Why are you going to Nepal? Is that safe? Series of questions that often came over when I told people I was going to Nepal. However, I traveled Nepal, and here I experienced the wining spirit and beauty of Nepal.
Nepal had been hit by a massive earthquake measured with the force of 7.9 on the Richter scale, said the head of Dutch media in April, this year. It is really a big disaster and it has moved me, deeply. People have lost their home, at worst, their loved ones. Of course, I also personally doubted whether I should / could go to Nepal, and had to stay in India, only. Because according to the media, Nepal is quite destroyed, and for what reasons, you as a traveler, would see in Nepal? As a disaster tourist, I would rather choose not to be such tourists, to see pains and destruction. Because I am employed in a travel company, Rickshaw Travel, I hear a lot about Nepal. Since I, personally, met and spoke to travelers who had returned from Nepal, and they told me there were hardly anything destruction to see from the earthquake, which means Nepal is already much rebuilt. Such good news pushed me to decide to visit Nepal, moreover I also thought that a destination like Nepal, precisely now, they sought income from tourism, which is requisite for reconstruction. After all, Nepal in terms of revenues highly depends upon tourism.
Present condition of Nepal.
But what are my real findings? The epicenter of the April earthquake 2015 was 80 kilometers west of Kathmandu. The shock was felt throughout the country. The capital city, Kathmandu has already built, almost, alone but once can still see (if I’m honest) scars in places like Durbar Square and Boudhanath. Perhaps, because these old historic buildings were not sturdy enough for the severe shock, but the restoration is fully in effect.
Do we skip plans to visit Nepal?
No, fortunately, there are enough places in Kathmandu which are absolutely worth to visit. Think of Patan, Monkey Temple, and Pashupatinath temple, with the impressive cremation ghats, are blessed to accommodate its beauty against such powerful odds. And if you had seen everything then I encourage you to wander the narrow streets of the Thamel district and try the special dish of Kathmandu, The Momos. I am a big fan! Dough fritters stuffed with vegetables, meat, cheese or sometimes you encounter another surprising pad against.
Bhaktapur city in the Kathmandu valley is definitely worth a visit, but here and there you might see some debris, but it must have probably been removed by the time you are reading my article, however, I do want to be fair. But why would you confine your vacation only in Kathmandu and Bhaktapur when you traveling to this diverse country, Nepal? Oh no? Most travelers then travel further to the east (Chitwan – Bandipur, Pokhara, and trekking in the Annapurna mountain range), and these are those places I’ve personally watched, and not much destruction to witness from the earthquake. You can even canoe through Chitwan National Park, look for rhinos, visit and spend your days in long mountain villages, sleeping in mountain villages en route, and arrive at the highest point, Poon Hill. The view from Poon Hill is indescribable. I spent three days in Kathmandu valley out of my total trip of 3 weeks.
But then hotels and restaurants are empty and few travelers seem to want to go to Nepal. (I am sorry.) Because I think you can go just fine and still see little of the earthquake on the tourist trail. “All of Nepal has been destroyed,” unfortunately that is what the still images show, but when you go to Nepal you will see that this isn’t the truth. Fortunately, Nepalese people are very positive and believe it is all good, so do I believe it, too. Just move on for better future.
Written by Lisanne Sas, who works for tour Rickshaw Travel. She traveled three weeks through Nepal in October this year.