If you are deciding on your next holiday destination, think Nepal. Once a favourite with tourists, political troubles and global recession have hit this country hard. Few even think of Nepal as an option now. But here are some good reasons to head out to this Himalayan state (I am in love with Nepal, almost as much as my favourite Ladakh even if for different reasons):
*The options are unlimited: No matter what you want, Nepal might have to offer. If you like wildlife and birds, choose from national parks and reserves like Chitwan, Koshi Tappu, Bardia and more. Or head out on some of the most spectacular treks in the Annapurna region besides many others. Enjoy worldly pleasures of food, coffee and shopping in Pokhara and Kathmandu. Go rafting, or on driving holidays. Gamble at the surviving casinos in Kathmandu. Camp wherever you like. Explore the Terai at sea level or go up the highest peak in the world. If you are religious minded, some of the most sacred Hindu and Buddhist spots are in Nepal.
*It is SAFE: There is absolutely no sign of any violent troubles anywhere in the country. I can say this after driving over 2,000 kms across the length and breadth of the country. Watch out for bandhs though where activists may block roads – but that is as bad as it gets.
*It is a great bargain: If you are looking for good deals, now is the time. The badly hit tourism industry is going all out too woo business – and are open to negotiations. Pity for such a situation though.
*The Nepalis know how to be hospitable: Without Nepalis, many a travel and hospitality related business in India would not be where they are today. The Nepalis have it in them to be warm, welcoming and make the effort required to make you feel good.
*Highly conducive environment: The country is generally very clean, noise and pollution free and most of the foods are organic (as chemicals are used sparingly by farmers). People are smiling, peaceful in their demeanour and willing to be your friends despite any language barriers.
*Something for every budget: You can get rooms from three dollars to $400 a night, from the most basic to highly luxurious. You can travel on top of an overcrowded bus, or hire a Landcruiser all for yourself. Food includes the roadside stuff going up to fine dining. Take your pick.
*Good connectivity: The roads and air networks in the country are quite good, and you can get to places at a speed and comfort you desire in most cases. Mobile networks work at most places including deep in the forests of Chitwan. Internet in an issue though at most places.