Guerrilla trekking in Nepal a new option for tourists

Nepal has inaugurated a tourist trail in the country that allows tourists to follow the trekking routes of former Maoist rebels in the country.

The department of tourism in Nepal unveiled the new trekking routes that cover the battlegrounds frequented by former rebels who were active during the decade-long insurgency in the mountainous nation.

The trek is aptly called Guerrilla Trek, and it offers 14, 19 and 27-day trekking packages. The programme will see hikers traverse the rugged mountains that the nation is known for, and cross rivers lined with fields, caves and villages that are centuries old. The current trekking routes were once paths that were used by insurgents to dig trenches and ambush government forces. With a peace deal in place and efforts for new laws and constitution, the government is trying to convert the Maoist trails into tourist trails and attract foreign exchange by opening them up to foreign tourists.

The route is being promoted by the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB), which said, ‘The picturesque bays and valleys, once filled with misery, are now awaiting tourists.’

The government has plans to include private participation in the development of the trail once it becomes popular with tourists. Initially, trekkers will be offered accommodation in small guesthouses and private homes, but it is expected that more hotels and restaurants will be developed along the routes once the trek becomes popular with tourists.

Nepal’s civil war cost more than 14,000 lives before a peace deal was reached in 2006 between the authorities and Maoist rebels.

The trail starts from war-ravaged Myagdi district and passes through other conflict-hit areas such as Baglung, Puthyan, Rolpa and Rukum, where many former revolutionaries still live.

An official with the NTB said, ‘Ancient ruins, mountains, rivers lined with lush wheat fields, caves and centuries-old cultures in villages like Mahat, Cwangwang, Chakewang, Khara, Pipal, Syalapakha, Kakri, Hakam, Khola Goan, Burtim Danda and Saank can be attractions for both domestic and international visitors.’