On May 31, 2015 we posted a special episode of Talk Travel Asia, ‘Traveling Nepal Post-Earthquake with Mads Mathiasen’, which was one of our more popular episodes. We are following that up, chatting again with Mads about how the country is fairing more than one-year post earthquakes. You’ll be surprised to learn that it’s still a great place to travel!
Scott: On April 25th, 2015 a massive, 7.8 earthquake hit Nepal, centered in the Gorkha region of the country, mid-way between Kathmandu and Pokhara, killing more than 8,000 people and leaving countless numbers without homes. It was the most powerful quake to hit the area since the big one there in 1934. Then a second major quake of 7.3 shook the country on May 12th, leaving residents in even worse shape.
Trevor: When we did this episode a year ago, I honestly didn’t know a lot about Nepal’s geography, but I knew it was a large country and I know quite a bit about earthquakes, so I thought it was important that we let people know that, while Kathmandu and surroundings had some serious damage, most of the country was unaffected. I’ve always wanted to go to Nepal and I understand that the country relies on tourism for its economy and I hope that we did a good job assuring people that much of the country was safe to visit. Even more so, I hope we encouraged people to travel there, as Mads painted a picture of a very geographically diverse country with lots of things to do and see and experience. As the earthquake was likely to have resulted in a decline in visitors, I suggested that it was probably the best time to go to Nepal.
Scott: Nepal is near and dear to me, having led tours there in years previous. It’s probably my favorite country to travel to. As such, my wife and I went there in December 2015 and it was great despite seeing some damage in Patan and Kathmandu and Pokhara, which had noticable changes as a result of the quakes.
Trevor: We want to remind people again that the country is in great shape for travel now and the best way foreigners can help Nepal is by traveling there and spending money. I’m really interested to see what the state of tourism is today and how the country has rebounded, so let’s get to our guests!
Scott: Mads Mathiasen is a Danish citizen, who’s lived and worked in the Himalayan nation for more than a decade. He’s deeply embraced life and the traditions of Nepalis and has led the way in developing breakout tourism ventures in the country. He’s the owner of Himalayan Trails, among other tourism ventures he’s involved with in the country and joins us today from Australia where he lives part of the year.
Q: What are you doing in Australia? How is life there running a tour company?
Q: Since the earthquakes, how have recovery efforts been going – we’ve read a lot in the news that government efforts have been very slow?
Q: What do peoples’ lives look like in the most impacted areas?
Q: What traditionally popular areas to travel and trek are still no-go zones?
Q: What’s the reality of traveling the country now – is it safe, fun, and working?
Q: Are there safety concerns for people to keep in mind if they travel to Nepal?
Q: Do visits by people like Prince Harry and the filming Dr. Strange help?
Q: What are the best areas to go and activities to enjoy in the country now?
Q: What do you sense is the sentiment among people who rely on tourism for their livelihoods?
Q: What can the world do to help Nepal at this point?
Q: If you could plan a ‘dream trip’ for a first time traveler to Nepal, what would it be?
About our guest:
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