Proud Mountain Man
PHUKET: The Nepalese Charge d’Affairs, Dornath Aryal was in Phuket recently to attend a Visit Lumbini Year 2012 festival. He sat down with The Phuket News to answer his 10 Qs.
Monday 23 July 2012, 05:49PM
What was the purpose of your most recent visit to Phuket?
The Government of Nepal launched the Visit Lumbini Year 2012 campaign earlier this year. Lumbini is the birthplace of Buddha and located in the Rupandehi district of Nepal.
Nepal also recently launched Tourism Vision 2020 with a goal to increase annual international tourist arrivals to Nepal to two million by 2020, and increase employment in the tourism sector to one million.
It is for this reason that the Embassy has been organising promotional programmes in different parts of Thailand. We also held a similar programme in Pattaya on July 7 and on April 18 in Bangkok.
For how long have you been working in the Nepalese Embassy?
I'm Counsellor/Deputy Chief of the Mission, but currently in the absence of the Ambassador I have been working as Charge d' Affaires a.i. since December 7, 2011. My tenure is for four years.
What is the Nepalese government’s relationship with the Thai Nepalese?
The Embassy has excellent relations with Nepalese people and the communities in Thailand. We have been organising such programmes as the Visit Lumbini Year 2012 with their active cooperation and coordination for a long time. They extend very good cooperation to the Nepalese people.
How would you describe the cultural relations between Nepal and Thailand?
Nepal and Thailand enjoy excellent relations. Lumbini, the birth place of Lord Buddha, is also a symbol of strong religious and cultural ties between us. We share a common value in Buddhism and we are also share cultural similarities.
Why are Thai people interested in visiting Lumbini?
Lumbini, being the birthplace of Lord Buddha, has been a special destination for Thai tourists for a long time. In every religion, the birthplace has its own significance. I therefore request all Thai people to visit Lumbini at least once in their lifetime.
Can Thai tourists obtain a visa on arrival?
Yes, Thai tourists can get a visa on arrival at the international airport, or at the immigration offices at border points. They need to submit a valid passport and fill in the form with a passport size photograph.
If you apply at the embassy, it generally takes one working day, but if it is urgent the Embassy may consider issuing a visa immediately. The Embassy is always ready to extend any cooperation.
Besides Lumbini, what are the other main tourist attractions in Nepal?
[Outdoor activiites such as] trekking, mountaineering, paragliding, mountain biking, fishing, jungle safari, rafting, sightseeing, ultra-light flights, and canoeing. There are also many different cultural and traditional activities and historic and cultural sites to visit.
Does the Phuket Nepalese community differ much from the Bangkok Nepalese?
I think they are well managed and communicate and co-operate well with each other. In terms of customs and culture they are the same as in Bangkok.
People of Nepalese heritage are very proud of their culture and remain to refer themselves as Nepalese even after 3 or 4 generations of living elsewhere. Why do you think this is?
Yes you are right. People of Nepalese origin living in Thailand still preserve and adopt Nepalese traditions and culture even after many generations. They observe Nepalese festivals and follow Nepalese traditions and culture. I think it is because of Nepal and Thailand's cultural similarities, and their affection towards Nepal and the Nepalese people.
Why do you think Phuket is such a popular place for Nepalese people to move to?
The beautiful island of Phuket attracts people from all over the world, so how could Nepalese people be an exception? I found most Nepalese people are in the tailoring business in Phuket.