Rolwaling Valley witnesses return of trekkersHotel owners say the trekking route’s affordability is the main reason behind the destination’s popularity.
Rolwaling Valley in the northeast of Dolakha has started drawing tourists after three years.
Both, domestic and foreign tourists are trekking to Tsho Rolpa, one of the biggest glacial lakes in Nepal at an altitude of 4,580 metres.
The rise in the number of trekkers in the area has created a buzz in the area after a lull in tourist numbers post pandemic. The trekker numbers in the valley had fallen to almost zero after the Covid pandemic.
According to Bikash Khadka, a local, around 50 trekkers are coming daily.
The Rolwaling Valley trek is a five-seven long trek preferred mostly by the young crowd.
The area started coming to the notice of trekkers, mostly beginners after it started featuring on social media platforms through individual content creators, said Khadka.
Arjun Dahal, a solo traveller, says the trek is popular among the young crowd mostly because it is budget-friendly unlike other trekking destinations in the country. “I didn’t have to worry about having to pay for expensive accommodation,” he said. “There are several budget lodges catering to trekkers in the area.”
Hotel owners say that the number of local travellers, especially youths, has increased, boosting their business prospects. Its affordability is the main reason behind the trekking destination’s popularity, they say.
According to Dahal, it costs up to Rs15,000 for an individual to trek the Rolwaling trail.
Dawa Tshering Sherpa, a local hotel owner, who is excited to see tourists returning, said, “It is good to see tourists after three years,” he said.
The availability of local buses from Charikot, the district headquarters, to Chyochyot in Bigu Rural Municipality-1 where the Rolwaling trail begins, has also contributed to the popularity of the trekking route.
On the first day of the trek, visitors can walk up to Simi Gaun or Surmuche for a night stay.
The next day’s trekking passes through Kyalche, Dongkhang, and Thangding to reach Beding—a village famous for producing the most number of Everest climbers.
There are around one and a half dozen of hotels of both small and large sizes in Beding village.
On the third day, visitors can trek to Tsho Rolpa and stay at Na village for the night.
The number of hotels and lodges in Na village is also increasing as the number of travellers rises.
“Previously, we were reliant only on foreigners for our business, but nowadays, we receive hordes of domestic tourists,” said Sherpa.
According to Sherpa, around 3,500 domestic tourists visit the Rolwaling Valley yearly.
The trail also leads travellers to mountains such as Yalung Ri (5,630 metres), Ramdung (5,925 metres) and Pharchem (6,000 metres) which are now open for climbing.
They can also trek to Dudh Kunda from Tsho Rolpa.
Mid-March to mid-June and mid-September to mid-December is considered the trekking season on the Rolwaling trail.
The number of foreigners trekking from Rolwaling to Mount Everest via the Tashi Lapcha pass is increasing as well.
The government in March made it mandatory for the trekkers to take a guide along with them on the trip effective from April. The locals are hopeful of an increase in employment by the government’s new rule.
The majority of the locals in Beding work as tourist guides.
According to the Gaurishankar Conservation Area, around 327 foreigners and 28 visitors from the SAARC nations have visited the conservation area starting from mid-March.
There are no records of domestic visitors.
“Even though we have attempted to keep the records of the domestic tourists, it’s difficult to keep track of them as they start the trail from the unofficial points,” said Tulasi Prasad Dahal, information officer of the Conservation Area.
“Since the beginning of the trekking season, the number of tourists in the area has increased,” added Dahal.