Peter Budd, Australian Ambassador to Nepal
On a recent sunny afternoon, His Excellency Peter Budd and his wife Emma Jane Stone were happy to host us at their residence in Maharajgunj. Having been in Nepal for almost three years, the couple had traveled from the east to the west of the country. Here’s their travel experience.
“The landscapes were so captivating and beautiful that I had to put my camera away because I simply couldn’t capture the whole beauty,” says Peter. The ambassador couple did their first trip to Muktinath, Upper Mustang and Lo Manthang in Sept 2017. He further adds, “The unique geographic structure, pattern and its colour, the sky caves and the cultural aspects of Mustang were tremendously awesome.”
The ambassador, his wife, their son Jarrah and some friends recently conquered the Gokyo, Chola Pass and Everest Base Camp trek. “It was a truly amazing trek,” recalls Emma. After 35 min of flight to Lukla, they walked to Namche, where they took a two-day rest for acclimatization. After this, they trekked to Gokyo Lake. "The lake and its colour with the rock formation were fantastic and beyond imagination," Peter says. They made a small Chhorten with some rocks in memory of their dog who died last year.
They spent two nights at Gokyo (4790 m) at a lodge runs by a Sherpa family. They were extremely hospitable. “They took us to get a better view of Everest and it was immensely gorgeous,” Peter said. Along with warm cups of coffee, the Budds and their friends enjoyed a picnic with a plethora of food they were not expecting at such a high altitude. The couple even dressed up in authentic Sherpa attire and captured photos of Gokyo Lake and its surroundings.
Then they did the Chola Pass (5420 m) and walked along the Dzongla Glacier. “Walking along the glacier and hearing it move was a once in a lifetime experience,” Peter said. Adding to that, Emma remarked, “Physically being at the glacier and observing it was a great experience that I’ll cherish forever.” It was Jarrah’s first trek, and he too was mesmerized by the amazing nature and beauty of Nepal.
Chola Pass was quite challenging but the rewards were magnificent. The stunning sunrise with the entire view of the Himalayas under perfect weather conditions was truly splendid.
After several days of trekking, they reached Everest Base Camp (5364 m). They were the only trekkers at the time. The temperature had dropped to -25 degree celsius. They stayed at Gorakshep for two nights and replenished their energy with garlic soup. They knew garlic's antioxidant characteristics, and good for altitude sickness. They had Sherpa soup, noodles, vegetable and no alcohol. They loved mountain potatoes and Dal-Bhat.
They were happy to have trekked to Everest Base Camp. "We will definitely share our experience with Australian friends, " couple adds. The weather was clear and good throughout most of their trekking journey.
Peter did the Khopra Ridge Trek with is daughter Elsa I’m November 2018. Emma completed the trek with her friends in November a year later.
Due to their individual busy work schedules they traveled separately, but occasionally together.
They have even visited Chitwan and Bardia National Parks and stayed for 5 days. “As it was getting dark, the tiger slowly walked into the bush silently.” Alas! We could only capture blurred photos,” Peter recalls. He is planning on visiting again to click the elusive tiger.
Emma visited BardiaNational Park again couple of months back where she was chased by an elephant.
Due to the nature of his work, Peter has been traveling across the country to conduct, monitor and evaluate different projects and tasks assigned by the Australian Government. Nepal is a tourism country with endless destinations to visit.
They had enjoyed flights and enjoyed a close view of the Himalayas, but nothing is comparable to walking and being there on foot.
Rara Lake is simply marvelous with its reflecting waters changing its colours from day to night.
Nepal is brimming with natural beauty, but the couple is worried about the effects of climate change. “Mountain people will be the first to be impacted,” they added.
With time running out, the Budds still has a lot of places they’ve yet to explore in Nepal.
As Nepal celebrates many festivals, Peter sees and enjoys while driving through city sometimes. The family has even celebrated festivals like Dashain, Tihar, and Holi with their Nepali friends and families.
A fascinating festival both Peter and Emma experienced was the Rath Yatra (Chariot Festival) in Patan. They marveled at the engineering prowess of the people who built the chariot - building a chariot takes time, energy and practice along with teamwork and craftsmanship.
Besides their recent Everest Base Camp trek with her family and friends, Emma has also done the Tamang Heritage Trail and Langtang trek in 2017. She trekked Mardi Himal with her daughter, Elsa. With her childhood friends, she visited Pokhara and has trekked to Khopra, Lower Mustang, and BardiaNational Park.
Besides trekking and adventure, she learned how to make momos and lot of shopping with her friends.
Her favourite destination was Annapurna as it was still kept pristine as plastic bottles are not allowed in upper part.
According to her Everest is always busy with yaks, mules, tourists etc. in busy season. It has high-quality lodges, restaurants, and wifi connected.
In 2020, Emma hopes to take a trip to Phoksundo Lake.
Peter is glad to see that the country is aware of the importance of keeping areas clean. He says, People are striving to protect the natural and cultural assets.
He has been to Janakpur, Lumbini, Chitwan, Bardia, Karnali far and wide but has not been to Ilam yet.
He wants to visit more of Terai region as it is an enriching experience due to its diverse culture and ethnic groups.
“We can’t hope to travel the whole of Nepal in one visit, so one visit is not enough,” Peter said.
“Nepal is a country with friendly and inviting people who are extremely generous. People and their living culture are key elements for the whole travel experience. The couple is optimistic with Nepal’s pristine beauty and the gorgeous Himalayas - Visit Nepal 2020 is hopeful to be successful.
Peter has conveyed his best wishes for the success of the "Visit Nepal 2020" campaign. He and his Emma will be doing their effort to promote Nepal’s tourism through the diplomatic channel.
3 Years In Nepal
Peter’s 3 years in Nepal has been filled with exciting experiences. He says it is wonderful privileged to serve in Nepal representing his country & people. It is blend of people linkage between large Nepalese diasporas living in Australia & numbers of Australian citizens traveling to Nepal.
“We are supporting Nepal’s development by working with the government and community, and added, "We are working in building Nepalese human capital, livelihood, market enterprise development, etc,” says Peter.
The depth of Nepalese culture and history is threaded with eco-diversity, flora, fauna, etc. The food is diverse and delicious. The couple’s message to travelers:" Take time to do your research, give yourself time and get involved in various activities, and enjoy Nepal."
Their final words," Just Do It. "