A leader in sustainable tourism, Raj is an expert in a range of activities - from mountain-biking to local cooking classes and market tours.
What places and activities do you specialize in?
"I love the outdoors, and have enjoyed almost everything that Nepal has to offer in terms of soft adventure. I also am very interested in the deep inter cultural learning that travel offers. Combine the two and this is my expertise in this region - Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet, India, and now is slowly extending to Bangladesh, Myanmar and Thailand.
I specialize in experiences that are custom tailored soft adventure, but generally go beyond the surface of travel and immerse into the country. Participatory experiential experiences that leave a lasting impression and ends in the traveller being wiser."
How did you get involved in travel?
"What attracted me to travel as a business was the ramifications it has on development, specially in countries like Nepal, where travel goes deep into the countryside, and puts money into the hands of people who really need it. In 1998, while still working in manufacturing and exports, I participated in designing a tour for British school kids which fundraised to build a school hostel in a village and also participate in the process as part of the travel experience. Thats where I realized how deep travel can reach. The seed for socialtours was born there.
More recently, I went on a mountain biking holiday in Bhutan with my friends who are all enthusiasts as well. Rather than hit the well beaten trail, we use our connections in Bhutan to design a fully custom tailored five day experience, which went from first descents on trails never before biked, to deep immersive local stays in family run lodges, to enjoying a drink with royalty in Thimpu, courtesy of the connections we have in the region. An experience that will last forever in my mind, specially as it was at a time when a holiday was needed the most for all of us."
Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.
"I go to different places for my holiday, mostly to expose my daughter to the same sort of experiential experiences that will expand her learning of cultures and inculcate a love for outdoor activities. Plus that is what we love as a family too. We end up mostly going to Thailand and Austria for this now, as we are connected with family in these countries, and you can only take so much holiday, and when we have other time, explore deeper into Nepal and adjoining countries."
Featured trips & expertise
Looking to explore the cultural, more relaxing side of Nepal? Showcasing dazzling temples and world heritage squares, placid lakes and serene mountains, this week-long itinerary takes in the classic sights of Nepal as well as the more off-the-beaten path experiences, including Nepal’s famous lake town, Pokhara.
Here’s a trip plan that gives you a taste of what Nepal has to offer within a week - a short trek with great views of the Himalaya combined with a visit to the ancient cities of Bhaktapur and Patan. You'll stay within striking distance of Kathmandu.
With two weeks in Nepal, there is plenty of time to experience a wide range of cultural attractions. Culture is not just confined to what you find in a museum; it extends to the hills and into the homes of the people of Nepal.
In eleven days, learn about the rich Buddhist and Hindu cultural histories of Nepal by visiting sacred sites in Kathmandu and farther afield, in Lumbini. Balance the cultural attractions with outdoor scenic pursuits in Pokhara, such as hiking to vantage points for panoramic Himalayan views. If you’re feeling brave, you can even try paragliding above the lakes and mountains of Pokhara.
In nine days, you’ll delve into Kathmandu’s beautiful cultural highlights, get active in the countryside and spend plenty of time relaxing in some peaceful spots, all at a leisurely pace.
Whether you are in Kathmandu for a short getaway or have a few days to prepare for (or recover from!) a Himalayan adventure, there is no need to stay within the confines of your hotel. Kathmandu has many unique things to see and do. In three days, you can see many of the Kathmandu Valley’s highlights, from markets, temples and cultural sites to sunsets, mountain views and hiking.
Recent trip reviews for Raj
Trekking over christmas at the edge of kathmandu, Nepal - Dec 26 - Dec 28, 2016
hi there: Our guide and porters were excellent! The first night accommodation was 1 star and that's being generous. I was under the impression that it was going to be a 3 star. Apparently our family of 7 cost $20 USD total to stay there, which is no surprise, as camping would have been more glamorous. I don't know why the tour company went so cheap on us, obviously to save money, but it wasn't fair, given we weren't told we were going to be in a 1 star of less, and if I had known this, I... read more
View mt everest, Nepal - Nov 30 - Dec 6, 2016
Raj was extremely helpful from the very first day. He was very approachable. He was also very hospitable after we arrived in Nepal. We thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of our trip and will definitely be recommending both Raj (Social Tours) and Kimkim to future travellers.
6 days of trekking and culture, Nepal - Nov 1 - Nov 6, 2016
I had to follow up a pick up time and itinerary several times. The first guide was late, thought I was being transferred to a different hotel, because he had his bike we walked for a decent while before being able to get a taxi which would take us and the bike.
The cycle tour was quite good. But the ending was disappointing being a festival there was no pizza and a drink. We found a place to have a drink and I was left to pay for my own taxi back to the hotel.
The following day the... read more
Family trip to nepal - ktm, trekking and chitwan, Nepal - Oct 23 - Nov 5, 2016
Social Tours couldn't have been better - we'd recommend them to anyone. They pulled together a fantastic trip and were very accommodating of requests we made whilst out there. The guides were great, too.
Everest region monsoon trek, Nepal - Jul 6 - Jul 22, 2016
Kimkim made this such an easy trip to book. I could log into kimkim and ask questions about anything and everything whenever they came to mind. Things related to trekking or Nepal in general. Kimkim would respond within 24 hours with great information. They were attentive to catering the trekking to what I wanted to do and see, kimkim worked with my budget and time frame to make sure I was getting the best deal possible.
Raj and everyone at social tours was super welcoming! They went out of... read more
3-day kathmandu valley tour, Nepal - Jul 9 - Jul 15, 2016
Day 1: really great. Nice walk up to a very cool hotel. Got away from the city and really got a feel for the country side.
Day 2: hike back down to Bhaktapur was ok. The second half of the hike was on a main road with lots of traffic, so not that enjoyable. I would have been better if we could have walked in more rural setting like the day before. We ended up catching a bus to get to the hotel. The hotel was noisy, and not very modern bathroom. I would have changed the... read more
6-day cultural tour kathmandu - pokhara, Nepal - Jul 1 - Jul 6, 2016
Namaste to all at Social Tours,
Thank you very much for all doing your best on this very special trip. My cousins and I are leaving Nepal with the highest opinion of its people due to your infallible attentions, flexibility and enthusiasm.
All of our tour guides were extremely nice and helpful.
We will do our best to recommend your services and hope to be back in the future
Raj was amazing.
We didn't get to meet him while we were there but we was incredibly helpful throughout the whole planning process and left us in very good hands!
Khopra danda trek, Nepal - Mar 3 - Mar 11, 2016
Did a great job booking a trekking tour on very short notice. Everything went very smoothly and Alex and Raj were very responsive. In hindsight, I would have appreciated a more detailed price breakdown, but I didn't think to ask for that while booking.
Social Tours did a great job of getting me settled into my hotel in Kathmandu, and the trekking guide that they had hired did a wonderful job of making sure I was safe and that all my needs were taken care of during the trek.