Experience Himalayan Nepal

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9.6 / 10 after 6 Reviews Based on overall, support & value average ratings
Program website: http://www.ehn-nepal.org/

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Choosing to visit Nepal was a blink decision based on it being the home of Mount. Everest and such a mountainous country, but what finalised my decision was doing a little research about the NGO Company Experience Himalayan Nepal. As a volunteer I had two things in mind; to help improve the lives of other people in even the smallest way possible and whilst doing this spending just a small amount of money as let’s just get this straight, I’m volunteering my time. EHN provided not only this but also with their website, facebook and Phil’s efficient and helpful e-mail responses I had a good feeling about EHN and having volunteered with them for 4 weeks I would recommend them to any friend wishing to volunteer in Nepal. Throughout my time there I spent time with Phil and Raj who founded EHN 3 years ago and what is evident is that their aims are to provide help and support to the people of Nepal who are in need of it most. I must admit that before I left I hadn’t decided whether I’d volunteer in an orphanage, teach or farm but once I arrived in Nepal Phil told me a little more about each project and I decided that teaching in a village in the hills about a 9 hour bus journey from Kathmandu would be perfect.
After travelling with Air India(early may £465 return as a guide) for 24 hours I was feeling a little worse for wear and had been warned Kathmandu is a crazy, bustling city however I was not prepared for the culture shock. Sudden loss of power in the streets, cars driving what I would consider recklessly, people being missed just inches by cars, the air pollution, a young orphan tugging on my arm wanting money, welcome to Kathmandu, Nepal.
After spending a day in Kathmandu visiting the beautiful temples, haggling with shop keepers and also visiting a local school in Thamel with Sunju from EHN I set off. I quickly summarised Kathmandu as organised chaos; as people seem to know what they’re doing but to me it was utter madness. I loved it though! EHN were incredibly supportive on my arrival. Raj met me at the airport and Phil took us volunteers out for a meal so we could get to know each other. Although the roads out to the village ensured a bumpy, twisty and at times scary drive EHN ensured I got to my destination safely by leasing with my home stay family.
My respect and admiration for the people of Nepal is huge, I watched women carrying heavy loads and young children on their backs up steep hills, their body language suggesting that they just get on with the tough lives they’re faced with. I instantly felt at ease in the village and was welcomed very warmly by the family who throughout my stay were so lovely and accommodating, always putting us three volunteers before them. Even though their diets are very basic, mostly consisting of Dal Bhat Sopna always managed to fill us up and cook some really tasty meals. The bedroom was basic and the toilet and shower consisted of a hole in the ground and a bucket of water. Most families have televisions but we had no access to the internet. However I found this way of life refreshing. There was rarely a dull moment in the day as the children would always want to play, or to learn.
I came to Nepal for the experience wanting to learn as much if not more than I could teach. As I did 3 Science A levels I ended up becoming a science teacher for the next four weeks. However I gave in to numerous bribes to sing and dance including being locked in the classroom! I ended up teaching a range of subjects from computer to social to health. Without a doubt the biggest challenge was not being prepared for any lessons.
There are many students that stood out in the school for various reasons. Maybe for their confidence, their politeness, or the way their face would brighten up with a beaming smile in response to mine. I took a shine to teaching the older classes science. Mainly because it was a challenge for me as well and I could teach them things I’m passionate about like how the heart works and taking pulse rates. I often tried to challenge them on their own but they would always help each other saying they do it because they love each other.
Being in Mallaj for four weeks gave me a deep understanding of the tough lives village people are faced with and how far they have to go in their development in comparison to countries such as the UK, America and China. I have much to learn about the Nepalese culture but being immersed in the village it’s clear they have a long way to go to develop. And I believe this can only happen with education and sharing of knowledge. Not long ago it was made illegal for menstruating women to have to stay in a shed, and in most village houses they cannot cook and are only allowed in the doorway. Many families still favour arranged marriages. Religion plays a huge part in their daily lives. I was lucky enough to attend two weddings which I found really interesting as they’re so different to the wedding ceremonies in the UK.
Nepal has so much to offer, after leaving Mallaj I heading out to the Annapurna region of the Himalayas with a mountain bike for a week and had the most amazing time even in the down season. I followed this with a week relaxing in Pokhara before heading back to Kathmandu to do some more sightseeing before flying home. This was my first time in Nepal and I loved it so it certainly won’t be my last. I hope what I’ve written here is helpful and I would also love to see other volunteers helping in Mallaj so please feel free to leave and questions in a response to this review and I’ll reply.

Program:
Location:
Posted: July 3, 2013
Overall:
9
Support:
8
Value:
8
Age:
23

Comments

Hi, I'm hoping you're still checking this page, would appreciate the advice! So here goes... Im looking to go to nepal and volunteer with ehn next summer. What time of year did you go? After that I'm planning on going trekking, did you rent or buy a bike for your trip? Also, I've been travelling for a long time once before and remember finding it hard in terms of being away from people I know. Is it easy to find people cycling the annurpurna to join up with? For Trekkers I guess it's easy, just wondered if its as easy if you're cycling. Cheers for any help, Josh
Hiya Josh! Sorry for my delayed response. I went to Nepal from the 9th of May for 7 weeks, it was a very last minute decision and I knew it was coming into their monsoon season but didn't want to let that stop me from going because I was ready to go away. Personally it wasn't a big deal because I knew I'd have a good experience no matter the weather, and during my time teaching for the first 4 weeks we hardly had any rain. After teaching, I headed to Pokhara and got there on about the 10th of June. It was still really warm and any rain was a godsend. I planned on going trekking originally but changed my mind because I tore a ligament in my ankle out on a run when I was teaching and it wasn't better so decided to bike instead. You will struggle to find people to trek with in June/July/August but I met a few people while cycling who booked it before they arrived so that might work better. On the other hand I met a group of 4 guys who had just met and planned their trek last minute and they had a super trip around the Annapurna circuit so it's possible to find people at that time of year. Phil from EHN also has contacts for trekking so you could organise a trek very last minute. I rented a bike. I spent a few hours looking at the different options for cycling the Annapurna circuit and as it was so quiet the agencies wanted me to rent my bike, the guides bike and also pay for the guide. This was going to work out about £40 each day without food or sleeping costs. So I decided to go ahead and do the circuit on my own-bit of a risk but I knew there would always be other trekkers and locals and that there would be a village every 5 to 10 kilometres. So the bike cost me 1500 rupees per day, equivalent to £11 at the exchange rate. I definitely would have preferred to do the route with somebody as I like having company and would have felt safer, especially on my way down when there were very bad landslides. I hired the bike from Pokhara mountain bikes, they're on facebook. If you get in touch with them before you go they might have some organised groups. I'd definitely recommend them as the best in Pokhara. So no, it's much harder to find people to cycle with than it is to trek with but cycling is sooo much better! : )You will pay anything between 200 and 700 rupees per night for a room and about the same per meal. As you go higher up the prices increase because the locals have to pay for goods to be delivered all that way. Saying that, if you're smart and eat things that they can grow in their gardens the prices are much less so just be aware of that and take a good look at the menus beforehand. Also if you're keen to save money while out there eat the local food in the local restaurants, the price of food aimed at tourists is so much more expensive. I can't really answer your question on missing family and friends because we're all different, I love my family and friends but when I was a full time cyclist racing abroad I would often spend 6 weeks away from home so sort of got used to it. There were many times that I missed home though. And also missed having a proper toilet, shower, internet, television and all the lovely British food we can obtain so easily. I found it got easier with time though and also in Pokhara you can actually get all of that! So perhaps if you end up volunteering in the mountains just keep thinking of Pokhara! But really the best thing is just to embrace their lifestyles. Any other questions...please ask! Would love to hear about your travels. Take care! Lily

For my daughter's 18th birthday I promised to take her anywhere or do anything she wanted... when the answer was I want to do volunteer work in Nepal it litterally brought tears to my eyes.

I was put in touch with EHN through a friends that run a volunteer agency (Working Abroad) and was impressed with the projects that they were working on. My daughter and I opted to work at the Daycare Center in the Chitwan region.

Admittedly we were both a bit scared of the unknown on our way out to Nepal... we are both seasoned travellers but this was the first time we travelled to a less developed country and neither of us knew what to expect.

We were greeted at the airport by EHN staff and we immediately put at ease... Spite the somewhat different (read nail-bitting) drive from the airport to the hotel, we settled in and were accompanied by Phil Palmer into Kathmandu for a quick visit and a bite to eat. The first night was a shocker and an eye-opener having seen kids no more than 10 years old living on the street, camping by fires and sniffing glue to stay warm. The constant barking of the numerous wild dogs and the images of street kids made sleep that night hard to find.

The next day we were greeted by Phil and Sunju in the hotel. Sunju spend the day taking us around Kathmandu to temples, museums and markets... it was a pleasure to see Kathmandu in the daytime and we quickly felt more at ease with the environment. Phil and Sunju made sure we felt comfortable and that was well received by both my daughter and myself.

We then took a bus to Chitwan where we were met by our homestay family. They brought us to our room and we rested up. They immediately made us feel at home and looked after us like family.

We worked for a week at the Daycare Center and working with the kids and staff was an absolute delight. From playing with them to teaching them the alphabet, washing their faces to fixing lunches... it was all just an amazing experience. Dilu and Binu (our homestay Dad and Mom) made our stay in Chitwan an unforgettable experience. We even had time for a few elephant safaris and jungle walks. To top it off... they organize the biggest and best 18th birthday party anyone could have ever imagined, with several people in the village over dancing and sharing tradition with my girl. I was speachless.

I was moved by the poverty. I was moved by the beauty. I was moved by how happy and friendly people can be when they have so little. Kids playing hacky sack with makeshift elastic band balls, families and friends just sitting and talking, people working on the farms, in the numerous little home shops... everything just seemed to be in harmony.

For our second week we decided to travel and see some of the rest of Nepal. for the first time in 20 odd years Dilu left Binu for more than the day and came with us. He took us to Bandipur and to Pokhara looing out for us and taking us to visit some of the most amazing places we have ever seen.

Upon our return to Kathmandu we met up with Phil and he found us another hotel on my request away from the howling dogs... he brought us there and made sure we got settled in before meeting up with us later that night to enjoy dinner with some new volunteers. I also had the pleasure of meeting Raj, the founder of EHN.

I spent a lot of time talking to Raj and Phil and I am moved by their dedication and their selflessness. The work hard and make sure that the volunteers have an excellent experience... while helping people in Nepal get access to education, medical care, shelter... and some of their ideas and new projects on how to help Nepal have captivated me. I will definitely be working with EHN in the future.

To end my perhaps overly long review and testimonial... I would like to say that the staff and mission of Experience Himalayan Nepal are second to none. I would highly recommend them for any volunteer looking to help people and gain an amazing and unforgettable experience.

Program:
Location:
Posted: March 8, 2013
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
Age:
41

It all started with some volunteering aboard website about EHN. I then contacted Raj and Wayne about my tentative 1-week travel plan to volunteer at the day-care center. As the trip was short, Raj suggested if I would like to analyze the current curriculum for a local government school in Kathmandu and assist to setup a new volunteer program for EHN. “Sure” I replied. On my flight to Nepal, I was worried about my trip especially the delayed flight wouldn’t arrive until 1am. What if no one pick me up? Where could I find a place to sleep 1am in the morning in a country which I’d never been to? I was relieved when I saw Raj and Binod holding the paper of my name at the airport exit. This was how my journey began.

Throughout the journey, I met all the amazing and extremely friendly people from EHN and the school I taught. I had never taught any class in the past. After the first day of teaching, I’ve gained more confidence on remembering names, teaching children English interactively, reading out the paragraphs as one voice, teaching the map of Asia, teaching the basic greeting in Chinese and most importantly, disciplining children with reasoning. Moreover, I learnt the background of the school, the children, the teachers, and the local educational system.

Thank you Raj, Sarita, Binod and Wayne from EHN team for making it happen and giving me the opportunity to make a difference. Although it was only one-week trip, I feel very satisfying to use my week to volunteer and travel in Kathmandu, Nepal. This is definitely one of my best decisions I made in my life.

Please feel free to contact me on facebook (jojocookie5@hotmail.com).

Namaste & Cheers!

Program:
Location:
Posted: May 10, 2012
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
Age:

Whenever I am asked about my year long trip around a good portion of the world, what's the one place that continues to occupy my mind and fill me with emotion, I always respond without hesitation, Nepal. It's hard to narrow it down into a few words as to why that is so, but in all honesty my experience in Nepal would not have been the same nor even close to as amazing as it was without Experience Himalayan Nepal (EHN) nor the amazing people of Magar Tol and Sauraha.

Flying into Kathmandu from China was amazing, greeted by the breathtaking Himalayas and the abundance of housing stretched over the land in-and-amongst the mountains is definitely a sight in itself. I was greeted with a huge smile at the airport by Anil and his sister, Sarita, EHN representatives who introduced me to the busy life and city of Kathmandu, the first stop of my placement. Over the next couple of days they took me around to see the cultural side of Nepal and to experience the impressive local life. After those two days, Anil took me to Sauraha where my placement was held. I was working at the Sauraha Daycare Centre.

From the moment I arrived in Sauraha, I was always greeted with a giant welcoming smile and could feel the sense of curiosity from most of the locals. By the time I left, I was considered a local and was treated as such with love. I stayed with the most amazing family, my family, the Magars. Binu (Mom) and Dilu (Dad) were the most encompassing, welcoming and gracious hosts one could ever ask for. They truly made my experience unforgettable. Early morning fishing for our daily food with Dilu, playing soccer in the middle of the jungle with the local kids, rice planting with the amazing colourful ladies of the village, Elephant riding and washing (they are taken care of very well, for those who are wondering), excursions to mountain-top temples (Manakamana temple), hanging out and teaching the little kids English all the while learning Nepalese, invitations to Nepalese weddings and multiple festival celebrations, being asked to join local families for dinner, raksi (rice whiskey), music and dancing are among only a few of the amazing times the Magar family provided for me.

EHN, as an organization, made sure to keep tabs on me while I was there, not that they needed to. I always felt safe as the people of Nepal are the most amazing, caring and genuine people I met on my entire trip. The organization never asked for anything from me. Being such a young organization, the professionalism and all-round care that was taken to ensure my safety, transportation, accommodation, food, fun, and volunteer work was world-class. If ever I was in need, I was able to call on Anil, Sarita, Raj, Wayne, Binu, Dilu and the rest of the Magar family and they would be there in no time flat. One other notable characteristic that was extremely important to me was the transparency of the funds paid for the volunteer work. I saw where my money was going, whether it be into buying supplies, food for the kids or building materials for the daycare. It was nice to see that I was actually making a difference, opposed to the bigger organizations out there, where it really isn't transparent how your money is divided and spent amongst the organization and the local community.

I truly can't begin to go into depth as to why my experience in Nepal was so incredible, but one thing is for sure, when you are there you are treated as a local and the beauty of the culture
and land takes your breath away and you feel at one with yourself and the community. I can not thank Wayne Guttridge and the rest of the EHN crew enough for my life-changing experience in Nepal. I have already made plans to go back and I hope it will become a decision I will continue to make for the rest of my life as the memories of this beautiful country continue to overtake my daily thoughts. Thanks once again, EHN!!!

If any potential volunteers would like to hear more stories or want any information on the differences, challenges, or a more in-depth rundown of Nepal, please feel free to contact me at bstatham85@gmail.com or add me on Facebook (Bryan Statham), I would be more than happy to chat!

Program:
Location:
Posted: March 3, 2012
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
Age:
26

I visited Nepal for just over a month (annoying my visa expired by one day when I was trying to return home via the airport). After two nights in the capital of Kathmandu and some sightseeing, I went north-west to a village near the Trisuli
River. I stayed with a family in a remote village called Gerkhu 3. While staying there, I volunteered in the local government school in the village the other side of the hill, Gerkhu 5.

I chose this placement as I wanted to experience rural Nepal and their way of living.I also heard of Nepal's beauty and wanted to get to know their culture, in particular their music.

It was very easy setting up the position with the volunteer company. I set up the placement via emails and then met the organiser in advance. As I was the first volunteer to teach at the school, they didn't have very much information to prepare me for the visit. It was going into the unknown!

However, I was very well looked after when I was in Nepal. I was greeted at the airport and taken to a hotel in the centre of Kathmandu. I was shown the sites and taken out for meals. The guide was very friendly and informative and we could chat as friends.

The village was very remote but the guide phoned regularly to check whether I was OK. The family I stayed with made me feel at home. I helped peel the vegetables and enjoyed sharing family meals with them.

I had an experience that I will never forgot. It was out of this world; difficult and challenging as well as rewarding and heart warming at the same time. The family were a very large part of my experience and I became close friends with the two teenage
children in the house. I was given a lots of freedom and control teaching (something I would never be able to get in the UK). Something I would recommend to any teacher.

Program:
Location:
Posted: February 28, 2012
Overall:
10
Support:
9
Value:
9
By: Alice24
Age:
24

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