By Sharad KC

As 2014 was drawing to a close, I wanted to take time to travel and explore a bit more of Nepal. Interestingly, living in a country most famous for trekking, I had never been intentional about planning a memorable one. I finally had the chance to plan a trek with one of my high school friends who was here in Nepal on a short vacation. He and I wanted to celebrate New Year’s Eve in the city of Pokhara (Nepal’s second largest city after Kathmandu), so we decided to do a three day trek to Poon Hill, which was relatively easy and perfect for the amount of time we had.

On the 29th of December, we took an early bus from Pokhara to Nayapool, about an hour away (this is where we started our trek and eventually ended as well). As we had not planned many details for the trip, we relied on information from locals along the way. One thing we both seemed to realize was that as we continued further into our ascent to Poon Hill (located 10,500 feet above sea level), our view just kept getting better and better. We reached the town of Ghandruk fairly quickly at around 3:00pm, and I was able to capture the first picture shown below.

I think the best way to share my trekking experience is to let the pictures of my adventure do the talking.

This experience was a great end to 2014. During the trek, I was able to reflect back upon the year. It provided me with an opportunity to carefully analyze my past actions and my future direction. More importantly, this particular experience also made me realize what I was missing all my life – travel. There are plenty of natural, exotic places within Nepal, and all I had been doing was just listening to others’ experiences. It has also strengthened my view of 2015 being the best time to travel and explore Nepal, not just for me, but for anyone looking for adventure. I would like to point out a few reasons why the time to visit here is right now:

A) Natural Calamities: Although some of you may still not believe in global climate change, we in Nepal are already facing some challenges such as a higher number of avalanches, glacier melt, changes in monsoons and flooding, and others disasters. These extreme weather events could make your trip risky, lengthy, and more expensive.

B) Commercialization: We recently had a decade-long insurgency, but the political situation is somewhat better than ten years ago. So, more tourists are flocking in, especially from the neighboring countries India and China. This will only result in commercialization of these natural sanctuaries, and hence, endanger the very reason why we went there – for peace. It will also lead to an increase in price due to higher demand.

C) Age: As we get older, our bodies, physically, may not be able to endure the same activity level we once enjoyed. Nepal is a place where you get the most out of your vacation by walking and, in some extreme cases, running. Yes, there are a few other activities that you can do that are not so physically demanding, such as mountain flight, paragliding, and bungee jumping, but these are very limited. Trekking is the main course for your trip to Nepal.

I hope Nepal is on your “must visit” list! The breathtaking scenery and warm hospitality will ensure you have the trip of a lifetime!