02 Apr. 2018
Visit Nepal 2020
Nepal is a landlocked country in South Asia. Bordered between China in North and India in the South, Nepal is comparatively a small country with the population just over 29 million. Most of its people practice the Hindu religion, but Buddhism is also a very popular religion practiced by Nepalese. Other minor religion practiced in Nepal consists of Christians, Muslims, and Kirant (indigenous minority). Nepal is a secular state under the interim Constitution, which was promulgated on January 15, 2007.
The main purpose of Visit Nepal 2020 is to promote more tourists to visit Nepal. It is the national tourism year in Nepal. The government and tourism department of Nepal authoritatively reported that Nepal will take the year 2020 as “Visit Nepal 2020”, a year committed to the tourism industry of Nepal with a vision of making a reasonable brand picture of Nepal as travel and vacationer destination. The hope is to enhance the growth of the tourism industry, especially something that was immensely missed after a massive earthquake in 2015. The legislature wanted to accommodate more than one million visitors amid the year of “Visit Nepal 2020”.
Why visit Nepal?
Defining natural beauty
Geographically, Nepal is one of the most beautiful countries on Earth for its natural gifts. The Himalayan ranges in the north bar the country from Tibet. But the amazingly looking snow-capped mountains in the Himalayas have been the main source of Tourism in Nepal for many years. The Himalayan range bags some of the tallest mountains in the world, including Mount Everest, which has been the main source of attracting tourists all over the world.
Famous places to visit:
During last few years there have been a lot of speculations about the birthplace of Buddha. Some arguably suggested that Buddha was born in India. However, the history suggests the birthplace of Buddha was in Lumbini, some 300 kilometers south-west of the Kathmandu Valley. Lumbini is district in Nepal which is situated in the Terai region. The place is a Buddhist pilgrimage site where queen Maya Devi gave birth to Siddhartha Gautama in the 6th Century. Gautama, who achieved Enlightenment sometime around 528 BCE, became the Buddha and founded Buddhism.
Lumbini, recently have been developed with many major projects that were delayed for many years. The Lumbini project started under the United Nation’s Development Program contributed nearly one million dollar for preparation of a Master Plan for the development of Lumbini. This project was initiated with numerous engineers and archaeologists. The plan was completed in 1978 with the objective of restoring an area of 7.7 kilometer square to be later known as Lumbini Garden. In 1985, Lumbini Development Trust was founded with the purpose of restoring Lumbini Garden under the government of Nepal. In present time Lumbini looks amazingly beautiful.
The major attractions of Lumbini are:
Maya Devi Temple was built to protect the spot of Buddha’s birth, denoted by a marker stone. The Bodhi tree said to be the place where Maya Devi took rest in the shades while she was travelling. It was there when she went into labor and took a ritual bath in the nearby pond. This is also the pond where Buddha took his first bath.
Ashoka Pillar was built by an Indian emperor Ashoka in 249 BC. He built four stupas and a pillar with the horse idol at the top and an inscription that describes his visit in Lumbini as the birthplace of Buddha.
Myanmar Golden Temple is the oldest structure Burmese Pagoda in Lumbini. Among the three prayer halls, the most impressive is topped by a corncob-shaped tower. Also there is a huge gilded stupa in the southern Burmese style called Lokamani Pula Pagoda, inspired by the Shwedagon Paya in Yangon.
World Peace Pagoda, built by Japanese, has the statue of Buddha in the position he took when he was born. This white Pagoda has a golden statue, and is one of the rising attractions in Lumbini.
Lumbini Museum is visited by thousands of Buddhists and Hindu devotees to study Buddha and Buddha related information. The museum holds photos and artifacts from Buddhist sites all over the world. This museum is also a great place for Historians and other visitors to study Buddha and his life.
Access to Lumbini is very easy. It is about 300 kilometers South-West of the capital city. Numerous public transportation travel to Lumbini with fair amount of fare. There are thousands of travel agents who can help with private vehicles to travel to the destination. Daily air flights from Kathmandu to Bhairahawa are even better choice for travelers who want to travel in quick time. Bhairahawa is a major city closest to Lumbini.
Annapurna Base Camp:
For normal travelers to Nepal getting closest to the mountains may be a dream come true. However, this dream is not very easy to turn into a reality especially when it comes to a daunting task of climbing tall mountains of Nepal. It takes many weeks of training and hard work to even start climbing one. Health could be another factor as the air pressure takes its toll in high altitudes. People with poor heart health may not even qualify to climb tall mountains. But for others, who have minimal experience in climbing rocks, can be qualified to at least see the mountains via trip to Annapurna Base Camp (ABC). ABC probably is the easiest way out to see mountains from the closest of the distance. Unlike other high-altitude trekking adventures that carry chances of suffering from sickness, ABC is a moderate trip when chances of getting altitude sickness are minimal.
The Annapurna Base Camp Trek takes 7 to 12 days, depending on the itinerary and total length of walking distance. It is highly recommended to give some extra days for this trek as some unplanned circumstances may be encountered. This life changing experience needs a big planning ahead of the trek. ABC is one of the most spectacular treks in the world. It gives the opportunity to learn about Nepalese people leaving in remote areas of the country, along with the awe of the beauty that may come on the way to trekking. It is completely worth trip as it provides one the life time moments one may have spent so close to the natural beauty of Nepal. Basically, ABC defines the nature of Nepal.
So what are the best months to trek ABC? Technically, spring begins in mid-March but by the end of February the days get longer and warmer. Therefore, spring is the most popular and recommended season of the year to start your climbing to the ABC. Mid-September brings fall in Nepal, and this is when some trekkers chose to climb the summit of ABC as well. This is the time of the year when the monsoon season has ended but you still get occasional showers and when it ends, sky gets back its blue to witness more spectacular views while trekking. No matter which season you chose the planning of the trekking must be months before you actually start trekking. It takes tremendous amount of preparations to trek ABC.
The advantage of this trek over some other treks in Nepal is that ABC does not require the climbers to be professional athletes. Comparatively, it has been said and proven that ABC is one of the easiest ways to come that close to the mountains. But this does not mean you would not need any sort of preparations. For a complete novice climber it is recommended to prepare with few kilometers of walking, uphill strokes three times a week at least. You should be fit enough to comfortably hike 15 kilometers in hilly terrains or better spending about 6 hours of complete stretch without breaks. You should also expect to gain elevation of 1000 meters for every 6 hours of a day walk. Back-to-back long hikes are expected in this trek as well. Along your walk you will be escorted by the professional guide/s to accompany you throughout the trek. Below is the quick snippet of day-by-day itinerary.
On route to the Annapurna Base Camp you will experience the comfort of stopping by teahouses to ease your tiredness. In addition, you do not have to worry about carrying tents and food items with you during the trip as these teahouses should provide you ample of services along the trip. The rest stops make you feel homely and give the opportunity to socialize with other trekkers. Some offer a place to sleep and home-cooked meal. In the popular trekking regions, the tea houses that are at lower altitude tend to be very nice, often boasting flush toilets and hot showers in return of few dollars. The shower and toilet facilities become more basic as you go up higher altitude. Standard flushing mechanism of toilet becomes infrequent in higher altitudes. Bucket of water is used for flushing. Also, hot water and showers become increasing scarce facilities as you ascend in altitude. At remote tea houses you can pay for a pot of hot water as your need. Most tea houses have owned restaurants with central yak-dung burner that provides great heat output.
Spending nights at these tea houses could cost you around $3 to $10 a day. Prices get higher with altitude and remoteness. Rooms are quiet small and can accommodate two people. Mattress, pillow and blanket are provided but may not be too hygienic. A pillow cover is recommended and use sleeping bag. Nights can get really cold and walls of the rooms are pretty thin. During these nights thick sleeping bags are highly recommended with ear plugs. Some tea houses provide you with basic access to electricity for charging devices with some charges. But depending upon the user traffic the services may not be provided at all.
These days, tea houses can serve you with different varieties of food items and beverages. Common food items can consist of noodles and soup. Hot tea is a very common beverage, but beers may be provided for some hefty price. If you are seriously hungry, Daal, Bhat, Tarkari, a traditional Nepalese food can be provide for quite reasonable price. Many tea houses also serve cheese pizza, garlic soup, omelet and chapatti. Breakfast items are mostly boiled eggs, omelets and porridge.
There are several routes to ABC. Depending upon your choice of routes it may take 7-12 days of trekking. A lot also depends on how physically fit you are and how long you should rest on teahouses and other places. The starting point of the ABC is Pokhara, the second largest city in Nepal. Most trekkers chose ABC via Ghorepani Poon Hill, which is relaxing that takes you about 10-12 days. The shortest itinerary of 7 days will include taking domestic flights to Pokhara from Kathmandu and starting the trek in the same day. This short trip may not be too relaxing and consume lots of energy during the entire journey. Here is a basic itinerary for ABC if you decide to spend that extra time and enjoy the beauty along the way.
01 Travel from Kathmandu to Pokhara
02 Drive to Nayapul and start trek to Ulleri
03 Start trek to Ghorepani
04 Early Trek to Poon Hill for Sunrise. Back to Ghorepani and trek to Tadapani
05 Tadapani to Chomrong
06 Chomrong to Dovan
07 Dovan to Deurali
08 Deurali to Machhapuchhre Base Camp (MBC)
09 MBC to Annapurna Base Camp
10 Visit Hot Spring in Jhinudanda
11 Jhinudanda to Ghandruk
12 Back to Nayapul and drive to Pokhara
Planning for ABC trek is always essential and understanding your budget is too. You will have to spend about 700-900 USD per person for this trek and is all inclusive. Price variance depends on standard or deluxe package for either single or double occupancy. Single occupancy always cost a little more. Travelling via air or bus will also affect your budget. If you are lucky you can negotiate a bit with the local guides to save some extra bucks but tipping is always good if you want to get something extra from the trek. Guides know better than anybody else in your group. Hotels that you will be staying are mostly 3 starred in Nepal. These hotels are decent and will serve you with all the necessary items during your stay. As you ascend to the altitude the services will descend. You may not be able to access a proper toilet with proper flushing in the higher altitudes. The number of teahouses will be reduced as you go higher towards ABC. This is when trekkers are expected to have good sleeping bags.
Chitwan is the best option for those people who love wilderness of the nature. The place is very famous for the Chitwan National Park, a preserved area in Terai lowlands of central Nepal. It is known for its dense forests and grassy plains that are home to some of the endangered species in the world. The presence of the Royal Bengal Tiger is one of the main reasons people love to visit Chitwan National Park. One-horned rhinoceros, an endangered species, and of only kind can be found in the park. The park also shelters numerous bird species. The north Rapti river, situated within the park area is home to crocodiles.
Established in 1973 the Chitwan National Park is the oldest park in Nepal. It was granted the status of a World Heritage Site in 1984. The total area of this park is approximately 953 square kilometers and is located in central Nepal in the districts of Nawalpur, Parsa, Chitwan and Makwanpur. Historically, Chitwan used to be a favorite hunting place for Nepal’s ruling class. Until 1950 Chitwan’s grassland used to be home for about 800 rhinos. The area later became home to many farmers who were searching for arable land. The poaching of wildlife then increased. The dramatic decrease in the number of counts with the rhinos forced the government to institute a plan of protecting the declining rhinos in December 1970.
There are various ways to explore this National Park. You could walk with guides, ride on elephants or run in a jeep safari. It depends on what you really want to see in the forest. If your plan is to hike around the national park while you watch animals then picking a good guide is the best option. This way you can take your own time to rest, take pictures, and explore best places again. There is a bit risk on walking inside the national park with the guide. You may encounter some of the wild animals that may be harmful such as wild elephants, rhinos, leopards and wild boars. However, it is very unlikely that you encounter these animals as your guide will not pick dangerous spots for you to walk around. The best part of it though is that you could come so much closer to harmless animals such as deer, wild birds, and so forth. Riding on an elephant and exploring the national park is the safest way to go. But this also has some disadvantages. Because the elephant is so big other animals try to avoid its path and you won’t be able to come close to other animals. There are chances that you see The Royal Bengal Tigers on the elephant ride if you are really lucky. Every 2 trips out of 10 trips are fortunate to see tigers on the elephant ride. So there is a 20% chance that you could see a tiger. Some travelers really want to dig deep. They want to make sure that they do see really dangerous animals even if it takes more time than usual. The jeep safari is the best way to do that. The jeep safari is intended for reaching out to the tigers. The safari may take more than a day. Some travelers are not fortunate enough to see tigers in the first day.