The Kathmandu Valley & Beyond 13-day itinerary takes in your arrival in Kathmandu, trip to Batase village in the Lower Himalayas (home of the Tamang ethnic group), work in and around the village, as well as the return trip to Kathmandu. This trek is dear to our hearts, as it visits the home of one of Take on Nepal’s founders, Som Tamang, and combines trekking with volunteering. It’s an ideal trip for families with young children, older people and anyone who would like to experience the beauty of Nepal, without the need to worry about the risk of high altitude sickness. The itinerary is not fixed and can change depending on circumstances on the ground, such as local events and the time of year. Additional side trips might be made if something worthy presents itself. The Kathmandu Valley & Beyond tour price includes most meals (as detailed in the itinerary), accommodation, domestic transport, welcome and farewell dinners.
The adventure begins. On your arrival in Kathmandu, you’ll be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel in the city, by a friendly Take on Nepal team member.
Your first full day will begin with breakfast at your hotel. A Take on Nepal Team Member will provide orientation and information about the following day’s trek. You will be reminded of everything that is needed for your time in the village and shown shops where you can stock up for the trip ahead. As Kathmandu is the starting point for all Himalayan trekkers, many shops cater to Western tastes, although they are quite basic. Any luxuries you cannot do without, should be brought with you from home. It’s also a good idea to carry a stock of energy bars (or chocolate), as these can be difficult to get hold of once you reach the village. These bars could prove a life-line, if you find the local village food difficult to eat. As well as chocolate bars, we recommend you purchase toilet paper and any other essential items you may have forgotten. You will also be able to hire/purchase a sleeping bag from a shop in Kathmandu.
After breakfast you will be guided to the famous Buddhist Swayambunath Temple in Kathmandu. This temple attracts Buddhists and tourists from around the world. The view of Kathmandu valley from the top of the temple is stunning. The group will come together after shopping, to enjoy a traditional welcome Nepali dinner, after which you will have the opportunity to discuss any concerns and will be briefed on the following day’s plans. [Breakfast & Welcome Dinner included]
Time to hit the road, so put on your walking boots. The day will start early with a 7am breakfast at your hotel, after which a car/mini bus will take you on a one-hour drive to Sundarijal, on the outskirts of Kathmandu. Your walk to Chisopani will begin in Sundarijal. The trek from Sundarijal to Chisopani takes about six hours. The unpaved road from Kathmandu turns into a trail near a small hydroelectric plant. The trail enters through the Shivapuri Watershed and Wildlife Reserve. The first settlement you will come across is Mulkharka, with Tamang inhabitants. The route heads down the ridge through a forest of oaks and rhododendron to Chisopani (2300m.)
This will be a long day, taking in some truly stunning scenery, and should provide you with some great memories. The pace will be slow, so you don’t need to be super-fit to enjoy the experience. [Breakfast, lunch and dinner included]
You will be woken early to enjoy the sunrise over the Himalayan mountain range. We strongly encourage everyone to rise early, to not to miss this unforgettable experience. After breakfast, we commence our downhill walk to Patybanjyang, where you will experience great views of the Himalayas. After a short stop in Patybanjyang, we’ll walk uphill towards Batase Village. The surrounding scenery is breathtaking, and looking across a vast valley, you’ll see rice fields, villages and people going about their daily lives in rural Nepal. This section of the walk takes you along the ridge of a mountain, overlooking the other surrounding mountains. Many travellers have commented on it being a humbling experience.
Upon arriving in Batase village, at approximately 1pm, you will meet Som’s family and enjoy your first meal in the village. After lunch, you’ll be settled into your rooms and will have the opportunity to freshen up and have a short rest before being introduced to the children who live in the hostel. These children are either orphaned, or from disadvantaged backgrounds. You’ll be given a short tour of the surrounding area before enjoying dinner. After dinner, you have the option of free time or of offering tuition and support to the children living in the hostel. After the long walks of the previous two days, that sleeping bag is sure to look inviting. [Breakfast, lunch and dinner included]
Wake up to the sounds of the village: children chattering and cocks crowing. Your first morning will start with a hot cup of tea in the shadow of snow topped mountains, followed by a group orientation session with your group leader. After breakfast, you’ll be guided to the village school, where you’ll be introduced to the principal, teachers and students. Your morning will be spent learning some basic Nepali, a level of which will allow you to have simple conversations with the villagers.
You will return to the hostel for lunch. After lunch, your Nepali lesson will continue until 4pm. When the children return from school, we encourage you to assist them with their chores (collecting firewood, cutting grass, preparing dinner, etc.), or you have the option of playing and teaching some new games with the younger children and assisting with homework.
Dinner will be provided at approximately 6:30pm. The evening is your free time to do with as you choose. Many volunteers have loved spending time with the hostel children, teaching and learning through stories, dance and song around the fire. [Breakfast, lunch and dinner included]
The real work begins! After breakfast, you’ll go to the local school and be provided with orientation about your placement in the classroom. All volunteers will be given set lesson plans, to ensure the children receive a high standard of support from you. You’re most welcome to incorporate your own ideas into the plans, or to develop your own lesson plans for the students. The local students have encountered Western volunteers before, and always find the experience enjoyable.
You will return to the hostel at 1pm for lunch. After lunch, there’s the option of returning to the school to continue teaching the students, or carrying out light duties within the village such as farm work, painting or dinner preparations. [Breakfast, lunch and dinner included]
After saying your goodbyes, it’s a scenic drive to Nagarkot through Chaukibanjyang. Spectacular views of the Himalayas. Nagarkot is a major attraction for visitors and is situated at an altitude of 2100m. From this small hilltop, you have great panoramic views of the sun setting over Kathmandu Valley. The day will finish with a relaxing walk to take in the sunset and surrounding views. [Breakfast and lunch included]
Awake in time to view the sunrise over the Himalayan mountains. If it’s a clear morning, you will see Mount Everest. After breakfast, you will get on board a local bus for the journey down to the famous old city of Bhaktapur. [Breakfast included]
Bhaktapur is a major cultural destination in Nepal. Often referred to as Nepal’s Cultural Gem, the city is situated 20km east of Kathmandu, and is filled with monuments, palaces and temples. [Breakfast included]
Arrive in Kathmandu in the afternoon, where you will dropped off at your hotel and given much needed time to relax before going out to enjoy a final meal with your trekking team. [Breakfast and dinner included]
The mistake many people make, is having too much stuff. There is nothing worse than carting clothing and equipment with you (at altitude) in Nepal and ultimately not having needed it. The below list outlines the standard clothing we recommend you take for trekking in the mountains.
If you do not already own these items, we highly recommend that you purchase or hire these items in Kathmandu. They are made to a high quality and it’s always great to support the local economy. Another option is to hire a sleeping bag and jacket at a cost of approximately AUD$50 for each item for a period of 14 days.
Make sure you wear an old, trusted pair of reliable and comfortable trekking boots or shoes. If purchasing a new pair, do so a minimum of 4 weeks prior to departure, to allow time to break them in properly. It is so important to avoid the possibility of getting blisters, something as simple as that could negatively impact on your trek. We recommend you wear woolen socks when trekking, as they keep your feet warm and dry.
Your trekking fee covers most of your costs, including all of your meals, accommodation, permits and the flight in and out of Lukla (where this destination is included in your trek). However, the costs of “luxuries” are not covered (such as coffee, sweets, alcohol and other souvenirs you may wish to purchase along the way). We recommend you budget approximately $20 per day, to comfortably cover any additional expenses you may encounter.
This can happen due to weather conditions. If your flight in or out of Lukla is delayed, you may end up having to wait 1-2 days for another flight. We recommend that you allow an extra couple of days, when booking your flight out of Nepal, to allow for such an occurrence. The additional time spent in Lukla or Kathmandu will be a personal expense to you, but we will be very happy to organise any logistics, such as your accommodation in Lukla or Kathmandu. Another option is to use a privately chartered helicopter. The cost for this is high, but it’s a guaranteed way to ensure you meet any deadlines you may have.
We’re different to most other trekking companies, in that our porters are often female (to empower and provide employment), and we set the limit at 15kg for our female porters. Our recommneded load for male porters is 20kg unless they choose to carry more, we don’t encourage this but some of our porters are used to carrying heavier loads; we don’t allow any team members to carry more than 30kg’s. 10kg is plenty for your trek and you would also be carrying your personal daypack, which generally weighs 5kg.
You will have reliable Internet access in most places. Many lodges on the Everest Base Camp Trek have Internet access, but you must purchase usage. On other treks it varies, but overall, coverage in Nepal is reasonable but slow. Our team has access to satellite phones during treks, to call for support in the event of an emergency.
Yes, please famialise yourself with our detailed terms and conditions and our cancellation policy. Do not hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have. We’re always happy to help!
If you’re in doubt about whether or not you would be able to undertake the trek, we recommend that you visit your doctor for a health check. Overall good health and determination, combined with good coordination and balance, will all work in your favour.
Your safety is our number one priority. Our professional guides are skilled and experienced when responding to emergencies. Take on Nepal have a comprehensive risk management document, that ensures most possibilities have been carefully addressed and plans put in place. Our guides are all trained in First Aid and through their experience and knowledge, know when to call a helicopter for an emergency evacuation. With Take on Nepal, you are in safe hands.
At altitude, sickness can set in at any time. We pace our treks to allow your body to adjust to the change in climate and our team monitoring your wellbeing, throughout the trek. The most common form of altitude sickness is actually called “Acute Mountain Sickness” (AMS). It’s the least dangerous form and symptoms include a light headache, nausea, loss of appetite, insomnia and fatigue. To prevent this from happening we highly recommend that you see your doctor to discuss the medication “Diamox” Diamox works to prevent you suffering from the very real risk of AMS, we want you to make it to Base Camp and highly recommend that you take this medication, it works! If your condition worsens, you will be evacuated out of the region by helicopter, to receive medical treatment at a hospital.
As a female, Nepal is generally very safe. Many of our team members are female and much of our work centres around empowering young women and girls. Most, if not all of our treks, will have a female staff member on board, who will give you strength and inspiration as you trek through the mountains of Nepal.
You will trek for between 4 and 7 hours every day. Our treks are moderately paced, it is not a race. We want you to enjoy the experience and to learn about your surrounds from your guide.
Most accommodation during your treks will be in trekking lodges; the lodges provide basic sleeping facilities and tasty meals. Local families usually operate the lodges. Your evenings will be spent chatting to your guides, porters and fellow trekkers. Unless you have paid an additional charge for a single room, you will share your room with 1 or 2 other trekkers of the same gender. Couples will share a room of their own. Again, the lodges are basic; do not compare them in your mind to any accommodation you have stayed in in Western countries.
On the more heavily touristed trekking trails, such as Everest Base Camp and the Annapurna treks, you will be able to choose from menus with quite a few choices. You will eat dinner and breakfast at the lodge you are staying in, lunch will be at another lodge along the way. Daal bhaat is guaranteed to be on the menu at every stop off, and you can be sure this will be what you guide and porters will be eating. Daal Bhaat isn’t just the most popular meal in Nepal, for many Nepalis it’s the only meal they ever eat. Twice a day, every day of their lives and they don’t feel they’ve eaten properly without it!
All our leading guides undergo a training course to receive their license. We do not allow our clients to trek without an experienced, licensed guide leading the way. Our guides also do first aid training and will be offered every opportunity to attend mountaineering, hiking and biking courses wherever possible.
Take on Nepal believe that a well-trained team of professionals, will guarantee positive outcomes. We are also one of the only companies that fly our young trainee guides into Lukla, to begin their journey as trainee guides/porters. Most companies hire their team at Lukla as it reduces their flight expenses.
You will be able to purchase bottled water all along your trekking route. As a general rule, the cost increases the more isolated you are. We highly recommend you take water-purifying tablets with you, or a water-purifying pen. These can also be purchased in Kathmandu. During your trek, it is crucial that you drink plenty of water, if you don’t, the risk of becoming unwell is much higher.
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. You need to ensure that the travel insurance purchased insures for helicopter evacuation above 5500m.
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.
The mistake many people make is having too much stuff. There is nothing worse than carting clothing and equipment with you for 2 weeks (at altitude) in Nepal and ultimately not having needed it. The list below outlines the standard clothing we recommend, for trekking 14 – 15 days in the mountains.
Your packing list should include the following equipment:
Jeans, Jumpers / Sweaters, Dress Shirts, Dress Shoes, Dresses or Hair Dryers.
We organise all this for you. All the costs are included in the cost of your trek.
All seasons have their pros and cons, but as a general rule, the best time to trek in Nepal is from February to May, when the temperature has warmed after Winter. September through to December is also a fabulous time to trek, during these months the clouds start lifting after the Monsoon rains of June and July, which often leaves you with spectacular views of the Himalayas.
Yes! If you are physically fit, if you love the outdoors and if you have a positive attitude, you will make it. Altitude sickness or injury can end your trek, but this only affects a small percentage of people who trek. Being amongst the tallest peaks in the world is a feeling that cannot be described in words and we recommend that you undertake some basic fitness training, prior to your departure, to ensure it is a positive experience for you.
You can go it alone, but we can assure you it would be a vastly different experience. Our guides bring with them knowledge and experience; this becomes a bridge between the two cultures. You are guaranteed to learn so much more about Nepal and the terrain through which you are trekking, when you are guided. You are also providing employment to people who rely on tourism to survive, they are passionate about their work and we are sure your guide will soon become a friend to you.
In the mountain villages of Nepal, opportunities for women are few. Many young girls have little or no education, and marriage at an early age is still common. Take on Nepal and Friends of Himalayan Children Charity have been working to change this, for many years.
As Take on Nepal has grown, we’ve begun hiring young women and girls from Batase, first to work as porters and then as guides, roles that up to now have been seen as exclusively male. For young village girls, early exposure to paid work as porters and the experience of interacting with Western women, is an eye opener. It provides them with a glimpse of other possible futures, futures far different from the lives their mothers lived and to the lives they may have thought they were going to live.
The trekking industry in Nepal is a male dominated environment. Women guides are unheard of, which is surprising when you consider that a huge proportion of Western trekkers visiting Nepal are women. Spend a few nights staying at various lodges on the trails and you will see that 60% of all trekkers are women, many coming from European countries. At Take on Nepal, we’re all about empowering women, giving the village girls the opportunities that their brothers have and opening their eyes to the possibilities of a larger world.
It is becoming quite common for families to trek to Everest Base Camp together. Children aged 9 and upwards have trekked comfortably to Everest Base Camp and why not take your parents too! Age should not be a barrier to undertake this experience, as long as family members are fit, healthy and have a positive frame of mind, it is a possibility. We can tailor a trek specifically for the needs of your family, as we do recommend adding a few extra days on to the trek.
This is highly recommended as the fitter you are, the more you will enjoy the experience. We offer a helpful training program for you, once you have booked, and we’re always on hand to answer your questions. Our team will support and encourage you throughout your trek. Our treks are paced to allow plenty of time for you to reach your daily destination. However, if you choose to undertake the trek without prior training, you will be fine, as long as you have great willpower and plenty of stamina to get you through the tough times.
I had an amazing experience with Take on Nepal. My time in Batase and Nepal was utterly life changing and eye opening. I cannot recommend this company or at the very least Nepal more! Everyone should come to Nepal.
Chante' Bock - (June 2017)
There is something special about the Batase community, and about the Take On Nepal team. I’d say you have to go to experience it for yourself, but it’s basically like being greeted by old friends, except you’re just meeting them. There is nothing more exhilarating or nerve-wracking than going to a foreign country to practice doing something you’re passionate about. Thanks to Som, Susan, Dinesh, Mane, Phulmaya, Somjana, and the tens of others from the Take On Nepal team, our transition and welcome to Nepal and Batase was easy. Take On Nepal makes you a part of the garland of flowers that makes up Nepal, and makes Nepal a part of you. I’m counting down until I can return to Nepal, to Batase, to my students there, and to the incredible team of my old friends!
Jasmine Bayani - (March 2017)
I thoroughly enjoyed the Take On Nepal program. It was great to experience the rural village lifestyle firsthand. All of the staff and the local people were so friendly and welcoming. Our guide in particular, Sandip, created such a fun environment and was extremely knowledgeable about the flora and fauna in Nepal. He went above and beyond to make us feel at home. As a university student completing a Bachelor of Primary Education, I found the opportunity to teach at a local school in rural Nepal to be extremely rewarding, valuable and eye-opening. It presented me with diverse challenges and experiences to what I have experienced previously in classroom settings. I feel that this experience has pushed me to become not only a better teacher, but a better person by finding ways to connect to the students in my classes in spite of the language barrier. The activities in Kathmandu and Chitwan were also great and really gave us a taste of life in different parts of Nepal. This program is unique as it gives you authentic insight into Nepalese culture and lifestyles. I highly recommend it – it is an experience that will stay with you for a lifetime!
Brielle Spicer - (January 2017)
Take on Nepal was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. The local people are a delight to be around, and the scenery is some of the most beautiful I’ve seen. It was such a joy to teach the children of the school, as they were always eager to learn. The community of Batase was so welcoming to me and all of my fellow volunteers, and it really felt like a family from day one. I would highly recommend this program as it is truly empowering and all around a wonderful experience.
Megan Jagolinzer - (August 2016)
© Take on Nepal 2020