MT EVEREST has reopened to climbers after the huge earthquake in April. Whether youre a keen climber, an occasional hiker or a complete novice, the authorities have hung the open for business shingle back on the doorway to Nepal.
The capital city of Kathmandu, at the foothills of the Himalayas, is the gateway to Nepal and where you will find beautiful UNESCO-protected temples, monuments and palaces.
But tourists travel to Nepal to see the mountains and experience village life. About 90 per cent of the Nepalese population live in the mountains and the villages you visit along the trails through Everest and Annapurna, make for an unforgettable experience.
The Nepalese people are very warm, friendly and hospitable and if you visit their villages, theyll welcome you with open arms, World Expeditions CEO Sue Badyari says. Many treks take you past villages where you can stop and visit monasteries, experience village life and the culture of the Nepalese.
Trekking in Nepal is not reserved for experienced climbers. In fact Badyari says 30 to 40 per cent of their customers have never trekked before. She says travellers who have basic fitness and good health will find a Himalayan trek very rewarding.
Im not saying its easy, even the basic treks represent a challenge of some sort. But, if you take it slow, stopping each night and getting a little higher every day, you will find it so gratifying. Our trekkers have the bestsupport with porters to carry theirluggage, cook their meals and comfortable accommodation along theway.
While large parts of the country can be described as being undiscovered by tourists, there are areas that are opening up to visitors. The landlocked district of Mustang, in the central west of the country, does not have any big mountain ranges, rather it features high altitude desert landscapes and fertile valleys. Because its close to the Tibetan border, it retains a traditional Tibetan Buddhist culture not seen in other parts of the country.
When to visit
Visitors to Nepal would be best to avoid the annual monsoonal months from June to the end of August. During these months, the weather is consistently wet and uncomfortably hot as the heat rises up from the Bay of Bengal.
The peak season runs through the autumn months of September, Octoberand November. However, Badyari says her favourite time to visit isduring their winter (December to February) when rainfall is at its lowestpoint and mountain viewing at its best.
In the Nepalese winter the temperatures can drop to below-15C overnight but if you have good accommodation and appropriate layered clothing, its a fantastic time to visit, she says. The skies are really clear and you can see all the beautiful contours of the mountains.
Best time to book
Prices for activities and accommodation remain fairly static year round in Nepal. However, travellers can save on airfares if they book for travel outside the peak period. Watch for airfare offers on Asian airlines that fly to the region.
News Source: The Seattle Times