You would be hard pressed to find a better introduction to experiencing Nepal than joining this expedition.
From the atmospheric squares and temples of Kathmandu Valley we travel to the adventure capital of Nepal, Pokhara. Located on the banks of a lake with panoramic views of the Annapurna range. It is here where we venture out into the Himalaya on a fully supported six day trek escaping Nepal’s tourist trails to explore the forests which flank the lofty Annapurna peaks. The trek is designed for you to experience villages which have not felt the impact of tourism whilst also provide ample time for safe and comfortable acclimatisation.
Beginning in the foothills we trek through delightful villages and rural landscapes where we take in the local way of life. Making our way to the Hindu village of Ghandruk we commence our 3.50 day service learning project at the Sanjiwani Public Health Mission. The mission offers free medical services to approximately 5,000 people and employs a doctor, nurse and a lab assistant. This public health service is currently being offered in a building that is in dire need of repair and renovation. Exact project details will be advised in early 2017. It will be equally hard work as it will be fascinating, educational and uplifting in every sense. To assist us there will be help from eager and appreciative locals and from a team of professional laborers who will ensure we complete the work on time and on budget.
After completing the project we will bid farewell and we'll follow trails through oak and rhododendron forest and make our way to Nayapul and the end of a very memorable trek in the Himalaya. The next adventure is to Royal Chitwan National Park we undertake a wildlife safari in search of rhino and the Bengal tiger. (Our wildlife safaris take place inside the park boundaries.)
Returning to Kathmandu there is time for some last minute shopping before flying home to Sydney. This is a learning service adventure to get excited over which will help develop important life skills.
To determine the grade of a particular adventure we consider a number of factors. These include the condition of the walking terrain, the altitude, the number of pass crossings and the length of the trek. The Nepal Village Immersion Hike & Project Adventure Trek is graded introductory. This is primarily due to the low altitude gains and the condition of the trail which is well defined and not unduly demanding. During the trek you will be walking for up to five to six hours a day at a slow but steady pace. You will need a reasonable level of fitness (remember there is no such thing as an easy trek) and we suggest 30 minutes of aerobic type exercise, (either cycling or jogging) three times a week for the three months leading up to your trek. Hill walking with a daypack in variable weather conditions is also recommended.
After all this time planning, preparing and training for Nepal, the time has finally arrived to depart on this exciting adventure. You will depart from Sydney bound for Nepal on a Thai International Airline's flight TG472 at 4:00pm arriving in Bangkok at 10:20pm. The flight to Kathmandu unfortunately does not connect and a forced overnight stay is required. Transfers to and from a hotel are provided.
TG 472 07DEC SYD BKK 1600 2220
Accommodation: Bangkok Airport Hotel TBC
An early airport transfer awaits for your flight which departs at 10:30 direct to Kathmandu. Upon arriving in Kathmandu you will be met by your group leader and transferred to the comfortable and well located Radisson Hotel. We will have a pre-trip briefing in the early afternoon where arrangements will be made for the distribution of your kit bag, sleeping bag, liner, closed cell sleeping mat and down jacket and also gives you an opportunity to get acquainted with your guides.
The hotel is the perfect home away from home and the staff are very familiar with WYA school groups and subsequently you will be greeted like old friends!
This afternoon is at leisure to explore Kathmandu with your guide where there is an amazing range of fascinating highlights, whatever your interest. Excellent bookshops, extensive markets, and novelty and handicraft shops contrast with fantastic centers of cultural and spiritual significance - Kathmandu has more World Heritage sites than any other city in the world. In the evening and in the company of your guide you will head out for your first meal in Nepal to a local restaurant. Tomorrow will be an exciting and fascinating day exploring historic Kathmandu so we suggest an early night!
Accommodation: Radisson Hotel
TG 319 08 DEC BKK KTM 1015 1225
Visit Boudhanath boasting the world's largest Tibetan stupa, and surrounded by approximately 700 mani wheels, it is heavily patronized by faithful worshipers circling its base. Standing on the Bagmati River is the site of Pashupatinath where Nepal's largest Hindu temple is found and where on occasion cremations occur along the ghats (side of the river). Nearby is the Fred Hollows funded Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology where you can witness important research, eye examinations and the manufacturing of intraocular lenses. You will also have an opportunity to meet the staff who make this not for profit organisation run.
This afternoon is at leisure to explore Kathmandu with your guide where there is an amazing range of fascinating highlights, whatever your interest. Excellent bookshops, extensive markets, and novelty and handicraft shops contrast with fantastic centres of cultural and spiritual significance - Kathmandu has more World Heritage sites than any other city in the world.
In the evening we will head out and enjoy a celebratory Welcome dinner where you will have a chance to meet and engage with a guide who has climbed Mt Everest not once, but twice!
Accommodation: Radisson Hotel
After breakfast at the hotel, we drive a short distance to the edge of the Kathmandu valley to the medieval town of Bhaktapur. This fascinating town is rich with temples, monasteries and palaces, with ornately carved features such as the famous ‘Peacock Window’. The main square, Durbar Square, is a UNESCO world heritage site, and is best appreciated by sitting and watching while one of the many religious festivals and processions passes by. Many of the most interesting structures, including the 55-windowed palace that used to serve as the royal seat of Nepal, are centered on the Durbar Square.
The small entrance fee (included in your trip cost) to enter the city, tends to keep the crowds away and cars or motorbikes are not allowed which makes walking the cobbled streets a fascinating experience. Lunch will be served at a Newari restaurant.
Bhaktaour has a rich handicrafts tradition and is a great place to purchase pottery, which you’ll see in various stages of completion throughout the town, but particularly in Potters’ Square. Also look for painted black clay masks, metalwork, traditional Buddhist paintings and locally grown teas. When you feel hungry, try the yogurt with locally produced honey, a specialty in Bhaktapur.
We return to Kathmandu where we learn some of the culinary secrets of Nepali cooking whilst participating in a hands on cooking lesson. In the late afternoon there will be time to purchase any last minute items before the trek commences tomorrow!
Dinner will be served at a nearby restaurant.
Accommodation: Radisson Hotel
This morning we take a flight west to Pokhara, Nepal’s second largest town (820m). In good weather we are greeted with sights of the entire Annapurna Range. From here we drive for an hour to a pass between two river valleys to the village of Phedi, where we commence our trek. There is no need to rush as this is a short day with plenty of time to reach our overnight stop. The trail ascends for the first hour, following a ridge through fields of bamboo clusters to magnificent rhododendron forest. Villagers greet us with “Namaste”, the traditional Nepalese greeting, as we pass their homes and continue to the ridge top where at the crest the scale of the mountains astounds us. Machapuchare (6993m), Hiunchuli (6441m) and Annapurna South (7219m) can be seen from our immediate viewpoint.
Overnight eco lodge.
After a glorious mountain sunrise we follow the trail through rhododendron forest before continuing through a series of Gurung villages where lifestyles have not changed substantially over the centuries. After lunch we follow a well-marked trail to the prosperous village of Landruk where we camp for the night in our private eco campsite.
High on the opposite side of the river, you can explore the village of Ghandruk. From this point, the trial descends along terraced slopes & forest down to the river. After crossing the river at New Bridge, the trail ascends steeply 500m to join with the trail from Ghandruk. From here it is a short walk to Chomrong (1960m). Chomrong is a village which offers spectacular views of Annapurna South & Machapuchare.
Overnight eco lodge.
Our trail meanders downhill through fields and into forest of rhododendron, magnolia and lichen covered fig. We pass by waterfalls that cascade down narrow gullies that provide the perfect home for many small ferns and delicate plants such as exotic orchids bursting with color.
It is a wonderful traverse through the forest and a fine contrast from the previous stages on the trek. We gain views of Annapurna South from Bhaisi Kharka before heading through a series of clearings that define the trail to the substantial Gurung settlement of Ghandruk (1990 meters). Our leisurely approach along these ridges with their fine mountain views ensures proper acclimatisation and the un-hurried opportunity to fully savour this magnificent scenery. Ghandruk is the second largest Gurung settlement in Nepal and provides a further insight into the lifestyles of villages that have traditionally provided the backbone of the famous Gurkha regiments.
After lunch and an opportunity to recover from the mornings walk, we will visit the Sanjiwani Public Health Mission, the site of our service learning project and commence the project work.
The village will be expecting your arrival so prepare for lots of noise, dancing and singing! We will first meet with the medical staff and local foreman who will conduct a safety briefing before will having a brief tour of the health mission. The group will be divided into smaller work teams and each assigned separate tasks. Some of the work across the following 3.50 days will involve debris clearing, shoveling, preparing the surfaces for painting, paintings the walls, ceilings and any exposed timber work, plastering the external mud walls, sweeping and general cleaning, light load carrying or possibly assisting the renders with their work. You will not need any specific skills or experience, just the willingness to participate and the ability to roll your sleeves up and get a little dirty (you should wear suitable clothes), all for a great cause. There will be a local professional builder supervising the project and ensuring we get all the work completed on time. The residents of Ghandruk will be ready for our arrival and some will assist with the work.
Accommodation: private eco campsite.
Working alongside the residents of Ghandruk will provide a rare insight into the people of Nepal and the incredible Nepali people. We will camp in a peaceful spot nearby the health mission where the local children will be delighted to pay you an afternoon visit! All meals will continue to be prepared and cooked by the World Youth Adventures cooks and regular breaks will be taken so as to keep energy levels high. Tonight a special celebratory dinner will be enjoyed to acknowledge your hard work and the friendships made.
Accommodation: private eco campsite
This morning we finish off the last remaining tasks before a handover ceremony will take place, a plaque will be unveiled and lots of singing and dancing will follow. We bid farewell to our friends at Sanjiwani Public Health Mission and Ghandruk and get back on the trail for the final day trekking all down hill to the village of Nayapul. Here our coach will be waiting to transport you back to Pokhara for an overnight stay. Remainder of the day is at leisure to explore the shops and cafes along the lakefront.
It is important to us that this trek follows few of the commercial tea-house trails. Accordingly the route and campsites may be varied at the discretion of the group leader. Note that the walking hours include rest stops, are a guide only and can vary due to trail or weather conditions.
This morning we transfer to Chitwan by road. On arrival we are briefed on the planned activities during our stay. Late afternoon and early morning are the best times to sight wildlife, so other times tend to be for less energetic activities. We will have lunch at our lodge and commence our activity program. Our accommodation is at the Chitwan Adventure Lodge outside the park, generally in 2-bed huts with a private bathroom. Solar heated hot water is available in the afternoons.
A full day's activities are available including canoe rides, bird-watching and jeep safari, as well as lectures on other fauna. Our concession area is the territory of many species of wildlife including 3 tigers, 5 leopards, 7 rhino, and many deer, boar, bear, peacocks, an extraordinary number of bird species and is occasionally visited by wild elephants.
This morning we return to Kathmandu by private coach which can take up to 5 hrs. We return to the comfort of the Radisson Hotel and the rest of the afternoon will be time to do some last minute souvenir shopping before heading out for a farewell dinner where you can celebrate the previous weeks of hard work, achievements and lessons learned.
Accommodation: Radisson Hotel
This morning you will have a chance for any last minute shopping before a final farewell to our guides then be transferred to the airport for your flight to Sydney, via Bangkok. The Thai Airways International flight departs at 13:30 arriving Bangkok at 18:15.
TG 320 23 DEC KTM BKK 1330 1815
TG 475 23 DEC BKK SYD 1920 0820+1
Thai Airways flight TG475 is scheduled to arrive into Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport at 08:20am. Upon arrival all services will finish although the memories and lessons learned will last a lifetime! Congratulations for taking part in this memorable service project adventure to assist a community and a country in great need.
Per Person, Twin Share