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 seven 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. The 2.50 day service learning project will take place at the Sanjiwani Public Health Mission, located near the Hindu village of Ghandruk. 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 labourers 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 camp in serene locations that showcase dramatic views of the Annapurna Range.
Completing the trek we return to Pokhara before continuing by private minibus to Royal Chitwan National Park which reveals an unexpected side to Nepal yet an attractive proposition for nature lovers. Located on the Terai at the fringe of the Indian plains, the park boasts diverse forest and grasslands. Time is spent venturing into the wilderness by 4WD or dug-out canoe to view One-horned Black Rhinoceros and Bengal Tigers, Sloth Bear, leopard, jungle cats, wild boar, otter, Langur, Rhesus and the Macaque Monkey.
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 and assist those studying senior geography.
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 Sydney Grammar Peaks, Plains & Project Adventure 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 TG476 at 10:00am arriving in Bangkok at 4:20pm. The flight to Kathmandu unfortunately does not connect and a forced overnight stay is required. Transfers to and from a hotel are provided.
TG 476 19SEP SYD BKK 1000 1620
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! In the evening and in the company of your guide you will head out for a special welcome dinner. Tomorrow will be an exciting and fascinating day exploring historic Kathmandu so we suggest an early night!
Accommodation: Radisson Hotel
TG 319 20 SEP 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). This afternoon is at leisure to explore Kathmandu with your guide and purchase any last minute items for your trek.
Accommodation: Radisson Hotel
After breakfast we transfer to Kathmandu’s domestic terminal to take our flight to Pokhara (827m), the main gateway for trekkers into the Annapurna region. This is one of the most scenic flights in the Himalaya, as we trace the backbone of the monstrous Ganesh, Manaslu and Annapurna ranges.
The flight path heads west up and over the rim of the Kathmandu Valley along the Trisuli River to Pokhara, Nepal’s second largest town. Once we have arrived in Pokhara we take a 1 hour drive to Khare and commence our trek to Dhampus (1900m). 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, with Machapuchare (6993m), Hiunchuli (6441m) and Annapurna South (7219m) in our immediate viewpoint.
Walk approximately 3 hours
Accommodation: Eco Lodge
Today we take the beautiful walk to Landruk (1640m) through rhododendron forests and Gurung villages, where life is simple and has not changed much over the centuries. The walk in the morning includes mostly steep downhill and after lunch we have another 2 hours walk to our camp. Walk approximately 5 hours.
Accommodation: private eco campsite.
Our destination today is easily seen across the valley; the attractive Gurung village of Ghandruk (1740m). Unfortunately 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 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 2.50 days will involve debris clearing, shovelling, 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.
Walk approximately 4 hours
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 recommence our trek which meanders uphill 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 colour. We pass through Tadapani which is a small village with limited campsites, and walk on to reach Ban Thanti, to our eco lodge for overnight.
The walk this morning offers excellent views of the Dhaulagiri range as the trail zigzags until we reach our lunch stop at Ghorepani. This is a sizeable town which is on the main tourist trail. You may wish to wander through the bazaar for a short period following lunch, as there are many Tibetan wares on display and also a bakery or two. Ghorepani is the last stop before we head into the more uninhabited regions of our trek.
Most trekkers to Ghorepani take a pre dawn 45 minute climb to the summit of Poon Hill (3200m), which is a highlight of trekking in the Annapurnas. Depending on the weather we will make the climb in the afternoon, when there are no crowds. From Poon Hill we leave the main trail and traverse on old yak herder trails to a basic lodge at Upper Phulbari. The location affords even more spectacular views which we enjoy from the comfort of our eco lodge and with the luxury of no pre-dawn start, unless of course you chose to photograph the stunning views at sunrise.
Our start this morning is an uphill walk for an hour. We get excellent views of the mountains while walking in the dandas which is higher than Poon Hill. We eat lunch at Jaljala and continue for 2 hours downhill walk till we reach our private eco campsite at Swarga. Our campsite is above Les Par and surrounded by trees. This is a lovely section of our journey, with quiet trails and tiny villages set above the main trails far below.
Have your trekking poles at the ready today as our descent is approx. 1000m. We pass through interesting villages situated on steep rocky hills and terraces. The villages we pass are mixed communities of predominantly Gurung, Brahmin & Chettri. The final descent into Nayapul is 20 minutes on stone stairs. We will board the bus for Pokhara and our private eco camp. Once settled in we highly recommend you take a stroll down to the lake at Pokhara, there are many stores selling Tibetan wares which are less expensive than Kathmandu. The main street running along the lake is vibrant and an interesting place to sit and watch the world go by.
This morning after farewelling your porters and crew, you will transfer to Chitwan National Park by private transport. On arrival we are briefed on the planned activities during our stay and on the park in general. 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 the lodge and commence our activity program. Our accommodation is in 2-bed huts with a private bathroom. Solar heated hot water is available in the afternoons.
Early this morning, we travel out in the safety and comfort of open backed 4WD safari vehicles to see the one-horned rhino. It is a great mode of travel as it allows us to move quietly through the bush and is a great vantage point for viewing. We return by 8:00 am for breakfast. Mid morning, we take a ride in dug-out canoes on the Rapti River, a good site for birdwatching or viewing crocodiles in the warmer months. We return for lunch and take a swim or village walk during mid-afternoon, or possibly another safari drive. If we are lucky, this evening’s entertainment will be a stick dance performed by the local ethnic tribe of the Terai, the Tharu people.
We complete our last safari activity, and we make the journey out of the jungle and back to Kathmandu by vehicle, arriving mid afternoon. There will be time to do some last minute souvenir shopping before heading out for a celebratory 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 04OCT KTM BKK 1330 1815
TG 475 04OCT 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