Signs Of Tourism Revival In Nepal

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Persijs Muznieks

It is safe to say that this year's wave of the new tourist season has taken over almost all of Nepal. It is good to hear that many popular hotels are already full of tourists, and due to the high influx, other accommodations have to be recommended. 

As the guests say, the  instinct to travel has taken over. After two years of being at home, no travel restrictions or prices have been able to stop them from choosing the desired destinations. 

The national composition of travelers is quite diverse, most of them are from the USA, Canada and Arab countries, less from Europe. Interstate political and economic situations have created obstacles to what was planned, and under its influence have forced people to focus more on survival. However, recently, even small, positive trends can be seen, oriented towards the growth of tourism, specifically to Nepal. 

Why this particular country? As the travelers themselves say, - it is full of peace and here, no one spoils your mood with world events, which for us Westerners is a daily topic. More conversations are about culture and hospitality. Yes, and your beautiful nature in the mountains, waterfalls, hospitable mountaineers and clean air (which cannot be said about the capital city) gives great refreshment to forget every day worries.

In the evening hours, Thamel turns into a real discussion center where many languages meet, creating a friendly atmosphere for exchanging what has been seen and experienced. Popular travel destinations such as Pokhara, where a wide range of water, land and air activities are concentrated, as well as Everest Base Camp and other types of trekking, are usually discussed. 

Tourists still have a fear syndrome in their memory, so the choice is given to travel in small groups or in a family circle. Less visible are the individuals, who take great risks when hiking alone in the mountains. It indicates self-organisation and a sense of responsibility.

In order to create not only an emotional judgment but also a practical vision for the article, I decided to take part in a three-day trek in the Machhapuchhre mountains, which lies within the Annapurna Conservation Area (AcAP).

I'm trained in mountain hikes and they don't surprise me, except for the unrepeatable mountain landscapes. I was more interested in meeting the travelers and asking them about the emotional and practical part of the trek, that refers to equipment, accommodation, catering and amenities. 

Down the hill I encountered a group of foreigners. Seeing the white man, the group of six people from the USA very reluctantly started 
talking. When I introduced myself as a journalist to prepare materials for a local publication, the conversation instantly turned into a friendly atmosphere.
They were genuine, and emotionally saturated, as presented:

Gary Ricker, WA, USA
Treking in Nepal has been my dream for many years. This exceeded my expectations by far. The beauty of the mountains and the people were most amazing. 
Marco, Seatle Washington USA
Amazing experience. 
Andrea D., Seatle WA
This trip to Nepal is fascinating. From the city of Kathmandu to Pokhara and high in the sky near Mardi Himal Base Camp, Nepal does not disapoint this adventure traveler. 
D. Sorensen TukWila, WA
An absolutely amazing trip and exceeded all my expectations. A magical experience of trekking, meeting wonderfull local people and enjoying the fantasting food. Thank you!
Jackie Wodman, Alaska
Nepal has exceeded all my expectation I had. Spectacular views of majestic mountains was accompanied with the warm friendliness of the people of Nepal.
Rebeka Delsney, Washington
Our trip to Nepal has been absolutely amazing. The people are so incredibly friedly. The culture is fascinating, the natural beauty is astounding. It has been so reasonable to visit and be completely taken care of from start to finish. This is an amazing place to visit.

As a sign of a successful journey, the entire group with their companions climbed onto a stone platform and stood proudly next to the flag of Nepal. 

Afterwards, everyone gathered in the hotel’s Stone Gallery restaurant. Preferring home-brewed beer, the conversations continued late into the night. 

Indeed, there was something to remember. About the difficult several-hour climb up the mountain, the people they met on the way, who invited us to stop for a moment and have a meal. And there was the donkey caravan loaded with heavy loads, whose daily job is to deliver food to the hotels in the mountains.

Even an advanced climber could not keep up with the pace of the donkeys. The caravan companion chooses the shortest route, which is beyond the power of an inexperienced traveler.

Our friends from the USA were lucky with the weather. Reaching the last camp, a dazzling view of snow-capped mountain peaks opened up all around. ‘It was unforgettable’, this is how the whole group expressed themselves in one word. Although most of the group members were middle-aged, the fresh mountain air and spring water made them forget about their age. 

This was noticeable when a local musician started drumming, calling everyone for active dancing. All difficulties were forgotten, even the slightly sprained ankles did not prevent anyone from joining the rhythm of the dance. 

Most city dwellers get such injuries while in the mountains. The city streets are smooth and the muscles of the feet are not strained well. In the mountains, with extreme road terrain, there is a chance to slip at any moment. So it is recommended to use special shoes for this purpose. If an injury does occur, the first and most effective aid is a massage, which the group's companions also did to a woman. 

The Stone Gallery Hotel lives up to its name in the truest sense. The exterior facade of the house covered with decorative bricks, supplemented with Newar-style windows and doors, give a massive but cozy impression. At the same time, there was warmth indoors, which is so necessary in cool mountain nights. Small but well-maintained rooms and warm water ensure a restful night's sleep. 

With the first rays of the sun, the final photos are taken and a few lines of memories are scribbled in the notebooks of each guest. The last morning meal and exchanging promises to come soon, we say goodbye to our lovely guests from the USA.

Just behind a small mountain range, the next group of tourists is already visible, a family from Tel Aviv who decided to spend the night at the Stone Gallery hotel. 

What makes this hotel service so attractive? Perhaps a chef, whose cooking skills satisfy any gourmet, without leaving children behind. Maybe it's a simple answer, - the hospitality of the mountain people. Best of all, we recommend you enjoy it yourself.

(Persijs, a press photographer from Finland, is studying culture and costumes of Nepal.) 
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