Day 1 – Sunday 1st December
Arrive into Kathmandu
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
Day 2 – Monday 2nd December
White Water Rafting
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
Day 3 – Tuesday 3rd December
White Water Rafting, then Journey to Pokhara
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
Day 4 – Wednesday 4th December
Trekking: Pokhara to Ghorepani
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
Day 5 – Thursday 5th December
Trekking: Ghorepani – Poon Hill – Tadapani
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
Day 6 – Friday 6th December
Trekking: Tadapani – Nayapul – Pokhara
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
Day 7 – Saturday 7th December
Pokhara to Kathmandu
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
Day 8 – Sunday 8th December
Rest and Explore Kathmandu
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
Days 9 to 13 – Monday 9th to Friday 13th December
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
Day 14 – Saturday 14th December
Return to Kathmandu and Departure
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!
An Important Note about Schedule Changes:
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.
What is unique about the Pathfinders Nepal Yeti Expedition?
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!
What do students generally like most about this 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.
What will the accommodation be like?
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.
Is trekking dangerous?
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.
How often can I do laundry?
Laundry can be washed by hand at any time. It is best to pack without the expectation of doing laundry.
How much money should I bring?
AUS $100-$200 depending on the number of souvenirs and snacks you would like.
Can I bring a cell phone?
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.
What sort of electrical voltage adapters do I need to bring?
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.
What is the weather like?
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.
What should I wear?
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.
How often will I have access to email and phones?
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.
Who will the staff members be on the trip? How many staff members will there be?
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.
Who will the other Rustic Pathways students be?
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.
What kind of food will I eat? What if I have certain dietary restrictions?
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!
What water is available for drinking?
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!
Where is the nearest healthcare?
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.
Is your staff qualified in First Aid?
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.
Do we need to get visas for this program?
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.
Will there be a flight leader to this country?
Participants will not be accompanied by a flight leader. Our program staff will greet participants when they arrive at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu.
How long is the flight to this country?
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.
Does the advertised trip length include international travel time?
No, the 14 day trip length only takes into account time in-country.
What time should I arrive and depart?
Please book flights that arrive into Kathmandu on the afternoon of December 1 and depart in the afternoon of December 14.
Which areas does this program operate in?
This program operates in Kathmandu, along the Trishuli River, in Pokhara, in the Annapurna Conservation Area and in Kavrepalanchowk district
What is the ratio of Program Leaders to participants?
Rustic Pathways maintains a minimum of 1 Program Leader for every 7 participants.
What immunizations do we need to get for this trip?
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.
What is my membership with International SOS?
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.
What costs are not included on this trip?
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.
What service projects will I work on and how are the projects identified?
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.
Rustic Pathways understands that risk is an inherent aspect in any student travel program. We travel to remote destinations, many of which have limited access to the definitive medical care and emergency systems that are commonly found in the developed world. However, risk is an essential component of personal growth. Taking risks such as trying new foods, summiting a demanding peak, journeying through undeveloped areas, and challenging existing world-views, are all part of the learning process while traveling. We believe that the positive transformations our students undergo are a direct result of carefully managed risk.
Our Approach to Risk Management
Risk management begins with a process of identifying potential risks, then evaluating their potential outcomes and likelihoods. We use this information to formulate a management plan to mitigate risk through prevention and to outline appropriate response measures. Risk Management at Rustic Pathways occurs on four levels: company-wide, country operation, program specific and medical screening.
- At the global level, our Safety and Risk Management Director works year-round to establish global policies, support local country teams, and train all levels of staff on emergency response activities.
- Country Directors maintain risk management plans for each program offered and location visited, perform safety assessments on service providers, and monitor local conditions through a mix of on-the-ground contact, DFAT, and other government agencies.
- Our Program Leaders are trained on localised risks and focus attention on the safety and well-being of our students. These combined efforts are complemented by our partnership with International SOS, a leading provider of international medical consultation, emergency evacuations, and urgent travel services.
- Each participant completes our medical and emergency information enrolment form. The information in each form is reviewed by our medical screening team well before the trip begins to ensure participation is safe and appropriate for each student.
We recommend that students and families read through the DFAT Smart Traveller information about travel to Nepal. This information can be found at this link and relevant excerpts have been pasted below.
Physical and mental health
Consider your physical and mental health before travelling, especially if you have an existing medical condition.
- At least eight weeks before you depart, see your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and implications for your health.
- Get vaccinated before you travel.
Not all medications available over the counter or by prescription in Australia are available in other countries. Some may even be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.
Before you leave Australia, check if your medication is legal in each country you're travelling to and find out if any quantity restrictions or certification requirements apply. Consult your doctor about alternatives well in advance of travel
Take legal prescription medicine with you so you remain in good health. Carry copies of your prescription and a letter from your doctor stating what the medicine is, how much you'll take and that it's for personal use only.
More information: Prescription medicines
Air quality in Nepal varies considerably, especially in winter. Some towns, including Kathmandu, experience very high levels of seasonal smog and heavy particulate pollution. Seek medical advice if you're concerned about the effects of air pollution.
More information: Pollution levels in Kathmandu
Travellers who ascend to altitudes greater than 2,500m are at risk of developing altitude sickness, also known as acute mountain sickness (AMS), particularly if the ascent is rapid. Altitude sickness can be life threatening and can affect anyone, even the physically fit. Those at greater risk include people who have had altitude sickness before, who exercise or drink alcohol before adjusting to the altitude, or who have health problems that affect breathing.
If you plan to travel to altitude, see your doctor beforehand for advice specific to you and your situation.
Malaria is a risk in Nepal's Terai (plains) and Hill districts and Chitwan National Park. Other mosquito-borne diseases (including dengue fever and Japanese encephalitis) also occur, including in some areas of Kathmandu.
Protect yourself against mosquito-borne illnesses:
- ensure your accommodation is mosquito proof
- take measures to avoid insect bites, including using insect repellent and wearing long, loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing
- consider taking medication, such as prophylaxis against malaria
- get vaccinated against Japanese encephalitis before you travel.
HIV/AIDS is prevalent. Exercise appropriate precautions if engaging in activities that expose you to risk of infection.
Other infectious diseases
Water-borne, food-borne, parasitic and other infectious diseases (including typhoid, cholera, hepatitis, swine flu, leptospirosis and rabies) are common, with more serious outbreaks occurring from time to time. Highly contagious eye problems such as conjunctivitis are common after the monsoon season.
- Maintain good personal hygiene, including regular and thorough handwashing.
- Boil all drinking water or drink bottled water.
- Avoid ice cubes.
- Avoid raw and undercooked food.
- Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering from diarrhoea.
If you're bitten by a stray dog, monkey or other mammal:
- immediately wash the wound vigorously with soap and water
- seek urgent medical treatment for potential rabies infection.
Medical facilities in Nepal are very limited, particularly outside Kathmandu. In Kathmandu, treatment at international-standard clinics is expensive and up-front payment for services is generally required.
If you become seriously ill or injured, you'll need to be evacuated to a destination with the appropriate facilities. Medical evacuation can be very expensive.
Natural disasters, severe weather and climate
Nepal experiences earthquakes, landslides, floods and severe weather. Major natural disasters can lead to injuries and deaths, disruptions to transport and essential services, damage to infrastructure, food shortages and health issues.
Be prepared for a major emergency, including by maintaining a functional emergency kit that includes first aid supplies and water treatment or stocks.
If a natural disaster occurs:
- secure your passport in a safe, waterproof location or carry it on you at all times (in a waterproof bag).
- closely monitor local media and other sources such as the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System
- follow the advice of local authorities
- contact friends and family in Australia with regular updates about your welfare and whereabouts
- avoid unnecessary travel to affected regions.
Nepal is in a highly active earthquake region. Earthquakes and tremors are common.
On 25 April 2015, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck Nepal, causing a large number of fatalities. Extensive damage was sustained to buildings, including in the capital, Kathmandu. Avalanches and landslides occurred in the Solukhumbu (Everest) and Langtang regions. A number of aftershocks over magnitude 5 followed, including another earthquake of magnitude 7.3 on 12 May 2015.
More information: Earthquakes
Landslides, floods and avalanches
Landslides and floods resulting in deaths occur regularly in Nepal, especially during the monsoon season (June-September). Major roads and all trekking areas can be affected. Avalanches can occur at any time of year.
Severe weather events, such as storms and blizzards, can occur with little or no warning, particularly in the Himalayas.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION FROM RUSTIC PATHWAYS
ABOUT THE RUSTIC PATHWAYS ORGANISATION
Rustic Pathways Travel Pty Ltd is the Australian division of the international Rustic Pathways organisation, and is based in the State of Victoria, Australia. Rustic Pathways Travel Pty Ltd operates in conjunction with, and at times contracts, other international Rustic Pathways companies to operate its programs, including Rustic Pathways (USA) Inc. and Rustic Pathways Australia. Collectively, these companies are here forth referred to as “We” and "Rustic Pathways.”
CANCELLATIONS, ITINERARY CHANGES & REFUNDS
Rustic Pathways reserves the right to cancel, alter, reschedule or amend any or all programs offered at any time. If a trip is cancelled by Rustic Pathways prior to the beginning of that trip, Rustic Pathways will refund all payments made by the applicant. If a trip is cancelled by Rustic Pathways once it has begun, a portion of the applicant's total payments will be refunded.
Once your application and deposit has been received, cancellation by you results in a penalty.
- Cancellation by you more than 65 days prior to the participant’s scheduled departure date results in a loss of a $200 non-refundable deposit.
- Cancellation by you between 64 days and 30 days prior to the participant’s scheduled departure date: results in a loss of 40% of your total trip cost.
- Cancellation by you between 29 and 22 days prior to participant’s scheduled departure date results in a loss of 70% of your total trip cost.
- Cancellation by you less than 22 days prior to participant’s scheduled departure date results in the loss of 100% of your total trip cost.
LIABILITY WAIVERS, RELEASES, MEDICAL DISCLOSURES & RULES
Both participants and their parents will be required to sign and comply with various liability waivers and releases prior to the beginning of any Rustic Pathways trip. These forms will be sent with your Welcome Email.
WHAT WE EXPECT FROM PARTICIPANTS
Rustic Pathways expects participants to be enthusiastic, cooperative and appreciative of the opportunities afforded to them through our programs. The use of illegal drugs, tobacco and the consumption of alcohol is strictly forbidden on all programs. Trips sometimes operate under difficult and challenging conditions and Rustic Pathways expects participants to be cooperative and attentive at all times. Rustic Pathways reserves the right to remove any student from any trip at any time without any refund if a student uses drugs, alcohol or tobacco, endangers the lives of other students, or consistently disregards staff instructions. Students who use drugs, alcohol or tobacco, possess an uncooperative attitude or are unwilling to work happily within a team environment should not apply for a Rustic Pathways program.
Travel insurance is not included in the program package as some families may already have their own insurance through private health, credit cards or annual policies. Parents must ensure that their child is fully covered for any medical expenses that may be incurred during their trip.
Rustic Pathways can provide travel insurance through QBE upon request. Please contact us for details.
TRAVEL HEALTH, VACCINATIONS AND INOCULATIONS
For up to date information about health risks in Nepal, please visit www.smartraveller.gov.au – Australian Government Travel Advice.
For legal reasons, Rustic Pathways does not provide advice on immunizations. We strongly suggest that participants’ travel plans are discussed with the family doctor who can review students’ medical situation and suggest any special preparation that may be needed. No specific injections are required by Rustic Pathways. More information on health and safety issues can be found in our Pre-Departure Guide. For additional travel information, we also find the following websites to be excellent resources:www.traveldoctor.com.au – The Travel Doctor
www.smartraveller.gov.au – Australian Government Travel Advice
www.cdc.gov - Centre of Disease Control (US)
Our comprehensive trip information guide will be provided approximately one month prior to departure. This document contains important information that participants will need for the trip including packing lists, rules, regulations and additional information about their program.
We are thrilled that you are considering joining us on this program. Please feel free to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like any further information. Rustic Pathways programs are life-shaping experiences for young adults, and we hope this is the start of a wonderful journey for you!
Meredith (Meme) Bill