Monthly Archives: March 2015

Kathmandu in TripAdvisor’s top destinations list

March 26, 2015

At a time when tourist arrival is decreasing, here is good news for Nepali tourism industry.

TripAdvisor, world’s largest travel site, has listed Kathmandu in the list of 25 destinations in its ‘Travelers’ Choice Destinations 2015′ list. The site has placed Kathmandu 19th position.

TripAdvisor has determined the top 25 destinations using an algorithm that took into account the quantity and quality of reviews and ratings for hotels, restaurants and attractions in destinations worldwide, gathered over a 12-month period.
“Nepal’s capital is surrounded by a valley full of historic sites, ancient temples, shrines, and fascinating villages,” TripAdvisor has written about Kathmandu. It has also suggested to tourists to visit Durbar Square’s monuments, enjoy mountain trekking, and explore Thamel area and shops for exquisite work by local artisans.

Kathmandu is the only South Asian city in the list.

“It is indeed a matter of pride for us and an achievement for the tourism industry that Kathmandu has been listed as top 19th destination in TripAdvisor’s list. This will definitely help in promoting our country,” Bhola Bickram Thapa, managing director of President Group of Companies, said. “But we have to be able to cash in on this achievement.”

Travel trade entrepreneurs said that Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) should join hands with private sector to promote Kathmandu. They also urged the government appoint CEO at NTB at the earliest and strengthen national flag carrier Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC).

Marrakech (Morocco) is at the top of the list, climbing five steps compared to last year. Similarly, Siem Reap (Cambodia), Istanbul (Turkey), Hanoi (Vietnam), Prague (Czech Republic), London (England), Rome (Italy) Buenos Aires (Argentina), Paris (France), Cape Town (South Africa), New York (United States), Zermatt (Switzerland), Barcelona (Spain), Goreme (Turkey), Ubud (Indonesia), Cuso (Peru), St. Petersburg (Russia), Bangkok (Thailand), Athens (Greece), Budapest (Hungary), Queenstown (New Zealand), Hong Kong, Dubai (United Arab Emirates) and Sydney (Australia).

“These world-class destinations chosen by our community are rich in history, culture and beauty and offer endless sights to explore,” Barbara Messing, chief marketing officer for TripAdvisor, said in the statement. “To help travelers discover these cities, TripAdvisor has surfaced value hotel options that can be booked from the site, along with fantastic places to eat and play.”

TripAdvisor branded sites make up the largest travel community in the world, reaching 315 million unique monthly visitors as of December 2014. The website has more than 200 million reviews and opinions covering more than 4.5 million accommodations, restaurants and tourist attractions.


TIMS card made mandatory of all trekking areas

Kathmandu, March 23 2015

Nepal TrekForeigners will now have to take Trekking Information Management System (TIMS) cards to trek in all trekking areas of the country.

A new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for implementation of TIMS signed between Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) and Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN) makes it mandatory for foreigners to take TIMS cards before traveling to all trekking areas of the country.

Earlier, such card was mandatory for trekking in Everest, Langtang and Annapurna regions only.

Nandini Lahe Thapa, acting CEO of NTB, and Ramesh Prasad Dhamala, president of TAAN, signed the MoU on behalf of their respective institutions on March 19.

As per the MoU, foreigners interested to walk on trekking trails in Kanchanjunga, Makalu-Barun, Everest, Rolwaling, Panchpokhari-Bhairavkunda, Langtang-Helambu, Ganesh Himal-Ruby Valley, Manaslu, Annapurna Region, Mustang, Dolpa, Rara and Humla must get a TIMS card.

Sagar Pandey, general secretary of TAAN, said trekkers will have to take TIMS card for all trekking areas and that they have to pay the amount in Nepali currency.

As per the new provision, group trekkers will be given ‘blue’ TIMS card upon payment of Rs 1,000, while Free Individual Trekkers (FITs) will get ‘green’ TIMS card after paying a fee of Rs 2,000 each. Similarly, mountaineers with climbing permits issued by Department of Tourism (DoT) and Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) will have to take ‘yellow’ TIMS cards by paying fee of Rs 2,000 each. Similarly, group trekkers and FITs from SAARC countries will have to pay fee of Rs 300 and Rs 600, respectively.

Foreigners working with government agencies or diplomatic missions need to acquire TIMS card by paying a fee of Rs 500 each. They, however, are required to submit their detailed itinerary and official request letter from their employers.

Ang Tshering Sherpa, president of NMA, hailed the decision to levy TIMS fee on mountaineers. “I’ve learnt that certain percentage of amount collected from TIMS will go on workers’ welfare fund. It will be used for rescue and treatment of workers, among others,” Sherpa added. Continue reading

Five-year tourism master plan prepared


ChuksangMustang District Development Committee has prepared a five-year tourism master plan.

The master plan has been charted out to increase inflow of domestic and foreign tourists to Mustang by two-fold.
Program Officer at District Development Committee Kedar Singh Thapa informed that collaboration with Annapurna Conservation Project (ACAP), tourism entrepreneurs and tourism agencies as well as efforts through diplomatic channels are imperative to that end.

The master plan stated that efforts will be made to take inbound tourists to Kailash Mansarobar. Program Officer Thapa said that the main highway leading to Mansarobar is in a close distance from Bhodawasen district so the shortest route can be capitalized to take tourists to famous tourism site.

The District Development Committee now has expanded road network up to Korala checkpoints. The DDC sources said that the arrangement to take the religious tourists coming to Muktinath – considered to be the center of faith of both Hindus and Buddhists – to Mansarobar will contribute to the promotion of tourism in the region.

The record reveals that annually 200,000 domestic and foreign tourists visit Mustang – the main touristic destination along the Round Annapurna Trekking Route.


Thamel, Durbarmarg to open 24 hrs soon

17th March, 2015

Businesses at Thamel and Durbarmarg areas in Kathmandu will be open for 24 hours beginning April 14, the Nepali new year.
A meeting between Kathmandu District Administration Office, Kathmandu Metropolitan City, Thamel Tourism Development Board and Nepal Police held on Monday decided to work together to operate these areas around the clock.

Chief District Officer of Kathmandu Ek Narayan Aryal said that preparations are underway to start the service. “CCTV, solar light installation and the implementation of night time security is on progress,” he said. “We hope to complete everything within a month.”

Once the plan comes into effect, restaurants, pubs, handicraft shops, travel agencies and other business establishments at Thamel and Durbarmarg can operate throughout the night.

“We have been working for the overall infrastructure development. Inner roads in Thamel have already been black-topped and CCTV cameras are being installed,” said Ram Sharan Thapaliya, the president of Thamel Tourism Development Council (TTDC).

According to TTDC, 80 percent tourists who come to Nepal visit Thamel and Durbarmarg.

Google Maps now lets you ‘trek’ Mount Everest on your computer

Posted on: 12the March 2015

You can now “trek” Mount Everest from the comfort of your sofa, as Google Maps launches new Street Views of the Khumbu valleys in Nepal.
While you might not be able to get to the summit, you can explore many of the trails and towns in the region.
The area is home to the Sherpa community with many acting as guides and porters on Mount Everest.
“I guided the Google Maps team through my home region to collect Street View imagery,” says Apa Sherpa in a blog.
He has reached the top of the mountain more than 20 times and spent 10 days with Google last year to capture the images, which are now live.
“The region has much more to offer than just the mountain.
“Now you can find [my hometown] Thame on the map and explore other communities nestled at the Everest base camp, like Khumjung and Phortse.”
Monasteries, lodges and schools have all been captured and Apa says you might even see some yaks along the way.
“My hope is that when people see this imagery online, they’ll have a deeper understanding of the region and the Sherpa people that live there,” says Apa.
Previously Google has mapped other renowned locations, including the Amazon forest, Greenland’s ice fjords and wedding chapels in Las Vegas.

Source: BBC

Why Trekking in Nepal?

Posted on: 15 March 2015
Trekking in Nepal is an exploration on the abode of snows: a life experience to the world of bio diversity and an enchanting thrill in the mystery of distinct culture. Actually the diversity in Nepal’s nature and range to exotic culture makes this country ideal for trekking.

Nepal is a centre of attraction for all those beautiful minds who would like to explore nature and activate the faculty of adventure. Among the many tourist adventure activities in Nepal, trekking is by far the most popular. Nepal Trekking will take you through a country that has captured the imagination and explore for more than 100 years.

For romanticists, each step follows the footsteps of Tenzing and Hillary. Likewise, for those who enjoy nature each sight remains golden memory and delightful life experience. Himalayas enchants trekkers in such a way that they come time and again and have fondest memories of Nepal throughout their life.

For the most part, it is a proven fact that to walk is the only natural way to feel the nature of this enchanting treasure. Nepal is well known for some of the most impressive, exciting and breathes taking trekking that nowhere can be found in the world.

Direct exploration of world famous snow peaks like Mt Everest, twinkling lakes like that of fewa, flowing rivers, along with forests of brilliantly colored Laligurans (national flowers of Nepal) you will be rewarded with diversity of plant and animal spices.

One can also trek in Nepal on ponies in some of the remote areas. The ponies are well trained and are an equally enthralling way to travel for visitors. Pony treks follow nearly the same routes and are offered mostly in western region of Pokhara, Dolpa and Lo-Manthang Mustang. Trekking is the only way to know the locals intimately and experience their cultural history.

Exploring the exotic variety of culture and scenery is what brings people back the Nepal time and gain. One can walk the trails, which are easy to follow, and have been used by the local inhabitants for centuries or you can explore less used tracks, our guides can define these for you.

Airport handling six flights per hour

10th March, 2015

Tribhuvan International Airport is handling (take-off and landing) six international flights per hour on an average.
TIA officials said they had handled 265 flights since the airport opened on Saturday.
Nepal Airlines Corporation’s plane was the first to leave for Delhi at 10:00pm on Saturday after the airport reopened.
“There have been 135 departures and around 130 arrivals at TIA as of Monday evening,” said Tek Nath Sitaula, deputy director of Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal Office, TIA. Based on average passenger capacity of 175 to 200 per aircraft, it can be assumed that 23,000 to 28,000 passengers, including those having scheduled flights, took off on 135 flights, while 22,000 to 26,000 passengers have landed in Kathmandu.
“We hope to make TIA movement normal from Wednesday. Pressure has eased off compared to Sunday,” added Sitaula.
To clear the backlog, TIA had decided to remain open 24 hours till March 11.
During normal days, the airport handles 70 flights on an average.


TIA resumes int’l flight services after four days

07 March, 2015

The Tribhuvan International Airport ( TIA ) has resumed operation of its international flights after a four-day hiatus.
The TIA issued a notice to the airman permitting international flights to land from 7.30 pm, Saturday.
A Turkish Airliner (TK726) had skidded off the runway and veered onto the grassy shoulder after losing balance during landing on Wednesday.
Two Nepal Airlines aircraft, the Airbus and the Boeing, will be the first international flights after a four-day shutdown of the country’s only airport.
The aircraft’s body was lifted on Friday morning with the support of airbags.
Nepali technicians, technicians from India, experts, security personnel and TIA employees were able to move the Airbus despite snag during yesterday’s operation when the aircraft’s body tilted off balance because the aircraft lost its nose gear, which would have helped prop up the plane.
The aircraft was carrying 224 people aboard. All international flights had to be cancelled as the crashed Turkish plane has blocked the runway.
Indian Air Force’s Hercules aircraft had arrived here at the TIA at 1 pm on Thursday, with necessary equipments to clear the runway and a technical team has been working to clear the runway.
The TIA will be kept open for 24 hours after the resumption of flight operations to ease the overflow of the stranded passengers, TIA Manager Purna Chudal said.
Nepal government had requested the Indian government to assist in transporting the removal kit to tow the stranded jet.


Seven tourists rescued from Lomanthang

Wednesday, 5th March, 2015ChortenSeven tourists, who were stranded at Lomanthang of Mustang district due to snowfall continued for the past three days, were rescued on Tuesday afternoon.

Seven tourists including three foreigners and four Nepali nationals were rescued on Manang Air’s helicopter. After rescue, they were directly airlifted to Kathmandu, said the Mustang District Police Office.

Of the rescued foreigners are two Germans and an Italian, said Deputy Superintendant of Police (DSP) Govinda Pathak.

“They are yet to be identified. They had entered Lomanthang via Kagbeni a week ago”, DSP Pathak added.

The tourists were stranded on the way back to home after their trip”, he further informed.