Day 1 – International flight departure
You will depart as a group for your flight to Nepal
Day 2 – International flight arrival to Kathmandu
Today you may have a layover en route before continuing to Nepal. Upon arrival in Kathmandu at night, your Program Leader will welcome you. You will head to your guesthouse to check in and drop off your bags.
Today you will have a sightseeing tour of Kathmandu City, including a leisurely stroll around the old city of Kathmandu, where you will see a variety of Buddhist and Hindu temples and learn about the culture of this fascinating city. In addition to your walking tour, you will be sure to visit the holy sites of the Pashupatinath Temple, on the banks of the Bagmati River and the ancient Boudhnath Stupa, one of the largest in the world. You’ll have all meals at your guesthouse.
Day 4 – Kathmandu - Bhaktapur City
After breakfast at your guesthouse, you will spend a full day discovering Bhaktapur City. This city, just eight miles from Kathmandu city, is an important home of medieval art and architecture. In Bhaktapur City, you will visit famous Durbar Square, the Palace of 55 Windows, Nyatapole temple, as well as several other interesting temples and places around the Durbar Square area. You will also have the chance to enjoy a Nepalese meal in Bhaktapur City. In the evening you will return to your guesthouse for dinner and have some free time to relax in preparation for the adventures ahead.
Day 5 – Kathmandu - Pokhara
After breakfast at the guesthouse, you will set out for the Children’s Village near Pokhara. The Children’s Village is a special place that provides orphans and other underprivileged children with accommodation, food, daily care, medical support, free school education and career advancement. Upon arrival, the staff and children of the village will welcome you. You will take a guided tour of the village and be introduced to the program by one of the staff members. You’ll take some time to play with the children and enjoy a traditional Nepalese dinner before heading to your lodging for the night.
Days 6 - 8 – Service Project and host community
On the first day of your project you will be given a special welcome orientation at the service project site. You will learn about your service project and talk with the local community members who will work with us.
For the next few days, you will work on a much-needed project in your host community. The community project is the heart of your trip - an excellent way to bond with your new friends through service. Depending on the time of year and the size of your group, your project work will likely include helping in the construction and preparing of a new elementary school for the local children, including those from the Children’s Village.
In your free time, you will enjoy such activities as playing with the local children and community members, participating in a cultural program and taking a breathtaking sunrise tour to Sarangkot. Each evening you will return to your guest house lodging on the Children’s Village grounds after dinner.
Day 9 – Pokhara and farewell at the Children’s Village
After breakfast you will head out on a sightseeing tour of Pokhara City. You will enjoy a short boat ride on the famous Phewa Lake of Pokhara before visiting the World Peace Pagoda and the Mountaineering Museum.
In the evening you will return to the village where you will share a farewell dinner prepared by the house mothers and celebrate your time with the community. You will enjoy some very special cultural entertainment, including a dance and musical program organized by the children.
Note: The farewell dinner and entertainment may instead take place on Day 12 after the group returns from the trek as the group will be staying again at the Children’s Village that evening.
Introduction to trekking:
Over the next several days you will be trekking through the Annapurna Sanctuary, a beautiful area with many spectacular mountain peaks. You will be doing what is called “Tea House Trekking”, the most popular form of trekking in Nepal. A tea house is a basic lodge that offers a bed and meals, and in most of the tea houses you can get hot showers. Tea House Trekking involves stopping each night to eat and sleep at a local tea house along the route. Your Program Leader guides you along your route, organizing everything with the local tea houses so all you need to do after hiking all day is rest and relax.
Although many tea houses and hotels in the hills and mountains are reasonably comfortable, some may be very basic. Your Program Leader will ensure that the places you eat and stay have at least the minimum levels of comfort - a clean room, hot water showers and a reasonable menu of good local and foreign dishes. One of the greatest benefits of Tea House Trekking is that you will get to meet and experience the real life of rural people firsthand.
Usually your day on a Tea House Trek starts around 7:00 a.m. After breakfast, you set off along your route for the day. After walking for 3-4 hours you stop for lunch around midday. The afternoon walk is generally shorter and you usually arrive at your destination in time for afternoon tea. The remainder of the afternoon can be spent exploring the village, doing a bit of washing or simply relaxing with a good book. After dinner, you will often spend the evening playing cards and reliving the day’s adventures before retiring for a well-earned sleep.
On the Tea House Trek you will share rooms with same gender members of your group. Beds are either single or double beds; double beds will be shared by two people. Rooms are basic, normally just a bed with a pillow and blankets. A few have electric lights and all have a spacious dining room/lounge. The food at the Tea Houses is delicious, safe to eat and usually plentiful. They offer a variety of foods for breakfast such as: toast, different styles of eggs, pancakes, porridge or granola with milk served with coffee or tea. For lunch and dinner there is a variety of options such as potatoes, curries, rice, noodles, pasta, pizza, spring rolls and Nepali food among others. Often there is also soup, seasonal fruit and seasonal vegetables. Snacks such as crackers, candy bars and other chocolates and soft drinks are also available for personal purchase.
Day 10 – Trekking Pokhara to Ghandruk
You will take a one and a half hour drive to Nayapul and then walk to Birethanti (3,412 feet/1,040 meters). After Birethanti, you walk along the terraced fields beneath the splendid panorama of awe-inspiring glaciated Himalayan mountain ranges. After passing a flatland, forest, cultivated lands and a suspension bridge over the Khumnu Khola you arrive at the beautiful village of Ghandruk. This is the biggest Gurung village in the region. Most of the men are retired army personnel while the women are hard-working and busy with weaving or household chores. An ideal vantage point in this pristine village offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountain peaks: Annapurna South, Gangapurna, Annapurna III, Machhapuchhare and Hiunchuli.
Note: Walking time this day is approximately 4 hours.
Day 11 – Trekking Ghandruk to Pothana
You will descend down through the paved courtyards of Ghandruk village past several tea houses. After crossing a stream on a suspension bridge the trail emerges in the main Main Modi Khola Valley and reaches Tolkha via Landrung (5,400 feet/1,646 meters). After crossing the suspension bridge, there is a steep climb of about an hour to reach Landrung village. Lunch will be at Tolka and after that you will continue walking to Pothana. You will have an excellent view of Mt. Fish Tail from here (also known as Machhapuchhare, a sacred peak which towers 22,943 feet/6,993 meters high).
Note: Walking time this day is approximately 7 hours.
Day 12 – Trekking Pothana to Pokhara
You will follow the trail with paved stones through the spectacular rhododendron forest. You will arrive in the village of Dhampus (5,577 feet/1,700 meters). It is inhabited by a mix of people: Gurung, Brahman and Magar communities. From here you will finish your trek on a mostly downhill section through fields to forest to Phedi. You will be picked up here in your minibus and take a 30-minute drive to Pokhara. You will return to the Children’s Village for dinner and to guest house to sleep for your last night in the region.
Note: Walking time this day is approximately 4 hours.
Day 13 – Pokhara - Kathmandu
After breakfast at the lodge, you will head back to Kathmandu. Upon arrival in Kathmandu, you will check into your guesthouse run by older youth (9th and 10th graders) from the Children’s Village. You will have some time to interact with the youth at the guesthouse and enjoy some free time in the afternoon. In the evening you will have a special dinner in Kathmandu and celebrate your time in Nepal.
Day 14 – International flight home
After breakfast at the guesthouse you will have a full day sightseeing tour of Bungmati and then of Patan City, a city known officially as “Lalitpur”, literally “City of Beauty” and well known for its art and handicrafts. You will have lunch at a local restaurant and time to shop for some special souvenirs. After a quick dinner at the guesthouse, your Nepal adventure will come to a close as you depart for the airport for your flight out of Kathmandu that departs just before midnight.
You will continue on your flight home.