Friends of MM trip to Nepal - Nepal
Join Adventure Alternative and the Moving Mountains Trust for a two week charity holiday well off the beaten track in the Solu-Khumbu region of the Himalaya's; working on relevant, meaningful and hands-on projects developed by our charity in Nepal, Moving Mountains. Aside from the project you will be volunteering your time in the schools we support with children who benefit directly from our work in Nepal. We'll finish the trip off with some white-water rafting and a jungle safari in Chitwan National Park.
We believe that this hugely successful adult version of our Himalayacamp will provide you with a real awareness and appreciation for life outside your normal environment; you will see and experience life in rural Nepal, trek through some of the stunning valleys of the Himalaya's and return home with a great insight into how we believe developmental aid should work in developing countries.
This is a charity holiday aimed at individuals, and small groups of people who want to interact with rural communities in Nepal by trekking in to the Solu-Khumbu region of the Himalaya's where the team will get involved in the villages that are being supported and developed by Moving Mountains.
There are two costs involved; a) your own land based trip costs and b) the specific project costs that the team will need to raise for the project to be practically viable.
After the success of previous tailor made expeditions to this region we have decided to open the doors which we hope will encourage people to take a chance and challenge themselves to an experience which is out of most peoples comfort zone. It will also help Moving Mountains to maintain it's charitable work in the mountains.
You will be led by our Nepalese staff who manage both Adventure Alternative Nepal and Moving Mountains Nepal. All of them are residents of the village where you will be going, and they will ensure you are well looked after. This is a real people and places experience, one that genuinely benefits the community and allows you to see how our long term work in the region has literally turned it around.
Activities and Highlights
For everybody, the chance to visit traditional Sherpa houses and experience life with families and communities who maintain their traditional lifestyle is always an honour and privilege. The fact that they live in the Himalaya and you wake up every morning with an astounding view just adds to the whole experience.
We have been working in Bupsa and Bumburi since 1994, when Gavin first went there and made friends with Chhongba Sherpa. Now, the company employs many people from the villages, and the charity has worked with the community to create so much - electricity, businesses, lodges, monasteries, schools, water supplies and sustainable technologies in the homes. This was all done during the Maoist uprising, and the villages in those days were virtually empty. Now they are thriving and full of young families and the schools have seen their numbers increase by many hundreds.
The projects we run in the villages for Moving Mountains are supported by capital investment and then revenue which comes from tourism. We have brought the villages to market, and created a range of trips and holidays which enable the village to prosper. Most importantly the villagers are themselves stakeholders in this process, and we believe this is the way forward for responsible tourisn. It's also a lot more fun!
Value of Your Visit
The value of your visit is hard to describe in just a few words, but it creates wealth for the future of communities and it gives tremendous self-esteem to people in the mountains who would like to improve, and yet maintain their traditional culture. This is such a common problem with indigenous communities around the world, but here it is working in a positive way.
Type of People
Sherpas are well known for their hospitality and positive attitude to life. To live and travel in their villages is a real privilege. Their culture is fascinating, and part of the value of the trip is to share values.
Dates and Itinerary
Our International Development trips have advertised dates for individuals to sign up, if you represent a group who would prefer to be a private team then please look at the private group options below.
|25th October - 7th November|
It is possible to extend your charity holiday by one week, two weeks or even longer and spend some quality time in the villages that we support, there may well be project work that you can get involved with but there is also plenty of opportunities to get in to the schools which have been developed through Moving Mountains to teach English.
There is also plenty of opportunities to stay on for longer in Nepal and extend your time by joining one of our advertised treks, or just kick back and relax at a Spa resort in Kathmandu.
The core dates cover a two week period, which starts with your arrival in Kathmandu. We then take an internal flight to Lukla and trek for two days to the villages that Moving Mountains have been developing in the Khumbu region of the Himalaya. The next part of the first week is spent implementing the project and volunteering in the schools which are supported through Moving Mountains before heading back towards Lukla at the start of the second week and on to Kathmandu for a 3 day/2 night Chitwan jungle safari.
Time in Country
All of our International Development Projects have been identified, researched, assessed, priced and approved by our charity Moving Mountains. The next stage of the process is project implementation and for this we need people to help us firstly raise the funds to cover the costs of project development and then assist with implementation on the ground, which is what all our International Development trips aim to achieve.
|1||Arrive in Kathmandu, where you will be met by a team from Adventure Alternative Nepal and Moving Mountains Nepal. Overnight and meeting the staff, briefing, trip preparation and R&R to recover from the flight.|
|2||Morning flight to Lukla and start trek to Bupsa/Bumburi, staying at Karila Pass|
|3||Continue trek to Bupsa/Bumburi (depending on the pace of the team we can spend this night at Bupsa, have a look round our projects the following morning before continuing our journey to Bumburi village on day 4)|
|4-7||Moving Mountains project work & volunteering in Bumburi|
|8||Trek back to Karila Pass from Bumburi|
|9||Continue on to Lukla|
|10||Flight from Lukla to Kathmandu in the early morning, allowing time to explore Kathmandu in search of some of the mystical culture and history that the city is steeped in. Vists to Durbar Square and Swayambunath – the ‘Monkey Temple’ will be high on the agenda|
|11||A 3 hour drive to the starting point of the river rafting on the Trisuli River. After an estimated 3 hours rafting we'll continue on to Chitwan National Park.|
|12||Full day in Chitwan for elephant back safari, canoe trip for bird watching and crocodile spotting, elephant washing at watering hole, cultural tour and visit to the elephant breeding centre as well as an evening of R&R to enjoy the sunset over the National Park!|
|13||Flight back to Kathmandu from Chitwan for final night.|
At the end of your trip with us you have the opportunity to stay in Nepal to join one of our optional add-ons but if you prefer there is also plenty of opportunities for some independent travel. We can still help you with this and ensure that where you are going and where you stay will be safe. We can provide a friendly face in Kathmandu, and our company in Nepal can act as a back-up for emergencies and leaving gear. However you will be responsible for yourself if on independent travel, and it is important to understand that although we take a moral responsibility, we can't be on hand every day. You should see this as an additional service of safety and advice if you choose to travel a bit by yourself or with some friends after your trip with us.
Private Group Option
If you represent a larger group (usually 10 or more people) then we can work with your dates so that the trip can be undertaken at a time that suits you. We can run the Adult Himalayacamp charity holidays all year round though best to avoid December and January and June and July. Nepal has a typical monsoonal, two-season year. The dry season runs from September to May, which is followed by the monsoon season from June to August. December and January can be much colder.
Friends of MM trip to Nepal cost: £1,150.00
- Adventure Alternative UK organisation of your trip
- Adventure Alternative Nepal staffing and ground logistics
- Medical back-up from Interhealth
- All internal transport (including return flights from Kathmandu to Lukla and flight back to Kathmandu from Chitwan) and airport transfers
- English speaking Guides for trek to and from the villages we support
- Porters (1 per member, carries about 15kgs)
- Staff food, accommodation, insurance & equipment
- In Kathmandu, accommodation in either the AA guest house or tourist hotel (depending on size of team)
- Tea House/Lodge accommodation in the mountains and on safari
- All meals in-country, and hot drinks (e.g tea, coffee, juices - not bottled water)
- All National Park fees and permits
- All activities in the itinerary
- All payments and donations made to host communities and individuals from the trip fee
- Moving Mountains fundraising target; minimum of £500 per person. This is paid directly to our charity so you can set up online fundraising pages and claim gift aid.
- International air-fare
- Personal Travel Insurance
- Tourist Visa
- Personal costs (email, bottled water, phone laundry, souvenirs, tips etc)
- Staff Tips
Cost of Add-Ons and Some Optional Extras
Spa Hotel: £60.00
Located just outside of Kathmandu is the lovely Spa Resort, Park Village. We can arrange transfers and accommodation at the resort for you. People can then select and 'pay as you go' for the various pamperings and treatments. They also offer classes in yoga and have lovely trail walks in the surrounding hills. This option is all about rest, relaxation and rejuvenation.
Everest Flight!: £160.00
This is a flight around Mt Everest offering spectacular views of the mountain. This flight leaves daily in the morning and can be undertaken by those who plan to depart Kathmandu for home, on an evening flight following the trek or as an addition to the next two options. The one hour flight takes off from Kathmandu Airport and flies east in a fully pressurised aircraft, where one can see magnificent mountains from a height of around 25,000 feet. A must take tour of the majestic Himalayas. It’s an hour of breathtaking scenic beauty of the Mighty Mountains. It is a sparkling clear journey across the world’s highest peaks, Mt. Everest, Kanchenjunga – 3rd highest, Lhoste, Makalu, Cho Oyu, to name just a few including the Tibetan plateau. You enjoy a seemingly endless chain of snow capped peaks as you fly above the clouds, over glaciers and lakes, rivers and gorges from your private individual window. The clear, non tinted windows offer a great opportunity to experience and photograph the aerial views of the Kathmandu valley, the high peaks and the landscapes of Nepal
Everest Base Camp : £1,195.00
The seduction of a trek to Everest base camp has long been known to travellers, climbers and adventurers. Immersed in the peaceful world of Tibetan Buddhism, and framed by the majestic Himalayas, this 14 day Nepalese trek offers more than just a walking holiday; it is for many a pilgrimage to the bottom of the highest mountain in the world, in a remarkable country which will leave you with vivid memories of the people who live there.
We advise you to take out your insurance as soon as possible to cover potential events that might cause you to cancel your trip.
Your trip fee is calculated to benefit as many local individuals and organisations as possible. Adventure Alternative Nepal manages your trip and the revenue we give them from this trip and others allows them to continue to grow as a company in Nepal. Additionally we use small local operations and businesses for services and accommodation, which feeds money into local economies and communities. This is a big part of our commitment to the principles of Fair Trade Volunteering, which tries to ensure that companies follow a moral responsibility to make sure that the host community gets some of the money from tourism, and it doesn't end up costing them to look after you.
Adventure Alternative Nepal is a company which was set up by Gavin Bate, and it employs a lot of people. Since we work with AA Nepal to ensure a wage level which is well above the average in Nepal, this means that visitors like you are contributing to establishing a proper employment policy which actually lets people plan their futures, and put their children into school.
All our projects in Bumburi and Bupsa will benefit from your presence, but also from the external cash that we bring into the area courtesy of your visit. We employ many local people and nobody is left out. For example, a school could benefit from having a new structure, courtesy of your visit, and that school will be part of a long term action plan that we have with the Board but you'll also find that many other people in the local community benefit, everyone from the ladies washing clothes to the family selling locally produced tea. During your trip you will be able to talk to the Nepalese staff and be a part of this process so it is completely open.
Some people think that building something is not really beneficial to a community, and we agree with that, but only if there is no long term plan. For example, if your presence helping to build a classroom is part of our long term plan to refurbish an entire school and work with the education authorities to improve academic performance by 25% and intake by 30%, then for sure your visit is creating a lot of local benefit! This is what we do, and have been doing for many years. It's the link between Adventure Alternative and Moving Mountains that allows commerce to support charity; charity provides capital investment and company promotes revenue. Read more on the Responsible Tourism pages and the More Info section for a detailed discussion of this and much more.
Adventure Alternative Nepal is the main local provider; it has all the staff, and the equipment and guesthouse to manage your stay and also all our school trips, treks and expeditions. We have spent many years providing the investment and training to get AA Nepal to the point it is at now, and we are very proud of it! We don't outsource and we keep an eye on all the agreements and contracts to make sure that nobody is exploited or taken advantage of.
Adventure Alternative has an enviable amount of resources, including our own transport, guesthouses and a huge network of support across the country, from teachers to Doctors to local authorities and Everest summiteers! We do not outsource our responsibities so you can be sure of the safety and integrity of what we offer and do.
Prior to your trip and when you return you have full back-up and support from the UK office with Chris Little and Andy MacDonald, who have both been organising our Nepal trips for over ten years. Both will know all the projects and area's that you could be working at and will be able to provide you with a genuine insight in to life in the area's you will be visiting.
We also work with Interhealth, which provides a complete medical service for overseas travellers including medical back-up during your trip on an emergency line which is 24/7. Plus we are part of the Know Before You Go Campaign and recommend you register with the Locate programme run by the Foreign Office.
Discounts may be available for add-on treks depending on numbers and whether your trek is joining up with an advertised trek on our website
You do not need to be super-fit for this charity holiday as it is focussed more on social interaction and team work than physical exertion. Having said that, 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, there is a good bit of trekking in the Himalaya's involved, particularly the days getting to and from the villages that we work with.
You do need to be in good health. 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.
For this trip you don't need to be experienced in foreign travel or experienced in building techniques or working with children or in schools. The programme is designed so that you are the one getting the experience, while at the same time allowing you to interact with our professional staff who can show you their job. We are not expecting you to be experts in any specific or even related fields, but we will expect you to come back with a great deal of knowledge at the end of it.
The most important characteristics you need are openness, willingness to learn and take part, enthusiasm, initiative and a sense of curiosity. Your experience simply as a person from another culture will give you an enormous amount to share with local people who perhaps have less opportunities than you. The trip is very emotional, and you will meet people whose lives will be like a different world, but your interaction with them will help in ways you can't measure.
If you do have specific skills which could be useful please do inform us, you may find that we can build a specific role for you within the trip that will enhance your time in Nepal and prove beneficial to the charity and the children that you are working with. For example, health workers would be able to set up health awareness talks with the local families and school children or an electrician may be able to pass on his skills and tricks of the trade to rural communities who have little or no experience of our western ways.
Adventure Alternative Support
We provide a complete raft of support for you and the team. It's quite hard to put into words just how big our network is in Nepal. We have many staff and many people who all work indirectly for the charity, from schools and authorities to committees and business people. We provide all the transport, staff, all the equipment and all the necessary support systems for you.
Meanwhile in the UK we have a full office of staff planning your trip, monitoring your time in Nepal, chatting daily with the staff and on hand at any time for advice or emergencies. All of us have been working in Nepal for many years and our links with the likes of the Foreign Office, the British Embassy, the local police and authorities are all good and strong.
Without doubt you will witness the strong links between Adventure Alternative and Moving Mountains and the communities that you are placed in. As such, you will be an ambassador for both Adventure Alternative and Moving Mountains and there will be many people looking up to you as a role model. You need to appreciate what responsibility you are taking on in this respect and to conduct yourself in an appropriate way. Don't be afraid of this, it's simply something to be aware of. Most cultures in developing countries are naturally conservative and traditional, but they are also fun-loving and naturally demonstrative and curious, so you might be surprised by just how much they fit in with our culture.
Also, don't forget that they will be a role model to you, this is not a one way process where you get to do all the giving! Actually, you may be surprised to find that the person benefitting the most is you. The staff who work for MM and AA are all inspirational and motivated people, highly educated and passionate, and many of them came from very difficult backgrounds. Their life story will amaze you, and their natural positive attitude to life will mean that they will almost certainly become a role model to you as well.
The Promise to Moving Mountains
Moving Mountains started as a small charity in 1991 when Gavin Bate was teaching in the slums of Kenya. Some of the children he taught are now adults and working for the charity and the company. Along the way Gavin has put into action a set of beliefs in how a charity should best be run. This is nothing to do with helping a single poverty stricken child, but a way of running a community which can break free of poverty and not become reliant on others for handouts. It defines the way money is spent, how it is distributed, and how it fits in with the wider needs. It doesn’t focus on the child, but on how the child is brought up in the family and the community. It’s taken nearly twenty years of experience to get to the point where Moving Mountains is now a big charity which has such a successful ‘business model’ that the communities themselves love.
We want you to be a part of it, but we ask that you respect our system. We have rules, which include not giving ‘things’ to children and not making private arrangements for personal sponsorships or gifts or money. We have seen this happen before, and it has never worked. The local communities respect a system that doesn’t just hand it out, but gives them a chance to become owners of something successful and long-term, like any self-respecting person. It’s easy to fall into the trap of responding to an emotional response and just handing over money, but that isn’t aid and it doesn’t actually help. What helps is clever expenditure of money, a strategy to spend it properly, and the realisation that money is hard to come by in any society.
Your trip is enough to make a difference. It’s part of something successful and inspiring, and it’s part of a vision that somebody had a long time ago. Your promise to us is to let that vision continue.
We love feedback, but don't wait until you come home or wait until you can write to the Director of the company with which you booked. If you have comments then bring them up with the staff, tell them how good they are or how something upset you. There's nothing we can do in retrospect except apologise for something not being right, but if you bring it up then we can improve and change. Don't at all feel embarrassed or bad about this, the fact that our staff are Kenyan or British or Nepalese makes no difference to us, we are all the same people working for the same company!
- Rucksack or duffle bag
- Day pack
- Sleeping Bag (3 season)
- Clothing should be conservative and comfortable
- Lightweight waterproof jacket
- Fleece jacket
- Good walking boots (for project work & trekking) & trainers
- Sun glasses with good UV protection
- Sun cream - with a high UVA protection
- Wash kit and travel towel
- Camera - plus charger unit
- Head torch
- Money belt - to conceal cash, passports, etc
- Personal first aid kit
- Water bottles
- Insect repellent
- Small padlocks with security code
- Country guide book
- Local language phrasebook
- Notebook, stationery, pens
Additional Kit Info
For sleeping you will need a bag but not a mat/therm-a-rest, and do take along a liner made out of cotton to keep the bag clean and to sleep in if it gets too hot.
Don't take your most expensive stuff and leave expensive watches and things at home if you can. Take an old mobile phone for example and be careful with expensive things like ipods and cameras. Keep your money somewhere safe in a moneybelt. Do not bring large wads of notes with you, if you take sterling cash then make sure they are Bank of England notes, not regional notes eg Northern Irish or Scottish notes.
No need to bring cutlery etc, this will be provided at the tea houses and lodges where you stay.
Also don't forget:
Your passport - valid for at least six months beyond the return date.
Insurance - comprehensive travel and medical insurance cover.
Immunisation booklet - with details of all the jabs you've had.
Photocopy of your passport (kept seperately from your passport).
List of emergency telephone numbers - to cancel/call insurers, credit/debit cards.
Tickets and itinerary - remember to leave copies of these with friends or family.
Money - a mixture of some cash and credit/debit card.
List of useful contact numbers - such as British Embassy/Consulate, insurance company and credit card 24 hour emergency telephone number.
Clothing is very much a personal preference though we would advise lightweight and loose fitting, synthetic or a poly/cotton mix tend to be a little more comfortable and quicker drying.
Take a selection of normal and old clothes, and remember you can buy or rent pretty much anything you need in Kathmandu shops at a fraction of the cost in the UK. Take a jacket or fleece for cooler evenings, and remember to take a selection of short and long sleeved items, so you've got cover from the sun and protection from biting insects in the evening.
Females will have to dress conservatively in public and especially in schools and and projects where children are. You will draw unnecessary attention to yourself and maybe cause offence if revealing clothing is worn, shoulders should remain covered and legs covered to the knee at least, particularly outside Kathmandu.
- We are driven by good intentions and not just good practise; our trips work with professional bodies that work full time in the field of international development.
- This trip actively benefits the villages of Bupsa and Bumburi, providing income and business, as well as promoting the programmes we run with Moving Mountains.
- We do not contract out our trips, we employ full time staff, offering job security and good benefits.
- We are passionate about responsible tourism and our company has promoted sustainable development since 1995, and it is still growing!
- We work with Moving Mountains which provides relevant long term programmes and projects that benefit the host communities.
- Financial security guaranteed as Adventure Alternative is a member of the Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO) and has secured financial bonding with AmTrust Europe and complies with all the legal requirements for a tour company
- We are members of Interhealth which gives you access to pre-trip health information and on-site assistance by phone in the event of an emergency.
- Our staff only work for Adventure Alternative.
- We use low cost sustainable technologies and a business model which incentivises a local NGO and company.
- We have independent research to evaluate and assess the projects we run.
- We deliver value and an informed choice to our clients, through a comprehensive communications network that you can access, and we can provide that evidence to stand behind everything we say.
- We have credibility because our projects are not all self-regulated, but assessed in a collaborative process that involves many stakeholders such as the community leaders, the NGO staff and the regulatory bodies in-country.
- We have progressive ideas about the structural determinants of poverty and the implementation of 'clever aid' to create sustainable benefits.
- We don't take people's jobs, we use these trips to invest in people.
- We fulfil the criteria of Fair Trade Volunteering.
- Our projects and programmes determine the trip, not the other way around.
- We believe in what we do, and we have the experience to carry it out.