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Payal Mehta

Payal’s life journey has taken her from a typical urban childhood in Mumbai to a career as a naturalist guide. Though she grew up in one of India’s largest metropolises, Payal loved the outdoors from the first exposure she had to the world beyond the city’s reach. As a teenager, Payal trained as a mountaineer. Fascinated with the natural world, she then majored in geology during her university studies. And while she loved learning about the physical realm of nature, she also began to nurture a fascination with the living things that inhabit it, prompting her to escape the corporate office she found herself in after graduation. Payal knew she had to return to an outdoor environment to quench her growing curiosity about the natural world. She joined an elite naturalist training program for Indian safari guides, which only fueled her passion further for this gratifying career choice. After she completed her course, Payal worked as a naturalist guide in India’s Kanha National Park—one of the world’s best places to see wild tigers—for three years. Following her stint at Kanha, she spent three more years traveling across the wild regions of India as a freelance guide and naturalist guide trainer.

Upcoming Adventures with Payal:
Natural Jewels of Bhutan & Nepal


Praise from Nat Hab travelers:

D. Mann

"I'm sure there's nothing I can say about Payal that you haven't already heard. She's just fantastic in every way. I especially appreciated her willingness to get up early with me for some extra birding, rearranging our schedule to give us time to see an ibisbill on our departure date. But most of all, I am eternally grateful to her and Dorji for making the hike to Tiger's Nest on a rainy and snowy morning. I will always cherish this memory."

D. Johnson
"What an exceptional person! Payal is a truly remarkable Expedition Leader. Besides being extremely knowledgeable, she is genuinely interested in each guest. She went well above and beyond to make sure each person had a great experience. Her warm and enthusiastic personality was key to making our trip a real success!"

P. Connelly
"Payal was absolutely fantastic. Her knowledge of the customs of each country, the wildlife, the birds and the geology was amazing. But what made Payal special was the care, help and concern that she showed to each traveler. I would love to go on another trip with Payal as my guide."

M. Collins
"Not only was she amazingly knowledgeable, but Payal was so attuned and caring about our individual needs. She worked tirelessly to ensure all aspects of our trip were beyond expectation. She is the jewel of Nepal and Bhutan!!"

R. Taffet
"How can I even begin? Every guide should learn from our Expedition Leader! She was kind, caring, funny and smart! She embodied everything you’d want in a guide. No question was unanswered, no request was denied. You could tell she really cared about each member of the group and their individual quirks. I would travel with her anywhere!"

I. Simmons
"I thought Payal was amazing, very will prepared and very professional as well as caring and personable."

R. Barnes-Kloth
"Payal was an excellent Expedition Leader and all of the travelers were happy to have her on this adventure. I can't imagine this experience without her. She was incredibly thoughtful, caring and professional."

J. Goldberg
"Payal is an exceptional Expedition Leader who strives to provide her guests with everything that they seek and then some."

T. Segura
"Payal was phenomenal—she knew most everything about the ecology of the area. She was also phenomenal at birding! She is a great asset to Nat Hab."
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