Nepal is definitely one of those countries that appear as exotic and remote to most people but still really appealing and interesting at the same time. Maybe it has to do with what we know about mysticism around there and the incredible Himalayas but it’s still one of those places we don’t usually know much about.
Unfortunately this location got some media attraction a couple of years ago due to the 2015 earthquake that devastated lots of populations.
In this blog our World Volunteering experts will take you through some of the history of this country, it’s main attractions and characteristics so to prepare you for your volunteering adventure of a lifetime!
So let’s agree on something first and set the record straight from the get go! Nepal is a traveller’s wonderland, no matter where you look it from. This tiny country is filled with adventure opportunities, exotic tastes, mystical components, warm and welcoming people and views that will definitely take your breath away! And this is actually more amazing when you think that this country didn’t allow any tourists until 1950!
So for instance let’s say you are interesting in doing a mountain trekking. Well, Nepal is home to eight of the 10 tallest mountains on Earth, including of course the highest point on the planet, Mount Everest! Nowadays getting to Everest Base Camp has become more accessible, even though it’s still 5545 meters at its highest point and with steep hills. If you just take it slow and don’t rush into it, you will be fine. This is a great opportunity of enjoying the warmth of the people from the Solukhumbu region along the way, learn from the Sherpa culture and enjoy the amazing scenery! If not, another great possibility is doing another popular excursion, the Annapurna Circuit which is definitely worth the effort!
Now let’s switch things up and try and find out some more about religion in here. Most Nepali people follow Hinduism, although you will also find Buddhism being practiced by some ethnic groups too. Nevertheless, since the last constitution (signed on September 19th 2015, making it the world’s newest one) the country was set as a secular one! And since we are talking about the Constitution, you may find interesting to learn that actually this one is the only one in Asia that specifically speaks about the rights of the LGBTI communities, and rules in favour of same sex marriages! This was a huge step that took a lot of time and was the result of a 10 year peace process after being under autocratic ruling for centuries!
So how does religion impact on tourism? Well, it provides us travellers with amazing temples to visit! And to name just a few if you are there, don’t miss out on the Buddhist Temple of Swayabhunath in Katmandu which is a World Heritage Site and has both Buddhist and Hindu iconography! Another must do thing is take a pilgrimage trip to Lumbini where Buddha was born!
So if instead your main interest is wildlife, visiting the Chitwan and the Bardia National Parks are amazing jungle spots where you can find the Bengal Tigers if you are lucky! They also host bears, deers, elephants, leopards and tons of bird species. Also, if you go to the Himalayas you’ll see plenty of yaks!
We could keep discussing and going over tourism sites and activities in Nepal forever, but unfortunately this is not everything you need to know about the country… Nepal is also known as one of the world’s least developed countries. High levels of poverty and hunger, poor infrastructure and grossly uneven income distribution are part of everyday life.
And here’s where World Volunteering and our global volunteers come in. We work in two great projects in the area. On the one side we work with our international network of avid volunteers in a children’s home in the city of Pokhara giving children personal and educational support.
You will find that literacy levels are much higher for men that women, but even male literacy rate is only at around 75 %. The children in these centers are often from difficult backgrounds and live in poverty, but their desire to learn despite their underprivileged circumstances will blow you away. The main aim of the project is to provide disaster relief after the 2015 earthquake.
In order to help rebuild the city after the earthquake, we also work with our international team of volunteers in renovating, repairing and building basic infrastructure and educational facilities! In this project our volunteers get to play a vital role in improving the lives of underprivileged communities, and also learn about building and construction through the training they will receive. This is how we are contributing in a huge team effort to rebuilt the city of Pokhara.
So as you can see there’s much more to Nepal than meets the eye and this country and its people could really benefit from the experience of more volunteers, while they can also enjoy getting around this beautiful country! So if you don't want to miss out click here!