Category Archives: Travel News

Pun Hill listed as top 10 destinations in Nepal

The Pun Hill- situated at Ghorepani of Ghar VDC 1 in the foothills of the majestic Annapurna mountain range- has been selected as one of the must-see tourist destinations suffusing the local tourism entrepreneurs with an inexplicable joy.

The largest travel guide book, Lonely Planet, has listed Pun Hill among the top 10 tourist destinations in Nepal as part of its annual publication of best tourist destinations in the world. The Pun hill can be reached through different trek routes including the Pokhare Bagar- Ghar- Ghorepani, Dhandruk- Ghorepani and Nangi- Ghorepani.

Amazing view from Poon Hill, Annapurna, Nepal

Thousands of tourists arrive every year for a sweeping view of the humongous Dhaulagiri and Annapurna ranges. Ghorepani Hotel Entrepreneurs Association’s former vice chairman, Teksar Budduja, expressed hope for a boost in the promotional campaign with the inclusion of Pun Hill as one of top tourist destinations in Nepal.

“This is a matter of joy for us, and it will contribute towards giving continuity to the arrival of tourists to Ghorepani Poon Hill which has increased of late,” he said.

Pun Hill, standing 3210 meters above the sea level, offers uninterrupted and panoramic view of dozens of mountains of the Great Himalayan Range.

Around three dozens of big and small hotels are running in Ghorepani catering to the increasing number of tourists. The Lonely Planet has also included Jomsom and Muktinath, located in the trans- Himalayan district of Mustang, as must-visit destinations.

Nepal has been listed as the top five destinations to visit in year 2017 by the Lonely Planet. Within Nepal, it has named Mugu’s Rara lake, Khaptad National Park in the far-western region, Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve, Ilam, Bardiya National Park (BNP), Langtang, Nawalparasi and Barpak, the epicentre of the massive 7.6 Richter scale earthquake of April, 2015, as must-see tourist destinations.

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TAAN unveils Rs100m development, promotional plan

Posted on: 30 Dec, 2016

 

The Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal (Taan) has earmarked nearly Rs100 million to explore new trekking trails and maintain and improve the existing paths besides promoting trekking in the domestic and international markets.

According to Taan, Rs8.79 million has been set aside for infrastructural development, maintenance and promotion of the existing trekking trails.

“We have selected trails from the Kanchenjunga region in eastern Nepal to Api Himal in far western Nepal,” said Lila Baldab Dahal, treasurer of Taan. “Taan will build the necessary infrastructure, enhance the capacity of locals so that they can cater to tourists, and produce promotional collateral to publicize the trails in the national and international markets.”

The umbrella association of Nepal’s trekking agencies has selected 63 trails for maintenance, infrastructure development and promotion. It will be spending Rs9 million on the exploration of new trekking trails.

According to Dahal, Taan will be exploring the Lamjung-Dudhpokhari, North Annapurna Base Camp from Lete, Sailung-Timal, Gaja Hill (Jogimara-Shaktikhor), Round Ramechhap and Chatara-Mainamini trails in the current fiscal year.

“The trails have been selected as per the request of local communities,” he said. Similarly, Taan will conduct mapping of the Hillary Trail (Ramechhap Chyama Danda to Lete) and Lower Solu.

Building a tourism memorial park in Timal, setting up mobile washrooms in tourist bus parks, developing cycling trails, installing solar street lights in Thamel, constructing a bridge over Mardi Khola and implementing the Khaptad Development Programme are some of the schemes that Taan will be starting in the current fiscal year. It is also building weather information centres in major trekking areas, a mountaineering school in Dhading and porter shelters in Gorkha besides implementing a trekking trail development programme in Api Himal in far western Nepal and Dhaulagiri Sanctuary.

According to Dahal, Taan is also building short trekking trails on the Kathmandu Valley rim. “To begin with, we will be developing the Thankot-Dahachok-Ramkot-Sitapaila trail,” he added.

It has also accorded priority to developing a new trekking trail in Sankhuwasabha. The trail starts at Amrang and passes through Lower Walung, Upper Walung, Ale Danda, Tashijongtar, Eyuwakhola and Mera Base Camp before ending at Makalu Base Camp. “We have allocated Rs1.6 million for the project,” added Dahal.

Taan is also building porter shelters in Damodar Kunda, Larkya Pass, Kagmara Base Camp and Lumbasumba trekking trail.

Under the tourism marketing and promotion plan in the international market, Taan said it had allocated Rs2.4 million for the US, Rs3.2 million for Russia, Rs2 million for South Asia, Rs800,000 each for the Middle East and Australia and Rs1.2 million for the Asian market.

It has also set aside Rs2.4 million to organize a cycling competition on the Lukla-Salleri-Patale-Okhaldhunga-Sindhuligadhi-Namobuddha-Dhulikhel route. Similarly, Rs1.2 million has been earmarked to promote the overland way to Everest (Kavre-Namobuddha-Sindhuli-Sindhuligadhi-Khotang Halesi-Okhaldhunga-Siddhicharan Park-Okhaldhunga-Salleri-Surke-Chaurikharka-Everest Base Camp).

THE KATHMANDU POST

China’s Trek to Conquering Everest

Posted on: 23 December 2016
Mount Everest is the highest peak in the world, sitting at 29,029 feet, roughly 5.5 miles above sea level. Though the south side of Everest is located in Nepal, about 100 miles from Kathmandu, the north side of Everest lies within the Tibet Autonomous Region and is governed by China. Earlier this year, China finished construction on a paved road up to Everest’s north side base camp, bordering on a 14,000 foot elevation gain. This was the first step in a larger commercialization goal for the Chinese in Tibet. China has proposed plans to commercialize the north side of Everest by 2019 in order to make the mountain more accessible, according to China Daily, China’s state-run news site. With this move, China may further divide the Everest region, already struggling from political tensions and rapid urbanization. China’s success in this venture will rely on the incorporation of environmental, cultural and approved mountaineering practice.

Traditionally, Nepal has been the preferred route to Mt. Everest because of its political stability, slightly warmer climate, less severe elements and helicopter rescue capabilities, as well as government policies that offer access to the site However, recent issues with overcrowding and growing litter on Everest’s south side has provided China new opportunities to become more competitive in the mountaineering market, as pointed out by Tsechu Dolma, a Nepali and frequent contributor to GlacierHub. With this recent development, China hopes to bolster the local tourism and mountaineering industry in Tibet, which China claims would have positive impacts on local economies and accessibility. This includes plans for a 84,320 square meter mountaineering center in Gangkar worth $14.7 million (100 million yuan) that would contain hotels, restaurants, a mountaineering museum, a search-and-rescue base and other services.

“These jobs should and would go to locals,” Jamie McGuinness, owner of Project Himalaya, points out to GlacierHub. “With the approximate 5,000 meter altitude, other ethnic groups cannot handle living there. Initially, it could be that some of the locals would lose some business briefly; however, over time more income would be generated for everyone.”

Rongbuk Monastery, Tibet: home to 30 Buddhist monks and nuns

Rongbuk Monastery, Tibet: home to 30 Buddhist monks and nuns

Increasing search-and-rescue capabilities will also help to reduce risks notorious to the mountain. Summiting attempts cater to a very small portion of the population capable of extreme athleticism. Despite climbers’ skill, Everest attempts still pose a huge risk to all involved, especially the local Sherpas who face higher risks due to increased exposure. Having an established mountaineering center may prove beneficial if the north side of Everest becomes the more preferred route for summiting attempts. Climbing risks can be reduced by having well-funded search-and-rescue teams. This might help avoid tragedies like the one in 2014 when an ice avalanche from the Khumbu glacier in Nepal claimed the lives of 16 Sherpas.

Having spent the last 25 years trekking through the Himalayas, McGuinness says, “Nepal is lucky that so many expeditions still climb from the obviously more dangerous icefall route, the price of which is roll-of-the-dice deaths. Climbing Everest from the north is significantly less dangerous, and the day or reckoning is coming within the next few years.” The switch needs to happen, McGuinness added, but whether Sherpas and guides climb from the north or from the south, they will still get paid.

As climates continue to change, increased temperatures experienced in Nepal could expand dangers posed to climbers and Sherpas. The Khumbu Glacier, for example, regularly calves, causing large and deadly ice chunks to fall along climbing routes. The 2014 ice avalanche that killed the 16 Sherpas was the size of a ten-story building. The Khumbu glacier greatly increases the risks from summiting in Nepal and these risks may only increase as climates continue to shift. Continue reading

Over 30 climbers summit Mt Manaslu

Posted on: September 30, 2016

Mt Manaslu. File photo

Mt Manaslu. File photo

At least 30 mountaineers including climbing Sherpas have successfully summitted Mt Manaslu (8,163m) as the world’s eighth highest peak witnessed a fair weather on Friday, allowing the climbers to make the year’s first autumn ascent of the mountain, according to expedition organisers.

Mingma Sherpa, Managing Director at Seven Summit Treks, said that over 30 climbers have stood atop the summit of Mt Manaslu till 9:00 am after rope fixing Sherpas first reached the top of the peak at around 6:00 am.

“More than 50 climbers are on the way to the top of the peak,” Sherpa quoted climbers as saying over phone from the higher camps. According to him, at least 80 climbers have planned to climb the peak on Friday.

According to the Department of Tourism (DoT), there are 18 teams comprising 151 climbers on Mt Manaslu in the autumn season. “Among 360 persons – climbers, high altitude Sherpas and support staff – have headed for Manaslu base camp,” DoT official Gyanendra Shrestha said, adding that 58 were Chinese climbers.

DoT has issued climbing permits to different 67 teams with around 490 climbers as they along with their support staff headed towards different expedition peaks in the autumn season, he added.

The Himalayan Times

Looking for Trekking in Nepal? Know well about Nepal

Posted on: September 17, 2016

Nepal Travel Information

Nepal is a center 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. Trekking in Nepal 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. It is likely to sign with nightingale in conservation areas and dance with peacock in national parks. More than 850 spices of birds and rare animals like that of one horned rhino, snow leopard and Bengal tiger are all those to welcome you. Protected regions along the Himalayas like Shey-Phoksundo, Langtang, Sagarmatha, Makalu-Barun, Rara, Kanchenjunga and shivapuru national parks and along with Annapurna region and Manaslu conservation areas provide excellent trekking option to its visitors.

Morever, Nepal is a birth place of Goutam Buddha (Light of Asia). In other hand, Nepal’s cultural diversity enables the trekkers to explore distinct forms of human civilization. World famous Hindu temple like Pashupatinath, world famous Buddhist shrines like those of Swyambhunath and many other historical art and crafts takes its visitors to the land of mystery.

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 th 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.

To sum up, Nepal is trekker’s paradise, where you can get unique experience of Nepal best combination of natural beauty and mixed Nepalese culture not only that it is the home of world’s highest peaks in the world including Mt Everest, Kanchenjunga,  Makalu, Lhotse,  Cho-Oyu, Dhaulagiri, Manaslu and Annapurna.

Nepal bans Indian police pair for ‘fake’ Everest climb

Posted on:

Nepal has imposed a 10-year mountaineering ban on two climbers who claimed to be the first Indian couple to have climbed Everest, officials say.

A government investigation concluded on Monday that photographs purporting to show the pair at the top of the world’s highest mountain were faked.

Officials say the ban is intended to deter other climbers from making spurious and dishonest claims.

The pair’s claims to have reached the peak in May were queried by climbers.

They argued that photos showing Dinesh and Tarakeshwari Rathod at the summit were obviously doctored.

Satyarup Sidhantha holds the genuine photo in his right hand and the "doctored" photo in his left hand

Satyarup Sidhantha holds the genuine photo in his right hand and the “doctored” photo in his left hand

Nepal’s tourism department initially certified their ascent but has now rescinded that decision after conducting an investigation.

Tourism department chief Sudarshan Prasad Dhakal told the AFP news agency that an analysis of photos submitted by Mr and Mrs Rathod revealed they had superimposed themselves and their banners on photos taken by another Indian climber who conquered Everest.

“Despite several attempts to get clarifications from them, they did not co-operate with us during the investigation. The two Sherpas that assisted them are also absconding,” Mr Dhakal said.

“The ban should serve as a warning for mountaineers to follow ethics.”

Mr and Mrs Rathod – who work as constables in the western Indian city of Pune – in July denied the claims, as did the guides who climbed with them.

But a climber based in the southern Indian city of Bangalore, Satyarup Sidhantha, later told reporters that the photographs presented by the Rathods as “proof” of their climb actually belonged to him.

Suspicions were further aroused because of the time lag between the day the Rathods claimed to have reached the summit and their news conference announcing their achievement.

It was alleged that the couple could not possibly have reached the summit so soon after they were seen to have arrived at the Everest base camp, and that the photos appeared to show them in two different sets of clothes and boots while on the climb.

Many of those who have succeeded in scaling the 8,848m (29,029ft) mountain have subsequently gone on to have lucrative careers as motivational speakers and authors.

More than 450 people, including more than 250 foreigners, climbed Everest during the recently-concluded spring season. It followed two consecutive years of poor weather – made worse by the Nepal earthquake of 2015 – which resulted in almost all Everest attempts being abandoned.

Mountaineering is a major source of income for impoverished Nepal and this year’s succession of successful summits is expected to provide the industry with a major fillip.

BBC News

Accommodation cost rises on Annapurna Base Camp trek route

Annapurna Base CampThe Hotel Entrepreneurs’ Association’s decision to increase the cost of accommodation and to introduce advance booking system along the Annapurna Base Camp route has drawn flak from stakeholders in Kaski of late.

Local Tourism Management Sub-committee Chhomrong had increased the cost of food and bed for trekkers, trekking guides, and porters along the route.

Stakeholders criticised the decision stating that it was impractical and unilateral. They have also criticised the booking system.

The Union of Nepal Trekking, Travel, Rafting, Airlines workers, Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal, and Western Regional Association Pokhara said that the cost of the amenities had been increased unilaterally without consulting them, which was not acceptable to them.

Chairperson of the committee Indra Mani Sharma said that hotel operators had increased the rate by 10 per cent. The cost is applicable in hotels along the New Bridge, Jhinu, Kimrong Khola, Ghurjung, Chhomrong and Bhanuwa to ABC. The prices had been unchanged since 2012.

“There was no option but to increase the price to adjust with the price hike in the market for the past four years,” claimed entrepreneurs.

A meal from Chhomrong to New Bridge costs Rs 180, and it costs Rs 200 from Bhanuwa to ABC, Sharma said.

“The coupon system feels like a syndicate, which is why it should be scrapped immediately,” said UNITRAW Western Regional Chairperson Bijay KC.

TAAN Western Regional Vice-chairperson Deepak Raj Adhikari said that it was not always feasible to book tickets for accommodation. “It is not always certain that trekkers and their guides will reach the destination every morning and evening and eat the same item.

This attempt to assert greater bargaining power should be stopped,” said Adhikari.

ABC is located at an altitude of 4,130 metres and starts from Phedi of Kande, or Naya Pool of Kaski. It takes a week to trek the route. Around 20,000 tourists trek the route every year.

However, there has been a sharp fall in the number of trekkers since 2015. Only 8,951 tourists visited the camp in 2015, as per Annapurna Conservation Area Project.

However, around 100,000 tourists visit the Annapurna area per year, but the number was just 30,687 in 2015.

HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE

US skydiver jumps without parachute into net from 25,000ft

Luke Aikins landed dead centre into the 100x100ft net

Luke Aikins landed dead centre into the 100x100ft net

American Luke Aikins has become the first person to jump from 25,000 ft (7,620m) without a parachute, landing safely in a net.

Mr Aikins – who has more than 18,000 jumps under his belt – fell dead centre into the 100x100ft net in Simi Valley, southern California.

During the two-minute fall aired live on Fox television, the 42-year-old reached the speed of 120mph (193km/h).

To loud cheers, he climbed out of the net and hugged his wife and young son.

“I’m almost levitating, it’s incredible,” he said after Saturday’s jump.

“This thing just happened! I can’t even get the words out of my mouth,” he said, admitting that he was nervous beforehand.

He also admitted that he had nearly had to cancel the jump because he was ordered to wear a parachute for safety and this would have made his landing more dangerous because of the extra weight.

However, the organisers had lifted the ban just minutes before the jump.

“Aikins’ leap represents the culmination of a 26-year career that will set a personal and world record for the highest jump without a parachute or wing suit,” his spokesman Justin Aclin said.

Mr Aikins, who is a safety and training adviser for the US Parachute Association, said his friend came with the idea two years ago.

BBC

Nepal begins probe into Everest summit manipulation by Indian couple

Posted on: 03 July 2016

Satyarup Siddhantha (2) has charged that Dinesh Chandrakant Rathod (3) and his wife Tarkeshwari Chandrakant Bhelerao (4) morphed his photographs (1 & 2), taken on the top of Mt Everest, and submitted to Nepal’s Department of Tourism to get the Everest summit certificates.

Satyarup Siddhantha (2) has charged that Dinesh Chandrakant Rathod (3) and his wife Tarkeshwari Chandrakant Bhelerao (4) morphed his photographs (1 & 2), taken on the top of Mt Everest, and submitted to Nepal’s Department of Tourism to get the Everest summit certificates.

Nepal’s Department of Tourism under the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation has initiated an investigation into the veracity of claims made by an Indian police couple of having reached the summit of Mt Everest in the last spring climbing season.

The move comes after Dinesh Chandrakant Rathod and his wife Tarkeshwari Chandrakant Bhelerao of Maharashtra obtained summit certificates from the DoT by allegedly submitting doctored photos showing them on the top of world’s highest peak.

“A thorough investigation has started,” Sudarshan Prasad Dhakal, Director General at DoT said, adding that the DoT today asked the expedition organising company to furnish its written clarification within 24 hours why it applied for summit certificates to the Rathods by providing such ‘morphed’ photographs as substantial evidences.

The DoT awarded the couple with summit certificates on June 10 endorsing their claims of having reached the summit in the early morning of May 23. The photos submitted by the Indian cops to the DoT as a proof were found faked after Satyarup Siddhantha, a climber from Bangalore, accused the couple of plagiarising his summit photos while the Bengaluru climber scaled the world’s highest mountain on May 21.

As Makalu Adventure Treks applied for summit certificates to the Rathods at the DoT, the company should first clarify its motive behind the submission of fake photos, the Director General said. According to him, the DoT would inquire with the Liaison Officer and climbing Sherpas once it reviewed the company’s clarification.

“It’s proven that the photos provided by Dinesh and his wife Tarkeshwari to DoT are morphed,” he claimed.

Mohan Lamsal, Managing Director at Makalu Adventure Treks said that he would reply to DoT by tomorrow. “I’ve also asked the couple to come to Kathmandu to clarify their stances at the earliest,” he added. According to him, both climbing Sherpas who assisted the Rathods are still out of reach.

As the DoT had not consulted with the climbing Sherpas — Furba from Sankhuwasabha and Fursemba from Solukhumbu —  who accompanied the Rathods to Everest summit, while awarding summit certificates, Ganesh Prasad Timsina who serves as an officer at Kakarvitta Tourism Office in Jhapa, verified the couple’s claim, saying he was at the Everest Base Camp for 13 days to monitor their activities.

“The Rathods’ case also inspires us to review the existing procedures in mobilising Liaison Officers in different mountains and awarding the summit certificates to the climbers,” DG Dhakal said.

According to Satyarup, he also lodged a complaint at the Cyber Crime Police Station in Kolkata, seeking necessary action against Rathod couple for plagiarising his summit photos. Maharashtra police has already initiated a probe into the Rathods’ claims.

It’s still a mystery to investigators that how the Rathods accessed to Satyarup’s photographs. “I used my laptop at the Base Camp after returning from the summit while a few of climbing sherpas from our team transferred the summit photos to their mobile chips,” the Indian climber said. According to him, it was obvious to share the photos with the climbing sherpas who accompanied our team to the summit. “But, I am not blaming them for the goof-up,” he added.

“The image of local operators in the eyes of the western climbing community is already bad as it is,” Iswari Paudel, owner of Himalayan Guides Nepal Treks and Adventure, commented, “Activities like these from an expedition operator, is completely unethical and disgraceful not only to themselves but to the mountaineering industry in Nepal itself.”

The DoT needs to take swift and strict action against liars and forgers, he demanded.

If fraud was proved then the DoT could revoke the company’s licence, cancel the summit certificates and impose a restriction on the Rathods from coming to Nepal for mountaineering expeditions as per the existing regulations.

As per the DoT’s record, nine foreigners including two Indians (the Rathods) stood atop the summit along with 13 more climbing sherpas on May 23. But, the climbers who summitted from the northern side on the same day claimed that they had not spotted anyone at the top of summit from Nepal side till noon.

A climber shared that some of them met the Rathods on May 10, and until the date the Rathods had not even visited the Khumbu Icefall for their first rotation up the mountain. “They had done some minor training on the ice pinnacles near Everest Base Camp. They, however, had not gone to the Pumori high camp, or Kala Patthar or Icefall. If a team has not started acclimatisation until May 10, it is close to impossible to summit on May 23 unless the Rathods are super human fitness stars,” he added.

With the discussion with other Indian climbers who were at Camp 2, Camp 3 and Camp 4 during the period  — from May 19 to May 24 —  we came to know that none of the climbers had spotted the couple en route to the summit, Anjali Kulkarni, a climber from Mumbai said, referring to a joint complaint filed against the Rathods at Maharashtra Police.

“In fact, they added that all of them had seen this couple up to Everest Base Camp only and not above Base Camp,” she added.

THT

ACAP to unveil new trekking route

Annapurna Conservation Area Project is all set to unveil an alternative new trekking route soon. The idea of the alternative route was conceived after the existing Annapurna Trekking Circuit from Jamjung district headquarters, Besisahar to Manang was linked by a road network recently.

According to Annapurna Conservation Area Project Manang Office Chief Babulal Tiruwa, the alternative trekking route links several tourist villages.

“As the route passes through several inner villages, we hope that this will increase the influx of tourists in the area,” said Tiruwa, adding, “The route is also connected to roads at places, which will make it easier to carry out rescue missions.”

Further, Tiruwa said that the new route will be ideal for trekkers who want to savour the magnificient beauty of nature and visit the popular Thorang-La pass which is at an altitude of 5,464 metres. The proposed route under The Great Himalayan Trail starts from Lamjung’s Besisahar and runs through Siurung, Chapa, and Mipra before converging with a road network at Syange.

From Syange, the trekking route runs through Jagat, Chyame, and Danakyu up to the Manang district headquarters, from where the track links Dhikarpokhari through Bhratang. From that point, there will be two trekking routes linking Bhraka. The Annapurna trekking route ends in Pokhara through Mustang’s Muktinath and Myagdi.

HNS