GUIDE PROFILE: Hom Rana, the aspiring trek guide in Nepal

Hom Rana is the Trek Guide to look out for in Nepal! An aspiring assistant and travel enthusiast, Hom has been specializing in the trade since he was 15. One amazing fact about him is that he received a mere Rs. 75 ($0.77) as compensation for his first job as a porter.


Hom Rana Magar

PERSONAL DETAILS

Full Name: Hom Rana Magar
Birth: Bungkot, Pokhara
Career: Trek Guide
Expertise: Trekking, Sightseeing, Culture
Interests: Cooking, Traveling and Music


Hom in Person

Hom Rana belongs to Magar ethnicity. An agile and sturdy fellow, his age is determined by his experience. Started as a porter at the mere age of 15, he established himself as one of the most experienced trek guides in Nepal.

He can win million hearts with his smile. An ever cheerful and softspoken, Hom is dedicated and dependable.

Ever since he started his professional career with Nepal Vision Treks & Expedition in 1995, he never looked for any other opportunities in life. He’s still continuing his journey with the company he started his career with. His father served in the Indian Army for 28 years, mostly staying away from the family. He finds himself to be lucky, because, despite spending much time away from his family and 6 years old son, he still gets to see them every fortnight or so. A gift his father rarely got.

Since 1995, he has led hundreds of teams to popular trek trails of Nepal. During peak season, he even accommodated 30+ people in his group and led them safely to Everest Base Camp.


On the Field


Hire Hom Rana for your Next Trip

5 Places You Must Visit in Nepal this Christmas

Holidays are arriving! It is the time you take work off the schedule and celebrate! Most of you prefer spending a quality time with your family; cuddling inside your home and exchanging gifts, however, holiday is also the time of year when you can go out and explore the world!

Traveling is a boon. Working the entire time, you deserve a time off! Getting off the couch and exploring some of the unseen parts of the world should be on the top of your bucketlist this christmas!

Choose to visit Nepal this Christmas and undertake some of the greatest pleasures the mankind can ever enjoy.

Here are 5 places you must consider visiting in Nepal this Christmas


#1 Thamel, Kathmandu

Thamel is a tourists’ mecca. Located at the center of the capital city, Kathmandu, it creates a hub for tourists from all parts of the world. May be it is the only place in Nepal which leaves an everlasting impression with its blend of authentic eastern and western cultures.

Thamel bazaar during the evening

Thamel bazaar during the evening

A one-stop shop for every available item in Nepal, it is one of the most visited places by the tourists and celebrities. The most popular diners, pubs, outdoor agencies and outfitters hail in this dingy region of Kathmandu.

Originally, the home of ethnic tribe of Kathmandu -“Newar,” the place received international recognition for its popularity among incoming tourists, mainly Hippies during early 70s’ and 80s’. Thamel saw a large influx of western tourists; those looking for peace, eastern spiritual music and drugs. This place assimilated with the cultures of “Flower Generation” and became a known hipster town.

Some of the places you must visit in Thamel this Christmas can be; Purple Haze Bar for some funky Rock music, Rum Doodle to dine along with mountaineers and Kto Restaurant for some delicious steaks.

Read complete article >>Thamel -A Tourists’ Mecca

#2 Lakeside, Pokhara

Pokhara is a lakeside city located 200 km (125 miles) west of Kathmandu. A budding city, Pokhara has always been known as the tourists’ destination. Catering both local and international holidaymakers, it is known for its peaceful hideouts and some adventure sports.

Relaxing at the lakeside in Pokhara

Relaxing at the lakeside in Pokhara

The range of recreational activities in Pokhara are at large. You can consider spending time in a peaceful restaurant beside the Phewa lake or go boating instead. If it suits your nerve, you can either paraglide from the cliffs of Sarangkot, jump off in a tandem or plunge 70 m into the air through a bungy jump. The place is also popular for cycling and touring.

The place remains cool during winter. It also becomes a crashing spot for trekkers leaving or returning from the mighty Annapurna Base Camp.

Read complete article >>Pokhara -An Ultimate Holiday Getaway

#3 Annapurna Base Camp

Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) is popular among adventure travelers around the world. A second most popular trek destination in Nepal, ABC boasts some of the unique mountain ranges and large number of trekkers every year.

annapurna base camp entry point

Annapurna Base Camp entry point

Located at 4,200 meters (13,779 ft) above the sea level, the trail to ABC leads through indigenous villages, uneven terrains and varying weathers. You can see Annapurna mountain range, Machhapuchhre and Hiunchuli from the closest ranges possible. It can be undertaken during winter as well. If you wish to trek during winter, you must carry a sleeping bag and be ready to cope with some snow and chills.

Ghandruk, Chhomrung, Machhapuchhre Base Camp and Ghorepani are the must stop destinations during ABC trek.

Read complete article >>ABC Trek: Map, Cost and other details

#4 Everest Base Camp

Everest Base Camp (EBC) undoubtedly surpasses any trek destinations in the world in terms of adventure. Located on the foot of the highest mountain peak in the world, Mount Everest, EBC can be undertaken during winter as well.

Way to Everest Base Camp

Way to Everest Base Camp

It receives the 3rd most trekkers in Nepal in a year. The pristine winter lakes, Buddhist monastery and ethnic Sherpa villages makes EBC a must-visit destination in the world. The access to the region is possible only during favorable weather, as you must take a short-flight from Kathmandu to Lukla (Khumbu valley). Lasting for 2 weeks, the trek to EBC concedes at the Kala Patthar located above 5,000 meters into thin air.

Visiting Tengboche monastery, the Shangri-La of Everest, and watching Mt.Everest from the close proximity of Kala Patthar can be the greatest experiences of this trip.

Read complete article >>EBC Trek: Map, Cost and other details also 7 Best Moments captured at EBC

#5 Sauraha, Chitwan

Sauraha at Chitwan is the largest wildlife park of Nepal. Located on the Southern Terai belts, the weather remains warm throughout the year.

Wildlife jungle safari chitwan

Riding on elephant back comes as a joy during scorching day in Chitwan.

Earlier, the forests of  Chitwan were used as the hunting grounds by the Royals, expats from British Indian Empire and the Ranas. Today, it is preserved as a conservation region protecting endangered species of Royal Bengal Tigers and One-horned Rhinos, for which it was listed on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Wildlife safari, boating on the Rapti river and touring of indigenous Tharu villages can be the greatest pleasures of visiting Chitwan.

Read complete article >>Chitwan Jungle Safari


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What went wrong at the Annapurna Circuit?, and A Fellow Trekker who saved lives of 70 Others

One News made the headline all around the world last tuesday; the tragedy that occurred at the Thorong La Pass section of Annapurna circuit where many lost their lives on the trail while trying to escape the snowstorm and heavy blizzard.

Here are some insights on the event which shook the world.

What went wrong at the Annapurna Circuit?

A major snowstorm hit the northwestern region of Nepal last Tuesday, Oct 14, entrapping 100s of trekkers while killing dozens. The cause of the massive snowstorm is the Cyclone Hudhud which originated from North Indian Ocean and passed northeastward crossing Nepal.

Kathmandu, the capital city, saw a heavy downpour for two consecutive days, while a storm breakout in the higher altitudes.

Thorong La Pass

Thorong La Pass

The lack of communication between outdoor agencies, monitoring body and trekkers on the go caused a major havoc at the time when they needed to escape the danger zone. The depleting level of oxygen at such sheer height and the growing snowstorm paused hundreds of trekkers on their way to Muktinath valley and seek temporary shelter in any available shack they could find. Many who foresaw the event and climbed down the pass before the storm hit survived, those who delayed got engulfed in the storm and were killed, and those who stayed back and took refuge in the tea houses got stranded, later to be rescued by the paramilitary.

Although trekking the Annapurna Circuit to cross the Thorung La Pass may not be as grueling an adventure as climbing Everest, it is certainly not easy and without risks.

~The Washington Post

The storm managed to take the lives of 32 innocent souls while stranding hundred others. The paramilitary is still on the search for trekkers missing on the trail, while many of those who were rescued were airlifted to nearest hospital for immediate medical support.

October is the busiest time of the year in Nepal for outdoor agencies and incoming tourists who spread in different parts of the nation to quench their thirst for adventure. Many of such trekkers melt into the popular trails, namely; Annapurna Circuit, Annapurna Base Camp and Everest Base Camp. Aided by experienced guides/porters along the trail, trekkers are assured to complete their trip with no hassles possible. Thousands poured into the 3 weeks long trek of the Annapurna circuit but they didn’t knew what was waiting for them at Thorong La Pass 5,416 m (17,769 ft).

The ascent/descent of one of the highest pass always comes with at a higher price. You must be well equipped to scale the rough terrain of  the valley and complete your day’s itinerary on the scheduled time or face consequences. Climbing down the Thorong La Pass is difficult and hard, while the storm made it even worse. Those who died were caught in the snowstorm while trying to descend.


A Fellow Trekker who saved lives of the 70 Trekkers

Pascal, a French Trekker

Pascal, a French Trekker who saved 70 lives on Annapurna Circuit

A French trekker, Pascal, managed to save lives of 70 fellow trekkers by evacuating the danger zone before the storm could hit the region. Out of fear and concern, Pascal urged fellow trekkers to pack their bags immediately and descend down to Muktinath valley. Moments later, he came to know that Thorong la Pass was hit hard by the storm and many lost their lives.

Pascal citing to Annapurna Post, a local news daily, said;

The snowstorm has begun, we must descend the valley if we must save out lives.


Is it Safe to Trek Annapurna Circuit following the Event?

Indeed. The storm has already passed. The forthcoming treks on the region is on the schedule and trekkers are leaving for their favorite destination. The Nepal Government has decided to setup a weather warning system in the region which will help trekkers to decide before undertaking any trek.

The outdoor agencies are undertaking responsibility to make the trail as safer as possible and provide immediate assistance whenever needed. The autumn window for trekking will close soon.


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Things to Do in Nepal in the Year 2015

2014’s a passe! 2015’s freshly arrived with a new charm and excitements. A set of unused 365 days to do whatever you always wanted to do or failed in doing last year. Wanna climb the Everest? Do it!! Or Trek to the least explored regions in the world! Live the Adventure!

Nepal is the ultimate destination for Adventure sports and some most unlikely things in the world. Spending a part of your new year in Nepal won’t do much harm, but offer you with some of the finest travel experiences in the world.

Nepal Travel Bucket list for 2015

#1 Everest 3 High passes Trek

Full Article: Everest’s 3 passes trek

Cho la Pass

Cho la Pass

Everest region (Khumbu) is the second most trekked region in Nepal, after Annapurna. More than 50,000 trekkers make a point to trek in Khumbu every year, with only handful of trekkers consider exploring the least-explored landscapes. Crossing 3 of the highest passes in Khumbu can be an extreme adventure, which are; Cho La, Kongma La and Renjo La, respectively, all of which are located above 5,000 meters and requires days of walking.

It’s a tea-house trek, along with experiencing culture and lifestyle of the local inhabitants of Sherpa. Crampons and an experienced guide is required while crossing 3 high passes.

#2 Island peak (Imja Tse) climbing

Full Article: Island peak climb

at the top of island peak

At the top of Island Peak (20,305ft)

Island Peak 6,189 m (20,305 ft) Alpine PD+ is a popular trekking peak located in the greater Khumbu region of Nepal. First ascended by the Eric Shipton’s party back in 1951, Climbing Island peak can prove to be a great precursor for climbing Eight-thousander. Anyone interested in climbing a real Himalaya can try climbing the Island peak.

In order to reach the summit you’ll be expected to be able to climb to Scottish Grade II standard (steep snow, possible use of two ice tools, possible difficult cornice exit, but technical difficulties are short) or Alpine PD (some technical climbing and complicated glaciers).

~Union Internationale des Assocaitions D’Alpinisme (UIAA)

It can be climbed during pre-monsoon and post-monsoon seasons. Prior experience of high-altitude trek is a must, along with basic climbing skills. You can enjoy the views of some of the highest peaks of Khumbu region from the top.

#3 Everest base camp trek via Gokyo Lakes

Full Article: EBC via Gokyo lakes

Gokyo lakes are the oligotrophic  lakes located in greater Khumbu region, to the west of Khumjung. It takes additional 5 days to explore Gokyo valley in detail, which can add up to the Everest base camp trek.

Dudh Pokhari

The charm of Dudh Pokhari (Gokyo lake) as seen during pre-monsoon

Gokyo Ri 5,357 m (17,575 ft)  is a local peak of Gokyo valley. Many trekkers even consider climbing Gokyo Ri. Dudh Pokhari (106 acres) is the largest among Gokyo lakes. It’s considered  as a holy site by Hindus and Buddhists, alike.

One can enjoy the panoramic view of some of the highest peaks of Nepal; Everest, Lhotse, Cho Oyu, Makalu and Kanchenjunga, from the valley.

#4 Annapurna Circuit Trek

Full Article: Annapurna circuit trek

Annapurna circuit trek is the most popular trek in Nepal. More than 70,000 trekkers make it to Annapurna region in a year, most of which consider trekking the whole circuit.

annapurna trail

Trekkers ascending the Thorong La Pass

One will cross 4 different districts; Lamjung, Manang, Mustang and Myagdi, during the trek, along with reaching Thorong La 5,416 m (17,769 ft) and Muktinath -a holy site for Hindus and Buddhists. Spanning for 3 long weeks, you can enjoy some of the closest sightings of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri mountain ranges during the trek, along with experiencing the culture, food and lifestyle of Himalaya tribesmen of Nepal.

#5 Tamang Heritage Trek

Read Full Article: Tamang heritage trek

Bombo, a traditional Tamang culture

Bombo, a traditional Tamang culture

It is a culmination of trekking, sightseeing and cultural exchange. Located at Rasuwa district, it is a culturally Tibetan. Tamang heritage trail takes you to a journey of exploring the culture and lifestyle of one of the oldest tribes in Nepal.

The trail leads you to the old trade route between Nepal and Tibet at Rasuwa Gadhi. Many of the settlements here are older.

Tamang are the indigenous inhabitants of northern regions of Nepal. They are known to have descended from the Tibeto-Burman region of Asia, while, many others even trace their lineage back to Mongolia.

They have a distinct culture, language and tradition. Majority of the population speak their mother tongue ‘Tamang’. They also prohibit inter-racial nuptials.


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Trekking Upper Mustang, the Forbidden Kingdom: Map, Itinerary & Other Details

The ancient kingdom of Mustang is home to some of the rarest cultural and historical wonders of South Asia. Predominantly Buddhist, the small population of Mustang here were once the followers of ancient Bon Religion.

Contents


~Overview~

It was once an independent kingdom. It was annexed to mainland Nepal only in the 18th Century. Also known as “The Forbidden City,” access for foreigners to enter the region was permitted only in 1992, however the inflow of foreign tourists is still tightly regulated by the officials.

Being a restricted region, you are required to get a special permit before entering the region. See Costs & Permits for more info.

Upper Mustang

Mustang (meaning ‘fertile land’ in Tibetan) or Upper Mustang is a form er Kingdom of Lo, which comprised of territories from Nepal & Tibet. Buddhism is a predominant religion in this region, where, the earliest inhabitants were known to be the adherents of Bon religion, a faith which predates Buddhism.

walled city of lo manthang

The Walled City of Lo Manthang

During ancient time, it was used as a transit by salt traders crossing Himalayas. A independent kingdom ruled by a monarch, it was annexed to Nepal in 1380, and the royal estate came to cease in 2008. The major attractions of Upper Mustangs are the Lo Manthang, the last surviving former monarch, ancient Tibetan culture and artifacts and high-mountain cliffs dating back thousand years. These mountain caves are supposed to be used during wars; to hide from the reach of foreign invaders, as a shelter from diseases and later for burial of the dead. Numbering to 100s these man-made caves are situated 13,000 ft above the ground.

CLICK TO READ: Secrets of Upper Mustang Revealed!

Lo Manthang

Lo Manthang is the capital of Mustang. It is a walled city which safeguarded the residents living inside the compound from foreign invaders during ancient time. The walled city is also a home of former monarch Raja Jigme Dorje Palbar Bista.

During a trek to Upper Mustang, you can visit inside the city and explore the authentic Tibetan culture and lifestyle in person. You can also witness Tiji festival, a 3 day ritual, celebrated every May.

The remote region of Upper Mustang can be accessed throughout the year. It is a rain-shadow area, therefore, it is least affected by the tormenting monsoon of Nepal.

~Map~

~Itinerary~

Day 01: Drive from Kathmandu to Pokhara valley (823 m/2,700 ft), 5-6 hrs drive
Day 02: Fly to Jomsom (2,715 m/8,910 ft) and trek to Kagbeni(2,858 m/9,374 ft)
Day 03: Kagbeni to chele (3,050 m/10,004 ft), 5-6 hrs walk
Day 04: Chele to Syanbochen, (3,475 m/11,398 ft), 6-7 hrs walk
Day 05: Syanbochen to Ghaymi (3520m/11,546ft), 5-6 hrs walk
Day 06: Ghaymi to Charang (3,500 m/11,480 ft), 4-5 hrs walk
Day 07: Charang to Lo-Mangthang (3,700 m/12,136 ft), 5-6 hrs walk
Day 08: Explore the Lo-Mangthang
Day 09: Lo-Mangthang to Ghar Gumpa, 4-5 hrs walk
Day 10: Ghar Gumpa to Ghiling (3,806 m/12,484 ft), 5-6 hrs walk
Day 11: Ghiling to Chele, 5-6 hrs walk
Day 12: Chele to Jomsom, 6-7 hrs walk
Day 13: Fly from Jomsom to Pokhara
Day 14: Drive from Pokhara to Kathmandu, 6-7 hrs drive

~Gallery~


Gears & Equipment

  • Pair of hiking boots (well broken in) – One could spend over 5 to 6 hours a day on the trail, therefore, long-lasting boots are essential. The boots can range from light to medium, high or low. If one plans to trek during the months when it snows, the high boots become essential for proper hiking.
  • Soft and light shoes (sneakers) – Carrying light-weight sneakers for ‘after the day hike’ serves comfort.
  • Lightweight knapsack – It is useful for short trips away from one’s lodge, and will save you from carrying large backpack along. It should be large enough to fit a camera, spare clothes and a sleeping bag, if one plans to spend a night away.
  • Lightweight sleeping bag – Essential during peak seasons (October-December). Lodges do offer blankets, but are scarce during the peak season, therefore carrying a sleeping bag (-10°C) can be a great precaution.
  • Fabric band-aids – Blisters are common due to rigorous walking. A good alternative to bandaids is duct tape. Works great for blisters and also proves invaluable in many other ways.

Costs & Permits

Entering Upper Mustang requires a special permit costing US $500, which is valid for 10 days. The additional days cost US $50 per day.


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