SCHOOL EXPEDITION TO NEPAL
Our expedition for schools to the Himalayas lasts 22 days and visits the villages of Bupsa and Bumburi where we have been working for over twenty years. Young people are immersed into the local Sherpa community and help to run our annual summer camps and competitions for the school children, as well as getting involved with our projects, which will be decided before you travel depending on the specific needs of the community. In the past we have built and renovated schools, Bhhudist monasteries, clinics and installed energy efficient stoves, a micro-hydro scheme and power to the homes.
When we first started working in Bupsa and Bumburi the schools were small and in disrepair, now the villages have over 500 children in education and you will be greeted with great ceremony, fun and the Sherpas love to party!
The expedition treks through the foothills of the Himalayas and after the Moving Mountains camp and project continues up towards the Sherpa capital of Namche Bazaar from where there are views of Mount Everest. This is one of the more unusual capitals of the world, a whole town built in an amphitheatre of natural rock.
After your time in the mountains the team return to our own guesthouse in Kathmandu for some exploring, sightseeing and shopping in the vibrant markets of Nepal's capital.
For students and teachers alike this is an adventure into the foothills of the Himalayas, exploring traditional Sherpa culture and living in teahouses and Sherpa homes deep in the lush green mountains, following trails used by the local people and visiting the beautiful villages of Bumburi and Bupsa where we have been setting up environmentally sustainable projects like the hydro-electric power, tea plantations, schools, our medical centre and other sustainable development projects which will show you how a charity can transform an entire region in the remote kingdom of Nepal.
There is also the option to add-on a visit to the Chitwan jungle where there is white-water rafting, elephant back jungle safari's, nature treks and comfortable lodges to enjoy your evenings sitting on balconies with the sights and sounds of the jungle around you.
The trip offers participants a great expedition experience in this exotic country. It’s a perfectly safe and beautiful country to visit, and just going there will bring work and income to the villagers. The work of Moving Mountains has enabled Sherpa communities to decide and run their own businesses, bring back wealth and families to the region and become sustainable and successful.
SCHOOL EXPEDITION TO NEPAL ITINERARY
The entire program in Nepal is 22 days, including travel days from the UK the trip usually takes 23 days in total. The flight is to Kathmandu, where you will be met by our staff and the first night in Nepal is in our own guesthouse in the capital before heading out to the mountains. The broad plan is like this:
2 days in Kathmandu and drive to Jiri in the Himalayan foothills
5 days trek through the foothills to Bumburi from Jiri via a series of small Nepali villages and winding mountain trails
7 days of project work, cultural interaction and activities including sports days, recycling and litter collection, camping out, helping in the schools and delivering our supplies of books, helping in the health post and delivering medical supplies from Kathmandu, farming and learning about Tibetan Buddhism and life for the Sherpas.
6 day trek from Bupsa to Namche Bazaar for views of Everest and back down to mountain airport at Lukla to fly to Kathmandu
2 days exploring Kathmandu
|1||1350m||N/a||Arrive into Kathmandu and transfer to our Guest House. Here you can relax and be briefed about the trip, check gear and prepare for your journey into the Himalaya!|
|2||1905m||9hrs||Kathmandu to Jiri: This is a beautiful journey from Kathmandu to the small town of Jiri by coach. The journey has been done by every Everest team back in the day before there were airstrips in the mountains. The town is a shadow of its former self due to the majority of Everest teams and trekkers now flying up to the mountains. It is quaint and relaxed and the perfect place to rest before your trek begins.|
|3||2250m||5-6hrs||Jiri to Bandar: The start of the trek gently ascends for the first two hours to Mali Danda (2440m.) and then descends to Shivalaya (1800m). The trail then steeply goes up for two hours before ascending gently to Deurali. From here the last steep hour takes us to Bandar at 2250m. Stay overnight at lodge.|
|4||2400m||7hrs||Bhandar to Sete: Today the trail drops down to the Likhu Khola and crosses the river at 1580m, and tracks along it to Kenja. Following this is a long climb to Lamjura pass. The first part of the climb is quite steep, and then it traverses to Sete at 2400m. Overnight at the Lodge.|
|5||High point 3530 Sleep at 2675m||5-6hrs||Sete to Junbesi: The day begins with a continuation along the Lamjura Pass through Goyem at 3300m to the high point at 3530m. The pass is the highest point between Jiri and Namche Bazaar, there we have our lunch stop and enjoy the views. From here we descend to Tragdobuk at 2860m, then to the pretty Sherpa village of Junbesi at 2675m where we relax in a Lodge.|
|6||High point 3100m Sleep at 2320m||6-7hrs||Junbesi to Nunthala: Our trek gently ascends for one and half hours to Phurtung (2900m). Our path then levels out before gently descending to Ringmo Khola (2500m). Immediately, the trail ascends steeply for one and a half hours to the Takshindo La Pass (3100m) then drops down past the monastery of the same name, on to Nuntala at 2320m. Stay overnight at lodge.|
|7||2100m||7-8hrs||Nuntala to Bumburi: At the start of the day we gently descend to the Dudh Koshi river for two hours passing through agricultural farming land and small Sherpa and Rai settlements. From the Dudh Koshi river the trail goes up to Kharikhola (2050m). On the way we pass through Juving (1680m.) a large Rai village and farming lands then on to Bumburi (2100m) which is our home for the next ten days.|
|8-14||2100m||N/A||This is the heart of our journey! Bumburi is a small village, tucked away from the traditional trekking routes. Adventure Alternative and Moving Mountains have been working in the village for many years. We have undertaken some large projects and given lots of support to the community. Your stay here is the continuation of that work. We will be based in Bumburi for 9 days. During this time you will be involved in home stays, cultural course, building projects, teaching and working alongside your Sherpa peers. This is a hands on experience which will bring the realities of Sherpa life and traditions into your hearts and minds. It will be hard work but very enjoyable and a life long experience for you to cherish. For more details on what Moving Mountains has done in the area check out: www.movingmountainstrust.org|
|15||2400m||5-6hrs||As part of our time on the project we will also visit Bupsa (2350m) towards the end of our time in the area. Moving Mountains has also undertaken a lot of work in the small town. From Bupsa we will continue our trek to Surke. Today, we ascend steeply for nearly two hours to the Khari La Pass (2880m.). While trekking, we pass through rhododendron and oak forests and small Sherpa settlements. Towards the end of our day the trail steeply descends to our destination. Surke is a small Sherpa village below the air strip town of Lukla. Stay overnight at lodge.|
|16||2650m||5hrs||Surke to Phakding: The first part of the trek gently ascends for nearly 2 hours to Chhiplung (2700m.), we then pass through Mushe (2650m). The trail is almost flat with a gentle descent and then ascends gently to Phakding (2650m) where we will stay overnight at lodge.|
|17||3440m||5-6hrs||Phakding to Namche Bazaar: Uphill to Namche Bazaar which is the Sherpa capital in the heart of the Khumbu region. We initially follow the valley to Monjo where you enter the National Park, then cross the river a few times and start a long unrelenting path uphill, with one spectacular bridge spanning a deep gorge. We then leave the coniferous forest behind, and arrive at a huge natural amphitheatre with the houses spread around the sides. Namche is the major trading centre of the Khumbu, with Tibetans crossing the high Nangpa La Pass to reach the Saturday market. Nowadays there are also many equipment shops, internet, bank, post office, cafes, bars, lodges and hire shops.|
|18||3440m||n/a||Rest and Exploration Day in Namche Bazaar: We will go for a short walk in the morning to the top of Namche Bazaar to view Mt Everest and visit the Sherpa museum. We can then spend the afternoon relaxing in Namche, visiting the shops and market and the surrounding area.|
|19||2850m||6-7hrs||Namche Bazaar to Lukla: The last day of our trek leads from Namche Bazaar via Monjo to Lukla. The trek is pleasant, except for a few short uphill climbs and then down to the Bhote- Koshi River crossing it three times. The last uphill climb of 45 minutes will bring you to Lukla for your overnight stay. Stay overnight at lodge.|
|20||1350m||n/a||Lukla to Kathmandu: From the lodge we walk across the path and board one of the best flights in the World! The short airstrip is the the hub of the town and is the usual access for Everest teams and trekkers to the Everest region. This exhillarating flight takes 45 minutes, flying through the valleys to eventually reach Kathmandu where we will transfer you to our guest house.|
|21||1350m||n/a||Kathmandu: Full day to enjoy the sights and sounds of Kathmandu, visiting the likes of Durbar Square, Swayambhunath Temple and the Thamel District.|
|22||1350m||n/a||Kathmandu - Home: Depending on your flight times you can enjoy exploring more of Kathmandu before your flight home.|
|There is the option of adding the Chitwan Jungle Safari to the end of the itinerary, which can include white-water rafting, elephant back safari, nature treks and comfortable evenings spent on the balcony of your jungle lodge spotting wildlife (white-water rafting not always available during the monsoon season). Traditionally the best time to visit Chitwan is October to February. March to June is very hot due to pre-monsoon heat and although the monsoon season of June to September may not be the best time for most it is definitively the time when jungle comes alive, though rain, mud and swollen streams and rivers make for difficult outings into the jungle.|
SCHOOL EXPEDITION TO NEPAL COST £1,745.00
+ Moving Mountains fundraising of £500
Moving Mountains is not a tour operator so the charity outsources the management and logistics of the groups to the tour company Adventure Alternative. We do this as they are experts in their field and unlike MM, they are an officially recognised, licenced & bonded tour operator. They have all the proper insurances, policies, assessments, bonding, qualifications, experience, equipment, vehicles and staff to ensure a smooth and safe transition throughout the journey be that at our projects, or whilst involved with the personal challenge section of the itinerary.
Who am I booking with and who do I pay?
Adventure Alternative actually runs the trip and is responsible for you, the itinerary, the in-country travel, accommodation, meals, activities etc. you therefore book and pay them for the land elements of your trip. To do this you simply click the booking widget on our trip page and it will take you through the Booking Process with Adventure Alternative. The booking process is straightforward and you will need to pay a deposit of £250 pp to secure your place.
The second payment is to Moving Mountains and this is for a number of things and represents a donation to the charity. It is not an optional payment but one that is essential to the operation of your trip as this money is used to run the MM projects and programs that you are involved with during your trip. Some of this money also goes towards MM's other projects and programs and allows us to continue the good work that we do on the ground all year round.
- Airport transfers
- Kathmandu to Jiri transfer
- Accommodation at our guesthouse in Kathmandu with meals and bottled water
- Accommodation in lodges on the trek with meals and hot drinks (bottled water not included on the trek)
- Sherpa guides and porters to carry your main bags
- All staff costs (Adventure Alternative and Moving Mountains)
- Accommodation at Bumburi and Bupsa villages with meals and hot drinks (bottled water not included at villages)
- Lukla to Kathmandu flight
- City tours and transport in Kathmandu
- Personal project fundraising target; £500 per person, which is paid directly to Moving Mountains Trust, so you can set up online fundraising pages and claim gift aid
- International flight to Kathmandu
- Tourist visa, which you can buy on arrival
- Vaccinations required for travelling in Nepal or medical costs
- Personal expenses for snacks, drinks, souvenirs, etc
- Travel insurance (policy should include trekking in Nepal cover)
- Any extra activities or optional add-ons not mentioned in itinerary
Fundraising for the charity section allows you to use sites like My Donate where you can set up a personal fundraising page to take advantage of the Gift Aid scheme. Gift Aid adds 25p to every £1 donation from a UK tax payer.
NB: The expedition fee, which is payable to Adventure Alternative cannot be paid using MyDonate or Justgiving.
Travel Insurance - you will need travel insurance for this trip, and normal holiday travel insurance is adequate as long as it covers trekking and helicopter rescue (usually covered under repatriation). We advise you to get this insurance early on, so that if you have to make a late cancellation for some reason then you will get all your money back.
Aside from the local investment in Adventure Alternative Nepal, there are many more local providers who have benefitted from our model of responsible tourism, and they are small family run businesses like the local market sellers, the food producers, the cooks, building suppliers, brick makers, or local accommodations providers.
SCHOOL EXPEDITION TO NEPAL - FITNESS AND TERRAIN
You do not need to be super-fit for this trip, however the expedition element is moderately demanding with some long days of sustained walking with a day-pack. The effects of altitude will also further tax your body. You will enjoy the trip all the more if you are in good physical shape having exercised regularly and eaten nutritiously over at least the 6 months leading up to the trip.
You do need to be in good health as we will spend some time in locations that are many hours from professional medical care. Any pre-existing medical or dental conditions should be fully appraised by a doctor and their nature fully disclosed to your insurer and to ourselves.
TYPE OF TERRAIN
The trails are well made and used as they are the main transport arteries through the region. They are traversed by mules and people. They are often constructed as rough steps from local rock as they wind around the hillsides. Wherever possible the paths have been constructed to minimise the ascent and descent between villages. However this is the Himalayas so there are some fairly demanding ups and downs to deal with along the way.
Also bear in mind that the altitude will mean that something that you may bound up at sea level may slow you considerably at 2500m. You don’t have to be super-fit but some of the hills are quite steep and there are a lot of them! You will carry a small rucksack and will have Sherpas to help with the main luggage.
SCHOOL EXPEDITION TO NEPAL KIT LIST
The basic idea of the kit we will take is to keep you warm, dry, protected from the sun, able to move comfortably in the mountains and able to be comfortable in the evenings and at night. There is a more detailed kit list which is emailed to participants, but the main points to cover are as follows:-
- BAGS - Rucksack or duffle bag for a porter to carry plus a day pack to be carried by you
- SHELL - Top and bottom waterproofs to keep off wind/rain
- LAYERS - Shirts, trousers, shorts, T-shirts, jumpers and jackets, hats and gloves
- BASELAYER - Thin layers to wick away any sweat and to wear for cold mornings
- FEET - Comfortable boots with a good sole and ankle support. Lighter footwear to change into in the evenings.
- SLEEPING - Warm sleeping bag (3 or 4 season) to get a good nights sleep at the lodges (they also have blankets)
- DRINKING - Water bottles should be hard plastic (Nalgene), not throwaway bottles.
- WASHING & MEDICAL - wash kit, towel, personal first aid kit
- SUN CARE - sunglasses, sunhat, suncream, etc
- TREKKING - trekking poles, umbrella, dry bags
- PERSONAL ITEMS - cameras, books, music
SCHOOL EXPEDITION TO NEPAL - RENTAL ITEMS
All equipment (both real and fake!) can be hired in Kathmandu. The shops sell just about anything you may need, in terms of equipment, snacks, food and of course souvenirs.
Please note that standard luggage limits on internal flights are 15kg in the hold and 5kg as hand luggage. You can of course wear your trekking boots and jacket to help cut down on the weight of your bag and you can also leave any city clothes or extra travel kit in Kathmandu at our guest house. Our recommended weight for porters to carry is 15Kg, you will need to carry anything that puts your main luggage over this weight.
SCHOOL EXPEDITION TO NEPAL - WHY US?
For over two decades we have had a strong connection with the villages of Bupsa and Bumburi, ever since Adventure Alternative and Moving Mountains Trust founder, Gavin Bate, made friends with a Sherpa called Ang Chhongba and they ended up working together. They decided to bring electricity, education, health and prosperity to this region known as the Juving district, and from his climbs of Mount Everest Gavin was able to raise the money to pay for hydro electric power plants and new schools and monasteries.
Gavin (2nd on right) with Ang Chhongba Sherpa (3rd from left) and Chhongba's wife Lhakpa, Mum and family members
Previously these villages were all but dead; there were no families, no children and no trade to speak of. If you go there now, the schools cater for hundreds of children, the new monasteries are filled with villagers, the clinic is working, the electricity powers lights in every house and machinery which brings income to the co-operative. There is tourism now, homestays and medical camps and trips like this one which give people a chance to glimpse the old Sherpa ways and see how 'clever aid' has managed to bring prosperity and positive change without affecting the underlying identity of the people.
This trip works on certain programmes including running sports events and a big drive towards rubbish recycling and collection, providing fresh water in every house, teaching people about the basics of primary healthcare and teaching young people about computers and IT. It's great fun, but also tremendously fulfilling. It's a real case of tourism and social entrepreneurship:
The benefits of a personal development school trip are not just for the visitor, but we'll start there!
'Personal Development through International Development' is how we like to summarise the benefits for a young person on one of our trips. The experience, although managed with great care and with wonderful staff also allows the visitor to expand on skills they have and explore, use and develop new ones. Below are some areas which this trip gives a greater understanding or experience of to the visitor:
- Travel Global citizenship
- Cultural Awareness and interaction
- Understanding & experiencing (charity) development at a grass roots level
- Learning and using teaching, building and sports skills
- Language skills
- Time management
- Financial planning, awareness and management
- Fundraising initiatives, planning and management
- Self belief and confidence
- Drive, ambition and maturity
- Fitness & physical challenge
- Personal challenge
- Team work
- Catering and nutrition
- Practical skills
- Camping & trekking skills
- Wildlife knowledge and experience
- Problem solving
- Health and hygiene
- Safety and how to look after yourself whilst travelling
- Responsible Travel
Teachers / Support staff
Whether you're physically with the group in Nepal, or have been the support behind them for fundraising at home, then there's also benefits to you:
- All of the above benefits that you get to give to the students!
- Your own personal challenge
- Increased recognition in your school
- Professional development portfolio advancement
- Achievement of seeing the group reach & realise their goals
- Watching and helping the young people develop personally and socially
- Raise your school profile in terms of local media and within your education board
Despite being naturally concerned that your children will be away from home you can be assured that they are in good hands with a team of staff who will look after them really well. We often get calls from parents after the trip to tell us how their children have had such a positive experience. Below are a few of the remarks which are often made:
- Eyes opened to the real world
- Focused and more motivated at school
- Greater drive and aspirations for the future
- A desire to teach / work in the charity sector / help people
- Gained such good travel experience for when they travel again
- More confident
- Listens better
- Is nicer to their siblings & parents!
The Host Community
The communities with which MM works benefits greatly and you can read and see what we've done over the years in our Nepal section of this website. None of that work would be possible without the hard work of the visiting groups including their fundraising at home and the work they physically do on the ground. Further more a project that we run, be it a classroom development, building a clinic or repair works also has knock on affects in the community beyond the actual physical building or the long term development of a facility or community project:
- We buy & source food locally from local traders directly investing in local people and families
- We buy and source our building supplies and employ builders locally
- Any items that aren't available locally are bought in Kathmandu and we employ local porters to carry them to the villages.
- We take the groups to local places of interest and again invest directly in the community
- We bring local children to the camps which is based on their school performance encouraging their development
- We work closely with local officials, schools, community leaders to ensure we develop and improve the areas where we work
Groups on a Nepal school adventure
We really like to establish long term relationships with schools that come out to Nepal and support us because a lot of the Nepal school trip happens at home, with training events and lots of preparation. Clearly there is fundraising to be done, but just as importantly we provide a long lead-in time for the students and teachers and parents so that we can cover pre trip training and ensure that everyone has prepared properly and most importantly whilst enjoying the experience.
We have been working with various schools from all over the world for many years and we also have teachers and youth workers on our staff team who constantly help us deliver what we feel is the most productive experience possible for the students that travel with us.
Importantly we're there for teachers and parents and always available to help. We've been organising educational and personal development school trips to East Africa and Nepal since the early 1990's. We specialise in providing safe, exciting and worthy experiences for all involved and that includes the schools, teachers and parents at home! We are there to help you from the very first initial enquiry, through the build up, training & trip preparation and throughout their time in Nepal. We will help make this possible and support you so that it's also fun and enjoyable for you too!
Young people tend to apply early to get a place and for many of them the experience of planning, training, fundraising and of course the trip itself forms the basis for their personal portfolio. Some of them go on to do internships with us, and even work for the charity.
The level of preparation that we provide is unusual in our experience. We teach a wide range of personal development skills prior to the trip, which has great relevance to modern society and our place in it. Those involved sign up and the day that they do their journey starts, really the finale is stepping on the plane to reach Kathmandu. Global citizenship and social responsibility are promoted, as is personal self esteem and in particular stereotyped attitudes to aid, race and development.
Safety on the Nepal school expedition
Our Nepal school trips are very well organised, well staffed and very safe; our track record speaks for itself. We have such a deep and comprehensive understanding of the country and now, well into our third decade working there, we have a long and successful legacy and a remarkable network of support, which is a very protective and reassuring element of our operations in Nepal.
Perhaps most importantly our programme and itineraries are in beautiful, peaceful, rural regions; our groups never see nor hear anything which might be construed as dangerous. Rural mountain villages, remote schools perched on mountain passes in the amazing and stunning Himalayas are simply wonderful and peaceful places to spend time and help. We have our own bases at all these locations where we are well known and respected and just by being with Moving Mountains the local people have such high appreciation of our work that they treat you as one of their own. Of course with every group we have our own qualified and experienced staff. Plus we also welcome teaching staff from the schools and parents to join us and we can easily organise a taster trip so that you can come and see exactly what we do, meet our team and see where and how we run our trips, so that when you come out with your students that you feel relaxed and happy.
The staff are either our own or those of our partner organisation Adventure Alternative and every trip attracts a large following of supporters and stakeholders including local villagers, teachers, Doctors, government authorities, local police, village committees, social workers and many children all take part in these trips, and in all our years of running this trip we have simply never experienced any sort of security issue or problem. We always stick to the places we know so well and where we are so welcome.
We outsource the management and logistics of our groups to the tour company Adventure Alternative and do this as they are experts in their field and unlike MM, they are an officially recognised, licenced & bonded tour operator. They have all the proper insurances, policies, assessments, bonding, qualifications, experience, equipment, vehicles and staff to ensure a smooth and safe transition from arrival in Nepal, throughout the journey to and whilst at our projects or when trekking and involved with the personal challenge elements of the itinerary and back to the airport again. MM was originally born out of Adventure Alternative (AA) and many of their staff are former beneficiaries or trustees of our local NGO, Moving Mountains Nepal. They are the perfect guides to illustrate the realities of life in the Himalayas and with their intimate knowledge, they're the perfect custodians for our visiting groups.
Is there a role for a teacher or parent?
We are happy to work as closely or remotely as required. Some schools jump in with both feet and offer the opportunity to an entire year group and create a private school team; then depending on the numbers we offer a free place to at least one teacher or parent - possibly more, if they're keen to come along. Other schools offer the opportunity to their students and they sign up and join one of our Open Groups as individuals. This means that a student will travel with a team made up of others from different areas / schools. In this case we do a lot of online training over Skype and by emailing resources and chatting to the students on a one to one basis. If there is a collection of students in a more localised area then we can also put them in contact pre-trip and if possible for some training. In this example we tend not to work specifically with a school but we can do so if requested and we always welcome teachers or parents involvement.
There is of course also a support role in the build up to travelling to Nepal be that helping organise fundraising, buying / borrowing kit, organising flights, insurance, visas etc. all of which we hands on assist with. Despite clear advice and instructions these tasks, being an important part of the process, can at times become the concerns and stresses of parents! We're here to help you too and we fully appreciate that you also go on a parental journey, which is more emotional and less exciting than your children's actual journey! It's a coming of age, a maturing that we watch and nurture and support - and we know that's not easy! So do please lift the phone and give us a call, or if possible let's meet up and have a chat.