For a trans-formative experience for youth in their formative years, there is simply no other destination like Nepal. From the atmospheric squares and temples of Kathmandu Valley we take the short and scenic flight to the gateway to the Annapurna Range, Pokhara, where the Annapurna range stretches out in front like a giant wall. It is from here that we venture into the lower foothills, through valleys and forests on a fully supported hike in the Annapurna range. The trek is designed to provide outstanding mountain views whilst getting away from the tea-house trails and into villages that have not felt the impact of tourism and have subsequently retained much of their traditional charm. This provides the opportunity to learn about the culture and way of life. We hike into the village of Ghandruk to assist them with making much needed improvements to their community school. Details about the actual project work are yet to be determined. After completing the project we will bid farewell to our new friends to enjoy further walks through mountain villages, all the while enjoying spectacular views of the peaks high above us. We return by private vehicle to the beautiful lakeside town of Pokhara before returning to Kathmandu for a sightseeing tour of the most significant places for the Hindu and Buddhist religions.
To determine the grade of a particular adventure we consider a number of factors. These include the condition of the walking terrain, the altitude, and the length of the trek. We have graded this trip as introductory. This is primarily due to the trek duration, the low altitude gains and the condition of the trail which is well defined and not unduly demanding. The highest altitude you reach on the itinerary is 1,990m at Australia Camp, it is subsequently very unlikely that you would feel any possible adverse effects of altitude at this low atitude. 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 there will be lots of hills) 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. Remember the fitter you are, the more you will be able to enjoy the experience.
Welcome to Kathmandu, Nepal. Upon arrival in Kathmandu you will be met by your group leader and transferred to the comfortable and well located Radisson Hotel. The hotel is in a very central location and is close to a variety of shops and restaurants and you will have an opportunity to go with your guides to exchange money or visit the ATM machine. This evening there will be a group briefing where arrangements will be made for the distribution of the group kit bags, including - sleeping bag, liner and down jacket. A group welcome dinner will be taken in one of the nearby restaurants.
Accommodation: Radisson Hotel
This morning we take a 30 minute flight west to Pokhara, Nepal's second largest town (820 m). On arrival you are greeted with sights of the entire Annapurna Range stretching out in front of you. A bus will transfer us to our permanent campsite at Lakeside, Pokhara. It is here we will meet all our staff, including porters, cooks, kitchen crew and Sherpa guides. After lunch we will drive to the trail head where we commence our trek to tonight's destination of Landruk. The trail winds uphill and down through terraced fields and mixed oak and rhododendron forest.
Accommodation: Private Eco-Camp
Approximately 4-5 hrs of walking
Approximately 2 hrs of driving
Our destination today is easily seen across the valley; the attractive Gurung village of Ghandruk (1740m). We must descend to the valley floor to reach it! Slowly descending through rice terraces, we cross the steel cable suspension bridge that spans the glacial river of the Modi Khola and commence our ascent. As we trek up the many staircases, we enjoy the beauty of the Himalaya at a relatively close range and observe the glaciers flowing from them and feeding the rivers below. It is a magnificent location and a photographer’s delight. 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 community school, the site of our project work. The village will be expecting your arrival so prepare for a very warm welcome. We will first meet with the headmaster and local foreman who will conduct a safety briefing before will having a brief tour of the school. 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. There will be a local professional builder supervising the project and ensuring we get all the work completed on time and volunteers from Ghandruk will be ready to assist with the work.
Accommodation: Private Eco-Camp
Approximately 4 hrs of walking
All materials and equipment required will be on site and ready to be used. The work will be hard although very rewarding. Regular breaks will be provided to ensure that energy levels remain high. Please be prepared to working in variable weather conditions. We encourage you to wear clothing which you do not mind getting dirty.
Accommodation: Private Eco-Camp
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 of 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.
Accommodation: Private Eco-Camp
Approximately 3 - 4 hrs walking
After breakfast we transfer to the airport for our flight to Kathmandu, a spectacular mountain flight along the face of the Himalaya. We'll arrive in Kathmandu at approximately 9:30am and check-in to the Radisson Hotel and freshen up, before heading out for a half day of sightseeing in Kathmandu, including Pashupatinath and Boudhanath. We'll take dinner at 6:30pm, and depart from the Radisson Hotel at 7:30pm for the transfer to the airport to board our flight to Korea at 10:30pm.
Accommodation: day use of rooms at the Radisson Hotel
Per Person, Twin Share
Location: Kathmandu, Nepal
Activity: Arrival into Kathmandu
Weather: 10-24 degrees Celsius. Overcast.
Local guides comments: The group arrived into Kathmandu, where they were met by their World Youth Adventures representative and transferred to the Radisson Hotel. They had a trip briefing with their guide and then checked into their rooms to freshened up before having dinner in the hotel restaurant.
Destination Leader / Teacher comments: comments from the teachers in tomorrow's post.
Note: because the group arrived into Kathmandu late, and were tired, we did not take a group photo. A group photo will be posted here tomorrow.
Location: Kathmandu to Pokhara to Landruk.
Activity: Depart Kathmandu, fly to Pokhara, and trek.
Weather: 11-24 degrees Celsius. Mostly sunny.
Local guides comments: This morning the group flew to Pokhara on time and group were excited for the trek today.They had lunch at Australian Base Camp on their way to Landruk. The trek will take approx. 4 hours). The weather is clear today with good views of the mountains.
Location: Ghandruk, Nepal
Activity: Hike 3500 stairs (1200 meters) and visit school.
Weather: 11-25 degrees Celsius. Sunny and Warm.
Local guides comments: We are on time. Students are good and well while walking.They are happy to walk and ready for tomorrows project work. Everybody is tired while walking because of the hot climate.
Destination Leader / Teacher comments: Spirits are high! Students are tired but happy to have successfully completed the major portion of the hiking. We're excited ti visit the school we'll help tomorrow. We are growing in ways we never imagined.
Activity: Various types of activities to support the local school.
Weather: Fantastic, clear skies in the morning and light cloudy in the afternoon.
Local guides comments: Today we achieved a lot. The students carried the bricks and sand and helped the local mason to build a wall of the building, they also demolished the old compound wall and carried stones.
Destination Leader / Teacher comments: Students worked hard and did a great job. They worked together and did not complain. Students sought out challenges and kept their spirits high.
Weather: Clear skies in the morning and by afternoon it turned cloudy. Perfect weather for outdoor work.
Local guides comments: Today the students carried bricks, mixed the concrete and built a wall of the building. They also helped the mason to build the stone rock wall and completed the project work at Ghandruk School. After they completed the project work, the school community offered them a farewell program. KIS teachers and students gave speech including local teachers and students. There was some singing and dancing as well. Following the farewell the students played basketball and volleyball with local students. Everyone is really satisfied with the work completed and enjoyed it all at the same time.
Destination Leader / Teacher comments: Another great day with various activities. Students unloaded a truck full of block bricks and carried them to a location. Students assisted with the construction of a stone wall and completed two walls on the second floor. Students loved the afternoon when they engaged with the students of the school. They played basketball, soccer, volleyball and danced. They said their goodbyes and cried knowing that they shared and developed a special bond. The ceremony was meaningful with music and announcements from the headmaster. It was a great day.
Location: Pokhara, Nepal
Activity: Hike down from Ghandruk. Arrived at Pokhara camp and looking forward to explore the lake side.
Weather: Hot and sunny day.
Local guides comments: The hike down from Ghandruk was enjoyable. The students were excited to explore Pokhara and finish with the hiking finished. All students are fine and healthy.
Destination Leader / Teacher comments:The students are relieved to be finished with hiking and are looking forward to exploring Pokhara. They're also excited to recharge their phones again.