What a Trip: This is Nepal, where I grew up, kids


Binod Thapa and his children, AJ and Monica, enjoyed an elephant safari in Nepal. (Photo from Binod Thapa)
February 20

Our readers share tales of their rambles around the world.

Who: Binod Thapa (the author) and his son and daughter, AJ and Monica, all of South Riding, Va.

Where, when, why: We traveled to Nepal the first two weeks of January. I am originally from Nepal and have always wanted to take my children there.

Highlights and high points: The kids had the most fun going on an elephant safari in Chitwan National Park at dawn. It was cold and foggy, but we saw mom and baby rhinos, various kinds of deer and boars. The kids loved it.

Another highlight was our Himalayan mountain flight. Initially it was delayed for more than an hour because of fog. Finally, after long and anxious anticipation, the fog cleared and the plane took off. We were able to see Mount Everest up close, as well as a number of the other tallest mountains in the world. It was amazing and exciting, but also gave me a sort of peaceful feeling.

Cultural connection or disconnect: I am from a big family. My grandparents have 12 children and many grandchildren. This was the first time that my children had met many of their cousins and other relatives, but it didn’t take long for them to connect with them. They felt as if they’d known them all along.

Biggest laugh or cry: Initially we were all excited to go canoeing in Chitwan National Park. We enjoyed canoeing on the Rapti River and being able to see lots of crocodiles sunbathing. But it was a little scary because the boat was long but fairly narrow and a little unsteady, and we worried about tipping over — with all those crocodiles right there!

Another time, we were visiting an elephant breeding center in Chitwan National Park, when all of a sudden one huge wild elephant came out of the jungle. The tour guide told us that this elephant had killed a man two weeks earlier and warned us to stay far back. He told us that we were lucky to see it, since the wild elephants didn’t usually come out this far. But whenever the animal moved, we ran in the opposite direction.

How unexpected: I am from Nepal, but I had not visited some of these places and experienced some of these activities before. I love nature and could spend days trekking in the Himalayas. We had a plan to visit a number of places in Nepal, and we covered most of it. We went to Biratnagar in the southeast, in the plains closer to India. We also went to Pokhara, west of Kathmandu. In the mountain village of Sarangkot, at dawn, we saw the most breathtaking sunrise and mountain views.

Fondest memento or memory: Being able to bring my children to the country where I was born was very gratifying and was made more joyful because the children loved Nepal and had a great time.

To tell us about your own trip, go to www.washingtonpost.com/travel and fill out the What a Trip form with your fondest memories, finest moments and favorite photos.

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