Tour agencies in Singapore to go ahead with treks in Nepal after snowstorm

People trekking along the Forbidden Valley in Nepal in 2013. Singapore tour agencies say upcoming treks in Nepal will proceed as planned, following a snowstorm that ripped through the Himalayan region. -- PHOTO: BLACK TOMATO
People trekking along the Forbidden Valley in Nepal in 2013. Singapore tour agencies say upcoming treks in Nepal will proceed as planned, following a snowstorm that ripped through the Himalayan region. -- PHOTO: BLACK TOMATO

SINGAPORE - Upcoming treks in Nepal will proceed as planned, said local tour agencies, following a snowstorm that ripped through the Himalayan region.

Agencies told The Straits Times that they do not know of any Singaporeans under their charge who were directly affected by the storm as they had been trekking at the lower altitudes.

The bad weather is said to have hit a resting place 4,500m above sea level, close to the Annapurna Circuit's highest point called the Thorung La pass.

They added that their staff over in Nepal, who are guiding the groups currently still trekking there, said the weather has since cleared up with sunny skies.

Mr Ganga Budhathoki, owner of Brothers International Tours & Trading, said his company will be leading a group of seven trekkers to the Annapurna region at the end of the month, this time to the higher altitudes, but is confident that it is safe.

"Such snowstorms tend to happen in the winter months of December and January. The one we just experienced is unusual as this is a dry month and I am sure it will not happen again soon," he said.

Owner of Ace Adventure, Ms Joanne Soo, does not have any treks planned for the rest of October but will be leading a team to the Mt Everest region next month.

"Based on last year's weather patterns, the weather should be good next month," she said. This time last year, she was trekking in Nepal when she was affected by cyclone Phailin, so this year she has deliberately decided to have the hike to Mt Everest later.

One tour agency, Singapore Trekker, is however taking on a more cautious approach. Its spokesman, Mr Adrian Loh, said the agency will not be accepting any bookings for the Annapurna region until the situation improves.

samboh@sph.com.sg