Why now it is the perfect time to visit Nepal.
April 2016, exactly one year after the two massive earthquakes hit Nepal, as well as the month I came back from my first backpack trip to Nepal. During my trip, I experienced that the Nepal’s tourism industry still is recovering from the earthquakes of last year. Nevertheless, I also experienced that now, in spite of all the repairing and rebuilding, it is the perfect time to visit Nepal.
After the earthquakes, the media images made it look as Nepal was completely destroyed. At that time, you only heard about all the deaths, collapsed historical temples and other damaged buildings. When something like this happens to a country that depends so heavily on tourism, it is crucial to also show the remaining beautiful things within the country in order to persuade the tourists to still visit the country.
Nowadays, most of the hotels, restaurants, tourist shops, temples and trekking infrastructure are open and running again. At some areas, you will not notice a thing of the earthquake damages and at other areas, you can still witness or help by the rebuilding. In the areas that are hit the hardest, you can notice that the rebuilding is a slow process. Despite of all the damage, it is essential that tourists still visit the ‘damaged’ touristic places, in order to speed up the rebuilding by means of donations and increased entree fees. On one hand I think it is weird to pay a higher entrance fee for something that is less nice than before with a lower entrance fee, but on the other hand it is a good way to help collecting money from foreigners for the recovery and by this way of donating you can be sure that the money will be used for the rebuilding rather than donating to big organisations and wondering if the money will reach its goal.
During my backpack trip to Nepal I sometimes noticed the consequences of the earthquakes. In the main cities like Kathmandu, Pokhara or the Chitwan district, I almost did not notice a thing. There were plenty of hotels, restaurants and tourist shops opening their doors for us and you will see busy people going about their lives as they always have. People are smiling and greeting you with ‘Namaste’ (hello) as you walk by. As I did some excursions, like paragliding in Pokhara and jungle walking in Chitwan National Park, you will hear from the local instructors and guides about the tuff time they went through after the earthquake. The tourism industry dropped significantly and people were facing a hard time to keep their jobs. Both, the instructor in Pokhara and guide in Chitwan National Park, tell me it is better than before and the tourism industry is growing again. I am happy to hear that, so they can continue the job the love to do.
During my seven days trekking to Gosaikunda in Langtang National Park, I still noticed lots of damage of the earthquakes. We were often welcomed as the first guests after the earthquake (first guests in a year time!) and the locals tried to make us feel at home as possible even though there were often no beds, toilets, showers or rooms at all. Once we arrived after seven hours trekking in a village, where all the guesthouses were destroyed and we had to overnight in a tent provided by the locals. It is very impressive to still see all the damage up in the mountains and how those inhabitants adjusted to the new situation and try to slowly rebuild and live their lives as they did before. The mountain areas in Langtang show a huge contrast to the main cities of Nepal.
After travelling to Nepal I have a lot of respect for the Nepali people and how they try to recover from the earthquakes. Nowadays, it is still a time of rebuilding in Nepal and it is still a time that Nepal needs more tourists than ever before. I strongly recommend you to visit this amazing and beautiful country as soon as possible, as now the tourism is still at a low level, and you will be more welcomed as ever before. It is still an amazing country to visit temples, do trekking through the Himalayas, enjoy wildlife, experience cultural beliefs and meet new people.
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