Newington College Nepal Service Learning Adventure 2018

Newington College Nepal Service Learning Adventure 2018

Trip Highlights

  • Working alongside the community at the Jubing to improve their community
  • Returning home with an intimate insight into the beautiful Sherpa culture and of Nepal
  • Enjoying a spectacular trek in the Everest Himalaya range and the views of Mount Everest from Thyangboche Monastery
  • Visits to the SOS Schools in Kathmandu
  • Thorough sightseeing itinerary throughout the Kathamndu valley, including: Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Swayambhunath (the Monkey Temple), Pashupatinath (a major Hindu shrine), the giant Buddhist stupa at Bodhnath, and the Fred Hollows funded Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology
  • Fully supported camping based trek with ample acclimatisation days built including 3 hearty meals per day prepared by our cooks
  • Himalayan Mountain flight from Kathmandu to Phaplu then Lukla to Kathmandu

Trip Summary

For a trans-formative experience for youth in their formative years, there is simply no other destination like Nepal. With ample time in Kathmandu, from our guest house base in Bakatapur and with expert local guides we explore the atmospheric squares and temples found in the Kathmandu Valley. We visit ancient Buddhist and Hindu pagodas, temples and monuments as well as the Fred Hollows Foundation supported Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology. From Kathmandu we take a scenic flight into the Lower Solu Khumbu region to Phaplu where we commence our trek through picturesque and fertile farming communities which will provide a rare insight into the day to day village life of this predominantly Sherpa region. It is in Jubing where we will complete a three day community service project (details of the project work to be confirmed). On completion of the project work, participants will take a fully supported camping based trek into the Everest region to Namche Bazaar and Thyangboche to experience the most stunning mountain scenery on earth. A flight from Lukla returns you to Kathmandu where you visit the SOS School and have an opportunity for some last minute shopping before your flight home to Sydney. This experience will provide you with the opportunity to become an informed, engaged and active global citizen, through your active participation in a service learning project. Join this trip in 2018 and be a part of a great Newington tradition!

Suitability

This trip involves trekking for up to six or seven hours a day at a steady pace. These trips do not spend extensive time at altitudes above 4000m. You will need a reasonable level of fitness and good health.

* Suggested preparation: 1 hour of aerobic type exercise, (either cycling or jogging) three times a week for three months leading up to your trip. For trekking, hill walking with a daypack in variable weather conditions is also strongly recommended.

Sample Itinerary

We depart from Sydney bound for Bangkok on a Thai Airways flight at 4pm. The flight does not connect in Bangkok to a flight to Kathmandu and so there is a forced overnight in Bangkok. We arrive into Bangkok at 10:20pm. We have arranged a group transfer from the airport to a nearby Airport Hotel. Accommodation: Airport Hotel in Bangkok (TBC)

Meals:  Nil

In the morning after an early breakfast at the hotel we have arrange another group transfer to the airport to catch a flight at 10:15am, arriving in Kathmandu at 12:25pm. Upon arrival in Kathmandu we are met by ourr group leader and transferred to the comfortable and well located Pagoda Guest house in the historic city of Bhaktapur. The guest house is the perfect home away from home and the owners are very familiar with Newington College having hosted many previous groups, you will be greeted like old friends. This afternoon your guide will conduct a trip briefing where arrangements will be made for the distribution of your kit bag, sleeping bag, liner, closed cell sleeping mat and down jacket. Your guide will take you out to exchange money. We enjoy a welcome dinner at a nearby restaurant. Tomorrow will be an exciting and fascinating day exploring historic Kathmandu so we suggest an early night! Accommodation: Pagoda Guest House

Meals:  D

Today we enjoy a full day of sightseeing in Kathmandu, including Boudhanath boasting the world’s largest Tibetan stupa, and surrounded by approximately 700 mani wheels, visited by faithful worshippers 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). Nearby is the Fred Hollows funded Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology where we may witness important research, eye examinations and the manufacturing of intraocular lenses, and meet the staff who make this not for profit organisation run. Our final visit is possibly the most fascinating as we return close to where our guest house is located to explore the UNESCO World Heritage listed town of Bhaktapur. Here in the winding alleyways and numerous squares and temple grounds you will witness life as it has occurred for hundreds of years. Well known as a base for artists the area houses many museums and galleries. Accommodation: Pagoda Guest House

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning we take a flight to Phaplu, the hub of the Lower Solukhumbu region where we commence our trek towards the Khumbu Valley. Soon we cross a wooden bridge and come to a junction. The right side leads to Phaplu airstrip but we follow the main trail steeply uphill to the end of the ridge to Phurteng (3040m), an excellent first viewpoint of Everest dwarfed by its much lower neighbors: Thamserku (6608m), Kantega (6779m), Kusum Kangru (6367m), and Mera Peak (6480m). We descend towards a steel suspension bridge over Ringmo Khola where a gradual ascent takes us to Ringmo village. It ís then a steep, short ascent towards Taksindu passes (3071m), marked by a large chorten. After the pass, we come across the imposing Taksindu Monastery and our nearby camp site for the night. Accommodation: Wilderness Camp

Meals:  B,L,D

We descend through dense forest of rhododendron alive with birds and cross a wooden bridge over a picturesque stream to Nunthala, and continue on to Khari Khola, the location of our community service project. Set in a green picturesque valley, Khari Khola is a pretty village in the foothills and a lovely place to immerse ourselves in the local culture whilst enjoying our surroundings. It is here where you will spend the following three days complete a service learning project that will benefit the community (to be confirmed). Accommodation: Wilderness Camp

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we commence three days of community service work; working alongside volunteers from the community we gain a unique insight into village life in the Lower Solukhumbu. The village will be ready for our arrival and we will participate in a variety of maintenance and improvement works in the community. In 2018 we will be able to outline the objectives of the service work. The work may be at the health clinic or the community school and may involve debris clearing, shovelling, sweeping, painting and general renovations. 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. Be prepared to work for 6-8 hours a day. Please wear suitable clothing and footwear and gardening gloves. A local professional builder will be paid to manage the project, supervising the project and ensuring we get all the work completed on time. Over the course of the project work we camp in a peaceful campsite by the village and all meals will be prepared by the WYA chefs and a warm bowl of washing water will be provided each morning and afternoon. Accommodation: Wilderness Camp

Meals:  B,L,D

Gently climbing through the forest, we can see the very steep Dudh Kosi canyon and savor stunning views of Khumbila and Cho Oyu (8153m) peaks. We traverse through Than Danda and cross a stream on a wooden bridge where we pass Puiyan village. Traversing and climbing to another danda and a ridge that offers a good view of the Khumbu region. Today is a reasonably difficult day as the terrain is steep and continually heading up or down hill. Accommodation: Wilderness Camp

Meals:  B,L,D

After a steep climb to Lukla we are immediately impressed by the scale of the huge peaks that surround the village but this is only a foretaste of what is to come. We head downhill towards the Dudh Kosi, a raging river that flows from the highest peaks. The broad and well-marked trail meanders around fields of potatoes and buck-wheat and passes through small villages, as we pass rows of tree dahlia to make our way to our first overnight stop at our exclusive fixed camp at Ghat. Accommodation: Private eco-camp

Meals:  B,L,D

Sections of today's walk are through pine forest, and cleared areas reveal terraced fields and a variety of crops. We pass small groups of donkeys, yaks and dzopko carrying trading goods and trek - gear along the trail. A dzopko is a yak-cow crossbreed while a yak is a full-blood long haired male, more commonly found at higher altitudes. We pass through a variety of small hamlets as we slowly gain altitude. Spectacular mountain peaks unfold above us, and seem to hover above the tree-line as they rise above the deep river valley. Shortly after leaving camp we cross the Kusum Khola, a tributary stream to the Dudh Kosi, and the peak of Kusum Kangru (6369 m) can be seen to the East at the head of the valley. Further along the trail, across the valley to the North-West, Nupla (5885 m) and Kongde Ri (6093 m) rise above the forested ridges. At a turn of the trail, Thamserku (6808 m) rises majestically, seemingly from the river floor. We will see our first Mani walls today. These stone structures are a compilation of many stone tablets, each with the inscription "Om Mani Padme Hum" which translates to "Hail to the jewel in the lotus", and is mantra (chant) venerated by Buddhists and Brahmans alike. Buddhists will walk to the left of these Mani Walls and chortens, but you may notice that people of the lowlands who have no knowledge of Buddhism do not follow this ceremony. The allure of the mountains is hard to resist, but we must be patient, as it is very important that we acclimatise slowly in order that we can fully appreciate our time at higher altitude. Today's walk is not a long one, and you will be eager to press-on. Slow down, and enjoy every step of the way. It is the journey, not our overnight stop, which makes the experience so special. Accommodation: Private eco-camp

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning we pass through the gates of the Sagamartha National Park. The establishment of this national park is a significant attempt to stem the use of fire-wood in the area and the few local people who have a permit to cut wood must gain approval from the authorities on the basis of it being primarily for their personal use. We follow the river course to the confluence of the Dudh Kosi and the Bhote Kosi, and cross a spectacular high bridge before commencing our ascent to the village of Namche Bazaar, the Sherpa ‘capital’ of Nepal. It is a tough climb as the trail passes through forest of pine to a vantage point that provides our first view of Mt Everest. The trail continues to climb and meander to Namche, and the sight of this prosperous village spread within a horse-shoe shaped valley opposite the beautiful peak of Kongde Ri is worth every step. After lunch you may wish to peruse the Tibetan trader’s stalls or the Sherpa shops in search of a bargain. Those with a little more energy might consider heading to the very top of Namche to visit the Sagarmatha National Park Headquarters which offers a very interesting display of photographs, memorabilia and information on the park, and a wonderful vantage point for the spectacular view up the Imja Khola Valley towards Everest. Also nearby is the Sherpa Cultural Centre at the Sherwi Khangba Eco Lodge which has an interesting collection of mountaineering memorabilia and photographs. The change from the narrow lowland valleys to the broad glacial ones is immediately obvious. The steep-sided glacial valley before us gradually winds towards the base of Everest, broken only by the moraines left by retreating glaciers. Towering to over 4000 meters above the valley floor, spectacular peaks seem to engulf us. Around us are Taweche (6542 m),Thamserku (6808 m), Kantega (6685 m), Ama Dablam (6856 m), Nuptse (7896 m) and Lhotse (8511 m). The greatest of all, Mt Everest (8848m), rises at the head of the valley. Again we stay in a well appointed semi permamnet camp which has amazing views from the warm dining room. Accommodation: Private eco-camp

Meals:  B,L,D

This rest day in Namche Bazaar is very important for safe acclimatisation and is not really a rest day in the true sense of the word as we head out on a relatively flat day walk to the ancient trading town of Thame. Thame is a very traditional and pretty village, and as it is not on the main Lukla to Everest trail it receives less visitors than many other villages in the area. Thame was the last year-round village on the salt trading route that existed between Tibet, Nepal and India. It is the home to many famous Sherpa mountaineers, including Apa Sherpa, who holds the world record for summiting Everest 21 times. It was also a childhood home of Tenzing Norgay, who was (with Sir Edmund Hillary) one of the first men to climb Mt Everest. We return to Namche Bazaar. Accommodation: Private eco-camp

Meals:  B,L,D

The walk to Thyangboche is one of the most pleasant in Nepal. The trail meanders easily around the ridges and Everest can be clearly seen on the horizon ahead before we descend through splendid rhododendron forest for lunch. After lunch we cross the Dudh Kosi and begin the ascent to the top of a long ridge which leads to the summit of Kantega. Our trail takes us through pine and rhododendron forest, and, as this is a devout Buddhist region, the wildlife is unharmed and not too shy. As a result there is a possibility that we may see Hog Deer and other animals in the forest and around our campsite. As we approach the top we pass through a traditional gateway and pass around a chorten before cresting the ridge onto a wide grassy meadow at the monastery village of Thyangboche. The monastery was recently re-built with the assistance of Sir Edmund Hillary after it was destroyed by fire. Your leader will arrange for you to be shown around the monastery and explain the relevance of the many ceremonies that take place, and discuss the life of the monks in residence. The views of the Everest massif, as well as all the other major peaks of the area are astounding and, if we are lucky, we will see the glowing colour of the sunset, and perhaps even the moonlight on the mountains around us. Accommodation: Private eco-camp

Meals:  B,L,D

If clear the mountain views from Thyangboche monastery on our way through are outstanding. Everest, Lhotse and Nuptse are at the head of the valley, their line of sight flanked by Taweche on one side and Ama Dablam on the other. Almost directly above us are Kantega and Thamserku. Completing a 360 degree panorama of mountains are Khumblia and Kongde Ri which encircle us from across the valley. It is a comfortable day’s walk, with time to explore these unique and more traditional villages. As we near the villages we pass through terraced fields that are home to a brightly colored pheasant, the Danphe Pheasant, the national bird of Nepal. Accommodation: Private eco-camp

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we descend all those hard fought metres in altitude and return to the village of Namche Bazaar via the historic villages of Khunde and Khumjung. Khumjung is where Sir Edmund Hillary built his first school which he wrote about in the book “Schoolhouse In the Clouds” and the famed Khunde hospital is close by. World Youth Adventures supports both of these famous community facilities, as well as the many other projects operated by the Himalayan Trust. There will generally be the opportunity for you to visit the hospital and school. We will also be able to visit the monastery at Khumjung where we may have the opportunity to see the “scalp of a yeti”. It is not so far now to reach Namche where we will stop for the night at our private eco camp site. Accommodation: Private eco-camp

Meals:  B,L,D

Following the trail down we continue down through the forest to the valley floor to follow the Dudh Kosi downhill and out of the national park. Today's walk is long and with a few small hills which surprisingly have have a 'sting' to them. We pass through a variety of settlements and forests before an undulating climb to the finish line at Lukla. We savour our final mountain sunset of the trek as we complete this exhilarating journey. Our last evening of the trek is a good time to have a small party for all the team, especially the porters who will return to their villages from here. There is usually lots of music, dancing and singing and if we are lucky, one of Accommodation: Eco-Lodge

Meals:  B,L,D

We fly to Kathmandu, a thrilling take off followed by a patch work quilt of terraced fields, forest and villages, with the Himalayan chain to the north. On arrival, we transfer to the Pagoda Guest House. The rest of the day is free to relax. Accommodation: Pagoda Guest House

Meals:  B,L,D

You will visit two schools which Newington College have had a long and fulfilling relationship with. Here you will meet the students and staff and have opportunities to experience what school life in Kathmandu is like. Accommodation: Pagoda Guest House

Meals:  B,L,D

Today as a group you can decide what you would like to do. With access to a vehicle you could venture into Kathmandu to do some last minute shopping or sightseeing. A celebratory farewell dinner will be enjoyed tonight. Accommodation: Pagoda Guest House

Meals:  B,L,D

Following breakfast we will be transferred to the airport for our Thai Airways flight at 1:30pm to Sydney. There is a short stopover in Bangkok arriving at 6:15pm and departing again at 7:20pm. We fly through the night and arrive in Sydney tomorrow morning.

Meals:  B

Our flight is scheduled to arrive in Sydney at 7:20am.Upon arrival into Sydney, trip services conclude.

Meals:  B

What's Included

  • Return economy Thai Airways flights from Sydney to Kathmandu via Bangkok including international airport taxes
  • 20 breakfasts, 19 lunches & 20 dinners (safe drinking water on trek)
  • Use of private vehicle with driver for all airport transfers, sightseeing, & required vehicle transportation
  • Flights Kathmandu/Phaplu & Lukla/Kathmandu US$368 approx
  • Expert bilingual group leader, sirdar, assistant guides and kitchen staff
  • Extensive group medical kit carried at all times
  • Good quality accommodation in Kathmandu (Bhaktapur) at the Pagoda Guesthouse
  • Trek pack including sleeping bag, down or fibre filled jacket, insulated mat and a souvenir World Youth Adventures kit bag
  • All park entrance fees, trekking permits and sightseeing entrance fees
  • Porters to carry all personal and group equipment and porters insurance
  • Extensive sightseeing program throughout the Kathmandu valley
  • Airport transfers in Bangkok and Kathmandu

What's Not Included

  • Meals in transit from Sydney to Kathmandu return
  • $200.00 donation required for the purchase of materials to be used for the community projects. This should not be seen as an out of pocket expense as we encourage this amount to be fundraised through school sanctioned events.
  • Bottled water & aerated drinks
  • Items of a personal nature such as phone calls, email, laundry, etc
  • Tips for trek crew (approx. US$60 per person is suitable)
  • Nepal Visa
  • Travel Insurance (compulsory)

Upcoming Travel Dates

 

AT A GLANCE

Duration:22 Days
Countries:Nepal
Starting Point:Sydney. 12 + Passengers
Activities:Community Project
Trekking
Camping
Grade:Moderate  Click for more information
Trip Code:SOG4975