| June 27, 2019

Honey Guide Apps: Your guide to a convenient trekking experience in Nepal

KATHMANDU, Dec 24: Whether you're heading for Annapurna, Everest or Ghorepani, wouldn't you love your phone giving you an early warning about the possible avalanche ahead or a Snow Leopard crossing? And not only that, HoneyGuide, a complete tour-guide app, also provides you with minute details like the kind of paintings available inside a monastery located in that area.

"We researched for about two years before finally launching the app. We wanted to provide a complete tour package for tourists, which not just provided logistics and maps, but offered as many details as possible such as the variety of flora and fauna in that area," says Abhishek Pande, who together with his friend Ashish Shrestha, founded HoneyGuide Apps. The app was officially released on October 2 this year. It is available for free in Google Play Store for the time being, until March 2016.
HoneyGuide Apps comes in a package of three apps, namely, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Everest Base Camp Trek, and Ghorepani-Poon Hill Trek, which one has to download separately. There are separate apps for each of these trekking areas so that more and more details of a particular trekking route can be incorporated. "Most Tour Guides, like Lonely Planet, cover large geographical areas, which makes it difficult to draw minute details. So we thought that with different apps, we'd be able to supply more details of a particular place. Anyway, why would someone doing the ABC trek want the details of the Ghorepani-Poon Hill Trek?" Pande explains.

With this app stored in your phone, you will also be able to know if the area has an ATM booth and lodges and whether the lodge has Wi-Fi or not. Visa fees and contacts of embassies are available, too. And what's more, all these information are accessible offline.

This app is concerned about your safety, too. So if you drift even 20 meters away from the track, it sends you an alert. It will also warn you if you've climbed too much for the day or if the area is prone to avalanche.

Founder Pande expresses that it's high time for Nepal to digitize its tourism packages. "The world is going digital by the day, but Nepal is lagging far behind in that aspect. We then realized the opportunity in this and we also hope to benefit the country's tourism industry."

Nonetheless, the economy of Nepal isn't a stable one, and Pande and his partner fret that HoneyGuide might have a hard time competing in the international market in future. "Nepal already has a very small market for adventure tourism. We definitely plan on going international in the near future, but with the prevailing instability and limited business resource in the country, we fear we might not be able to compete with our international counterparts."

Nonetheless, the future seems to be promising for this startup. Each of the apps is either rated 4.9 or 5.0 on Google Play Store. One of the users, Ashish Budhathoki comments, "This is just what I needed, being a novice hiker/trekker, it's got everything I need!"

Pande also says that the competition does not seem that tough at the moment. "So far no app has dominated the market of adventure tourism and as far as we know, no app till date has entailed as minute the details as we have, even in the international market. We definitely have big plans for the future," he shares.