Never has the quote, ‘Oh, the places you’ll go’ felt more deserving of being used to define a trip than my class and my trip to Nepal earlier this year. From the Cities to the mountain tops and jungle safari, this experience felt like it had just about everything imaginable.
We departed Heathrow, all extraordinarily excited for what awaited, despite a 6-and-a-half-hour flight, a lengthy 4-hour layover and a second-long flight. Sleeping as much as possible on the plane we landed in Kathmandu International. Nothing could have prepared us for the spectacular views that greeted us. After a drive where we enjoyed the scenery, we arrived at the hotel and had our first dinner in Nepal.
The first day began for us all at rather early times trying to adjust to time zones, shortly after breakfast we were given an introductory briefing by projects abroad to what our trip would entail, and following that we had our first (of what would become many) Trips into Thamel the tourist capital of the city in awe of the buildings architecture and sheer scale of how intense the place was! On our return to the hotel, some sleep and a few hours of recovery were needed, before a night out to a traditional Nepali Restaurant being served dal’bat, a dish comprising of rice, with numerous curries of veg and meats. It was great to learn about the different styles of meals.
In the following days, we began with our Volunteering work at the Sunrise English Boarding School, a short trip to the outskirts of Kathmandu was followed by a very special welcoming ceremony into the school by all the staff and students, then. We began to start painting 3 of their classrooms, it was amazing to see the quality of education they were receiving in such a location, following the painting we started to do educational activities with all the children.
Then after leaving the school for the first day we were treated to visiting the ‘Monkey Temple’ the views we had at the temple was stunning overlooking the entirety of Kathmandu Valley, our guide was very informative, telling us about the entire backstory of the whole temple. There were thousands of monkeys all around us, the entire time which provided amazement to us all as well as a lot of amusement. We returned to the hotel that night and then made another trip to Thamel.
On day three, we arrived at the school and immediately started doing some activities with the students. However, we did not expect the sheer quantity of students to return, even took the staff by surprise. Following the games and the educational activities we completed we got back to painting the classrooms, this time, however, we were significantly more competitive to get the classrooms completed as fast as possible between three teams.
After the painting, we went shopping yet again before returning to the hotel for dinner. After visiting the school for the third time, waiting for educational activities in front of the classrooms we returned to the hotel to learn how to make Nepalese dumplings Momos some of us had limited success however, it was a very enjoyable experience and very educational to their way of cooking. On the final day all of us had planned a day full of challenges with all of us having a different activity each we then provided the winning teams with chocolate bars before having a memorable photo taken with all the children as well as the staff, leaving the school all of us felt very privileged to be able to make such an impact on that community. After returning to the hotel, we were told that we were going to have some traditional yoga sessions which were only a short walk-through town. The yoga was different to anything we’d done yet some of us flourished at the challenge of yoga however even to those who didn’t, it was a great laugh and a great team bonding experience, some found it very relaxing, and even from asleep providing a lot of comedy for the entire group as well as staff.
The next couple of days were a change in gear for us, we began as normal and then following breakfast we travelled to a Catering college in Lalitpur. The college we visited was incredible and felt like a bubble of the Western world in the centre of Kathmandu. After an extensive tour, we visited the students and had conversations with lectures of the differing departments, following this, we then had a lunch cooked for us by the students. After this trip we then began preparations for the BBQ lunch we would be cooking the next day.
An early start to the next day began with the trip to an educational farm on the outskirts of the city, after a quick tour we began to complete mise en place for the barbecue. The menu we had created with our Lecturer Chef Patterson as well as Mrs Grace was an attempt to show the Nepalese children a taste of British summer barbecue cuisine.
Our final few days were filled with some of the most beautiful views, after a lengthy 5-hour journey to Chitwan National Park our guide there took us all on a walk through the Nepali jungle, following this we also experienced a local dance/cultural celebration about the Tharu region we were in. The next day was an early start yet again for an all-day safari, beginning with a boat journey up the river to reach an elephant sanctuary this also included a walk throughout the jungle again, following the elephant sanctuary a quick return to the hotel was then a subsequent jeep safari, this was simply unbelievable the nature and wildlife we witnessed was like nothing any of us had ever seen before.
The Last Push days 9-10
After concluding our time in Chitwan, we had yet another 5-hour drive back to The Kathmandu Prince Hotel for one more night, in the evening we had our last meal out together to discuss the highs of the trip, which looking back was once in a lifetime, the gratitude all of us students have to our lectures and all those involved in setting up the trip is immense. Thank you.
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