With ample time and expert guides you will explore the ancient Buddhist and Hindu pagodas, temples and monuments of the Kathmandu valley. From Kathmandu we take a flight to Phaplu and explore the lesser known traditional villages of the Solu Region of Nepal. Far from the crowds and the busy main trekking trails, this offers you a rare insight into the day to day village life of this predominantly Sherpa region. For ten days you will enjoy a fully supported camping based trek and experience the most stunning mountain scenery on earth whilst spending time in the picturesque Junbesi Valley and the Chupching Chuling Monastery. We will visit schools which have been rebuilt by the World Expeditions Foundation and where you are assured of a warm and noisy welcoming! There will be opportunities to meet the children and conduct lessons. A flight from Phaplu returns you to Kathmandu where for two days you will can further explore the numerous UNESCO World Heritage sites around the Kathmandu Valley before your homeward bound flight to Sydney.
To determine the grade of a particular adventure we consider a number of factors. These include the condition of the walking terrain, the altitude, number of pass crossings and the length of the trek. The Beyond the Smile trek is graded as Introductory to Moderate. The 12 day trip reaches an altitude of 4070 metres following well defined trails. In order to complete this trip you will need a good level of fitness. We advise that you undertake regular exercise – swimming, cycling, jogging, at least three times a week for at least three months prior to your departure. Hill walking with a daypack is also recommended.
We will depart from Sydney bound for Nepal on a Thai International Airline’s flight TG472 at 4:00pm and arriving in Bangkok at 10:20pm. The flight to Kathmandu does not connect and a forced overnight stay is required. The Louis Tavern Hotel is located ‘air side’ of the airport.
TG 472 24 APR SYD BKK 1600 2220
Accommodation: Louis Tavern Hotel
An early airport transfer awaits as your flight departs at 10:15 direct to Kathmandu.You will be met by a WYA representative and transferred to the Radisson hotel in Lazimpath, near the thriving precinct of Thamel. Remainder of the afternoon is at leisure or can be used to explore this incredibel city. A pre-trek briefing will be given around 5pm where arrangements will be made for the distribution of your kit bag, sleeping bag and down/fibrefill jacket. A welcome juice will be served and this is a great opportunity to get acquainted with your guide and ask any questions, before heading out to dinner for a celebratory welcome dinner. The restaurant is in a restored palace where you will get a taste of traditional Nepali food as well as some folk dancing!
TG 319 09APR BKK KTM 1015 1225
Accommodation: Radisson Hotel
After breakfast you will depart on a half day sightseeing tour taking in the key attractions in and around the Kathmandu valley. Visit Boudhanath boasting the world’s largest Tibetan stupa, and surrounded by approximately 700 mani wheels, it is heavily patroned by faithful worshipers circling its base. Nearby and 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). Kathmandu has excellent bookshops, extensive markets, and novelty and handicraft shops which contrast with fantastic centers of cultural and spiritual significance - Kathmandu has more World Heritage sites than any other city in the world. You also have an optional sightseeing choice to visit the Garden of Dreams. The Garden of Dreams, a neo classical historical garden, is situated in the midst of Kathmandu city. The Garden was famous as the garden of Six Seasons which was in early 1920. After the completion of this Garden, it was considered as one of the most sophisticated private gardens of that time. A welcome dinner has been arranged for tonight.
Accommodation: Radisson Hotel
Early in the morning we are transferred from the Radisson to the domestic airport to catch a flight to Phaplu, in the heart of the Solu region. The Solu , signifies the lower valleys of the Everest region and is home to the legendary Sherpa people. With magnificent Himalayan sunrises, golden sunsets, stark natural splendor, and the dance of prayer flags against the wind, the Solu rewards those who trek the quiet trails far from the busy trails higher up the valleys towards Mt Everest. On arrival in Phaplu you will meet our crew and porters and prepare the for the next nine days which will focus on Community Service in the remote village of Lura. The village of Lura is like many villages around, a community of subsistence farmers. While the men are often away overseas or on treks working for hard currency, the women are in charge of the children, house and fields. We walk through fields to the Solu river, practicing our 'Namaste' as many locals will greet us on the way. A walk through the forest takes us to Lura, nestled in between 2 creeks.
Today will be an interesting day where you will attend classes at Lura School and experience the life as both a student and a teacher! Learn more about the school and how your fundraising efforts is helping this remote school. In the afternoon enjoy a volleyball match with the students and teachers of Lura School.
We bid farewell to our new found friends and get back on the trail again to our next campsite. Todays walk will take us to the Alpine Meadow camp at approx 2800m. The views from this campsite are spectacular and offer panoramic scenery of the main Himalayan range to the north.
We descend through farmland and alpine grazing areas to the Loding Khola (river) where we enjoy lunch and a rest before continuing up a large hill to the village of Tamakhani where we camp for the night. You will have an opportunity to look through the village.
We cross over a small pass and descend through a forest to the valley floor and the Junbesi Khola. We'll have lunch there before continuing through to the village of Junbesi. We camp in the small village of Mopung and stay here for 2 nights, using it as a basecamp tomorrow.
This morning will be a little more relaxed as we are returning to the same camp this afternoon. Today we visit one of the largest remote working monasteries in Nepal and will spend a day learning about the daily life of nuns and monks who reside in Thupten Choling monastery. Thupten Choling is a celibate Buddhist monastery located in the high and remote mountains of Nepal. Founded by His Holiness Trulsik Rinpoche in the 1960's after fleeing Tibet, it is an independent and autonomous institution. Consequently, Thupten Choling has been able to remain authentically traditional, and hidden from the outside world.
We follow the main trail back down the valley before turning north towards the village of Ringmu.
From Ringmu we follow forest trails ever upwards to cross the Taksindu La (pass). The views from the top of the surrounding peaks and valleys are spectacular and we stop at the top to soak them all in. We turn off the main trail at Taksindu La and ascend an undulating trail through pine forest for a few hours before descending to our campsite set in a beautiful forest near the village of Ratnanda (3200m)
An early start for a glorious sunrise and beautiful view of the Himalayas to our north. We'll enjoy breakfast in camp before descending through farmlands to Pharplu village and our last night in the mountains before flying back to Kathmandu tomorrow.
This morning we have a short walk to Phaplu airport before flying to Kathmandu - another thrilling flight over forests, fields and villages, with the Himalaya in the background. On arrival, we will transfer to the Radisson for the rest of the day at leisure. You may wish to relax at the hotel, or take in some sightseeing or shopping.
Accommodation: Radisson Hotel
Today is a day of leisure where you can further explore the Kathmandu valley.
Tonight a special farewell dinner has been arranged to celebrate and reflect on the people you have met and places you have been.
Accommodation: Radisson Hotel
After a final farewell to our guides we will be transferred to the airport for your return flight home. The Thai Airways International flight departs at 1:30pm arriving Bangkok at 6:15pm before taking off again for Sydney and home at 7:20pm and arriving the following morning (29 April 2013) at 7:20am.
TG 320 22 APR KTM BKK 1330 1815
TG 475 22 APR BKK SYD 1920 0720+1
An early morning arrival into Sydney. Once you arrive back in Sydney the trip and all services comes to an end, although the memories will last a lifetime!
TG 475 23 APR BKK SYD 1920 0720+1
Per Person, Twin Share