ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Travel and Places»
  • Visiting Asia»
  • Southern Asia

Traveling In Nepal

Updated on October 22, 2015
The Himalayas in Nepal
The Himalayas in Nepal | Source

An Invitation from Nepal's Only Search & Rescue Team

Late one night, I received the following message via my LinkedIn account:

"Dear Deb,

I think it is time to find a person who wants to write our story of missing in the Himalayas--murder, love, vanishing, and loads of strange stories over 20 years of case files. If you know an adventurous soul, please inform her."

The message was sent by the founder and leader of the Himalaya Rescue Dog Squad Nepal.

I too am involved in Search and Rescue. And I'm also a writer. But I went to bed the night I received this note without seriously considering the opportunity. Then I awakened at 3 a.m. and a little voice inside my head said, "Do it, Deb!" I got up, turned on my computer, and responded to Ingo. So began my latest adventure, which will include three months in Nepal.

Note: Since this project began, the Himalaya Rescue Dog Squad Nepal has been re-named SAR Dogs Nepal, which is how I'll refer to the squad from here on.

Finding Nepal

Nepal is a landlocked country located on the Asian continent, between China to the north and India to the south.

Nepal
Nepal | Source

Have You Been To Nepal? - A Visitor Poll: Let's see who's stopping by....

Have you been to Nepal, or are you planning to go?

See results
Flag of Nepal
Flag of Nepal

About SAR Dogs Nepal (Formerly Himalaya Rescue Dog Squal Nepal)

The reason for my trip halfway around the world....

I'll spend the majority of my time in Nepal getting to know Ingo and the other members of his search and rescue team, gathering information and stories so I can return home to Arizona and write the book.

Dutchman Ingo Schnabel established SAR Dogs Nepal, the only organization of its kind in the country, in October, 1989. Since then, the team has provided search and rescue and medical aid when trekkers have been reported missing and in the event of natural disasters, such as earthquakes, landslides, and flash flooding. The team is able to provide helicopter rescue and tracking dogs to almost any area of Nepal.

SAR Dogs Nepal members have trained in a range of disciplines, including rock rescue, firefighting, logistics, and wilderness medicine.

The team now also has a Junior Rescue Squad. This follows a ten-year hiatus during The People's War in Nepal from 1996 until 2006, when SAR Dogs Nepal was unable to continue training new disaster relief workers. Currently, only 18 staff members and 9 Nepalese volunteers remain, while the goal is to have a minimum of 100 workers on standby in the team's mobile Disaster Relief & Medical Aid Unit.

SAR Dogs Nepal's main headquarters is in Shyauli Bazaar, Lamjung District, in the center of Nepal, and includes a dog breeding and training center. Team members often work at an altitude of 18,000 feet or more and in harsh conditions, from jungle gorges to flooded plains, avalanche zones, and even large-scale traffic accidents.

Due to a lack of national infrastructure and government support, SAR Dogs Nepal has provided the only medical disaster relief to poor villages in remote areas.

To learn more about SAR Dogs Nepal, visit the team's website at SARDogsNepal.asia

The Leader Of the Rescue Squad Also Started A School

When I first began corresponding with Ingo and some of his team members, I thought this book project would be "just" about their Search and Rescue work. And then I realized there is much more to this story, including a special school Ingo started in a remote area of Nepal--a school which does not adhere to Nepal's caste system, where children learn in a low-stress environment free of the gender prejudice and violence found in government-run schools.

This video is a preview of a documentary made by American Debra Kaufman. The full documentary film, A School of Their Own: Reading, Writing And Revolution in Nepal, is available for purchase on Amazon.com.

A School Of Their Own

A 1-Hour Documentary About The Riverside School

Filmmaker Debra Kaufman, who sponsors a Nepali student, went to Nepal to meet the child, and it was then that she discovered how the Riverside School's mission intersected with country's fight for democracy and freedom. The school struggled to stay afloat during Nepal's bloody, 10-year civil war, during which time the police accused the children of being Maoist rebels while the rebels themselves were forcibly drafting children over 12 years of age into their army.

A School of Their Own
A School of Their Own

I learned a lot about education in Nepal, the 10-year People's War, and SAR Dogs Nepal's special school in this documentary, which "shows how children, even in the most extreme circumstances, can lead a nation to a better future."

 
Durbar Square, Kathmandu, Nepal
Durbar Square, Kathmandu, Nepal | Source

How And Where I'll Spend My Time In Nepal

After flying into Kathmandu, Nepal's capital city--the largest and pretty much the only city in the country--and spending a day or two there, I'll travel to the town of Pokhara by bus, where I'll meet Ingo.

I've read that the 200-kilometer (124-mile) trip from Kathmandu to Pokhara along the Prithvy Highway can take as many as eight hours. The road often follows rivers at the bottom of deep valleys and passes a number of what I've seen described as comfortable refreshment stops.

(Added: A friend of mine who's been to Nepal has quite strongly suggested that I fly to Pokhara rather than taking the bus. She said the road is narrow--really just wide enough for one vehicle--with no guardrails, and the buses honk their horns as they "scream" around the corners, hoping there isn't a vehicle coming the other way. She also said that the "valleys are littered with burnt-out buses." Eek! Me thinks her advice to fly is definitely sound. I've heard that a flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara and vice versa is only about U.S.$70, and I think that is going to be well worth it!)

After spending maybe a month in Pokhara, Ingo tells me we'll trek to the team's current headquarters in Shyauli Bazar and spend some time there before returning to Pokhara for the month of July, which I believe is the wettest month of the year.

Most of my time in Nepal will be during the rainy--or monsoon--season, when many of the country's unpaved roads are impassable. So I expect I'll be doing a lot of walking (trekking, that is), which is more than fine with me. I hope to explore as much as possible on foot.

A View Of The Anapurna Range From Pokhara

Anapurna Range as seen from Pokhara, Nepal
Anapurna Range as seen from Pokhara, Nepal | Source

Pokhara, Nepal

The lakeside town of Pokhara is Nepal's most popular destination after Kathmandu due to it being the gateway to some of the most famous treks in the world, including the Anapurna Circuit. Only foothills separate the town from the majestic Himalaya.

I've Read This Book About Nepal

I'm trying to learn as much as I can about Nepal and Nepalese cultures before I go. It didn't take long to realize, though the country isn't very large, there is much diversity amongst its people, not to mention its landscape.

Lonely Planet Nepal (Country Travel Guide)
Lonely Planet Nepal (Country Travel Guide)

This extensive travel guide covers all areas and aspects of the country, including history, getting around the Nepal, climate, fauna, education and the arts, trekking, mountain biking, rafting, festivals and much more. This is the eighth, updated version of this popular book, which was recommended to me by a man who's been to Nepal at least half a dozen times.

 

Light Of The Himalaya

This is a video by award-winning filmmaker Michael Brown -- a preview of a documentary that follows eye surgeons from Nepal and America as they, along with the North Face athlete team, work on the Himalayan Cataract Project, which takes them to the summit of a 21,000-foot Himalayan peak.

The film is available from Serac Adventure Films.

© 2009 Deb Kingsbury

Please Share Your Comments Or Questions. Have you ever been to Nepal?

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Gyanendra Mocktan profile image

      gyanendra mocktan 3 months ago

      You are promoting Nepal through your article. Thank you again

    • pavlo-badovskyi profile image

      pavlo-badovskyi 4 years ago

      pictures are awasome!

    • profile image

      Truthmusica 5 years ago

      Awesome country to visit..........

    • wolvyz profile image

      wolvyz 5 years ago

      Awesome pictures and videos about my country. Thanks a lot for sharing your wonderful adventure with the world.

    • Thrillophilia LM profile image

      Thrillophilia LM 5 years ago

      I came across your blog today as it will now be part of my daily reading.I think ur blog is great for providing to everybody something unique to know.

      To know more about adventure trips in India click these links.

      http://www.lonelyplanet.com/

    • SayGuddaycom profile image

      SayGuddaycom 5 years ago

      You are an incredibly interesting person and I envy your travels.

    • EcoPottiJo profile image

      EcoPottiJo 5 years ago

      I visited Nepal in 2005 and we took a car from Kathmandu to Pokhara along the Prithvy Highway! It was brilliant fun, busy as the busiest highway but twice as slow with Tata lorries broken down all over the place! I adore Nepal and have a frind with his own travel and trek company in Kathmandu. I'm going back next year as I'm organising a charity trek in the Himalaya. Love your lens by the way it captures the essence that is Nepal.

    • profile image

      Lindrus 5 years ago

      Stunningly beautiful! I really want to go and see it for myself!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      We worked in Nepal for a while and really enjoyed our stay. We stayed in The Courtyard which is like an oasis in Thamel but what is unique about it is its Library where guests who want gather there and have drinks before dinner enjoying each other's stories of their wanderings of the day. A great experience. Pokhara is truly beautiful and your pictures really capture this.

    • profile image

      ActiveNewZealand 5 years ago

      I have been to Nepal on a long distance trek and I loved it - the highs, the lows, the whole lot. When I got home I couldn't imagine spending a day not hiking - it took me ages to get settled again.

    • caretakerray lm profile image

      caretakerray lm 6 years ago

      Ramkitten:

      Great lense! I found it both entertaining and informative. I have included you in one of my featured lense lists

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Looks like you had a great time. What an adventure to go out and see what God has created all over the world. Great job!! I love your writing technique.

    • ZenandChic profile image

      Patricia 6 years ago

      I would love to go to Nepal! Wonderful lens! Blessed!

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 6 years ago from Colorado

      I found myself reading this and thinking: I want to go do this! Enjoyed living vicariously through you. I've always been intrigued by Nepal and know that I will one day make that journey. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      livingfrontiers 6 years ago

      This is great information, and it is no wonder so many magical people come from this part of the world. Thanks for sharing!

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 6 years ago from UK

      I have never been so I love reading the accounts of adventurous souls like yourself. This is one book I will definitely be buying. Will it be available outside the US in one form or another? (I have a Kindle but there are geographical restrictions so can only buy books licensed for the UK.)

    • oztoo lm profile image

      oztoo lm 6 years ago

      What an incredible experience for you. It's often hard for us to understand how hard other people's lives are. People like Ingo do a great job in trying to make a difference.

    • LouisaDembul profile image

      LouisaDembul 6 years ago

      I think you did just right going to Nepal! What an opportunity. Wish I could do the same!

    • profile image

      nepaltraveltrekking 6 years ago

      Wonderful, I hope got lots of adventure treks in Nepal.

    • Peregrina LM profile image

      Peregrina LM 6 years ago

      Your trip sounds amazing. I'm jealous!

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 7 years ago

      Ramkitten, I've been following your adventure all along and I decided today to nominate this lens for a purple star - good luck!

    • LisaAuch1 profile image

      Lisa Auch 7 years ago from Scotland

      If more people were like you - and just DID IT! our world would sure be a better place, i look forward to hearing more of your experience.

      Lisa

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 7 years ago

      Deb, you know I have surely missed you and feel like you are a next door neighbor. So, hearing of the opportunity presented you to travel to Nepal, well WOW! I surely hope that it has been all and more that you hoped for. As I reflect back on my past experiences with my husband, I will be eternally grateful to him for "getting" me to Hungary and Romania to retrace my grandfather's story. It's been a distinct honor to call you friend. Thank you.

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 7 years ago

      I'm creating a featured lens module for this lens on my lens on Mount Kailash.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Thinking of you and wishing you all the best as you continue in Nepal.

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 7 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      Hi Deb, I'm just catching up on my Squidoo friends as I can. I've had a rough 6 months here and it doesn't look like it's going to get better soon ... so I'm doing what little I can for now. I'm going to be following your progress and look forward to travelling with you via facebook. I am not a member .. just know that I'll be reading and enjoying your adventures. All the best!!! Laraine

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I am shanker from Nepal. I watch ur site and want to contact you

    • HorseAndPony LM profile image

      HorseAndPony LM 7 years ago

      What a great project. We are very excited for you and hope you reach your funding goal.

    • profile image

      grannysage 7 years ago

      Oh my. What a great honor and adventure. I'm going to be peeking over your shoulder as you make your trip. Have a great time.

    • Grasmere Sue profile image

      Sue Dixon 7 years ago from Grasmere, Cumbria, UK

      I know lots of people who have been to Nepal ( lots of my friends are keen walkers)- sadly I'm not one of them. I wish you ll the best for this great experience. Great lens.

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 7 years ago

      What a fabulous adventure lens!!!! Five stars and a fav. Yes I have been to Kathmandu only, but also was in Bhutan - beautiful (see my lens on it). Best wishes with this project!

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 7 years ago from Arkansas USA

      I haven't been, but I know someone who has been to Nepal. What a wonderful opportunity for you, Deb. I'm excited to see what stories you bring back!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Deb, this really is an opportunity and I'm glad you listened to that still small voice telling you to go in 66 days from now. I would love to read the stories that sound mysterious.

      Best wishes on your research and visit to Nepal. ~ Greetings to Ingo and the rescue team.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Wow - Deb, Nepal looks like a great place and I like your writing and this site is very informative. I look forward to hearing about your adventures in Nepal.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 7 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Oh me! What an adventure. I can't wait to hear more about your trip to Nepal and your upcoming book.

    • Addy Bell profile image

      Addy Bell 7 years ago

      Awesome! What a great opportunity to do great things. And the school sounds like a truly radical innovation. Best of luck!

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image
      Author

      Deb Kingsbury 7 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      @Kimsworld LM: Actually, it's very warm to extremely hot in the lower areas much of the year. I'm told that when I'll be there, it will be very humid.

    • Kimsworld LM profile image

      Kimsworld LM 7 years ago

      Isn't it like really cold Nepal? I've never seen a picture of anybody wearing bikini in Nepal. You go ahead and I'll catch up later! Hope you have an awesome adventure! Can't wait to hear about the Himalaya Resue Dog Squad.

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 7 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      How exciting! I wish that I could go with you! I'd carry your laptop (or will you need to write it all by hand). Yikes! That could be as daunting as driving those mountain roads. Hats off to you, my friend! I'll talk to you before you go.

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 7 years ago from United States

      Oh, I am so excited for you and I am absolutely thrilled that you are going to let us live this experience vicariously through you and your writings! Awesome, Angel Blessed and added to my Squid Angel Mouse Tracks lens!!!

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image
      Author

      Deb Kingsbury 7 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      @Kailua-KonaGirl: Thank you so much. :) I actually won't be leaving until the end of April/beginning of May. And I'll definitely blog about the trip as much as I can while I'm there and write the book when I get home. Then maybe I should go to Hawaii for a break. :)

    • Kailua-KonaGirl profile image

      June Parker 7 years ago from New York

      This lens is awesome! I love it! Please build a blog, website and lens about this fantastic adventure when you return. For that matter, write a book about it!

      Oh BTW in my excitement for you, I forgot to thank you for visiting my Hawaii lens. I hope you will receive this before you leave! I wish I were going with you!

    • CastleRoyLisa profile image

      Lisa 7 years ago from Rhode Island

      wow a great opportunity and great lens.

    • Andy-Po profile image

      Andy 7 years ago from London, England

      I forgot to say. I added this excellent lens to my Asia Travel Group Lens, as a "Featured Lens"

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 7 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      What a wonderful opportunity. Best of luck.

    • profile image

      mmmanning 7 years ago

      Nice lens, and great share. Keep us informed please.

      Thanks,

      footloose (on tagfoot)

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      OMG! What a fantastic opportunity! Best of luck...and have fun.

    • jimmielanley profile image

      Jimmie Lanley 7 years ago from Memphis, TN, USA

      Oh my word, what a fascinating adventure lies ahead of you. We are also very interested in traveling to Nepal. Maybe one day...

    • Andy-Po profile image

      Andy 7 years ago from London, England

      Excellent lens. I have never quite got to Nepal although I have been to Rajasthan, which is not too far away, a couple of times.

    • BarbRad profile image

      Barbara Radisavljevic 7 years ago from Templeton, CA

      Deb, you have more adventures than anyone I've ever known, and I feel like I know you a bit after reading so many of your lenses. Have a wonderful time in Nepal. I expect we'll see a few more lenses when you return.

    • mysticmama lm profile image

      Bambi Watson 7 years ago

      What an exciting opportunity!

      Wonderful lens!

      Blessed!

    • Kylyssa profile image

      Kylyssa Shay 7 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      A great story well-told. Fantastic lens!

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image
      Author

      Deb Kingsbury 7 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      @norma-holt: No, no those are not videos I've made. I haven't been to Nepal yet. Those are videos on YouTube, made by the directors of the documentaries.

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 7 years ago

      What a great story. The depth of your abilities is amazing. Did you do the videos as well. I am lensrolling this to 'African child abuse' and will feature it there as well as on some other lenses. Well done - top marks

      Norma :)

    • groovyfind profile image

      Samantha Devereux 7 years ago from Columbia Mo

      This is awesome!

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 7 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      Fantastic. Can't wait to hear about your adventure and the story you will be telling of the HRDSN. I've never been to Nepal, but have read about it and it appears to be an absolutely beautiful country.