At the end of October we've been to Nepal for one week - Kathmandu, Begnas and Pokhara. Needless to say we fell in love with the country, its people and some of the most beautiful landscapes we've seen so far. Fancy an unforgettable adventure to explore these amazing surroundings? Look no further than Sacred Summits.
We were enjoying a nice evening at Grand Hotel Kathmandu. Delicious food, local beers - Gorkha was our favourite - and an entertaining chat with Rajiv, the General Manager. An experienced guy in the hospitality industry, witty, passionate about good music and smart jokes. In a word, a person fun to be with. As it was our first trip to Nepal - and, certainly, not the last one - Rajiv was giving us a rundown of how people live in Kathmandu, what's the average salary, what are Nepal's strong points and how the future shapes up for this tiny, but amazing country sandwiched between India and China. Although we visited only a small part of Nepal - Chitwan, Bhaktapur and Sarangkot are on the list for next year - we said we'd also like to experience Bhutan (an expensive place to visit) and Tibet. "I know just the guy for that", smiled Rajiv. "He will join us for dinner any minute now!"
Meet Rabi. I've been a motoring journalist for more than 12 years, writing about everything that has an engine and two or four wheels, so I know an automotive enthusiast when I see one. But Rabi is more than a petrolhead and an avid rider. He is the CEO of Sacred Summits, a company he established in April 2003 after two decades of experience in the trekking and tour business. We learned that Rabi pioneered motorcycle tours to remote and exotic locations in Nepal, Tibet and India and he is often accompanying clients to difficult treks, as trekking ranks amongst his hobbies. In September 2003, Rabi came up with something new for Nepal's travel industry: an overland motorbike tour from Kathmandu to Tibet. Rabi organized and led this 15-day epic adventure to Lhasa and the Everest Base Camp in Rongbuk. Apart from offering thrills to others, Rabi is also devoted to humanitarian causes. Lately, much of his attention went towards the Maggie Burgess' Promise Nepal Leprosy Program, where he helps gather, compile and translate data on the Khokana Leprosy Colony which lies in the south of Kathmandu Valley. "Promise Nepal" is an UK based non-profit organization that extends support to leprosy patients in Nepal. He is also on the board of Meg's Children Nepal, an Australian non-profit organization that provides short-term and emergency care for at-risk children.
"The Poker Run is definitely one of my favorite events!", Rabi told us. And he wasn't referring to trying your luck at the well-known game of cards, but riding your bike from Kathmandu to Pokhara, as well as joining fellow Enfielders on scenic and unforgettable road trips through India, Bhutan, Tibet and Nepal. By the way, if you'd like to take part in next year's Enfield Poker Run (7th edition), it will take place between 13-15th April. The route: Kathmandu-Pokhara-Kathmandu. Two nights / three days of adventure, fun and discovering some of the coolest landscapes on Earth. For more details and a price quote contact Sacred Summits. We strongly recommend this genuine experience!
However, these motorcycle tours are only a part of the story, goes on Rabi. "We are also specialized in tours, treks and expeditions to the mountains of Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan and Sikkim. Sacred Summits' treks and tours are designed so that anyone, of any age group, with a spirit of adventure - this is a must! - can enjoy the thrills of exploring the exotic. My team comprises highly trained and experienced personnel, who are experts in their field." Much to our joy, we've found out that great emphasis is placed on interactions with the local people during the course of tours or treks through home or school visits, engaging in authentic social and cultural affairs. We said it before and we will say it again: in Nepal we've seen the happiest children ever, running on the hills of Begnas or wandering on the bustling streets of Kathmandu. Also, the Nepalese people are some of the most welcoming and hospitable we've met until now. They don't have much, but they know how to make the best of everything. You'll fall in love with them right from the start. "Last, but not least, Sacred Summits is committed to sustainable ecotourism. All measures are taken to protect the natural and cultural environment", Rabi informs us.
Without going too much into details - you can find additional info on Sacred Summits' website - we'll just make a quick reminder of the other adventures offered by Rabi and his team: trekking in India and Nepal (Annpurna, Everest, Langtang, Dhaulagiri, Mustang and Manaslu region), expeditions lasting between 17 and 20 days to some of the world's highest peaks, mountain biking in Tibet, Nepal, India and Bhutan, as well as cultural tours in these four countries. Moreover, Sacred Summits offers jungle safaris (between 7 and 23 days), canyoning and bungee jumping off a 160 m high bridge (6 days, surely not for the faint hearted), pilgramage tours and the motorbike tours we were speaking about earlier.
During our stay in Nepal we've spent only two evenings with Rabi and his friends, one of them at Kathmandu Handle Bar. A place to our liking where riders gather to share a good laugh and a cold beer, listen to nice music and exchange interesting travel stories. Even so - through his passion, experience and dedication - Rabi convinced us to join him in the near future in one of the adventures, maybe next year. Namaste!
Opening photo: Luca Galuzzi / Wikimedia Commons.
PREVIEW: The Pavilions Himalayas, Pokhara, Nepal.
Nepal, part one - A stroll through Kathmandu
Nepal, part two: Kathmandu stupas and Grand Hotel
REVIEW: Begnas Lake Resort & Villas
REVIEW: Dwarika's Hotel Kathmandu