Frequently Asked Questions – Nepal and Volunteering
How do I apply to become a volunteer?
You can apply by clicking this link.
Is it safe to travel in Nepal?
The short answer is yes. Nepal is safer than most countries around the world, possibly due to the the religious nature of the people and their natural kindness. Over the past 10 years Nepal has enjoyed a growth in visitors from all over the world. The People are very hospitable. The Nepalese accept that tourism is a mainstay of the economy, and are very welcoming.
When do I pay for my trip?
Payment of the non refundable deposit of $400 is required to secure your place. The easiest way is through PayPal or directly into our back account. Final payment is due 10 weeks prior to departure.
Will I need a visa?
You can obtain your visa prior to departure through the General Consulate of Nepal. Please visit their website to download the details and relevant form
Alternatively, you can obtain the visa upon arrival at the airport in Kathmandu. You will be applying for a tourist visa. If you choose this option we advise you to have 4 passport sized photos ready and also AUD or US dollars in cash to pay for the visa. The cost for a 30 day visa is between $30 and $50. There is an EFTPOS facility at the airport but this is unreliable and we recommend that you have cash ready to avoid any issues that could arise. The process at the airport is straightforward and easy. Please download the visa application form, fill it in and take it with you in your hand luggage, this will save you some time at the airport.
Please see attached a scanned copy of the visa application form, this form gives you an idea of the information they require upon arrival. We recommend that when you disembark from the airplane that you don’t dilly dally, head straight for the visa applications, fill it out and get in line! Sometimes there can be quite a line up (I’ve been caught out a few times!) but that may not be the case as you are travelling in the off season.
How do I book or reserve a place on one of your treks?
You can make a booking by clicking this link.
When do your treks depart?
Treks depart each month, throughout the year. Dates vary depending on the arrival date of a particular group. We can accomadate different departure dates in the same month if required.
When trekking, do we have to travel as part of a group?
No. If you are a couple or small group, and you wish to travel alone, we can accomodate you. We try to bring trekkers together into groups as we find it’s a more enjoyable experience for all, but if you wish a more individual trek for yourself or your companions, we’d be happy to arrange this.
How much spending money will I need as a volunteer?
You will have access to ATMs in Kathmandu. We recommend that you carry a minimum of $100 cash with you, make sure this is in $10s and $20s as you will be paying for your visa at the airport and it safeguards against any issues when you have the correct money.
Some people have asked me how much extra money they should take with them. Most of your expenses are covered by the money you have paid but if you enjoy shopping (and the shopping in Kathmandu is fantastic!), we recommend that you budget around $350 for your stay.
All volunteers should have access to an emergency fund in the event that they decide volunteer life is not for them, or they decide to take a break from village life for a few days. In circumstances such as these, the volunteer would need to cover the costs of transport when departing the village early, and the costs of any extra stays in hotels. For this reason, we recommend that volunteers carry an ATM card so that they can access emergency funds from home if required.
Do I need insurance or vaccinations?
Travel Insurance is compulsory if you wish to participate in the program. We will require a copy of the insurance certificate and you must also bring a hard copy of your insurance certificate with you to Nepal.
Nepal does not require any vaccinations in order to enter the country. However, we strongly recommend that participants consult with a doctor before departing for Nepal for information about immunisations and advice on how to stay healthy while traveling.
Who is the Take on Nepal team leader?
Our leader is Nepali born and raised, and now Australian citizen, Som Tamang. Som spent many years working as a guide in Nepal and has much experience guiding groups to the Everest and Annapurna Regions of Nepal. Som has all of the local knowledge required to ensure that you get to know the “Real Nepal”. Som is passionate about providing help and support for the people of Nepal and believes that real change can happen through the skills of volunteers. Som is friendly, happy and has strong leadership skills.
Som is the founder and president of the charity “Friends of Himalayan Children” and has been awarded a Pride of Australia Medal for the outstanding charity work that he has undertaken in Nepal and in Australia.
The team leader and guides are all qualified in First Aid.
Where will I be staying during my volunteer program?
Your accommodation in Kathmandu and Chitwan will be in a hotel with en suite facilities. You will share your room with someone of the same sex.
In the village you will be housed in hostel type accommodation. You will share your room with a maximum of 3 other people and the facilities are shared, Village accommodation is basic but comfortable, and the rooms are clean.
What will the weather be like?
Nepal has four distinct seasons. Spring lasts from March to May, and is warm with rain showers, and temperatures around 22°C. Summer, from June to August, is the monsoon season when the hills turn lush and green. Temperatures can get quite warm, up to 30°C.
Autumn, from September to November, is cool with clear skies and is the most popular season for trekking. Temperatures are not too warm, with daily maxima about 25°C and cool nights with minima of 10°C, it usually does not rain for more that one or two days during the autumn and the winter seasons.
In winter, from December to February, it is cold at night with temperatures sometimes below zero. However, the maximum temperatures can still reach up to 20°C. Then the mountains are covered with snow.
I want to volunteer with my friends? Can we work and stay together?
We are very happy for you to share the experience with your friends and we will work with you to ensure that you can be accommodated together during your time in Nepal.
I’m only 17, can I still volunteer?
You must be 18 by the date of departure.We do provide the option for a parent/guardian to sign paperwork that grants permission for you to join the program. We would also encourage you to consider inviting an older family member to accompany you on the program to Nepal.
I’m not a university student. Can I still volunteer?
Yes! As long as you are willing to volunteer and improve the lives of the villagers in Nepal, we are more than happy for you to join the program.
Will I need to speak the local language?
You do not need to learn Nepali. On your first day in the village you will be given a lesson in Basic Nepali. You will also be provided with a document of key words and phrases in Nepali prior to departure in order for you to be prepared. We are encouraging the village children to learn English as this is the key to better opportunities for them in the future The children are keen to learn and to practice their English with you.
Will I be able to phone home?
You will have access to the internet and telephones in Kathmandu and in Chitwan. We encourage you to open a Skype account to reduce the costs of calling from Nepal to Australia.
In the village your team leader will have a reliable phone connection, you will be provided with his number prior to departure to leave with family members who may wish to contact you during your time in the village.
We encourage volunteers to distance themselves from internet and technology, as this allows for a more authentic village experience.
I’m ready to go but my parents are worried!
We strongly encourage your parents to contact us, as we welcome parental involvement. We will answer any questions your parents may have through email or telephone contact.
How do I book my flight?
You will need to book your own flight and travel insurance, you will be met at the airport and transported from there to your accommodation in Kathmandu.
What should I bring?
Upon acceptance into the program you will be sent a comprehensive Preparation Pack, this will outline all that is required to be fully prepared for your exciting experience. It will include a list of items that we encourage you to take with you to Nepal.
How much will the program cost?
The costs of the programs are outlined on the website.
What if I need to cancel?
Once we have accepted your application we will begin to incur costs for you as we book accommodation, internal travel, reserve your spot in the game park, and so on. So your deposit is non-refundable.
I have special dietary requirements, can you cater for that?
Not a problem! Please inform us of your dietary requirements prior to departure and we will ensure that you are provided with suitable food options.
During your time in the village, you will be eating as the villagers do, which is mainly vegetarian. Meat is a luxury that the majority of Nepali people only enjoy on a rare occasion.
What if there is an emergency?
You will always be in the company of someone who is trained in first aid. In the case of serious health concerns, you will be transported back to Kathmandu where you will be treated in a Western Hospital.
During your time in the village, there is the option of 4WD or helicopter back to Kathmandu in the case of an emergency.
All medical costs incurred should be covered by your health insurance. When booking your travel insurance it is important to enquire about the extent of your coverage, ensure that travel from remote areas is covered. We also encourage you to seek advice from your doctor prior to departure about the vaccinations required for visiting Nepal.
Will I have clean drinking water?
The water in Kathmandu and in Chitwan is unsafe to drink, we will provide you with free bottled water. In the village, the water is clean and safe to drink but it will be treated to ensure your protection against any water borne issues.
Can I fundraise to offset the program costs?
Absolutely! We believe that fundraising is a wonderful way to assist you to help others.
Once you have been accepted into our program, you will be provided with a fundraising information pack, this will help you to reach your fundraising target.
We also encourage you to use a crowdfunding site such as Go Fund Me.