know your guide or tour agency before booking your trip to Nepal
Tilak has been working as an expert guide since he was 19 years old, beginning his career as an assistant guide over 25 years ago in 1992. He has vast experience working in many trekking regions of Nepal. Tilak can take you on whatever adventure you choose. He can take you either to the Everest region, Annapurna region, Kanchenjunga Base Camp, and Makalu Base Camp Trek in the eastern part of Nepal or the Langtang region.
As one of the region’s premier guide companies, Tilak has owned and operated the Nepal Hiking since 2003. He is dedicated to all of his guests. He has been known to clear a path through chest-high snow in the past 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 you will find all your 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 many tourist destinations, such as Annapurna, Langtang, Everest, and many more. These years were vital for gaining experience in the adventure tourism industry. I built my experience levels to improve and hone my adventure trekking skills.
This period also improved my English speaking skills, enabling me to serve my guests better whilst achieving my Bachelor of Arts degree (BA) from Tribhuvan University.
Once I finished my graduation, I had all the skills I needed to guide guests from all over the world. So, in 2003 I completed my formal trekking guide training from NATHM. Then, I became a certified trek guide by the Government of Nepal, and at the same time, I started my own business as the founder of Nepal Hiking.
As always, I like to accomplish my commitment to self-improvement and offering the best possible service. Hence, in 2011 I achieved another certification for cultural and heritage site touring. It broadened 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. Yoga practice gives me enough energy and positive thinking for the day. Then, I will drive to my office to complete my pending tasks and spend the rest of the day with friends and family.
Is it safe for Tourists to visit Nepal after the earthquake in 2014?
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 in 1996. I was in the Langtang region with a group of guests during heavy snowfall. The weather was very bad, which meant that visibility was very difficult. The 4610 meters high pass- Lauri Binayak, where we needed to cross, was blocked due to heavy snowfall. There was no signage directing us to follow the trek route. Because of the risks involved, nobody dared to move ahead! Despite this harsh weather situation, I dared to take the lead. First, I cleared up the snow with the help of an ice axe. Then, I guided my group and other guests stuck at the cross through the blizzard. The snow came up to my chest, and it was 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 breathtaking. But the thing I like most about being a tour guide is the people. I love interacting with my guests before and after they arrive in Nepal. Responding to their inquiries, personalizing our services to suit their needs, and ensuring their continued satisfaction all make 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, taking over almost every aspect of my life. This hectic lifestyle sometimes means I don’t have as much time as I would like to spend with my friends and family, which is what I would consider 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, from the beginning of March to mid-May and from September to mid-November. Despite these high crowd levels, the trek is still worth visiting. As the highest mountain in the world, the opportunity to see Everest shouldn’t be missed. Moreover, the Everest region is famous for its fabulous views of the Himalayas ranges and its friendly, trustworthy Sherpa people. The opportunity to explore the unique culture of these local people 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 multi-day 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 offers. Adventurous visitors can enjoy High Mountain trekking, whilst driving tours are ideal for those with lower fitness levels. Either way, you should not miss the opportunity to view the high Himalayas ranges and learn about the Nepalese lifestyle. 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. Again, the possibilities for fun and exciting activities are endless.
We aren’t sure whether we need to hire a guide. What are the benefits?
There are many benefits to hiring a guide when you trek in Nepal. One of the biggest benefits is that all the guides working in Nepal are native to their region. And they 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 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 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- I feel glad for honouring me! I think what makes me a good tour guide is that I have a vast wealth of knowledge about Nepal that I love sharing with my guests. I am also friendly and courteous to every new guest 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 hard to achieve.
Latest update of this blog post (July 1, 2022)
Further to know Tilak’s success in tourism and other social sectors-
Since 2015, Tilak and his like-minded business partners have started a hotel business- the Kathmandu Suite Home, situated at Kaldhara, nearby the tourist hub of Thamel, Kathmandu.
In addition to his successful career in the Hospitality and Tourism Industry, Tilak is an active Rotarian from Rotary International. “Rotary is an organization of business and professional persons united worldwide, who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations and help build goodwill and peace in the World”.
Tilak was the President of the Rotary Club of Kathmandu North East from 2017 – 2018. He is also a Multiple Paul Harris Fellow (Those who understand its value and have joined the Rotary). He is also a member of the International Travel Hosting Fellowship.
Last but not least, Tilak was the Township President of Neelakantha Municipality Ward No. 11, Bagmati Province, Dhading, Nepal, from May 2017 until May 2022. He has completed his 5 years tenure as the President for the betterment of the rural community in Neelakantha Municipality, Dhading, Nepal.
He is now back to his business, devoting more time to improving Nepalese tourism and living in Kathmandu happily with his wife and 3 children.