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The Effects of COVID-19 on Nepal’s Tourism Industry! What does the future hold?

Despite sharing borders with China and India, two with the highest cases of COVID-19 deaths, Nepal experienced the least dreadful pandemic. With less than 16,000 confirmed cases and over 6,000 people already recovered, the country is making a strong comeback. The economy of the country, which stalled for three long months, has finally resumed.

COVID-19 Cases in Nepal

COVID-19 or Coronavirus Disease 2019 began at a wet market in Wuhan, China, in late 2019. Within a month, the virus spread across the border to other countries. Nepal saw the first case of the novel coronavirus in January 2020, when a 31-year-old Nepali student returned from China. The Government of Nepal declared a nationwide lockdown on 24 March 2020. It eventually ended on 14 June 2020. However, many restrictions are still in place regarding the movement of people. Nepal recorded the total confirmed cases of COVID-19 in 14,000 people until the end of June 2020.

According to CovidNepal.org, over 255,500 people got tested, where over 15,500 people confirmed COVID-19 positive. Over 6,500 people have recovered, while 35 others have died because of the infection. Compared to the global COVID stat, Nepal is one of the countries with the least number of infected people. 

The health officials in Nepal rely on Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDT) and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) methods to test active Coronavirus cases. Many quarantine centers and health-centers got set up throughout the country to facilitate easy management of the pandemic. 

State of Lockdown

Upon the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic around the world, the Nepal Government decided to implement a staunch lockdown throughout the country on 24 March 2020. The international border closed down to stop any movement of people going in and out from Nepal. However, the import of essential goods, including medical kits, entered through the border.

After three months of strict lockdown, the government decided to allow businesses, private vehicles (on the odd/even basis), and open shops. According to the Ministry of Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation, the tourism sector has faced a US $300 million loss during the lockdown.

Closure of International Border

International borders along with the southern Terai belts and Himalayan frontiers closed down following the lockdown announcement on 24 March 2020. The closure of international borders is still in effect until the next move of the Nepalese government. The northern border sharing with Tibet Autonomous Region of China remained opened only to allow the entry of essential goods, medical kit, and equipment. Following the proper measure from India and Nepal, the international border will open once the pandemic is completely over.

International and Domestic Flights

Both the international and domestic flights were grounded following the nationwide lockdown on 24 March 2020. The government decided to cancel international flights to prevent any chances of infected people flying into the country.

Over 5,000 international tourists were still stranded inside the country. Most of them flew out to their home country by organizing a chartered plane. Few tourists decided to stay in Nepal despite the lockdown because they felt it is safer here than their home country.

Tourist Activity in Nepal

Before the lockdown came into effect in late March, many tourists were already traveling to different parts of the country. Many tourists were inside the capital, while others were still trekking in the popular trek trails when the lockdown began. While few chose to stay in Nepal, others flew back to their country in a chartered flight. Since the lockdown, tourism activity has come to zero.

Every travel and tour agency closed down their office and had their employees on indefinite leave. Hotels decided to shut their doors in fear of the pandemic. The pandemic halted every tourist activity inside the country. Thamel, the popular tourist hub, closed down for over three months, only to open after the government decided to lift the ban on restaurants and diners. While international tourists’ inflow is zero, domestic tourists are also staying put because of the ban on traveling outside their district. The tourism industry, along with the government, is deciding to open the country for tourism in a safe manner when the pandemic dies down around the world. 

Stranded Tourists in Nepal; many left while few chose to stay in the country  

Over 5,000 international tourists were traveling in different parts of the country when the lockdown came into effect. Many tourists were here to enjoy the popular outdoor activity, trekking. When the pandemic hit hard, and the lockdown came in effect, many tourists enjoyed trekking in the popular trek trails of Annapurna Base Camp, Langtang National Park, and Everest Base Camp. Those who decided to leave the country were immediately sent transportation to get back to Kathmandu to catch their final flight back home. Those who couldn’t make it stayed in Nepal for a while until their respective embassies organized chartered flights.

Many tourists decided to stay in Nepal as flying back to their country, such as the USA, Italy, and other hard-hit countries were riskier. Since then, many tourists have been enjoying their stay in different parts of the country while experiencing a remote culture, cuisine, and lifestyle. They decided to head back home once the international flight resumes. Like many locals, those tourists are hopeful that the pandemic will soon die down, and the international flights will resume with proper precautions in place. Until then, the government and local authorities are doing everything to keep the tourists safe and happy. Local homestays and restaurants are charging less or none for their indefinite stay.

The nation is hopeful that the pandemic will die down by the end of 2020, and the tourism activity will resume with grandeur in spring 2021.

Dream Now, Visit Later!

Nepal will soon open for both Domestic and International Tourists.

An article in Nepali Times dated 20 April reported that,

“2020 is not our year. It isn’t anyone’s year […] There are at least 1 million Nepalis that depend on tourism, and the sector makes up nearly 8% of the GDP. The hardest hits are porters and guides who depend on seasonal income during the spring and autumn seasons.”

The lack of tourism activity in the country has already incurred a loss of $300 million. Hence, the government and private tourism agencies are preparing to realign their marketing to bring in tourists once the pandemic is over immediately.

Many trekking agencies are in high hope that international tourists will come back to Nepal immediately after the international flights are operational. They believe that once the pandemic dies, people will be willing to travel to Nepal, the country that saw the least amount of infection or death from the pandemic.

The country is preparing to organize tourist activities while ensuring safety precautions such as social distancing in flights and tourist buses, separate sittings in the restaurants and diners, take-away options at almost every eatery, and other safe travel practices. This ensures that the country will be safe to travel despite the fact that the infection is bleakly present in different parts of the world. Like many European countries, Nepal has decided to open its borders to the tourists once the looming fear of the pandemic is over. Every travel agency, hotel, and restaurant is willing to bring safety and hygiene to ensure that visiting tourists are safe inside the country.

The Future of Tourism in Nepal

Although Nepal planned to bring over 2 million tourists in the year 2020 throughout the ambitious tourism campaign “Visit Nepal 2020,” the COVID-19 pandemic put a halt on the campaign. Eyeing 2021 as a potential tourism year, Nepal has decided to refurbish its existing infrastructure to facilitate a safe travel experience. Keeping the safety and precaution of tourists in mind, the tourism industry, in general, will practice social distancing, sanitation, and other safety practices.

The last three months saw a decline in the movement of motor vehicles, airplanes, and an immediate halt in factory productions. This has helped to clear the environment. Tourists visiting Nepal once the pandemic is over will experience a cleaner country. The mountainous destinations will offer a better view of the snow-clad mountains, pristine forested hills, and crystal clear rivers. The hotels, restaurants, resorts, and modes of transportation will follow safety guidelines to ensure a safe travel experience.


To ensure social distancing while traveling, the bookings for private tours and trekking will surge among tourists. Those planning to travel in a group will likely come either by themselves or in a smaller group. Overall, the inflow of tourists in the country will help to regenerate local employment opportunities. Many tourist destinations, hotels, modes of transportation, and skilled workers like guides and porters will find a reliable source of income.

Nepal and the tourism industry are hopeful that the travel scene throughout the world will resume once the pandemic dies down or when its effects are negligible.

Coronavirus and Situation in Nepal

Coronaviruses are known to cause deadly diseases in mammals and birds. Some outbreaks caused in the past due to coronaviruses are MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) and SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome). The novel Coronavirus or the Wuhan coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a new strain of Coronavirus that has not previously been detected in humans. The disease associated with the virus has been named COVID-19.

The outbreak started in Wuhan, China, and, like other coronaviruses, was transmitted from animals to humans. This has caused notable panic among the people as this is a relatively new disease. The source of the outbreak has not been confirmed. Snakes and bats are some common speculations.

Coronavirus Symptoms

Coronaviruses can have a variety of different symptoms in different beings. They range from bad diarrhea to a deadly cold. The novel Coronavirus has been reported to cause coughing, fever, and respiratory difficulties. This can put the patient at risk of pneumonia.

The symptoms seem to start with a fever and tiredness and can lead to shortness of breath after about a week. In severe cases, there is a possibility of organ failure. The recovery depends on the strength of the individual immune system. The people who have died due to this virus had immune systems that were already weak to start with. Because the disease can also be transmitted from humans to humans, anyone who has traveled to mainland China and has been experiencing these symptoms is advised to stay indoors and reach out for health services.

The incubation period has been informed to be up to 14 days by the World Health Organization (WHO). However, researchers have estimated a length of 24 days.

Coronavirus Update

The number of confirmed cases exceeds 78000. As of February 20, 2020, over 2000 deaths have been recorded due to COVID-19, with eight deaths outside of mainland China. The virus has also spread to 28 countries, including Japan, France, Taiwan, Iran, the UK, the Philippines, and many more. With the number of confirmed cases increasing every day and people traveling all around the globe, it can get tricky to control the situation. This is considering the fact that people with the novel coronavirus carry the same load of the virus whether or not they are currently showing the symptoms.

Many countries are attempting to check the situation by conducting temperature checks at airports. With a fatality rate of 2.3%, the disease is fatal than influenza, but less than SARS and MERS. For a disease as new as COVID-19, the initial fatality rate cannot truly determine the danger of disease. There also is no vaccine against the disease yet.

Coronavirus and Nepal

Being a neighboring country of China, where the outbreak started, puts Nepal in a vulnerable position. Nepal sees a massive inflow of Chinese tourists every year and even has citizens residing in China for job opportunities or education purposes. These people could travel and transmit the disease. While there are screenings at airports, the long incubation period hinders their effectiveness. This has raised concerns among, and everybody is watching how the government reacts to the issue.

Densely populated urban areas and the lack of proper hygiene in rural areas make Nepal susceptible to the epidemic. The lack of healthcare and awareness are the significant barriers that the government has to tackle. The country has also seen quite a few outbreaks of other respiratory diseases like influenza and swine flu. The media reports on cases of “unknown viral diseases,” which helps to spread awareness among the people so that they will not write it off as common cold.

Cases of Coronavirus in Nepal

There has been one confirmed case of Coronavirus in Nepal. The patient was a 32-year-old man who was a student at the Wuhan University of Technology, Wuhan, China. He was admitted to Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital, Kathmandu, after showing symptoms like throat congestion and cough. As Nepal lacks the proper technology, his samples had to be sent to the WHO for testing. They came back positive. However, the patient had already been discharged after his health condition had improved. This action has been heavily criticized by the media and the public.

Government Efforts and Initiatives

The government has planned to place patients of COVID-19 in public hospitals. Such hospitals lack the necessary space and equipment to treat patients suffering from such pathogenic diseases. They have a limited number of ICU beds that are occupied most of the time, and even have a long list of people waiting for their turn. Most hospitals do not have a personal/individual room for the patients. The lack of isolation rooms in hospitals across the country has raised concerns for the safety of other patients admitted in the same hospital as COVID-19 patients.

So far, the government has appointed five hospitals for the treatment of the COVID-19: Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital, Bir Hospital, Civil Hospital, Patan Hospital, and Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital. All these hospitals are located in the Kathmandu Valley. This has garnered concerns from the people outside the valley as they do not have an official government-appointed hospital to visit in case of scares.

The government has also issued strict directives to prevent the transmission and spread of COVID-19. The outbreak in China has put the government on high alert, especially as the country sees a massive inflow of people from China. The Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital and the Epidemiology and Disease Control Division have initiated health screenings of passengers from China, Japan, and Thailand at the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA). A health desk has also been deployed at TIA to detect infection. We can say that the authorities of TIA have been quite responsive to the situation, and have taken the necessary measures.

The outbreak could delay the construction of the Pokhara Regional International Airport, which was scheduled to open in July 2020. The Chinese laborers working on the airport had returned to China for the Lunar New Year in January. Due to the outbreak, the workers are undergoing quarantine in China, making them unable to return in time for the completion of the project.

After the WHO declared the Coronavirus outbreak a “public health emergency,” Nepal has taken strict measures as suggested by the UN for prevention and detection. The government is in regular contact with the WHO office in Nepal regarding the actions that Nepal can take. Nepal has taken measures to strengthen its health system and increase surveillance. The Health Ministry has also planned to train health workers from all hospitals, and make all government offices aware of the risks of COVID-19. As recommended by the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board, the government and media are doing all they can to ensure that all relevant information regarding the outbreak is shared openly and rapidly.

Global Tourism Industry and the Effects of Coronavirus in it

China is one of the biggest markets for overseas tourism. The outbreak has had devastating effects on global tourism. Asia’s tourism-dependent economies definitely can feel this. With prospective Chinese tourists canceling tours, the hotels, theme parks, and guides are all suffering. The outbreak has upset supply chains throughout the world, especially in South-East Asia. This includes countries like Japan, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Thailand. If this continues for three to six more months, the result could be catastrophic. The good news is that China has implemented a ban on animal markets. This could curb wildlife trafficking and save some endangered species. 

Is Nepal safe from Coronavirus?

Nepal feels the effect of the fear of the outbreak. The first is the direct effect felt from the absence of Chinese tourists. Nepal’s tourist hubs like Thamel, Kathmandu, and Phewa Lake, Pokhara, have begun to feel quite empty due to the lack of Chinese tourists who would add to the diverse environment. Despite having zero deaths from COVID-19 and only one verified case, Nepal can also feel its reputation being dragged down due to the spread of the infection. The Indian government has begun screening people from Nepal, which has only caused more panic among prospective Indian tourists. The tourism industry has not only seen cancellations from Chinese tourists, but also from tourists from other countries as well. Nepal had already been seeing fewer Chinese tourists due to its Spring Festival. The trekking companies had already had clients backing out due to the Annapurna avalanche. The upcoming spring season is usually when Nepal sees a boom in the tourism industry. However, this may not be the case this year. Being so close to China, many people are apprehensive about visiting Nepal due to the coronavirus outbreak.

One can agree that prevention is better than cure. It is the same with the situation at hand. There are specific steps that one can take to protect themselves from the novel Coronavirus. The WHO suggests maintaining primary hand and respiratory hygiene and safe food practices. UNICEF advises people to frequently wash their hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand rub. People should sneeze or cough into their elbow and should avoid close contact with those who show flu-like symptoms and live near wild or farmed animals. Raw or undercooked animal products should be avoided and handled with care to prevent cross-contamination.


It is a frightening time for us all as we are up against something relatively unknown. However, we should stay calm and alert during such times. Panicking does not help the situation. The government has decided to launch a campaign to spread the word that Nepal is free from the outbreak and safe to visit. This is quite true, with only one verified patient who has already seemingly recovered.   

Why You Should Visit Nepal

Nepal is one of the best tourist destinations in Southeast Asia. The country, located between two giants, India and China, is filled with varieties of beautiful natural features as well as diverse cultures. Here are some reasons to visit the beautiful country, Nepal.

Local Market

The highest mountain in the world

Mt. Everest views on the back

Nepal is known as the home of the tallest peak of the world, Mt. Everest. It is located on the northeast side of Nepal and borders with India in the east and Tibet in the north. The majestic mountain lies in the Khumbu region, which is mostly inhabited by the Sherpa community. Due to this reason, Sherpa people have now become synonymous with mountains and mountaineering.

Various trekking routes in the Khumbu region celebrates the beauty of Everest through multiple angles. The majority of the tourists come here to trek till Everest Base Camp, but the daring ones aim for the summit. Every year, thousands of tourists flock to the Khumbu region to bask in the scenic views of Everest and its neighboring mountains like Ama Dablam, Nuptse, and Lhotse.

Besides the Base camp trek, there are other alternatives in the Khumbu region like Island Peak trek and Gokyo Lakes, where tourists can enjoy the serene beauty of the region. To travel and trek in the Kumbu region, tourists need to prepare necessary permits before heading out.

Different culture

worshiping [culture]

Nepal is one of the culturally diverse countries in the world. Due to this reason, Nepal stands out from rest in terms of culture. The country houses 126 ethnic groups, and the government has recognized 59 indigenous nationalities. All these ethnic and indigenous communities have their own set of cultures and traditions, thus making each of them unique and charming. The mutual harmony that coexists between all these different cultures also highlights the charms of Nepal. 

Delicious variety of cuisines and friendly people

Nepali delicious food [Dal Bhat]

The diverse culture gives birth to a wide range of cuisines across the country. From east to west, various foods are unique to that particular region only. Dal Bhat (rice and lentil soup) is the staple food of the country, and besides that, there is a wide range of food that suits the palate of each tourist who visits Nepal.

Momo, Newari Khaja set, and Thakali khana set are some of the most popular dishes one should not miss out when in Nepal.

According to geography, climate, and crop availability, different communities have their unique cuisine. For example, the Newari population is mostly inhabited in the hilly region like Kathmandu valley, so they have a variety of meat and vegetable dishes. For the Sherpa people, potato, barley, and maize are the staple crops, so their dishes also revolve around these crops.

Similarly, the Gurungs who mostly inhabit the western hills primarily include buckwheat and millet in their cuisines. Enjoy delicious food served by lovely and welcoming people. The warm hospitality of the Sherpas in the Khumbu region, as well as Gurungs and Thakalis in the Annapurna region, adds inviting and pleasing charm. You would want to revisit Nepal once you have tasted their local cuisines and warm hospitality.

Land of Tigers and Rhinos [Abundance of wildlife and bird watching destination]

Rhino crossing river

The dense forests of Nepal are home to a variety of flora and fauna. In the south, rare and endangered animals like tigers and rhinos are found. Especially in the southwestern side of the country, there is an abundance of tigers and rhinos. These animals are found within protected areas like Chitwan National Park and Bardia National Park.

Along with tiger and rhino, elephant, water buffalo (Arna), Blackbuck deer, and many other species of animals reside in the dense jungles of these protected areas. These national parks are also the perfect place for bird watching activities. During wintertime, a wide range of migratory birds like a mallard, common teal, and grey-headed lapwings come from the north to these forested regions and spend their winter here. Thus, winter is the perfect time for bird enthusiasts to go and do bird watching.   

Religious diversity

Krishna Temple, Patan

Even though the majority of the population is Hindus, Nepal is a secular country where people respect each other’s festivals and celebrations. More than 80% of the population follows Hinduism, so the majority of people celebrate festivals like Dashain and Tihar heartily.

Similarly, 8% of the people follow Buddhism, and their main festival is Buddha Jayanti, where they celebrate the birth of Gautam Buddha. 4% of the Islamic population celebrate various festivals annually, like Ramadan. The ethnic and indigenous communities of Nepal follow Hinduism, Buddhism, or a mix of both.

Peace, Serenity and Stunning views

Sunset views of Mountain

The tranquility of the serene and stunning views is another unique quality of Nepal. In the mountainous region, the beautiful villages are surrounded by scenic views of mountain ranges, thus making it the perfect place to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature. There are also cities and towns in the hills, where tourists can enjoy some quiet time. The best example is Bandipur, a small village in Tanahu, where the peaceful environment is accompanied by picturesque views of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges.

Around Kathmandu Valley as well, there are various viewpoints where the splendid mountain vistas are visible. Nagarkot and Dhulikhel are two famous places where tourists can get such views and enjoy the tranquility near the bustling capital.  

Beautiful Lakes

Gokyo lake

Most of the lakes of Nepal are freshwater and are formed by the melting of glaciers. Pokhara, the second biggest city in the country, is also known as the city of lakes. Along with the famous Phewa, there are other lakes like Begnas, Rupa, and Khaste lakes, which are all equally beautiful and breathtaking.

Besides these, there are several other scattered throughout the country. Rara Lake, the deepest and biggest freshwater lake of Nepal, lies in the far-western region of Nepal, is another famous scenic lake of the nation. It is said that the lake changes its color into different shades of blue every season.

Due to the ecological value of this lake, Rara National Park was established in 1976. Gosainkunda and Tilicho lakes are some of the holy lakes of Nepal that are visited by thousands of pilgrims every year.   

Rich in art and architecture

rich of Art, Nepal

Nepal has diverse art and architecture, signifying the different cultures. Handicrafts are one of the most popular representations of the Nepalese art. Various communities and regions have their unique trademark in craftsmanship. For example, Palpa is renowned for handmade Dhaka prints, which are then made into different things like purses, shawls, and coats. Similar to these handicrafts, the architecture is also distinctive.

Generally, Nepalese architecture exhibit three styles that are Stupa, Pagoda, and Shikhara style. The architecture of houses in Chitwan and Solukhumbu is entirely different. The ones in the south are made to withstand heat and are made with bamboo, while in the north, stone tiles and houses are pretty common.

Trace the birthplace of Lord Buddha at Lumbini

experience nepal tour
Mayadevi temple, Lumbini

Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, was born in Lumbini, Nepal. Thousands of tourists flock to this pilgrimage site every year to pay homage to the birthplace of Buddha. In the premises of Maya Devi temple, there are twenty-five monasteries built by various countries like Thailand, Cambodia, German, China, and many more. Tourists can learn more about Buddhism by visiting these monasteries. Tourists can pay respects to the holy birthplace and also explore the museum as well as yoga and meditation centers.

Experience adventurous activities

Trekking in Mountain

The best adventurous activity to do in Nepal is trekking. The country is blessed with many great and majestic mountain ranges and rugged trekking routes, making it the best place for backpack traveling and trekking. Various trekking routes are graded from easy to strenuous, thus fitting the taste and level for every tourist.

Easy treks can mostly be done within a week, and the best example for it is Poonhill-Ghorepani trek in the Annapurna region. For strenuous trekking options, Everest Base Camp trekking would be the best. There are other treks like Tamang Heritage Trek, where tourists get to learn about the Tamang culture and traditions.

Along with trekking, the country is famous for various adventurous activities like rafting, bungee jumping, and rock climbing.

Naturally gifted country

Bhai tika

This small country, with the average north-south distance of 193 km comprises of flora and fauna ranging from tropical trees in the south to pine and fir trees grown in the alpine climate in the north.

The climatic variability and the rich biodiversity of Nepal is one of a kind. Nepal homes various rare and endangered animals like the snow leopard, birds like the spiny babbler, and plants like the Himalayan Yew (Yarsagumba). The country is also abundant with various kinds of freshwater resources ranging from ponds to rivers. Most of these water bodies originate from the melting snow of the Himalayas.

Pilgrimage and Pleasure

Bouddhanath Stupa

Alongside Lumbini, there are numerous temples and religious sites that are always crowded with pilgrims from around the world. The holy Hindu temple of Pashupatinath, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is located at the heart of Kathmandu.

Similarly, Boudhanath Stupa, a revered site for Buddhist pilgrims, is also found in the capital city. Besides these religious landmarks, there are many other temples and stupas around the country that hold sacred values to the local people. Kalinchowk Bhagwati, Manakamana, and Muktinath are some of the temples that are frequented by pilgrims every year.    

Mardi Himal Trek: Short Adventure in Nepal

Mardi Himal Trek: Short Adventure in Nepal

The Mardi Himal Trek takes trekkers through an isolated area of the Annapurna region to present an unadulterated and less-trodden path that meanders towards the base camp of the Mardi Peak. It is a journey that is an off-the-beaten-path adventure, perfectly suited for trekkers who are looking for destinations with fewer crowds. The Mardi Himal Trek is located just east of the famous Annapurna Base Camp Trek and presents trekkers with a less-frequented terrain flanked by the Machhapuchhre Peak.

The journey is also a great way to experience the authentic cultural diversity of eastern Annapurna. Villages of Gurung and Magar ancestry are scattered throughout the trekking trail, each with ethnic groups that speak their dialect and have their unique cultural traditions.

It is a common sight to come across herds of domesticated cattle heading off to pastures while trekking. Passing through the villages, trekkers can also see most local people involved in activities like pottery, producing and selling handicrafts and collecting medicinal plants.

In like manner, the cultural beauty of Mardi Himal Trek is equally rivaled by its unique and notable wildlife as well. The variation of forest cover persisting in accordance with altitude and topography provides a wide range of habitats to several animal species, especially for a wide variety of migratory spring and autumn birds.  

views of mount fishtail
Fishtail Himal views

The Mardi Himal Trek Location

The trekking journey to the base camp of Mardi Himal starts from Pokhara. The city of Pokhara is usually the starting point of many of the Annapurna region’s treks. Usually, trekkers can drive from Pokhara to Phedi and then start the trek from there, following the path that then leads to the village of Pothana. From there, the path then snakes through the alpine foothills of the river valley until eventually, it rises in elevation and branches out above the tree-line at 3,300 meters.

Once the tree-line is crossed at a site called High Camp, the change in the terrain is quite noticeable. The emerald woodlands of the lower foothills now resemble rugged high mountain landscape with the skyline decorated with amazing panoramic views of the Annapurna peaks. The Mardi Himal Trek also presents a wide range of topographical features of the eastern Annapurna region. The path initially starts through sub-tropical lowlands where lush rhododendron woods cover the landscape in bright canopies. The woods also harbor many species of orchids.

Likewise, throughout the journey, trekkers are in constant company with views of the Himalayas like the Annapurna massif, Mount Machhapuchhre, the Gangapurna Himal, Lamjung Peak, the Tukuche Peak, as well as the Mardi Himal among many others. From the lowland woods, the Mardi Himal Trek has pathways that then branch up the elevation towards pine-clad hills and juniper hamlets until the tree-line is crossed and the terrain then becomes a mosaic of alpine shrub-land and vast meadows.   

Mardi Himal Trekking Route

Kathmandu – Pokhara – Pothana (1,925 meters/4 Hours Trekking)  

on the way to pothana views from Australian camp

The Mardi Himal Trekking journey begins from Pokhara. Trekkers can opt to take a short flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara, or they can drive to the lake-side city. As stated, from Pokhara, the next destination of the trek is a site called Phedi. From there, it is a steady trek through the woods towards Dhampus, and then to Pothana.

Pothana – Forest Camp (2,600 meters/4 Hours Trekking)

The next overnight destination along the Mardi Himal Trek is a site called Forest Camp. The pathway from Pothana leads to a place called Pitam Deurali. This is where the trail diverts away from the main Annapurna Sanctuary Trek and instead runs through the dense oak woods towards Forest Camp. The forests along the journey are dense and brimming with avifaunal life. The Forest Camp, also known as “Kokar” offers quite basic lodges for accommodation and rather imitates a homestay experience.

Forest Camp – Low Camp (3,150 meters/5 Hours Trekking)

The Mardi Himal Trekking trail continues from Forest Camp to Low Camp, darting through some of the last low-lying woodlands. As the trail picks up elevation, the vegetation along the terrain changes as well, from mighty woods to alpine shrubs. Rhododendron trees tend to be covered with moss and lichen, and eventually- the landscape becomes embedded with ferns. Low Camp presents mesmerizing views of Mount Machhapuchhre rising above the valley.

Low Camp – High Camp (3,700 meters/4 Hours Trekking)  

Trekking an hour or so from Low Camp, the trail finally breaks out above tree line and opens towards vast meadows and pastures that are more rugged. The western skyline is decorated with the view of the Annapurna South and the Hiunchuli Peak. The trail continues along the Mardi Himal ridge, mainly snaking through grass pastures where isolated rhododendron bushes ornament the otherwise even land. Colorful Danphe pheasants are often spotted on this section of the trail.

High Camp – Mardi Himal Base Camp (4,500 meters/4 Hours Trekking)

High Camp presents breath-taking views of the sunrise amidst the Annapurna Peaks. From High Camp, the path then twines up the ridge towards Mardi Himal Base Camp. The path to base camp is a well-established trail that traverses through the grasslands and includes a couple of steeper sections. The pastures here are often laden with grazing Dzos (yak/ cow crossbreds), as well as fluttering Danphe pheasants. In the summer, herds of sheep and goats from lower villages are brought up to graze in the area. As such, several herder’s huts are scattered along the trail. The path finally reaches the base camp of Mardi Himal from where one can look down into the Annapurna Sanctuary in the valley below, as well as panorama views of the spectacular south face of Annapurna and all of the peaks that surround the Sanctuary, including Hiunchuli and Machhapuchhre.

Best Time for Mardi Himal Trek

view point

The best time for Mardi Himal Trek is during the spring and autumn months. Spring occurs from March to May, and autumn lasts from September to mid-December. Although Mardi Himal Trek can be done all year round, the spring and autumn months provide the best visibility and clarity of the peaks.  The weather conditions during these peak-trekking seasons remain suitable for trekking with very little chance of precipitation or other bad weather conditions. As such, they also present fewer chances of Kathmandu-Pokhara flight cancelations.   

Mardi Himal Trek Cost: Food and Accommodation

As the Mardi Himal Trek is an off-the-beaten-paths journey, the accommodations along the trip are quite basic. Lodges are available for accommodation, and generally- they come in the form of small wooden wood-lodges with one dining area and small rooms with a sleeping bed.

However, in most lodges along the trek, there are no dining areas and meals are instead had in the kitchen itself, often with the family of the lodge-owner, evoking a home-stay experience. Usually, it costs about US$ 3 to US$ 10 per night. But the cost, of course, depends upon the quality and standard of lodges.

Likewise, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals are available during the trip. Although the food variety might not be grand, almost all lodges serve the staple food of Nepal- Dal Bhat (Rice and Lentils). It is important to carry food-allergy medications.     

Travel Tips for Mardi Himal Trek

It is advised to exchange foreign currency into local Nepali Rupees before the trekking journey. Mardi Himal Trek offers an isolated trekking experience and there are no ATMs or banks along the route. Thus, carrying local currency can help reduce the hassle. It makes it easier to buy and pay for things in the mountains.

Similarly, during peak trekking seasons, flights to Pokhara can be over-booked. The same goes for hotels in Pokhara as well. Thus, booking the trip early can help in reducing the chance of being caught up in the hassle of over-booked flights or delays.

Also, it is advised to carry one’s water purifying tablet or other forms of a water-purification method, like epi-pens. More often than not, lodges do not provide free drinking water. Thus, carrying your water-purification tablets will make the trip a lot easier and cheaper. It is certainly better than constant buying bottled drinking water in the mountain. Water purification tablets are also environment-friendly.

The Mardi Himal Trek is a moderate trekking trip and does not require one to have prior trekking experience to undergo. However, it is best to prepare oneself physically before the beginning of the trip. Doing regular cardio exercises like running and swimming can boost the body’s stamina and help during the trek.       


Mardi Himal Trek is a beautiful hidden gem of the Annapurna region. It presents unexplored trails and new destinations to visit besides the popular routes of the region. The cultural setting along the journey also has a more authentic feel to it. It is a gorgeous journey through untarnished woodlands and far-off villages of the Annapurna where stunning sights of the Annapurna peaks are presented magnificently for trekkers to enjoy. There is no age limit to doing the trek, and the chance of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) occurring is also quite less. It is an awe-inspiring trip that encapsulates the best obscure features of the famous Annapurna region of Nepal. 

The 10 Best Treks in the Himalayas of Nepal

trekking start with official banner and dress
Ready for lang tang trek with official banner and dress

Squeezed between the northeastern tip of India and the southernmost curve of Tibet, Nepal is home to many of the world’s tallest Himalayan peaks. It is home to Mount Everest, the world’s highest Himalaya, and is also a cornucopia of multicultural opulence. For many of the most ambitious mountaineers, Nepal all but invented trekking, with its pristine sliver of the Himalayas towering over some of the most gorgeous river valleys like Langtang on one hand, and creating arid desert-like terrains like Mustang on the other.

Moreover, due to Nepal’s hospitality and affordability paired with the natural environment that the Himalayas provide embedded with a unique cultural environ, it has become the most popular trekking destination in the world. Visitors in hundreds of thousands flock to Nepal every year for treks, hikes and cultural tours. Likewise, speaking of credibility, Nepal is ranked among the top 5 best countries in the world to visit according to Lonely Planet.

Similarly, Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, ranks fifth among the top ten most beautiful global cities in the world. A crucible of green against the white walls of the Himalayas, Kathmandu is a sprawling cosmopolitan that is ever-growing, yet the city still holds tightly on to its traditional roots that manifest in many forms. Many of Kathmandu valley’s traditional sites are listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list, making the valley have one of the densest concentrations of heritage sites located close to one another.

Correspondingly, Nepal is quite appealing when it comes to trekking. Not only does Nepal harbor unforgettable Himalayan ambiance in the form of renowned peaks, but it also presents its visitors with an amazing cultural environment. There are trekking options available for people of all preferences. Both novice trekkers and expert mountaineers, as well as everyone in-between, can visit Nepal and find something that they are comfortable and satisfied with doing. As such, here are ten of the best treks in the Himalayas of Nepal-  

Everest Base Camp Trek

Photo place [Everest Base camp]

One of the most famous, if not THE most popular trekking adventure not just in Nepal, but the world, the Everest Base Camp Trek is an unforgettable trip to the base camp of the tallest Himalayan peak on Earth. Taking place in the Khumbu region, the base camp trek to Everest is an amazing journey filled with views of sky-piercing peaks of the Everest massif, an alpine landscape under the protection of the Sagarmatha National Park (a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site) and a rich Sherpa culture that is deeply embedded in the terrain itself. EBC trek starts with a short flight from Kathmandu to Lukla. The trekking trail then coruscates through the Dudh Koshi and Imja River valleys of Khumbu to finally conclude at the base camp of Mount Everest. The trip has many highlights, like the Himalayan town of Namche Bazaar, the Tengboche Monastery, the vantage point of Kalapatthar and many more, including breath-taking sights of the ivory mountain peaks that tower over you at each turn of the trail.   

Annapurna Base Camp Trek with Poon Hill

Dhaulagiri and Annapurna views from poonhill

The Annapurna Base Camp Trek stands on equal grounds when it comes to popularity and appeal against the EBC Trek. Almost half the visitors who come to Nepal for trekking tend to visit the Annapurna region. Home to Nepal’s most verdant woodlands and forests, the Annapurna region presents emerald landscapes for trekkers to enjoy. The region is also home to the Annapurna Mountain massif that decorates the river valley’s skyline in the most awe-inspiring fashion. Likewise, the region also harbors Pokhara city, Nepal’s second-largest city after the capital. It is the tourist hub of Nepal and the country’s adventure center, located beside the pristine Phewa Lake and flanked by the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri Mountain Peaks. One of the best hallmarks of the Annapurna Base Camp Trek is Poon Hill, a vantage point located above the village of Ghandruk that presents panoramic views of the entire Mount Annapurna massif. Famous for its sunrise view amidst the mountain peaks, Poon Hill is a beautiful site that presents trekkers with an other-worldly epiphany.  

Manaslu Circuit Trek

picture from manaslu trek
Back side Manaslu views

In like manner, when one speaks of best treks in Nepal, the Manaslu region is a destination that is bound to come up. Presenting a trekking trail filled with artistic chortens and pathways lined with traditional Mani stone walls carved with Buddhist mantras, the Manaslu region harbors the Manaslu Peak- the eighth-highest mountain peaks in the world. The region has a long history with Buddhism; Manaslu is believed to be where the Buddhist saint Milarepa meditated in the caves of the valley’s mountains. The region is traditionally classified as an off-the-beaten-path trekking site where the unique culture of the ethnic people has remained intact for centuries.

Khopra Danda Trek

on the way to khopra from Tadhapani views of Annapurna himal
Road to Khopra views

Besides long-distance treks in the heart of the Himalayas, Nepal also presents many options for short treks at low altitudes. Among the many options for short trekking journeys in the country, the Khopra Danda Trek takes the cake when it comes to the best low altitude trips. It ranks as one of the best short treks in the mesmerizing Annapurna region. In addition to containing all of the best facets of a classic trek, the Khopra Danda Trek also takes you to a rather hidden destination of the Annapurna, with pathways that stray away from the popular well-trodden routes. Walking on the trekking trail brimming with blooming rhododendrons and in the constant company of the majestic Annapurna Mountains, the trekking journey is filled with sapphire mountain lakes like the Kaire, and adoring landscapes like the Khopra Ridge that presents panoramic views of the Annapurna valley.

Upper Mustang Trek

Tsarang village. its one of the best place to be there for Upper Mustang   treks.
Tsarang Village [upper mustang route]

One of the best monsoon treks in Nepal, Upper Mustang Trek is a beautiful journey that takes trekkers to Nepal’s Last Hidden Kingdom. Upper Mustang presents one of the most distinctive topographical features in all of Nepal paired with a cultural penchant and unadulterated traditions that have been in practice for centuries without changing. Trekking in Upper Mustang has only recently been opened in 1992, and due to its seclusion, the region has one of the most well-preserved Tibetan Buddhist diasporas in the world. This contributes to Mustang is a land of mysticism where trekkers can enjoy untainted cultural attributes in the purest of forms. Moreover, unlike many of the other prominent trekking destinations of the country, Upper Mustang flaunts a rather dry and arid environment to trek through, a factor in consequence of Mustang’s location in the rain-shadow zone of the Annapurna and the Dhaulagiri Mountain Ranges.

Mardi Himal Trek

its beautiful Machhapuchhre view trail to Mardi Himal.
Fishtail close to Mardi base camp

The Mardi Himal Trek is an off-the-beaten-paths trek that presents trekkers with an untouched pristine Himalayan biodiversity in one of the most naturally rich regions of Nepal- the Annapurna. The trekking trail leads trekkers through the thick woodlands where you can catch glimpses of the elusive Red Panda, jungle pheasants and Danphe birds. The velvety green grasslands and the sight of lush terrace-farms is a staple hallmark of the Mardi Himal Trek. Starting from the tourist hub of Nepal- Pokhara city, the journey continues through remote Rai, Limbu and Chhetri settlements located amid rhododendron hillocks and Himalayan pastures.

Pikey Peak Trek

its amazing place is called pattale. called to mini Everest trek.
Pikey trail spot pattale

Sir Edmund Hillary said that Pikey Peak is one of the best vantage points to view Everest from. Named after the local Sherpa deity who represents the sky leering over nature, Pikey Peak is a daunting mountain that presents astounding views of surrounding Himalayas in the lower Khumbu region. A newly introduced trekking route, the Pikey Peak Trek presents trekkers close-up views of the Everest Peak and has pathways that let the visitors enjoy the lower Khumbu region’s landscape. In retrospect, the Pikey Peak Trek presents an alternate route to trek through beside the famous EBC Trek. It is less-crowded and also presents the best breath-taking views of the Himalayas without the hassles of mass crowds of trekkers.

Dolpo Trek

Phoksundo lake, one of the deepest lake. Dolpo explore.
Phoksundo lake

A culturally Tibetan region in the high altitudes of western Nepal, the Dolpo region is perhaps one of the country’s most remote areas. Due to its relatively isolated feel, the region harbors one of the most unadulterated Bon cultures in the country. Dolpo Trek presents a journey surrounded by Himalayan mountain chains, including the Dhaulagiri Peak. Like Mustang, Dolpo is a “rain-shadow zone” that experiences very dry weather with very little precipitation, which makes it suitable to visit all year round. Dolpo is perfect for summer treks as well, unlike many other trekking options in Nepal.

Tamang Heritage and Langtang Trek

langtang valley day hike tskuri peak
Langtang tskuri peak

One of the best trekking regions of Nepal is the gorgeous Langtang region. The Tamang Heritage Trail with Langtang Trek is one of the best off-the-beaten-paths treks of said region. With the main focus on the cultures and traditions of the ethnic Tamang people of the Langtang valley, the Tamang Heritage and Langtang Trail is a beguiling journey of amazing mountain peaks, glaciated acreages, and untouched settlements. With the perseverance of ancient cultures and traditions intact, the trekking journey presents insight into the unique rituals and practices of the local Tamangs. The journey is quite suited for trekkers who are looking to explore the cultural aspect of Nepal.

Helicopter Mountain Flight

Mountain flight

Helicopter Mountain Flight is a breathtaking activity where a bird’s-eye view of the Himalayas is presented. Views of some of the highest summits are presented as one is flying over them in the helicopter. It is perfect for people who are short on time or do not want to spend days trekking but still want to see the mountains.


Nepal presents many options for treks suited for people of all inclinations. It is a naturally beautiful country where the Himalayas provide a grand opportunity for unforgettable treks. When it comes to trekking, Nepal is simply the best destination to choose from.   

Dashain and Tihar Festival of Nepal

Dashain and Tihar Festival of Nepal

While the Himalayas are the identity of Nepal, its traditional norms and vibrant festivals shape the cultural lifestyle of the country. With approximately 80% of the people being Hindus, Dashain and Tihar are two of the most widely and grandly celebrated festivals in the country. As such, Dashain is celebrated for nearly two weeks and Tihar is celebrated for five days. Both these festivals mark reunions, joy, and the victory of good over evil. Since the offices are closed during these festivals, tourists who come to Nepal can observe their grand celebration.

Dashain: Celebration of Good Prevailing over Evil

Dashain is the main festival of the Hindus and is celebrated for two weeks that fall in late September or early October. It begins on the bright lunar fortnight and lasts till the day of the full moon according to the Nepalese calendar. This festival celebrates the power of Goddess Durga, the triumph of good over evil.

During Dashain, Nepal is truly a sight to behold. People clean their houses and some even renovate them to make them even more beautiful. People who have left their homes to work or study return to celebrate this occasion with their families. Various local fairs are also held and another famous attraction is the makeshift swings made of bamboo. People also fly kites and this is a popular form of entertainment during Dashain.

Visiting Nepal during this time is a great opportunity to enjoy the traditional Hindu culture at its finest peak while also being a part of the celebrations and enjoyment. The different days of Dashain are:

  • Ghatasthapana (September 29, 2019)

Ghatasthapana is the first day of the fifteen-day long festival. On this day, people fill a vessel with some sand and cow dung and sow maize and barley seeds in it. This vessel is then covered and worshipped for ten days. The Goddess Durga is believed to reside in this vessel and will protect the family. Holy water is used to water the sand every day. By the tenth day, the seeds will grow into small plants and are known as Jamara. This is later used in the final and main day of the festival. This day is usually observed privately at the homes of people. Some people also visit temples for special ceremonies marked to celebrate this day.

  • Phoolpati (October 5, 2019)

Phoolpati or Saptami is the seventh day of the Dashain festival. On this day, nine types of holy plants are either decorated outside the house or brought into the room designated for worshiping the deities. Here, the plants are worshiped alongside the jamara. The nine plants are manabriksha, jayanti, ashoka, belpatra, ginger, turmeric, rice stalk, pomegranate, and banana. These plants each represent a different God or Goddess and a mix of these nine ingredients is called navapatriva. The plants are believed to put an end to evil while bringing happiness and prosperity to the people.  The navapatriva is taken out on the tenth day and is set off on a holy river. Besides this, some people also worship the tools of their trades as it is believed to bring prosperity in their endeavors. The Nepal Army also organizes a parade at Tudhikhel which is observed by the president and government officials every year.

  • Mahaastami (October 6, 2019)

On the eighth day of Dashain, Goddess Kali, an incarnation of Goddess Durga, is worshiped. Many animals like buffaloes, goats, hens, and ducks are sacrificed to her. The meat is said to be blessed and it is believed to be auspicious to eat the meat of the slaughtered animal. Likewise, an increasing number of families use fruits and vegetables as an offering to Goddess Durga as well. The celebration continues with a feast consisting of traditional Nepali food. Many devotees also fast and visit many temples and shrines of the goddess. On this day, special worship is held at the “Dashain Ghar” at Hanuman Dhoka in Kathmandu Durbar Square.

  • Mahanawami (October 7, 2019)

On this day, the celebrations reach their peaks and people begin to prepare for the final day of the festival. Families believe that demons hide in the bodies of animals to save themselves from getting annihilated by the Goddess and this day is dedicated to hunting those demons. Many people worship their instruments of trade on this day as well as it is believed to ensure safety at work over the year. This is also the only day of the year when the Taleju Bhawani temple in Kathmandu Durbar Square is open to the public. Many devotees use this opportunity to worship the Goddess and get her blessings. Constructed in the 1500s, this temple has exquisite architecture as well as a lot of history. Animal sacrifices are also conducted by the official military in the Kot Courtyard of the Hanuman Dhoka Royal Palaces where buffaloes are sacrificed with gunfire salutes.

  • Vijaya Dashami (October 8, 2019)

This day marks the victory of Lord Ram over the demon Ravana and is celebrated with great zest and traditional practices. On the most important day of Dashain, the younger members of the family receive tika—a mixture of rice, yogurt, and vermillion. Likewise, they also receive jamara and blessings from the eldest of the family. Daksnina or a small amount of money is also given to them. Because Dashain is all about togetherness and family, people from far away also come back home to receive tika. The tika ceremony lasts for around four days when everyone goes to meet their relatives and receive their blessings.

Tihar: Festival of Light

Tihar or Deepawali is celebrated in October or November, a few weeks after Dashain. It has been suitably nicknamed “The Festival of Lights” because, during this time, people decorate their houses with lights and vibrant colors. They also use diyos- traditional clay lamp, that is filled with oil and cotton dipped into it to light it up. Apart from this, people also sing, dance, play cards, and enjoy various other forms of entertainment. Deusi and Bhailo are popular activities around Tihar which are when people make groups and visit various houses singing door-to-door. Tihar is by-far the most beautiful festival with its colorful Mandap and Diyos.

  • Kag Tihar (October 26, 2019)

On this day, people worship and feed the crows (Kag in Nepali dialect) early in the morning. Crows are considered to be the messengers of Yamaraj or Death. People believe that feeding the crows will keep their beloved ones happy and healthy. It is believed that worshiping them will bring good luck to the house. This day marks the beginning of the Tihar festival.

  • Laxmi Puja and Kukur Tihar (October 27, 2019)

On Kukur Tihar, people celebrate the man’s best friend—dogs. This is believed to protect families from evil. People feed the dogs and worship them by putting tika on their foreheads and garlands around their necks. The Nepal Police partake in this as well and worship the police dogs for their service. Stray dogs without a home are included in the celebration as well.

In the Hindu religion, Goddess Laxmi is the goddess of wealth and prosperity. On the day of Laxmi Puja, people clean their houses and decorate with lights. A small Mandap is usually made in front of the main gate and a path made of tiny footsteps or red mud is painted from the main door to the room where the puja is to take place. The puja is a private occasion with only family members participating in it. People enjoy playing Deusi Bhailo and cards on this day.

  • Goru Puja (October 28, 2019)

Oxen are also an important part of the daily life of the people, especially in remote areas where agriculture is the primary occupation. On this day, they are worshiped for their efforts into helping the people in farming and agriculture. Much like the dogs, the oxen are also given delicious food, and a garland is put around their necks and a red tika is applied on their foreheads. Similarly, the Newar community also has a unique way of celebrating the festivals. They celebrate the day as Mha Puja and worship their bodies.

  • Bhaitika (October 29, 2019)

The last day of the festival is Bhai tika which is a day when sisters worship their brothers and pray for their long and prosperous life. This day is used to celebrate the pure bond between brothers and sisters. The sisters put a multicolored tika on their brothers’ foreheads and put a chrysanthemum garland around their necks. They also give gifts and sweets to their brothers. The brothers, in return, give their sisters gifts and money and pray for their sisters as well.

In Conclusion

Nepal is an amazing land for many different reasons. Its magnificent festivals are one of them. Dashain and Tihar are the two of the grandest Hindu festivals. Being a part of these celebrations, you can learn a lot and enjoy it as well. Learn about the ancient stories and culture that have created such a glorious Nepali society. Be a part of the festivals and rejoice the colors, lights, and rituals. Enjoy the best that Nepal has to offer during Dashain and Tihar.

Nar Phu, Thorung La, Tilicho & Khopra Experience

Phu Gaon

I’m trekking in the Nar-Phu Valley, a remote and sparsely visited region near the Tibetan border which is open to tourism since 2002. The trail leads along the Phu River in a deep gorge; often the path is very exposed, cut into vertical cliffs hundreds of meters above the river. To the west is Pisang Peak, to the east is Mount Kanguru, the view back south is dominated by Lamjung Himal and the tremendous Annapurna II. I pass through old, abandoned Khampa settlements; with every step I walk north the landscape gets drier and drier.

After two days I reach Phu Gaon a few hundred of years back in time. Dark flat stone houses, prayer flags everywhere, narrow alleys. Next day I hike up the hill next to the village to the Tashi Lhakhang Gompa. The weather is perfect, the location of this small monastery beautiful. The hill is full of Chortens, colourful Mani walls and hundreds of prayer flags blowing in the wind.

Later on I continue towards Himlung Himal (7126m), the path is hard to find, I follow the moraine east. Altitude, strong wind, dehydration and the exertion all contribute to a splitting headache. From the top of the moraine I get my view of Himlung, Nemjung and Himjung, beautiful White Mountains, in stark contrast to the brown hills in this dry area.

Nar Gaon

Next day I walk from Phu Gaon to the other village in this area, Nar Gaon. I follow the valley south, after a few hours the path branches off to the west. The views are spectacular: Kanguru to the east, Lamjung Himal and Annapurna II south, Pisang Peak straight ahead looks rather bleak from the north.

Early afternoon I reach Nar Gaon. I stroll around the village, thinking about the next days. Tomorrow I want to set off early to cross the Kang La Pass (5322m). Then it begins to snow heavily.

Next morning the whole valley is covered with a thick layer of snow. All I can do today is stay here and wait. I go for a walk through the village, the warm sun melts the snow quickly. In the evening the weather finally improves. The sky clears, revealing Pisang Peak and Kanguru, illuminated red by the setting sun.

Kang La (5322m)

My alarm goes off at 3, at 3:30 I start from the lodge. The stars in the sky and my headlamp are guiding my way through the night. I move up the valley quickly, trying to reach the pass as early as possible before the clouds roll in. For some time I follow a little stream, the trail is faintly visible through the snow. I ascend the slope to my right, then I continue west. After a while the narrow valley opens up a bit. At the head of the valley I can now see the trail again, zigzagging up the slope towards the pass. After what feels like an eternity I reach the end of the valley and join the path again! Now the hard work begins, up the long, steep slope towards Kang La. The last few hundred meters are particularly strenuous, through knee-deep snow. I need to rest a lot, the view east is incredible. Manaslu, Ngadi Chuli, Himal Chuli can be seen in the far distance, Kanguru, Pisang Peak, Chombi and Gyaji Kang are shining bright in the early morning sun.

Finally I reach the pass (5322m), marked by a cairn with a sign and prayer flags. I’m glad I reached pass early enough, hardly any clouds in the sky. And what a view! The whole Annapurna range is unfolding before my eyes. Annapurna II (7937m) is simply breathtaking and dominates the view. Lamjung Himal and the Myabasa Danda ridge to the south-east, Annapurna III, Gangapurna, Roc Noir and Grande Barriere south-west. I can even see the very tops of Machhapuchhare and Annapurna I – a rare pleasure from the north.

I have a long break on the pass, and then I start the 1700m descent to Ngawal. The first few meters down are steep and treacherous, over loose, slippery slabs. Very slowly, step by step I make my way downwards.

After a while the slope eases. I take it easy for the rest of the descent; it’s a long but easy stroll down to Ngawal. At 11am I reach Ngawal. It is still early, I don’t feel too tired and so I continue to Manang. I’m now back on the popular Annapurna Circuit.

Great Ice Lake

From Manang I’m heading for Tilicho Lake (4920m). In Khangsar I stop for tea. From Khangsar I go on, after a while the infamous landslide area begins.

Quickly I continue on the narrow trail, past bizarre looking rock formations, the river deep below to my left. I stay the night at the Tilicho Base Camp Lodge. Next morning I have an early start, it snowed at night and the landscape looks winterly. Grande Barriere and Roc Noir get closer with each step, the view back on Gangapurna, Chulus and the Marsyangdi Valley is awesome.

 Soon the path eases; some more walking on flat ground, then the lake comes in sight!

Roc Noir and Tilicho Peak are hidden by clouds, small avalanches roar down the slopes of the Great Barrier. Glaciers reaching right into the lake are cracking loud. I walk around the viewpoint at the south-eastern shore, it is cold and windy and after a couple of hours I go back.

Thorong La (5416m)

Next morning I walk in bad weather from Shree Kharka to Thorong Phedi. I pass Gunsang, Yak Kharka, Ledar, and cross the suspension bridge between Ledar and Thorong Phedi. In the afternoon the weather improves, I walk through another landslide area but the path is well trodden and easy to negotiate. On the slopes above I can see plenty of blue sheep.

This is snow leopard territory and I constantly keep an eye out for the big cat – in vain. Eventually I reach the lodges of Thorong Phedi (4530m), the sky clears for sunset revealing great views back on Gangapurna.

Next day I start at 5 towards the Thorong La Pass. Day is already dawning, making my headlamp needless. It is a bitterly cold, clear morning. I follow the line of trekkers trudging up the hill. Then the sun finally rises over the mountains, warming me up instantly.

At 8 I reach the Thorong La (5416m), notched in between the sixthousanders Khatung Khang and Yakawa Kang. The view from the pass exceeds my expectations. The Chulu Peaks, Putrun Himal and the ever present Annapurna II are towering skyhigh in the east; the Kali Gandaki Valley lies deep below in the west.

It is extremely windy and I start the long descent to Muktinath very soon. I more or less run down, losing altitude quickly. Before noon I arrive in Muktinath (3760m), a sacred place for both Hindus and Buddhists. I spend some time resting and watching the many Indian and Nepalese pilgrims at the main temple, and then I go to the neighbouring town of Ranipauwa for lunch.

Kali Gandaki Valley

In the afternoon I continue to the medieval town of Jhong. From the slopes north of Jhong I get fantastic views on the Nilgiris, Tilicho Peak and Dhaulagiri I, even the top of elusive Annapurna I comes into sight.

Walking through Jhong I’m looking for a place to stay the night but all the lodges seem to be closed. I have no choice but to go on with heavy legs. Dead tired and just before sunset I arrive at Kagbeni.

Next day I spend the morning exploring town and its surrounding area. With its ancient houses and beautiful location at the Kali Gandaki River, this place blows me away.

For a short distance I walk north along the Kali Gandaki River to the tiny settlement of Tiri. Like yesterday the weather is just perfect. In Tiri I hike up to the small monastery for more beautiful views. From this vantage point I can peek into Mustang, the former Tibetan kingdom in the north.

Two days later, I’m heading south along the Kali Gandaki to Kalopani. I take it easy and do plenty of side trips off the main trail. In the beautiful village of Naurikot I stop for breakfast and enjoy the awesome views, especially on Dhaulagiri I, the seventh highest mountain in the world.

Dhaulagiri I (8167m)

I continue west from Naurikot and ascend the lower slopes of Dhaulagiri to a small cave and waterfall. From here views are even better. At this point the Kali Gandaki Valley is one of the deepest valleys in the world, with an altitude as low as 2550m in between the eight-thousanders Annapurna and Dhaulagiri.

Khayar Lake (4600m)

From the lodge at Kopra Dhanda I start at 5 towards Khayar Lake, a sacred lake for Hindus at the foot of Annapurna South. It’s a hazy morning, I’m praying for good weather today. The trail to the lake is okay to find, frequently walked by pilgrims. After a couple of hours I cross the snow line, at around 9 I reach the lake at ~4600m. The shore is lined with tridents and bells, symbols of the Hindu god Shiva. I circumambulate the lake, scramble on the slopes around and take in the wonderful scenery. Clouds come and go, allowing close-up views on Fang and Annapurna South occasionally.

Through thick fog I walk back, retracing my own footsteps in the snow. The atmosphere is eerie, the view very limited. Luckily it doesn’t rain.

Next day I descend in the rain from Kopra Dhanda to Tadapani through a dense forest. I pass Bayeuli and Dobato, in the afternoon I reach the lodges of Tadapani, beautifully located at a scenic clearing.

The trek comes to an end with a spectacular sunrise next morning, the Annapurnas rising majestically one last time.

Tadapani sunrise: Annapurna South, Hiunchuli, Annapurna III, Machhapuchare, Annapurna II

———–Tobias pantel, Germany —————————

Everest Region

sunbath mountain dog on the way to Everest Base camp
Mountain dog

Everest Region

Worldwide, Nepal is often recognized by the mammoth of a mountain called Sagarmatha or as popularly known Mount Everest. The highest peak in the world, standing proudly at 8848m, has earned Nepal the privilege of being home to the glorious Himalaya. Sagarmatha has never been considered just a mountain peak; in fact, Sagarmatha translates to the goddess of the sky and is of supreme significance to Nepal, Nepalese, their lifestyle, and belief. Mt. Everest attracts trekkers and peak climbers from around the world and showers them with moments that are inexplicable, and are best when experienced.

Land of Sherpa and High Himalayas

Land of Sherpa Everest region  [Namche bazzar]
Land of Sherpa Everest region [Namche bazzar]

Everest has its recognition deeply spread across the country; however, Solukhumbu boasts the very location of the peak. As a result, Everest region recognizes itself as the vicinity around the Everest (8848m) which entails numerous towering peaks and Sagarmatha National Park as well. Everest region remains one of the finest works of nature as it bears the most diverse geography in all of Nepal. From highland mountains to highland valleys and mid valleys, the geography of the region is enticing itself. The Himalayas in the Everest region includes peaks like Mount Everest (8,848m), Lhotse (8,414m), Makalu (8,463m), Cho Oyu (8,188m), Nuptse (7,861m), etc. which are also some of the highest mountains in the world. Sherpa is the main inhabitants with others like Rai, Chhetri, and Tamang forming the majority of the populace.

World Famous Trekking to Expedition

Adventure treks and get wonderful views

Khumbu valley is the highland region which is worldwide famous for trekking and hiking. Kirat Kulung or Rai and Sherpa are the main inhabitants in this region. It includes the town of Namche Bazaar as well as the villages of Thame, Khumjung, Pangboche, Pheriche, and Khunde. The famous Buddhist monastery at Tengboche is also located in the Khumbu. The Khumbu region flaunts exquisite vistas of several ranges from various viewpoints as well as paves ways to base camps of the Sagarmatha, one which starts from Namche Bazaar and goes up to 5364 meters at the base camp. Limiting oneself to Everest Base Camp Trek would be shallow as the Everest region is more than that.

The Sagarmatha National Park, a renowned World Heritage site, features conserved endangered species of snow leopards, blue goats, mountain sheep, and so on. The treks in this region showcase the enthralling peaks and their ranges perfectly arranged before the backdrop of a clear blue sky and the glistening sun. The Khumjung village is famous for Sherpa culture which incorporates their legendary cuisine entirely consisting of barley and buckwheat. Sit down with the locals and take on the famous Tongba (processed malt beer) which not only warms you up for the extreme cold weather but rewards you with medical benefits as well. Gokyo valley and Khumbu valley are the major Himalayan valleys famous among the adventure and nature seekers. Gokyo Lake Trek, Three Passes Trek, Island peak climbing, Mera Peak climbing, Mount Everest Expedition, Ama Dablam Expedition, and Lobuche peak climbing are other popular adventure trips in Everest Region.

Everest Region Treks

Gokyo lake
Gokyo lake

The trek to Everest Base Camp includes only 14 days at the most but offers the same spectacular sceneries as when actually climbing the peak. With the support of an experienced crew and guides and enough rest days, the trek won’t leave you feeling too exhausted but instead rejuvenated and healthy. Gokyo Lake Trek carries various elements of the Everest Base Camp trek yet is able to provide a different experience due to its less busy seasonal grounds. The fairly moderate trek reaches up to 5360m at Gokyo Ri and shows the panoramic scene of Sagarmatha and its ranges along with a wide view of the Gokyo lakes. Similarly, the Three Passes Trek is rather adventurous than the two mentioned above as the trek crosses three of the highest passes in the region, namely: Renjo La (5360m), Cho La (5420m), and Kongma La (5535m).

Best time to Travel

September to November is the ideal time to enjoy trekking or any other mountaineering activities in the region. Due to the onset of autumn, during this time, the mountains look much livelier with the sky clear and with the ‘just right’ temperature.  

For the mountain lovers who do not have ample time, mountain flights and helicopter tours in the September-November early mornings provide you a face to face encounter with the giant minus the hard work. Even shorter treks like Everest Heli Trek are available for those in the time crunch.

The Everest region is defined by Sagarmatha but is not limited to it. Give this magical destination a thought and you’ll be surprised by the number of activities you will find worth doing here. Set your dates because the Everest region will guarantee you the best time of your life.

Tourism Year [Visit Nepal 2020]

Lifetime Experiences: Visit Nepal 2020

Travel, explore and learn—the three truths of life that will keep you moving forward towards happier times. Specifically however, travel to Nepal, explore this Southeast Asian nation’s natural wonders and learn the roots of the harmonic diverse culture it lays its foundation on. Snuggly fitted between two giants India in the south and China in the north, Nepal co-exists peacefully within these landlocked borders living up to its name of being the birthplace of the Enlightened Gautam Buddha. With a history of more than 5000 years, Nepal remains one of the few countries in the world which flourished on its own natural grounds of sacred culture without having to surrender to any colonist rule. Nepal today has embodied the past and the present with a rather tranquil approach and is ready to set out for the future to welcome travelers of around the globe for the ultimate tourism campaign: Visit Nepal 2020.

As the government has set a target to bring in two million tourists each year by 2020, the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) has planned to organise ‘Visit Nepal Year’ in 2020 to attract more tourists to the country.  Nepal is set to share its ethereal beauty and competence to foreign tourists with efforts to promote a number of tourist targeted destinations and activities around the country. If Nepal had never crossed your mind for being an epic travel destination, it’s time you put it at the top of your list because no other country will offer the exquisite mix of nature and culture. From the 8000m and above peaks that touch the sky in the north and the deep gorges that cut hills into beautifully arranged vista in the south, this little nation is bound to leave you in awe by the unbelievable natural sceneries across the land. The ridges and mountains in the north is perfect for activities like trekking, peak climbing, mountain expeditions and so on while tours, jungle safaris and hiking are the best for plains and hills of the central and southern regions. Point anywhere on the map of Nepal, you’ll find at least one activity to do!

Some of the finest trek routes circle around great peaks like the Everest, Annapurna, Manaslu and Kanchenjunga. Others take you on a journey to the off beaten track that lead to quiet, untouched and equally enthralling valleys of Upper Mustang, Dolpa and Tsum. Pick your ability level and the resources you have and you’ll find a perfectly customized trek for you keeping in mind your convenience and comfort. Jungle safaris through the emerald forests of Chitwan, Khaptad and Bardiya will take you on a magical journey consisting of magical encounters with rare and conserved endangered species like the Bengal tiger, red pandas, one horned rhinoceros, snow leopards and others to name a few. For the botanists, you will be entering into treasure haven as special herbs, shrubs and trees are found plenty due to the diverse ecosystem.

Go on city tours to the famous historical valley of Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur where you can clearly see how the past meets the present. Ancient houses with discreetly beautiful architecture are found scattered throughout the city and remain as work of arts of legendary architects and crafters of ancient times. Walk into the three durbar squares of the three cities and you can find similarities among difference, all of them unique on their own but bearing the same atmosphere of preserved monumental sites. Among the popular heritage sites are the Pashupatinath, Swayambhunath, Naytapola, 55 Windows and others. Once your city tour is over, sit down at local food places which will offer you as diverse cuisine as the ethnic groups of Nepal. Always opt for at least one plate of Momo but don’t be afraid to try the local Newari cuisine consisting of sweet Yomari to spicy Chowilla. Guzzle down Tibetan tea or just opt for a true Nepali person’s staple diet of Daal (lentil soup), Bhat (rice) and Tarkari (steamed vegetables). The cuisine depends upon where you are and who the locals are so don’t be surprised if you can’t choose among the plethora o options.

One of the biggest parts of Nepal is the Nepali culture which is the epitome of harmony and tolerance between hundreds of diverse culture and the biggest part of these cultures are their festivals. Observe the epic celebration of Dashain and Tihar in mid to late October, the core festivals of the population. The communities like the Gurung, Tamang and Sherpa celebrate Lhosar, which consists of huge gathering of families coming together to have a good time. Experience a new take of Buddha Jayanti in Lumbini and Tiji festival in Upper Mustang.   

You don’t need to spend a lot for a memorable time. So, book your tickets for Nepal because 2020 will bring you lifetime experiences you will never forget!