Simikot Tourist Traps

  • This is the Chinese border fort where you pass
    This is the Chinese border fort where...
    by Saagar
  • Another victim of Maoist tax racket in Hilsa.
    Another victim of Maoist tax racket in...
    by Saagar
  • Waiting for locker - buckwheat pancackes
    Waiting for locker - buckwheat pancackes
    by Saagar

Most Recent Tourist Traps in Simikot

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    Malpracticing trekking agencies

    by Saagar Written Jul 16, 2008

    Apart from the absentee ticket agencies in Nepalgunj, instability of schedules and weather, maoist extortion, plus the general remoteness of Humla, I have not had any real travel problems in Humla. But while surfing internet for something totally different I came across a dire warning against certain trekking agents in Nepal and Tibet. Better check this out before choosing an agent or negotiating a trip. I cannot vouch for the reality of info here, but check it out for yourself: http://os.inf.tu-dresden.de/~haertig/outgoing/Tibet.html

    Unique Suggestions: There are reliable trekking agents that do take people through Humla.

    Fun Alternatives: Use the reliable trekking agents, be aware of the bad apples among the personnell and the conditions of Humla with difficulties on the border, the weather etc. If you organise everything through your home country you do pay a premium and there will still be subcontracting to Nepalese and Tibetan trekking companies.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Religious Travel
    • Luxury Travel

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    Maoist "donation"

    by Saagar Written Jan 3, 2007

    3 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Another victim of Maoist tax racket in Hilsa.

    Tourists are charged USD 126 or 100 EUR per head for passing the Hilsa border check point and the Kailash trail. Guides, cooks, staff and proters and horse drivers are charged a lower laddered fee in rupees. You may be stopped and charged anywhere along this stretch. It is illegal to collect these extortionate taxes, but they keep doing it even after the peace accord.

    Unique Suggestions: Argue it is illegal and that you will report it (and do so!). If not possible to get anywhere, ask for a lower rate due to whatever reason you might have. Get a receipt so they do not double charge you. The fellow in command of this maoist extortion racket is Comrade Surendra, a bahun from Kailali district. He has four-five people with him to ensure the collection and supervision of the border area. His predecessor ran off to India (just around the corner) when he had collected some 16 million rupees. So much for ideology.

    Fun Alternatives: If you are on the way to Limi, walk in over the Nyalu La instead, and avoid the upper Kailash trail over Nara La and Hilsa. But beware of altitude sickness!

    Related to:
    • Adventure Travel
    • Hiking and Walking

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    Tibetan porters' union in Sher/Taklakot

    by Saagar Written Jan 3, 2007

    3 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Trail goes straight up here 400 m altitude gain
    1 more image

    The Limi trail crosses a kilometre or so inside Tibetan (I hesitate to say Chinese) territory, and due to this the local Tibetan porters union charges a huge fee per kilo for goods portered by peopleand pack animals into Limi on this stretch, claiming it is their job to do the porter work. Though negotiators they are and the Chinese border guards are surely into it, so expect and extraordinary amount to be paid=bribed here.

    Unique Suggestions: Pay, but negotiate. If you have the people ready to do it, climb straight up from the Hilsa bridge without being seen by the Tibetans. This trail is straight up through scree so it is somewhat dangerous (see photo)

    Fun Alternatives: Limit the luggage carried, split the group so that some travel up the scree (if deemed safe).

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Adventure Travel

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    Daal bhat - not a choice dish in Humla

    by Saagar Written May 20, 2006

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Waiting for locker - buckwheat pancackes

    There will always be the insistence that you eat daal bhaat. You can rightly question why you are still stuck with daal bhaat here in Humla, because regular rice is not available. Rice of the white kind doesn't grow here. Instead you get state and World-Food-Program-supplied and subsidized rice, which is flown in by helicopter. The Nepalese state subsidy per year for Simkot and environs: 60000000 rupees. This rice is the cheapest and worst quality available from the Terai, India or Vietnam.
    This is the result of a food cultural conflict between the bhate culture of the government employees and the modernised Humlis on the one hand, and the local food culture - the everyday food of the locals.
    Try to get hold of local food if you can; it is generally more nutritious and ecofriendly and gives income to the local producers. Upvalley you find much buckwheat, barley and potatoes, lower down more potatoes and some more green leaf veggies and buckwheat, but especially millet.

    Unique Suggestions: Share your rice with your local compatriots in case they are people without means to get rice. It will be a treat for them.
    If there is a question of vegetables and meat condiments with your grey Vietnamese rice, ask for locally grown veggies and potatoes, and local meat. Local meat will be goat or sheep, or the mountain goat chyangra. The latter is best. Chickens and eggs are also flown into Humla and shoulnd't be your main idea of meat in Humla...

    Fun Alternatives: Research local food and adjust to this during your visit. Some heavy stuff made from buckwheat may be a bit overwhelming for the stomach, but it certainly is healthy...
    The Development Fund (Norway) in collaboration with LIBIRD, Nepal Trust and Empower Women of Nepal are developing local menues for trekkers/visitors, so improvements are on the way.

    Related to:
    • Food and Dining
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Arts and Culture

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Simikot Tourist Traps

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