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Kathmandu on TripAdvisor's Top Destinations

Based on the data compiled from from millions of its user searches and reviews, TripAdvisor has published a list of 54 destinations around the world that are on the rise.

Kathmandu, Nepal has landed on the 3rd position just behind Havana, Cuba and La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica.

This is a very significant news for the tourism industry in Nepal which has not been able to draw in visitors as it had anticipated in recent years. Although the number of tourists are increasing each year, the growth is still weak and a lot less than what was expected.

As per the travel website's statement, these places witnessed the "greatest increase in positive traveler feedback and traveler interest".

Temperature dips down

On Tuesday, the temperature in the valley recorded a sharp drop after several parts of the country experienced heavy rain and snowfall.  Monday’s rain, this year’s second winter rain brought the mercury down to 14 degrees Celsius Tuesday, recording a sharp drop of 11 degrees  Celsius from last week’s  constant maximum temperature of 25 degrees.

The change in weather has been attributed to westerly disturbance. This year’s second winter rain which started on Monday from the west is expected to last till Wednesday as per the Meteorological Forecasting Division.

Monday night also saw heavy seasonal snowfall in the Dhaulagiri highlands, and parts of Jajarkot district.  In Mustang, over 1.5 feet of snow had reportedly piled up in fields ,disrupting life in high altitude areas of Mustang- Chhoser, Chonhup, Lomantahng, Ghami, Charang, Surang, Jomsom, Tukuche and Marpha,  and Dhorpatan of Baglung where the snow has disrupted operation of a micro-hydro plant.

While the snow has affected lives of common people especially old people and children, farmers in the region seem glad for the snow. The snow they say will help boost the harvest of winter crops like wheat, barley and apple. According to Senior Agriculture Development Officer Rewati Poudel, the snowfall is higher this year than last year and helps the crops where there is no irrigation. Tourists are another people enjoying the snow. According to sources at Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP), this is the heaviest snowfall of the year. All the hills around the area are covered in snow.

The snow also disrupted flights on the Pokhara-Mustang route and shut down schools in some region.

7 Nepali Women & 7 Nepali Peaks

Meet the team members of 7 Summits Women Team who owe their friendship for the successes in conquering the seven highest peaks in seven continents.

These young women all come from different walks of life yet share the same passion; mountaineering and it is this passion that drove them to climb to the top of the world Mt Everest in May 2008, Mt Kosciuszko in Australia in July 2010 and Mt Elbrus in Europe in August 2010. The 7 Summits Women Team will be summiting Mt Kilimanjaro in Africa from March 1to 7 to highlight the importance of girl education, together with 3 African women from Tanzania for the same cause in their country.

Shailee Basnet,29, says, “ Although there has been a rapid increase in child enrollment in the primary level in  Tanzania, there aren’t enough text books, desks, benches, etc., to match the need of the students. That is what schools in Nepal are facing too. Hence, it was important that we raise awareness about such issues and help our respective countries.”

Since the Seven Summits Women Team was established, they have already achieved half of their mission; three mountains down with four more to go. Pema Diki Sherpa explains that the sense of fear is actually what’s helping as they are being extra careful, every time and there’s no taking any chances.

Mt. Everest holds a special place in their hearts. Challenging, it was but it made the other 2 peaks they climbed much easier. When asked about their feelings when standing on the summit of Mt Everest, they came with words like ‘heavenly’, ‘a sense of achievement’, ‘a spiritual experience’ and ‘closeness with nature’.

As Goodwill Ambassadors of Child Reach Nepal, the 7 Summits Women Team helps children with particular focus on girl child. Their target fund is 50, 000 that will include their expenses as well as donations to their charity missions. North Face has been generous enough to provide the team with equipments and gears but sadly, they have yet to raise half of the fund they will need in March. Still, there is no letting down these women. They will, anyhow, go to Africa to climb Mt Kilimanjaro.

After Mt Kilimanjaro, the team will be off to Mt Aconcagua in South America, then to Mt Denali in North America and finally to Mt Vinson in Antartica.

Visit Nepal

Nepal, the birthplace of Lord Buddha, home to the Gurkhas and the country of Himalayas is an inviting place for those seeking respite from their everyday life. Naturally exotic with deep valleys and lush jungles, beautiful mountain ranges, and diverse culture, Nepal is the place to head for adventure and experience. Since, it first opened its doors to foreigners in 1949, Nepal has been welcoming more than thousands of guests every year. This year is even more special as 2011 has been marked the Nepal Tourism Year. The target to attract 1 million tourists was set for the year and the response and the number of tourist arrivals has been positive.

Rising from near sea level to 8,848 meters high in altitude, this tiny federal-republic nation has been described as ‘the last paradise.’ A subtle beauty in its own right, Nepal has a lot to offer to both foreigners and locals. Even with a small area of 1, 47,181, square kilometers, it is amazing to see the variety of culture and scenic beauty that is present in the country. A visit to any nook and cranny of the country is bound to be adventurous, and a novel experience. The rich cultural heritage of Nepalis is displayed through its people, architecture and traditions. Due to difference in topography, the lifestyle of people is also different in the north and the south of the country. This has resulted in a diverse culture; a culture that has been knotted together by many different types. You get to experience unique culture as you move around the country.

Nepali people believe in a Sanskrit saying “Atithi Devo Bhava” (meaning guests are like Gods) and abide by it. This is evident in the hospitality of the Nepalis. Warm and helpful, the people of Nepal welcome each guest in their country and treat them like their own. Different historical monuments, temples and architecture further highlight Nepal’s rich culture. Temples and palaces which date back to 10 AD are still found in the country. Magnificent Buddhist stupas and Pagoda styled temples speak of the finesse of Nepali architects.

Trekking is extremely popular and with the rise in popularity, more and more trekking routes are being opened. Upper Mustang trek allows a foreigner to see up-close the real beauty of Nepal. The region still remains underdeveloped and isolated. There’s a lot to do in this country. From paragliding to bungy jumping from one of the highest fall in the world, to going for a safari in jungle and bathing elephants, to rafting and kayaking, Nepal doesn’t disappoint.

The best time to travel to Nepal is October to January or February to April. October to November is also the time of Nepal’s most important festival (Dashain and Tihar) and thus, the festive mood will make the country even brighter and more fun. May to June is also good time to visit though the weather is a little hot. So, do visit Nepal for its beauty; for its people and most importantly for one in a lifetime experience.


Not sure if one should rejoice on the announcement of Nepal Tourism Board’s plan to pull in 1million foreign visitors to Nepal or despair in the thought that a country with such a massive potential has to employ all its effort and designate a particular year to achieve such a number.

For a country like Nepal, 1 million tourists visiting the country each year should be a regular affair. Over 20% of the world’s population of 6.7 billion people with per capita income of $6500 lives to our north and have a deep cultural, social and political relation to this land. Chinese travelers are surpassing other nationals as top visitors in number of popular destinations like France, Japan, Switzerland and many other countries that have benefited a great deal.  Over half a million Chinese visited France last year and contributed over 160 million Euros in the process to the French economy. In the case of Japan, it is expected that over 1.2 million Chinese will have visited the country and the year’s end, placing them on the top of the list of visitors.

What about the Indians? They are going through economic prosperity, too.  As per the statistics, Indians too are traveling abroad in an increasing number. And although Indians constitute the biggest number of travelers to Nepal overall, the actual number leaves much to be desired for.

Nepal should be able to attract 1 million visitors each year from China and India alone. These two countries have the largest middle class population in the world, and they are experiencing increase in their spending power with each successive year. And since Nepal is comparatively inexpensive place for travel and, given the geography, it is ideally “positioned” to be the favorite destination for that humongous populace.

Something needs to be done.

Hmmm- Food for thought?

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