A young boy from Dhading, who came to Kathmandu chasing his dream 27 years ago with just Rs 100 in his pocket, would have never thought he would arrive at this stage today. Today, he is the owner of five companies and hold prestigious social positions. He is none other than Khum Bahadur Subedi — the managing director of Unique Adventure International Pvt Ltd — a trekking and adventure outfitter.
Born on 5 Ashadh 2035 BS in Chainpur, Sunkhani of Dhading district, Subedi endured a very difficult childhood days. He completed high school in his birthplace and came to Kathmandu for higher studies after completing his SLC examination in 2047 BS. “My mother arranged me Rs 100 for me for the journey. I walked all the way to Malekhu and boarded a bus to Kathmandu,” a nostalgic Subedi shared.
But Subedi, who had hoped that his hardships would end in Kathmandu, had to face various struggles until he finally steadied his life by entering the tourism sector. He tried many odd jobs while pursuing higher studies in RR College, Kathmandu, but couldn’t settle in any. But he started working with a trekking agency in 1993, he felt this is the sector where he can excel.
“My first job was with Atlas Trekking. I worked in various capacities in this company. I also took Trekking Guide license while working for this company,” Subedi shared.
The young entrepreneur worked with various companies like Himalayan Ecological Treks and Munal Treks, among others, before starting a trekking company — Unique Adventure International Treks — together with a friend in 1998. Now, he is the sole owner of the company. After couple of years, he graduated in Major English from Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu.
Today, SUbedi leaders four other companies under the Unique Adventure International family — AAA Holidays, AAA Transport Company, Nepal Climbing and International Heli Charter Company. He also runs an NGO named Hand in Hand Nepal through which he has been supporting the needy people in different rural areas of the country.
During his career in trekking industry, Subedi has led groups to Annapurna, Everest, Langtang and Manaslu regions many times. Similarly, he has visited countries like the US, the United Kingdom, Japan, SIngapore, Thailand, Spain, Germany, China, Belgium and the Netherlands, among others.
He is also serving as the senior vice president of Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN) — the umbrella association of more than 1,300 trekking and adventure tour operators of the country — since October, 2017.
Talking about tourism sector, Subedi said it is high time the government introduced one-window policy for all tourism services. “Today, we have to visit different agencies to make permits and other works. It would be lot easier if such services were provided under one roof,” he said, requesting the government to do the needful for building infrastructures to facilitate the tourism industry.
“Many entrepreneurs faced problems in arranging flights and accommodation in popular trekking areas in this season. Not only that, we also felt shortage of trained and experienced guides and trekking staff. This problem should be immediately dealt with as tourist numbers will increased further in the coming year,” he added.
He also expressed dissatisfaction over hotels and lodges keeping stock of tickets to destinations like Jomsom and Dolpa. “It is unfortunate that not airlines and travel agencies have tickets in stock. These hotels provide tickets only to guests who stay in their property that too in inflated rates,” he said, urging the government to look into the issue and take needful action against the wrongdoers immediately.
Subedi also suggested to the government to find an amicable solution to haphazard levying of taxes by local bodies in different tourist destinations of the country.
They young entrepreneur married in 1998. He has a happy family of a wife and a son and a daughter. His father expired 10 years ago, but his mother lives with him. While Subedi remains busy in the travel trade, his better half looks after the family and keep the home in order. His brother, Krishna Bahadur Subedi, who is an experienced trekking guide and is also affiliated with different travel trade association, is assisting Subedi in his business. “Though I have not been able to spare much time to my family, my family is understanding. However, I always make sure that I spend some time with them,” he added.
Despite his busy schedule, Subedi finds some time to create literary works. He has published two books — Padayatra Ka Pailaharu (Footsteps in trekking) and Belgium Ka Kshan Haru (Moments in Belgium). Likewise, he has wrote many newspaper articles on several pertinent issues of the tourism industry. He has acted in some television serials as well.
The visionary entrepreneur said that his childhood dream was to be a doctor. “But as someone who grew in poverty, I knew it was an impossible dream in my childhood days itself. At that time, my only aim in life was to have a better life for me and my family. I feel I have succeeded in achieving that,” a nostalgic Subedi said.
When asked where he would have been today if he had not joined tourism sector, Subedi said: “Probably I would have followed my father’s footsteps to do some menial jobs in India.”
Subedi wishes to continue working in the sector as long as his health allows. “I have arrived at this stage because of tourism. So, I will keep working to make it a respectable profession,” he shared before concluding.
(All pictures from Mr Subedi’s Facebook page)