Cabin crew, please be seated for landing.
That in-flight announcement was made probably about thirty minutes before landing – I can’t remember exactly when. But typically, when that announcement is made, you would expect to see views of the city landscape from above, right?
Not when you’re flying into Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport.
From my window seat, I was a treated to a view of clouds like big balls of cotton. The plane flew right into those clouds just before landing at the airport, as if for a few minutes, we were enveloped in these big cotton balls.
[Click to play the short clip]
The feeling was quite magical and that made me feel excited to land in Nepal but ambivalent at the same time, unsure of what to expect from this trip. The fact that this small country is a melting pot of Hinduism and Buddhism, ninety-two languages are spoken in this nation, and has eight of the world’s top ten highest summits including Mount Everest, and among other wonders, give plenty of interesting stories to share and many ways of telling them.
Where and how do I start my stories?
Stories of Nepal will, inevitably, mention the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that had hit and devastated Kathmandu and its surrounding areas in 2015. Thousands of lives died in the earthquake, many Nepalis lost their homes and were displaced. A country that is vastly spiritual and very proud of their rich cultural heritage was shaken to its core seeing their ancient temples and monuments brought down to the ground, destroyed.
Some parts of the country were not physically affected by the earthquake but suffered economically because tourism simply stopped. On top of that, Nepal struggles with existing problems related to poverty, high unemployment, a complicated political history of civil war and border skirmishes.
But you know what? All that is old news – negative news that are mentioned time and again. The earthquake and the aftermath of the disaster had been covered extensively.
So, let’s move on and focus on the positive news, shall we?
Positive stories about Nepal. The real stories of Nepal.
And that will be my stories for the next few weeks to share with you the amazing ten-day tour I experienced in Nepal. Here are the highlights:
Visited Hindu and Buddhist temples in Kathmandu
Experienced a homestay with a Nepali family in Panauti village
Spotted wildlife in Chitwan National Park
Visited the birthplace of Buddha in Lumbini
Enjoyed forest trails and boating in Pokhara
A fascinating trip it was but it was even more special with the smiles and genteel nature of the Nepali people. Despite their struggles in daily life and post-earthquake recovery efforts, what truly amazed me was their smiles and optimism for the future. No matter where I went, be it in the city or village, life goes on for them, devotion to religion remains.
Therefore, I would urge you, my fellow readers, to ignore concerns about earthquake and safety. Enough with the negative news!
The best time to visit Nepal is NOW for Nepal is back on track, ready to smile and greet you ‘Namaste’. And that’s the real and positive Nepal, for sure.
*My trip in Nepal was part of the Himalayan Travel Mart FAM trip sponsored by Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Nepal Chapter. Opinions expressed in this post are, as always, my own.
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