• Trekking in Nepal offers adventure

    March 10, 2015
    Trekking in Nepal offers adventure

    GHOREPANI, Nepal (AP) - Dawn’s golden light caught the tops of the snowcapped Himalayas and gradually crept downward as the rising sun lit up a sweeping arc of soaring peaks, at once forbidding and starkly beautiful.

    The stunning vista from the top of Poon Hill ” at 3,193 meters (10,475 feet), the highest point of our family’s six-day trek in Nepal ” was among many highlights of a “Lord of the Rings”-like adventure through lush forests, terraced fields and traditional villages nestled above plunging valleys.

    Sometimes the going was tough ” like hiking two hours up steep, stone steps. Other times, we walked along gently undulating woodland paths.

    Along the way, there were rewards: children who ran to greet us (sometimes asking for money or candy), wildflowers beside the path, breathtaking views and cups of hot masala tea at cute little rest stops.

    If you’re looking for a family adventure that immerses you in nature, beauty and a fascinating culture ” and you’re willing to rough it some ” consider trekking in Nepal.

    Our two boys, 12 and 10, loved the experience. One of my older son’s favorite parts was the camaraderie with other trekkers from around the world in common rooms at the “tea houses,” or simple lodges where we stayed.

    Children as young as 8 or 9 could handle the popular 65-kilometer (40-mile) Ghandruk-Ghorepani-Poon Hill loop we hiked, located just south of the Annapurna Range. Small children can be carried on the backs of porters.

    We hiked four to six hours daily, depending on the trail’s difficulty, usually reaching our destination by 3 p.m., allowing time to relax before supper.

    With good weather, this route will give you stunning views of a string of mountains, including Annapurna I (8,091 meters, 26,545 feet), 10th-tallest in the world; Machapuchre, or “Fishtail,” with its distinctively shaped peak; and the towering Dhaulagiri (8,172 meters, 26,811 feet), the world’s seventh-tallest. Mount Everest, located 300 kilometers (190 miles) to east, isn’t visible on this loop.

    The circuit starts and ends near the lakeside town of Pokhara, central Nepal’s trekking hub. We used 3 Sisters Adventure Trekking, which specializes in training and employing women, to hire our guide, Mana Kunwar, an experienced, flexible and fun Nepali woman who spoke good English. Her knowledge of the trail, culture and language ” and contacts at tea houses where she booked our rooms ” enhanced our experience immensely.

    We also hired a male porter to carry one backpack while I carried another. My wife and kids hiked with smaller knapsacks. Hiring guides is not only a way to get to know locals, it also offers them a valuable source of income.

    Peak trekking season in October and November, when skies are clearest and temperatures hover between 15-25 degrees Celsius (60s and 70s F). We mostly hiked in T-shirts and shorts (women’s shorts should be knee-length out of respect for the local culture). But early mornings and evenings, when it got as cold as 5 degrees (40 F), we needed fleeces and long pants. We encountered no snow, but a week before our October visit, a freak blizzard and avalanche hit a pass at a much higher elevation about 50 kilometers (30 miles) to the north, killing more than 40 people.

    April and May, also a good time to go, can be cloudier, but the rhododendron trees are in bloom. June, July and August are rainy.

    Be prepared to rough it. Some teahouses offer hot showers but water supplies are often limited. Rooms run $3-$5 a night, Spartan but clean. Blankets are available, but most trekkers bring sleeping bags, which can be rented or bought in Pokhara or Kathmandu at shops that sell everything you need, including knock-off brand fleeces and backpacks. Trekking poles, about $5 apiece, are recommended, especially when descending. Don’t buy hiking shoes when you arrive; break those in at home.

    The food is rather monotonous: Lots of dal bhat, or lentil stew with rice, plus curries, pastas and soups, and not much meat or fruit. Deep-fried “gurung bread” is quite good. You may want to bring canned tuna or meat.

    As for that sun rise from Poon Hill: We woke at 5 a.m. and hiked 45 minutes from the village of Ghorepani to see it, and we shared the experience with 300 to 400 other trekkers. But like the rest of the trip, the effort was well worth it. We got a panoramic view of both the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges in all their majesty.
    March 10, 2015

    • News -in- Brief

      NepalTourNews—-

      Visitor arrivals up in Chitwan

      Chitwan - A total of 145,707 tourists -112,560 foreigners and 36,053 domestic visitors - have visited the Chitwan National Park and surrounding community forests in the 11 months of the current fiscal year, according to CNP. The number of arrivals was recorded at 139,978 in the last fiscal year. This is an increase of 4.09 per cent, compared to 12 months of last fiscal year. The number of tourist arrivals is expected to increase after the completion of 36-km Narayangadh-Mugling road upgradation.

      Third Himalayan Travel Mart in June , 2019

      The 3rd Himalayan Travel Mart (HTM) has been scheduled to be held next year from June 7-9, 2019. HTM has become a unique and popular B2B event facilitating a platform for networking, promotion, shared knowledge and valuable insights, business opportunities amongst the participants and stakeholders. The mart recently concluded its first two editions with the participation of 225 foreign delegates from 53 different countries and 170+ foreign delegates from 36 countries in the year 2017 and 2018 respectively.

      MoCTCA formed a taskforce to investigate trekking irregularities

      The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation ( MoCTCA ) has formed a taskforce to investigate into the claims for insurance based on fake documents about the emergency rescue of trekkers from high altitudes. The 5- member task force has been given the deadline of June 25 to carry out the investigation into fake documents of trekkers. Some of the trekking agencies, helicopter companies and hospitals are said to be involved in cheating the trekkers making them ill during their trek to different parts of the country.

      Government plans to regulate casino industry

      The government is planning to regulate the country’s casino industry through the enactment of a new law. The Ministry is set to submit a draft of Casino Bill 2018 to the Cabinet as the agency seeks to rein in existing casinos that continue to operate without paying a dime to the government.

      Under Nepal’s Casino Regulation 2013, operators need to shell out NPR20 million (US$185,700) to obtain a casino operating license. Casino operators must pay half of the casino operating license fee when renewing their license annually, The Kathmandu Post reported.

      Casinos in Nepal are also required to pay another NPR30 million ($279,300) fee annually under Nepal’s Financial Act. There were suggestions to increase this fee by one-third for financial year 2018-2019.

      TAAN organized Second Cleaning and Awareness Campaign

      Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN) organized 2nd Cleaning and Awareness Campaign at Swayamnbhunath area on June 5 , on the occasion of 44th World Environment Day.  TAAN started this campaign on March from Thamel area. The global theme for the World Environment Day 2018 is “Beat Plastic Pollution”, if you can’t reuse it, refuse it.

      Annapurna Marathon -2018

      Tribhuvan Army Club athlete and Olympian Hari Kumar Rimal won the title of the Annapurna Marathon this year. Rimal completed the 42.195km distance in four hours, 16 minutes and 48 seconds to finish first in the race. PurnaTamang came second in four hours, 17 minutes and 42 seconds, while fellow TAC athlete Homlal Shrestha finished third in four hours, 20 minutes and 38 seconds.

      A total of 61 athletes took part in the event. The race started from Annapurna Base Camp at an altitude of 4,130 metres and went through Machhapuchhre Base Camp, Bagar, Deurali, Sinuwa, Ghurjung, Tadapani, Bhaisikharka before ending at Ghandruk of Annapurna Rural Municipality.

       

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