|Local Porter in the Far West of Nepal Pic: Destination Far West Nepal|
STATUS REPORT: Nepal is quiet politically! The Tourism Industry is waiting for the season to come. The monsoons have been not that kind - not enough rain, which means agriculture has not been fantastic. This also means that unless we have a sudden change in the weather pattern, the monsoon should not extend for too long, leaving a nice clear spell over the fall, starting mid September for the tourism and trekking season.
Tourism in Nepal is growing, and last year, over 750,000 tourists came via air into Nepal. This year, that figure will probably grow.
What this means is that in the peak season you might face some problems having hotel bookings where you want it. You WILL have problems getting flights specially to mountain destinations so book well in advance.
There was some talk about not permitting trekking solo in Nepal, but that has been put on hold, so you CAN still go solo, and do not have to take guides and porters, but on a more serious note - Everytime a trekker gets lost, robbed, or dies in an accident when going solo, it creates a huge image problem in Nepal. So if you do not mind distributing some money to generate some extra employment, do please take these guys. Of course, if you are on a serious budget, you can still go solo.
There have been some safety problems in Langtang and Gosainkunda regions for trekking. Some travellers have been robbed. This should change in peak season though, as there are far too many groups for robbers to be active. They would be seen.
The Great Himalaya Trail is the new in-thing in Nepal. Check out the www.greathimalayatrail.com website to check for operators who are part of the Alliance which is trying to ensure that companies who operate the Great Himalaya Trail are providing well trained guides and porters and also ensuring that they are insured.
Read up before you come to Nepal - specially on news from nepal, travelling responsibly in nepal, ethical trekking, leave no trace, mountain sickness etc.
Know what to bring - specially if you are going on a small adventure - here is a handy Gear List.
Also do not hesitate to ask questions - whoever you contact in Nepal, please ask questions. Locals are really knowledgable and you should use them as a the best source of information.
Remember - Nepal is not all trekking - there are tons of things you can do in Nepal - cooking courses, city walks, homestays, monastery visits, vipasana meditation, yoga courses, wildlife watches, off beat tours - talk to people, join courses and find out more about these options!