With the recent peace accord signed by Maoist rebels this last November, Nepal is once again safe to visit.
The ten year battle claimed 13,000 lives and transformed one of my very favorite exotic locations into a scary place where the death toll and kidnap spree increasingly included tourists. In fact, when Michael Palin and his film crew passed through the region filming Himalaya, they witnessed the kidnapping of a British army officer and his Nepalese colleges by Maoist rebels.
This was so very hard to imagine looking back on my travels through the region in 1995. The Nepalese were such warm, smiling people that are caretakers of a magical mountain kingdom awash with Himalayan beauty. How such a place turned violent is beyond me. And yet it did.
Fortunately, providing that the rebels can be trusted, the end is finally here and Nepal can return to being its gracious self. In celebration, the LA Times has published a great introductory article for those who might be considering a visit. The writer, Susan Spano, spent a week dining, shopping and exploring Katmandu without a single mishap. Her only venture outside the capital, however, was for a breathtaking airplane tour of Mt. Everest.
While I applaud her efforts at being amongst the first tourists to return, the real beauty of Nepal reveals itself while trekking along its amazing Maoist-free mountains.
So, do yourself and all the mountain villagers who haven’t seen tourists in ten years a favor; get yourself to Nepal and explore, explore, explore.