The country of Nepal holds a special place in a growing number of people’s hearts from across the Seoul Foreign School community. In October, 2016 it will be your opportunity to be part of a team of people who will travel to Nepal to continue the hard work from the previous SFS groups from 2013 and 2014.
You would be hard pressed to find a better introduction to experiencing Nepal than this one. From Nepal's atmospheric capital, Kathmandu we travel to the picturesque town of Pokhara where the Annapurna range stretches out in front like a giant wall. It is here where we venture into the foothills of the Himalaya on a fully supported four day trek escaping Nepal's tourist trails. The low altitude 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. This provides the opportunity to learn about the culture, traditions, social structure and way of life in rural Nepal.
We are assured of a friendly welcome in the village of Dhampus, the site of our 2.50 day Community Service Project at Shree Gyanodaya Primary School. We will be building a fence around the school as well as plastering and repairing seven classrooms which are in desperate need of repair. It will be equally hard work as it will be fascinating, educational and uplifting in every sense. To assist us there will be lots of help from the eager and appreciative local school kids as well as a team of skilled builders who will do the technical tasks. After completing the project we will bid farewell to our new friends and enjoy trekking through interesting villages, whilst always enjoying spectacular views of the peaks high above us. We will follow trails through oak and rhododendron forest and camp in serene locations that showcase dramatic views of the Annapurna range. We return by private vehicle to the beautiful lakeside town of Pokhara before returning to Kathmandu for an opportunity to do some last minute shopping before flying home to Korea.
NB Regarding the earthquake of April, 2015.
From June to September, 2015 World Youth Adventures conducted a thorough review of the Annapurna trekking region. This review focused on trail conditions, bridges, our private campsite infrastructure and the general state of community villages among many other considerations. We’ve also been keen to establish that the entry and departure points for our treks, being road access are reliable. In August, 2015 our findings along with the Nepali governments and independent international engineering firms concluded that the Annapurna Region is open for trekking. The international airport in Kathmandu is fully functional and the accommodation we utilise in Kathmandu, the Radisson Hotel, has received an official ‘green sticker’ which confirms it as structurally sound. Nepal is operating as per usual and tourism is assisting greatly to the recovery. There are no travel warnings or concerns for travel to the areas this itinerary visits. Please contact Philip Wyndham at WYA for more information (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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 Vaishali Hotel located in central Thamel. Due to your flight arriving late at night a full briefing will take place tomorrow morning. Tomorrow will be an exciting and fascinating day exploring historic Kathmandu so we suggest an early night!
Accommodation: Vaishali Hotel www.hotelvaishali.com
Today your adventure really begins! After breakfast you will have a pre-trip briefing 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 in a very central location and is close to a variety of shops and restaurants. Your guide will be able to answer any questions. Today you will embark on a private sightseeing tour taking in the key attractions in and around the Kathmandu valley. In the afternoon we will visit the Kathmandu Environmental Education Project (KEEP) office and meet the staff who will explain how they promote sustainable eco-tourism practices in Nepal for the benefit of both travelers and the local community. The organization seeks to maximize the benefits from tourism and reduce its negative impacts, thereby ensuring the future economic and cultural prosperity of Nepal.
In the afternoon you have time to explore Thamel where you can do some last minute shopping in preparation for your trek. Kathmandu has 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. Tonight in the company of your guide we have organised a welcome dinner at a great Nepalese restaurant located in an old palace, you are sure to remember your first full day in Nepal!
Accommodation: Vaishali Hotel www.hotelvaishali.com
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. Once we have arrived in Pokhara we take a 1 hour drive to Khare and commence our trek to Dhampus (1600m). There is no need to rush. This is a short day with plenty of time to reach camp. The trail ascends quite steeply for the first hour, following a ridge through fields of bamboo clusters to magnificent rhododendron forest and due to the low altitude and autumn season the conditions can be quite warm. 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.
The Shree Gyanodaya Primary School students and staff would be expecting our arrival and we will be welcomed into there village like family, prepare for lots of noise, singing and above all appreciation for the work about to get underway. We will first meet with the local foreman who will take us on a tour of the school showing us what work we will be doing and also conduct a safety briefing. The group will be divided into smaller work teams and each assigned separate tasks. Some of the work across the next 3 days will involve building a wire fence around the school, sanding, preparing then painting the surfaces of any exposed timber work, preparing then plastering the walls, sweeping and general cleaning, light load carrying or possibly some gardening 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 and on budget.
We camp on a site located on a grassy ridge that affords inspiring views of the huge snowy face of Annapurna South and the sacred peak of Machapuchare. There are many different ethnic minorities along the trail, but the predominant people in this area are the Gurungs. Together with the Magar and Chetry peoples, the Gurungs are famous as soldiers in the British Army, better known as Gurkhas.
Approximately 2.0 hours walking.
The existing classrooms at Dhampus Village School are old and in need of our planned restoration. Over the next two days we will engage in assisting the community by completing the required works.
All the necessary building materials will be onsite at the school 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 and it is best to mentally plan and prepare your effort as a marathon and not a sprint. Please be prepared to work in variable weather conditions and wear clothing which you do not mind getting dirty.
Meals are of a high standard and are both nutritious and varied which will be prepared and cooked by the trained World Youth Adventures cooks. All dietary requirements can be accommodated for.
In the late afternoon or evening there will be time for some games with the Nepali students such as football, volleyball or even the Nepalese game of carrom board.
Today will be a huge day to get all the work finished and ready for a handover and celebration later on in the afternoon. There will be a lot of singing and dancing and a plaque will be unveiled acknowledging your hard work. A celebratory meal will be shared in the evening before watching one last time the sun set on the peaks from the comfort of Dhampus village.
After a glorious mountain sunrise we bid farewell to our friends at Shree Gyanodaya Primary School and get back on the trail! We follow it through rhododendron forest before continuing through a series of Gurung villages where lifestyles have not changed substantially over the centuries. Todays trek is a beautiful walk through neat Gurung villages and along well-worn trails busy with local people going about their lives. Life is simple and has not changed much over the centuries. We arrive at the busy trading town and trail head of Khare where we are picked up and transferred back to Pokhara by private vehicle to our permanent campsite.
Walk approximately 3 hours then drive 2 hours
After breakfast we transfer to the airport for our flight to Kathmandu, a spectacular mountain flight along the face of the Himalaya. On arrival we transfer to the hotel where the rest of the day is at leisure to go do some shopping or explore the Kathmandu valley. In the evening a hotel room will be available to freshen up and prepare for your flight home to Seoul. A special Farewell dinner will be enjoyed where you can reflect and celebrate the contribution you have all made to the community of Dhampus and having successfully completed a trek in the Himalayas! An airport transfer will take you to the airport at the required time. Upon arrival at Kathmandu airport all services comes to an end, although the memories will last a lifetime!
Day use at Vaishali Hotel www.hotelvaishali.com
Congratulations for completing an extraordinary service adventure to Nepal and making positive long lasting changes to a remote mountain village.
Per Person, Twin Share