Newsletter Issue 4, February 2009
Namaste and welcome to the latest issue of The Responsible Travellers’ newsletter. We are delighted to bring you news of our volunteer activities this spring, and some new trips.
Namaste from the Himalayas! In this issue we will give you the honest story of the Classic Annapurna Circuit, introduce some great new treks and facilities, and give you some great late availability options ……
Classic Annapurna Circuit: the honest review
Many of you will be familiar with the classic Annapurna Circuit as one of the world’s most renowned treks for both scenery and culture. In recent years this region has seen much development, and after comments from our trekkers this autumn we decided it was time to review the trek in order to give you, our customers, an honest appraisal. The western side in lower Mustang receives many Hindu pilgrims to Muktinath temple, and with these travellers in mind there is now a road connecting to Muktinath. This of course is good news to the local populations, allowing goods to be brought to the villages from Pokhara, and for local produce to be taken to market, as well as making health and medical supplies more accessible.
However, the roads are causing some controversy amongst the trekking fraternity. For the beginner trekker this route is still a great trek, and the development undoubtedly makes the route easier and therefore enjoyable to more people. We have, however, modified our itinerary to maintain the cultural and scenic trek that you expect, and indeed we believe this new itinerary allows you more time to see the mediaeval villages and some additional locations which enhance the trek and overall experience. We have adjusted the start of the trek to stay in alternative villages, added a night at Gyaru to enable you to see some of the most spectacular views omitted from the traditional trail and help you acclimatise, a diversion to Tilicho Lake, and then finally ascending Throng La. We believe the area has much to offer, with sensational mountain scenes, mediaeval villages of Manang and Mustang
districts, and incredible cultural diversity, and with our newly appraised itinerary you can continue to enjoy the Annapurnas and experience this magical area. Do it soon before the development makes further “inroads”. Click here to book 2009 departure for our enhanced Annapurna Circuit Trek.
With the economic issues making us all think twice, Nepal remains a destination where your sterling will go further. And to make things easier, we have also introduced a new “Budget Bespoke Traveller” service where you can take a guide or porter and reduce the services you purchase. This enables you to have peace of mind travelling with The Responsible Travellers, and the assurance of our ethics and policies, but perhaps take a bespoke itinerary with a personal guide or porter. This is especially good for those who may be looking to reduce their travel budget, or those wishing to get away for a longer period and have the reliability of a credible and responsible operator behind their career break plans.
As part of our commitment to leading responsible and ethical tourism practices here in the Himalayas, we are constantly looking to new areas where we can help alleviate rural poverty and bring economic benefit and for the trekker to experience pristine villages away from the regular tourist trail. This winter we have added two great trips to the off the beaten track series. The first of these is Kopra Danda & Khayer Tal (lake) which gives you the opportunity to walk superb ridges with spectacular views of Dhaulagiri and Annapurna, stay in untouched Nepali villages and spend a night at “high camp” to enable a trip to Khayer Tal – a sacred Lake at the base of Annapurna South. This unique itinerary works above and beyond to get you to places others do not venture to!
Secondly, the Gurung Trails are a great low altitude option with wonderful culture of traditional Gurung villages. Adding to our home stay options, this trek gives you a taste of the fabulous Nepali hospitality in traditional Nepali village houses, and with cultural exchange and evening singing and dancing you get to see real village life in this famous Gurung region at the foot of the Annapurna mountains. The trail will finish by climbing Rupa Kot – the main view point of the old Royal Trek and descend with a river crossing to our new eco guesthouse (see below for details). This trek gives several opportunities for wonderful mountain vistas without having to climb to dizzy heights! Click here to see full details….
And now for some of our trips
Why not get away from the winter and challenge yourself to a trek in aid of children’s education in the developing world? Not only is this a classic journey to the heart of the Himalayas, but also a great chance to experience the work of a children’s charity in Nepal. There is still late availability for a unique trek, or join a group over Easter to enjoy the stunning display of rhododendrons on this world class trek!
Start date: 26th February 2009 / 10th April 2009
If you want to get to know the real destination of Nepal, why not get stuck into a volunteer week and introductory trek in the Himalayas?
Experience Nepali hospitality on our unique Annapurna Trails & Volunteer Homestay. You will also get to spend five days living and working in a Nepali village, helping with a community project.
Start Date: 1st April 2009 / 8th November 2009