Take on Nepal has developed a special 21-day student volunteer program. It is geared towards Australian university students but can be tailored to younger students and/or adults. The three-week itinerary takes in your arrival in Kathmandu, trip to Batase village in the Lower Himalayas, work in and around the village, as well as the return trip to Kathmandu and a visit to Nagarkort where you may catch a glimpse of Mount Everest, you will then visit the old city of Bhaktapur. The itinerary is not fixed and can change depending on circumstances on the ground, such as local events and time of year. Additional side trips might be made, if something worthy presents itself. The price includes most meals, accommodation, tours and park entry fees. Please note, although you are volunteering, there is still a cost to the villagers to host your stay, that is why there is a charge for this component of the trip. Your fee is mostly contributed directly back to the village, to facilitate improvements. The Student Volunteer Program can be booked for a maximum of 15 participants and a minimum of 4.
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. All volunteers in your group, regardless of where they come from or when they arrive, will be housed initially in the same hotel, giving you the opportunity to get to know each other from Day 1.
Begin the day with breakfast at your hotel. A Take on Nepal Team Member will provide orientation and information about the following day’s trek, to Chisopani. You will be reminded of everything that is needed for your time in the village and shown shops to stock up for the trip ahead.
As Kathmandu is the starting point for all Himalayan trekkers, many shops do exist to 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 lifeline, if you find the local village food difficult to eat. As well as chocolate bars, we recommend that you purchase toilet paper and any other essential items that you may have forgotten. You will also be able to hire/purchase a sleeping bag from a shop in Kathmandu.
After breakfast and the introduction, you’ll 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 then enjoy a local lunch at a typical Nepali restaurant. The time after lunch is allocated for purchasing items for your time in the village.
The group will come together in the evening, to enjoy a traditional Nepali dinner, after which you will have the opportunity to discuss any concerns and will be briefed on the following day’s plans. [Breakfast, lunch & evening meal included]
Time to hit the road, so put on your walking boots. The day starts early, with a 7am breakfast at you 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 & evening meal included]
Wake up early to enjoy the sunrise over the Himalayan mountain range. We strongly encourage everyone to wake up to this unforgettable experience. After breakfast, we will commence our downhill walk to Patybanjyang, where you will experience some great views of the Himalayas. After a short stop in Patybanjyang, we will walk uphill towards Batase Village. The surrounding scenery is breathtaking, looking across a vast valley to see rice fields, villages and people going about their daily lives in rural Nepal. This section of the walk will take 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 3pm, you will meet Som’s family and enjoy your first meal in the village. [Breakfast, lunch & evening meal included]
The sounds and sights of the village, children chattering, cocks crowing and a sunrise over the Himalayas, is what will greet you this morning. Enjoy it 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 will be guided to the village school where you will be introduced to the principal, teachers and students. You will return to the hostel for lunch.
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 6:30 pm. 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 & evening meal included]
After breakfast, you’ll go to the local school and be provided with orientation about your placement in the classroom. 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 which you’ll be given 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 & evening meal included]
On these days your work at the school and in the village will continue as outlined in Day 6. During the week, you’ll be given choices of activities to participate in. Though the first day teaching in the school and working with the villagers can be a little daunting, you’ll find that you quickly get used to the experience. [Breakfast, lunch & evening meal included]
Time for some R&R! Enjoy a relaxing day with your group. Your local guide will take you to the highest mountain top in the village, where the views of the surrounding mountains are spectacular. Here you will enjoy a picnic lunch and some relaxing time, before walking back down to the village for dinner. This day will also be an opportunity for you to share your experiences and thoughts with your group members and leader. [Breakfast, lunch & evening meal included]
On this, your last day of volunteer work, you will spend the morning teaching classes. You will enjoy your last lunch in the village, with the school teachers. After lunch, you’ll say your goodbyes to the teachers and the students, before returning to the hostel. [Breakfast, lunch & evening meal included]
Today is a rest day in the village, before your departure for Kathmandu. This is also a good time to catch up on your washing, drying and packing, in preparation for your departure the following morning. [Breakfast, lunch & evening meal included]
After breakfast you will say your goodbyes to your new friends in Batase, and begin the beautiful hike to the famous village of Nagarkot. It will be a lovely day of walking alongside mountain ridges. Nagarkot is a popular spot, due to its spectacular views of the Himalayan ranges and of the Kathmandu valley. After settling into your hotel, you will have a rest before enjoying a nice dinner with your team. [Breakfast, lunch & evening meal included]
Wake up at sunrise to view the spectacular and famous sunrise in Nagarkort. This morning you are in with a good chance of seeing the mighty Mount Everest! After breakfast, you will make the short journey down to Bhaktpaur. Bhaktapur is listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, you will see beautifully preserved courtyards and buildings in this old city centre. Bhaktapur is known for the beautiful artworks made from stone, metal and wood. When in Bhaktapur, you must try the curd the city is famous for, it is called JuJu Dhau and is served in traditional clay pots. You’ll never taste anything like it again. Spend a night in a hotel in Bhaktapur. (Breakfast, lunch & evening meal included)
After breakfast, you’ll be driven back to our hotel in Kathmandu. The journey through the busy, bustling streets of Kathmandu will take approximately 1 hour. Once you settle back into your hotel, you will have the rest of the day to do as you choose. Many people take the time to shop (our local guide can advise you on the best shops in the area), others enjoy exploring the cultural side of the city. In the evening, you’ll enjoy a final traditional Nepali meal with your group. This is a time to reflect on the incredible journey that you have been on, and to say farewells to some of the Take on Nepal team members. [Breakfast & farewell dinner included]
Final farewells! A local guide will assist you to get to the airport. We hope that you will have fond memories of your Take on Nepal trip and we look forward to seeing you in Nepal again. NB: Anyone departing after this day, will need to pay for their own accommodation from this point onwards, and will be responsible for their own transport to the airport. [Breakfast included]
The mistake many people make, is having too much stuff. There is nothing worse than carting clothing and equipment (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 and living in the Village. Most can be purchased in Kathmandu before departing for the village. Please note: bring a backpack, not a suitcase. Suitcases are too difficult for your porters to carry to the village.
For a comprehensive list, please see our FAQs.
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. Many other trekking companies use 1 porter for 2 clients, with an expectation they carry up to 40kg; we do not agree with this and do not want to place such hardships upon our team members. 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. In most cases, it is treatable through rest and many people make it to their destination. 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.
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:
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.
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.
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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)
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)
Take on Nepal along with Friends of Himalayan children are incredible organisations and i could not have enjoyed my experience enough. My time in Batase was some thing I’ll never forget. I enjoyed everyday whether it was trying to get warm in the sun to playing with the hostel children and teaching at the Village school. We got a view into Nepali life watching and getting involved with the hostel children’s chores and eating the best food that Norbu cooked for us. From the beginning to the end of the 21 day program we had a wonderful guide named Sandip. He was informative, confident and always happy to help. Sandip taught me and my group a lot about Nepal’s rich culture, the different religions and all the different fauna and flora of Nepal. It was also a privilege to meet such strong, smart young women who worked as our porters and training guides.
Savannah Norton - (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)
I think it is going to be quite impossible to try and capture the brilliance of my experience with Take on Nepal in words. I visited Batase for two weeks and it was, and will continue to be, one of the most memorable experiences of my life. The Nepalese culture is perhaps the loveliest I’ve ever encountered, and I experienced nothing but warm welcomes and beautiful smiles during my time in Batase. Take on Nepal provides such a grass roots experience, you get involved in the day-to-day life of the village and there’s this rawness and authenticity about it that I never realised was missing from much of Western culture until I visited Batase. I was also so inspired by the unprecedented dedication of many of the village members towards improving the lives and education of the children who live there. I feel so lucky to have been welcomed into such a remarkable place and, like many others, I left seeing the world through a different lens. If you visit Nepal with Take on Nepal, expect to be planning your next trip back before you’ve even left Batase. There’s nothing so wonderful.
Lisa Cosgun - (January 2017)
I went to Batase village in July 2016. It was an incredible experience for many reasons which are difficult to put into words here. But, I can say that I highly recommend this volunteer program and Nepal. Som and the Take on Nepal team are amazing – they deeply care about the people in their village and you as a visitor to their home. This program is authentic and real. I experienced Nepalese life on different levels than I would have with any other volunteer organisation or tourist group. The village is really special and though the trek is hard at times it is worth the journey and a must if you want to gain an understanding into village life. The children have stayed in my mind long after I have left and I am already making plans to go back.
Jaz Anderson - (from Australia, August 2016)
More incredible than I could have imagined, planned or expected, Take on Nepal was the most amazing experience I have ever had. I had originally planned on volunteering in Nepal with a different company which unfortunately was struggling to get a team- a misfortune that was in fact the luckiest thing that has ever happened to me because in my desire to come to Nepal it lead me to find Take on Nepal which I switched to immediately. A decision I’ll never regret.
I’ll forever cherish the deep and true friendships I made during my time in Batase. From day one of the trek I felt at home and apart of the family. Immersed in the culture and welcomed into their lives, we planted millet, cut grass and washed in the flowing spring (if you choose). I feel blessed to have met the young boys and girls with beautiful hearts and who I believe are destined for success whatever path they choose in life. A choice they have as a result of Som’s efforts and work with FHC and Take on Nepal, assisted by volunteers. Highlights and memories are enough to write a book about- mud fights, tiger watching in the forest, singing and dancing with children and riding on the top of a local bus!!! You will never regret your decision to go but you will regret the decision not to so GO! or as the Nepalese would say: JUM!!!
Katherine - (from Australia, July 2016)
Take On Nepal truly has changed my views and outlooks on life and I will be forever grateful for this experience which you have so kindly offered. Even though I was unwell it was the most inspiring and eye opening 3 weeks which I would happily do once again.
Amy Neish - (from Scotland, July 2016)
Upon arrival in Kathmandu, I had no idea what to expect. Even after hours of research and preparation, I still felt completely out of my comfort zone. The feeling of uncertainty quickly vanished when I was promptly greeted at the Kathmandu airport by the most welcoming and kind employees of Take On Nepal. Everything was organised and taken care of in anticipation of the volunteer’s arrival. The next couple of weeks were comprised of incredible views, unforgettable people and conversations, and amazing interactions with the children and families in Batase Village. As an American with very little travel experience, my eyes were opened to cultural differences and similarities. Every need I ever had was met with a smile and allowed me to focus on learning and experiencing as much of Nepal as I could. I will always be grateful for the hospitality and kindness that was shown to me, and I will never forget my trip with Take On Nepal.
Brianna Swenson - (from the USA, July 2016)
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