Get to Know Nepal Guide Surya Shrestha

Studying business helped Surya Shrestha start his own adventure company, Asian Journey Ltd. But it’s his passion for his country that really shines through. As a NATHM certified guide, Shrestha has led treks to Everest Base Camp, the Annapurnas, Langtang, Mustang, Makalu and Manaslu, as well as cultural tours in Bhutan and Tibet, including Mt. Kailash. He has a strong focus on sustainability and responsible tourism, and believes travelers and locals can both benefit from community-based tourism.
How did you make the transition to becoming a guide?

Becoming a guide is not an easy job. One needs to be really patient and persistent. My story began with being a porter for two years. During this period, I trekked to various places in Nepal, which only broadened my knowledge about the country. I also met a lot of trekkers from all around the world, which helped my English a lot and showed me what my clients would expect from me in the future when I became a guide. After two years and building a lot of skills and knowledge, I became a guide.

What type of trekking does your company offer?

Mostly we offer community-based treks in different parts of Nepal. I consider community-based treks to be beneficial to both the trekkers and the communities that are found on the trail. The trekkers can get an authentic feeling and experience of being in rural Nepal and the community profits from the fact that tourists use their products and services during the trek.

What’s your favourite trek?

The best trek I have done so far is to Ganesh Himal because it is completely community-based and not so many people have discovered it yet, making it really unique.

How do you promote responsible tourism?

Being responsible is a very important part of being a guide. As a guide I have a responsibility toward my clients, toward the environment and toward the local communities in the trekking area. Toward my clients, I always make sure that they are safe and happy — that is my first priority. Toward the environment, I make sure that all the garbage produced during the trek is placed in appropriate garbage bins and I encourage my clients to refill their water bottles at a safe drinking water post instead of buying a new bottle each time. Toward the community, I always make sure that we do no harm to them or do anything that would destroy their everyday way of living.

What’s your style of guiding?

Different clients have different expectations. Some of them want to know a lot about the area, so I try to show them interesting places as much as possible, while others want to enjoy their peace and quiet. In this sense, I am flexible with my guiding according to their needs. My first priority is that they are safe and content.

What’s the best part of your job?

The best part of my job is meeting a lot of people from different places and being able to provide them with an amazing experience. It is amazing how much I have learned about other parts of the world during my treks, while I share my knowledge about trekking in Nepal. This exchange of knowledge is the most beautiful part of my job.

What are the biggest challenges?

The biggest challenge is the fact that the government of Nepal still does not have proper regulations about guided tours in Nepal. The result of this is many uncertified travel guides. That is why it is sometimes hard for guides like me, who have a certificate and are authorized to guide treks.

What are the benefits of hiring a trekking guide?

Guides are experienced individuals who have done a lot of treks in their lives and know what to do when unexpected things happen on the trail. The Himalayas sometimes can surprise people with extreme weather conditions and guides are there to keep their clients safe. It is much easier to relax on the trail with a guide who will take care of the accommodation, food and safety. Apart from the knowledge of how to deal with difficult situations on the trail, guides have a lot of knowledge about interesting things that can be found on the trail that would be otherwise invisible for the tourists.

Where in the world would you like to travel?

I would still like to explore Nepal. There are many places in the country where I still haven’t been and which have a lot of potential. After I am done with exploring Nepal I would love to visit New Zealand next.

If you like this, you might like: Explore Nepal

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