Nepal Sustainable Travel Guide
Nepal is situated in the Himalayas, surrounded by eight out of ten of the world’s tallest mountain peaks, including Mount Everest, the world’s tallest peak at 8,848m. Many of the trekking routes in the country used to act as ancient trading routes between India and Tibet. And because these two countries sandwich Nepal, both Hinduism and Buddhism are prevalent. This makes Nepal a very kind, welcoming and hard-working nation.
Everest and the capital of Kathmandu are both main attractions to this tiny nation. However, outside these two tourist hotspots are incredible opportunities for trekking and wildlife viewing. Nepal is blessed with a kaleidoscope of climates and landscapes, which range from tropical to arctic depending on the altitude. The southern jungles of Nepal offer some of the best wildlife viewing in Asia. For example, in the Terai plains, wildlife that roams about include the infamous Bengal tiger, as well as elephants, rhinos, leopards, crocodiles and even river dolphins. Of the numerous national parks found in Nepal, the most famous is Chitwan National Park due to the abundance of wildlife and its proximity to Kathmandu.
If you’re one of the thousands that come to Nepal to trek Everest or one of the other Himalayan peaks, it’s important to keep a few principles in mind. The first and most important pertains to the hiring of Sherpa’s or porters. Unfortunately, porters’ rights are not taken very seriously either by the government or by many tour operators. In dire situations, porters are often abandoned in blizzards while foreign trekkers are rescued via helicopter. Most porters are often poor farmers from lowland areas, with little experience in high altitude. Because of this, porters are four times more likely to suffer an accident on a trekking expedition than their foreign counterparts. Should you decide to go trekking in Nepal with a tour operator, be sure that the tour operator has a policy in place that protects Sherpa’s and porters and pays them a fair wage.
Everest is famous for having hundreds if not thousands of empty oxygen tanks discarded on the mountain (although efforts have been made to clean this up). That said, as a hiker, it is important to use the “Leave No Trace” principle. This means packing out any trash or rubbish you create; or if possible cleaning up any trash you come across left behind from previous hikers. This ensures you keep the environment pristine for future trekkers. For more on the concept of Leave No Trace, visit our page on responsible camping here.