Monday, December 03, 2012

The 2012 Fall Season Review

photo courtesy: Umesh Ghimire from Poon Hill, Nepal

The 2012 Fall season is slowly coming to a close, and it was good. The weather this year has been fantastic, except for some unusual showers early on in October, which caused a minor disruption in flights from Lukla to Kathmandu and a small backlog of trekkers. Apart from that, it has been a smooth season so far, and will go into record of having been a good year.

There have been no major political wrangling around this time too, so no strikes, which means movement was easier. Nothing much to say on the political end though, we are still in a stalemate, and this status quo does not look like it will change in some time.

The travel advice that could be given now would be for travellers to start exploring newer  destinations. The Manaslu Circuit is a great tea lodge trek now, and one does not need to go with tents anymore. The Rolwaling area is also fantastic, though more basic, but the access is great and it is so close to Kathmandu.

The East, the West and Far western areas are also spreading their wings and announcing themselves to the world. A new website is developing for the Far Western Tourism (still under construction as this was written) but promises to bring the highlights of the region to the access of travellers.

Also, do not forget that Nepal is not all mountains. we have the mid-hills with incredible culture, the towns are all melting pots of culture (latest census states we have 125 ethnic groups in this small country), not to mention the Terai flatlands with their jungles, ethnic diversity and hospitality.

In terms of activity, mountain biking showed how big it can be this season, with trips after trip making the Thorong La Pass on the Annapurna Circuit (about 7 - 10 days on mountain bikes), a new biking resort in Hetauda, and several trails in Kathmandu valley. Pokhara opened the longest zip line in the world (which has a 600 m drop, 1.8 kms and reaches speeds of 140 kmps.) Rock climbing is also coming up real strong in Nepal.

2013 promises to be a good year, and hopefully will send more people into more areas of Nepal. Spreading the tourism dollar is the best way to develop this country.

Happy Travels!

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