Why to Visit Nepal in 2020? The answer is simple! The Shangri-la, Himalayan jewel, trekkers’ paradise – Nepal boasts a long list of eulogies in its name. Indeed Nepal, a tiny country tucked between two Asian giants China and India, defines what it means to be “Small is beautiful”. The land of contrasts and diversity, the country has world’s 8 highest mountains and world’s deepest gorge; roaring Himalayan rivers and tranquil freshwater lakes; evergreen tropical forests of Bengal Tiger and the home of Snow Leopard! The culture is as diverse as its landscape – more than 100 ethnic groups with their own religion and language coexist in this deceptively small country. You can also witness the incredible fusion of Buddhism and Hinduism, which is one of its kind, not to be found elsewhere. So, the land is simply a replica of heaven if there exists any. Now, this land of wonders is all set to welcome 20 million visitors in “Visit Nepal 2020” campaign.
The campaign is launched by Nepal Government as a part of its promotional initiative to develop Nepal as a premier destination among international travelling community. However, this is not the first time Nepal Government is promoting the country. It all began in 1998, when the country launched its first promotional campaign as Visit Nepal 1998, followed by another one in 2011 as Nepal Tourism Year. Following these years’ successes, Nepal is now anticipating the 2020 campaign with much hope and excitement. Though, Nepal has always lured travellers but Visit Nepal Year 2020 is going to be extra delightful. So, if you are new to the country, the time is not to be missed to make your debut Himalayan adventure. Or, if you have already been here, be prepared to make your trip more eventful. We have listed some of the amazing things you can do while you are in Nepal in 2020.
Though it may sound like a cliché to say that Nepal is a trekkers’ paradise, it is in fact a big truth! Mountains are dreamlike, Hills are mystifying, Valleys are enchanting, and most importantly options are plenty! What else do hungry feet need? Trekking in Nepal normally means walking from low elevated mid-hill towns, passing through lush green rolling hills and gradually gaining elevation to the Himalayan landmarks where the natural vistas are matchless. Depending on your wish and fitness level, trekking adventure of any grade and any length can be done. All you need is your willingness to meet the mountains.
If mountains bring out the best in you, or you crave for some serious alpine adventure, Nepal is by default the best destination. The wide section of 800 kilometer long Nepali Himalayan section that includes world’s 8 highest mountains offers world class mountaineering adventures. Either you are a beginner or an old hand at mountains, you have a wide range of choices from less technical 5/6000m+ (trekking peaks) to highly technical eight thousanders (expedition peaks). There are more than 300 mountains in Nepal that are open for climbing with more than 100 virgin peaks. So, the choices are endless.
It’s quite understandable that Nepal always conjures up the world of towering mountains and distant valleys in everyone’s mind. However, Nepal is not just about meeting mountains only. Beside its natural wonders, the country is also a home to more than 100 ethnic groups resulting in diverse cultural displays. The country is a proud owner of various languages, religions including the unique fusion of Buddhism and Hinduism, multiple festivals, colorful celebrations, age-old folklores and unique practices. It’s not for nothing that Nepal is called a cultural trove of South Asia! Cultural tours of ancient towns and heritage sites are a great way to experience the cultural wonders of Nepal.
Nepal’s unique topography and extreme altitudinal range from 67m in the south to 8848 m (Mt Everest) in the north caters 11 bio-climatic zones resulting in one of the world’s most treasured biodiversity. Though Nepal occupies about 0.1 % of the world’s landmass, it harbors 3.2 % and 1.1 % of the world’s known flora and fauna. This rich natural heritage is preserved in country’s 20 protected areas (10 national parks, 3 wildlife reserves, 6 conservation areas and 1 hunting reserve). So, Nepal is a paradise for wildlife lovers and bird watchers. You can do ample of activities from thrilling jungle safaris to tranquil bird watching sessions in the exotic wilderness of Nepal.
As if mountaineering, trekking, cultural tours, wildlife tours aren’t just enough! Nepal also hosts a wide variety of adventure sports ranging from extreme aerial sport like Everest Skydive to more traditional sport like mountain biking. The winding Himalayan rivers, extreme terrains, deep gorges and stupendous waterfalls just make perfect spots for adrenaline junkies and outdoor adventurers to unleash their mad monkeys. Skydiving, Bunjee Jumping, Paragliding, Ultra light flight, White Water Rafting, Mountain Biking, Canyoning, Zip Flying and Rock Climbing are very popular among adventure lovers. So, either you are a soft adventurer or an intrepid soul, Nepal has brilliant things for you!
Nepal is full of surprises! You might have already seen half of the mountains but the country still has so many things to show you. There are many unique things, definitely not as bizarre as going for yeti hunting, but are still not less interesting than any trendy activities. Honey Hunting, Shamanism Tour, Photography Tour, Culinary Tour, Motor Bike Tour, Volunteering, Visiting off the beaten places, Learning Buddhism, and Yoga and Meditation Tour are just some of the unique things you can do here. It is as if you spend your entire life here and you would never be able to see everything.
The mind is everything. What you think you become. — Buddha! One of the greatest truths Buddha has spoken clearly attests the importance of our mind in our deeds. Our mind’s under working does impact hugely in whatever we do or what we make of ourselves. The prominence of mind is even more pertinent if we are undertaking an adventure in Nepal like Everest Base Camp Trekking, which can be both apprehensive and overwhelming at the same time. Normally people focus on physical fitness only when they think of such adventure, but it’s equally important, or even more, to be mentally prepared to go out of your comfort zone and push your limits.
It is generally considered that mental fortitude is something one is born with. But mental fitness is just like physical fitness that can be developed and maintained. You can adopt some strategies to rely on when you are not in your element, especially when the trek gets difficult and you start feeling your inner self shaking. Below are a few ideas that will help you before and during Everest Base Camp Trekking:
Be clear about your adventure thoroughly. You also need to understand why you are doing this and what it means to you. Though the adventure is same, people have their own purpose of doing it. Knowing about your trip and your objective prepares you for what to expect. You will be in alignment with your convictions. This way, whatever comes next won’t be shockingly surprising to you. Do a bit of soul-searching interview with yourself. Remember you will be counting on yourself, and no one else!
Just now, we have agreed to think but it doesn’t mean you need to think it over and over. Stop over thinking! It’s ok to be excited about your trip but being anxious or obsessive will just rob you off your peace of mind and you will be tired and drained even before you start your trip. Even during the trip at the time of challenging moments like longer trails, high passes or sheer descent, stay focused and seize the moment but don’t carry the burden of challenges in your mind all the time. If you feel the strain is too much, let your mind relax and wander and think about pleasant things you have done – there is no harm in being a little escapist!
Everest Base Camp trek is a long and challenging adventure, about 10 days’ trekking in the wilderness of the Himalayas. So it’s easy to feel lost or overwhelmed due to the enormity of the adventure. Breaking it into smaller phases will make things achievable. You can divide the trip into sections like pre-trekking, during trekking and post trekking, and even smaller sections while doing trekking. Just concentrate on the section you are doing that day. Like a Zen monk be “here and now”. This way, you won’t be succumbed to the pressure of the adventure.
Though slow and steady has been outdated now, it’s still the way of mountains. So, don’t attempt any quick fix as the trail is long and not easy. Don’t haste, learn the art of patience. As mountain life has its own pace, there is no sense in being carried away by your impulses and emotions. Adventure is not a race – Relax, Enjoy and Take Your Time!
Trekking is of course a kind of “me-time” but the plain fact is it’s not an indulgence or luxury. It could be a bit easier in other parts of the world, but in the Himalayas – adventure does come with price. Terrain is rugged, temperature is extreme, region is remote and life is difficult. So, naturally facilities are basic. Accommodation is in basic teahouses with basic food and amenities. And most of the time choices are limited. For a western traveller, you really need to stretch your comfort zone. So, be prepared to have a different kind of experience.
In the land of mountains, we go by their rules. Respect the mountains and people. Be open minded and shed your judgements. Cultivate child-like curiosity. This way you can let go much of the mental strains that can be caused by new environment. The thumb rule is “Wander and Wonder” – the rest will be fine!
Everest Base Camp Trek is love at first sight! Whoever hears about it falls for it. But this beautiful package of adventure comes with some sort of challenges. That’s why whoever thinks of doing this trek asks one mandatory question “How fit do I need to be?”
Though the question connotes some sort of apprehension, the answer is simple “People of moderate fitness level can do it!” Ah such a relief! It is actually true that you don’t need to be super fit or in best shape with athlete physique. The trekking is not technical and you don’t need previous experience in altitudes. But the “moderate level of fitness” does demand some efforts from your side. After all you are covering 120 km (round trip) gaining approximately 300 m each day in one of the most extreme terrains in the world.
So, keeping fit does help a lot. But you don’t need to freak out! Trekking in the Himalayas requires some sort of playful seriousness. You should be concerned but without overshadowing the fun part. In short, with right preparation, right pace and right attitude, the mountains will welcome you wholeheartedly!
Here are some training tips we recommend you for Everest Base Camp Trek.
Tip 1: Walk Walk Walk
All you will be doing in the trek is hiking. You will be walking for 9-10 days with an average of 5-8 hours (approx. 15 km) per day. Though the distance you cover doesn’t sound very challenging but you will be basically walking uphill on rocky terrain with your each step gaining altitude. So, importance of hiking practice is not an overstatement.
Practising hiking helps you to get used to with the pace. Begin 7-8 weeks prior to the trek with about 2 hours each day and slowly increase the duration up to 5/6 hours. The best thing to do is simulation hiking in wilderness carrying some weight. This way you will know the spot in your body you need to strengthen. Don’t forget to wear the hiking boots you will be using in the trek as new shoes can give blisters. The thought of it alone can give you a nightmare! Try the boots in some steep terrain and try to find trouble spots. Lightweight boots with good ankle support, plenty of toe room for long descents, a stiff sole to lessen twisting torsion are the best.
Tip 2: Cardio Workouts
Any kind of cardio workout is good for Everest Base Camp Trek. It can be simple jogging, swimming, cycling or even treadmill walking. Or you can take help from YouTube where you can get many great ideas. Just make sure that you experience deeper breathing and light sweating during the workouts. You can do it about 30-45 minutes 2 or 3 times a week. It helps your body to work hard and adjust your pace with less oxygen. Though fitness level doesn’t determine how easily you acclimatize, cardio workouts will optimize your endurance chances. It will allow you to enjoy the views and bask in the beauty of the region rather than you bending over and struggling to catch your breath.
Tip 3: Strength Training
Trekking is simply walking, a basic natural activity humans have been doing all the time. However we do it in low oxygen conditions, which makes our breathing a bit harder and we get tired much faster. So, it’s highly beneficial if you increase your endurance and work on the leg muscles. Though the above mentioned tips (hiking and cardio) will help you a lot, the strength workouts will definitely improve your trekking performance. So, you can include squats, pull ups, push ups, weighted step- ups and lunges in your regular strength routine, about 30-45 minutes 2 or 3 times a week. You can schedule cardio and strength alternatively. Don’t overdo it, take your time and schedule it comfortably.
Finally, the most important tip is you should always consult your doctor before taking trekking challenges. It’s really important to know your body. Though it’s your soul that takes the pleasure of the experience, your body is going to bear the whole thrust. However, let me repeat once again, physical fitness doesn’t guarantee acclimatization but your fitness level does make the difference on how you experience your adventure. So, be fit, the rest will be fine!
All the best for your adventure in the Himalayas!!!!
What is happening?
Change of Lukla Flights, Now it’s all certain! Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA)/Kathmandu Airport will close from 10 pm to 8 am every day for runway maintenance from April 1st to June 30th 2019. This operation is going to impact all international and domestic flights but the most affected will be the flights to Lukla. Every season thousands of tourists fly to Lukla to complete their dream of trekking to Everest Base Camp, climbing Mera Peak, Island Peak or Lobuche Peak. Besides, all Everest expeditions from the south side also operate via Lukla, Change of Lukla Flights.
What does this mean to you?
Change of Lukla Flights, During this time, all flights to/from Lukla are rerouted from Kathmandu Airport to Manthali Airport, Ramechhap as the Kathmandu Airport will be shut down completely from 10 pm to 8 am every day.
Though the flight time will be comparatively shorter (50 minutes for round trip), you are required to travel to Ramechhap from Kathmandu to catch your Lukla flight and retrace the same route while returning back to the city. Due to this new arrangement, there are certain things you should know before travelling to Lukla.
In the meantime, please be informed that there will still be a couple of flights from Kathmandu to Lukla after 8 am once the airport opens but we don’t think it will be sensible to wait for those flights. The air traffic and landings at the airport can cause delays and we all know that the weather in Lukla is slightly notorious. The later the flights, the higher the chances for the weather in Lukla to go unfavorable. So, the best option is to fly to Lukla via Manthali Airport.
Where is Manthali Airport?
Manthali Airport (493 m. /1617 ft) is situated approximately 132 km east of Kathmandu on the bank of Tama Koshi River in Manthali, a municipality and headquarter of Ramechhap district. As it is the closest airport in the eastern part of Nepal from Kathmandu, the airport poses itself as the best option to fly to Lukla in the present situation. The airport also used to operate Lukla flights during air traffic congestion at Kathmandu Airport (TIA) in the past.
How to get there?
You can travel to Manthali Airport by road. It takes about 4-5 hours to reach there depending on the traffic. As you will have to reach Manthali early to catch your flight, you can either travel there one day prior to the flight or leave Kathmandu very early in the morning around 3 am. In both cases, it’s better to take a private transfer to Manthali as the local transfer timings do not match with the flight timings. More specifically, you don’t get any early morning local buses. And in their regular run also, you can never be sure about their punctuality.
*If you have booked your travel arrangements from travel agencies or directly with the airlines, they should take care of your transportation, which in most likely case will be a private transfer.
Where to stay?
Manthali is not a very well facilitated place as it is not used to receiving a huge number of travelers. Accommodation facilities are limited and the service is basic. Due to the present situation with many travelers travelling via Manthali this season, it is very likely that you will not find an accommodation easily. Also, flight crew and staffs from the airlines will be occupying most of the hotels in the area.
So, in this situation, a better option for you is to go for accommodations at Mulkot, from where Manthali Airport is just an hour’s drive. Accommodations at Mulkot are far better and you will also save the trouble of finding an accommodation in Manthali.
What we think is best for you?
To tackle this situation, Explore Himalaya made a recent trip to Manthali to plan our operations and find the best solution for you. We think that driving early morning to Manthali for 4-5 hours and then boarding the Lukla flight half asleep will be very inconvenient for our clients. It will make your day very hectic and not leave you in a good spirit to start your trek up to Phakding or Monjo.
The best way to deal with this change is to drive to Mulkot one day earlier. Mulkot is a small settlement, from where Manthali Airport is just 37 km away (1 hour’s drive). This not only breaks the monotony of a long drive but also makes things comfortable for you as Mulkot has good standard accommodation facilities, which Manthali lacks. One can stay comfortably in a hotel in Mulkot, wake up at 5 am the next morning and drive an hour to the airport for the flight. This will not make the day tiring at all and the schedule of your trek will also not be affected.
Another reliable option – if you have pretty deep pockets – would be opting for a helicopter upgrade and flying to Lukla straight from Kathmandu. The Kathmandu helipad area will not be affected and you can have heli flight to Lukla from 6.30 am onwards. The upgrade could cost you a top up of USD 250-500 per person depending on the payload and availability.
We hope that this blog has been helpful to you. For any further queries, please feel free to contact Explore Himalaya at +977-1-4418 100, 4418 400 or write us to email@example.com
It’s no more a hidden fact that Nepal is a trekker’s paradise. Why wouldn’t it be, after all it’s the Land of Superlatives! Most of the highest mountains on Earth including the highest one Everest, the deepest gorge Kali Gandaki Gorge, the highest navigable pass Thorang-La, the highest Lake Tilicho are just a few of the wonders that Nepal has. However, dramatic landscape is not the only highlight of Nepal. Nepal is also a land of unbelievable natural beauty and rich cultural heritage. So, since Nepal opened its door to the world in 1950s, it has been welcoming quite an impressive portion of trekkers and wilderness fanatics to its iconic trekking regions. Let’s take a peek on top 5 trekking regions of Nepal.
1. Everest Region
Why Everest Region is the most favored trekking destination is quite self explanatory. However the region is not just the home of Everest! The Region, also known as Khumbu region, nestles an endless range of many other Himalayan giants, rich biodiversity of Sagarmatha National Park, the UNESCO World Heritage Site and unique Sherpa culture. In addition to that, the trail is quite well facilitated with comfortable local amenities, which gives the mountain lovers one more reason to visit the land of Everest.
2. Annapurna Region
When it comes to beauty and diversity, no other places in the world can beat Annapurna region. Rewarding views of some of the highest peaks along the Annapurna massif, diverse landscapes from subtropical to alpine to desertic rain shadow, deep gorges, challenging passes and time tested civilizations, the region is simply unbelievable. And as a cherry on top, the region also offers some of the easiest trekking options! No surprise, the region has been a mecca for trekkers all the time!
3. Manaslu Region
Manaslu Region is comparatively less facilitated than Everest and Annapurna region. However, the fact hasn’t made people less enthusiastic about the region. In fact, those who want to avoid butt-brushing crowd during peak seasons choose Manaslu area for more solitude and pristine experience. And they also get a chance of tête-à-tête with Mt. Manaslu, world’s eighth highest mountain.
4. Langtang Region
Langtang Region is a mere 19km from the Kathmandu Valley- just a stone’s throw away! And still it has all the highlights of the Himalaya – snow-capped peaks, glaciers (actually it’s called the Valley of Glaciers), dramatic hills, freezing lakes, wide pasturelands, highland settlements, and the culture that takes you back in time. If you want the Himalayan experience in shorter timeframe, Langtang is for you. Langtang was heavily devastated by earthquake in 2015 but it’s already well on its way.
5. Kanchanjunga Region
So, finally here comes Kanchanjunga Region, the home of Mt Kanchanjunga, the third highest peak in the world. If we say, it’s a beautiful place, it would be a sheer understatement. The skyline which is always dominated by mighty mountains, wooded areas, roaring rivers, quaint villages- Kanchanjunga is sure to turn you into a mystic, maybe “Into the Wild” star of course without the bus episode!
We work with the motto "Tourism for Development". Explore Himalaya Community Service Project was conceived to empower underprivileged segments of Nepal.