Allison Bucknell review 29 Nov 2017
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?
The day at Chitwan National Park - canoe ride and jungle walk and the airplane ride over Everest
2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?
This is quite a gruelling trip, not much time for relaxation so don't expect to come back refreshed!!
3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
We certainly contributed to the local economy through use of local guides and non-chain hotels. We tried as far as possible to eat local food. Not sure that we made any contribution whatsoever to reducing environmental impacts - there was a lot of traveling and the pollution levels in parts of Nepal was staggering.
4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?
There was an interesting programme and I do feel as though we got to see a lot of different aspects of Nepal. However there was just too much traveling over roads that are no longer suitable for long distance traveling.
Read the operator's response here:
Thank you for getting back to us with your feedback via Responsible Travel and also via email. This is very much appreciated and allows us to better understand what we are doing well and where we still have room for improvement.
Iím really pleased to see that you were able to rate this tour 4-star, felt that it did benefit the local community, and that as mentioned in your email, you felt the organisation of the vacation was first class and that you enjoyed the tour.
Unfortunately as you have noted, like much of South Asia, Nepal, and Kathmandu in particular, does have an ongoing struggle with pollution and litter. The main road into the Kathmandu Valley does become congested by the large trucks traveling to and from India which have no alternative route to Kathmandu. We use as little of this road as possible, but without making the drive to Chitwan hugely longer, some use of it is unavoidable. To avoid the long drives we do offer the option of taking internal flight upgrades on some routes, like the one you added between Pokhara and Kathmandu. However, this doesnít actually reduce pollution or emissions at all, and in fact increases your impact. This is because our car/minivan/minibus would still need to drive the full loop anyway (Kathmandu/Chitwan/Pokhara/Kathmandu) as some legs are not possible by flight, and the only suitable vehicles to use are based in Kathmandu. Itís not possible to fly from Chitwan to Pokhara without going back via Kathmandu, and the cost of the tour would also significantly increase were flights used throughout as standard.
As this is one of our cultural adventure tours we have intentionally planned an itinerary which is fairly busy in parts with some more relaxed sections such as those in Chitwan and in Pokhara where a free day has also been incorporated into the itinerary. I was pleased to read in your email that you felt this type of tour matched with your requirements of discovering the country and seeing the way in which the local population lives.
Overall it does sound as though you had a good time on the tour and got to experience the real Nepal, though Iím sorry if some aspects of the tour didnít meet with your expectations, and if the pollution and litter issues especially in Kathmandu, spoiled things in any way. I do hope that youíll decide to join us for another adventure in the future.