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Nepal is gearing up for its 2011 year of tourism. Here you can trek mountains, raft rivers, paraglide off hilltops, explore culture, witness wildlife or bungee gorges.

Nepal’s citizens have certainly got into the spirit, providing help and assistance at nearly every turn. But woe betide any traveller who steps off the beaten path.

Exploring any of the towns and villages between Kathmandu and Pokhara becomes a battle against multitudes attempting to steer you back towards one of the two cities.

“I want to go to Gorkha. This bus?”

“You go to Pokhara?”

“No, GORkha.”

“Yes yes, Pokhara, lakeside, this bus.”

Wander down any path without a guide and a chorus of “Where are you going”s will greet you.

Even at dinner time, try to eat the Nepalese way (using the right hand to mix, pinch and scoop), and prepare to be brought cutlery and napkins to help you out.

Nepal certainly wants the best for it’s tourists, but perhaps it risks over-pampering their Western etiquettes. Kathmandu’s Thamel and Pokhara’s Lakeside are already Nepal’s Costa Del Sol; I hope that the rest will not follow suit.

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