Days 1-2 – International flight to Kathmandu
You will depart as a group for your flight to Kathmandu, Nepal. Please note that due to the time difference, the flight may arrive two calendar days after departure from the U.S.
Day 3 – Kathmandu
Upon arrival in Kathmandu, you will be welcomed by your Tour Manager. You will head to your guesthouse to check in and drop off your bags. You will then take a leisurely stroll around the old city area of Kathmandu, where you will see a variety of Buddhist and Hindu temples and learn about the culture of this fascinating city. You’ll have dinner at your guesthouse.
Note: If the group has a morning or early afternoon arrival, additional costs for meals, activities, transportation, etc. will be added to the cost of the program.
Day 4 – Kathmandu - Bhaktapur City
After breakfast at your guesthouse, you will have the opportunity to spend a full day discovering Bhaktapur City. This city, just 8 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 - Bhakunde
After breakfast at the guesthouse, you will set out for the Children’s Village in Bhakunde with a stop in Pokhara along the way. Upon arrival to Bhakunde, you will be welcomed by the staff and children of the village. You will be given a guided tour of the village and be introduced to the program by one of the staff members. You will take some time to play with the children, and enjoy a traditional Nepalese dinner before retiring to your nearby guesthouse.
Days 6-8 – Service Project and host community
On the first day of your project you will be given a special service project orientation at your service project site. You will learn about your service project and talk with the local community members who will be working with you.
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. 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. You will have your meals with the children at the Children’s Village.
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 one-hour 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, celebrate your time with the community, and enjoy some cultural entertainment, such as local dances and songs.
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 Tour Manager guides you along the 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 Tour Manager 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 the food 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. 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. An ideal vantage point in this pristine village offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountain peaks: Annapurna South, Gangapurna, Annapurna III, Machhapuchhare and Hiunchuli.
Day 11 – Trekking Ghandruk to Pothana
You 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. After that you will continue walking to Pothana. You will have an excellent view of Mt. Fish tail (Machhapuchhare 6697m) from here.
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. 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 your guesthouse near the Children’s Village for your last night in the region.
Day 13 - Pokhara – Kathmandu
After breakfast at the guesthouse, 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 share your final dinner in Kathmandu and celebrate your time in Nepal.
Day 14 – International flight home
After breakfast at the guesthouse, your Nepal adventure will come to a close as you depart for the airport for your flight home.
Note: If the group has an afternoon or evening departure, additional costs for meals, activities, transportation, etc. will be added to the cost of the program.
Day 15 – Arrival home