Rustic Pathways has been operating high school travel programs to Nepal since 2013. Our programs stretch from the wild jungles of Chitwan National Park to the peaks of the mighty Himalayas. We have a team of friendly and welcoming staff in Nepal, who bring a wealth of local knowledge to our programs. This program offers an exciting blend of cultural-immersion, service and adventure that will inspire, challenge and enrich you!
Arrive into Kathmandu International Airport where you will find your local Nepalese Rustic Pathways leaders waiting for you outside of baggage claim. From the airport you’ll be transported to our base hotel in Kathmandu. Enjoy the sights and sounds of Kathmandu and get to know your Rustic Pathways leaders during a day of orientation. Overnight: Hotel, Kathmandu
Have breakfast at the hotel this morning and then hit the road. You’ll drive for a couple of hours to the Trisuli River, named for the powerful trident of the Hindu god Shiva. This is the start location for your next adventure – white water rafting! Get a briefing from our white water partner company and set out on your rafts down the river. You’ll pass through Snell’s Nose, Monkey, and Teen Devi rapids today, then head to the shore for an overnight at a river camp. Have dinner at the resort, debrief your experience today and spend an hour sharing stories around a campfire. Head to bed later for a much needed rest! Overnight: River Camp, Trisuli River
Wake up for a hot breakfast with the sun and get ready for some more action. You’ll head back onto the river today for your next run through rapids such as Monsoon, Upset, and Coffee Pot. Run the river to lower elevations and head to shore at your take out point. You’ll break for lunch on the shore, dry off and pack up for a road trip to Pokhara, nepal’s second largest city. The drive passes trough some incredible scenery, so sit back and enjoy the countryside of Nepal pass by. This evening, enjoy a walk through the streets of Pokhara and then have your final trek orientation over dinner. Overnight: Hotel Snowland, Pokhara
After breakfast, put on your trekking shoes and get into to the bus for a short drive to Nayapul, the starting point for the trek. Start your day with a steep ascent to Ulleri where you get your first view of the Himalayas, then continue through Asia’s biggest rhododendron forests. You can observe colourful flowers while you trek and reach your destination Ghorepani after walking 6-7 hours and stop for the night. Overnight: Tea House, Ghorepani
Today, you’ll wake up at the crack of dawn for an early climb to the summit of Poon Hill (3200m). Here, we’ll watch the sun rise across a magnificent Himalayan panoramas and sit in awe of the highest mountain range in the entire world. After breakfast follow a long ridge through rhododendron forests to Deurali. You will then walk through impressive river gorges with the chance to see Langur monkeys in the trees. Your destination today is Tadapani. Overnight: Tea House, Tadapani
Today after breakfast you will trek back to Nayapul and later drive to Pokhara. Check-in to hotel and relax, catch up on sleep as you will start your volunteer work for the next few days. Overnight: Hotel, Pokhara
After breakfast say goodbyes to your homestay families and hop on the bus for the ride back to Katmandu. Arrive Kathmandu and spend your evening participating in a group discussion about your village experience. Overnight: Hotel Pilgrims, Katmandu
Today, after a well deserved sleep-in, head out to explore some of Kathmandu’s most exciting landmarks and attractions. First will be stop Durbar Square, where you will learn about the Malla and Shah rules of Kathmandu valley. Next it’s off to Asan bazaar. Here you’ll get a guided tour of the local market and learn how to make sense of the seeming chaos of people, bicycles, and motorbikes. Sample Nepali spices and herbs and understand the economies of local clothing and Tibetan wholesale items. Break for lunch outside the market and then head to the beautiful stupa of Swayambunath. Perched atop a hill in the Kathmandu valley, this UNESCO World Heritage site is a famous Buddhist monument and pilgrimage site. On your way up to the stupa, keep you eyes peeled for the holy monkeys that play in the surrounding forest and bathe in the fountains of Swayambunath. Learn about the history of this monument, then watch as the sun sets over the Himalayan peaks outside the valley. Overnight: Mechchhe Village Homestays, Kavre District
Today, head to Rayale Village in Kavrepalanchowk district, just outside the Kathmandu valley where you’ll be based for the next five days. During your time in the village, you’ll stay with a local Nepali family and dig into your service projects. The specific projects will be defined closer to the program start date, as that will allow us to better assess the needs of the village, but could include construction, education, or environmental service. During the days, work hard on your service projects and in the evenings spend time soaking in the deep but friendly culture of Nepal. Learn Nepali cooking with your homestay family, play games in the village, and continue to debrief your experiences with your program leaders. On your last day in the village, celebrate your time with a farewell party. Put on traditional Nepali dress and be prepared for singing and dancing – a favourite Nepali pastime. Overnight: Homestay, Rayale Village
This morning, say goodbye to your homestay family and hop on the bus for the ride back to Kathmandu. After a group photograph and some Namastes with Team Nepal, it will be time to board your flight home. We hope the people you’ve met, experiences you’ve had and lessons you’ve learned will help guide you in all future endeavours. Safe travels and we hope to see you again soon!
Rustic Pathways reserves the right to change, alter, or amend the daily itinerary for this trip at any time. Changes can be made for various reasons including changes in flight or program schedules, changes in the schedules of various external tours incorporated in our trips, the addition of new activities into a trip, or the substitution of an old activity for a new activity. The itinerary shown here provides a good outline of the anticipated daily schedule for this program. As with any travel program, some changes may occur.
This program is unique as Rustic Pathways rarely offers programs in Nepal. Our in country operations can’t support a huge number of students there, but that makes the programs we do run there very unique and special. This program offers a chance to experience all of the extremes of this breathtaking country, from rafting the mighty Trishuli river to trekking high into the Himalayas, to living with caring local host families. It is an incredibly, one-of-a-kind program!
Students fall in love with the colourful and kind Nepali culture, and tell us that spending time within the magical Himalayas is an unforgettable experience that they will remember for life.
Accommodation on this program will be quite varied, ranging from hotels in Kathmandu and Pokhara, staying in tents at a beautiful river camp during the rafting portion of the program, tea houses while trekking (tea houses are very basic hotels with simple beds and shared bathrooms), and homestays living with local village families during the service portion of the trip.
The dangers when trekking are those present during any strenuous physical activity – mainly dehydration. These risks are mitigated by paying close attention to how you’re feeling and being sure to eat and drink regularly. Additionally, the trekking on this program does reach quite high elevations where some people have been known to experience minor elevation sickness. The signs of this are quite clear and your program leaders will be well-versed in what to do should a student show signs of being affected by the elevation. The solution is simple – backtrack to lower elevation. The elevation reached on this program is not extremely high and cases of elevation sickness are quite rare.
Laundry can be washed by hand at any time. It is best to pack without the expectation of doing laundry.
AUS $100-$200 depending on the number of souvenirs and snacks you would like.
Participants are allowed to bring phones on their Rustic Pathways program, but must abide by our cell phone policy. Participants will not be allowed to use their phones during group activities, nor at any other time where it is disruptive to the group dynamic. If participants are unable to abide by this policy, disciplinary action may be taken.
Australia’s power voltage is close enough to Nepal’s that you don’t need a converter, but you will need an adapter. Nepal uses 3 different types of sockets – type C,D and M. It is probably best to bring an adapter that has multiple attachments for different socket types.
December is the beginning of winter in Nepal, so you should expect it to be quite cold. In Kathmandu the average highs are around 15 degrees celcius and lows around 8, although it can go below zero. Pokhara is warmer with highs in the low 20s. You should be prepared for very cold weather on the trek, hovering right around freezing. Rain is not common in December, but is possible.
On trips like this where the temperature can vary widely, layers are your friend. A warm, winter puffy jacket that can pack down quite small is a great idea, as well as a rain jacket, a fleece sweater, quick-drying hiking pants and shirts, and some thermal underwear. Nepal’s culture is quite conservative so please bring clothes that aren’t too revealing. When you visit temples, your knees and shoulders need to be covered. Around town, jeans and t-shirts are fine. Don’t feel like you need to buy a bunch of new clothes for this program – a lot of what you already have at home will work great.
Internet access will not be frequent on this program, but SIM cards with 3g can be purchased quite cheaply. However, phone service may be spotty or nonexistent in the mountains and small towns. Participants are not allowed to use cell phones during scheduled program activities.
Safe arrival emails will be sent out when participants settle in country. Participants will have the opportunity at least once during the week to check the Internet in town.
Each trip is staffed by a combination of western (American/Australian) and Nepali leaders, and in most cases each team will include a nationally licensed guide, a western man and a western woman. We never have less than one staff member for every five students.
You will be with other Australian students between the ages of 17 – 19. You may find yourself in a smaller, cozier setting or part of a big high-energy crew.
We will eat a wide variety of Nepali and ethnic food, as well as the occasional Western meal. Nepali food has some incredible flavours, and this trip will awaken your tastes you didn’t even know existed. Delicious dhal curries, succulent momo dumplings, warm and spicy chai teas – you’re in for a treat! Almost all dietary concerns can be accommodated, but please alert us of any relevant restrictions beforehand just to make sure. Vegetarians welcome!
All the water you drink on this trip will be either bottled, boiled, or treated. Bringing a reusable water bottle is mandatory. Bottled water is safe and readily available in the cities and towns of Nepal, and when trekking, water that is either boiled or treated with purification tablets is absolutely safe. The Himalayan mountain water is clear and delicious!
There are great hospitals with an international standard of care in both Pokhara and Kathmandu. The urgency of the need for medical care would determine means of evacuation to hospital – we can arrange both on-ground transport to these hospitals, or air evacuation in case of emergency.
Safety is a top priority, and all of our programs have staff certified with First Aid and CPR training. Many of our guides are also qualified Wilderness First Responders, EMTs, Wilderness EMTs, or lifeguards.
You do need a visa to enter Nepal, but Australian citizens can purchase it on arrival into the airport in Kathmandu. A single-entry visa can be for 15, 30 or 90 days. At Tribhuvan International Airport, the fee is payable in major currencies. Please be sure to have enough cash with you to purchase the appropriate visa.
You must have a valid visa in your passport to leave Nepal. If your visa has expired, you’ll need to extend it at the Department of Immigration before you depart. If you overstay your visa, you can be detained or refused permission to leave until a fine is paid. The amount of the fine is based on the number of days you overstayed your visa.
Participants will not be accompanied by a flight leader. Our program staff will greet participants when they arrive at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu.
The travel time depends upon where in Australia you are flying from and the length of the layover between your flights. No airlines fly directly from Australia to Nepal so you will need to connect through another country with a major airport that flies to Nepal. It is common to connect through Bangkok – using this as an example, the flight from Melbourne to Bangkok is 9 hours 38 minutes, and the flight from Bangkok to Kathmandu is 3 hours 15 minutes.
No, the 14 day trip length only takes into account time in-country.
Please book flights that arrive into Kathmandu on the afternoon of December 1 and depart in the afternoon of December 14.
This program operates in Kathmandu, along the Trishuli River, in Pokhara, in the Annapurna Conservation Area and in Kavrepalanchowk district
Rustic Pathways maintains a minimum of 1 Program Leader for every 7 participants.
Please consult with a travel doctor or your family physician for immunization and other medical recommendations, based on the area(s) where you will be traveling and on your own medical history. In addition to consulting with a medical professional, please visit the following websites for country specific information around immunizations and traveller’s health. Please let us know if you have specific questions.
www.traveldoctor.com.au – The Travel Doctor
www.smartraveller.gov.au – Australian Government Travel Advice
www.cdc.gov – Centre of Disease Control (US)
International SOS is one of the world’s leading providers of medical evacuation and travel services. All participants traveling with Rustic Pathways will have access to International SOS benefits through Rustic Pathways’ membership.
As a member you will have access to International SOS’s extensive travel information database to help you make informed decisions prior to travel. Additionally, all travellers who travel outside their country of residence will have access to medical evacuation support during their program.
Personal gifts, Internet, phone calls, and snacks are not included. All other costs (accommodation, meals, in-country transportation, and activities) are included in the program price.
Rustic Pathways works with local community leaders and organisations to identify and prioritise the needs of each community. This program will focus on various education and infrastructure initiatives.