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Journey to the land of Himalayan peaks, gorgeous valleys, and monsoon showers. Experience the culture of the Kathmandu Valley and surrounding area, then head to a nearby village in Kavre district where you’ll live with a local family and work on a service project selected by the community. Learn local dance steps, play games with Nepali students, and learn how to cook traditional Nepali food. Take a break from the hard work for a few days of whitewater rafting and trekking. From homecooked dal bhat to views of the Himalayas, this program will be full of firsts.

With our No Anxiety Escrow Policy, you cancel for any reason up until the day of travel, and escrow 100% of the program fees for up to two years from the cancellation date.

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2017 Departures

Departs (USA) Returns (USA) Availability
June 14 June 29 Sold Out
June 28 July 13 Very Limited

Program Profile

Community Service Focus
Education, Infrastructure

Connecting Programs

Schedule two or more programs in a row to create your ideal Rustic Pathways experience.

This program connects especially well with:

  • Day 1

    Depart USA

    Meet up with your group at your gateway airport and board your flight to Kathmandu, Nepal, and start getting to know your fellow travelers. You’ll be escorted by a Rustic Pathways flight leader to Nepal.

  • Day 2

    Arrive in Kathmandu

    Following the flight to Nepal, clear customs and be met by your trip leaders, who will take you to the hotel, so you can freshen up before getting a great night of sleep in a quiet and comfortable hotel.

  • Day 3

    Kathmandu Cultural Exploration

    The morning starts with an orientation to Nepal’s customs and group expectations by your program leaders. After a thorough orientation, you’ll head out to your first UNESCO World Heritage site – the famous Pashupatinath. Pashpatinath Temple is one of the most famous Hindu temples in Nepal and is the home of Lord Pashupati, the national diety of Nepal. Pashupati is an incarnation of the Hindu god Shiva. Explore the extensive area of Pashupathi with a guide and learn about the vast and complex system of Hinduism. Shop for quick souvenirs and then depart from Pashupathi for dinner. This evening you’ll debrief your first day in Nepal with your program leaders and get prepped for the next week.

  • Day 4

    Kathmandu to Bhaktapur

    After breakfast this morning you’ll head out to Swayambunath, another famous monument of the Kathmandu Valley. The stupa at Swayambunath is one of the most famous Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Nepal. Climb up the many steps to the stop for a beautiful view of the valley and a close up look at the stupa. You’ll have lunch close to Swayambunath and then depart from Kathmandu for the nearby cultural gem of Bhaktapur. After checking into your hotel, you’ll take a guided tour of the historic UNESCO World Heritage site of Bhaktapur Durbar square and check out the nearby artisanal markets where you can shop for the famous Bhaktapur pottery. This evening you’ll have dinner in the hotel and get briefed on your upcoming homestays and service projects in the village of Rayale.

  • Day 5

    Bhaktapur to Rayale

    After breakfast in Bhaktapur, you’ll drive to Rayale where you will be welcomed by your homestay families with a traditional ceremony. After the ceremony, you’ll participate in an orientation of the village and get introduced to the way of life in Rayale. Enjoy dinner with your homestay families before heading to bed.

  • Day 6 - 8

    Service and Homestays in Rayale

    Wake up to the cool mountain air and enjoy your home cooked breakfast. For the next five days you’ll put on your service shoes and dig into the ongoing projects of the village. You’ll be working with the local school to provide educational enrichment service to the Nepali students and will also be working on small construction projects that are identified by the school. Spend the morning with your homestay family for breakfast then meet as a group for your service project. Have lunch together and then jump back into service in the afternoon. Evenings will be spent exploring the village and the culture of Nepal. Play cricket or soccer with the village students and enjoy evening chaya with your homestay families.

  • Day 9

    Trek to Namo Buddha

    After breakfast, say goodbye to your host families and hit the trails! Depart on a day hike to nearby Namo Buddha, a famous Buddhist pilgrimage site and home to a gorgeous monastery. Travel through the small town of Panauti and along ridges and valleys as you travel to Namo Buddha. Upon arrival, you’ll explore the monastery and have lunch at a local dhaba.

    After lunch you’ll load up into the vehicles and depart for the lower Bhote Koshi river. Arrive at the river and settle into the river camp where you’ll be spending the evening tonight. Have dinner and relax with your group as you enjoy the evening.

  • Day 10

    White Water Rafting!

    Have breakfast at the river camp and get ready for your next adventure – white water rafting! Get briefed on the specifics of rafting by our partner company then get on your rafts and into the river. You will stop for lunch on the side of the river and later continue the ride until your takeout point.

    Unload from the rafts and hop back into the vehicles to head to the nearby historic town of Dhulikhel. For centuries Dhulikhel has been an important trading center on the commercial route linking Nepal to Tibet. Nepalis head to Tibet to bring home salt and gold while the Tibetans find chilies and other daily necessities in Nepal. Upon arriving in Dhulikhel you’ll settle into the hotel, take a hot shower, and relax.

    This evening you’ll debrief your experience as a group and get ready for the second half of the trip.

  • Day 11

    Return to Rayale

    Wake up to the beautiful sunrise at Dhulikhel. Sip your morning chai and have breakfast at the hotel. Today will be a relaxing morning enjoying the luxuries of the hotel.

    After lunch, you’ll head back to Rayale! Drive back to the village, settle in with your homestay families, enjoy a meal, and get a good nights rest.

  • Day 12 - 13

    Service and Homestays in Rayale

    During the next few days, you will continue service and homestays in Rayale. Each morning and afternoon will be spent on your service projects. In the evening, you’ll participate in various cultural activities and learn more about the Rayale way of life.

  • Day 14

    Rayale to Kathmandu

    After a final morning of service, bid farewell to your friends at the school and your host families for the last time and depart Rayale for Kathmandu. You’ll settle into your hotel, take a hot shower, and then head into the city for a celebratory final dinner and closing ceremony in the evening.

  • Day 15

    Depart Kathmandu

    Have a great breakfast in the hotel and then head out into the city for your last day in Nepal. Visit the stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site at Boudhanath Stupa and stroll along the markets surrounding the stupa.
    Have lunch at a local restaurant and then pack your bags. It’s time to bid Nepal farewell as you head to the airport for an evening flight back to the US.

  • Day 16

    Return to the US

    On the final day of the trip, your flight lands you safely back in the US. We hope you had an amazing time in Nepal. Come back soon!

An Important Note About Schedule Changes

Rustic Pathways reserves the right to change, alter, or amend the daily itinerary for this trip at any time. Changes can be made for various reasons including changes in flight or program schedules, changes in the schedules of various external tours incorporated in our trips, the addition of new activities into a trip, or the substitution of an old activity for a new activity.

The itinerary shown here provides a good outline of the anticipated daily schedule for this program. As with any travel program, some changes may occur.

“Optional Activities” are fully included in the cost of your program, but you can choose to not do these activities.

“Add-On Activities” are not included in the cost of your program and must be paid for separately. Add-on activities are rare, but include things like skydiving, bungee jumping, or weekend side-trips. Not every program has add-on activities.

For more information, email nepal@rusticpathways.com


A hiking backpack with a rain cover is the best for your carry on.

  • Passport
  • $40 USD – for visa on arrival
  • Wallet
  • Photocopy of Passport
  • Book and/or journal
  • Pen
  • Phone
  • Camera
  • Ear phones
  • Chargers
  • Water bottles
  • Change of clothes
  • Medications
  • Rustic Pathways emergency contacts
  • Consent to travel form


A 50-70 Liter duffel bag or backpack that is waterproof or water resistant is ideal.


  • Waterproof rain jacket
  • Waterproof rain pants
  • Quick drying t-shirts – 4 – these should be made out of fabrics such as nylon and polyester.  See this site for more information.
  • Cotton t-shirts – 2
  • Long sleeve t-shrits – 2
  • Lightweight, quick drying pants – 2 – ask for the lightest weight trekking pant at your local outdoor retailer
  • Midweight hiking pants – 1
  • Shorts (Knee length) – 2
  • Quick drying underwear – 6-8
  • Quick drying socks – 6-8
  • Trekking socks – 1-2
  • Medium weight fleece jacket – 1
  • Warm Base layer – 1 top and 1 bottom
  • Swim suit
  • Water based shoes or sandals (keens, chacos)
  • Waterproof hiking boots – these should be completely waterproof and broken in!
  • Pajamas


  • Shampoo and Soap
  • Deodorant
  • Toothpaste and Toothbrush
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect Repellant (35% DEET)
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Contact lenses and solution
  • Extra medication
  • Tissue travel packs


  • Watch or Clock with an Alarm
  • Backpack rain cover
  • Water bottles – 2 liter capacity
  • Hat for sun protection
  • Sunglasses (w/ cord)
  • Quick drying towel
  • Headlamp with extra batteries – 1
  • Lightweight work gloves

Optional Items

  • Nepali phrasebook
  • Deck of cards
  • Pictures of friends and family
  • Personal med kit
  • Sneakers – for wearing around town
  • Gaiters – for leech prevention
  • Travel duct tape
  • Portable, packable umbrella
  • 2 large garbage bags – used to protect clothing / gear from rain



  1. a

    Here is where your adventure begins!

  2. b

    Dhulikhel has been for centuries an important trading center on the commercial route linking Nepal to Tibet.

  3. c

    While in the village of Rayale, you’ll put on your service shoes and dig into ongoing projects. These projects will be identified closer to the program start day and may range from earthquake relief, to construction, to education enrichment. During this time, you will also stay with a host family.

  4. d
    The Last Resort

    Take a few days off from service for adventure. Spend time at The Last Resort bungee jumping and whitewater rafting.