Monday, November 29, 2010


NETIF arranged this promotional hiking event to help showcase the last section of the Kathmandu Valley Cultural Trekking Trail and to promote Rural Tourism, Cultural and Environmental Preservation in areas of the Kathmandu Valley. This event covered the leg of the KVCTT from Namobuddha to Balthali, a three to four hour hike through the beautiful country side. The hike was attended by local people, Ex Pats, Press and Media Representatives, Nepal Tourism Board and Visit Nepal Year representatives as well as NETIF staff, guides from Kavre Guides Association and representatives from Dhulikhel Mountain Resort and BalthalI Village Resort.

Our day started in the cold and dark of Kathmandu Streets. Meeting at the Nepal Tourism Board, it was all aboard the “Namobuddha Express” for the ride to Dhulikhel. We left behind the city streets and passengers relaxed as rice fields and rural villages opened up before us, leaving the dust and stress of the city well behind.

A delicious breakfast was presented at Dhulikhel Mountain Resort. Guests sat amongst the lovingly tended gardens and colorful flowers and then the clouds cleared and we were graced with a glimpse of the Himalaya, Langtang and Dorja Lapka Ranges.  A welcome speech was presented by Arun Shrestha, NETIF’s President highlighting the day’s program, talking about the importance of the environment and rural sustainable tourism and of course Visit Nepal 2011 year.

Back on the bus it was a short yet bumpy ride to Namobuddha, we had a few hiccups along the way due to a couple of buses getting stuck together on the small road, it’s all part of the adventure in Nepal. Some skilful driving and navigation soon got us through the gap and to Namobuddha Monastery. On arrival we were welcomed by the local village coordinator and committee with some traditional “Sui Chiyaa” – Tibetan Tea which was hoped would give hikers the power to climb the short yet steep hill to the main Monastery.

The hike proceeded from the old Stupa and headed up the hill to the Shrine where people could offer butter lamps to the figure of the Lord Buddha offering his flesh to a starving tigress and her five cubs. From this hilltop shrine there are 360 degree views of the rural area, natural jungles, Himalaya and windswept prayer flags. Such a beautiful place. After visiting the Shrine we where then lead by guides from the Kavre Guide Association on a gorgeous cross country hike. The trail passed through fields cultivated with mustard and Buckwheat, terraced orchids filled with orange trees bursting with ripe fruit, traditional Tamang and Brahmin Villages and along a forested ridge down to the crystal clear Roshi Khola(River).

Throughout the hike, hikers where treated to views of the snow capped mountains and the rolling foothills of the Himalaya. A short steep climb took us up to Balthali Village where we got to sample the juicy sweet oranges picked straight from the tree and warmed by the late afternoon sun. Local villagers welcomed us with flower malla’s, singing, traditional music and dancing. From the village the group sang and danced its way up the hill to the welcoming hospitality of Balthali Village Resort where a delicious feast of traditional food was laid out for hungry hikers.

At the resort, media representatives took time to mingle with the crowd and talk about the hiking route and feelings for the day. Just before the sun kissed the Himalayas good day, we headed for the short hike to Kopasi Village where we met our bus for the journey home. 

Many thanks to supporters of the Event , Nepal Investment Bank , Dhulikhel Mountain Resort, Kavre Guides Association and Balthali Village Resort. Thank you also to all participants for making it such a wonderful day.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


After having signed the MoU between NRN (Non Residential Nepalese Association) and NETIF, NETIF was honoured to assist NRN in arranging the hike from Dhulikhel to Namobuddha. On the auspicious occasion of Dashain, the group of around 100 hikers (70 members of NRN, Volunteers, local community members and NETIF Staff) left Dhulikhel and headed for the climb up the Hajar Sidhi (1000 steps). This stone staircase which climbs above the picnic grounds in Dhulikhel through the jungle and to the Devistan temple was constructed with initial funding from NETIF board members and then completed with further funding from Dhulikhel Community. The concept was designed and supervised by Mr Keshav Kunwar who also contributed substantial finical support during the initial stages of the project.

Along the staircase you can find the 25 meter tall statue of Lord Buddha which was constructed by the NGO Shantiban. Hikers proceeded to Devistan and the temple there. Here trekkers paid special homage to the statue and underwent a blessing and tikka ceremony. This beautiful spot on the ridge commands panoramic views of the snow capped Himalaya from Annapurna in the East to Everest in the West and the rolling valleys around Dhulikhel below. In this place the NTB (Nepal Tourism Board)and the Department of Urban Building and Construction is presently constructing a viewing platform for visitors.

At Devistan the official inauguration ceremony began with the gathered group, media representatives, dignitaries from Dhulikhel, Local Politicians and noted public figures present for speeches. The theme of the event was the pledging of NRN to help promote local level development through tourism and NRN’s commitment to promote tourism in Nepal and support local level communities in tourist related industries, and underlining their working commitment with NETIF, as well as NRN’s pledge to spread the message abroad about visit Nepal year 2011.
During the ceremony, speeches where given by dignitaries. The NRN President, Mr Deb Man Hirachan presented a speech on the NRN’s commitment to promoting tourism abroad and helping develop local communities and improve infrastructure. Chief Guest, Senior Everest Summiteers Mr Min Bhadaur Sherchan’s speech covered the importance of promoting hiking routes around the Kathmandu Valley, this was followed by NRN’s Chairman who presented and emphasised NRN’s commitment. NETIF’s Vice President Mr Khesav Kunwar talked about the Dreamland Concept Project to be started in Dhulikhel and encouraged NRN to keep an ongoing commitment and enthusiasm for the project. The former Mayor of Dhulikhel, Mr Bel Presard Shrestha spoke enthusiastically about the potential of Dhulikhel as a premier tourist destination with its close association with nature, adventure and splendid mountain views. Finally Mr Arun Shrestha, President of NETIF addressed the gathering, speaking about the importance of environmental conservation for the future of tourism development in Nepal.  He also emphasised the point that all stakeholders involved should maintaining ongoing interest and collective action in environment preservation and tourism development.  Mr Shrestha also passed comment on NETIF’s acceptance in the joint venture with NRN and the positive aspect of building future projects together given both organizations similar objectives.

Before the hiking program commenced there was an authentic Newari Dashain celebration which was a Samaya Bhoj with Aqilla. The Bhoj was much enjoyed and great appreciation was shown to the Dhulikhel Community Group who arranged it.
At the closing of the speeches, the group of eager hikers where placed in the capable hands of guides from the Guides Association of Kavre and led on the hike to Namobuddha via Karve Bhanjyang. The beautiful trekking trail affords stunning views of the mountains and valleys and passes through quaint rural villages. With Dashain having arrived, the village atmosphere was festive, cheerful and welcoming. On arrival at Namobuddha, a traditional lunch and welcome was arranged by the Namobuddha Committee.

The event was deemed a success, a combination of NRN’s commitment to promote and support local communities and NETIF’s knowledge and technical support. We hope that many such events in the future may be arranged.

Monday, September 27, 2010


More than 200 people turned out on Saturday the 25th of September for a fun filled adventure to discover the ‘Kathmandu Valley Cultural Trekking Trail’ (KVCTT). The day covered the leg of the KVCTT from Nagarkot to Dhulikhel. Trekkers covered the 12km distance in around 4 hours, soaking up the spectacular monsoon green views of Panckhal Valley and the hills beyond. The weather was perfect for the day, nice temperature for hiking and made for a relaxed atmosphere. The main aim of the event was to promote the KVCTT and health and recreation.

The day started from 6:30am with a bus ride from the Nepal Tourism Board in Bhrikutimandap. Once all aboard, we left the chaos of the city behind and climbed up the winding road to Nagarkot. Everyone relaxed as we left the city behind and the green hills opened up in front of us. On arrival at Hotel Club Himalaya, we had a scrumptious breakfast laid on by the resort. The relaxed garden court yard was the perfect setting for the start of our days trekking.

People had come from all over Kathmandu to join the hike, Ex Pats, Government Personal, Embassy Workers, Hoteliers, INGO/NGO staff, local community members, local youth groups, media and press representatives and many others turned up for the event. Spirits where high and cameras clicking as we left Club Himalaya and preceded on the hike.

This section of the KVCTT, begins by following the main road that goes to the Nagarkot view tower for about 15 mins. Passing the army camp and a set of tea shops the hikers turned off the main road and the real adventure of the trek began. Hikers where awed as the mist cleared and valley view’s opened up and it was hard to keep eyes on the narrow trail! The trail passed through towering fields of maize and alongside small farmhouses. The hiking group spread out along the route with some choosing to set a fast pace and others content on a relaxed stroll and taking in the environment. The trail joined a wider jeep track and curved high above the valley through some native shrub to Rohini Bhangyang. Hikers took advantage of the NETIF rest shelter and took time to rest and enjoy this tiny village. The map and sign markers pointed out our onward trail.

Soon hikers where treated for an adventure as we turned off the jeep track and followed a newly made single track through pristine jungle. For about 1km we followed this trail, seeking out different kinds of jungle plants, mosses and mushrooms. The cool air and sweet smell of the jungle made everyone feel fresh and rejuvenated. Emerging from the jungle a different valley view opened up before us of Nala and the green rice fields around Banepa. The next NETIF rest shelter/view deck was a good place to take in the views and sip some water. From here the trail dropped steeply down and everyone was grateful of the newly built stone staircase thanks to the support of NETIF, The Ministry of Tourism and Aviation, Tourism Infrastructure Development Project and the local community on what would of normally been a slippery & dangerous decent.

On reaching Kashi Bhanjyang, many people commented on the stunning views and almost everyone was relieved to take a rest. Locally prepared snacks of hot, fresh shellroti, channa, pokodas and juicy sweet guava was lapped up by everyone, filling the hole in our bellies and giving us the energy for the climb to come. Most people choose to relax a while in Kashi Bhanjyang and some even indulged in a chilled beer to savour the moment. The atmosphere was jovial and it was clear that everyone was having a splendid day. At Kashi Bhanjyang, volunteers had also set up a toilet facility and a medical post to treat any injured trekkers, fix minor scrapes and generally make sure everyone was in good working order.

So with full bellies and rested legs, hikers climbed up through picturesque fields of neatly rowed potatoes and purple flowering aubergines. Steep and narrow, the climb was a challenge for some but a breeze for others. The sun was shining by now and there was sweat on everyone brow! A welcome rest was taken at the small, yellow painted Buddhist monastery at the top of the hill in Tanchowk. From here the trail was super narrow, almost like a goat track, and zig-zagged its way down the hillside which was scattered with Tamang and Brahmin farms to Opi. At some points this was a real adventure, and we have to thank the guides from the Kavre Guides Association for marking the trail and making sure none of us got lost.....good job boys!

Passing Opi the trail climbed again steady up through some pine forests and finally made the last descent down to Dhulikhel. Hikers where warmly welcomed at Hotel Himalayan Horizons and happily accepted the welcome tikka and khadha. Tired but happy hikers then retired to the lovely gardens of the Hotel for welcome drinks and rest.

Once the last wary bunch had strolled in it was time for the celebrations of the great day to begin. A lavish feast of local cuisine was laid on and plates piled high as guests settled down under the evening sky to enjoy a cultural dance program performed by local group The Gauri Shanker Dance Club. The dance group put on a selection of traditional dances from the many different ethnic groups of Nepal. A very bright and colourful performance and many of the guests also got up and danced along. Gauri Shanker Cultural Dance group is a local business incentive program which NETIF helped to establish, providing training, costumes and instruments to local youths. The Group is now their own self supporting and fully registered business.

As the sunset on this amazing and successful day, the buses headed back to Kathmandu full of satisfied hikers, all having experienced rural Nepal at its finest by discovering the Kathmandu Valley Cultural Trekking Trail.

Special thanks has to go to all participants, event organizers, volunteers, medical support, local communities and hoteliers who lent a hand to make the day such a great success.

Stay tuned for NETIF’s next big adventure!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Prospects of Eco-tourism & Challenges of Waste Management In “Kathmandu Valley Cultural Trekking Trail (KVCTT)”


(A case study of Nagarkot, a popular hill station)

1. Background:
Nepal is one of the richest countries in the world in terms of bio-diversity due to its unique geographical position and latitudinal variation. The elevation of the country ranges from 60m above sea level to the highest point on earth, the Mt.Everest at 8848m.Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal, is one of the most densely populated cities. It is one of the biggest tourist destinations in the country. Inside and around the city, we can find many big Hotels, Resorts, Restaurants, Casinos, Lodges, etc.

Naturally and culturally the Kathmandu Valley and surrounding areas have unique and attractive tourist products. Within a 20km radius there are seven World Heritage Sites, one can see panoramic view of mountain range during the Kathmandu Valley Cultural Trekking, and can also observe the best Nepal’s rural culture life with minimum equipment. But at the same time it is an obvious fact that Kathmandu has expanded over the last decade with new buildings of all shape. As a result of it, the valley has to witness a difficult situation of fast-growing unplanned urbanization and uncontrolled land development creating lots of problem regarding proper solid and sewage waste management.

Aiming at avoiding its environmental and cultural problems efforts are being made through government and non-government levels. There are some NGOs in Nepal that support tourism and environment related activities working with local communities, government organization and private sectors. “Nepal Environment and Tourism Initiative Foundation (NETIF)” is one of them. This organization has already undertaken few programs regarding tourism and environment in “Kathmandu Valley Cultural Trekking Trail (KVCTT)” for the sustainable tourism development.

Presently NETIF is working with local communities and encouraging environmental sustainable practices for the promotion of Kathmandu Valley Cultural Trekking Trail. Some of the noteworthy works includes clean-up campaigns, construction of tourist shelters, installations of incinerators, bins and toilets as well as local capacity building programs including waste management and environment conservation.

2. Introduction of Kathmandu Valley Cultural Trekking Trail (KVCTT):
Tourism is one of the major industries of the Nepalese economy. It represents a significant position of the gross domestic product. It is highly consumer centered activity. The constant increase of the number of visitors/ tourists has put extra pressure on the local environment and requires the development of additional infrastructure and facilities. Apart from environmental degradation from infrastructure development in the tourist areas, there has been a big challenge of waste management and environment pollution not only from local people but also from hotels, resorts, restaurants etc.

The need has been realized by the organization (NETIF), which is working to promote community based eco-tourism in the area and has developed “Kathmandu Valley Cultural Trekking Trail (KVCTT)” as one of the major tourism products of the country. In the context of KVCTT, the problem of waste management is one of the big challenges of managing the waste properly to promote responsible tourism in the area. To address those challenges various awareness campaigns like- capacity building trainings for hotels, resorts, lodges and tea-houses, placing environment slogans in the trekking trail are being carried out, incinerators are constructed in the major settlements, waste collection bins are placed throughout the trail. Some of the major activates performed by NETIF to promote eco-friendly tourism and to address waste management related issues in KVCTT are:
• Mushroom and Off seasonal vegetable Cultivation trainings
• Doll making from Corn husk( Waste to Resources)
• Food and Personal Hygiene and Sanitation training in Hotel
• Cleanup campaign in various destinations.
• Workshop organized on Organic farming, Waste Management and Heritage Conservation
• Different research surveys on Solid Waste Management

Kathmandu Valley Cultural Trekking Trail (KVCTT) passes through a National Park and three other Hill Stations. Since Nagarkot is a typical popular tourist destination as well as part of Kathmandu Valley Cultural Trekking Trail (KVCTT), this paper is also based on the study of solid waste management situation in Nagarkot.

3. Case Study of Nagarkot:
Nagarkot is situated at an elevation of 2,175 meter above sea level. It is located 32km to east of Kathmandu city. It has been a weekend spot for mountain viewers in quite and comfort. The sunrise viewed from this hill presents the majestic panoramic view of the Himalayan ranges from Mt. Dhaulagiri in the west to the Mt. Everest in the east. Presently there are around 40 tourist standard hotels, resorts, restaurants and tea-houses and numbers are still increasing.

3. 1. Total Waste Generated in Nagarkot

The different categories of solid waste generated from hotels, resorts, restaurants, lodges and shops are classified as biodegradable wastes (food waste, vegetable waste etc.) and non-biodegradable waste (paper, plastic, glass, metals, dust etc). In Nagarkot tourist area, the average total waste generated from different sources is 1453.83 kg/day.

3.2. Waste Collection System in Hotels, Resorts and Restaurants:
The collection of wastes in the hotels and resorts is done by using plastic buckets, metal bins or paper boxes due to the fact that there is no specific type of collection system and most of them have to manage their waste by themselves. Some of the hotels and resorts have solid waste collection system .The wastes are being transported to nearby dumping site. From the survey done for the case study, it was found that almost all hotels are willing to have a specific collection system and two pay charge for the service.

3. 3. Reuse /Recycle
Though reuse and recycle of the waste can help to reduce the amount of the waste it was found that very few hoteliers are aware of it. Some of the hotels, resorts and restaurants are reusing mineral water bottles. Almost all the hotels are selling the empty bottles to the scrap dealers.

3. 4. Problems and Challenges of Waste Management
  • The waste is managed in traditional way in hotels, resorts & restaurants,
  • There is no such awareness in the public and no strict rules against the waste pollution,
  • Management of solid waste is extremely poor and hazardous to health,
  • Adoption of general available technology,
  • Commitment of waste management by stakeholders.
3. 5. Necessary Steps to Implement for Recycling Programme in Hotel Waste Management
  • Identify and quantify recyclable materials currently being thrown away in open land,
  • Involving the hotel’s participation in all stages of the recycling program,
  • Promote and identify “Green Hotels/Resorts” (which means the hotel who uses resources wisely incorporating energy, water, recycling & water),
  • Select products made from recycled materials,
  • Purchases energy efficient equipment that causes less environment harm,
  • Appointment of a Waste Manager who will be responsible for implementation of procedures & standards of waste management.
4. Conclusion and Recommendations:
Naturally, solid Waste Management is one of the major issues for tourism promotion and also play a major role to save or destroy the beauty of the place. But so far it shows that there has not been adequately considered in practice over this aspects of solid waste management.
Taking into account, the present situation of Nagarkot, it is obvious that solid waste problem has created many serious huddles in tourism development. Thus there is still a need more efforts to address such problem as soon as possible by promoting eco-tourism in “Kathmandu Valley Cultural Trekking Trail” with the involvement of local communities. Taking into conservation all these facts following recommendations are suggested:
  • Awareness programs, trainings and workshops should be conducted for waste handling for local community, tourist, staffs of the hotels, resorts, restaurants, tea-houses, local shops etc,
  • Habit of waste reduction at source itself should be practiced to reduce solid waste problem. Even the various types of wastes should be segregated at the point of source so that treatment of solid waste would be easier and efficient,
  • New technology need to be introduced to recycle and reuse the plastics waste and other mineral water bottles ,
  • Incinerators have been placed by NETIF for demonstration purposes which are working well there. More incinerator are required to be placed in various location for burning non-biodegradable waste,
  • Since hotels, resorts and restaurants generate relatively high amount of organic wastes, it is recommended for them to adopt compost making technology by them individual basis as well.
  • Bhatta Damodar Prasad (June 2006). “Ecotourism in Nepal”, Quality Printers Pvt.Ltd, Kathmandu, Nepal
  • GTZ (1988). “Solid Waste Management with People’s participation, An example in Nepal”. Kathmandu: SWMRMC
  • ICIMOD and MoEST (2007). “Kathmandu Valley Environment Outlook”
  • Manandhar Isha (August 2009). “Study on Solid Waste Management in Tourist Area of Nagarkot”, Kathmandu University
  • The Ecotourism Society (1999). “Ecotourism: A Guide for Planners & Manager”, Natraj Publication, Dehra Dun
  • Website of Nepal Environment & Tourism Initiative Foundation(NETIF)-

Friday, August 27, 2010

NETIF Constructions Along the KVCTT


1.       Sundarijal – Lovely waterfall views and great picnic spot.

2.       Above Mulkharka Village – Encompassing views of Kathmandu Valley and beyond.

3.       Borlyang Bhanjyang – Impressive Himalaya views including Machapucchure and Annapurna as well as the Trisuli River and Likhu Khola(River).

4.       Thulo Dhap (Big Wet Lands) – Peaceful view of the Wetlands and snow capped mountains.

5.       Sano Dhap (Small Wet Lands) – Placed on the junction of Chisapani, Nagarkot, Sundarijal and Mulkharka route. Ideal rest places with village, valley, jungle and mountain views. Has a water tap facility.

6.       Between Sano Dhap and Jhule – Peaceful jungle location with snow capped mountain views, Melamchi Valley and River.

7.       Jhule – Located above the army check post and ticket counter. Himalaya and Valley views. Junction marker between Chisapani, Nagarkot and Sundarijal/Mulkharka.

8.       Kattike Bhanjyang – Before the last climb to Nagarkot. Nice village location with Valley and Mountain views.

9.       Rohini Bhanjyang – Located at the junction of Nala, Nagarkot and Dhulikhel in the community jungle. Good views of Panchkal Valley and beyond.

10.   Basuki Dhanda – Situated in between Nagarkot and Dhulikhel. Fantastic all round views of the Panchkal valley, Dhulikhel town and Himalayan panoramas.

11.   Dhulikhel Kali Temple – Located according to a mountain survey performed in 2000 by Sukna Sagmar and Mukunda Shrestha, this position commands the best views of the entire Himalaya from Annapurna all the way beyond Everest. This is the place where many Himalayan profiles are taken from.

12.   Phulbari/Namobuddha – Views of Panckhal Valley, local villages and Himalayan Panoramas.


A.      Mulkharka Village – community centre, women’s group and training centre.

B.      Nagarkot – Tourist information Centre, NNTDC (Nagarkot Naldum Tourism Development Committee) Office, Forestry Office and Local Guide Office.


(i)                  Located at the Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park entrance gate and ticket counter above Sundarijal.

(ii)                Located at Namobudda Monastery.