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In Peak Form: Nepal's Unseen Rebound

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Pico Iyer, one of our great travel writers, once wrote, "We travel to open our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world than our newspapers will accommodate." This sentiment seems especially apt at this moment for travelers considering Nepal, where headlines of the devastating earthquakes of April may still linger in mind. Because Gate 1 has such well-established ties with the region as part of our India-Nepal tours, our company president has been following the nation's recovery efforts closely. During a recent visit he discovered that the nation is faring much better than newspapers have been telling you.

In fact, Gate 1 Travel President Dani Pipano spent quite a bit of time on the ground with our Nepalese friends and reviewing reports from onsite U.S.-based engineers and their message is clear: "Tell people to come."

Those who live in Nepal have been disheartened that the same media which covered the quakes has largely ignored the story of the rebirth, leaving many with the impression that they should scratch Nepal off their bucket list. But the opposite is true. By talking with locals and by following official dispatches from the field provided by miyamoto - a reputed California-based team of earthquake structural engineers that was deployed to the region - Dani and our travel planners in Nepal report that 90% of the nation doing just fine. Nepal is not only ready to welcome travelers again, it is depending on their return. Tourism is the country's single largest industry, so when travelers stay home, everyone loses - especially those who are missing out on this magnificent and wondrous country.

BhaktapurThere are countless reasons why Nepal has long been such a beloved destination. For one thing, Nepal is among the most welcoming places on earth. From children playing in Durbar Squares to elderly worshippers visiting temples, Nepalese people greet visitors warmly, nodding their heads before clasped hands as they utter the greeting "Namaste," which translates to "I see the light in you." (Naturally, you'll want to say it back, because the Nepali spirit is truly contagious!)

These friendly people live their lives against a backdrop of unparalleled natural beauty. Eight of the world's ten highest peaks, all of them rising over 20,000 feet, are within Nepal. Being surrounded by the legendary snowcapped peaks of the Annapurna range of the Himalayas leaves you feeling a bit like you really are on the rooftop of the world. Their magnificence unchanged by the earthquake, the mountains continue their timeless watch over Nepal.

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