After the earthquake

11406116_1606225609644445_6099491594019202625_oCan I visit Nepal this year?

Yes! Nepal is open to tourists! Much of the tourist and trekking infrastructure is up and running again. Hotels and restaurants in the tourist quarter of Kathmandu known as Thamel are open, likewise in Patan and Bhaktapu, Pokhara, Lumbini and Chitwan. The latter were not even affected by the earthquake in April 2015.

Should I cancel my trek to Nepal this year?

We are getting countless emails from people saying they don’t know whether to cancel their trek to Nepal this year?

The only major treks closed are Langtang and Manaslu. All the other treks are open and running!

These include for instance our:

  • Everest Base Camp Trek
  • Annapurna Trek
  • Annapurna Base Camp
  • Mardi Himal

They are all open! Here’s all our trekkings and except for Langtang and Manaslu you can choose for each one:

Are all the temples gone?

No! Big international media loves bad news because it sells. Yes, there were many temples destroyed in the earthquake but the majority of temples in the Kathmandu Valley are still standing!

Just this week the Tourism Recovery Committee (TRC) of Nepal announced that Kathmandu Durbar Square, Patan Durbar Square and Swayambhunath will all be fully open by August 15th (Himalayan Times, June 4, 2015).

Currently all areas in Kathmandu’s old city, north south and west Patan along with Bhaktapur, Pashupatinath, Boudhanath are open to tourists. Look at our own recent pictures on this facebook site!

Surely the Nepalese are too busy rebuilding to want tourists not to come?

The unofficial and more realistic figure is 25% of the population benefits from tourism. The clean up operation is already underway. People are going back to their daily lives.

Tourists are encouraged and very welcome back in Nepal. Himalayan Dream Team visited all major places and talked to all hotel owners and many shop vendors, trekking guides and so on. All are ready to welcome you back.

Academy award winner Susan Sarandon (currently visiting Nepal): “It is important to emphasize that by the fall, when monsoon ends, people should make their reservations now if they want to help and they want to come and visit because it is very, very important to keep all these jobs alive,” Sarandon said Sunday while inaugurating a campaign to build 201 huts for villagers outside of the capital, Kathmandu, who lost their homes in one of the earthquakes.”

There are no food or water shortages in the touristic areas. There are plenty of guides available and 80% of the hotels are empty. So yes, you’ll be welcomed with arms wide open!

The peak tourist season is now in the Autumn between September to late November. This is just after the monsoon season so the air is dry and clear. This is the perfect time for visiting Nepal if you are going trekking or culture sight seeing.

But what about landslides and more earthquakes?

Landslides and earthquakes are nothing new to Nepal. Every year there are countless landslides in Nepal which never go reported in international media. This year because of the 7.8 earthquake big media is picking up anything negative to do with Nepal. Yes, the danger of landslides is inevitable, but mainly during the July-August rainy season (except Mustang).

There are landslides every monsoon season in Nepal – most of them get unreported by international media – this year will be different

This year Nepal was indeed hit by a devastating earthquake and many predicted aftershocks thereafter. Nepal, much like many countries around the world who suffer from natural disasters like hurricanes, typhoons, blizzards and flooding, has suffered. But Nepal is rebuilding.

Tourism is essential to Nepal’s rebuilding.

Can I find a safe hotel? Or will there be restaurants open?

Yes! Without doubt. There is no hotel shortage or food shortage in Nepal. We will find you asafe hotel in Nepal with no problem. The government is labeling the safe hotels after thoroughly inspecting them.

As for food, yes there’s plenty of food available. From dal bhat to big steaks, Mexican tacos to pizza and the ever favorite momos.

Again, while the remoter villages are rebuilding using earthquake resistant materials (source: BBC) as are many suburbs, the tourist infrastructure is still up and running.

Hotels have all been inspected since the earthquake and the last big aftershock. Unsafe buildings have been closed while safe hotels (90%) have been given green stickers and certificates indicating they are safe.

I don’t want to see sad people in Nepal

Albert Kampermann (Chairman Himalayan Care Hands NGO): “I’ve not seen a sad face since i have arrived from Europe 3 weeks ago”. If you’ve not been to Nepal then it’s hard to explain the nature of Nepalese people and their take on the disaster.

The Nepalese are not the type of people to sit and dwell on trouble. They are proactive in rebuilding the damage and in working within the tourisim industry.

What you will see are busy people going about their lives as they always have.

You will see buildings being reconstructed. Temples being restored. You will see woodcarvers, potters and stone masons at work like never before. This is a time of rebuilding in Nepal. It’s a time when Nepal needs visitors more than ever.

In many ways peak season this year will be a great time to visit Nepal as you will be witnessing an important historical moment as this characteristically warm nation rebuilds itself – much in part thanks to your your visit.

Should I feel guilty visiting Nepal so soon?

Why on earth would you feel guilty? By visiting so soon after the earthquake not only are you directly helping local businesses who are open and want your business. But you are also helping to spread the word through your friends and family that it is okay to visit Nepal.

This is not some form of “voyeuristic” or “disaster tourism”. This is the type of cultural and outdoor tourism Nepal has been famous for the past decades and in future decades to come.

Tourism is a major part of Nepal’s economy and helps the people of Nepal be self sufficient whilst stabilizes the country’s economy.

Nepal needs tourists to visit as soon as possible.

Where can I avoid the disaster zones?

Gurkha, Langtang and remote villages have aid coming into them now and should be avoided in terms of tourism.

Meanwhile, Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, Patan, Chitwan, Everest, Bardia, Lumbini and Pokhara (Annapurna and Mustang) are all open to tourists and you will not be in any “disaster zone”.

The mighty Taleju temple in Kathmandu Durbar Square awaits.

Himalayan Dream Team went to Pokhara, it still offers all trekkings, whitewater rafting, paragliding, microlight flights, boating and so much more. The Annapurna circuit trek is fully open. This includes Poon Hill, Annapurna Base Camp and Mustang.

And yes, the Everest Base Camp Trek is open too.

Chitwan and the jungles of Bardia are completely unaffected by the earthquake. Elephant sanctuaries, jungle treks, tiger spotting and so much more is all open!

Likewise Lumbini is open and unaffected. It’s the birthplace of buddha and close to Chitwan. A perfect combination for cultural and jungle travel in Nepal.

Meanwhile the historic cities of Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Patan will all be open coming autumn. Giant “before” and “after” posters are being put up around destroyed temples. And tourists are being encouraged to visit these sites and watch as nepalese artisans rebuild these historic buildings.

Meanwhile culture visitors can still go on walking tours and temple visits to the many other temples and historic buildings that remain throughout the Kathmandu Valley.

Some post earthquake tourism reality
  • Out of 75 districts in Nepal, only 8 are affected
  • Out of 10 National Parks, only 1 is affected
  • 90% of hotels in Kathmandu Valley are safe and in operational condition. 100% of all hotels in popular destinations like Pokhara, Chitwan, Lumbini, Bardia, Annapurna Region, Everest Region etc. are safe and in full operation
  • Bhaktapur Durbar Square is fully open
  • Out of 35 popular trekking routes, only 2 are affected
  • All the International and National airports are in operation with zero damage
  • Communication (mobile phone calls, ATMs) are working
  • There have been no outbreaks of of viral diseases or influenza.
Latest Hotel updates:

KATHMANDU, June 3: Though many high-rises in Kathmandu Valley have been declared unfit for living, most of the hotels here have received green stickers from authorities, meaning they are safe to stay.

Of the 30 hotels monitored so far by the Department of Tourism (DoT) in the Valley and in Dhulikhel so far, 90 percent have received green stickers. The monitoring team of DoT on Tuesday assessed the buildings of Hotel Mums Home, Hotel Norling Nepal, Hotel Friends Home and Shree Tibet Family Guest House. All the hotels received green stickers.

“We have found more than 90 percent of hotels that we monitored safe to accommodate tourists,” Kosh Nath Adhikari, senior divisional engineer of DoT, said. “Of the eight five-star hotels in Kathmandu, six have received green stickers while New Baneshwar-based The Everest Hotel has received red sticker. We are yet to assess the buildings of Hotel Yak & Yeti.”

The five-star hotels, which have been declared fit to accommodate guests, are Radisson Hotel Kathmandu, Hotel Shangri La, The Malla Hotel, Hotel Annapurna, Hyatt Regency Kathmandu and Soaltee Crowne Plaza.

“Hotel Yak & Yeti was safe when we assessed its buildings after the earthquake of April 25. It will probably get green sticker as the aftershock of May 12 hasn’t caused damaged in the buildings,” added Adhikari.

Two casinos on the premises of five-star hotels — Casino Anna at Hotel Annapurna and Casino Tara at Hyatt Regency — have been marked unsafe and have received red and yellow stickers, respectively.

The department has given red stickers to some buildings of some resorts. Block No.3 of Dhulikhel Lodge Resort has received red sticker. “Of the five blocks, Block No.3 has sustained serious damage,” said Adhikari.

Similarly, Hunter Lodge of Gokarna Forest Resort has also received red sticker.

“We have only conducted preliminary assessment of hotel building. The detailed study of the buildings, which have received red stickers, has to be conducted by the owner themselves to find out whether general maintenance or retrofitting would do or the building has to be totally demolished and rebuilt,” added Adhikari.

Other hotels which have received green stickers are Hotel Grande, Platinum Hotel and Spa, Hotel Manang, Hotel Vaishali, Hotel Manaslu, Hotel Shambala, Hotel Moonlight, Hotel Garuda, Heritage Home Hotel and Guest House, and New Hotel Panda.

“After completing inspections of hotels in Kathmandu Valley, we will begin inspection of hotels in Nagarkot as we have received information that many hotels there are damaged by the earthquake,” said Adhikari.

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