It's time to think about coming home. This has been a brief trip, with the main aim of finding out about tourism here and what I might do to help its revival. I have learned so much, and it will take a while to absorb it all. But I ideas, which I shall share when they are less flimsy.
We left Pokhara (Tika and I) and spent a night in Bandipur. It was, once, a trading post with as great a significance as any city on the Silk Road. Now, with real roads constructed in the valley, it now longer bustles with market traders and is little more than a big village. But it has been beautifully restored. There is a lovely street, lined with small cafes and hotels and little shops selling snacks or tourist paraphernalia, each with carved wooden doors and shutters. The intrepid can go paragliding, but I preferred to keep my feet on the ground and sit with a fresh lemon soda to write.
There are many such small towns in Nepal: Tansen, on a ridge south of Pokhara; Gorkha, which will soon be restored to its former glory. Any tourist needing a break from the bustle of Pokhara or Kathmandu would find quieter corners in these half-forgotten towns.
And then I came to Chitwan, to the National Park. There are a few tourists here - not enough, for this is on the main tour-group route. Although it's busy, you can never forget just how close you are to the jungle. I did the elephant ride, of course, and saw a mother rhino bumbling along with her baby. I did a wonderful canoe trip down the river, with nothing but the burble of the river and cries of the birds. And a sudden crocodile fight to shatter the peace (a bit of an 'oh shit' moment as we were close by, but it will be fun to write about when I get back).
Quiet will be harder to find here when the tourists return, although the animals will still lurk in the jungle waiting to have their photographs taken. There are plenty of great hotels and restaurants, so you can be well cared for here. The brave can always walk though the jungle and risk facing a rhino when on foot (escape by climbing a tree, I'm told).
For those wanting be away from the crowds, there are more remote National Parks in the south-west. They take an effort to get there, but well worth it for the quiet and tranquility. And the tigers.
So now - I come home on Wednesday. I will have much thinking to do. For Nepal needs more tourists, and I have promised to do all I can to encourage people to visit. Please, if you have promotional ideas, share them.