Nepal KathmanduBlog

Destination Focus: Nepal

Nepal's tourism, on which it relies so heavily, suffered dreadfully in the years of the Maoist rebellion, but the country is once again flourishing and tourism is again flying high. For schools, an adventure in Nepal represents a fantastic opportunity to explore a friendly, yet very different country.

The alure for trekkers and tourists for so many years still remains as strong today as before the troubles: mountains, people and culture. Whatever the reason for your visit to this enchanting country, you are sure to come away with endearing memories of warm welcomes, smiling children and a sense of wonder at the majesty of the Himalaya.

The mountain range dominates life in much of this Kingdom, however, the real beauty of Nepal lies in its sheer diversity. There is a huge range of environments, ecosystems, terrains, religions and cultures. The disparity between the lofty peaks of the Himalaya and the steaming jungle plains of Chitwan National Park is matched only by the contrast and diversity found within the Hindu and Buddhist religions.

Village Life

Whilst a visit to Nepal would not be complete without experiencing the religious cultures and bustle of Kathmandu or the wildlife of its many National Parks, it is the mountains that draw groups here time and again. There is no better way to get a feel for this country than to walk through the valleys and villages of the Himalaya. "Life" is all around you: children playing, men and women working the terraces with buffalo and ox, lively markets and families preparing dinner, all with the magnificent jagged peaks soaring high above.

Trekking in Nepal is not just about scaling high peaks, crossing snow covered passes and traversing remote valleys. There are many options offering easy and short (between three to five day) treks at low altitude. In the Annapurna region, particularly, there is excellent trekking that rise little above 3,000m, so avoiding serious altitude issues. Yet you are not far from the action, either, with stunning views of the 8,000m Annapurna range and the beautiful Machapuchare or "Fishtail" mountain.

Everest and Annapurna

Aiming a little higher, classic treks such as Everest Base Camp and the Annapurna Circuit are certainly popular with the masses, but even with a route as well trodden as Everest Base Camp there are some great variations on the standard route that will take you away from the crowds and over some of the most spectacular passes in the Himalaya.

More remote opportunities abound too, with access to previously restricted areas opening up with increasing frequency. A circumnavigation of Dhaulagiri, the Rolwaling Valley, or the remote region of Nar and Phu all offer genuinely remote trekking amongst fabulous scenery and isolated communities.

Trekking Peaks

For the more upwardly inclined, there are the trekking peaks: challenging, rewarding, and technically within the reach of any fit and determined group with ice-axe and crampon experience. Mera Peak (6460m), Island Peak (6189m) and Chulu West (6250m) are three non-technical trekking peaks offering the opportunity to experience true mountaineering in the Himalaya.

Beyond the hills

In addition to trekking, Nepal has excellent opportunities for white water rafting and mountain biking. Often it is feasible to include both of these activities in an itinerary if required, in addition to trekking. There are also many possibilities for those schools wanting to include a project phase. Many of the options are community based, helping remote villages construct houses, schools or pathways for example.

Central to any exploration of Nepal is the capital city, Kathmandu. This fascinating, noisy city is home to a remarkable history and a rich cultural heritage. Holy men, artists, business men and tourists jostle for position amongst ancient palaces and temples in one of the world's greatest travel destinations. Any itinerary, whether trekking or more culturally focused, should allow at least some time to explore this absorbing city.

11 day introductory adventures including an easy trek start from around £1,600 per student including flights, all ground arrangements and free teacher places. Contact us to discuss itineraries and options and to obtain a quotation.