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Mountain Stories – Guides Tell the Tale Themselves; Manoj Bhattarai (Manu)

Manoj Bhattarai

Manoj Bhattarai, with a cheerful smile and a pleasant attitude, is one of our best guides that we have. After working as a porter for some years, Manoj Bhattarai was then promoted to a full trekking guide. He has been working on this field for almost 10 years till now. His vast knowledge of different landscapes has been very helpful in his journey. His pleasant personality and his charming nature are liked by many of his clients and also has been given a nickname “Manu”.

When we asked Manoj Bhattarai about himself, he said,” I am a person who is in love with nature and its beauty. When I was small, enjoying the view of the scenery was my daily hobby. Making new friends, visiting many visiting places and learning different cultures and traditions is what I live for”.

In the mountain story session, we asked Manoj Bhattarai about his experience as a guide. Let’s see what he has to share with us.

What is a normal day like for you on a trek? “A day in the life of a guide”.

After waking early in the morning before 6, I freshen up myself first and then to give all the clients a wakeup call. We start our breakfast at 7 am and there we discuss lots of different things. I always start with giving a short briefing about the trails, weather conditions and the necessary things that they need to take with themselves. I even make sure if any of the clients have left any of their belongings during their stay in the hotel or not.

After the trekking starts, I keep reminding the clients about the things they should follow during their travel. I make sure all the clients are well motivated during their trek. I don’t want anybody to feel down on themselves due to the difficult way ahead. I keep telling them about many funny incidents and many beautiful memories to keep them as cheerful as possible.
That’s how my normal day at trek looks like.

What is your favorite trekking route?

Well, I have lots of favorite trekking routes. My best places to go for a trek is in rural and remote areas like Kanchenjunga and Manaslu. I love going to those places because the environment there is very quiet, free of dust, clean and no problems with noise pollution at all. Very low amount of tourist visit those types of places and is also low on population. People living there are very humble, polite and helpful. Their kind of nature toward others has made me like them even more.
Their different cultures and tradition are even liked by many of the tourists visiting those places. The vibe of that place is very unnatural. It always makes me go to visit those places even more.

Manoj and his clients taking a picture with the mt. Manaslu in the background
Happy clients at Manaslu

What do you like the most about guiding?

Well, I like traveling since I was a child. Traveling to many different places, meeting new people, learning different culture has always been my dream. I have always been fascinated by nature. Looking at the mountains, swimming at the cold rivers, breathing fresh air has always baffled me since childhood.

So, by being a tourist guide, I want to take my interest to the next level. I want to know about nature even more. I want to travel to lots of different places and gain beautiful experience.

Also being a guide, I can share my experience with other people. The smile and the excitement in the face of the tourist are what makes me enjoy the trekking even more.

Manoj Bhattarai with his clients enjouying the view in Everest Base Camp
Manoj Bhattarai with his clients

What has been the most challenging moment for you as a guide?

While trekking, there is no certainty that you will reach your destination safely. We cannot control the weather and sometimes, the weather forecasts cannot be completely trusted.

Once a day, while trekking to Manaslu 7 years before, we were suddenly faced with a very big snowfall. We had to completely stop the trekking for a while due to the low visibility and slippery ground. We waited for a while to see if the weather clears or not. The main problem for me that day was not the weather. Seeing the disappointed faces of my clients broke my heart. They started to lose all their hope of getting to their destination. I then started to make them feel good about themselves and made positive comments about the weather getting better. After some time, the snowfall stopped but the ground was still very slippery. Many of the clients were afraid of the slippery roads but I made sure that they would be alright if they believe in themselves.

Remembering that trip now makes me feel proud of myself. I always think that what would have happened if I had lost my hope at that time. But, since then I feel positive on myself and never lose hope during the trek.

What is it like working for Ace the Himalaya?

It has been more than 9 years working for this company and has now become my second home. I started my career as a porter and now, I am a full-fledged trekking guide, all thanks to Ace the Himalaya. This company has given me many opportunities and I have never once regretted joining this company. Staffs working here are like a family to me. They have helped me grow and have made me what I am today.

What is your most impressive climb?

Guiding my clients to their destination safely is what I always enjoy. Seeing their happy faces makes me smile even more. The proudest moment of my trekking life is when I guided an old man to Everest base camp. He was 75 years old and was from Australia. I thought guiding him to Everest Base Camp would be very difficult. But, his spirit and his willingness to reach the base camp of Mt. Everest gave me the motivation I needed. After seeing his happy face when he reached his destination, I couldn’t control the smile on my face. That made me very happy.

Did the Earthquake affect your work?

Yes, my works were indeed affected after the earthquake. All the booked clients canceled their trek in Nepal. There was a very low number of tourists that visited the country that year. I did not work for more than two months. I even had to go to my village to provide support for my family emotionally and financially.
After some time, the number of tourists started to grow and I was back with my work soon after.

Manoj Bhattarai with his clients having their final dinner
Farewell Dinner

Tell us about your family and home.

I am from a very small middle-class family. My father, mother, brother and his wife live in my hometown Gorkha. Currently, I live in Banasthali Kathmandu, with my wife and my small daughter. I visit Gorkha quiet often to spend some time with my parents.

Manoj Bhattarai,  is giving his best in this job and is satisfied with what he is now. His hard works will surely pay him one day. We wish him a good life and a better future.