Perhaps you’ve always wanted to explore the picturesque locations on offer in beautiful Nepal? Well, out gap travel adventure could be your chance to experience some of the highlights this wonderful country has to offer. Enjoy an adventure packed three weeks trek then work as a volunteer in Kathmandu in your fourth week.
The trek takes place at the foot of the magnificent Annapurna mountains. Set in the Himalayas, with three peaks reaching over 8000 feet, the main Annapurna mountain is the 10th highest in the world.
Helping to set you off on the right foot, your experience in Nepal will begin with a week of introduction to the culture, customs and people of Nepal. You will learn everything you will need to know about Nepal as well as discover local markets, take part in yoga sessions, try your hand at traditional cooking techniques and take language lessons. Part of your orientation will also take you on a guided tour of the historical Boudhanath, one of Kathmandu’s sacred locations. Incidentally, the local people will be just as interested to learn about your culture and customs as you are to learn about theirs, and you’ll have lots of opportunities to share experiences.
Annapurna Base Camp Trek at Nayapul is the start of the trek. You will venture through changing countryside, up hills, down through river beds, into oak forests and through fascinating Gurung villages. In fact, we can confidently predict that you will be awestruck by dramatic snow-capped mountains, picturesque valleys and the spectacular natural ampitheatre lying between Annapurna South, Fang, Annapurna I and III, Gangapurna, Glacier Dome and Machhapuchre. A popular camp site, you will have the option to camp here under the starlit night sky or move on to alternative overnight accommodation.
Descending down through a rugged ravine, you’ll cross the Deorali Pass giving you an incredible view over the Kali Gandaki valley, featuring the Gandaki river, one of the major rivers of Nepal and a tributary to the Ganges in India.
With an array of possibilities to visit during your free time, you could join arranged visits to local hotspots such as Ghorepani. Here you can climb to Poon Hill where you can witness a panoramic view of the entire Western Himalayas, including the dazzling, white-tipped Dhaulagiri.
Finishing off your experience, you will be able to spend a week volunteering in the underprivileged communities of Kathmandu. Here you will make a difference by teaching at a community school, kindergarten or taking up a placement at a canine rehabilitation centre.
Please Note: Projects start on a Monday, however you should arrive over the weekend on either Saturday or Sunday.
Incorporating 4 weeks of activities, your schedule is packed to the brim with adventure, relaxation and voluntary experience.
Week 1 – Introductory Week
Starting at 10am with a half an hour Puja – or worship – to the Gods and Goddesses of Hinduism, you will witness Religious rituals which are central to the culture. Discovering the importance of murtis (images), mantras (prayers), and yantras (diagrams of the universe), you will also find out about the importance of the personal nature of Hindu worship and the significance of individual offerings.
Following some fun activities to get to know the rest of your groups, the remainder of your morning will be spent discussing the schedule and safety of the program. You will be required to sign in agreement with the code of conduct, the child protection policy and to release liability for from the company.
You’ll have a long lunch break between 12:30 and 14:00 to reflect on the morning and then continue with an hour-long, helpful session on acceptable social behaviours whilst travelling in Nepal. Between 15:00 and 16:00 you’ll have a Nepali Language Training session which will introduce you to some essential words and phrases to help you communicate more easily with the locals. At 16:00 there will be a discussion about your Host Family, immersing your in their culture and teaching you how to behave sensitively to their customs.
After your check-in at 10am you’ll be on a Nepali Language Training course until 12 pm. Another great opportunity to extend your knowledge of words and phrases to really help you settle into your project. This will be followed by a hugely important talk about travelling safely whilst taking part on the program, looking at health precautions and general safety. There’s a break for lunch between 13:00 and 14:30 and then a cross cultural orientation session for an hour and a half to bridge the knowledge gap regarding dining, drinking, bathing, clothing and toileting customs in the culture of Nepal.
After a busy start to your week, today begins with a well-deserved, relaxing session of yoga and meditation from 7:00 to 8:30 am. Another Nepali language session between 10:00am and 12:00pm should see you starting to become familiar with some useful greetings and conversational phrases before you hear about Nepal’s schooling and educational system between 12:00 and 13:00. The afternoon session begins at 14:30 and will take you on a 2-and-a-half-hour tour of Boudhanath, one of the most sacred, and historically significant, landmarks at Nepal.
Your last 2-hour Nepali Language Training session for the week kick starts your morning at 10am. Buzzing with enthusiasm to try out your developing conversational skills, you’ll have a lecture on Religion and culture, a long lunch break and then head out to a local market between 15:00 and 17:00 to find some local, authentic Nepali souvenirs.
Your first experience of Hiking takes place today with a “Day Trip” starting at 9am and finishing at 13:00. After a 2-hour lunch break where you can relax and recharge your batteries, you’ll have a chance to evaluate your week’s activities, giving and receiving feedback and asking any questions you may have. A culinary delight is prepared for you in the evening as you will witness a demonstration of traditional Nepali cooking techniques.
Saturday and Sunday
Free time for you to relax independently or join an organised activity to explore the local area.
Week 2 and 3
Today you will travel from Kathmandu to Pokhara by bus and spend the night at a local guest house in preparation to start your Trek tomorrow.
Rising in Pokhara to the sounds of nature waking, you will begin your journey to Tikhedhunga, beginning with a 2-hour drive to Nayapul before beginning your hike. The village of Nayapul is small and close to a river, a perfect location to start the trek. As you follow the trail to Tikhedhunga you’ll experience the beautiful, vibrancy of nature in the area before reaching the small village where you will settle for the night at an overnight lodge.
Waking you up with some early morning exercise, you’ll need to find a good rhythm as you climb the numerous steps to the Ulleri Village. Remember to take in the wonderful sights unfolding around you as you climb from the valleys – from dancing sunlight, to transforming shadows, to magical clouds, you’ll want to take a multitude of photographs as you travel through the beautiful Rhododendron Forest. After conquering the challenging ascent, your journey continues upwards, although more gradually, to the large town of Ghorepani giving you a chance to relax in an overnight lodge, relish in your accomplishment and recharge your batteries!
Be prepared for an early morning wake-up call that you won’t want to miss. After taking an hour walk up to Poon Hill, you’ll watch the world awaken under the illumination of a glorious sunrise and the backdrop of the magnificent mountains. Returning to Ghorepani, you’ll enjoy a breakfast before trekking to Tadapani where you will once again rest at an overnight lodge.
Today your trek takes you on from Tadapani to Chhomrong. Beginning with a steady descent into Kimrung Khola through a beautiful jungle, you will be blown away by the outstanding array of natural wonders. From the sunlight bouncing off tree tops, to birds singing out mating calls, to catching glimpses of snow-capped mountains as your feet travel across moss-scattered forest floors, your senses will come alive! After enjoying a lunch at Kimrong Khola, in the afternoon will see you ascend to Chhomrong village at the base of the amazing Himchuli. From your overnight location you have opportunities for fabulously close views of Annapurna and Machhapuchhre.
As you make your way to the Himalaya Hotel from Chhomrong, you’ll trek for 3 hours towards Kuldi Ghar and along the bank of the Modi river, a popular location for whitewater rafting and boasting a lush green valley and gushing waterfalls. At the bottom of the gorge you’ll see bamboo thickets. Your journey will take you past the grassy green Tomo pastures and Panchen Barah before the final climb to the Himalayan Hotel to rest for the night.
Continuing to follow the trail along the west bank of the Modi river, the open valley landscape running alongside the Machhapuchhre Base Camp. You’ll have the option to stay at this camp or carry on going until you reach the Annapurna Base Camp where you can stay at overnight accommodation.
From Annapurna Base Camp on to Bamboo, your 7-hour trek will unveil yet more outstanding natural wonders as you descend towards a relaxing camp site and overnight accommodation to rest your legs.
On your journey from Bamboo to Jhinu Danda, the path will take you through varying scenery from snippets of rainforest, to agricultural farming land. Slightly retracing the previous path from Chhomrong, you’ll encounter more steps today with an almost equal amount of incline and decline. As you descend into Jhinu Danda the bright roof tops will stand out, inviting you to your small but bustling stop for an overnight rest. Make sure you remember some bathing clothes as the natural hot springs at the site are a treat not to be missed!
Heading back towards your start point, the journey today sees you leaving Jhinu to trek to Pothana. It’s approximately a 9-hour trek taking you through Landrung where you will walk through luscious green scenery and on past Gurung, a beautiful village of rural homes. There’s a break for lunch at Tolkha followed by a gentle uphill trek to Deurali, which is dotted with lodges. Ending your day at Pothana, you’ll stay overnight to enjoy a well-earned relaxing evening and mull over the sensational experiences of the day.
Making your way back towards Pokhara on the last stretch of the trek, today is slightly easier as you head downhill. Passing firstly the village of Dhampus, regarded as one of Nepal’s paradises, your journey takes you on to Phedi village where your trek ends and you take a one hour drive back to Pokhara.
After a refreshing overnight stay at a guest house at Pokhara, you will take a bus trip back to Kathmandu giving you time on the journey to relive the magical memories you have made during your trek.
Week 4 – Volunteering at Kathmandu
After your amazing trek through Annarpurna, you’ll undoubtedly want to give something back. In your last week, you have the option of enriching the education of children in the local area by assisting with the teaching at local schools or a kindergarten, or taking an active role at a canine rehabilitation centre. At each of the placements you will be given a schedule which will outline the expectations of each of your days and the daily role you will take. This really is a fantastic opportunity for you to gain experience of working within other cultures and building long-lasting relationships.