Explore Himalaya President Suman Pandey Elected Secretary/Treasurer of PATA

Posted Oct 15th, 2020 under Blog, Company News,

Suman Pandey
Suman Pandey, Explore Himalaya President and the former Chairman of Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Nepal Chapter (2013- 2018), has been elected as the Secretary/Treasurer of PATA, the largest international travel association working for the responsible development of travel and tourism to, from and within the Asia Pacific region. Mr. Pandey was voted in against his Malaysian counterpart through a virtual voting on 12th October. The newly appointed Executive Board is led by Chairman Soon-Hwa. As a member of the Executive Board, Mr. Pandey, together with his team, is responsible for developing strategies to support tourism boards across Asia Pacific with focus on post-Covid future and beyond. The new Executive Board members were confirmed at the PATA Annual General Meeting held online on October 14, 2020.

Suman Pandey, the President of Explore Himalaya, CEO of Fishtail Air and Directors of Summit Air, Aloft Kathmandu Hotel & Chhaya Center, is an acclaimed tourism professional with 30 years of experience in Nepali Tourism. Notable for his innovative approach and diverse engagements with specialization in the Himalayan Adventure, he is accredited for his leadership role in various organizations including PATA Nepal Chapter, Nepal Tourism Board, Trekking Agent’s Association of Nepal, Airline Operators’ Association of Nepal etc. He is especially known for his remarkable initiation in various historical events including Everest Skydive (Since 2008), Kala Patthar Cabinet Meeting of Nepal Government (2009), First Himalayan Travel Mart (2017) etc.

Mr. Pandey’s  remarkable contributions in Nepali Tourism is complimented by various accolades including “Suprasidha Gorkha Dakshin Bahu” from the King of Nepal in 2004; “Tourism Icon” by the Nepal Association of Tourism Journalists in 2018; a “Lifetime Achievement Award” by tourism publication Gantabya Nepal in 2017; “Tourism Man of the year” by Gantabya Nepal in 2010; and a “Lifetime Achievement Award” for contributions in tourism by the “American Biographical Institute” (ABI) based in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA in 2008, to name a few.

On being elected, Mr. Pandey said, “It is a great honor to have been elected as the new Secretary/Treasurer. My focus will be both on the synergetic management of the team and the continual development of the region’s travel industry. In taking on this role, I commit to work together with the Executive Team, management team and our all members for the responsible growth of PATA and the whole tourism communities.”

We would like to congratulate Mr. Pandey and the newly appointed Team! We wish the Team every success for all the challenges that lie ahead.

 

Coronavirus Threat in Nepal Update #2

Posted Mar 11th, 2020 under Blog, Company News, Tourism News,

Following our first update on coronavirus threat in Nepal, please find our second update as follows.

coronavirus threat in Nepal

Source: https://news.un.org/

1. Taking into account the global recommendations and measure of the WHO, the Government of Nepal has decided to temporarily suspend visa-on-arrival for the nationals of the following 8 countries (to be effective from 10th March till the date of further notice). The Government has added 3 countries to the prior list of 5 countries.

i. People’s Republic of China (including Special Administrative Regions)
ii. Islamic Republic of Iran
iii. Italy
iv. Republic of Korea
v. Japan
vi. France
vii. Germany
viii. Spain (Source: Department of Immigration, Government of Nepal)

2. The nationals of these 8 countries can obtain visa beforehand from the Nepali Missions abroad after submitting a recently issued health certificate stating that they are not infected by COVID-19. Those who have already got the prior visa from the mission and embassies of Nepal abroad are to provide health certificate that proves COVID-19 negative along with their travel document upon their arrival at Tribhuwan International Airport. The health certificate must be recently produced maximum 7 days earlier before the time of arrival in Nepal. (Source: Department of Immigration, Government of Nepal)

3. The nationals of these 8 countries are strongly recommended to use Tribhuwan International Airport as the only entry and exit point. Rest of the land POE (Point of Entry and Exit) in Nepal are temporarily suspended till the date of further notice. (Source: Department of Immigration, Government of Nepal)

4. At Tribhuwan International Airport, the preventive safety measures like thermal scanner, thermal gun and disinfectant spray are being continued with 24/7 Health Desk and Ambulance service. (Source: Tribhuwan International Airport Civil Aviation Office)

5. As of March 06, a total of 437 samples have been tested out of which 436 have proved corona negative. (Source: Ministry of Health, Government of Nepal)

We hope our second phase update on coronavirus threat in Nepal helps you to be informed. We shall keep you updated!

For more information:
i. Tribhuwan International Airport Civil Aviation Office – https://www.tiairport.com.np/
ii. Department of Immigration – http://nepalimmigration.gov.np/
iii. Ministry of Health and Population – http://heoc.mohp.gov.np/
iv. Nepal Tourism Board – https://www.welcomenepal.com/
v. Sukraraj Trpical and Infectious Disease Hospital – http://stidh.gov.np/home

Everest Base Camp Trek Distance, Time and Elevation

Posted Feb 26th, 2020 under Blog, Photo Essay, Travel Guide, Trekking & Hiking,

It’s a known fact that Everest Base Camp Trek is a very rewarding highland adventure. Flying to thrilling Lukla Airport, walking past quaint Sherpa villages and breathtaking landscape, and finally getting real close to Everest, the highest of all peaks in the world, Everest Base Camp Trek is definitely a whole new level of experience. As expected of any trekking in Nepal, it also involves a lot of walking (continuously for about 11/12 days) in the alpine terrain. So, anyone interested to undertake trekking in Nepal is sure to ask mandatory questions like how high? how far? and how many hours.  However, there is absolutely no reason to get worried – we are making things easier for you! Below we have listed some major facts on distance, time and elevation involved in Everest Base Camp Trek. Please note that we have used a standard itinerary to provide a general overview of the trek, though there can be some side treks and different stopovers depending on individual requirement.

Gorak Shep to Everest Base CampSummary of distance, time and elevation

  1. Distance in Everest Base Camp: The total distance in Everest Base Camp trek (Lukla-Everest Base Camp-Lukla) is about 130km round trip (65 km each way). Normal number of days to cover the distance is 11/12 days. So, you will be walking roughly about 11 km in about 6 hours a day in average. As the terrain is rocky with switchbacks (gradual ascent and descent), the pace will be slow about 2.5 km an hour. So, distance in Everest Base Camp Trek is achievable for people of all ages. As you need to acclimatize while going up, it takes 9 days to reach the Base Camp (including the 2 acclimatization days) and just 3 days to return to Lukla.
  2. Elevation in Everest Base Camp Trek : Everest Base Camp Trek is not a very technical trekking. However, elevation is a bit of challenge that needs to be considered of. The very starting point of the trek, Lukla Airport itself is at an altitude of 2860m. Lukla Airport, known as Tenzing Hillary Airport, is popularly known as one of the most adventurous airports in the world due to its tricky runway perched on a cliff. The highest point you reach is 5545m (Kala Patthar), an amazing viewpoint to savor the beauty of Everest and her sister peaks. Though the altitude variation looks extreme, the itinerary is planned in such a way that your body gets enough time to acclimatize. An average elevation gain ranges from 400m to 800m per day. When you gain significantly high altitude in a particular day, the next day will usually be the rest day to acclimatize. As a whole, elevation in Everest Base Camp Trek defines both the challenge and joy.

Day to day distance, time and elevation

To get a more comprehensive idea on the distance, time (walking hours) and elevation, here is a day-to-day break down of the standard Everest Base Camp Trek with en-route highlights.

Day 1: Lukla to Phakding 

Phakding

Distance Walking Hours Elevation Gain

 

9 km

 

4 hours 2860m – 2656m

En-route Highlights: mani walls and boulders, villages like Cheplung, Lhawa and Ghat, suspension bridge (first one of six such bridges in the trail)

Day 2: Phakding to Namche       

Namche

Distance Walking Hours Elevation Gain

 

12 km

 

6 hours 2656m – 3440m

En-route Highlights: Monjo (National Park Entry point, Entry Permit Check Point), Jorsalle, 4 suspension bridges (3 above Dudh Koshi and 1 above Imja Khola, the iconic one seen in movies), approximately 700m vertical climb before reaching Namche – shouldn’t be taken lightly as you will set off for the climb right after your lunch and when you have to walk uphill in altitude right after meal, it can’t so easy. This uphill climb is the first of the two tough climbs you will have in Everest Base Camp Trek.

Day 3: Rest Day at Namche

Khumjung Village

Distance Walking Hours Elevation Gain

 

6 km

 

4 hours 3440m – 3880m – 3440m

Activities:

  1. Visit to Sherpa Culture Museum, Sagarmatha National Park Museum ( about 100m above Namche) & Monastery
  2. Hiking to Khumjung/Khunde (3790m- about 2 km from Namche) – about 400m climb from Namche to Syangboche Airport and continue to Khunde and Khumjung
  3. Hiking to Hotel Everest View (3880m – about 2.5 km from Namche) – about 400m climb from Namche to Synagboche Airport and continue to the hotel
  4. Hiking in a loop Namche-Syangboche-Khunde-Khumjung-Hotel Everest View-Namche; you can also choose to stay overnight in Khumjung or Hotel Everest View

En- route Highlights: Views of Everest, Nupste, Lhotse and Ama Dablam; Khunde Hospital, Khumjung School, Khumjung Monastery, Hotel Everest View (one of the highest hotels in the world) etc.

Day 4: Namche to Deboche

Tengboche Monastery

Distance Walking Hours Elevation Gain

 

11 km

 

6 hours 3440m-3734m

En-route Highlights:  Views of Everest, Nupste, Lhotse and Ama Dablam; a suspension bridge over Imja Khola , after about 300m downhill walk to Punki Tenga; about 500m of climb to Tengboche (second of the two vertical climbs after Namche climb), Tengboche Monastery (3867m – 10 km, 5 hours)

Day 5: Deboche to Dingboche

Lower Pangboche Village

Distance Walking Hours Elevation Gain

 

11 km

 

6 hours 3734m – 4410m

En-route Highlights: Views of towering Amadablam and Nuptse; Everest starts to hide behind the Nuptse wall; Pangboche Village (3985m- about 3 km, 2 hours) combination of 2 settlements lower and upper; Pangboche Monastery with its famed yeti skull; Pangboche is also the last village for Amadablam expedition – climbers go to Amadablam Base Camp via Pangboche; consistently flat trail throughout; crossroad one leading to Pheriche and other leading to Dingboche

Day 6: Rest Day at Dingboche

Dingboche Village

Distance Walking Hours Elevation Gain

 

 

i. 1.5 km (if Nangkar Tshang Hill)

ii. 11 km (if Chhukung Village & Chukkung Ri)

 

i. 3 hours (includes steep climb)

ii. 6 hours

 

i. 4410m – 5083m

ii. 4410m –  4730m – 5550m

 

Amadablam View from Nangkar Tshang

Activities:

  1. Hiking to Nangkar Tshang Hill (5083m, about 700m high from Dingboche, 2.5 hours) which sounds like Nagarjun (Nepali word of Sanskrit origin), at first steady climb and later on steep. Nangkar Tshang hill is right behind Dingboche village.
  2. Hiking to Chhukung Village (4730m, about 5km, 1.5 hours) – the last village before Island Peak, can continue to Chhukung Ri (5550m, about 820m high from Chhukung Village, 3 hours) if you want to push yourself a bit harder –  in this case an early start from Dingboche is required.

En-route Highlights:  From Nangkar Tshang Hill 360 degree views of Mt. Makalu, Lhotse, Cho Oyu, Island peak, Amadablam, Kangtega , Thamserku , Taboche, and Cholatse ; From Chhukung Ri impressive view of Imja Tse (Island Peak), Imja Glacier, Ama Dablam, Makalu and Nuptse

Day 7: Dingboche to Lobuche

Lobuche

Distance Walking Hours Elevation Gain

 

8.5 km

 

5 hours

 

4410m – 4910m

 

En-route Highlights: Views of Amadablam, Taboche and Cholatse;  Thukla – a riverside lunch stopover, A Memorial Park at Thukla Pass  – has about 100 memorials (called chhortens in local language) of those who died while climbing Everest  and other mountains including legendary climber Babu Chhiri Sherpa; Khumbu Glacier moraine

Day 8: Lobuche to Gorakshep (Base Camp hike)

 

Distance Walking Hours Elevation Gain

 

i. 4.3 km (Lobuche – Gorakshep)

ii. 3.5 km (Gorak Shep – Everest Base Camp)

 

i. 2.5 hours

ii. 5 hours for round trip (3 hours + 2 hours)

i. 4910m – 5140m

ii. 5140m – 5364m – 5140m

En-route Highlights: Khumbu Glacier, close up views of Pumori, Nuptse, Khumbutse, Lhola, Everest Base Camp, Tip of Everest (highlight of the whole trek)

Day 9: Morning Kala Pathhar hike; Gorakshep to Pheriche

Gorak Shep

Distance Walking Hours Elevation Loss

i. 1.2 km (Gorakshep – Kala Pathhar)

ii. 10 km (Gorak Shep – Pheriche)

i. 3.5 hours for round trip

ii. 5 hours

i. 5140m – 5545m – 5140m

ii. 5140m – 4371m

En-route Highlights: Spectacular sunrise view of Everest, Nuptse, Changtse, Lhotse etc.  from Kala Pathhar

Day 10: Pheriche to Namche

Pheriche with a backdrop of Amadablam

Distance Walking Hours Elevation Loss

 

14 km

 

7 hours 4371m – 3440m

En-route Highlights: Pangboche monastery; Tengboche monastery; Suspension bridge at Phunki

Tenga; views of Nupste, Everest, Amadablam, Kangtega Thamserku, Kongde Ri etc.

Pangboche village with monastery

 Day 11: Namche to Lukla

Distance Walking Hours Elevation Loss

 

18 km

 

7 hours 3440m – 2860m

En-route Highlights: 5 Suspension bridges, Dudh Koshi River; and of course trees (you might have almost forgotten about them)

 

 

Chitwan National Park, a World Heritage Site

Posted Feb 12th, 2020 under Blog, Wildlife & Bird Watching,

Chitwan National Park is a world heritage site and also the first national park in Nepal which is located in the mid-south Terai of Nepal. It is a huge block of alluvial grasslands and subtropical moist deciduous forests. It was established in 1973 in order to protect the endangered animals which was found there. A total of 68 species of mammals, 544 species of birds, 56 species of herpetofauna and 126 species of fish have been recorded in this park. It is really popular forone horned rhino, tigers and gharials.

chitwan national park

Chitwan National Park is also considered as the heart of the jungle found along the foot of the Himalayas. Several activities that can be done in Chitwan are;

Jungle walk:

  • Jungle walk is the opportunity to explore and experience the beauty of the flora and fauna. It may be of 1 to 5 days depends upon curiosity of the guest.

Canoe trip:

  • Canoeing is the typical handmade dugout canoe on either the Rapti or the Buddha Rapti River, which border the national park. There are chances to see two types of crocodiles, Gharial and Mugger basking on the riverbank.

Village tour/Cultural programme:

  • The native people of Chitwan are Tharu who offers guided cultural tours to meet the people and experience their traditional self-sufficient way of life. They also perform traditional Tharu folk dance at hotels and invite guests to join them in their rhythmic display.

Elephant breeding center:

  • This is recognized as the first elephant breeding center in Asia where baby elephants socialize with their parents and other babies owned by government on the purpose to raise the young elephants.

Jungle drive:

  • To track rare species four wheel jeep drive is prefered in the less disturbed areas. And the facilities inside the park are not available during the monsoon.

Bird watching:

  • Visitors will have great opportunity to see many species of birds in early morning. Elephant back safari,an elephant back ride is one of the safest ways to enter jungle and see the wild life as it is anexciting never to be forgotten experience.

Elephant bath:

  • Riding on the bare back of elephant and go to the Rapti river for swimming and washing them is great fun to play.

Tower stay:

  • There is a tower in the middle of the jungle where you can spend the whole night and feel real nature surroundings.

Crocodile breeding center:

  •  Gharial crocodile is one of the endangered species of the world. To protect them, UN has established the crocodile breeding center where we product the large number of Gharials and release them in the River.

Bicycle tour:

  • During the ride you will get to visit 20,000 lakes area, which afford a varied experience of birds and mammals.

There are three ways of transportation from Kathmandu to Chitwan; bus, car or flight. The road distance is 154.1 km. The cheapest way of transportation is by bus which costs  $5 – $7 and takes 5/6 hours approximately. There is a direct bus departing from Kathmandu and arriving at Chitwan Sauraha. The quickest way of transportation is to fly which costs approximately $110 and takes 30 mins.  It takes approximately 5/6 hours to drive from Kathmandu to Sauraha by car. There are 138+ hotels available in Sauraha. Prices start at $100 per night.

A Peek at Patan Durbar Square

Posted Feb 14th, 2020 under Blog,

Being one of the 3 durbar squares situated in Lalitpur, Kathmandu valley, Patan Durbar Square is one of the greatest attractions of Kathmandu. Being the oldest Buddhist city in the world, Lalitpur also known as Patan or Yala, is extremely popular for its artistic heritage. On its own, Patan Durbar Square consists of 3 main stupas out of the 4 stupas in Patan. Patan has about 136 bahals or courtyards and 55 major temples and most of these structures are in the vicinity of the Durbar Square. The Durbar Square is a marvel of Newari architecture. The square floor is tiled with red bricks. There are many temples and idols in the area. The main temples are aligned opposite of the western face of the palace. The entrance of the temples faces east, towards the palace. There is also a bell situated in alignment beside the main temples.

Patan Durbar Square

One of the major attractions of Patan Durbar Square includes the Patan museum, which is filled with bronze statues and religious objects. Other major temples that attract the eyes of everyone are as follows:

•KRISHNA MANDIR
Krishna temple is the most important temple in Patan Durbar Square. It was built in the local variety of Shikhara style called Granthakuta. The stone carvings along the beam above the first and second-floor pillar are most notable. The first-floor pillar carvings narrate the events of the Mahabharata, while on the second floor there are visual carvings from Ramayana. King Siddhi Narsingh Malla built the temple in 1667. It is said that one night the King saw Lord Krishna and his consort Srimati Radha standing in front
of the royal palace. He ordered a temple to be built on the same spot.

•BHIMSEN MANDIR
Srinivasa Malla built Bhimsen temple in 1680. It is renowned for its three interconnected golden windows. Bhimsen is a great personality in Mahabharata. He was known to be brave and strong. In Newari culture, he is traditionally worshiped as a god of business and trade. Tourists are not allowed inside the temple.

•VISHWANATH MANDIR
Vishwanath Temple is dedicated to God Shiva. It was built in 1627 during the reign of Siddhi Narsingh Malla. The roof supports are decorated with erotic carvings similar to imagery widespread in Shiva temples in India. Two stone elephants in the front entrance guard the temple. On the other side of the temple is the sculpture of a bull, Shiva’s vehicle. A stone linga is enshrined inside the temple.

•TALEJU BHAWANI MANDIR
Taleju temple was built by Siddhi Narsingh Malla in 1640 and rebuilt by Srinivasa Malla
in 1667 after a fire. Taleju Bhawani was the patron deity of the Malla kings. It is a five-storey temple with triple-roofs. Other than the local treasures, one of the things that is notable about Patan Durbar Square is its ambiance. There are a lot of hang out places and restaurants in the area that have helped in appealing the youths and visitors. The place exudes a different vibe than the one you’ll get in the Kathmandu city just a couple of minutes away. The afternoon time is especially the most favorable time to roam the streets of Patan Durbar Square. The light during sunset gleams through the structures of the monuments and gives mesmerizing view.

When it comes to food, there are plenty of Newari eateries near Patan Durbar Square serving ethnic cuisines. Patan is also considered the heaven for Newari cuisines. Apparently, you can find Newari eateries on every alley or galley of the city largely known to locals only. Beside food, you can also find local drinks Aila (liquor) and Thwon (beer) in those eateries. Patan Durbar Square is indeed a must-visit place if you want to soak in the cultural richness of the Valley.

Happy Explorers

The meeting and handling was excellent. Everything worked! Good tents and facilities (dining & toilet tents). For young mountaineers I suggest an extra day/camp between Kyangjin Gompa and High Camp, some where around 4,400m.

- Jussi Nummelin, Finland Read Testimonials | Submit Your Testimonial

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