Earlier this year (March 2018) Robert Moody came to visit Nepal. He came to climb MERA peak (6,476m) through our company”ACCESSTHEASIA”. Recently he wanted to do interview with us and we did it. Here is the full interview
Robert: I always enjoy your Facebook posts and it looks like you had a wonderful season this year guiding people in the Himalaya mountains. What are one or two things that helped your season be a success?
Arjun: I’m very happy you liked the posts that we share. Yes we had a very wonderful season this year. Our motto has always been “Client Satisfaction Is Our Satisfaction” and we are working hard for it. We have 8 years of experience in this field and achieved it travelling to most of the popular destinations as well as the off-beaten paths. This experience has come in handy to make our season a success. Our staff members are also very important part of this success as they have been for many years. Additionally, the weather has also been in our favor to make this season a great success.
R: From treks I’ve done with you, we always sleep at great Tea Houses. What factors do you consider when making accommodations for your clients? Is it the food, building, or relationships you have with the owners? Perhaps there are other factors as well.
A: All of these aforementioned factors (food, building, relationships with the owners) plays a vital role for considering the accommodation for our clients. We mainly focus on providing the best accommodations for our clients. Therefore we consider all factors quite seriously. However we may not be able to obtain the best-case scenario all of the time. Some tea houses may have good food but not a great building or some have great rooms but not good food. So we try to choose those which can provide good service, food, lodging etc. Yes relationships with the owners is also another factor, as we get to know many of the owners and they also know what we expect from them. This just makes it easy for us and good lodging for our clients.
R: Safety is obviously a big deal. You are often in remote locations in order to experience the beautiful nature of Nepal. Do you typically carry a satellite phone? What are some of the items in your First Aid kit?
A: As we travel to quite remote places to experience the beautiful nature of Nepal, safety is a must for every traveler. We take 100% responsibility for the safety of our clients. Due to increasing technology, the mobile network in most of the destination works quite well but there are still many places where local mobile network is not available. In these places we use GPS devices for communication. Satellite phones are mostly used in expedition only. Additionally, all staff members are completely insured in our company. We cannot get the trekking permits if this is not followed. We highly recommend every client to have their travel insurance before they come for a visit.
We are thoroughly trained in the use of our First Aid kits. Our staff are provided this kits and have a level of high competence in its use. The First Aid kit generally contains medicine for high altitude sickness, headache, food poison, stomachache, bandages, Vicks, Dettol, an Oxymeter, a Thermometer, etc.
R: Porters are an invaluable part of the trekking experience. On the treks you’ve guided me, We have always had great porters. How do you find these guys? What makes a good porter in your opinion?
A: Porters are a very essential part to make the travel a success. Mostly we find porters who are working in the field through personal connections as well as through some other link. Porters are mostly not very permanent staff so they vary from season to season. But we mainly use porters who have been working with us for many years. In my opinion the porter should be quite strong and friendly.
R:I love eating Dal Bhat on our treks. What makes a good Dal Bhat in your opinion? What are other foods that are good for trekking?
A:Dal Bhat is a national food of Nepal. Usually Bhat means Rice and Dal means Lentil Curry. This is also served with vegetables. It is well balanced and tasty meal. We suggest our entire client base to try Dal Bhat and other local foods as much as possible. Depending upon the cook and products used for making Dal Bhat its taste varies from place to place and is quite delicious.
Other foods include locally grown potatoes, green vegetables, and barley products that are a must-try during trekking. Furthermore there are other foods which are good for trekking. These include Chow Mein (noodles), Mo Mo’s, energy bars, stew, apple pie, and hot drinks. Drinking plenty of water is also important.
R: We’ve been to some high altitudes together, over 6000m. What are important things to consider for the acclimatization schedule of your guests?
A: As we ascend to high altitudes, the level of the oxygen goes on the decline. After 3000m there is a possibility for the onset of symptoms related to altitude sickness. So we thoroughly brief every client about the symptoms. Usually the symptoms are vomiting, headache, feeling very lethargic, loss of appetite, sleepless etc. If we find it happening to the client we suggest to have them take Diamox medicine.For reducing the effects of altitude sickness we suggest walking slowly, drinking more fluids, eat healthy food, fruits. We incorporate a strategy of “Walk High, Sleep Low”. This is a well-proven technique to help the body adjust to the altitude. Lastly each client’s situation is unique and we consider this for acclimatitzation.
R: You have a wonderful family. I feel honored to have met them. How do they support you in growing your company “Access The Asia”?
A: Thank you so much. Indeed family has always been an integral part of my life. They have been very supportive during my ups and down. They have always encouraged me to do my best. They also provide suggestions and ideas to help grow the company. I feel very lucky to have them around.
R: Trekking to high passes and peaks takes a bit of fitness. What do you recommend to your clients as they prepare for the trekking trip?
A: Usually the high passes and peaks are challenging. It requires many things for preparation, of which fitness is one of them. We highly recommend a program that includes short hikes, cycling, gym visits, and other cardio workouts before doing the trip.
For climbing peaks it is not compulsory to take mountain training. This training is provided on lower trails by Climbing Sherpas prior to a summit bid. If you have prior mountain climb training then that will be best case scenario.
R: There are so many amazing places in Nepal where one can experience breathtaking nature. Do you have some favorite trekking destinations? What makes these favorites for you?
A: Though Nepal is small country. There are many beautiful trekking destinations throughout the country. These trekking objectives are bountiful in throughout the country. In addition there are some special destinations are Dolpa, Kanchanjunga, Manaslu, Upper Mustang, Narphu etc are restricted and require a special permit to visit.
Some of my favorite trekking destinations are Tilicho Mesokantola Pass, Kanchanjunga, Everest Base Camp, and Manaslu.
Tilicho Mesokantola is my favorite as it has the Tilicho Lake which is highest altitude lake in the world. The clear water of the lake and its surroundings are just mesmerizing! The people and the culture of this area also makes it quite attractive. Kanchanjunga is one of the third highest mountains in the world. It is also off the beaten path. Its landscapes makes it very unique. The vegetation, alpine pass, and high surrounding mountains are some of its features. Manaslu is rich in heritage, Larkya La Pass which is also in this region is a beautiful high pass.
As we know Everest Base Camp is one of the most popular and well-known treks. As it is quite near to my village, many friends and relatives are also there. Though the main attraction of this trek is Mount Everest, there are so many other factors that make it special. These include Namche Bazar, the Tengboche Monastery, and a variety of Sherpa villages. I hope this summarizes why these destinations are my favorites.
R: Well we’ve reached our 10th and final question. Your business Access The Asia is growing. Your company absolutely gives your clients the opportunity to visit amazing and beautiful parts of Nepal. Where do you see your business in five years?
A: The tourism sector is growing day by day. There are many new destinations which have been discovered and gives our clients increased choices. We are always happy to help them make choices according to their desire, budget and time period. We feel very proud to be in this sector. Right now we are doing well and hope to increase our business much more. We are invested in helping many people see the real beauty that Nepal has to offer. For this we are working very hard.
Our hope is that our company continues to grow so that many local people can get employment in this field. Employment has been quite a problem in Nepal and we want to be a solution. Also it is important that we give back and provide social work in the various remote areas of the country.
Visit Nepal with “Access The Asia”!