At Adventure Aid Nepal, we offer sustainable low-impact volunteering to support the poorest communities, particularly schools and children that have received little outside help since the earthquake of 2015. We provide safe, responsible and affordable volunteering, working alongside the charity Juniper Trust who are rebuilding schools in some of the most deprived areas of Nepal.
In 2022 our focus was to help with the completion of Juniper Trust 19th school in the remote village of Maili, where the 90 students have been using a temporary school for their education since the earthquake in April 2015. The three-classroom school was completed in time for our group to help with the finishing touches in November 2022 (see blog from the 2022 AAN volunteering group).
The 2023 AAN trip will be a special one as we will help decorate and provide uniforms, school equipment and a new library for Juniper Trusts 20th school
Volunteering school renovation trek; Delivering uniforms and equipment; Planting Fruit Trees; Climb Pikey Peak and visit the sacred lake at Dudh Kund.
Ranjana Beni School in the Kinja Valley, Everest Foothills.
We recommend using Trailfinders for your flights to Kathmandu, further details will be sent when you register for the trip.
We encourage all the AAN volunteers to set up their own individual “Just Giving” pages for a private challenge of your choosing. You can take inspiration from our 2002 group who managed to complete several personal challenges including a two-mile lake swim, UK’s 3 peaks challenge (climbing Ben Nevis, Snowden and Scafell in 24 hours), accompanying children on a a Specialist Academy Trust 5k walk from Marske to Redcar, running 5k a day for a month, setting up a village cake stall, hosting a coffee morning… There is no limit to what you can achieve. Any funds raised will go direct to the Juniper Trust and added to the Group Just Giving Page total. Fundraising initiatives will be shared on the AAN Facebook and Instagram pages.
Transfers are included from the airport, irrespective of arrival date. We stay at a comfortable hotel in the popular Thamel district of Kathmandu which is bustling with cafes, shops, and restaurants. You should plan to be at the hotel for the briefing at 6.00 pm where you will pick up your free AAN Duvet Jacket, Kitbag, AAN T-Shirt and your free hired Sleeping Bag. We will also run through the list of equipment needed for the trek, there is time for shopping and to change money the following day (see spending money requirements and tipping guidelines). The group dinner will be in a restaurant close to the hotel. O/N Hotel. Alt. 1400m
“Kathmandu is a riot of sights, sounds and smells that can quickly lead to sensory overload. Whether you are barrelling through the traffic-jammed alleyways of the old town in a rickshaw, marvelling at the medieval temples or dodging trekking touts in the backpacker district of Thamel, Kathmandu can be an intoxicating, amazing and exhausting place” (Lonely Planet)
You are free to explore, maybe visit the Monkey Temple, the Bodnath Stupa and Durbar Square or simply wander through the alleys and streets of Thamel and to buy any items that you may have forgotten. Dinner in a nice traditional restaurant in Thamel. O/N Hotel Alt. 1400m
We are up early for a 7.00 am start for the 6-hour drive to Pattale at an altitude of 2800m. Here we get our first views of Mount Everest from the foothills that are covered in Rhododendron. Transport will be in a comfortable SUV, be prepared for some spectacular views and a sometimes bumpy road as we drive from the valley floor up and into the mountains. We break the journey with a “Dal Bhat” lunch on the way. We stay in a nice local lodge with views across the terraced hillside to Pikey Peak in the distance. O/N Lodge. Alt. 2800m
Waking up to clear views of Mount Everest, we set off once again in our SUVs for the 3-4 hour drive to Taklung where we will start the 6 hours walk tour to the campsite close to Ranjana Beni School. The campsite will be ready and prepared for our arrival and your camp crew will be waiting with drinks and refreshments before serving our first dinner. O/N Camp. Alt. 2800m
Ranjana Beni School is Juniper Trust’s 20th school rebuilding since the earthquake in 2015. The school has 100 children and is still using temporary classrooms following the earthquake. They have had some help from the government, to rebuild one classroom block and for new toilets, but in 2019 they asked the Juniper Trust for help to rebuild a separate block of three classrooms that remains destroyed. Due to Covid, they were unable to start the rebuilding work until recently, but the target is for the builders to be finished by the time our group arrives. We will spend three days painting, furniture building and interacting with the children. Alt. 2800m
A second day painting and interaction with the children at Ranjana Beni School. We will arrange break out groups to visit some of the homes in the village to learn and experience the Nepali hospitality way of life.
A busy last day at Ranjana Beni School where we make final touches to the classrooms, distribute the uniforms and equipment provided by the group’s fundraising and have a farewell dinner and presentation.
Leaving our camp at the school, we make the 6-hour trek to Mountain Agra Resort, which is just 30 mins walk from Maili Village School, which was visited by the 2022 AAN group. Set in a stunning location at 2,800m high above the Kinja Valley, it is the perfect base for our group to relax after working at the school. Owned by a retired army officer, who has received several horticultural awards, the resort is self-sufficient in growing its own fruit and vegetables and serves excellent organic home-grown food. There is a beautiful, terraced garden where you can enjoy a mint tea whist taking in the beautiful and peaceful surroundings or why not try the local “Thomba” made from fermented millet. O/N Agra Resort Alt. 2800m
Maili Village School was Juniper Trust’s 19th school rebuilding project since the earthquake in 2015. In 2022, Juniper Trust will be making repairs to some of the other existing classrooms that are still damaged since the earthquake. Our group will spend a day making the final touches to these newly repaired classrooms and distribute more desperately needed school equipment.
Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world and rural villagers depend on their natural environment for food and housing but chopping down trees can unintentionally destroy the habitat they depend upon to live. In 2021, working with the communities in the Kinja Valley, the Juniper Trust distributed 10,000 fruit tree saplings, a mixture of Walnut, Pecan, Peach, Plum, Sichuan Pepper, Mandarin and Lapsi which will generate fruit for the communities as they grow for up to 25 years. Part of our group’s fundraising will be used to buy 2,500 saplings for a new orchard to be planted on land belonging to the Agra Mountain Resort. Whilst most of the trees will be delivered in the spring, some will be delivered in the autumn so that our group can help with tree planting.
After a light lunch, it’s time to leave the Resort and start the climb to Pikey Peak. Although the road continues to the pass at 3,300m, we can cut through the rhododendron forest in places making a very enjoyable walk. We get our first glimpse of Pikey Peak to the north as we climb higher. Our camping crew will have gone ahead to prepare the camp outside the lodge next to the Gompa. O/N camp Alt. 3500m
An easier day and very enjoyable short day’s walking through the forest below the Taklung Danda but we will feel the altitude slightly. It’s a four hour walk on a well-trodden path, through more rhododendron forest with a moderate incline most of the way. Wildlife and bird sightings get better here. Elevation gain is significant, and a short day is better to give the body the time and rest to get acclimatised. We can see the summits of Pikey not too far from the Lodge and it’s a good idea to go for a short walk above the lodge if you can, to help acclimatise. Save the summit for the morning though! O/N Lodge. Alt. 3750m
A super early start at 0530 am for the one hour walk up to the summit of Pikey Peak. It’s dark and cold when we set off and we will use our head torches as we follow a newly built trail with many steps which winds its way to the top. The summit is marked by hundreds of prayer flags, and we regroup to wait for the spectacular sunrise on Mountain Everest. As the sun climbs higher, the view opens up to reveal some of the highest mountains on earth, Kanchenjunga and Makalu included. After hugs and photos, we continue across the ridge for 30 mins to the second summit before descending steeply for well-deserved refreshments at Jase Bhanjynag. Another one-hour climb follows, before a big two-hour descent through the forest to Lhodi where we can take a late lunch. A leisurely late afternoon walk along the valley in the evening sum will take us to Junbesi (2680m) where we are rewarded with a very nice lodge and a few celebration beers at the end of a great day. Lodge Alt. 2680m
The village of Junbesi, just outside of the Everest National Park, lies nestled below the Thubten Choling and Chiwang Monasteries and on the main pilgrim trail to the sacred lake at Dudh Kunda. We have a full day here to rest from trekking and to get involved in two tree planting projects in the village, one at the new school by the river and the second in the Chiwang Monastery itself. Alt 2650m
We make last minute preparations for the trek to the sacred lake known as Dudh Kunda (Milky Lake). Today is a most spectacular day as we climb through a beautiful forest overlooking the monastery to cross two small passes marked by cairns and prayer flags. We have ever closer views of Mt.Numbar and the Karyalung Glacier and the peaks across in the Rowaling Valley. In summertime, these hillsides are used by Yak herders to graze their animals and our camp is by a Yak Kharka (Yak house) in a spectacular position with great views all around. O/N Camp Alt. 4100m
We descend to Saharsbeni, a collection of yak herders houses and after a short break, continue up to the sacred lake at Dudh Kunda, at 4593m, which is the highest point of our trek. From Saharsbeni, it’s a two to three hour walk up to the lake and the altitude will slow you down for the final part of the trek. We will take a packed lunch for the walk, which can be had by the lake or during the walk. The lake is regularly visited by pilgrims, but you may want to test the water temperature before thinking about a swim! We return to our camp at Saharsbeni in the afternoon. O/N Camp. Alt. 4037m
A leisurely start for the walk to Taksindu via the Taksindu La. The trail descends gently as first before a very small climb to the pass followed by a steep descent for 3 hours to Taksindu . O/N Lodge
We descend again through more beautiful forest, making a short detour to the cliff-top Gompa at Chiwong. Built in 1935 by legendary Sange Lama of Phaplu, the Chiwang Gompa is one of three monasteries in Solu Khumbu to play host to the Mani Rimdu festival of Nepal. We can take our time here before dropping down to the busy roadhead town at Phaplu for lunch. To break the long journey back to Kathmandu, we will drive for 3 hours to Pattale where we have our final views of Everest and Pikey Peak O/N Lodge Alt. 2800m
Today’s drive back to Kathmandu will take approximately 10 hours but the road has recently been re-surfaced to supply the airport. We reach Kathmandu in the early evening and check into our hotel before heading into town for dinner.
Depending on your flight time there is a chance to see more of Kathmandu or last minute shopping. Transfers to the airport are included.
The 2023 AAN trip is fully inclusive of all accommodation, transport and meals both in Kathmandu and on the trip. You should allow some extra money for miscellaneous expenses and tips (see below).
In 2023, we have linked up with UK based Adventure Base to handle the admin side of your booking – giving you full financial security for your booking. They have offered to do this free of any charge to AAN or yourself, again to try to keep the trip price as low as possible. To reserve your place you will be asked to pay a 25% deposit when you book, the balance of your tour price is due 8 weeks before departure.
To allay any concerns you may have regarding having to cancel, we have arranged a deal with Trailfinders for great flights with Qatar Airlines for approx. £800, which includes 3 hotel nights in Kathmandu with the group. This will be covered by Trailfinders “peace of mind policy” which would offer you a full refund if you chose not to travel due to quarantine rules either in Nepal or the UK on your return. We will help you choose a flight, hopefully with other people from the group, to arrive by the arrival day of the itinerary, ideally in the morning or early afternoon to allow time for any last-minute shopping before leaving Kathmandu. You can spend extra time in Nepal if you want to. We will pick you up from the airport and take you back regardless of your arrival and departure date.
Check you have at least 6 months validity on your passport (at the completion of your trip). You will need a 30-day Visa for Nepal, its available on arrival in Kathmandu Airport – bring $40 cash and a passport photograph.
Check with your doctor to see which vaccinations you need before you go.
Travel Insurance is mandatory, we have organised a tailor-made policy with Campbell Irvine that will cover you for trekking in Nepal. If you take out their insurance, for approx. £90, you will also be covered if you contact COVID before you go or you have been told that you have been in contact with someone that has. Trailfinders insurance also covers you for the trekking on our trip, baggage, medical etc.
In Kathmandu, we use a comfortable Hotel close to central Thamel district, plenty to do, shops, restaurants, cafes and bars – a lively place, great fun. On the trip and whilst volunteering, we stay in basic but comfortable lodges and camp in two-person tents on a few nights (see itinerary).
Healthy and plentiful, mainly vegetarian – the food is great! We can cater for special dietary requirements if we know in advance.
There is very little opportunity to spend money in the villages we stay whilst volunteering and on the trek. AAN will endeavour to provide everything you will need from the trip cost (beer and drinks, other than water, in hotels and lodges are not included). However, we do recommend that you change £200 in Kathmandu for spending money and tips. In Kathmandu there are many shops and you are likely to want to buy some souvenirs to take back with you. Most take cards and there are cash point facilities available.
You support crew will work hard to make sure you have a safe and enjoyable time and you will want to give them a tip after the trek. When you arrive, we will collect 6,000 rupees (£40) from everyone and this will be split and given to the staff and porters at the end of the trek before we drive back to Kathmandu.
A small rucksack, with water, snacks (provided), spare layer of clothing, sun screen and anything you might require during the day.
We will give you an AAN Kit bag on arrival in Nepal – this will be carried by a jeeps or porter for you during your trek, there is a 15kg weight limit including your sleeping bag which you will also collect in Kathmandu.
Four-wheel drive land cruisers and jeeps will will be used throughout the trip and private bus back to Kathmandu at the end.
No Wi-Fi is available other then in Kathmandu. Local 3G SIMs for your phone can be purchased at reasonable prices on arrival.
This is a beautiful part of the world, we plan to take nothing but memories, leave nothing but hope is our moto. We will carry all our rubbish back to the roadhead.
Nothing is for free, even work sometimes! There are costs and we have tried to balance value and quality to make sure you have an affordable trip of a lifetime.
Abhishek and Sam will be with you as well as local guides, cooks, staff and porters to carry your AAN kit bag the whole way! The AAN team and its volunteers have decades of experience operating trips in Nepal, you are in good hands if something weren’t to go according to plan. A satellite phone will also be carried in case of emergencies (not available for personal use).
Kinja Village, the base for the volunteering, is in a beautiful setting at the confluence of the Likhu Khola and Kinja Khola (river). The altitude is around 1600m. Our ascent to Pikey peak is gradual, we spend 3 nights at Agra Resort (2,800m) a night at Bhouda Camp (3,500m) and a night at Pikey Peak Base Lodge (3700m) before reaching Pikey Peak Summit the next day at 4065m, descending to Junbesi the same day which is at 2700m. On the trek to Dudh Kunda, we will camp at Junbesi Ridge camp (3600m) and Saharsbeni (4037m), climbing to Dudh Kundha (4593m) the following day and descending to Taksindu (2842m).
November is a great month to be in Nepal – it is usually warm and dry with blue Skies. Whilst volunteering in the villages, the temperatures will be around 20C-25C during the day and pleasantly cool in the evenings. For the night at Pikey Peak base, you can expect a frost and a cold start to the day but warming up nicely when the sun comes out.