Rebuild Nepal and Annapurna Trek

On April 25, 2015, 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck the Himalayan nation of Nepal causing large scale destruction. As of now, the number of deaths is about 9,000, the number of the injured is more than 13,000 and about 8 million Nepali people have been affected. It is the deadliest natural disaster in Nepal in more than 81 years.

The scale of destruction is so grand that Nepal alone can’t deal with it and therefore we need the help of foreigners like you. We have designed this voluntrekking itinerary in such a way that you at first spend your time in rebuilding activities in the remote villages of Gorkha which lie at the epicentre of the deadly earthquake. And then you trek in Annapurna region, where the effect of the earthquake is less and trekking is possible and safe.

For volunteering, we have chosen Gorkha for deploying the foreign volunteers like you because, first, the epicentre of the devastating earthquake was in this region. Second, it is the remote part of Nepal and close to Tibet, away from city like Kathmandu, so earthquake disaster relief hasn’t reached here as much as it should. The people of Gorkha are helpless, suffering and need your help. And third, most of our trekking guides and porters from local company Ace the Himalaya is from Gorkha region. They have lost their houses but luckily none of them have lost their family members.

So, when you book this trip and come to Nepal, you will be doing a great service to the earthquake-affected people of Gorkha. These people haven’t got enough assistance from the government. They are helpless. It’s people like you who they need in rebuilding their houses and carrying on with their lives.

Price: AUD1625 per person

Duration: 13 Days

Trek Ratings: Activity 2 / Conditions 3 / Accommodation 2&4 / Training/Preparation 2

Best Season: January to June and September to December

Country Visited: Nepal

Trip Start: Kathmandu

Trip Ends: Kathmandu

Destination: Gorkha & Annapurna

Trip Route: Kathmandu-Gorkha Village-Pokhara-Nayapul- Ghorepani-Poon Hill-Ghandruk -Nayapul-Pokhara-Kathmandu

Trip Style: Guided Constructive Activities and Guided Trekking

Activity: Volunteering/Day Hike

Activity Per Day: Approximately 3 to 5 hrs of volunteering activities per day in village and 4 to 5 hrs walking per days during the trek

Day 01 Arrive in Kathmandu (1,400 m). Overnight at Hotel.
Day 02 Trip orientation at breakfast and same day drive to Gorkha. Overnight at Tented Camp.
Days 03-06 The Rebuilding Activities. Overnight at Tented Camp.
Day 07 Drive to Pokhara (900 m). Overnight at Hotel in Pokhara.
Day 08 Drive to Nayapul (1,010 m) and Trek to Ulleri (2,070 m) – 4 hours. Overnight at Guesthouse.
Day 09 Trek to Ghorepani (2,840 m) – 5 hours. Overnight at Guesthouse.
Day 10 Hike Up to Poon Hill (3,210 m) and Trek to Ghandruk (1,940 m) – 8 hours. Overnight at Guesthouse.
Day 11 Trek to Nayapul and Drive to Pokhara – 5 hour. Overnight at Hotel.
Day 12 Drive to Kathmandu and Farewell Dinner. Overnight at Hotel.
Day 13 Transfer to the airport for your final departure.

Day 01 Arrival in Kathmandu airport (1345 metres).
You arrive at Tribhuvan Int’l Airport in Kathmandu. Our representative will receive you and transfer you to a hotel in Kathmandu.

Overnight at Hotel
No meals

Day 02 Trip orientation at breakfast and same day drive to Gorkha.
On this day, we transport you to one of the villages of Gorkha which lie at the epicenter of the earthquake. We will use 4WD jeeps and you have to do a few hours of walking too. Our focus is on five villages: Aruchanaute, Arbang, Manbu, Thumi and Arupokhari. Depending upon the size of group, we will decide whether your group will go to one village or two or more. The journey from Kathmandu to the villages can take from 7 to 9 hours.

Overnight at Tented Camp
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Days 03-06 The Rebuilding Activities .
The rebuilding activities of the houses of the village start on this day and will continue for the time of 4 days. You won’t be engaging on works that require technical expertise. The activities you will do are simple: carrying housing equipment like stones, sand, cement, tin, iron rods etc, mixing sand and cement, painting the walls of the houses and so on. For activities needing technical skills, we will hire building professionals. But if you have skills, then you can help them in their work and make things easier.

We will be focusing mainly on re-using the resources like woods, bamboo; stones, useful rods especially from the damaged houses which can minimise the cost of building new houses and the fund can be utilised in buying other needy materials. For this we will definitely discuss with the locals and inspect those damaged house so as to re-utilise the resources. The houses will be more eco-friendly by utilising the local materials and also the local family can repair by themselves if its required.

You don’t necessarily have to do only the works we have mentioned above. You can do anything you see as absolutely essential. All that matters is that you help the victims of the earthquake of Gorkha to lessen their suffering and to get back on their feet.Overnight at a tented camp.

Overnight at Tented Camp
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 07 Drive to Pokhara (900 m).
On this day, 4WD jeeps will transfer you to Pokhara, the Lake City of Nepal. It is the starting point of treks in Annapurna region. Since the effect of the 7.8-magnitude earthquake is less in and around Pokhara, trekking to Poon Hill is possible. The drive from the villages to Pokhara takes about 7 hours.

Overnight at Hotel
Breakfast

Day 08 Drive to Nayapul (1,010 m) and Trek to Ulleri (2,070 m) – 4 hours.
This day is the start of your trek in Annapurna region. At first, take a an hour drive to Nayapul, and the trek will begin. You will walk along the banks of rivers and pass through beautiful Nepali villages as the trail steadily climbs up to the village of Ulleri. This is the place where you will spend the night. Today’s walk is relatively short and easy, a prelude to the trekking experience in the Annapurna region.

Overnight at Guesthouse
Breakfast

Day 09 Trek to Ghorepani (2,840 m) – 5 hours.
The trail ascends more gently from Ulleri towards Banthanti. You will pass through fine forests of oak and rhododendrons. After walking for 5 hours, you will arrive at today’s overnight village, Ghorepani.

Overnight at Guesthouse
Breakfast

Day 10 Hike Up to Poon Hill (3,210 m) and Trek to Ghandruk (1,940 m) – 8 hours.
On this day, very early in the morning, you will start hiking to Poon Hill. This vantage point provides an unobstructed view of the sunrise over the high Himalayas. The sunrise spectacle is breathtaking. After spending an hour at Poon Hill, return to Ghorepani, have breakfast and start trekking. You will make a climb along ridges, pass through pine and rhododendron forests, and then descend to Ghandruk.

Overnight at Guesthouse
Breakfast

Day 11 Trek to Nayapul and Drive to Pokhara – 5 hours.
After a night at Ghandurk, the second largest Gurung village and one of the most popular villages in Nepal, you will head off to Nayapul. Your trekking in Annapurna region comes to an end on this day. The trail descends towards Nayapul. You will arrive at this place after 5 hours. And then, a drive after you will be back in Pokharao.

Overnight at Hotel
Breakfast

Day 12 Drive to Kathmandu and Farewell Dinner in a Nepali Restaurant.
You will be driven back to Kathmandu from Pokhara. And, at the end of the day, there will be farewell dinner for you in a Nepali restaurant with cultural performance. We have organized this dinner program to bid you goodbye and say thank you for your noble efforts in rebuilding the village of Gorkha.

Overnight at Hotel
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 13 Transfer to the airport for your final departure.
The trip concludes – our airport representative will drop you at Kathmandu’s Tribhuwan International Airport for your flight departure from Nepal.

Breakfast

NOTE: During the trip; weather, local politics, transport or a multitude of other factors, that are beyond our control can result in a change of itinerary. It is, however, very unlikely that the itinerary would be substantially altered; if alterations are necessary the leader will decide what is the best alternative, taking into consideration the best interests of the whole group. Where a change does occur, we do everything we can to minimise its effect, but we cannot be responsible for the results of changes or delays.

Transportation – Important

Transportation in the region may not always be reliable because even in 4WD vehicles, stranded trucks and buses, car accidents, heavy rain and landslides may ground all vehicles for hours on end. You must always be prepared to trek to the destination (accompanied by our staff guides) during such unforeseen circumstances. In an event that the 4WD SUV cannot take you to the final destination, there will be no refund of the transportation cost incurred because the above will already be accounted for in advance. If trekking is necessary, you can be assured that the route trails through the most pristine and traditional villages, exposing you to the traditional Nepalese culture and lifestyle up-close. Manaslu and the Ganesh mountain ranges as well as parts of the Annapurna range are visible from the path, and will make the trek well worth it.

Culture Shock

The lifestyle and way of the people in these small villages are authentic displays of traditional culture in Nepal, with very little influence of westernisation unlike the cities. Because of this, Volunteers should be aware that they may experience a little culture shock on their arrival.

  • Villagers speak louder and more aggressively than volunteers may be used to, although this is simply normal conversation.
  • Physical disciplining (such as hitting and using the strap) are common and old practice in Government schools, and although the Government is working on phasing this out, it will take some time.
  • Some traditional cultural practices involved animal cruelty. Animals are sacrificed in traditional Hindu festivals and in other cultural activities such as visits to the witch doctor.
  • Many people in the village smoke cigarettes.
  • Hygiene levels are often much lower in the villages, as local people have a much higher capacity for infection. It is helpful for volunteers to be aware of this when interacting with children and accepting food from villagers, so that they may reduce chances of getting sick.


Cost Includes

Airport / Hotel / Airport pick up & drop by private tourist vehicle.
Twin sharing accommodation in tourist standard hotel in Kathmandu & Pokhara including Breakfast (with attached hot and cold shower, toilet and TV in room).
Twin-sharing guesthouse accommodation during the Annapurna trek (twin sharing and occasionally dormitory style) including breakfast.
Accommodation in tented camp with breakfast, lunch and dinner in the village (two person in one tent).
Local Ace the Himalaya licensed English speaking guide.
Food provided by our local chef in Tented Camp (The variety of food available are rice, pasta, fried rice, pancakes, muesli, eggs, hot tea and coffee etc.
The required number of local staff and porters to carry your luggage during the trek (We assign one porter for every two guests).
Food, accommodation, salary, insurance, equipment and medicine for all staff.
Transfer from Kathmandu – Arughat – Kathmandu on private 4WD SUV.
Annapurna Conservation Park permit and TIMS permit for trekking.
Free Ace the Himalaya duffel/kit bag and cap (yours to keep).
Farewell dinner in typical Nepali Restaurant with cultural dance show on second last day.
All our government taxes, vat, tourist service charges.
USD 300 donations per person from the cost you have paid to buy this trip (This amount is to buy the construction materials to build the houses.).

Cost Does not Include

Lunch and dinner whilst in Kathmandu and Pokhara. (Requires approximately USD 150 to 200 per person for the entire trip)
Travel insurance which covers emergency Rescue and Evacuation. (See the travel insurance page)
International airfare and airport departure tax (see the international flights page)
Nepal entry visa; you can obtain a visa easily upon your arrival at Tribhuwan International Airport in Kathmandu. (Tourist Visa with Multiple Entries for 30 days can be obtained by paying US $ 40 or equivalent foreign currency. Similarly, Tourist Visa with Multiple Entries for 90 days can be obtained by paying US $ 100. Please bring 2 copies of passport size photos).
Alcoholic, hot and cold drinks.
Personal trekking Equipment (See the trekking equipment page).
Tips for trekking staff and driver (Tipping is expected).
Any others expenses which are not mentioned on ‘Price Includes’ section.

The following gives you a general idea of the personal items you need for the this Trip. The personal items, though, are optional and of choice. The most important factor to be considered is the time of the year, trekking days, region and altitude.

In a supported tour, heavy items are carried by a vehicle and/or porters. Personal belongings of the clients that they may need for the day like money, water bottle, rain gear, camera, sun cream and toilet paper etc. should be carried by self. It is therefore advisable that you pack items in two separate bags.

We will supply complimentary water and wind proof duffel bag which you can use on the trip in village. The duffel bag is yours to keep after the trip. You can leave your bag with your non-trek items at the hotel in Kathmandu and collect them after the trip.

List of Recommended Equipment for this Trip:

  • 4 seasons Sleeping bag (Optional/we can provide one if you need it but is to be returned after the trek. It costs you USD 50 for the entire trip)
  • Duffel or Rucksack bag or suitcase (We will provide one complimentary ACE duffel bag for you to keep.)
  • Daypack
  • Down Jacket (Optional/we can provide if you need one but is to be returned after the trek)
  • Hiking pants
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Full-sleeve shirt
  • Jumper or pile jacket
  • T-shirt
  • Sandals
  • Woolen socks
  • Sun hat
  • Sun block for lips
  • Sun lotion
  • Goggles or sunglasses
  • Long thermal underwear
  • Water bottle
  • Sewing kit
  • Medical and first aid kit
  • Flash light
  • Batteries and bulbs
  • Swiss army knife
  • Personal towel
  • Personal toiletries and medication which should be labelled

This list is only a guide. While you are required to bring everything on this list, there are numerous options, brands, and versions of each piece of equipment. Use your experience and the listed features to find the best gear for you. Some of the above equipments can be easily found in stores around Kathmandu in much cheaper price.

Please note that Nepalese are usually conservative in their dress and do get offended by the sight of tourists wearing tight fitting, skimpy clothes. Shorts, singlets and hats are not advisable at any time and must not be worn while visiting monasteries, Dzongs and other religious institutions. These are offensive to the locals, especially to women.

Other Recommended Items

  • Photos of your family and friends are always appreciated and are an easy way to help villages get to know you better
  • A musical instrument, if you play one, will win you many friends
  • Small items such as stamps, postcards and trinkets from your home country make appropriate gifts.

Note: Villages in Gorkha are a remote region that has no proper shop facilities for more than an hour of where you’ll be staying; therefore, if you know what you might need urgently, it is advisable you take it with you from the city.

What type of shape do I need to be in, is this trip for me?

This trip is suitable for average people who are moderately fit. Some physical fitness programs such as running, swimming, hiking is recommended before you embark on your journey as you will trek in Annapurna region and engage in rebuilding activities.

If you are moderately fit and want to help a devastated community to rebuild, then this trip is for you.

Will somebody come to pick me up at the airport upon my arrival?

Yes, our airport representative will be there to greet you at the airport. S/he will be displaying an Ace the Himalaya sign board outside the airport terminal. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel by our tourist vehicle.

What is the main Volunteering activity?

The construction activities will be started before you arrive by the locals and the needed expertise. However you will be indulge in the simple activities like carrying housing equipment like timber, stones, sand, cement, tin, iron rods, aluminium sheets etc, mixing sand and cement, painting the walls of the houses and so on.

The locals and the guides will also be involved with you. For activities needing technical skills, we will hire building professionals. But if you have skills, then you can help them in their work and make things easier.

What is the mission of this Program?

The mission of this Program is to help the villagers to rebuild the houses destroyed by the 7.8 earthquake by bringing in the good-intentioned foreigners to volunteer and providing donation to cover a certain portion of the house-construction expenses.

What is the cost to build a house?

With reusing the resources from the collapsed house, the cost is estimated to be around USD 6,435.06. It covers the expenses related to buying new building materials, transporting them to the site, paying the labourers and so on.

But it excludes cost for tap, toilet and furniture. It’s because most of the taps, toilets and furniture have escaped destruction and are usable.

What type of houses will be build?

The house will be built in load-bearing wall system. It will be earthquake-resistant. We will follow the technique recommended by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

What makes this technique effective in resisting damage from earthquakes is predominately the tie beams on the walls and concrete stitches at the corners. The tie beams are used to tie the walls to each other and prevent dampness coming up from ground to the superstructure. Both beams and stitches will be made from iron rods and concrete.

We will be using stones instead of bricks as they are readily available in the village and they are strong. We want to minimize the cost by using locally available and reusable materials found in the existing house site. If we can minimize the cost, we can build more houses.

The recommendations for constructing various parts of the house, which we will follow, are:.

  • Foundations: Width 750 mm and depth 800 mm (for one storied building with stones and cement mortar)
  • Tie Beams: Should be constructed at 450 mm to 750 mm from ground level with concrete in 1:2:4 ratio of cement, sand and aggregate
  • Thickness of Wall: 450 mm
  • Location of Doors and Windows: Should be placed at minimum 600 mm distance away from the corners and at 600 mm apart from each other
  • Concrete Stitches at Corners: Width 450 mm and length 900 mm. 2 numbers 10 mm diameter bars with 8 mm diameter U-hooks at 150 mm c/c should be provided for stitches.
  • Floor Beams: Should be built through the whole length of wall together with floor slabs. Width equal to the width of wall and height minimum 325 mm. With reinforcement bars.
  • Sill and Lintel Bands: Width 450 mm and thickness of bands 75 mm. 2 numbers 12 mm diameter reinforcement bars with 8 mm diameter U-hooks at 150 mm c/c should be provided for still and lintel bands.
  • Vertical Bars: Of 12 mm diameter should be built at every corner from foundation to slab. Of 10 mm diameter should be built at each side of openings from tie beams to slab. Concreting (1:2:4) should be provided around the voids of vertical bars for making 100×100 mm reinforcement cement concrete (RCC) core.

What sort of skills do I need to have for this volunteering trip?

You don’t need technical skills like that of a professional builder. The works you will do are simple such as carrying stones, mixing sand and cement, painting the walls, etc. But if you have the technical skills to build a house, you are warmly welcome in doing more than simple activities.

What is the group size?

Depending on the needs in each area, we assign 5 to 30 people for building one house.

If all the houses are damaged in the village, then how do you select which family we support?

95% of the staff of Ace the Himalaya and our own Managing Director comes from this village where this project focuses. Therefore it becomes easier for us to know the most destructive areas where people have lost their shelters. So main focus would be for those who are very in need and is very economically low.

The main occupation of the villagers is farming, grazing animals etc and due to this massive disaster they have become not only homeless but jobless too so we will give the first priorities to such families.

How much of a donation I will be providing?

When you book this trip, you will donate USD 300. This amount is covered by the trip price.

Can I offer an extra donation?

Yes of course you can. The more you donate the fewer burdens a family will bear.

Can I stay in the village longer?

If the whole group agrees to stay longer, then you can. If it is only you, then we recommend you not to.

How are weather and temperature in these regions?

Spring – March, April, May and June
Best time to travel. Always clear sky and good views. During springtime, the average temperature is 25 degrees C. But the temperature can climb up to a maximum of 30 degrees C, and it can drop to a minimum of 15 degrees C in the morning and at night (for areas above 2000 meters).

Monsoon Season – July, August and First Half of September
Not recommended to travel but best time to see the farming and work with local people in the field. The maximum temperature during the monsoon season can be 25 degrees C during sunny days and the minimum temperature can be 15 degrees C in the morning and at night (for areas above 2000 meters). The average temperature tends to hover around a comfortable 22 degrees C.

Autumn – Second Half of September, October and November
Similar to spring. Best time of the year and much cooler than spring and monsoon.

Winter – December, January and February
Cold season. The average temperature during this season is 10 degrees C and can climb up to a maximum temperature of 20 degrees C during sunny days and drop to a minimum of 0 degrees C in the morning and at night (for areas above 2000 meters.)

Where is Arupokhari located?

Perched on a chain of hills, Arupokhari is a cluster of 9 villages (Village Development Committees) and lies about 6 hours from the Gorkha Bazaar. The nearest market from Arupokhari is Arughat, along the banks of the Budi Gandaki River.

Find out more information about the village from the Sambhav Nepal website: http://www.sambhavnepal.org/about-us/village-information.html

What accommodation options do I have?

In Kathmandu and Pokhara, you will stay at a two or three-star hotel. In the village, you will stay at a tented camp. A sleeping tent will be provided to you. And on the trek, you will stay at local guesthouses. All the accommodation will be in twin-sharing basis with same gender. But for the entire trip if you want to have a single room including a single tent, you need to pay USD 470 extra.

What are the available mode of transportations?

All transportation inside Kathmandu will be on a private vehicle (a car or a minibus) including for airport/hotel pick up and drop off. For transportation to and from the village we will use 4WD/SUV vehicles. The remote villages are not connected by tarred multi-lane roads. There are single-lane dirt tracks which run along the side of large hills, are very bumpy and prone to landslides, especially during the monsoon season (June – September). We assure you that all our drivers are very experienced in driving on these roads. We will make all necessary arrangements to ensure that you reach your destination safely.

Important: Transportation in the region may not always be reliable because stranded trucks and buses, car accidents, heavy rain and landslides may block the roads hours on end. You must always be prepared to trek to the destination (accompanied by our staff guides) during such unforeseen circumstances. In an event that the 4WD/SUV cannot take you to the final destination, there will be no refund of the transportation cost incurred because the cost will already be accounted for in advance. If trekking is necessary, you can be assured that the route trails through the most pristine and traditional villages, exposing you to the traditional Nepalese culture and lifestyle up-close. Manaslu and the Ganesh mountain ranges as well as parts of the Annapurna ranges are visible from the path, and will make the trek worth it. Within the village, there is no public transportation. Depending on the location of accommodation and project you are assigned to, you will have to walk anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour each day. However these walks will have stunning views of surrounding villages, the opposite hills, distant Himalayan peaks, and the valley below.

What will the daily meals be comprised of?

During the camping in Gorkha, ACE the Himalaya’s expert camping cook can prepare normal and special meals upon request. There is a wider variety of food available, including Western-style food, and you may request to eat at any point of the day. The camping price includes an all-you-can-eat food service.

While on the Annapurna Trek, most teahouses (lodges) along the Annapurna Base Camp trails cook a range of mostly vegetarian fare: pasta, tuna bakes, noodles, potatoes, eggs, daalbhat (rice and lentils), bread, soup, fresh vegetables (variety depends on the season) and even some desserts like apple pies, pancakes and some interesting attempts at custard. You will find a lot of garlic on the menu because it assists with acclimatization – eat some every day. In many larger villages you may find some meat items on the menu. You can always get hot chocolate, tea, and hot lemon drinks, as well as soft drinks, and treats like chocolate and crisps. Each day dinner and breakfast will be at a lodge you’ll stay at while lunch will be taken on the way to destination.

Please note that lunch and dinner in Kathmandu, Pokhara and on the trek are not included in your trip price. You can easily purchase the food from lodges/guesthouses on the way. Important: It is common in Nepalese culture to offer food when receiving guests into the home; however volunteers are advised not to accept any food from local villagers at any time. Please kindly reject the offer. Often time the food is not prepared properly, or contains contaminated water and volunteers risk getting sick. If visiting a villager’s house, or a local festival, it is recommended to take a guide form the Ace team to communicate this issue. If you have any special dietary needs, please let us know and we’ll do the best in our ability to have this arranged.

I'm a Vegetarian, is that a Problem ?

No problem at all because we can serve the vegetarian meals. We always recommend our volunteers to eat vegetarian meals to avoid the food poisoning.

Are there any important Cultural Tips and Consideration for this trip?

  • To greet in a traditional manner, place your palms together in a prayer style and say “namaste” or “namaskar”.
  • When talking to someone elder to you, you must address the person as “dai” (elder brother) for men, or “didi” (elder sister) for women. Raising your voice or shouting is also not acceptable, especially in public.
  • Dress conservatively, well shirted, to keep shoulders and knees covered in a temple. It is not acceptable to wear revealing and tight clothes like lycra, low-necks, tank tops and so on. This applies particularly to women. Public nudity, even while bathing, is punishable by law. When swimming in the river, it is suggested that women wear a one-piece swim suit. Men must wear trunks; Speedos are acceptable.
  • Always remove your shoes before entering a Nepali home or a temple.
  • The cow is a sacred animal in Nepal and injuring or killing them is an offence. You will find cows roaming freely all over the place.
  • Always use your right hand to accept what is being given to you. Likewise, use your right hand to offer food and other items. Left hand is considered polluted.
  • Avoid “disrespecting” the food by inadvertently touching it or bringing it into contact with a used plate or utensil. Using your own fork or spoon to serve more food is not acceptable; always wait to be served by the host. If you feel you have been given too much food, ask them to take some away before you commence eating; this is perfectly okay and is more appreciated than wasting food. Of eating, a tourist once noted: If you don’t hold your hand over your plate, it doesn’t matter how many times you tell people you’re full – they will just keep heaping food on your plate. If holding your hand over your plate doesn’t work, try bending your whole torso over the plate to block the incoming food with a little more bulk.
  • You are expected to wash your hands and mouth before dining.
  • It is normal to drink from a glass or a container without the lips touching the vessel. If you are not comfortable doing this, you may pour the water into a cup.
  • Kissing, hugging, snuggling and other forms of public displays of affection are frowned upon in public. Swearing, discussing or insinuating about sex in public is also strictly prohibited. It is also strongly suggested that any sensitive topic on religion and politics not be debated at lengths.
  • It is normal for boys and men to walk arm in arm. More often than not, these are signs of friendship and should not be subjected to sexual profiling.
  • It is impolite to step over someone’s outstretched legs or to touch (or point at) someone with your foot.
  • Don’t expect to find toilet paper in private houses, esp. in remote areas. Always be prepared with your own stock.
  • As with any country, Nepal operates on a different concept of time – things happen when they happen! The Nepalese people are said to have a casual and laid back approach to life.
  • Be prepared for lots of questions. Just walking in the streets you may be asked: “What’s your name? Where are you from?, How old are you? Where are you going?” – perhaps questions you may consider personal. Don’t be affronted or consider it rude or an invasion of privacy. It’s usually genuine curiosity, friendliness or a desire to practice their English. Respond with patience and in a cheerful manner. Concepts of privacy in some countries can be very different to your home country.
  • Giving alms is not advisable because it will encourage begging, particularly among children.

What is the language preference?

The main language is Nepali. English is the official second language of Nepal, but despite this, young students in the village speak only broken English, and the older generations will not speak at all. It is for this reason that we recommend you learn some basic Nepali phrases before arriving in the village. It will help you communicate and get to know the villagers, as well as explain basic rules in your workshops.

Do your guides have Tour guide certificates from the Hotel Management and Tourism Centre?

Yes, they have all received a 45-day training from the Hotel Management and Tourism Center in Nepal. The guides have also received high altitude first aid training from KEEP (Kathmandu Environmental Education Project).

Is there any electricity/communication/Internet while we are in the village?

Only recently has the village started receiving electricity but after the deadly earthquake the hydropower has been damaged and charging facilities are not possible in the village of Gorkha. But the local authority is trying their best to repair the damaged so they can offer electricity to the village. Our guide will have the local mobile phone with him and he will be in contact with us frequently.

In Kathmandu and Pokhara the hotel provides the free Wi-Fi service and electricity.

During the trek the local mobile phones work almost every day. Some towns do offer the Internet service but you have to pay for it. The electricity charging facilities are available in Annapurna trekking route. We also recommend our volunteers to buy an NCELL Sim Card so that they can use internet and phone calls from their own mobile phone. USD 50 is sufficient for this entire trip. Our guide from Ace the Himalaya will be more than happy to make this arrangement for you so please do coordinate.

How much additional money do I need per day?

It depends on your spending habits. You don’t need much money. We estimate USD 1 USD 5 a day will be enough to buy if you drink alcohol.

The imported brands of alcohol can be purchased only in the Arughat market (1 hour downhill from the village), while locally brewed drinks can be easily found in the village.

Do I need to tip my guide and driver? How much would that be?

Tips are always expected. It is a small gesture of thanks to the field staff towards the end of the tour.

What are the bathing and laundry facilities like in the village and in Trekking?

In the village area there are no private facilities for bathing and washing clothes. We will provide the shower tent for those who want to have private shower in village near by the camp especially for our female volunteers. Depending on the weather our kitchen team will prepare the bucket of hot water for the shower.

There are spring water creeks, rivers and communal water source available for bathing and washing. While in Kathmandu and Pokhara the hotel offers the attached bathroom with hot and cold water.

While in the Annapurna trek, the lodges offer common toilet and bathroom with hot and cold shower.

How is toilet facility in the village?

During your stay in a tented camp in village, we will provide you a common tented toilet. While in Kathmandu and Pokhara, the hotel will offer the room with attached toilet and bathroom. During the trekking in Annapurna the common toilets are available at the lodges.

Can I obtain the visa for Nepal upon on arrival at the airport?

YES, US$ 25 or equivalent foreign currency is required to obtain Tourist Visa with Multiple Entry for 15 days. Likewise, tourist Visa with Multiple Entry for 30 days can be obtained by paying US $ 40 or equivalent foreign currency. Similarly, Tourist Visa with Multiple Entry for 90 days can be obtained by paying US $ 100. Please bring 2 copies of passport size photos.

Are the staff insured?

Our company insures all our staff members, including guides, cooks, Sherpas and porters.

What essential documents do I need to bring with me on tours?

Here are some documents that you will need to carry with you:

  • Valid Passport – must be valid for up to 6 months after you return from your tour, keep a separate photocopy.
  • Travel insurance, keep a separate photocopy
  • Cash and Traveller’s Cheques, keep numbers and proof of purchase separately
  • Flight tickets
  • Emergency contact numbers for T/C’s, banks, insurance, family contacts.

What immunisations will I need?

No vaccinations are compulsory in Himalaya, but we do recommend you are covered for diphtheria & TB, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, *malaria, typhoid, polio and tetanus.

We also recommend:

  • A dental check-up prior to travelling.
  • That you know your blood group in case of emergency.

If you have any pre-existing medical conditions which might affect you on tour, you make these known to your tour leader and Ace the Himalaya at the time of your booking.

Design of the House

The house will be big enough to accommodate 4 to 6 people, and will have 3 rooms: 1 large common family room, 1 average size room for a couple, 1 store/kitchen. Toilets are outside in villages and most of them are in usable condition.