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World Tourism Day Ride

“Riders from FORE (Friends of Royal Enfield) motorcycling club thunder down the Arniko Highway towards the Nepal-China border at Kodari to promote motorcycle tourism in Nepal.”

Photos and Words: Sherap Sherpa

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Today, Royal Enfield is a cult brand highly synonymous with the culture of motorcycle touring. It’s also one of the most preferred choices for tourists, both domestic and international, who want to experience Nepal by road. Similarly, over the years, motorcycle tourism has been evolving as a fast growing concept in the segment of adventure tourism options in Nepal. So there really couldn’t be a better time than the World Tourism Day to give it some more boost and promotion, thundering down the road on Royal Enfield motorcycles!

Now, FORE (Friends of Royal Enfield) is definitely no new outfit when it comes to promoting motorcycle tourism in Nepal. FORE is a motorcycling club of Royal Enfield bike owners who are dedicated in promoting motorcycle tourism between Nepal, Tibet and India. FORE was born out of a group of like-minded friends riding the timeless classic Royal Enfield. The club conceptualized back in 2011 on Nepal Tourism Year when a group of Royal Enfield Riders set out to promote Nepal as a motorcycle adventure destination with their ‘Wild West Ride’. This 9-day ride towards the Far Western region of Nepal had the members rumbling down the highway with print Medias and a television crew joining the bandwagon. With support from the Nepal Tourism Board, Kailali Chamber

 

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of Commerce and Kanchanpur Chamber of Commerce, the ride was a great success with numerous stories and made up for four episodes of a program on TTV as well. Ever since then, there has been no looking back for FORE. Come 2012, the Royal Enfielders at FORE went on another similar campaign named ‘Exotic East Ride’ to promote Eastern Nepal. Over the years, FORE has also managed to set a classic example of biking brotherhood by joining hands with motorcycle clubs from other regions such as Royal Eastern Enfielders in Dharan, Chitwan Enfielders in Narayanghat and Royal Enfield Himalayan Thumpers in Kalimpong, India.

 

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So on 26th September 2013, thirteen members from FORE including expat riders from Belgium, Spain and USA, with TTV on board, rode towards the Nepal-Tibet border at Kodari to promote motorcycle tourism again and lend support to the World Tourism Day campaign led by the Hotel Association of Tatopani (HAT). The Hotel Association of Tatopani is a newly formed association to monitor the quality and standard of hotel facilities offered at Tatopani. The border at Kodari is located about 120km north-east of Kathmandu on the world famous Friendship bridge. Though Kodari is currently the busiest trading port between Nepal and China, it also serves as an entry/exit point for tourists visiting Tibet and the holy Mount Kailash. Thousands of tourists and pilgrims cross this border from Nepal to fulfil their dreams of visiting the forbidden city of Lhasa and the world’s most sacred mountain Mt. Kailash. This stretch of Arniko Highway is also a perfect weekend getaway destination with plenty of adventure activities. Driving or riding down this highway is a great and enjoyable experience with most of the scenic mountain roads carved alongside the serene Sun Kosi and raging Bhote Kosi River. There are many good hotels and resorts such as the The Last Resort, The Borderlands Resort, Sukute Beach Resort and Sun Kosi Beach Resort where you can enjoy a wide range of adventure activities from bungee jumping, canyoning, rafting to fishing or simply enjoy delicious fresh fish and chilled beer swimming by the riverside. There’s also the famous natural hot water springs at Tatopani to soak and relax your tired muscles for a mere Rs.10 and Rs.20 for foreign guests. And for the shopaholic, you can easily shop for cheap Chinese goods near the border. With all these refreshing activities available within just three hours away from the hustle-bustle of Kathmandu, you really don’t need to scratch your head to think about where to go for the weekend.

Of course, this World Tourism Day ride wouldn’t have been possible without the support of Red Bull (Gorkha Brewery) and Siddhartha Bank with their crucial contributions. With 13 Royal Enfield’s riding in tandem, we rode from Kathmandu to Tatopani on the first day. Along the way, we only stopped by at Dolalghat for lunch by a roadside eatery and were hosted to a refreshing afternoon snack break at the Borderlands Resort by Mr. Megh Ale. On arrival at Tatopani, we were received by the hospitable representatives from the Hotel Association of Tatopani (HAT) who ensured a wonderful time during our stay in the area. Mr. Kami Sherpa, Chairman of HAT, was visibly excited to host us and expressed his delight on this initiative by FORE.

The next day, after refreshing ourselves at the hot water springs in Tatopani, we moved towards the Friendship Bridge at the border where a host of activities in welcoming the tourists were planned by HAT and the local Ama Samuha (Mother’s Group). We proudly joined them in welcoming the tourists arriving from the other end and participated in the inaugural ceremony of HAT. With the necessary promotions done, we then rode back to the newly opened Sun Kosi Beach Resort for the night. With the opening day celebrations, comfortable accommodation and tasty dinner to boot, it was a night well spent at the resort. We then returned back home on the third day after indulging in some rafting activities around the Resort.

Likewise, even associates of FORE conducted similar rides around their regions on the same day. Royal Eastern Enfielders rode to the eastern border town of Kakadvitta, Chitwan Enfielders rode to the southern border town of Sunauli and Royal Enfield Himalayan Thumpers rode to the nearby areas around Kalimpong. All were hell bent on promoting one single cause – MOTORCYCLE TOURISM.

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