Because of the unpredictable weather conditions, the flights from Jomsom to Pokhara (or vice versa) are never sure to take off. Understanding this very well, our guide Dinesh Dai went to the airport alone to learn about the flight status, and asked everyone to stay at the hotel (He would call if there any flights depart from Jomsom). We waited for hours but then due to the poor weather, all the flights for the day got cancelled. This then became a little stressing as some of our clients needed to catch up the international flights the day after. What next – we began to work on alternatives.
Discussing with the team, we had few options - drive till Pokhara (not great especially because of poor roads - monsoon) or charter a helicopter and wait (Heli flights also depends on the weather but heli can fly till 4-5PM but not planes). We decided to take a chance for Heli and waited. At around 3PM we heard a helicopter flying, immediately made few calls but figured out it was on a rescue mission and was waiting to take flight from Pokhara since yesterday. Our heli was waiting in Kathmandu but they couldn’t fly unless they receive green signals from all the routes. Making everyone understand why the heli couldn’t fly is not that easy, especially when you can see the other helicopter flying. That heli which was on the rescue also couldn’t make it to Pokhara that day and had to stop in between. Our heli couldn’t make it to Jomsom so the day was spent in Jomsom.
But then some of them decided to go hike at Dhumba Lake in Jomsom and places around, while some stayed at the hotel playing an interesting drinking card game. All of them had fun in their own ways. The day was fair enough, had a bit of time to check the images, upload it on social media, but more importantly spent some quality time with the team.
We made it that day; the flights from Jomsom took off and landed in Pokhara all safe. Though while on the flight, at times looking from the plane I could see nothing but white clouds and from both the windows…Anyway, after landing in Pokhara, few of our teams got another flight back to Kathmandu as they had to take their international flights that evening. We had to stay in Pokhara for few hours as our tickets were being arranged for the day.
However, there was a bit change in the plan. Our NatGeo Photographer – Tyler James Metcalfe and our Nepali photographers Mohan Duwal & Shikhar Bhattarai wanted to have the taste of Chitwan before ending the whole trip (Trip to Chitwan was initially planned but we had change because of the flight changes vs limited days). So the logistic team immediately got into action. I am very pleased to find such an efficient team who arranged vehicles for us in such a short notice. We had to get two vehicles one picking Tyler from Kathmandu (to Chitwan) and other one to pick up us from Pokhara (to Chitwan). Thanks Yalamber Rai & Beenod Magar for arranging this all; if they hadn’t made the vehicles arrangement, probably we couldn’t have made it to Chitwan that day.
We reached Kasara at around 9 PM, fully tired and hungry; but hey the feast was waiting there for us smile emoticon Thanks Pramila Rai DD and Gaurie Malakar DD for everything smile emoticon We had a great dinner, had a little chitchat on how we made to Kasara …and then everyone crashed into the super comfy and soft beds at Kasara Resort. This was probably one of the best night spent; such a relaxation..
After having a super nice sleep at Kasara, we had more surprises to come. Our day was fully planned for the adventure and we were all excited to see animals and birds in their natural habitat and of course learning about the local culture around the area.
The morning started off with safari; we saw 9 rhinos some with their little babies (quite lucky to see them in just around 2 hours). Many species of birds, deer etc were also caught in the camera. Next we went canoeing in the Rapti River, walked through the jungle and went to Crocodile breeding center. The experience was phenomenal.
We also have had a chance to talk with Mr. Colonel Sanjay Deoja (Thanks to Gauri DD for making it possible). He and his team are to be credited for Zero poaching fiscal year of Rhino in Chitwan. They use simple yet effective applications on their PC/Phones which help them to monitor their team and also their team can report immediately in case of any suspicious activities. Great to know what these guys were doing! With some nice words of wisdom, we came back to our resort, where the beautiful pool was waiting for us. After the quick refreshment; we were all set to get back to Kathmandu. We reached the K-city in around midnight. We waved goodbye hugged and thanked everyone for the wonder trip experiences.
Our fun Instagram trip came to end but with wonderful experiences and nice memories :)
Image courtesy: Saujan, Moh Photography
The Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) has barred tourists from visiting Lomanthang for at least a week.
ACAP Lomanthang Chief Santosh Sherchan informed that tourists have been barred from visiting the area for the time being citing safety reasons.
The area above Kagbeni is still covered with thick snow that may cause any tragic incident anytime, he added.
However, locals have dared coming to Lomanthang after the construction of a makeshift bridge over Kowang rivulet, Sherchan. "Though this is tourists season the dense snow blanketing the area has forced us to take the move for safety of visitors".
The snowfall continued for three days around a couple of months ago has caused a pile-up of snow in Kagbeni above area. Some seven tourists who were unable to return due to heavy snowfall in Lomanthang were rescued through helicopter a couple of weeks ago.
A big number of tourists from third countries come to visit Lomanthang to mug up beauty of peculiar terrain, historical palace, indigenous art and culture and natural landscape, according to ACAP sources.
Last year alone 4,100 tourists had visited Lomanthang. "Most of them are from third countries. Number of domestic tourists is nominal", said ACAP Mustang Chief Kuinkel.