The pioneers of Farwest Nepal

The first training for trekking guides and porters was organized and conducted in cooperation with the Nepal Academy of Tourism and Hotel Management (NATHM) and Tourism Development Society (TDS) in Farwest Nepal. Two courses were held from February 23rd to March 9th 2016 for Trekking guides and from February 23rd to March 2nd for trekking porter guides. As a venue the Bhada Homestay Village of Kailali was chosen.

Both organizations NATHM and TDS have similar aim to develop skilled workforce required by hospitality and tourism industry in Nepal. In the newest destination of Nepal is a challenge, but at the same time an opportunity for the region.

All together 40 participants, 40 pioneers were striving to be certified by NATHM: 26 participants were registered for the trekking guide training, and 14 trainees attended trekking porter guide course. The participants were from 8 districts of Farwest region and 3 districts of mid-western region, which allowed information exchange between participants and established the network of trekking guides between 11 districts.

Shankar Baral, participant from Darchula shared with us: “The three-week training was intensive, but at the same time it was exciting and interesting learning experience. It was a great opportunity for us to get very practical knowledge from the experienced trainers. This spring a tourist group has booked their 11-day trekking tour for the Api Nampa Base Camp with one of the local tour operators. I am happy to assist them in conduction of this trip, were I can practice my knowledge!”

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New homestay initiative in Maghi Village

T.D.S. team has visited Maghi Village, which is located in neighborhood of the most important attraction in the Western Terai, Ghodaghodi Lake Area.  This protected area is famous if its 13 large and shallow lakes and ponds like Nakhrodi Lake, associated marshes and meadows. Together, they form a wetland corridor connecting Royal Bardia Nationalpark with the Royal Suklaphanta Wildlife Reserve.

The bird watchers, culture and nature lovers coming to visit the area were missing the places to stay. Today, 14 families in the village offer cozy and authentic homestays to their guests. The Maghi Homestay Village is the best example how sustainable conservation can be ensured with sustainable livelihood approach.

T.D.S. had a conversation with Mr. Sobha Ram Chaudhary from the Maghi Homestay Village Management Committee.

T.D.S.:  How did this idea to establish homestay village come to you?

Mr. Chaudhary: For many years our village has have been involved in conservation activities organized by Bird Conservation Nepal (BCN) in our area. Some of us were involved in counting the bird species or organizing logistics for visitors and researchers. As you know, Ghoadaghodi Lake is one of the most important areas for bird conservation in Nepal.  2014, our friends from BCN visited us and brought the idea of creation of homestays in our village. We were thinking: “Why not? We have already guests staying in the village, but we could do that in a more organized and better way.”  In the initial stage we got technical support from both the Terai Arc Landscape Programme and BCN.

T.D.S.: How many families are involved in this initiative?

Mr. Chaudhary: Until now we have 14 families offering rooms for guests. All families are members in the management committee. We all together are discussing and deciding about how we can improve facilities in the houses, waste management in the village as well as questions like pricing and guest distribution. Each house has one or two rooms for guests.

T.D.S.:  What kind of tourist activities can Maghi Village offer?

Mr. Chaudhary: Maghi village is a perfect combination of unique Tharu culture and natural experiences. The tourists are coming to see Ghodaghodi Lake in the Terai. We organize bird watching tours in cooperation with BCN. But our village is not far from the hills. There are various opportunities to go for short hikes in the hills we call Chure. Usually, we can organize 2-3 day-hikes with camping in the hills.  In the village our guests are always welcome to participate in our festivals getting introduced to our culture.

T.D.S.: If someone is interested to make the reservation, what would be the best way?

Mr. Chaudhary:  The guests are welcome to reach out to us by calling me, Shoba Ram (9749026283) or Man Bahadur (9749047801). Now the information about houses, rooms with pictures and rates could be found at www.farwestnepal.org

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Traditional handicraft products from Dhakiya Gori

“We are thinking of diversifying the handicraft products to offer more variety in shape and size. Sometimes people, especially the foreigners, ask us about the dyes we use, and we want to try using natural dyes, actually exactly the way our mothers and grandmothers did. We want to preserve these traditions!”  told us Shanti Chaudhary from the handicraft group Dhakiya Gori.

This Summer the new handicraft group Dhakiya Gori was established in Bangra Village (Dhangadhi Municipality of Kailali District) in the Western Terai of Nepal. Until now 15 women joined the group and represent the work of traditional Nepali handicraft.  For centuries, Tharu women have been making traditional craft products, like their famous baskets made out of Elephant Grass which is also called Sikki. It is a type of grass of golden colour which is grown in the wet and marshy area around rivers and ponds in the Terai region of Far West Nepal.

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Red Panda, turquise water and golden days in Rara Nationalpark

During my vacations I visited one of my friends in the Bardia National Park – John, a zoologist from the UK, who launched Wild Trak Adventure (www.wildtrakadventure.com), a travel company focusing on wildlife expeditions and trekking tours in Nepal.

After checking several trekking options I decided to go to Rara National Park in the Western Terai of Nepal which is famous for a habitat of red pandas and the spectacular nature with the beautiful Rara Lake located at the altitude of about 3000m. Our backpacks were ready for a 10 day journey. Early morning we headed to Nepalgunj to catch the flight to Jumla. Having left the flatland after nearly 40 minutes we were landing in the mountainous town of “blue roofed” Jumla. The local market was full of the hustle and bustle coming along with preparations going for the famous Dashain Festival. A lot of people coming from surrounding villages were buying new clothes and special food for the festive days. Dashain is celebrated by Hindu dwellers worshiping the Goddess of Power Durga Devi, and is the biggest festival of Nepal. From Jumla we went to the place called Naurighat. In the morning we walked through the blue pine forest with its gentle smells and soft carpet of pine needles. After a couple of hours we reached an open plateau with gazing horses not disturbed by anyone around. A small rest was needed before reaching a pass with a stunning view over the mountains and circling vultures over the ancient shrine, where you could leave a stone for a good luck. (more…)

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New Homestay in the Bardia Nationalpark

“It takes hands to build a house, but only hearts can build a home. So bring your heart and you will feel like home” says host family about their newly opened Bardia Homestay in the Bardia Nationalpark.

Budhi & Sonja, a Nepali / Dutch couple opened their new homestay in January 2014. The homestay was built in Thakurdwara. Here,  Budhi’s parents had their traditional Tharu House. Sonja and Budhi describe:  «Our house is surrounded by flat fields where rice, wheat, corn, lentil and mustard grow. You can relax on the veranda or in the shade from the fruit trees and enjoy nice views of the countryside and the hills. We often have friends and relatives visiting us and there are local children playing in the garden.

This is the perfect place to experience the Nepalese way of living» Located at the entrance of the Bardia Nationalpark, the homestay is a perfect place for people who have a passion for nature and wildlife. But also for travelers who like to explore the countryside and experience the authentic Nepali Tharu culture.  It is the perfect place for both the adventurous and for people looking for peace and serenity.

Western comfort and local fresh food 

The Homestay has three comfortable spacious bedrooms.  All of them are twin rooms with double beds or single beds.  The rooms have an attached bathroom with a hot shower; mosquito nets and a fan to keep you cool during warmer days.  In the kitchen is a comfortable sitting place where you can read books or play games. The hosts like to cook Nepali or western food from local fresh products. Alternatively the guests can enjoy a barbecue on an open campfire.  The guests are free to bring or make own food and drinks and using kitchen facilities. Filtered water is freely available. The homestay provides laundry services and free WiFi. Room prices start from 1000 Nepalese Rupee / $10 USD per night (excluding breakfast). For more information and prices please visit  www.bardiahomestay.com

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Api Nampa Conservation Area embraces Sustainable Tourism Development

Api Nampa Conservation Area (ANCA), established in 2010 in Darchula, is one of the newest protected areas in Nepal. Located in Farwest Nepal, ANCA covers 1903 km² encompassing 21 VDCs in Darchula district. One of the main tourism assets of the conservation area is the highest peak of the Farwest Nepal, Mt. Api (7132m).
In cooperation with the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and Tourism Development Society (TDS), ANCA has started to achieve economic benefit through tourism related activities. Three trekking routes were explored until now: Thaisan Trek and two routes to the Mount Api Base Camp. Details of the treks can be found under the following links

6 Days:Thaisan Trek
11 Days: Api Trek, A journey to the traditional Sauka Land
13 Days: Api Base Camp

From 4th to 6th of September 2015, the first start up training for Homestays was conducted in the Khar Village. Khar village is located 1.5h drive from Khalanga. Ashish Chaudhary from TDS explained: “The Khar village has a big potential for tourism development. Thanks to the location it could be a good starting point for the treks leading to the Api Base Camp.” The newly and properly integrated treks as well as the local owned Homestays hold great potential for a sustainable tourism development in Farwest Nepal, where benefits for both locals and the environment can be achieved.

Homestay training, Api Nampa Conservation Area, Farwest Nepal
Homestay Training in Khar Village

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I am in Farwest Nepal now!

Andrea, Christin, Esther and Susanne packed photography gear and laptops in their big backpacks and headed to the Farwest corner of Nepal this autumn to join Tourism Development Society (TDS) in promoting Sustainable Tourism in Farwest Nepal. Despite of the devastating earthquake in April, they kept their preparations going on for their internship in Nepal. Deepak from TDS shared “We were not sure if this cooperation would come true due to earthquake, but we are so happy that we get support in our efforts especially in times of tourism recovery in Nepal”.

Four graduates from German Universities are scholarship holders of ASA Program. The ASA Program is a development education program based in Germany. Its objective is to strengthen the commitment of young Europeans to fair and sustainable development, based on the respect of human rights and cultural differences.  Each year, the ASA-Program enables 250 young people from Europe to take part in a learning and qualification program by conducting their three-month project abroad.

After three weeks in Kathmandu, the group of four arrived in Dhangadhi. “We were looking forward to starting our project and see unique products made by Tharu women in Farwest Nepal’s Terai” shared Andrea and Esther in Kathmandu. The designer and artist Andrea and Esther work with the Tharu Women Network in Dhangadhi and Bangra village on handicraft development initiative.

Christin and Susanne support the team as communication specialists in developing marketing tools. Currently, they work on a new welcome kit, which is going to provide visitors of Farwest Nepal with information about attractions and activities in the region. “It is great to experience a different Nepal. One can be surprised by the wide and open scenery of rice fields, forests and rivers, occasionally fitted with small towns and villages.” wrote Christin as her input for the brochure.  Susanne shared: “It is exciting to work with the team, where we can learn from each other. I am happy to be here to gain new experiences and have this opportunity to explore the region both naturally and culturally. I am looking forward for Dashain Festival!”

Text by V. Tyumeneva (GIZ)

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Api Nampa: Farwest Nepal’s ABC

This summer, the team of TDS in cooperation with ICIMOD explored the new trekking route leading to the Api Nampa Mount Base Camp. The exploration trip was coincided with the great news came with safety assessment and reopening of the Annapurna Circuit known as ABC among tour organisers and tourists. To this occasion the newly explored Api route got the name “Farwest Nepal’s ABC”.
Established in 2010 with the aim of  conserving the natural beauty and eco-systems in the region, Api Nampa Conservation Area lies in one of the remotest far west areas of Nepal.  A trip to this conservation area guarantees a spectacular experience through various beautiful sceneries that include: the great Mahakali Valley, steep gorges, waterfalls, different types of forests, high alpine pasture areas and the Himalayan mountains. This includes Mt. Api (7132m), which provides the highest peak in the Farwest Nepal.  The cultural treasures experienced alongside these beautiful sceneries will make your journey a memorable one. A trek through this landscape also leads to the sacred Chameliya River and to its source that lies underneath Mt. Api (7132m) before reaching the Mt. Api base camp.

Highlights
–          Highest mountains of Farwest Nepal with Mt. Api (7132m)
–          Api Base Camp Plateau surrounded by high Himalayan peaks
–          Chameliya valley
–          Culture and traditional way of life of local villagers

Best time
April – June, September – October
Duration:
13 days 
 
You can download detailed itinerary here Far-western ABC 

For more information, please contact
Tourism Development Society
Dhangadhi – 5, Kailali, Nepal
Email: tdsnepal@gmail.com

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Farwest Nepal attracts Indian Tourists

 

According to national statistics, 165,815 Indian tourists visit Nepal annually, far more than from any other country. The Farwest region of Nepal is located in a geographically advantaged area, bordering the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Farwest Nepal has four border crossing points with India.  According to the experts of the Nepal Economic Forum, most of the trading activities between Nepal and India utilize the crossing point (Trinagar Check Point) in Dhangadhi while most tourists from India and other countries travelling by road come to Nepal via the crossing point in Mahendranagar.

In September 2014, the organization Tourism Development Society initiated the border survey at the Nepali-India crossing point in Kailali. In order to collect data on tourist trips and visitors making the trips, 286 respondents were randomly interviewed during 3 weeks in September and November of 2014.

The results of the border survey will be useful for business institutions and organizations involved in tourism development in the region. It will help to gain a first picture of visitors’ profile, travel behavior, market trends and opportunities.

The results of the border survey are presented in the report, which you can download here:  DOWNLOAD REPORT

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Farwest Nepal is presented on International stage

Farwest Nepal is presented on International stage

Untouched Farwest Nepal – Nepal’s newest destination is presented at ITB Berlin this March. Tourism Development Society would love to invite you to get familiar with attractions of the destination:

OFFBEAT ROUTES Trekking and hiking in the Far West is as authentic as it gets. For those with a sense of adventure, there is still so much to uncover in the Far West – exploration that is as much cultural as it is natural. A whole range of new products from the region is waiting to be explored!

RAFTING / KAYAKING The Karnali River offers a classic expedition with its big volume of whitewater combined with short trekking, fishing and jungle safari activities in the remote and unexplored Far West Nepal.

WILDLIFE EXPERIENCE The Southern belt of Terai is covered with dense sub-tropical forests – teeming with diverse wildlife and flora. Here you can find some of the most exciting jungle safari destinations of the Indian subcontinent.

BIRD WATCHING Suklaphanta Wildlife Reserve, Khaptad national Park, Ghodagodhi Lake, Mohana River Corridor are the most popular bird watching spots in the region with over 500 bird species.

UNIQUE CULTURES Visitors can see and experience the unique Tharu culture in the Terai, Hindu culture in the mid-mountains and Tibetan culture in the northern part of the Far Western Region. Get inspired!

PILGRIMAGE Far West Nepal contains many predominantly Hindu holy sites and temples visited by the devout followers. Far West Nepal is a gateway for the holy Mount Kailash and the mythical Lake Manasarovar.

DON’T MISS! The presentation of the newly explored Far West Heritage Trail will take place on March, 6th @ 1pm | Hall 1.4.b 

FAR WEST NEPAL AT ITB

 

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