The Buddha Odyssey

Nepal on track welcome a million tourists in 2017

Nepal tourism is on track to reach the magic figure of 1 million arrivals by the end of the year, industry watchers said. Analysts have based their projection on arrival trends for the first 10 months (January-October) of 2017 when the number of visitors jumped 25.47 percent to 757,448 individuals.

According to the Department of Immigration, arrival figures were buoyed by the growth in the number of travellers from India, the US, China and Europe. Nepal received 153,792 more tourists in the first 10 months of this year compared to the same period last year. The figure includes overland arrivals.

 

Arrivals in October, the peak tourist season, reached an all-time high of 112,492 individuals. Considering hotel and airline booking trends, November is expected to be a very productive month with arrival figures expected to break all past records. Travel trade entrepreneurs predict that November is expected to record more than 130,000 tourists.

“The growth puts Nepal on a path to record arrivals,” said senior hotel entrepreneur Yogendra Sakya. “This is an achievement that should make us all proud, irrespective of the 2015 earthquake, subsequent trade embargo and crumbling infrastructure at the country’s sole international airport,” said Sakya.

The private sector and the Nepal Tourism Board have poured a lot of money into promoting Nepal. “But beyond that, social media has emerged as a key tool. People obtain a true story and true picture on social media connecting Nepal across the globe.”

Nepal has been featured regularly in different foreign publications and media as top destinations to visit in 2017. With the improved arrivals, revenue from tourism is also expected to beat expectations.

The growth prospects have also prompted investors to inject billions of rupees into the aviation industry. Travel trade entrepreneurs said that the entire sector, ranging from hotels to restaurants and airlines to trekking, had witnessed a boom in terms of earnings.
Source – Kathmandu Post

Australians return home after Community Project & Trekking in Nepal

Some 20 Australians return home after successful Nepal Community Rebuild Project and Trekking initiated by Canberra charity REACH for Nepal Foundation (RFN).

Founders Lachhu Thapa and Lou Nulley started the foundation in 2015 following the earthquakes in Nepal centred on the Gorkha district. This is the second year they have been planning these fundraising trips to Nepal, which is a major fundraising platform for the foundation.

With two, 12-person trips planned for October 2018 almost booked out already, Lou says the experience allows people to directly assist on a project that fulfils the objectives of the foundation, which are reflected in the acronym REACH – Rebuild, Educate, Assist, the Children/Communities (giving) Hope for Nepal.

“So far at a school in Gorkha, we’ve built a water tank, two classrooms, an amenities block, a wall to make the playground safe, a library and computer room,” says Lachhu.


“It’s very rewarding and fulfilling, and I’m also able to work closely with my brothers in Nepal, Raju our trek guide and the in-country director Shiva.

“It’s an amazing feeling to be able to execute all that and to be successful at it.”

REACH for Nepal has formed connections with the University of Canberra, Canberra Grammar School and other Canberra institutions, and is planning trips and ways to support Nepal with them, says Lou.

They also have an agreement with Singapore Airlines to ship limited donated goods for free for their projects.

The tours are organised by the Hungry Buddha’s travel arm The Buddha Odyssey.

Source – CityNews

10 Interesting Facts about Nepal

Nepal lies between India & China, high in the himalayas, a country full of diverse ethnicity, rich culture and awe-inspiring natural beauty. With a wide variety of flora and fauna in the country, Nepal is home to rarest species like the one-horned Rhino, the Bengal tiger and the national flower Rhododendron. Nepal is truly a god’s playground with stunning landscapes & majestic mountains. Here are some interesting facts on Nepal –

1. People in Nepal greet one another by saying “Nasmaste” or “Namaskar” with their palms together and bow their forehead. Namaste is directly translated as ‘I salute the God in you’.

2. Nepal is the birthplace of Buddha, the light of Asia. Siddhartha Gautam (Buddha) was born in Kapilvastu, Lumbini which lies in Nepal.

3. Nepal has over 80 ethnic groups and 123 Languages.

4. Nepal has the densest concentration of World Heritage Sites. Kathmandu valley alone has 7 World Heritage Cultural sites within a radius of 15 kilometres.

5. Nepal is the only country with a non-rectangular flag. Nepal’s flag is maroon with two triangular shapes stacked on one another with a blue border. The upper triangle consists of the moon and the lower triangle consists of the sun.

6. Nepal has the only living goddess in the world called Kumari.

7. Cows are sacred in Nepal. Recently turned secular, Nepal still has the highest proportion of Hindus in the world. The cow is considered the national animal of the country.

8. Nepal was never under any foreign invasion. Thus Nepal does not have an independent day because Nepal was never colonized. Nepal is also the oldest country in South Asia.

9. Elephant polo game was originated in Nepal. Tiger Tops in Nepal is the headquarters of elephant polo and the site of the World Elephant Polo Championships.

10. Nepal opened its borders in 1949.

 

Namaste

The Hungry Buddha Team

Canberra charity REACH for Nepal determined to make a difference

A Canberra charity set up in the wake of the 2015 earthquakes in Nepal is quietly raising money for much-needed restoration work and giving Australians the chance to work on local community projects, the Canberra Times reports.

Founded by Canberra trekking enthusiast and yoga teacher Lou Nulley and Nepalese-born Lachhu Thapa from The Hungry Buddha restaurants in Curtin and Belconnen, REACH for Nepal has also just finalised a sponsorship arrangement with Singapore Airlines to carry a limited amount of donated goods to Nepal for free when volunteers travel for a project.

The charity has also appointed 2016 Olympic gold medallist Kim Brennan as its first ambassador, a position she is “incredibly proud” to hold.

Entirely run by volunteers, REACH for Nepal’s priority is supporting people in remote, isolated areas of Nepal who have not been reached by other agencies. The areas are often only accessible by foot.

Anyone who participates in the trips treks for five days and spends three days working on a community project.

Each participant pays their own way and all money raised goes directly to projects for the Nepalese people. The trip participants are also asked to raise at least $250 to go towards a project.

On-the-ground work planned for this year includes building classrooms and helping with the production of school bags by people with disabilities in Nepal.

“There are not too many things in life where you can make a real difference, but this is one of them,” Mr Nulley said.

“It’s a fairly intense eight-day period but the experience is so rewarding. The people there are so grateful for the work that we do.”

“Almost without exception, people describe it as a life-changing event,” he said.

REACH for Nepal, meanwhile, stands for Rebuilding, Education, Assistance, Children/Communities (giving) Hope for Nepal.

Source – Canberra Times

Mardi Himal Base Camp Trek 2017

Mardi Himal Base Camp Trek 2017

I am headed to Nepal in September 2017 with family, with my two young daughters June & Maaya. Needless to say how excited I am, no really I am very excited.
I will be there celebrating Dashian (Biggest festival in Hindi Calendar) with family in Nepal after – I don’t remember. Surely it will bring back memories of the childhood.

 
Also when in Nepal, I will be doing two community projects around Annapurna Area, alongside travelers from Canberra in conjunction with Reach for Nepal Foundation. And in between that I will be trekking Mardi Himal Base Camp – all the way upto 4500 meters. The 5 weeks are full on 🙂


Situated just east of one of the most popular treks of Nepal, the Annapurna Base Camp trek, the Mardi Himal trek is a hidden gem.

 
Few trekkers make their way to the Mardi Himal Base Camp spectacularly situated at the base of Mardi Himal and the impressive Machapuchhre. The trail goes along small winding paths, through magical rhododendron forests. I am looking forward to get some amazing views of Mardi Himal, Machapuchre, Annapurna South and Hiunchuli & close up views of the entire Annapurna Range.

 

If you would like to join me, please contact me on 0422 657 897
Lachhu Thapa

Team Reach – Rickshaw Run Jan 2017

2017 started for us with a bang! 3 mates ventured on an adventure on a three-wheeled rickshaw in India on an unforgettable journey.


We only had certain things known, the start, the finish and the rickshaw – everything else was the unknown and little we knew that was the adventure.
Its not easy to navigate the way around India, let alone being on the bottom of the chain on Indian Highways. Mind you, it’s the cow on the top, then the trucks and buses, then the 4WD and cars, then the rickshaws and motorbikes. And on the 2nd January at 9 am it started with a bang, all up 87 rickshaws, teams from around the world. And in little less in a day, we knew it was about the journey, not the destination.


Each morning, we would get up at 6:30 am and start the day before sunrise. Get the rickshaw started for about 15 mins to heat the engine and off we go. We were headed north, and made our own way. There was no plan, no route, no stops planned, no breakfast planned and no rest stops. It was all about the road and we did what we wanted.


We got offered to have tea with locals on average 3 times a day, We played Cricket with locals, Had Chai (indian cup of tea) about 6 times a day, Flew a kite with locals, got offered free accommodation in Goa, Met lots and lots of Nepalese people along the way, and tired awesome new food each meal we had. It was just amazing.


Would we recommend you go on a Rickshaw Run? Hell yes. Go for your life. There is no better way to see India.
And we did all this for a cause. We raised $1000 for Cool Earth, a charity based in England to save rainforest in South America. We did our bit to raise more funds, and it all went to Reach for Nepal Foundation, around $1300. So all up, we raised $2300 for the foundation, made abundant friends and saw real India and its hospitality.


Whats next? Mongol Rally in 2019. Driving 16,000 miles across Europe and Asia from London, England to Ullan Bator, Mongolia

Adventure on

Namaste
Lachhu, Ben & Yog

The Buddha Odyssey is set to organise their third Yoga, Trekking & Community Trip to Nepal in 2017

door magnet odyssey

Yoga Pathways & The Buddha Odyssey are again coming together in Oct 2017 and organizing another trip to Nepal from Canberra.

The trip will again focus on the Community Project in conjunction with Reach for Nepal Foundation, while also providing travellers the experience of trekking the Annapurna range & Hatha Yoga wherever possible.

Lou Nulley, yoga instructor at Yoga Pathways & co-founder/director of the foundation leads such a trip each year to Nepal alongside Odyssey tour leader Raju Thapa. Over the years, Lou and Raju have developed a special working relationship and delivered very successful trips.

raju lou

Lachhu Thapa, the co-founder/director of the foundation is also keen to join the tour group this year. Lachhu is excited to be going back to Nepal with family and finish off the project in Annapurna village.

The travel group raises funds for the project before they head off to Nepal.

BHAKTAPUR KATHMANDU VALLEY NEPAL - APRIL 8 2014: People walking near Nepalese temples in shape of pagoda at Durbar Square

The tour starts in Kathmandu, with sightseeing of major attractions of a 2000 year old valley. We then head to picturesque Pokhara where we spend another couple of days. From there we embark on a trek which sees you walking up to 5 hours a day on a route that’s less popular with tourist – making the experience more authentic whilst absorbing the mesmerizing views of the Himalayas.

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The 5 days trekking leads you to our Community Project where you will spend another three days working on the project and spending time with villagers, school teachers and students. Yoga is incorporated on the trip where ever practical. We then head back to Pokhara and fly out to Kathmandu for last minute shopping before our flight back home.

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Historically these trips are fully booked, as participants enjoy the blend of trekking the Himalayas at a relaxed pace, making a real difference in the lives of many people through the community project and maintaining a sense of equanimity through regular yoga sessions.

yoga pose island peak

The cost of the trip is around $3790 (to be confirmed around Jan 2017) including international airfares, accommodation and most meals.

To lock in a spot please contact us by filling this form

Namaste

Lachhu Thapa

UNESCO enlisted heritage site – The Boudhanath Stupa reopens in Kathmandu

An "eye" is seen behind the prayer flags during the prayers to purify the Boudhanath stupa ahead of its opening on November 22, after it was renovated following last year's earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal, on November 18, 2016. Photo: Reuters

An “eye” is seen behind the prayer flags during the prayers to purify the Boudhanath stupa ahead of its opening on November 22, after it was renovated following last year’s earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal, on November 18, 2016. Photo: Reuters

The Boudhanath Stupa, one of UNESCO-enlisted heritage sites in Nepal which was severely damaged by an earthquake last year, was reopened for public Tuesday after completing reconstruction.

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal inaugurated the newly rebuilt 36-meter-tall Boudhanath Stupa at Boudha area of the capital city Kathmandu.

An aerial view of Bouddhanath Stupa, acknowledged as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in Kathmandu, in April 2016. The ancient stupa which was  affected by the April 25, 2015 earthquake is being rennnovated. Photo: Keshav P. Koirala

An aerial view of Bouddhanath Stupa, acknowledged as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in Kathmandu, in April 2016. The ancient stupa which was affected by the April 25, 2015 earthquake is being rennnovated. Photo: Keshav P. Koirala

The Prime Minister thanked the entire international community, including neighbouring countries China and India, for extending financial support to reconstruct the ancient Buddhist shrine.

The Boudhanath Stupa was the first heritage site to complete renovation after a devastating earthquake hit Nepal 19 months ago, claiming over 9,000 lives and left thousand others injured and a lot of buildings damaged.

Boudhanath stupa is silhouetted against the sun during the prayers to purify the stupa ahead of its opening on November 22, after it was renovated following last year's earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal, on November 18, 2016. Photo: Reuters

Boudhanath stupa is silhouetted against the sun during the prayers to purify the stupa ahead of its opening on November 22, after it was renovated following last year’s earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal, on November 18, 2016. Photo: Reuters

The reconstruction, which started only two months after the earthquake, took 17 months. The cost stood at 230 million Nepalese Rupees.

Reconstruction of other heritage sites damaged by the earthquake was still underway or just in the early stage, authorities said.

Buddhist monks performed purification rituals for the completion of the renovation on Nov. 18.

A young girl poses for a photograph in front of Boudhanath Stupa, during its purification ceremony in Kathmandu, Nepal, Friday, Nov. 18, 2016. A three-day purification ceremony has been organized to purify Boudhanath Stupa, which was damaged in the 2015 earthquake, after the completion of its reconstruction. The Stupa will officially open to the public on Nov 22. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)

A young girl poses for a photograph in front of Boudhanath Stupa, during its purification ceremony in Kathmandu, Nepal, Friday, Nov. 18, 2016. A three-day purification ceremony has been organized to purify Boudhanath Stupa, which was damaged in the 2015 earthquake, after the completion of its reconstruction. The Stupa will officially open to the public on Nov 22. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)

Boudhanath, the largest stupa in Nepal, is considered the holiest Tibetan Buddhist temple outside China’s Tibetan Autonomous Region, making it the center of Tibetan culture in Kathmandu.

Thousands of domestic and international visitors come to visit the shrine annually.
Source – Xinhua

Three friends. 2700 kilometres. One tuk tuk. Crazy? Probably!

rickshaw-run

We’re heading to India at the end of the year to drive a tuk tuk from Cochin to Jaiselmer and raise money for the Reach for Nepal Foundation. It’s part of the annual Rickshaw Run event, and it promises to be a lot of fun.

yog-2

Now to take the adventure to another level, we have decided to fundraise for Reach for Nepal Foundation (RFN), which is a start-up charity based here in Canberra.

reachfornepal-tshirt

RFN works to improve the lives of Nepalese people through initiating and supporting programs that assist earthquake-affected communities to rebuild schools and libraries, provide educational scholarships, foster sustainability, enhance the skills of local teachers and extend participation in sporting activities.

The Foundation’s priority is supporting people in remote, isolated areas of Nepal that have not been reached by other aid agencies. Many of these are only accessible on foot.

rickshaw_run_logo_s

It will be one crazy ride. To support our cause please donate here.

Namaste

Lachhu, Ben & Yog

Community Project, Yoga & Trekking Oct 2016

 

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Lou Nulley, co-founder of the REACH for Nepal Foundation (RFN), and Raju Thapa recently led a group of 10 people from Australia on another successful trek in Nepal, culminating in a community project in a remote area of the country in conjunction with The Buddha Odyssey.

Prior to the trip the group had raised around $3500. Together with funding from RFN, the team funded and helped to rebuild a library at the Hari Prasad school near the Khara Ko Mukh village.

The library was demolished by recent earthquakes and flooding. The facility is a key requirement to assist in the education of the children in this remote region.  The headmaster of the school and the school board were grateful for the team’s contributions, galvanizing the community as parents, teachers and villagers came together to assist the rebuild project.

The team included people from NSW, Victoria and the ACT. After trekking the Annapurna Range for five days absorbing spectacular views of the Himalayas, interspersed with regular yoga sessions to stretch the body and to remain present on the journey, the team enthusiastically arrived at the school to begin the rebuild project.

We were overwhelmed by the generosity and welcome from the community and children at the school.

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