MY FIRST LUXURY TRIP TO NEPAL
Me and my group planned a trip to Nepal. However, we had no idea about anything. We just knew Nepal is a Himalayan destination, it is the country of Mount Everest and that was it. Nothing more!!
We googled Nepal trip and we come across Travelsmith Nepal. Hah!! it sounded like an international travel agent, so we sent them a trip request. Within 20 minutes of our request we got a reply from Mr. Bibek Raj Adhikari (Managing Director of Travelsmith Nepal). What I loved was , he asked us what were we interested in? Obviously we were interested to see the mountains, the culture, and meet local people there so I mentioned the same in our reply. It seems, the travel manager understood our requirement and provided us " Mystical Nepal package" along with general information sheet of Nepal.
Half an hours ago we did not know anything about Nepal except the ones that I mentioned above. Now we had 6-7 pages of Nepal general information sheet that contained famous attractions, altitude, do's and don'ts. After going through the information, wow!! it seemed like I already know this country.
The later part was pricing. I must say Mr. Bibek is very strict in pricing, no offence!!! however, he promised us that the experience they will deliver will be our lifetime experience. The words he wrote, detailed itinerary with pictures sent, and his reflex (Anytime we asked a question, we would get a reply back). I thought this guy travels like a speed of light!!! we complimented him. One sentence he told me always sticks in my mind " Service Has No Price". How would we know until he proved it. Thank you Mr. Bibek.
As airfare was not included in our package, we purchased it ourselves. We flew to Nepal and we were all excited and a bit worried too. The good thing was our travel planner had already send us the immigration form and advised us to fill it prior to our arrival in Kathmandu to save some time in Kathmandu airport, they were right. We filled it prior to our departure from Kuala Lumpur. Yes the Nepal airport was congested but this small advise/slip of paper proved to be of great value. We took our luggage and was out of Kathmandu airport. Now we were bit worried as we had already sent 30% of tour amount " Will there be someone or not" yes we were assured but, I guess it is a human nature right? However our little worry was off after we saw a placard with our name and there he was a smart guy Mr. Bibek, he came to us. It was like meeting him again (although it was our first meeting) all those mails exchanged made up for it. We were decorated by garlands and the car was ready for us and we were transferred to beautiful heritage hotel, Hotel Manaslu.
We were provided a good briefing of the tour. We had 5 days trek in our itinerary. All the permits were made ready and he provided us the name of Sherpa guide who will be accompanying us during our trek. We were told to be ready the next day at 0930 hrs Nepal time for our cultural sightseeing tour in Kathmandu . The next day exactly at that time our guide and our travel manager (Mr. Bibek) were in the hotel lobby waiting for us. A very fantastic guide I would say. I remember during his conversation he wrote "We provide only licensed and experienced guide" and yes he proved that too. We were taken to Kathmandu Durbar Square, Monkey temple and Patan. I am sorry I do not remember the guide name, but yes a very excellent guide with pool of cultural knowledge. He took us for a lunch at a good restaurant in lunch. The lunch was not included in our package so we paid for it.
The next day we were told to be ready at 0800 hrs Nepal time to start our next leg of the journey " Pokhara" from where our short 5 days trek would start". Theoretically we already knew Pokhara from Nepal general information sheet. MARK MY WORDS- Pokhara was the same as we expected, a tranquil city with beautiful lake and we had never seen the Himalayas that close. I believe it was Mount Fishtail. Wow!! We could not, at least I could not take my eyes off it and he had booked us a beautiful boutique hotel (He said that to us and again he proved it!!!) Such transparent mails, woww!!! I appreciate that.
Evening, we got a call from our Sherpa guide Mr. Patrick, I remember him a guy with a broken English but great sense of humor, I bet he provided us the best mountain guide. We had to start early so we took a dinner and went for a sleep. I could not sleep for a long time, thinking about what tomorrow will brings. Now it was 0700 hrs Nepal time Mr. Pratick was in a hotel lobby with a beautiful smile, so innocent!!!. He greeted us with traditional "Namaste" (It is a way of greeting in Nepal with two palm joint). He had worked with lot of foreigners but his core was pure Nepali. We had a quick breakfast and drove to Nayapul, the start point of our trek. We started hiking downhill and uphill. It was March and as our travel told us" You will have majestic views of Himalayas and wildflowers will supplement the views of Himalaya adding to the scenery"- Sorry Mr. Travel Manager, this sentence I copied from your mail!!
Yes lovely Rhododendrons trees flowering throughout our trails, some were red, some yellow, some blue, some purple. Wow and Himalayas!!! I cannot describe in words. It was like nature going frenzy!! We were already informed that the accommodation in these Mountain region of Nepal will be basic and we had already made our expectations and right he was. He said in the mail "Trekking is not for luxury but it is a way to embrace the nature as it is, lovely words. Thumbs up for that!!!.
Now it was our third day in trekking and we experienced the SNOWFALL--"THE FIRST TIME EVER IN MY LIFE". The memory of that will always remain with me for a long time and " We will provide you once of the memorable lifetime experience" . You did it!!!
The last day of the trekking we were already tired, but what motivated us was the Himalayas all around us and beautiful flowers until we were back to the hotel in Pokhara again. We did some lovely tours in Pokhara.
Our next leg was, Chitwan. We were told to be ready at 0700 hrs in the morning and so we were and as usual the vehicle and driver was there in time who drove us to Chitwan, yes the road was bumpy but we were constantly comparing our trek pictures " who got the best shot" until we arrived jungle lodge in Chitwan. We had a warm welcome followed by lunch and we started off with elephant back safari. We were at the right place at the right time, we got to see endangered one horned Rhino. What an excitement that was for our group. We could not capture that in camera as we were lost watching the Rhino and other wildlife. No Photos there, maybe we should have captured some. But it was like we were captive of time and nature, we were just still!!!
After our Chitwan trip, we were back to Kathmandu and in the evening, our travel agent booked us a lovely farewell dinner with cultural shows. Saw the lovely dance, had some food, though some were spicy. But what I enjoyed the most, was the cultural dances/programs we saw and took a loads of pictures. At the end of the dinner our representative handled us a departure slip, saying again to fill it up to save time in airport and here it goes he was right again.
Travelsmith Nepal, yes you provided us a tour that will indeed remain in our hearts and minds for a long time. Now, we are waiting for you to come to our place. As you said the earth is round we will meet and yes we will.
We wish you very best for your future and we know you will do it. Keep up your good work.