Tourists in Nepal: A Gallery of Personal Anecdotes
10, Apr 2022 | nepaltraveller.com
After two difficult years, tourism in Nepal is back! With tourists flooding back to conquer the Himalayas and to observe the beauty of Nepali culture, the streets of Kathmandu have replenished their energy.
After two difficult years, tourism in Nepal is back! With tourists flooding back to conquer the Himalayas and to observe the beauty of Nepali culture, the streets of Kathmandu have replenished its energy.
Lara and Lia
Lara and Lia arrived from France the same day we met them at Basantapur. Both Lara and Lia were strangers before they arrived in Kathmandu. They connected on Facebook, and their love for the Himalayas, Nepalese culture, and spirituality brought them together.
“I don't know what brought me to Nepal. I just know that I have a genuine attraction to this country and I wanted to experience more” says Lia.
“We’ve just arrived today so we haven't gotten the full experience yet. But we’ve noticed a burst of energy on the streets. Something very noisy and calm at the same time.” says Lara.
Borgha and his beautiful family of four had arrived from Spain just the day before. “This is our third time in this country. Before this, my wife lived in Nepal for three months.”
“I love Nepal, many years ago when I was buying incense in Spain, I saw a sign saying ‘these incense help people in Nepal’. So I got really interested, contacted the foundation and asked if I could do anything to help.”His wife added, mentioning the Micro-Enterprise Development Programme- a nationally executed program with the support of the United Nations Development Programme which assists the underprivileged and low-income families through employment building. "Then two years later she brought me here and I’m so grateful."
They also shared their favorite local places and food. “We really like Fire and Ice, OR2K. There's also a really good lassi place on the way to Durbar Square which we love but it doesn't really have a name. We are yet to try Momo this time around but we had Dal Bhat last time we were here at local homes so got the authentic taste.” “We also make Dal Bhat at our home in Spain sometimes!” added Borgha.
When asked about where else they are visiting they had a myriad of places on their list. “We are going to Pokhara, Baseri village, Dhulikhel, Bhaktapur, Namobuddha. We do not plan to visit the Himalayas since the kids are small and it might be a little difficult. Maybe next time when the kids are older we may visit the Annapurna Base Camp.”
The Happy Village Orchestra
We encountered Happy Village Orchestra’s Iza and Igor Spolsky from Poland and Itamar from Israel at Thamel.
Igor Spolsky first came to Nepal in 2010 and has been visiting for twelve years.
“I had a Polish friend married to a Nepali woman and he was also running a recording studio here in Kathmandu; so I came here to make music. When I landed at Tribhuvan Airport for the first time in 2010, I saw a complete mess. And I instantly knew that it was my place. I fell in love with it. Since then, I’ve been coming to Nepal and touring with my band Happy Village Orchestra over the past years.”
Happy Village Orchestra is a society of traveling musicians, who perform in rural areas, to spread music and joy.
“We do not have much of a tourist experience since this is where we work. Our main goal is to travel to bucolic places and play charity shows for people. But we don't hesitate to perform in clubs and festivals.” said Igor Spolsky when asked about the band. “We mostly performed around the Magdi region, Pokhara. We’ve been to the Himalayas. We toured there three years ago around the villages.”
When asked what they treasured about performing for Nepalese so much, Iza and Igor said “The thing I love the most about Nepal is the strong community bond. I really appreciate how easily people bond here and the communities of people are really amazing. People have fun here when we play: they sing, they dance, it's like magic.”
The band also shared their fondness for local foods. “When we travel we just eat at local restaurants. I love samosa, laphing, puri and tarkari. I love the food here.”
Dede and Rick
Dede and Rick traveled to Nepal all the way from Holland, Netherlands. Although they had only arrived in Kathmandu two days prior to our conversation, they believed that the most interesting thing they had witnessed in the city was “traveling by car”.
“It’s an adventurous experience” exclaimed Dede, “It looks very chaotic, but it's moving and arranging itself. Even though there are no traffic lights, no traffic police at most of the places, it somehow works itself out.”.
She also shared her satisfaction with mellow markets and gentle people. “If you go to Paris, Amsterdam, you will find a lot of extroverted people. But here, I find people very quiet with just vehicle horns going “door doot” most of the time.”
When asked about what brought them here, Dede shared that Nepal was on her travel bucket list. “I had a lot of countries on my list. India seemed too big for me, so Nepal was an obvious choice.”
“And we also wanted to visit the Himalayas! In our two weeks we are traveling to Pokhara, Annapurna, and wherever the trip takes us.”, Rick added in the end.
Within our conversations, we not only encountered travelers, but also many volunteers who come from their hometowns to volunteer in rural hospitals and governmental organizations.
Olizis from France shared her experience as a volunteer at a hospital in Manthali Ramechhap. “Although the main purpose of my visit wasn't to travel to do volunteer work, I relished my free time going trekking in Pokhara and visiting parts of Kathmandu. But the most interesting part of my trip would be the volunteer work itself. We did health camps at schools, screenings in hospitals, and much more.”
Heather from the United States comes in the hopes of learning more about Non-Governmental Organizations and International Non-Governmental Organizations and how they work. “I’m mostly here to learn how NGOs and INGOs work in Nepal but I also hope to travel in my free time. It's a beautiful country and I hope to see more” says Heather.