Many venues have embraced being more responsible with their food supply, but that doesn’t necessarily mean every restaurant that writes ‘organic’ on its menu actually is. Do your research. Ask questions. In the meantime, try Kathmandu’s Bhojan Griha. The restaurant, known for its fine dining experience, features certified organic vegetables and acts as a distributor of these produces. The kitchens of environmentally-conscious Tiger Tops resorts, located in Chitwan and Bardia, use produce from its own organic gardens. Explore the gardens to learn more about how your meal was grown.
While Kathmandu’s tap water is not advisable to drink, the thirst quencher is much cleaner in other parts of the country. In places like the outskirts of Pokhara, the spring water tastes much crisper than bottled water. Using a reusable water bottle instead of relying only on plastic bottled water can help divert garbage from Nepal’s streets and waterways. To ensure your health is not compromised, check that the water is coming from a clean source and continues to be clean, and use water purification tablets, found easily in Thamel and other tourist areas. In restaurants catered for tourists, water given in a glass is generally safe to drink if it’s from the large mineral water case.
Treks and tours
Do your research and ask questions to find out if your porter is being paid fairly, not carrying a burdensome load, and working in humane conditions. To help travelers choose responsible travel companies, Nepal’s tourism sector recently partnered with Travelife, the leading international sustainability certification scheme managed by travel associations. Since these companies have to get audited before they are certified, it may be some time before you’ll know which ones to go with. One trekking and tour company to try out is Socialtours, which views corporate social responsibility as an essential part of running a business.
It’s hard not to notice that Nepal has a serious pollution problem. Dustbins are a very rare sight. Water and soft drinks bottles, candy wrappers, noodle and biscuit wrappers, and bags stuffed with garbage are scattered around the city streets and even the great outdoors. Even the grand Mt. Everest has not been spared. Over 15 tons of garbage have been recovered from the mountain since 2008, and this isn’t all of the trash in the area. If there are no dustbins in which to throw your trash, keep it with you until you reach your destination. If it’s something that you’d rather not carry, seek out a garbage container in a store or restaurant on the street. As for water, we recommend using reusable water bottles and filling them up with filtered tap water if the conditions are safe to do so.