“People have been traumatized, but you can’t cry all the time. People are united to work together to overcome the national crisis…Things are getting better...Schools have opened. People are quite positive, they have started laughing and partying…There is a strong sense of unity to rebuild Nepal.” So says the owner of a travel agency in a feature titled, “Nepal prays for return of tourists after earthquakes” by Natalie Paris (http://goo.gl/lvpzIl).
Indeed he is right. Kathmandu has gained backed much of its vibrancy. There is optimism in the air. The making of a “New Nepal” is the mantra that’s very much in vogue today. Even the official bodies, which have more or less been criticized in the past as being laggardly in their duties, appear to be galvanized. The World Heritage Sites are being opened to the public very soon. Most of the popular trekking routes are in operation, and tourist destinations are offering fantastic discounts on lodging, boarding, and many adventure activities.
For instance, Pokhara hotels are offering a hefty 50% discount on their rooms, and attractive rebates on transport fares and adventure activities. Pokhara Tourism Revival Committee Coordinator Ganesh Bahadur Bhattarai has been reported as saying, “We have offered 50 per cent discount on hotels, zip flight and bungee jump, 20 per cent discount on bus fare, 30 per cent in paragliding and 15 per cent on ultra light flights.” (http://goo.gl/ls8ctC).
Lying about 200 km west of Kathmandu, by air, it’s a short flight of just 30 minutes. Driving down from Kathmandu can also be a most pleasant trip, taking around 5-6 hours. Also known as the ‘Lake City’, Pokhara has a number of lovely lakes, with Phewa Tal, the second largest lake in Nepal, being the most famous. The richness of its natural beauty has to be seen to be believed, and the reflection of the magnificent Machhapuchchhre Himal (6,993 m), on Phewa’s serene surface is an unforgettable sight.
Pokhara is also one of the best places to go to for some adrenaline rushing activities. It is reportedly one of the top five destinations worldwide for paragliding. You take off from Sarangkot (1,592 m) that is a little over two kilometers from the tourist hub of Pokhara’s Lakeside. Another activity that has become a must-do is flying high on an ultra-light aircraft, which flies up to 5,000 ft for a 15 min-flight over scenic Pokhara. If you wish, 30-min and 60-min flights can also be availed of. The former takes you near to Machhapuchchhre, while the latter takes you up to 12,000 ft for a fantastic bird’s eye view of the entire Annapurna Range. There are other exciting activities, as well, such as white water rafting, ziplining, bungee jumping, and so on.
Similarly, Chitwan hospitality entrepreneurs are offering massive rebates to visitors coming to Sauraha, where the Chitwan National Park, another World Heritage Site, is situated. The Regional Hotel Association, Chitwan, has decided to offer 50 per cent discount to both domestic and international tourists on all accommodation, which include about 100 hotels and some of the finest resorts in the world. Elephant safaris, jungle walks, canoeing, wildlife watching, and bird watching, etc. are extremely popular activities in the world famous park. Of the around 2000 remaining one-horned rhinos in the wild today, Chitwan National Park has about 500 of them. It also has many royal Bengal tigers, another rare animal, as well as the endangered snout-nosed gharial, besides numerous other mammal, bird, reptile, and amphibian species.
Doubtless, visiting Nepal now could be one of the wisest decisions you make—easy on the pocket, and rich in exciting activities.