Nepal has a lot to offer to adventure seekers of the world who look for adrenaline thrust through adventure tourism. However, the country is yet to realise the potential in this regard.
Home to hundreds of peaks including eight of the highest mountains in the world, scores of trekking routes and rivers originating in the Himalayas, Nepal has been a paradise for adventure seekers offering them ultimate challenges. Though small geographically, the country is very rich in multitudes of terrain and landscape, facilitating some of the best adventure sports to take place. It is estimated that more than 60 percent of the international tourists visiting the country every year come here for adventurous activities.
Thus, Nepal has a reputed standing of being one of the best places in the world for adventure tourism. However, the country hasn't been able to utilize its full potential in adventure tourism. "Nepal has a huge potential in adventure tourism. But this potential remains largely unutilized due to unclear government policies," says Prachanda Man Shrestha, former chief executive officer of Nepal Tourism Board (NTB).
Nepal has more than five-decade long history of commercial adventure tourism. It was a British army officer, Lieutenant Colonel James Owen Merion Roberts (Jimmy Roberts), who laid the foundations of commercial adventure tourism in Nepal. Roberts founded Nepal's first trekking and mountaineering outfit, Mountain Travel Nepal, in 1964 to offer the opportunity for wealthy travelers to enjoy the experience of trekking or climbing in Nepal without problems.
Since then, Nepal has definitely come a long way in developing adventure tourism products. However, it's true that the country is not in a position to lure a large number of adventure tourists despite having a variety of adventure products - trekking, mountaineering, rock climbing, mountain biking, mountain flights, paragliding, ultralight flights, rafting, kayaking, canyoning, boating, bungee jumping, hunting, honey hunting, jungle safari and bird watching.
Once considered one of the most popular adventure travel destinations in the world, Nepal needs planned international promotion of these adventure products to get benefit from the flourishing adventure tourism in other parts of the planet. As most of the travelers around the world are no longer satisfied with traditional tourism products and are eager for adventure experiences, Nepal needs to promote adventure products keeping in mind the needs and expectations of the modern travelers.
According to tourism experts, Nepal should especially focus on the following adventure tourism products:
The high rising mountains - eight of the 14 eight-thousanders - and small but challenging peaks create a wide opportunity for mountain climbing throughout the year in Nepal. Well guided by professional Sherpas and expert climbing organizers, mountaineering may be the most accessible form of extreme sports in the greater northern regions of Nepal.
Skydiving is the most elitist extreme sport quite feasible in Nepal. There are merely any locations for regular skydiving in Nepal. However, whenever one takes place it’s sure enough to create a unique stir of emotions and excitement.
Skydiving from over the summit of Mount Everest is one of the most desired elite sports in Nepal. Started in 2008, there have been almost hundreds of jumps till now. Well, the cost may exceed the average tourist's regular budget - USD 25,000 for solo jumps and USD 35,000 for tandems - but the once-in-a-life experience is guaranteed to be the most cherished moment for tourists.
High Altitude Trekking
Trekking is undeniably the most enjoyed extreme sports in Nepal. Nepal is known for its high-altitude trek zones, and trekkers, as many as 100,000, visit Nepal almost every year.
Everest, Annapurna, Langtang, Manaslu and Mustang are some of the most desired trek destinations in Nepal. Because of its commercialization in recent decades and huge availability of trained experts in the field, the costs for trekking come easily under most tourists' regular budget, and the time involved in completing the trek may last from seven days to 21 days in total.
Started back in 2007, paragliding has been the most desired of sports in Pokhara. The flights take off from Sarangkot 1,592 m (5,223 ft) and land on the heart of tourists’ haven — Lakeside, Pokhara. With flying experts hailing from different parts of the world and their years of experience in-hand, it is assured to be the best time of your life on air. The cost is inexpensive compared to other sports in Nepal, where you can fly for a mere $60-$70.
Nepal is a nation rich in water sources. The water flowing down straight from the Himalayas produces high-current rivers and rivulets, making them ideal for rafting. Pirouetting, high sliding and troying are few of the usual techniques used during rafting in here.
Rock climbing is a common form of sports in Nepal. With commercialization of mountain climbing, the sport has flourished like anything. Climbing enthusiasts, including local inhabitants, enjoy the sport throughout the year.
One can enjoy climbing rocks in some of the most exotic and least explored northern regions of Nepal. Also, an amateur course is provided to anyone doing mountain climbing in Nepal.
This small South Asian nation is home of the Himalaya. The basic landscapes include from high Himalaya, hills to flat Terai.Biking on the hills of Nepal can be a very adventurous experience. The uneven hilly terrains facilitate best mountain biking experience along with cultural excursions of varying ethnic tribes residing in the hills.
Located near the Nepal-China border, Bhote Koshi is the ultimate place for bungee jump enthusiasts. The first and may be the only bungee jump site, it is located just above the Bhote Koshi river at an elevation of 160 m (525 ft), making it the 2nd highest bungee jump site in the world. The cost is inexpensive and tourists can also try other forms of extreme sports during their visit - Swing, canyoning, white water rafting etc.
The Himalayas facilitate a unique snow skiing experience. One of the elitist sports, skiing was first introduced by the Europeans in Nepal. Unlike the alps of Europe, the Asian Himalaya can be quite unique for skiing. Fairly a new sport in Nepal and organized only during winter, one can enjoy Alpine, Freestyle and Boarder cross styles of skiing.
Similar to river rafting, whitewater kayaking is another popularly known water sport in Nepal. With unimaginable high grades of rivers, one can enjoy the most adventurous sort of kayaking in Nepal.