WHY IS NEPAL ONE OF THE MUST-SEE DESTINATIONS FOR VOLUNTEER TRAVELLING?« Back
By Katarzyna Majchrowicz-Dolińska
So, you have heard about Nepal on many occasions, are intrigued by the stories, but you think that maybe this trip would be too much of a challenge? In terms of distance, it may be far, but if you don’t feel sure about travelling long distances on your own – you don’t have to go alone. But perhaps before you really start considering if this trip is for you, join us today to find out why Nepal appears on many lists of top travel destinations.
Called the Himalayan Kingdom by many, Nepal is a relatively small country somewhat squeezed between its two bigger neighbours – China and India. If you think of Nepal, what kinds of images come to your mind? If it is eastern culture which has found its place on this earth amongst snow-capped mountains and lush green hills, then your association is perfectly correct. Also, did you know that eight out of ten of the world’s tallest mountains stand in Nepal, including the famous Mount Everest? That’s a fact, but Nepal is much more than that. Nepal can boast also fast flowing rivers and tropical jungles full of wildlife, providing tourists with a really rare mix of environments. Also, it is the only Hindu Kingdom in the world.
Culture & tradition
The Nepali culture truly is rich and unique, and again, you will hear many voices which claim it to be one of the richest cultures in the world. Nepal is a country, where folklore is an integral part of its society. In Nepal, basically every aspect of life, food, dress style and even occupations are culturally guided, and have their roots in tradition, much respected by its people. What is more, Nepal is marked with exquisite temples and monuments. One of its many tourist attractions definitely is Changu Narayan – the ancient Hindu temple, located on a hilltop, about 12 km outside of Kathmandu (the capital city, also a must-see). Unfortunately, the recent earthquake of April 2015 has affected many of the historic buildings. Here, in this National Geographic article you can read more about the fate of those buildings.
Another reason why Nepal is so loved by tourists. Probably the most famous trekking destination in Nepal is the Annapurna Circuit, which, citing after Wikipedia: “is a popular name for a trek within the Annapurna mountain range of central Nepal.” The total length of this route varies between 160–230 km and rises to an altitude of 5 400m, coming close to the edge of the Tibetan plateau. This could be a travel destination in itself, as typically it will take you from 15 up to 20 days to make a circle starting and ending in Kathmandu. As far as the level of difficulty, the trail is supposed to be moderate to fairly challenging, marked with quite a few river crossings over steel and wooden suspension bridges. You can take a tent with you to sleep it in on the trail, but you don’t have to. There are tea houses and lodges along the circuit, where you will find both warm and nourishing meals, as well as accommodation.
Some of the friendliest people on earth
Namaste, and welcome to Nepal! Many tourists who have visited Nepal seem to emphasize that this country may be unique in terms of what you will see there, but some of their best memories relate to people, and how they have been treated as guests. Stories are told of the kindness and generosity of the Nepali hosts, traits which are embedded in these people’s personalities, because they are deep-rooted in their culture and religion. Typically, when you walk down the street you will be greeted by strangers, who will say to you “Namaste!”, which means “I see the light in you”, make a gesture of putting their hands together as they would do when praying, and nodding their heads in acknowledgement of your presence. A great attitude, which expresses their philosophy, and evokes warm feelings in those who have been addressed this way.
We will tell you this: if you compare the costs of traveling to Nepal with similar in terms of distance and level of exotic experience places, then for an average person from the Western culture – this trip will provide a great return on your investment. What are the actual costs? You will find a budget hotel room in Kathmandu ranging from US $5–25, and will be well fed in a trekking lodge for US $10–12. And if you are looking for somebody to accompany you on you Annapurna adventure, you will find a guide for US$ 15/25 per day. Nepal is really worth it’s money.
By now we hope that you have a better feeling of what it would be like to visit Nepal, and understand what this really unique country could offer you. Natural scenery and the unhurried lifestyle of a diverse culture on the one hand, but on the other – kind and friendly people, whose lives are troubled by natural disasters, and who greatly depend on the help we, who are lucky to live more peaceful lives, are able to provide them. If you feel that it is within your limits to visit Nepal, go through a wonderful, one-of-a-kind experience and at the same time help make a difference in people’s lives - consider joining us with a group of other volunteers like yourself to Nepal. We are organizing a trip this April, and we would be thrilled if you decided to join us! You can find more information about volunteering with a group in Nepal here. And if you are looking for more information about Nepal, we recommend our guide – introduction to Nepal.
Have a good trip! Suva Yatra!
2. In the section "Our guides" - you can find an Introduction to Nepal. (just in English at the moment)
3. You can find offers concerning volunteering in Nepal here.