Nepal is a country blessed with some of the best off-road trails in the world. And these trails lead to villages and towns that are some of the most charming in the world. Most visitors to these places usually travel in small groups comprising their friends and family. But Imagine Nepal has sought to create a whole new approach to getting to these locations and celebrating the destinations: by assembling large convoys made up of bikers and four-wheelers who share a passion for tackling tough trails and for immersing themselves in the culture and history of the final destination and the stopover points along the way. This idea of convoy tourism, believes Imagine Nepal, has added a much-needed touristic offering to Nepal’s tourism sector.
The first edition of Imagine Nepal saw a convoy of 26 vehicles travelling, for six days, all the way from Kathmandu to Manang. The Imagine Nepal team chose Manang as their first destination for three primary reasons: 1) Manang’s rich cultural riches made for an unmatchable draw; 2) The trail up to Manang represented just the right sort of challenge the convoy riders would want to overcome; and 3) Through their choice, the team wanted to encourage more tourists to visit Manang too.
The second edition of Imagine Nepal took a convoy of 28 vehicles on a six-day adventure-filled trip to the fabled, ancient walled city of Lo Manthang. The Imagine Nepal team settled on Lo Manthang because it offers a perfect mix of rich history, culture and scenic sights. Starting around 1380, Lo Manthang was the capital of the Kingdom of Lo, until 2008, when Nepal became a republic. Besides, because Lo Manthang is home to the Lobas people, many of whom still maintain their traditional way of living, the convoy riders would have the opportunity to immerse themselves in a living culture and history. The scenic, challenging journey to the walled city was to make for an unforgettable Imagine Nepal adventure.
At Lo Manthang, the convoy members made an educational trip to the historic Chhosar Caves, took in live cultural performances and competed in an archery competition, among other activities. For the third edition of Imagine Nepal, the team headed even further west, to the shores of Rara Lake. Imagine Nepal will continue to explore destinations across Nepal and beyond. At all three destinations, the convoys were welcomed by huge crowds of villagers, whose members said they’d never seen such massive convoys of tourists visiting their village. They were right. The Nepali government has verified that the convoys were indeed the largest of their kind.