Despite media images at the time of the earthquakes depicting a country is complete ruins, the truth makes for less sensational headlines – only 14 of Nepal’s 75 districts suffered damage.
In Kathmandu, majority of hotels/restaurants/businesses reopened within days of the earthquakes. Pokhara, the gateway to Annapurna Circuit escaped virtually untouched. True, some heritage sites and older settlements on the outskirts of the capital suffered extensive damage. However the country has gone back to business as usual.
Away from the centre of the country, there are few signs that the earthquake ever happened and most of the damage is restricted to trekking routes in remote areas with trails to Everest Base Camp, Gokyo Lakes, Three Passes, Annapurna Circuit and Annapurna Sanctuary treks all being declared safe. In the lowlands, Terai was almost entirely unaffected. Wildlife safaris in Chitwan National Park and Bardia National Park continue as normal and the birthplace of the Buddha at Lumbini also escaped unharmed.
A key thing to note is that the infrastructure that travellers need is in place, but tourism is down by over 50% making it the ideal time to take advantage of the fewer crowds on popular trekking routes and discounts on hotels/airfares/permits et al.
More importantly, the money you spend here will directly help the local people. Given that 500,000 Nepalese work directly in tourism, the country needs travellers now more than ever to bounce back stronger.
This is a summary of the original article by Bradley Mayhew, first published on Lonely Planet. Follow the link below for the full article: