chairman, Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee, American explorer David Breashears, arrived in Nepal on Friday.

SPCC has been assigned by the government to fix ladders and ropes in the treacherous icefall and manage the garbage deposited by climbers.

David Breashears

David Breashears

His research-based analysis of the mountain’s topography, weather patterns and impact of climate change will help construct a safe route.
Breashears, who has received four Emmy awards for achievement in cinematography, has also been providing icefall doctors technical support, he added.Breashears will also utilise the high-definition images of the icefall route, including a few images he captured last year when the deadliest avalanche struck the climbing route near Camp I, killing 16 mountaineering support staff and guides, said Sherpa, adding that his expertise would help fix the new route.

According to Ang Kami Sherpa, who leads a team of eight icefall doctors, heavy but unusual snowfall has been affecting their work. The team has planned to complete a route that passes from the middle of the icefall section in the next 10 to 12 days, he added. “Two-third section of the route has been constructed, but Breashears’ facilitation will be important to complete the remaining part of the treacherous route,” he added.

Breashears, who has scaled Everest five times, had transmitted the first live television pictures from the top of Mt Everest in 1983. He also became the first American to scale Mt Everest twice in 1985.

Breashears also co-directed and co-produced the first IMAX film shot on Mount Everest in 1996. Breashears’ best-selling memoir, High Exposure: An Enduring Passion for Everest and Unforgiving Places (Simon and Schuster), documents his life as a mountaineer and filmmaker.

Spring climbing season is on

  • Department of Tourism says more than 40 foreign teams likely to apply for permit to scale Everest
  • A 30-member Indian army team, a team of 15 British Gurkhas and Arunachalee Everester Anshu Jamsenpa, the only mother who scaled Everest twice in ten days in 2011, will also attempt to scale the world’s highest mountain this season
  • National Geographic adventurer Matt Moniz, 17, and Willie Benegas aim to summit Everest and attempt to ski the Lhotse Coulair, which has never been fully skied
  • Spanish mountaineer Kilian Jornet is attempting to set a speed record on Everest without using supplemental oxygen, while Kenton Cool, Rupert Jones-Warner and Ralf Dujmovits will attempt to create new records on Everest

Source: thehimalayantimes