ADVENTURE ACTIVITIESIN NEPAL
Angling is gaining popularity in Nepal as a water sport. Approximately 118 varieties of freshwater fish are found in the Himalayan rivers ranging from the much sought after Mahseer to the mountain stream trout varieties. Fishing trips on white waters are generally organized before and after the monsoons from February through April and October through November.
The ultimate thrill of a bungee jump can now be experienced in Nepal – 12 km from the Nepal-Tibet border, a three-hour bus ride from Kathmandu. The bungee jump was designed by one of New Zealand’s leading bungee consultants, and is operated by some of the most experienced jump masters in the business. The jump takes place from a 166 m wide steel suspension bridge that joins two sides of a deep valley over the raging Bhoti Kosi River. The place has spectacular scenery with dense forests covering the top of the cliff. One can overnight here and go rafting and rock climbing, too.
Licensed hunting is allowed in the Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve in the western part of Nepal. Dhorpatan is the prime habitat of the blue sheep, ghoral, serow, Himalayan tahr, black bear, pheasant and partridge. Endangered species here include the cheer pheasant and red panda. Hunting is allowed only after acquiring a license from the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC) in Kathmandu and is restricted to certain times in a year. Most hunting trips are planned in spring and the onset of autumn, from February through April and August through October respectively.
Dhorpatan is a 4-day trek from Baglung which is 72 km from Pokhara. Accommodation facilities include tented camps or a village house.
Please log onto www.dnpwc.gov.np (official website of DNPWC) for further details.
It was mountaineering that first opened up Nepal to the outside world. Of the world’s 14 highest peaks above 8,000 m, eight of them crown Nepal’s north, including the highest Mt. Everest. Not surprisingly, the fascination of scaling these physically demanding peaks draws crowds of visitors from abroad year after year without let up.
The mountains are open for climbing in all the four climbing seasons:
- spring (March-May),
- summer (June-August),
- autumn (September-November) and
- winter (December-February).
The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation issues permits for the bigger mountains while the Nepal Mountaineering Association issues permits for the smaller trekking peaks between 5,587 m and 6,654 m.
Nepal’s diverse terrain makes it one of the best for mountain biking. Bike through the country and discover villages and small towns in the midst of rural serenity. Time permitting, it is even possible to explore the entire length and breadth of the country on a mountain bike. Bikes can be hired in Kathmandu and Pokhara.
Mountain flights offer the luxurious option of a Himalayan experience. The one-hour mountain flight from Kathmandu takes one close to the highest peaks, including Mt. Everest.
During the flight, you get to see Gosaithan (also called Shisha Pangma), Dorje Lhakpa, Phurbi Chyachu, Choba Bhamare, Gaurishanker, Melungtse, Chugimago, Numbur, Karyolung, Cho-Oyu, Gyachungkang, Pumori, Nuptse and, of course, Everest. Mountain flights are offered by several airlines in the morning from the domestic airport in Kathmandu. Flights from Kathmandu reveal the Eastern Himalaya, while flights from Pokhara take you on a bird’s eye view of the Western Himalaya.
PARAGLIDING / ULTRALIGHT FLIGHT / CABLE CAR
Paragliding is a relatively new adventure sport in Nepal, and is the simplest, safest and least expensive way of discovering the joys of flying alone to experience the aerial views of the magnificent Himalayas. Sarangkot, at 1,592 m above Lakeside in Pokhara Valley, is the jumping off point for paragliders. From here, one can take in stunning views of three of the world’s Eight Thousanders, namely, Dhaulagiri, Annapurna and Manaslu.
Ultralight aircraft takes off from Pokhara and offers spectacular views of the lakes, mountains and villages. This is an ideal way to see life from a new perspective. Flights are operated almost throughout the year except during the monsoon (June through August). Flights take place from sunrise to 11 a.m. and from 3 p.m. to sunset every day, provided there are no rains. During the half- hour flight, one flies over Pokhara city, Phewa Lake, Sarangkot Hill and gets close to the Machhapuchhre mountain. Another option is to explore the Annapurna range from 12,000 feet or higher in an hour.
The only cable car in Nepal takes you on a pilgrimage tour, up to the abode of the wish-fulfilling Goddess Manakamana, from Kurintar in Mugling.
RAFTING / KAYAKING / CANOEING
Nepal boasts some of the best whitewaters in the world, thanks to its mountainous steep terrain. What really makes a rafting trip worthwhile is the magnificent vistas of traditional houses on hillsides, terraced paddy fields, deep gorges, valleys and flat plains that you encounter on the way. While exploring the rivers, you can either go paddle rafting as a team or go kayaking and canoeing alone.
The rapids are graded on a scale of one to six depending on their ferocity. Trips range from one or two days to two-week expeditions, and often combine some trekking to get to the remote rivers in the first place. Rafting trips are usually planned in the dry seasons from October through mid-December and March through early May.
The Trishuli River (grade 3+) is the most popular among raftable rivers. Close to Kathmandu, the trip takes you down all the way to the Chitwan National Park. Other popular rivers include the Kali Gandaki (4-4+) near Pokhara, Bhote Koshi (4-5), Marshyangdi (4-5+), Karnali (4-5) and the Sun Koshi (4-5), which runs 270 km and requires 8-10 days.
Rock climbing is a challenging sport for outdoor lovers. Most of the areas for rock climbing are situated towards the north of Kathmandu in the Nagarjun forest and Shivapuri National Park. Hence a trip to these places can be combined with hiking, bird watching, nature tours and other activities. In Pokhara, an artificial climbing wall (23 m tall) named after French alpinist Maurice Herzog, the first mountaineer ever to summit an 8,000 m peak – Annapurna I – in 1950, is open at the Mountaineering Museum.
That one in four visitors to Nepal go trekking should say something about the popularity of this activity in the Himalayan country. Most treks go through altitudes between 1,000 and 4,000 meters, while some popular parts reach over 5,000 meters. It’s not only the stunning landscapes on the trail that captivate the trekkers but also the people from different ethnic groups with whom they meet on the way – a rare opportunity to experience Nepal’s rich cultural diversity. And what better way than walking to see and experience it.
The most popular trekking routes have traditionally been the Everest, Annapurna and Langtang regions. But now the Kanchenjungha in the extreme east and Dolpo in northwest Nepal are gaining ground as new popular destinations. More recently, the government has developed a number of heritage trails in different parts of the country where you can combine a trek with a peek into the cultures of the local communities. And for those with the time and the stamina, there is The Great Himalayan Trail that stretches 1,700 km from Kanchenjungha in the east to Humla in the west – a trek that will take months to accomplish.
All trekkers are required to obtain the TIMS card before embarking on their trip. To trek in protected areas region one must acquire the entry permit by paying Entry Fees to enter the particular National Park or Protected Area. To get access to the areas restricted by the Government of Nepal, one must acquire the Trekking Permit to the area.
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