Whenever we think of tourism and travel, we have an automated thought of getting lost in the excitement of a new destination. It is all about the exotic location, sound, culture, food, and incredible people. Indeed, it is a quick escape to live in another dimension with totally new environments and lifestyles of cultures.
As we say, it is crucial to be responsible during travel and focus mainly on ecotourism. For those unknown, ecotourism is a sustainable form of tourism where travelers roam without leaving their footprints in nature or, in other words, without causing harm to the natural ecosystem.
Today, ecotourism is in high demand. This particular nature of travel runs with the principle of enjoying nature and leaving the place as it was before, untouched. Being rich in natural beauty and diverse wildlife, Nepal is a perfect example of sustainable ecotourism.
Understand The Potential Of Ecotourism In Nepal
Ecotourism in Nepal is not all about preserving natural beauty and resources; it also promotes beauty. Additionally, venturing into remote areas and cultural locations through the local settlement has been one of the prime ways of working out eco-tourism here.
In addition, please think of the number of tourist inflow we get every year. Then, imagine how the flow of tourists in every part would have created an overwhelming experience while traveling. However, ecotourism helps to limit tourists in certain areas and gives them proper designation in the destination.
Yes, this is how they also assist in managing the crowd, which contributes a big deal to protecting and preserving the country’s natural resources. In the meantime, responsible travel also helps towards the sustainable development of the local communities. Overall, ecotourism creates an economic value for specific communities if untouched.
Guidelines To Understand EcoTourism
It is known that ecotourism helps not only the natural beauty or location but also the whole nation and its development. Understanding ecotourism means following its guidelines and principle while traveling to protect flora and fauna. Below are some of such policies for responsible travel.
- Create awareness among people to protect nature and the environment.
- Reduce the physical, social, behavioral, and psychological impact on wildlife while traveling.
- Respect the local lifestyle and settlements of the people.
- Produce direct financial benefits for conservation
- Generate economic benefits for both local people and private industry.
- Create a positive impact on the journey for both travelers and the host.
- Design and operate low-impact facilities.
- Provide realistic expectations to travelers.
- Encourage everyone to understand the intrinsic value of the resources.
- Promote moral and ethical responsibilities towards the natural and cultural environment.
Types of Activities Under Ecotourism
As we understand ecotourism, we must also understand the various types of ecotourism. Yes, they do come in multiple forms, and some of them are as mentioned below.
- Agro-tourism is when the traveler visits and volunteers to work on a farm to learn about sustainable farming.
- Eco Tours are long trips when travelers explore endangered destinations to raise awareness. It includes significant activities such as rafting, hiking, swimming, and many more.
- Eco-lodging: It all depends on the choice of accommodation travelers score during travel. They can be resorts, lodges, or camps built with sustainable materials.
As we talk about the types, adventure tourism is also one sort of ecotourism until and unless they don’t disrupt the environment around them.
This particular outdoor activity is one of the prime examples of ecotourism. All the trekking trails let the tourists and travelers experience the local lifestyle and culture first-hand. Furthermore, it allows exploring and enjoying the natural scenic beauty while traveling around the remote settlement areas.
Also, being the home to the Himalayas, Nepal is popular with abundant choices of trekking tracks and routes. In fact, for trekking, you will also get a wide range of options, such as camping trek, teahouse trek, independent trek, group trek, and so on.
Altogether, Nepal offers a huge variety when choosing a trekking destination, divided into specific regions. Moving on, those regions are also subdivided into many trekking trails.
- Everest Region Trails: Everest Base Camp trek, Everest View Trek, Everest Base Camp Kala Pattar trek, Everest Base Camp Cho-La Pass and Gokyo trek, Everest Three High Pass Trek, and many more.
- Annapurna Region Trails: Annapurna Circuit Trekking, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Jomson to Annapurna Sanctuary Trek, Ghorepani Poonhill trek, and so on.
- Langtang Region Trails: Langtang Valley Trek, Langtang and Gosaikunda Trek, Ganja La pass Trek, Langtang Gosainkunda Helambu Trek and Helambu Trek, and many more.
- Manaslu Region Trek: Lower Manaslu Eco Trek, Tsum Valley Trek, Manaslu Circuit Trekking, etc.
A shorter form of a trek is usually hiking and is the perfect choice for beginner adventure seekers. Nepal has many quick and easy hiking trails to embark on your journey. All the tracks may be a journey you can accomplish in a day or two.
As a fun fact, most of the hiking trails you would love to try are within a few minutes’ drive from the capital city itself. Just around the valley, you will get around 50 hiking trails ranging from easy to complex. Alongside the natural beauty and refreshment, these trails provide cultural and historical insight into this city.
Below are some of such popular hiking tracks to try.
- Shivapuri Hike
- Nagarkot Hike
- Kakani Hike
- Chisapani Hike
- Chandragiri Hike
- Phulchowki Hike
- Champadevi Hike
- Namo buddha Hike
- Sundarijal Hike
Nepal consists of nine National Parks, four Wildlife Reserves, and three Conservation Areas. Most of these conserved areas are in the lowlands of Terai, which are rich with tall grasslands interspersed with riverine and hardwood Sal Forest.
They all cover about 15,000 square kilometers dividing themselves in a wide range of topography from Terai, hills, to mountains. Here, you can enjoy the jungle safaris through both jeep and elephant as per your choice. Below are some of the destinations to enjoy them.
- Chitwan National Park
- Khaptad National Park
- Bardia National Park
- Shukla Phanta Wildlife Reserve
- Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve
As a fun fact, Nepal covers around 9% of the world’s total bird species. In other words, there are 890 recorded species of birds found in Nepal, which makes it a paradise for bird watching. Well, you can enjoy this experience in the wild nature or even visit the birding centers.
Well, in the highlands and mountainous regions, you will find rare species of birds such as Himalayan griffon, Himalayan Monal, Cheer Pheasant, Satyr Tragopan, etc. Likewise, if you go toward the riverine plains of Nepal, you will come across the winter migratory birds.
Altogether, different regions give you various species of birds to watch, and some of the areas with the birds are given below.
- Phulchowki Hill in Kathmandu: Cutia, Spiny Babbler, Laughthrush, Tesia, Long tail broad bill, Minivets, Shrikes, Black-headed shrike babbler, Yuhina, Thrushes, Bulbul, etc.
- Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park: Long-tailed comprehensive bill, Spiny babbler, Long-tail minivet, Forktail, Warbler, Finches, Bulbul, Thrushes, etc.
- Taudaha: Lapwing, Ruddy shelduck, Mallard, Sandpiper, Snipe, Wagtail, and so on.
- Chitwan National Park: Blue Indian Roller, Stork-billed Kingfishers, Bengal Florican, Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Bee-eaters, Cormorants Great hornbill, pied horn bill, and many more.
- Gosaikunda Pass: Kalij pheasant, Blood pheasant, Himalayan monal, Snow partridge, Parrotbill, Snow pigeon, Woodpecker, Minivet, owls, and many more.
- Mardi Himal: Satyr tragopan, Woodpeckers, Laughing thrushes, Himalayan vultures, Magpie, Warblers, Bulbul, Finches, Chough, Minivets, and more.
- Manaslu: Cuckoo, Bulbul, Minivet, Drongo, Kalij pheasant, Blood pheasant, Himalayan monal, Tibetan snowcock, Snow partridge, Snow pigeon, Barbets, Woodpeckers, Vultures, Tits, Spotted nutcrackers, and many others.
- Everest Base Camp: Tibetan snow cock, Himalayan vulture, Bared vulture, Finches, Blood pheasant, Thrushes, Accentor, Grosbeak, Tits, and many more.
It is an adventure sport you can enjoy while surrounded by lush green forests and a free-flowing river at the bottom. Indeed, it gives you the thrill you may be searching for on your trip.
As a fun fact, Nepal has the highest bungee jump point in the world at 160 meters. Unlike other thrilling activities like paragliding and rafting, you will not need any prior experience in this activity. Yes, it is all about a single jump.
If you are looking forward to trying this activity, there are multiple locations that you can visit for the thrill. Below are some of the few names of such sites for the jump.
- The Bhote Koshi Gorge
- Hemja in Pokhara
Apart from these few activities mentioned earlier, there are loads to venture into when it says ecotourism. Any action or visits you make without leaving your traces behind is responsible travel, and some of the other activities you can enjoy are as below.
- Mountain Biking
- Horse Riding
- Cultural Visits
So, How Do You Travel Responsibly?
Traveling responsibly is about ethical values as you consider more rights than wrongs. The few points below can be the starters on how to travel responsibly.
- Treat your porters or local guides with fair manners.
- Do not litter the trails you are walking on.
- Do not barter for your accommodation in exchange for purchasing food.
- Respect the local culture and lifestyle.
- Try to bring eco-friendly toiletries with you.
- Don’t feed wild animals.
Frequently Asked Questions
Marketing an ecosystem, species, or landscape to ecotourists helps create value, and that value can help raise funds to protect and conserve those natural resources.
Yes, ecotourism also educates children about nature, potentially creating new generations of nature lovers who could someday become conservationists. Even adult visitors may learn new ways to improve their ecological footprints.