Tilak has been working as an expert guide since he was 19 years old, beginning his career as an assistant guide over 24 years ago in 1992. With vast experience of working in the region, Tilak can take you on whatever adventure you choose: either to Everest Base Camp or to the Annapurna Sanctuary, which is one of his favourite locations.
As one of the regions premier trekking and guide companies, Nepal Hiking Agency has been owned and operated by Tilak since 2003. He is dedicated to all of his guests, and has even been known to clear a path through chest-high snow in the past in order to get them to safety during inclement weather. Want to know more about Tilak and his passion for guiding guests through this beautiful and majestic region? Here are all you questions answered:
How Did Your Career Begin? When Did You Start Working as a Tour guide?
My career began in 1992 when I started working as an assistant guide (a position I held until 1999). As part of this role, I was excited to visit a whole host of tourist destinations, such as Annapurna, Langtang, Everest, and many more. These years were vital for gaining experience of the adventure tourism industry building my levels of experience, particularly for improving and honing my adventure trekking skills. This period also gave me the opportunity to improve my English speaking skills, enabling me to better serve my guests, whilst simultaneously achieving my Bachelor of Arts degree.
Once my education was complete I had all the skills I needed to guide guests from all over the world so, in 2003 I completed my formal trekking and mountain guide training, became certified by the Government of Nepal, and started my own business. I am committed to self-improvement and offering the best possible service, so in 2011 I achieved my certification for cultural and heritage sites touring, allowing me to broaden the number of experiences I could offer my guests.
What is a Typical Day for a Tour Guide Like Yourself?
One of the best things about being a tour guide is that there’s no such thing as a typical day: every day is slightly different! However on days when I am not on a trek or tour with my guests, I set my alarm for 5 am and enjoy an hour long morning walk to Swayambhunath Stupa, where I spend another hour doing yoga: this gives me enough energy and positive thinking for the day. I then drive to my office, complete all of my pending tasks and spend the rest of the day spending time with my friends and family.
Is It Safe For Tourists to Visit Nepal After the Recent Earthquake?
Nepal is perfectly safe to visit and has been reopened to tourists for quite some time. Whilst the after effects of the earthquake were devastating, the country is rebuilding incredibly quickly. We are stronger than ever. Tourism is hugely important for Nepal’s’ economy and therefore plays a significant role in the country’s recovery. That’s why we are encouraging tourists to continue to visit us now more than ever.
What Is Your Most Memorable Professional Moment?
My most memorable professional moment occurred during 1996. I was in the Langtang region with a group of guests during heavy snowfall, which meant that visibility was very difficult and the 4610 metres high Lauri Bina La cross where we needed to cross was blocked. There was no signage directing us to an alternative route instead and, because of the risks involved, nobody dared to move ahead! I took the lead, cleared up the snow, and guided both my own group and other guests that had been stuck at the cross through the blizzard. The snow came up to my chest and it is a journey I will never forget.
What Do You Like About Being a Tour Guide?
I love every aspect of my job and consider myself lucky to be able to work with interesting people in beautiful surroundings. The scenery that I get to enjoy every day is truly breath-taking. But the thing I like most about being a tour guide is the people. I love the interaction I get to have with all of my guests, both before and after they arrive in Nepal. Responding to their inquiries, personalising our services to suit their needs and ensuring their continued satisfaction all makes me feel great about my job.
And What Do You Like Least About Being a Tour Guide?
Every job has its ups and downs, and no one likes their job all of the time! Working as a tour guide in Nepal is an all-encompassing job. I live and breathe trekking and adventure, and it takes over almost every aspect of my life. This hectic lifestyle does sometimes mean I don’t have as much time as I would like to spend with my friends and family, which is what I would consider to be my least favourite thing about being a tour guide, but I also think the sacrifice is worth it!
Should I Trek to Everest Base Camp and Why?
Everest Base Camp is very busy and crowded in peak trekking seasons, which are from the beginning of March to mid-May and from September to mid-November. Despite these high crowd levels, Everest Base Camp is still worth visiting. As the highest mountain in the world, the opportunity to see Everest really shouldn’t be missed. What’s more, the Everest region is famous for its fabulous views of the Himalaya ranges and for its friendly, trustworthy Sherpa people. The opportunity to explore the unique culture of these local people is one that should be taken advantage of, even if you find the crowd levels a little higher than you might expect.
I am a First Time Visitor to Nepal. What Should I See and Do?
There is a huge variety of different activities available to enjoy in Nepal. From day hiking to multiday trekking, from one-day cultural heritage tours to multi-day tours, the possibilities are endless, and visitors of all ages can enjoy what the country has to offer. Adventurous visitors can enjoy High Mountain trekking, whilst driving tours are ideal for those with lower fitness levels. Either way, the opportunity to view the high Himalaya ranges and learn about the Nepalese lifestyle should not be missed. If you’re interested in wildlife tourism, you can go to Chitwan National Park or Bardia National Park to see the one horned Rhino and many species of birds and animals. The possibilities for fun and exciting activities really are endless.
We Aren’t Sure Whether We Need to Hire a Guide. What are The Benefits?
There are many benefits to choosing to hire a guide when you trek in Nepal. One of the biggest benefits is that all the guides working in Nepal native to the region where they work and are hand-recruited locally, meaning that we know the region better than anyone else. We understand the nuances of the mountains, and how to keep our guests safe as they explore them. When you choose to hire a guide you can relax knowing that you will have someone to take care of all your needs during your adventure. We are also best placed to share our passion for the region, and our in-depth knowledge with our guests.
What Qualities Do You Need to Be a Great Tour Guide?
My guests regularly tell me I am a great tour guide: something I feel really honoured by! I think what makes me a good tour guide is that I have a wide wealth of knowledge about Nepal that I love sharing with my guests. I am also friendly and courteous to every new guests that I meet and am an expert in time management. Building a good rapport with your clients and listening to their unique needs is key to becoming a good tour guide: something I have worked really hard to achieve.