Nepali Eco-Trek & Community Tour - Autumn 2012

1.Nepali Community Tour
~ September 24th – October 4th, 2012 ~

2. One-Of-A-Kind Himalayan Eco-Trek 
~ October 3rd – 17th, 2012 ~

Join us for one of two amazing adventures that include an off-the-beaten-path trek of the magnificent Himalayas, an authentic Nepali community tour, a jungle safari in Chitwan National Park, a World Heritage Site tour, and much more! Guided by Dr. T, this group adventure also supports sustainable rural development and education for poor Nepali children and orphans. These unique tours encompass two Himalayan regions, taking us to areas that are rarely visited by Western tourists, resulting in a unique and authentic experience. 

During both trips, we will have time to relax, engage in optional yoga or meditation (individually or as a group), and discuss topics of interest with Dr. T about Nepal's unique geography, topography, and geology, as well as its colorful history, religion, and ethnicities. We will also discuss health and nutrition topics, focusing on principles of sustainability. Dr. T has been to Nepal over 20 times and guided many groups in the past 13 years, and is happy to share his experiences. Usually in such treks, the guides are Nepali, with difficult-to-understand English. With Dr. T, the foreign accent is more understandable.

After the trek, we enjoy a peek into authentic Nepali village life, far away from places where tourists have altered the natural environment beyond repair. Part of the income from this Eco-Trek goes to support socioeconomic development in Nepal, in coordination with the Everest Learning Academy (ELA), a network of schools established by Dr. T and the Ecopolitan community, which educate and nurture 800 orphans and destitute children in the most impovrished areas of rural Nepal. Also, We have had the fortune of working with CCODER Nepal (Center for Community Development & Research in Nepal), a non-profit that helps 200,000 Nepali improve their lot by teaching them how to sustainably organize to create socio-economic, educational, and health care opportunities for themselves. ELA supports CCODER's goal and the two organizations collaborate on specific educational projects.

Overview of Trips:


1. Community Tour (no-trekking): 11-12 days – September 24 - October 4 (or October 5 for those who wish to spend an extra day in Kathmandu).

2. Himalayan Eco-Trek: 15 days, 7-day trek – October 3 - October 17.

Food: 100 percent vegan and wholesome, as specified by Dr. T. Boiled water to replenish our water containers will be provided by the kitchen staff after each meal – no plastic bottles will be purchased during the trek.


1. Community Tour: Eight nights in Nepali hotels & two nights in a community farmhouse.

2. Himalayan Eco-Trek: Five nights in Nepali hotels, breakfasts included. Seven to eight nights of tent camping, including mattresses provided by the staff. One to two nights in authentic community village homestay. Bring your own sleeping bag, or rent one in Kathmandu at around $2 per day.

Difficulty Grade:

1. Community Tour: Easy (No trekking, but occasional one hour walk, approximately.

2. Himalayan Eco-Trek: Moderate. Maximum altitude: 2,900m (optional 3,500m and above for the strongest trekkers). A medium-level hiking capability is required: If you can walk at a reasonable pace for two to three hours non-stop on flat surface, or for 30 minutes non-stop up and down stairs (you can build up to it within several weeks easily), you qualify. Some portions of the trek will be challenging, but we will walk leisurely most of the time, taking short breaks (and a long lunch break). People with weak knees can manage with walking sticks/poles – helpful especially during long downhill stretches – and possibly with elastic knee support.

Transportation: Private bus, depending on group size. Flight from Chitwan National Park to Kathmandu (included in package).

Luggage: Local porters (who are happy to earn the extra income!!) will carry the heavy/larger luggage pieces (bring soft-sided luggage, since they usually carry 2-3 per person), camping gear, and the mobile kitchen; the trekkers only carry a small daypack (with water, camera, and essentials - including an extra layer of clothing/fleece for higher altitudes).

Group Size: Minimum 10

Outline of Itineraries:

(Itineraries are subject to changes because of unforeseen circumstances, but every effort will be made to deliver most or all the attractions promised here in what will be enjoyable, unforgettable trips of a lifetime):

1. Community Tour (9/24 – 10/4):

Day 01 (9/24): Arrival in Kathmandu; transfer to our hotel in the colorful Thamel Market (a shopper's delight!).

Day 02 (9/25): Enjoy a cultural heritage tour of Kathmandu Valley, exploring five out of six UNESCO listed World Cultural Heritage Sites. Free evening in Thamel.

Day 03 (9/26): Drive from Kathmandu to Chhebetar (140 km/5 hrs) and continue driving to Namki (35 kim/3 hrs). Depending on road conditions, we may have to hike uphill for the last portion of the trail (3 hrs). Overnight stay in the community farmhouse.

Day 04 (9/27): Drive to Chhebetar via Ghorkate (new project site). Continue drive to the Rana Gaun community community in Tanahun (45 km/1.5 hrs). Community interaction in the evening and overnight stay in the community farmhouse.

Day 05 (9/28): Walk to Bandipur, a beautiful hill station (7 km/3hrs) and enjoy a superb view of Annapurna, Manaslu, Ganesh Himalayan range, and Marsyangdi river valley. Hotel accommodation.

Day 06 (9/29): Drive from Bandipur to Pokhara (60 km/2 hrs). Visit Devid Fall and Siddheshor Cave. Boating in Fewa Lake. Hotel accommodation.

Day 07 (9/30): Drive to Sarangkot for a stunning view of the Annapurna range and Pokhara valley. Drive back to Pokhara. Visit a Tibetan refugee camp on the return drive. Hotel accommodation.

Day 08 (10/1): Visit the World Peace Pagoda for a morning view of Fewa Lake, Pokhara city, and the mighty Himalayan ranges. Drive from Pokhara to Chitwan Golaghat Resort (130 km/4hrs). Before arriving at the resort, we are received by a community school run by the Ecopolitan Learning Academy (ELA). Resort accommodation. 

Day 09 (10/2): Jungle activities in Chitwan National Park, including an elephant ride, elephant bath, canoe ride, jungle walk, village tour, cultural program, etc. Resort accommodation.

Day 10 (10/3): Drive back to Kathmandu (200 km/6 hrs). Hotel accommodation.

Day 11 (10/4): Departure.

2. Himalayan Eco-Trek (10/3 – 10/17):

Day 01 (10/03): Arrival at the Kathmandu airport. We are transported by our Nepali agency to the hotel, which is located within the colorful, vibrant Thamel market area (a shopper's delight!)

Day 02 (10/04): Enjoy a cultural heritage tour of Kathmandu Valley, exploring five out of six UNESCO listed World Cultural Heritage Sites. Free evening in Thamel.

Day 03 (10/05): Drive to Kathmandu-Dumre-Tarkughat (150 km/5 hrs) and continue drive to Bharte village (20 km/2hrs). Walk uphill from Bhoteodar to Bharte (7 km/3 hrs). Accommodation is in the tented camp.

Day 04 (10/06): Ascend Bharte to Gauda all the way uphill (5 hrs/10 km) to an altitude of 1800 m. Camp accommodation at Gauda village.

Day 05 (10/07): Walk to Ilim Pokhari (4 hrs/10 km) along the ridge at 2100 m. Camp at Ilim Pokhari. Accommodation is in the tented camp.

Day 06 (10/08): Walk Ilim Pokhari to Pamje Dada (5hrs/10 km) along the ridge at 2900m. Camp accommodation is in the forest.

Day 07 (10/09): Day excursion to Lipe Dada (3500 m and above) for a stunning view of the Annapurna and Manaslu ranges. Return back to Deurali Dada below Pamje Dada (6hrs/10 km) at an altitude of 2300 m. Accommodation is in the tented camp.

Day 08 (10/10): Downhill trek to Chepe River (5hrs/12 km). Swim in the river and camp at the riverbank at an altitude of 1000 m.

Day 09 (10/11): Hike uphill to Namki (4 hrs/8 km) and camp on the ridge at an altitude of 2000 m. Here we will enjoy a breathtaking view of Bouddha Himal, Himal Chuli, a small portion of Annapurna Range, the two river valleys, and the endless folds of mountains. We enjoy a taste of village culture in the evening.

Day 10 (10/12): Drive from Namki to Chhebetar (35 km/3hrs) and continue drive to the Rana Gaun community in Tanahun (45 km/1.5 hrs). Swim in the pool and walk one hour before arriving at the community. We enjoy a taste of village culture in the evening and have the option of either camping or staying in the villagers' homes.

Day 11 (10/13): Drive to Chitwan Golaghat Resort at the confluence of two mighty rivers, close to the famous Chitwan National Park. Before arriving at the resort, we will visit the Ecopolitan Learning Academy (ELA) headquarters and take part in community outreach activities in Chitwan. Resort accommodation.

Day 12 & 13 (10/14 -15): We enjoy two days of jungle activities in Chitwan National Park. Activities include an elephant ride, elephant bath, canoe ride, jungle walk, village tour, cultural program, etc. Resort accommodation.

Day 14 (10/16): Drive back to Kathmandu (200 km/6 hrs). Evening hotel accommodation.

Day 15 (10/17): Departure from Kathmandu.


1. Community Tour: $2,585 ($175 extra for single occupancy in city hotels). 
2. Himalayan Eco-Trek: 
$2,875 ($175 extra for single occupancy in city hotels).

Bring a friend and receive a $150 discount*. 
Two stipends ($300 each*) are available for qualified individuals, who will be given an assignment or a project in exchange for their services (contact us for an application). This will depend on the number of full-paying participants (minimum 10). The trip is organized by the Ecopolitan Eco-Health Community, a humanitarian organization dedicated to global health, sustainable socioeconomic improvement, and ecological principles. It is also organized by CCODER Nepal and by the Functional and Dental Health (FDH) Foundation.

*Applied to your final payment. 

Pricing Includes: Hotel accommodation on a bed & breakfast basis; double occupancy for the hotel nights listed in the itinerary (additional $175 for single occupancy in hotel rooms only); all surface transportation; sightseeing tours, as specified; all trekking arrangements (trekking permits, national park entrance fees); all camping gear and tents/mattresses; full mobile kitchen and a trained cook experienced with Dr. T's requirements; full complement of trekking crew, porters, and guides; an English-speaking main Nepali guide; unlimited boiled (safe) water; delicious vegan meals three times a day; and authentic village community home-stay that includes locally-grown food. All organized group activities, guiding, and discussions and topics covered by Dr. T are included as well. Part of this cost covers contributions to the Nepali non-profit CCODER and its beneficiary villages, as well as to the Everest Learning Academy for disadvantaged children, which the group will visit!


1. A document written by Dr. T about flight preparation and protection – how to maintain maximal health despite the many challenges of air travel. Also included in this document are ways of protecting your health during the trek itself and the stay in Nepal.

2. Insights from Dr. T on preparing your body during the next three to four months for this trip. Even if you feel "out of shape" or "overweight," you can be ready to trek in as little as three months!

PRICING DOES NOT INCLUDE: air travel to Nepal and related expenses (please call Joycee from Melrose Travel – (866) 722-6440 – for group-ticketing information); Nepali visa (approximately $25 - visa obtained at the Kathmandu airport upon arrival); travel insurance (required, please inquire with Joycee); 5-6 meals (lunches and dinners, around $5 each) during our free time in Kathmandu or during evenings at hotel sites; tips for the guides/porters and community organizers (approximately $80-90 per trekker, depending on the number of trekkers, is recommended for the entire trip); personal expenses; and charges incurred as a result of delays or unforeseen circumstances beyond the organizers' control. The organizers will always make every effort to ensure that your Himalayan trip is enjoyable and safe, even in the event of inevitable changes.

To join: email clinic@ecopolitan.com, or call the office at 612-870-2974.

Secure your participation - please pay immediately the non-refundable deposit of $400. Remember - first come, first served - maximum 12 participants! To get to our target as quickly as possible, please act fast, and refer friends who may be interested. Send your check/money order to: FDH Foundation, 2409 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55405. If you use a credit/debit card, there is a 2.5% convenience fee. Call 612-870-2974 with your VISA, Master Card, or Discover info.

Flight tickets may be purchased anytime prior to the trip. Call Joycee from Melrose Travel & Tours 866-722-6440 (or 215-728-7870) to arrange ticketing and travel insurance. Note that ARRIVAL TIME is either September 24th or October 3rd in the afternoon AT THE LATEST (depending on which trip package you choose). The departure date for most people is October 4th or October 17th (again, depending on the trip package you choose), or later for those who wish to stay a few extra days to explore further on their own, or who choose to volunteer for Ecopolitan's humanitarian organizations). Dr. T will provide suggestions and ideas for those who wish to extend their stay. Participants will be picked up and dropped off from the airport upon arrival/departure. 

By August 27th (community tour) or September 13th (Eco-trek), an additional $1,500 of the package payment is due ($800 of this is refundable if you cancel by September 7th (community tour) or September 24th (trek)). Send your check/money order to: FDH Foundation, 2409 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55405. If you use a credit/debit card, there is a 2.5% convenience fee. Call 612-870-2974 with your VISA, Master Card, or Discover info.

Final payment is due no later than September 3rd (community tour) or September 25th (Eco-trek). This final payment, minus $300, is refundable if you cancel by September 16th (community tour) or September 26th (trek). No refunds will be offered after these dates, except in extreme circumstances (such as a major accident or injury making trekking impossible - and certified by a physician), and in those extreme circumstances $500 of the final payment will not be refunded. Travelers who join late will have the payment schedule above accelerated (or combined), with the same cancellation refund amounts, combined, provided there is still room in the group. This payment and refund policy takes into account the expenses of individualized trekking permits and other preparations in Nepal, plus administrative costs and the non-profit commitments to the Nepali villagers and school children you will meet. Send your check/money order to: FDH Foundation, 2409 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55405. If you use a credit/debit card, there is a 2.5% convenience fee. Call 612-870-2974 with your VISA, Master Card, or Discover info.

A Typical Trekking Day:

On a typical trekking day we wake up at around 6 a.m. with a cup of herbal tea served at our tent, followed by a bucket of warm water for washing and cleaning. After we have washed, dressed, and packed up our gear, we have breakfast while the staff organizes our tents and bags. The staff packs all the camping equipment and gear, which the porters then carry to the next camping site. Trekkers should carry only personal belongings that they may need for the day (water, camera, toilet paper, etc.). The walk to the lunch spot normally takes about three hours. The cook and kitchen assistants serve hot lunch upon arrival. The afternoon walk takes about three hours to reach the night camp. The evening meals are usually served around 6.30 p.m. in a dining tent, family style. After dinner, the main Nepali guide will brief you on the following day's program, leaving you to retire to your sleeping tents.

At least once a day, Dr. T will discuss Nepal's fascinating geography, geology, mountain terrain, history, and social/cultural aspects of life. This way, the trekkers are mentally prepared for the unique experience of our authentic village home-stay following the trek.

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