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 with our charity Moving Mountains 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 Moving Mountains projects, which will be decided before you travel depending on the specific needs of the community.
When we first started working in Bupsa and Bumburi there were no schools, now the villages have over 500 children in education and you will be greeted with great ceremony and fun, 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 the ampitheatre 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 our charity Moving Mountains has been setting up environmentally sustainable projects like 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 £1,445.00
The above cost is for the advertised itinerary, amendments for private teams may alter this cost depending on the changes made.
- 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)
- Homestay 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; £400 per person, which is paid directly to our charity, 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
- 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
Nepal School expedition fundraising aim
Aside from the expedition cost paid to Adventure Alternative all participants are required to raise a minimum of £400 for the Moving Mountains Trust. This amount funds the costs of the camp, Moving Mountains Nepal staff, the developmental project which you will be involved with and all our other projects in Nepal.
Fundraising for charity allows you to use sites like MyDonate and Justgiving 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. For further information on setting up a findraising page to support Moving Mountains click here.
NB: The expedition fee, which is payable to Adventure Alternative cannot be paid using MyDonate or Justgiving.
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 here, 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. This trip is on the back of such a history and brings new programmes and new projects, each of which continue to improve the quality of life for the local people.
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: