Hotel Shanker Lazimpat Kathmandu 44600 Nepal

With the march of the years, Kathmandu Valley is offering more to tourists. Where, once upon a time, places like Nagarkot and Dhulikhel were the shining new hopes on the hills, which were meant hopefully to add a couple of days, if not a week, to the usual tourist itinerary to Nepal, now there are many more additions that are being highlighted with some vigor. It is not that the above-mentioned hill stations have lost their charms; on the contrary, there are some pretty interesting developments taking place there to make the visitor more comfortable by offering extra convenience and even a bit of luxury. You see, we understand that visitors from other realms (the West, especially) have become habituated, no, addicted, to the modern ways of living and doing things. So, no matter how high you go in Nepal (what to say about Kathmandu Valley?), you’re assured of things like TV, the Internet, and free WiFi. Besides, hair dryers, running hot water, whisky on the rocks, flaming Flamingoes, and what not! And, of course, the spectacular natural scenery that you can avail of from such fantastic settings as Nagarkot and Dhulikhel will never change. Hopefully. So, they are still the shining hopes they were yesterday. But, we have become more ambitious, we want you to stay still longer. I met a Chinese girl recently who has been here for the last three weeks, and I asked her, “Have you visited Boudhanath Stupa?” She hadn’t, and looked it up on her smartphone. “It’s far,” she said. Now, two or three conclusions can be made from this exchange. One, she has no clue about the historical Chinese aspect of this world heritage site monument. She doesn’t know that it is still the only stupa in Nepal (could really be in the world), where the head lama is called Chini (Chinese) Lama. This girl is a graduate student, so it was doubly surprising that she didn’t know. I mean, everybody Googles the place they are visiting before going there, don’t they now? My second conclusion is that our tourism folks haven’t a clue about how to market Nepal to the Chinese. Despite their oft-repeated litany about how we must take advantage of the stupendous increase in Chinese tourists all over the world, they still haven’t been able to promote such an important monument to them, which if done properly, could easily be at the top of every Chinese tourist’s must-visit list when coming to Nepal. Besides, of course, attracting more to come to Nepal. Seriously, organizations like NTB, HAN, NATA, etc. must take note. Those on the upper rungs of these organizations better put on their thinking caps, and not only that, put on their trekking boots, and make sincere attempts to promote Nepal to what has become today, the most important country from which to attract tourists in vast numbers. Oh yes, one more conclusion from the exchange is that our roads are horrible, the transportation system is terrible, that’s why she considered even a three-kilometer distance to be far. She must be daily commuting at least twenty and more back home! So, better roads and public transport needed urgently. Anyway, coming to relatively newer additions to the Valley’s delights, places like Kirtipur (ancient history, with great sites like Chobar, Taudaha Lake, Dakshinkali, etc.), Panauti (the fourth most important heritage city after the big three of Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, and Lalitpur), Tokha (where the air is always fragrant with the smell of fresh molass, i.e. chaku), Chandragiri Hill (with a brand new cable car soaring over hills and dales; and a history that could be hyped quite a bit), and of course, places like Bungamati and Khokana, which have become practically a neighborhood of the big city of Patan, what with roads and all. Talking of neighborhoods, quite a few are developing in the capital as attractive destinations for tourists, what with posh malls, supermarkets, and restaurants serving all kinds of cuisines, live music, and what not. Thamel overtook Freak Street a long time ago, now it is spawning a Jhamel, as well, for example! The number of five-star properties that were increasing every two decades or so in the past, are doing so now every year, and they, too, have become very active in promotional activities like regular international hi fi events and food festivals. Oh yes, you, dear tourist, in addition to your trekking plans, please do add a few more days, if not weeks, to your itinerary when visiting Nepal. We have much to offer!


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