Traveling to Nepal: The land of artistic beauty

NepalLet the rain kiss you, let the sun touch you with it’s warmth, let the air take all of your pain and sorrows away, let the mud and the dust put a new life into you. Wondering is that even possible? Everyone has a thing for nature. Everybody loves nature. You won’t find someone saying “Nature, ehh I hate it”. Nature has to offer a lot than anyone has ever expected. So ugly, so out of shape, full of creep but still so full of beauty and love. You must have had a view from a top of a tower or a building, one thing you can notice is the higher you go the clearer you see. And yes that’s how it works with nature as well. The higher you go the clearer and more beauty you’ll be able to see. The cold breeze, the warm sun, the celestial beauty in it’s purest form, untouched of all the pollution and the dust of mankind. Those Luminous stars shining in the parenthood of the moon and the sky clear as the water.
You can find such beauty only and only in Nepal. Besides our bravery, everybody knows how rich Nepal is in it’s natural beauty as well. Describing the natural beauty that lies in Nepal is impossible but this article can provide with a glimpse of what beauty is and means in Nepal. And as per to say Nepal is in the top of the world and I mean it literally. Mount Everest that lies in the Eastern Region of Nepal is the highest peak of the world. Under Mount Everest lies many other Himalayas and small peaks that are as beautiful as the Everest. The radiant beauty of the hills, the carpet like green grass that covers whole of the Terai Region and the White snow that protects the Himalayas. From the land where the light of Asia was born to the top of the world where you can find the light inside of you can be found in Nepal. It is a must visit place for people looking for internal peace and the frisson that is missing in your life. The thrill of joy gives a different kind of experience that you never forget and We promise you will never forger Nepal, not in a million years. We promise to make your visit unforgettable and your stay memorable.

Ryan Waters and Eric Larsen- From Denver to Jabu Rii Summit

jabu ree

Photo CreditCBS local, Denver

In the wake of recent earthquakes in Nepal, majority of tourists around the world are understandably waiting to see how the rebuilding of the Himalayan country goes before deciding either or not to visit Nepal.

However, the earthquakes did not stop two Americans climber to attempt and climb a Nepalese mountain never before climbed. Ryan Waters and Eric Larsen from Boulder, Colorado entered the record books on September 16, 2015 when they became the first ever climbers to summit Mt. Jabu Rii. The 6, 147 m peak was among the highest unclimbed peaks in the world.

After turning their lifelong dream of climbing a Himalayan mountain, Ryan and Eric are back home and spreading their wonderful stories hoping their stories would help this small tourism based economy recover from the recent devastation.

Ryan Waters says CBS Denver that the structure is still in place and Kathmandu is fine before further stressing that Tourism is such a big part of the Nepalese economy. He is sure that if the right opportunity came up, he would love to go back to Nepal.

We are fortunate to have guests like Waters and Larsen who love Nepal and are doing their best to help Nepalese tourism recover from the recent setback. We tip our hats to your marvelous effort and achievement, Ryan Waters and Eric Larsen! You guys are always welcome to our beautiful country.

See their video here as reported by CBS Denver.

Post Earthquake highlights by Miyamoto International

Miyamoto International, a global engineering, construction management and project management company  conducted the assessment between June 27 and July 2 on behalf of the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation. we have yet to get the final report.

“As most of the trails and bridges are safe, we can resume trek from September after monsoon ends,” said Sagar Pandey, general secretary of Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal (TAAN).


HIGLIGHTS

  1. Many villages on the Everest Base Camp trail namely Lukla, Namche,Khumjung, Tengboche, and all villages above Dingboche do not appear to have been affected by landslide hazards.
  2.  Villages like Phakding and Jorsale have significant existing rockfall hazard while Toktok, Bengkar and Shomore have been affected by very serious geotechnical hazards.
  3.  None of the nine suspension bridges assessed by Miyamoto engineers appear to have been affected by new geotechnical hazards.
  4.  Much of the trail and most of the rock retaining walls, both above and below the trails, are undamaged.
  5.  Among 710 buildings approx, 120 buildings was observed for structural damage from which 83 percent building can be given a green tag i.e Safe.
  6.  Damaged buildings can be repaired and building owners have started reconstruction.

Is Nepal Safe to Travel?

Post the 25 April Earthquake and the resulting aftershocks, “Is it safe to travel to Nepal?” is the common question among tourists worldwide. The devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake prompted almost every country has recommended its citizens to exercise caution while travelling to Nepal. While the safety directives issued have their own good reasons, they fail to cast light on many positives for tourists that remain.

The general understanding is that due to the earthquakes, the monsoon season will be vulnerable against floods and landslides. It is true, with the kind of terrain Nepal has, it has always endured landslides and floods during monsoon. The recent earthquakes increase the risk. It is important to note that the risks were always there and are not the byproducts of earthquakes. While the risk factors are always there, after the recent earthquakes they have been exaggerated in many ways.

Let us talk about the positives. The pictures shown by the world media told the story of post earthquake in Nepal. The devastation caused was tragic and the grief was felt worldwide. However, the message it delivered, knowingly or unknowingly, has been that Nepal is totally destroyed. Hidden in the disaster reporting is the fact that the earthquakes affected only eight of the 75 districts in Nepal.

What does it mean for travelers wishing to visit Nepal?

  • Only one of the 10 National Parks is affected.
  • More than 90% of the hotels in Kathmandu are open for service. Other popular cities like Pokhara, Chitwan, and Lumbini and Bardia are not affected at all.
  • Annapurna Region is fully unaffected and Everest Region is open after bearing initial damages.
  • The Durbar Squares and temples in Kathmandu are open for visitors.
  • Only two trekking routes are affected.
  • The International and National airports have no significant damages and are fully functional.
  • There have been no epidemics as a result of earthquakes.

To top it all, most of the hotels and trekking agencies in Nepal are offering incredible deals even for tourist seasons. You will be saving a lot while enjoying the Himalayas.

What can I do to stay safe?

The best way to ensure your safety is to make sure that you talk properly with your travel agents. The local agents based in Nepal are regularly updated about the trekking regions. They also have the first hand information when it comes to the condition of trekking trails post earthquakes.  A few trekkers have already travelled to Nepal after the earthquake. Referring to their experiences will not only help you be sure about your decision to travel to Nepal but also learn from what they have seen. We also recommend avoiding the earthquake hit regions like Gorkha and Langtang for the time being.

Finally the Answer to “Is Nepal safe to travel?”

Trekking and climbing in Nepal belongs to some of the most loved vacation activities among tourists worldwide. The tourism infrastructure of Nepal is not much worse than it was prior to the earthquakes. Good news for many is that the hotels and trekking operators are offering some of the best prices ever offered. Many of them are also working together for a social cause to help those affected by earthquakes. So you are not only travelling, but travelling to make a difference. Thus, yes, Nepal is safe to travel. Come and enjoy the pristine beauty of the Himalayas that remain unshaken by the recent earthquakes in Nepal.

US, UK and NZ lift travel restrictions to Nepal

KATHMANDU, JUL 04 – Three countries—the US, the UK and New Zealand—have lifted restrictions on their citizens travelling to Nepal, except for districts hit hard by the April 25 earthquake and subsequent aftershocks.

More countries are likely to follow suit, Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) officials said.

Almost all countries had issued travel advisory, advising their citizens not to visit Nepal in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake.

The US government had issued the travel advisory against Nepal on May 1, stating not to travel to Nepal unless it is an emergency. However, after two months, the US government on Thursday updated its travel advisory. The notice was issued stating the restrictions have been lifted. Nepal is now safe to travel though there are a few aftershocks yet.

“The Department of State terminated the authorized departure of non-emergency US government personnel and dependents on Thursday. This replaces the travel warning dated May 1,” said the US Department of State on its website. “We encourage travellers to consult carefully with their travel and trekking agencies for current, location-specific information.”

The US is the third largest tourist source market for Nepal. Tourism Ministry statistics show Nepal received 47,355 tourists from the US. The number was 17,518 in 2002.

On Friday, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) of the United Kingdom updated its travel advisory advising against all, but essential travel to the districts—Humla, Mugu, Dolpa, Mustang, Manang, Lamjung, Gorkha (including the Manaslu trekking region), Dhading, Rasuwa (which includes the Langtang Valley trekking region), Nuwakot, Sindhup-alchok, Kavrepalanchok, Dol-akha, Ramechhap, Okhaldhu-nga, Solukhumbu (including Everest base camp and the Everest trekking routes), San- khuwasabha and Taplejung.

It said travel on the main highway from Kathmandu to Pokhara, which passes through Nuwakot, Gorkha and Dhading districts, is exempted from the FCO’s advice against all but essential travel. The UK is the fifth largest source market to Nepal with annual arrivals of 35,668 visitors in 2013.

New Zealand was the first country to review its travel advisory. On June 30, it officially informed the NTB that it has lowered its risk level, which was raised in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake.

However, it has kept some districts on high-risk list. “There is high risk to your safety in the districts of Gorkha, Kavrepalanchok, Dhading, Nuwakot, Rasuwa, Sindupalchok, Dolakha, Ramechhap, Okhaldhunga and Makwanpur. Nepal has designated these districts as earthquake-affected. We advise against all tourists and other non-essential travel to these districts due to earthquake damage, ongoing relief and recovery efforts and the risk of landslides and avalanches,” said New Zealand Embassy in New Delhi.

Nepal received 2,808 tourists from New Zealand in the previous year.

An NTB official said Canada is also reviewing its travel warnings. Japan has not changed its travel advisory. The Netherlands and Switzerland have continued to advise their nationals to exercise caution while visiting Nepal, but the tone of these advisories is significantly milder, the NTB said.

Only one-fourth of the trip bookings made with our agency have been cancelled, Sonia Miyahara, operator of Mountain Travel Japan, said at a recent interaction

in Nepal.

The government, in a bid to revive the tourism industry, has been persuading countries to consider Nepal in regard to travel alerts they have imposed post earthquake. “The softening of the travel warnings is a welcome sign for the Nepal’s tourism industry, which has already been experiencing a downturn,” said Ashok Pokhrel, president of the Nepal Association of Tour Operators (NATO). “It will also ease the travel insurance process for many people planning a vacation in Nepal.”

The government has projected losing 40 percent of tourists this year due to the mass departure of the visitors after the earthquake and cancellation of Nepal’s trip booking for the upcoming seasons that is estimated to be more than 70 percent.

The Post-Disaster Needs Assessment report has pointed out that Nepal will significantly lose high-end tourists, but low-end segment and backpackers will continue their trips to Nepal.

-Sangam Prasain

Source: http://www.ekantipur.com/2015/07/04/business/us-uk-and-nz-lift-travel-restrictions-to-nepal/407404.html

Frustration as tourists stay away from quake-hit Nepal

tourist

POKHARA, Nepal: Boatman Hem Gurung waits listlessly on the deserted banks of Lake Phewa in the shadow of Nepal’s spectacular Annapurna mountain range for tourists that do not come.

“Since the earthquake, Pokhara has been empty,” Gurung complained to AFP in the lakeside resort, which once thronged with tourists attracted by its Himalayan vistas and outdoor adventure activities.

“Without tourists there is no work. I should be making thousands, but at the moment we are lucky to earn a hundred or two (US$1-2) a day,” said the 49-year-old, who has worked as a boatman and tourist guide in Pokhara for 15 years.

Pokhara’s cheery backpacker cafes, hotels and handicraft stores escaped the quake unscathed, as did the popular Annapurna trekking trails that snake upwards from the resort.

Yet tourist arrivals have fallen off a cliff since the Apr 25 disaster, and bookings are 95 per cent down on the same period last year. It is a pattern replicated across the desperately poor Himalayan country, which relies on tourism for around four percent of its gross domestic product and 3.5 per cent of all employment.

“About 90 per cent of tour bookings until September have been cancelled,” said Dal Bahadur Limbu, who runs Kathmandu-based travel agent Fast Travel and Tours.

“Revenue from this season is gone.”

Many popular tourist destinations were devastated by the quake, which together with a strong May 12 aftershock killed nearly 8,800 people and destroyed half a million homes.

The disaster struck at the height of the spring trekking season in Nepal and killed dozens of tourists, stranding many others in remote mountain areas cut off by landslides and accessible only by helicopter.

It triggered a massive avalanche that wiped out the village of Langtang, a stopping-off point on a popular trekking route of the same name, burying it under tonnes of ice and rock.

Another avalanche hit Everest base camp at its busiest time ahead of the spring climbing season, killing 18 people.

But many tourist draws were virtually untouched, including the popular Annapurna trails in the west of the country, the wildlife-rich national parks of the southern plains and Buddha’s birthplace, Lumbini.

‘WE ARE VICTIMS TOO’

“We have to let the world know that we are safe and ready to welcome travellers,” said Ganesh Bahadur Bhattarai, who is coordinating a campaign to bring tourists back to Pokhara for the autumn season.

The tourism entrepreneur is pushing for an international airport in Pokhara, a long-stalled project conceived 40 years ago. “Kathmandu is the only gateway for international tourists, but it was affected by the quake,” he said.

Many Western countries, including the United States, Britain and Canada, are still advising against all non-essential travel to Nepal, citing the risk of aftershocks and further landslides in quake-hit areas.

Most travel insurance policies are invalidated by such advice, a major deterrent to tourism.

Many of Nepal’s tourists come from neighbouring India and China, neither of which have advised against travel.

But arrivals from both countries have fallen dramatically and travel companies in Nepal said Chinese tourists were having trouble getting official permission to travel there.

Eager to lure foreign visitors back, Nepal’s government recently reopened the historic former royal squares of the Kathmandu Valley and declared the area open for tourism.

The government estimates it needs more than US$400 million to rebuild damage to infrastructure.

Tourism ministry spokesman Madan Krishna Sapkota said the effect might last two more years, with losses estimated at US$623 million. But some experts see that as optimistic because it does not take into account the trickle-down effect on local economies.

In Pokhara the handicraft shops and cafes selling traditional Nepali dishes alongside such backpacker favourites as pizza and pancakes stand empty.

Australian construction worker Evan Kosic was among a handful of tourists who had ignored pleas from family and friends to cancel his travel plans.

“It is not nearly as bad as we thought it would be,” said the 33-year-old after returning from a trek in the Annapurnas that only he and his friend showed up for, even though 14 originally signed up. “You probably do more damage by not coming. People don’t know how much they are missing out.”

More than 100 paragliders used to take off daily, colouring Pokhara’s skies, but that is down to around 10 flights. “It wasn’t this bad even during the war years,” said Pokhara taxi driver Govinda Adhikari, referring to the decade-long Maoist insurgency that ended in 2006. “Our houses are fine, but we are earthquake victims too.”

– AFP/rw (http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/frustration-as-tourists/1930514.html)

Mount Everest shifted southwest due to Nepal earthquake

BEIJING (AFP) – The world’s tallest peak, Mount Everest, moved three centimetres to the south-west because of the Nepal earthquake that devastated the country in April, Chinese state media reported on Tuesday.

Mount Everest shifted southwest due to Nepal earthquake

This photograph taken on April 20, 2015, shows a view of Mount Everest (centre, top) towering over the Nupse-Lohtse massif (foreground) from the village of Tembuche in the Khumbu region of northeastern Nepal. Mount Everest, moved three centimetres to the south-west because of the Nepal earthquake that devastated the country in April, Chinese state media reported on Tuesday. — PHOTO: AFP

The 7.8-magnitude quake reversed the gradual north-easterly course of the mountain, according to a report in the state-run China Daily, citing the National Administration of Surveying, Mapping and Geoinformation.

Before the quake, Everest had moved 40 centimetres to the northeast over the past decade at a speed of four centimetres a year, the report said. The mountain also rose three centimetres over the same time period.

– See more at: http://www.straitstimes.com/news/asia/australianew-zealand/story/mount-everest-shifted-southwest-due-nepal-earthquake-20150616?utm_content=buffera1fdf&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer#sthash.qjIXej61.dpuf

Nepal reopens damaged monuments at heritage sites to kickstart tourism after quakes

Bhaktapur reopened
BHAKTAPUR, Nepal (Reuters) – Nepal reopened hundreds of earthquake-damaged monuments at heritage sites on Monday, trying to draw visitors back to the Himalayan nation less than two months after two devastating tremors killed about 8,800 people. At least 743 monuments were damaged by the quakes that struck Nepal on April 25 and May 12, including centuries-old temples, monasteries and palaces listed as world heritage sites by Unesco. After the first of the two earthquakes struck during the peak tourism season, thousands of visitors fled the country, leaving hotels empty and trekking companies without customers. The authorities quickly sealed the damaged monuments amid safety concerns and to protect thousands of intricately carved statues from being stolen from the rubble. The cash-strapped government opted to push ahead with their reopening despite cautionary statements issued by Unesco last week that visitors to the ruins should “reconsider the necessity of visiting those sites” because they were still in a “precarious” state. – See more at: http://www.straitstimes.com/news/asia/south-asia/story/nepal-reopens-damaged-monuments-heritage-sites-kickstart-tourism-after-qu#sthash.uVsGjdNf.dpuf

Patan Durbar Square now open after April 25 disaster

Director of Archaeology (DoA) Mr. Bhesh Narayan Dhala , said they would be opening the gates of Kathmandu Durbar Square, the SwayambhunathTemple and the Patan Durbar Square and Bhaktapur Durbar Square for the public and tourist from June 15. Several damaged area will be fenced off to protect the visitors.

Here are the google sphere view of before and after the earthquake .

Patan Durbar Square Before earth quake

(Drag mouse over the picture to look around)

Patan Durbar Square After Earthquake

Bhaktapur Durbar Square is opened for all after the Earthquake

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picture courtesy NTB

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