Bellas Magic Mountains
How the minimum criteria of the responsible travel standard was met...
We employ local guides, porters, and drivers
I have found a very lovely guide who I repeatedly use, who is relatively local to the area. We stay in family run guesthouses each night that employ local people
Responsible Travel: Supporting a struggling economy: Nepal is an amazing country that is in a geographical poverty trap with weak trade routes being mountainous and a landlocked country that is dependent of China and India for good relations. Therefore, Nepal relies on tourism as the foundation of its economy. We work with a Nepalese Tour Operator bringing more revenue into the country.
Responsible Travel: The affordable nature of these treks make it accessible which aligns with Responsible Travel as making a profit is not my 'overriding objective’ either, rather to help people gain more control and peace of mind, and the freedom that that entails, and give them unforgettable memories; a Transformational Travel experience.
I donated a large amount after the earthquake. I don’t remember the exact amount but I think it was around £800 to a variety of relief practices – from local projects I had relationships with on the ground, to a big charity donation to CARE as well as raising money for CARE by setting up a charity page.
I donate small bits of money to local boxes for village schools in the Annapurna Sanctuary region and encourage clients to do the same. This small money can go along way out there to providing more educational facilities and is regulated.
I donate to monasteries when I go inside or take a class there. Again, I encourage my clients to do the same
Our office uses energy company Octopus Energy: they use all their electricity coming from 100% renewable sources
We suggest that guests take short showers to save on valuable water and conserve electricity in the guesthouse by turning off lights. Guesthouses electricity and showers are more often than not powered by solar.
Nepal is an area of beauty and a country that doesn’t have a waste disposal system so not buying bottles of water is particularly important. Currently, many Nepalese throw their rubbish off the side of the mountain, on the floor, or burn it. While it is not our place to tell other cultures how to behave, by living by example and picking up litter occasionally (there is a lot) or re-using water bottles, slowly the attitude of the nation is changing and more recycling and waste disposal systems are popping up from NGOs. A water bottle is on the kit list, there are water re-fill stations on most of the route, then we chlorine tab our water as we get into higher altitudes to save on plastic waste.
Helping individuals become generate more arenas in every aspect of their life, thus they become more conscious humans, making conscious choices that are good for themselves, others around them, and the planet
To minimize plastic waste in a country that sadly does not have an effective waste or recycling system: avoid buying plastic bottled water. Bring your own bottle and fill it with boiled water / purified water from your lodge, or you can use the sterilizing pen that I have. ACAP provide numerous drinkable water re-filling stations around the Annapurna region where water bottles can be refilled with UV treated water for a minimal cost. Carry purifier drops or tablets as a backup, as at high altitudes water refill stations don’t operate.
We recommend to order same meal as your trek buddies to save precious fuel. Eating local, traditional food is a popular choice as it is what all the guides and porters eat and it is the most nutritious thing on the menu
Take harmful trash back home with you - batteries back to the UK to be disposed of properly
We encourage clients to have an empty plastic bag with them so they can pick up a bit of litter every now and then – often too much to focus on but every little helps and influences other trekkers and locals alike. Locals are incredibly grateful and happy when they see you doing good things for their community.
Responsible Travel: clients learn and are inspired by Nepalese hospitality and humility in stark contrast to much of life in the western world. You strip back to living the simple life - shelter, good food, great company and exquisite nature - and the decluttering of the mind and happiness that entails.
Nepal is culturally sensitive in ways to dress and behave which is outlined on the back of menus. We follow local customs to maintain respect for their way of life.
when we visit monasteries on the trek our guide comes with us
The standard of living in villages on Nepal’s main trekking circuits has improved immensely with the influx of tourists and buying local handicrafts in the mountains skips the middlemen and gives a fairer price to the seller.
Nepal has different social customs to us is the West. It is important to respect the local culture, dress and act modestly, and always seek permission before taking photographs. “Women should have their legs and shoulders covered and men should wear full-length trousers and tops with long sleeves.”
There are donation boxes on route for you to give money to schools in the local area but it’s not helpful to encourage children to beg by indiscriminately handing out money, candy or pens: they will ask.
By learning and using a few Nepali phases you’ll get the warmest smile in return - it goes a long way.
We also tell our clients about local customs such as this “It’s considered good manners to give and receive most things with the right hand. To show respect, offer money, food or gifts with both hand”