NEPAL STUDENT SERVICE TRIP AND CULTURAL TOUR
June 28 – July 19, 2018
Designed for high school age students, this educational tour will combine trekking and cultural learning with a service project to improve lives in the Solo-Khumbu region near Mount Everest. Pre-trip reading assignments and meetings (either in person or on-line) will give students background on Nepal’s history and culture. While Farpoints will coordinate all logistics and provide adult safety supervision, this trip is the brain-child of three juniors from Truckee High School who have been to Nepal before and have created this trip as a way to share and give something back for the privilege of such a formative and eye opening adventure!
This trip will take place during Nepal’s monsoon season when the crowds of tourists mostly clear out. While the lack of crowds is a great plus, monsoon travel can be challenging and some delays/adjustments to the itinerary must be expected. Students must be flexible, resilient, and ready for all kinds of challenges!
Day 0: Begin your air travel. If going from the West Coast across the pacific, you will skip over a day while crossing the international date line.
Day 1: Thursday, June 28: Plan your air travel to arrive in Nepal on this day. We will meet you at the airport and transfer you to the Potala Guesthouse in Kathmandu’s Thamel District.
Day 2: We will lead a walking tour of the Thamel area to get students oriented. However, much of this day is left open for students to relax in the peaceful gardens of the hotel and get over jet lag.
Day 3: Vans will take the group on a tour of the most important cultural sites around Kathmandu. We will see Swyambunath (the “Monkey Temple”), Bhoudhanath Stupa (the most important Buddhist site in the country), and Pashupatinath (world heritage Hindu site where cremations are conducted on the Brahmaputra River). All sites will be interpreted by professional guides who will give extensive background and historical perspective.
Day 4: The trek begins! Because monsoon weather frequently grounds plane flights, we will take a chartered helicopter (that can fly in a wider variety of conditions) to the town of Lukla at 9000 feet. We will meet our guides and porters here and then trek an easy 3 hours DOWN to the village of Phakding at 8000 feet.
Day 5: This day is not huge in distance but is quite challenging in altitude gain. We will trek about 6 hours and gain 3000 feet to Namche Bazaar, the “big city” and cultural and economic hub of the whole Everest region.
Day 6: We will spend a second night in Namche as we acclimate to the altitude at 11,000 feet. We will take a hike up to the Everest viewpoint (if weather permits) or simply explore this fascinating hub of Sherpa culture.
Day 7: Trek just a few hours and another 1000 feet up to the Village of Khumjung. This is expected to be the center of our service project, though details will be ironed out as we get closer to the trip date. Our group will be working and staying with a local family, perhaps providing labor to build a home or an addition to the Khumjung school. They may help teach English to Nepali children and/or help to plant/harvest crops. It all just depends on local needs at the time, which are always changing!
Days 8-10: Service work in Khumjung Village.
Day 11: Say goodbye to our Nepali family and continue our trek on up toward Everest. Trek 4-5 hours up to Orsho Village. The group will be well acclimated at this point and should be able to cover more distance easily.
Day 12: Trek from Orsho to Lobuche. This is a big climb of 2000 feet.
Day 13: Trek from Lobuche to Gorak Shep at 16,000 feet. This is the highest permanent settlement below Everest base Camp.
Day 14: Big day! Hike from Gorak Shep, about 3 hours, up to EBC at 17,300 feet. Stop back in Gorak Shep for lunch, and then return to Lobuche for the evening.
Day 15: Trek from Lobuche to Pangboche where we will meet the family of Dasonam Sherpa, the lead guide for our trip. Tour the Pangboche Monastery (the oldest one in the region) and receive blessings from the high lama there.
Day 16: This is the longest hike of the trip, but it descends in altitude! Trek from Pangboche all the way back to Namche. Enjoy a big feast of a dinner and celebrate the return to “civilization.”
Day 17: Another long day, but all feels easy in the fat air as the group descends below 10,000 feet for the first time in weeks. They will trek from Namche all the way back to Lukla.
Day 18: This is a spare day built into the itinerary in case of delays in other parts of the trip. If all goes as planned, we will enjoy a well-earned rest day and spend a second night in Lukla.
Day 19: Arise early and fly back to Kathmandu. We plan to take a plane flight, but if weather does not permit fixed wing aircraft to fly, we will return via helicopter charter. In Kathmandu, we will transfer to the Hotel Yak and Yeti for a “splurge” night. The rest of the day will be open for relaxing by the pool or final bits of shopping and sight-seeing before a group farewell dinner.
Day 20: Begin your flight back to the US.