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Community Trekking around Pokhara, Nepal

Today, more and more travellers seek an authentic experience, a change from familiar hotel chains, strict packages and lineups at scenic views. People want more than a sightseeing timetable, they want the chance to deeply experience another country’s culture, people and environment.

Eco-friendly rural tourism in Nepal is a rare jewel, offering visitors unique, diverse, and enriching experiences. With more than 80% of the country’s population living in rural areas, travelers can homestay in villages, learning and experiencing the rich values, religions, and traditions of the local people among some of the most stunning landscapes on earth.

There is also a huge diversity of activities that visitors can enjoy. From helping grow oranges to spending time exploring historic palaces, to learning about agricultural techniques and trekking nearby mountains and valleys. Such activities, combined with the hospitality and friendliness of a local family can provide visitors with a rewarding and unforgettable experience.

Rural tourism provides an avenue to sustainably improve the social, economic, and environmental well being of the entire community. Half of the people living in rural Nepal live below the poverty line and rural tourism can play a huge role in changing that statistic. Rural tourism creates opportunities for youth to gain skills and experience in hospitality, retail, guiding, transport, and catering and eco-friendly operations.

Rural tourism offers an alternative to experience the real Nepal, in a way that can benefit visitors, villagers, and the environment, for generations to come.

Community Hiking and Trekking around Pokhara, Nepal

There are ways and means to explore and embrace the beauty of this small Himalayan Kingdom. Trekking is probably the best option if you are adventurous enough to take the road less travelled and discover virgin places. The best time to venture out would be from March to June and October to November. It is best to avoid the monsoon and the winters due to the erratic climatic conditions. As most of the rural parts can only be conquered on foot, it becomes important to decide which place you want to visit. This problem can be solved with the help of various trekking agencies available to choose from. A word of caution, it is advisable to find a local guide who is well acquainted with the place and language.

Amongst many places in Nepal, Pokhara tops the list. Pokhara is a complete resort for an avid traveller. This scenic city has a lot to offer from waterfalls to museums, the famous Phewa Lake and the Machhapuchhre (Fishtail) Mountain. This third largest city in Nepal also boasts of eternal Mahindra cave and in numerous temples. You can either take a flight to reach this city or hit the road from Kathmandu as Kathmandu would probably be the first place you will land in Nepal.

You can plan either a day’s trip, short trip, or long trips from Pokhara as it is the best place to set out to the rural mountain villages. You will find cheap lodges to decent hotels along the way. There is an option to stay in local homes.

Fitness is the first thing that comes into the picture when you prepare yourself to scale up the mountains. Make sure you are physically fit and healthy. It is advisable to travel light and carry the right kind of equipment. Age-old commonsense will help you make your trekking experience memorable. So do not leave it behind. Here is a list of things that would come handy when you are trekking

  • Sunglasses
  • Sun hat/scarf
  • Light balaclava or warm fleece hat
  • T-shirts
  • Light and expedition weight thermal tops
  • Fleece jacket or pullover
  • Raincoat
  • Water bottle
  • Walking stick or cane
  • Heavyweight gloves or mittens with a waterproof shell outer
  • Hiking shorts
  • Lightweight cotton long pants
  • Fleece or wool pants
  • Basic First Aid Kit /Mosquito Repellent
  • Thick, warm wool hiking socks
  • Hiking boots with spare laces
  • Camp shoes (sneakers and/or sandals)
  • Small wash towel
  • Sleeping bag rated to zero degrees F
  • Headlamp with spare bulbs and batteries
  • Toiletries

COMMUNITY TREKS AROUND POKHARA


 

Pokhara-Sarangkot-Pokhara

The mystic and magical view of the age-old Himalayas can be best viewed from Sarangkot. Located at an altitude of 1592 meters above sea level, this place is mostly visited to view the sun rising above the horizon. It is approximately 11 kilometers away from Pokhara. Sarangkot has well-maintained hotels and restaurants, offering excellent food, clean rooms with hot and cold showers, and even Wi-Fi connection. You can check-in into hotels or local homes and stay as their guests. If you want to be blessed to see the sun rising high up in the mountains then you have to be an early bird and start around 5 am. It is about a 5 km walk uphill so by the time you walk some distance you will definitely be able to see the sunrise. You can enjoy the view of some of the exotic snow-peaked mountains and start walking down towards the city crossing the dense and green forest. This is basically a 2 day’s trip. This trek is ideal for beginners as the trail is not so difficult and it is very close to Pokhara.

Itinerary

Day 01: Drive to Naudanda from Pokhara city for about an hour and start the trek to Sarangkot. It would take a couple of hours to reach Sarangkot.

Day 02: Get up early in the morning to view the sunrise over the whole Annapurna and Dhaulagiri Ranges including the Fishtail Mountain as well as other soaring mountains. Trekking down to Pokhara will take you about three hours.


 

Pokhara- Dhampus –Sarangkot

Dhampus is a village situated at an elevation of 1750m above sea level, in western Nepal. This village is popular among tourists s it provides an excellent view of most of the snow-clad peaks in Nepal. Dhampus is 18 kilometers away from Pokhara. It is a gateway to the Annapurna Base Camp and other trekking trails in the Annapurna range. There are plenty of hotels and restaurants in this village.

This would be a 3 days trip. Start early from Pokhara and reach Phedi. Your trek begins at Phedi and after walking for about five hours you will reach Dhampus. This trek gives you a glimpse of the panoramic view of the Himalayan Range. In between your trek you can stop at the village homes and be the guest of honor. You will be mesmerized by the local hospitality and courtesy. These people living far from civilization still treat their guests as a god in their abodes and accept you with warm hearts. You will get to know a lot about village life and their hundreds of year-old tradition and culture. Watch out for the rich bio-diversity, the flora and fauna and get lost into the wild. The view here is breathtaking, stand and look beyond what you see, in a distance, you will see a few stone houses, sometimes smoke coming out of these houses amidst the wild rhododendron, pines, and orchids. On the second day after breakfast trek from Dhampus to Sarangkot(1720m) via Naudanda, which takes approximately five hours.

Day 01: Drive from Pokhara to Phedi (950m.) Begin your trek from Phedi to Dhampus (1650m) which will take approximately four hours.

Day 02: Get the early morning view of Annapurna, Fishtail, Dhaulagiri Mountain and other peaks glitter in the sunshine fondly called as the golden view.

Day 03: The third day is a little relaxed in terms of walking. In the morning you can walk uphill and get the Mountain View, view of Pokhara city from the top and the Phewa Lake. Trekking down to Pokhara (827m) will take approximately three hours.


 

Lahachok-Ghachok  Cultural Trek

Lahachowk and Ghachok are beautiful villages situated in the northwest region of Pokhara. This village is situated at an altitude of 1200m above sea level. This is a 2 day’s trek and it starts from Hemja, famous for its orange groves. This route offers scenic beauty and an old settlement rich in culture. This trek is ideal for beginners and all levels of trekkers as the distance is not so far and the trail is easy. These villages are one of the oldest settlements of the Kaski region. This is a short and easy cultural trek, providing an insight into the lifestyles of the local community of Kaski as well as great views of Himalayas. Be well equipped to cross 2 rivers (Seti and Mardi) to reach this destination.

Itinerary: 

Day 1: After 40 minutes drive from Pokhara, you will reach Milanchok, Hyanja. You can start your trek from Milanchowk. After  30 minutes walk, you will reach Mardi River which is popular for Himalayan Traut Fish. Once you crossed the Mardi river, you will follow the path that goes to Lahachowk village. Our destination for 1st day is Armala Hill, a locally popular hill located in the North of Lahachowk. After  2-3 hours of walk, we will reach Armala Hill. From Armada Hill, you will be able to view the spectacular view of Pokhara Valley.

Day 2: On the early morning, you will be able to enjoy the view of sunrise from Armala Hill. In the morning, you can also visit Deurali Temple and Tea Garden nearby homestay. After the launch, you will walk down to go to Ghachok. Keep walking until you reach the Mardi River.


 

Pokhara-Ghandruk-Pokhara

Ghandruk is a town and village development committee in the Kaski District in the Gandaki Zone of northern-central Nepal. At the time of the 1991 census, it had a population of 4748 people living in 1013 individual households. Ghandruk is popular for treks in the Annapurna range of Nepal, with easy trails and various accommodation possibilities. This is by far the most sought after the trek. It is a 3-day trek from Pokhara. The trek starts just outside the Pokhara valley ascending through the Modi river valley. The climb leads you to stunning trails and luscious green forest taking you deep into the Gurung village of Ghandruk. The view of the sun rising and setting as seen from this small village is a view worth dying for. Till today the Gurungs of Ghandruk have been able to protect their tradition and culture. Generations have come and gone by but the culture is very much alive here. After a long day’s trip, you can halt in Ghandruk and save your energy for the next day’s trail. On day two, you can walk through the villages of Landrung, Deurali, and finally retire in Pothana. You can opt for homestay or there are a couple of cheap lodges available with the thick forest view. The third day you can walk back to the city trying to catch up on the views and glimpses of the eternal Himalayas just in case you had missed anything while climbing up.

Itinerary

Day 01: Pokhara to Ghandruk

Day 02: Ghandruk to Pothana, decent down to Modi Khola and start climbing up to Landruk village, the trail passes through the paddy fields then again starts to climb up to Pothana via Deuarli.

Day 03: Pothana to Pokhara. You can descend down to Phedi through the village of Dhampus enjoying the scenic and picturesque view of the mountain range.

Machhapuchhre (Fishtail) Model Trek through Ghachok Village

Machhapuchhre (Fishtail) is a mountain in the Annapurna range. If you are trekking for the first time, you shouldn’t miss this trek. This is by far the most adventurous trek. The difficulty level of trekking increases here as the trails start getting steeper and much more difficult. This is the most exciting and adventurous trek. It is an 8-day long trek from Pokhara. The best season to trek in this region is from September to May. This trek also starts from the outskirts of Pokhara and ends at the Machhapuchhre base camp. The first few days of the trek you can still enjoy the luxury of a proper bed and food when you retire however in the days that follow you will have to retire into tents and eat whatever is available. On the route, you will live through snow-clad mountains, dense forest that houses varied species of flora and fauna and you can take a quick dip in the natural hot springs. You will be lucky to witness the waterfalls and caves. It is a dream come true to be a part of this trail for any trekker. Your imagination of the place- of whatever you had read or seen in pictures comes alive in front of you. Traditional hospitality awaits you, the local villagers will welcome with you open arms. Make sure you walk for only about 5 to 6 hours a day.

Itinerary 

Day 01: Drive from Pokhara to Mardi Pool. Start trekking to Ghachok (1254m) and halt in Hille (2160m).

Day 02: Hile- Khumai (3245m). Overnight at Camp

Day 03: Khumai- Korchung (3682m)- Kharka. Overnight at Camp

Day 04: Kharka- Pipar (3310m). Overnight at Camp

Day 05: Pipar- napping area. Overnight at Camp

Day 06: Pipar- Karuwa (1380m). Overnight at Camp

Day 07: Karuwa- Ghiprang (1440m) – Ghachok (1254m). Overnight at Camp

Day 08: Ghachok- Mardi Pool. Drive back to Pokhara.

Mardi Himal Trek

Mardi Himal Trek is a newly discovered route that leads to the majestic view of Machhapuchhre and other mountains in the Annapurna range. It is a quieter trek in the Annapurna region where you will see few other trekkers and meet friendly locals along the way. There are a few basic lodges coming along the Mardi Himal ridge. This is a 6-day long trek from Pokhara. It starts from Kande, a small village about 40 kilometers away from Pokhara. As the saying goes “ when the going gets tough, the tough get going- likewise, the route starts getting steeper as you continue to ascend the trail. Conquering Pothana and Deurali you will reach the forest camp through the jungle. The climb gets all the more steeper and the forest becomes less green. Along the way, you will see a couple of viewpoints that provides an excellent view of the mountain range. Once you reach back Deurali be a little more adventurous and venture out into the wilderness until you come across the Jhinu Hot Spring. This trek can be ended at Nayapul via Ghandruk.

Itinerary

Day 1: Pokhara to Pothana. (1970m/5 hours.)

Day 2: Pothana to Forest Camp (2550m/ 7 hours.)

Day 3: Forest Camp to High Camp (4100m/ 6 hours.)

Day 4: High Camp, trek to Base Camp

Day 5: High Camp to Siding Village (1280m/ 7 hours.)

Day 6: Siding Village to Pokhara (850m/2.5 hours trek and 1-hour drive.)

Pokhara-Ghorepani Trek

The Ghorepani Poon hill trek starts from the Modi River. After crossing the suspension bridge over the Modi River, you will ascend through the ethnic villages and farm terraces enjoying the views of Machhapuchhre peeking between the hills. On the second day, you will walk mostly through woods before you reach Ghorepani hill. An early start and an hour’s hike to Poon Hill (3210m) leads you to a brilliant viewpoint. This viewpoint provides an unobstructed beautiful sunrise over the high Himalayas. From Ghorepani the trail climbs along ridges and through pine and rhododendron forests and if the weather allows you can see panoramic view all the way south to the plains of India. The trail follows a stream bed which becomes larger as you continue. The stream has some clear pools alongside the trail and finally becomes a series of waterfalls

On the third day, you will have to make an early climb for about an hour to the nearby Poon hill for a spectacular view of the Dhaulagiri, Annapurna, Nilgiri, and other famous mountains of the region. The whole of Ghorepani is densely forested with rhododendron, the national flower of Nepal.

Itinerary

Day 01: Trek to Tikhedhunga from Pokhara. Trekking starts from Modi River

Day 02: Trek to Ghorepani 2885 m

Day 03: Early morning climb to Poon Hill (3200m)

Day 04: Trek to Nayapul and drive back to Pokhara

Responsible Tourism

Responsible tourism is a term used to describe a way of traveling that minimizes any negative social, economic, cultural or environmental impact in the country being visited. In addition, responsible tourism attempts to boost these sectors, by creating a space for positive exchanges between locals and tourists.

Responsible tourism is more than a form of tourism; it is a behavior and a mindset that acknowledges the responsibility of the tourist to give back to the country he or she has been welcomed into. Although there are varying degrees of responsible tourism that depend on the country and the goals of the governments and incoming tourists, the underlying principles of responsible tourism were chartered in Cape Town in 2002, and the goals remain similar throughout the world.

In 2012, the Tourism sector employed 553,500 people in Nepal, and the number is growing. Still, since Nepal opened its borders in 1950 tourism has inevitably lead to an increase in pollution, urbanization, and environmental degradation. The Nepalese government is attempting to alleviate some of the damage done by working with the development partners and implementing tourism practices that promote the country’s social, economic, and environmental sustainability.

But these initiatives are of little use if visitors do not take these principles to heart. Nepal Rural Tourism asks its participants to please internalize the principles of responsible tourism during their homestay in Nepal and beyond. Being mindful of one’s actions while in a foreign country can only be beneficial!

As an organization, we do our best to support rural communities and ensure that our practices comply with the values of responsible tourism, and we encourage guests to do the same. Here are some guidelines on how to be a responsible tourist while traveling/visiting in Nepal specifically:

  • Please inform yourself of and respect Nepalese culture, politics, and social expectations before your arrival in the country.
  • If you are unsure about a particular customer and how you should be responding, please ask your host family. Do not assume or try to guess what is appropriate, respectfully asking is always preferable.
  • When visiting holy places, ask before entering. Many times you will be permitted to enter, but some temples are solely for practitioners.
  • Always ask before taking someone’s photograph or photographing a holy site.
  • While traveling throughout Nepal, help sustain the local business by favoring businesses that conserve cultural heritage and traditional values. For example, support local restaurants and other businesses catered toward the western tourist. When thinking of buying souvenirs for friends and family back home, consider buying crafts made locally.
  • When purchasing food goods during your stay, give preference to local produce rather than imported goods, to minimize your carbon footprint.
  • When considering traveling to Nepal, it is important to note that not all dietary needs can be met. People who practice a gluten-free or vegetarian diet may find it difficult to maintain a balanced diet. However, the Nepalese diet consists primarily of Dal Bhat, white rice and lentils, and is very nutritious.
  • Do not buy goods made from endangered species or ancient artifacts as it will only encourage sellers to continue this line of work.
  • Do your best to ensure that the businesses you are supporting are environmentally conscious. The greener, the better! It is always best if companies have a written environmental policy. It is also important to know how many local people they employ, and how they treat water waste.
  • Please, use water sparingly! Clean water is a precious resource in Nepal and should not be taken for granted.
  • Avoid bringing things with you that will contribute to local pollution. Bring a few plastic bags, disposable water bottles and toiletries, wrappers, and the like from your home country. Instead, try to bring things that you will keep with you. If you do need disposable items, do your best to purchase them in Nepal, so that you are not bringing waste into the country.
  • Be mindful! Keep in mind that the goal is to give back to the local communities, and fulfill our social and environmental responsibilities. During your stay, Nepal will be your new home, just remember to treat it as such by integrating your quotidian practices as best you can!

All it takes to be a responsible tourist is a little more attention to detail. With Nepal’s future in mind, through your mindfulness, local communities will benefit through economic development, job creation, and a positive rapport between local people and responsible tourists.

Nepal Rural Tourism Activities Guide

Agritourism

Agritourism is ideal for those who want hands-on learning experience while still having a very direct impact on their host community. The term ‘agritourism’ is gaining in popularity and is broadly defined as involving activities that bring visitors to farms for various activities.

In Nepal, these activities can include rice farming, feeding animals, picking fruit, and other activities that involve the cultivation, harvesting, and processing of local Nepalese produce. More than 50% of the population of Nepal is engaged in agriculture, and 65% of the population is dependent on it.

The production of rice, corn, wheat, millet, barley, sugarcane, and tobacco all play an important role in Nepalese life and lifestyle, and well as the production of milk, meat, and fruit. Nepal also has a longstanding tradition of natural healing and Ayurveda, a system of Hindu alternative medicine that uses plants such as roots, cinnamon, cardamom, and so on to cure many health problems. Through Agritourism, travelers will have the opportunity to learn in-depth about the Nepalese diet and the journey of the food from the farm to the plate.

Learn Cooking

What better way to share special moments with your host family than to learn to cook local dishes? The main diet in Nepal consists of a hefty portion of rice and lentil soup, called “Dal Bhat.” Dal Bhat is often served with pickled vegetables. This simple dish is healthy and filling, and tasty! Another famous dish is “momos”, dumplings filled with vegetables or chicken.

There are also many specialties that vary by region. Nepal’s geographic diversity allows for gastronomic diversity based on what types of food grow in each area. Near the Tibetan border, for example, you can find Thukpa, a Tibetan vegetable and noodle soup, and Gurung bread, fried Tibetan bread.

Homestays are a wonderful way to watch the local people cook and learn how authentic Nepalese food is made. Make sure you take the time to create some fond memories with your host family in the kitchen!

Guided Photography Tours

Guided Photography Tours allow visitors to see Nepal through their own lenses. Through your pictures, you can capture, as best as possible, the essence of your personal experience in the country. Your guide will be a professional photographer, who will help you in your creative process and show you the tips and tricks of taking beautiful photographs.

No matter where you are in Nepal, it is truly a place that engulfs the senses. From the chaos of the city to the peaceful mountain breezes, from majestic monasteries to farming villages, from country-wide holidays to tamed yaks and wild horses, the photographic potential in Nepal is absolutely endless.

On a guided tour, you will learn when to be where to get the best shots, while visiting the most photogenic sites. Your guide will show you what to do to capture the sunlight shining down on the temple, and how to capture the reddish hue on a young child’s cheek, so that when you go back to your home country, you can look at your pictures and continue to appreciate Nepal and its people. Through traveling, learning, and being inspired by this beautiful country, photographic tours explore the very soul of Nepal.

Tours can range from afternoon walks to multi-day outings. If you have any interest in going on a photographic tour of Nepal, we would be happy to work with you to find a plan that suits your interests!

Philanthropic Tourism

Philanthropic Tourism is the perfect opportunity to visit Nepal through compassionate eyes. Through visiting local institutions such as schools, impoverished communities, and health centers, philanthropic visitors will merge being a tourist with continuously deepening their understanding of Nepalese life and how it can be improved through humanitarian action.

The purpose of Philanthropic Tourism is to expose visitors to all aspects of the country. Not only will you have the opportunity in Nepal to do many exciting tourist activities, but you will also have the opportunity to visit the communities that are left in the background. You will also have the opportunity to engage in helping those communities.

During your Philanthropic tourism experience, you will be exposed to the various communities that our organization supports. It is our hope that visitors who opt to be Philanthropic tourists will be inspired by the people they meet, and will not forget their experiences and the time spent playing with children in local schools. When you go back to your home country, we hope that you will keep in touch with these communities, and do your best to continue to support them. Philanthropic tourism is a way to engage first hand with communities in desperate need of humanitarian action and to make international friendships that you will never forget.

Nepal Rural Tourism – Community Treks

Community Treks in Nepal

Community treks are wonderful ways to explore some of Nepal’s most majestic landscapes while maintaining the mindset of sustainable tourism. Thousands of outdoor enthusiasts come to Nepal every year to experience hiking and trekking in areas such as the Everest, Annapurna, Mustang, and Langtang region. There plenty of trekking companies offer trekking packages to these popular areas. However, there are plenty of areas in Nepal that are not being promoted as they are equally beautiful as popular trekking trails.

Instead of going to popular trekking trails and spending money on hotels and lodges, it is better to travel to rural areas of Nepal and stay with the host family. On that way the money you spend helps locals directly; their education, their livelihood, their well-being. Additionally, community treks allow travelers to have a more intimate trekking experience by learning local culture and by taking routes that are less traveled and therefore less affected by mainstream tourism. Hikers will have the opportunity to observe the local way of living, in a way that is impossible on the more popular trekking routes. During your stay, we would be happy to work with you to find community treks that suit your needs and interests.

Community Exposure Visits for NGO Workers

Geared especially toward NGO workers, community exposure visits aim to teach visitors about local customs and practices in different communities. For NGO workers, these visits are an opportunity to learn how to effectively approach humanitarian action in other cultures. Participants will learn about the practices adopted by local communities, in order to take that knowledge and put it to benevolent purposes later on.

Oftentimes, it is very difficult to know how to help a community with values and ways of life that differ from those in your home country. Exposure to the communities that are in need promotes the communication skills necessary to help those communities. Visitors will learn about agricultural, health, education, and daily community practices in Nepal, and will be able to assess what works and what doesn’t, while keeping in mind the needs and culture of the community.

Through agricultural and day to day community activities, NGO workers or those aspiring to work in the humanitarian field will gain hands-on knowledge about the various needs of local communities, while having fun and becoming and active part of a community.

Bird Watching in Community Forests

Wildlife enthusiasts will find their goldmine in Nepal, which holds nearly 10% of the world’s total species of birds thanks to its varied ecology. There are over 856 species living in the country, and most of the villages you will have the opportunity to live in have their own community forests where you can sit and watch many of these species fly by.

Imagine looking over valleys of rhododendrons, oaks, pines, or wetlands, spending the day looking up to the sky as babblers, warblers, tits, thrushes, woodpeckers, and eagles fly by! If this peaks your interest, be sure not to forget your binoculars when you pack your bags for Nepal and be ready for an amazing bird watching experience!

Anthropological and Ethnic Study Tours

Those interested in learning about the History of the various ethnic groups in Nepal may consider an Anthropological Study Tour. The country comprises over 100 castes and ethnic groups. The main ethnicities are Khas, Mongoloid, and Mixed. The Khas people originate from the mountain dwellers of the Himalayas, and in Nepal the term describes people who are Bahun, Chhetri, Damai, and Kami. The term Mongoloid describes people who are Tamang, Gurung, Magar, Sherpa, Thakali and Kirat. The Newar people are considered ‘mixed’ and are of Indo-Aryan descent.

In Nepal, 81% of the population is hindu, 9% is Buddhist, and 4.4% is Muslim. The Kathmandu valley alone has over 2700 religious shrines. Certain animist practices also survive, and most people celebrate holidays of both Hindu and Buddhist origins, and are free to practice a blend of the two traditions.

There are over 90 languages spoken in Nepal. Nepali is the most common language spoken as a mother tongue by 80% of the population. After Nepali, Tharu is mother tongue to 5% of the population, Tamang to 4%, Newari to 3%, and Gurung to 1.5%.

The caste system can also be studied in Nepal. Indigenous groups do not belong to this system, but those who belong to the core hindu societies do. The caste model consists of four social classes: Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya, and Sudra. Originally, Brahmin people were priests, educators, and scholars. Kshatriya were soldiers and administrators. Vaishya were merchants, farmers, and artisans, and Sudra people were labourers and service providers. Although the rules of interaction between the castes are not as rigid as they used to be, and although it has been illegal since 1962 to discriminate against the “untouchable” castes, discrimination still continues to this day.

Because of its wide variety of peoples, religions, and languages, especially for its size, Nepal is a wonderful place to conduct anthropological and ethnic studies. Especially in smaller villages and rural areas, some regional traditions have been passed on for hundreds of years, and can therefore be appreciated first hand by anthropologists and enthusiasts.

Nepal Homestay Villages – Sarangkot Village

Sarangkot is a beautiful village famous for its vivid sunrise and sunset views of the Annapurna Range. Located about 11 kilometres from Pokhara at 1,600m elevation, the village has excellently managed hotels and restaurants including continental and Chinese foods.

Wi-Fi is available along with clean rooms, toilets, bathrooms and hot/cold showers. At 1,600m elevation Sarangkot is a part of its namesake Village Development Committee. To the south are Lamachhure and Hemja, and to the east lies Kaskikot.

Attractions and activities
People of Sarangkot believe tourists are good for the village, so they encourage travellers to participate and enjoy local cultural programs like dancing, singing and formal welcomes.

Activities in the village include paragliding (some of the best flights in Nepal), a long zip-flyer and the Sarangkot View Tower. On a clear day, the tower provides unmatched views of the Annapurna Massif, Phewa Lake (Nepal’s second largest lake) and Pokhara.

Sarangkot’s Temple of Shiva and Bhume Kalika are also popular sites for visitors.

Local life
Agriculture is the main occupation for local people in and around Sarangkot. There are five primary schools, two higher secondary schools, three private schools and a few sub-health posts.

Sarangkot has rich cultural and ethnic diversity, including Gurung, Brahman, Chhetri, Newar, Damai and Sarki residents. The main religions are Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity. The main festivals in Sarangkot throughout the year include Dashain, Tihar, Teej, Loshar and Janai Purnima. Exact dates for these festivals change year to year.

How to get there
From Pokhara transportation is available every two hours, by bus or Jeep. There are also taxi facilities. Taking the steep hike from Pokhara up to Sarangkot is also an option; for instance, from north of Lakeside that walk takes between 2-3 hours.

HOST FAMILIES

Family Chapai
Head of Family Lakanoth Chapai
Contact Family Member Lakanoth Chapai
Ward No 3 Tole Iaisithrika
The Chapai family offers five rooms for guests (with six beds total). In their five-member household they have a toilet, bathroom and water facilities. No family member is able to speak English so visitors are requested to go with a translator or local guide. The children are studying and the head of the family is retired from the military and now has a job, his wife works in agriculture.

Family Timilsina
Head of Family Jhatparsad Timilsina
Contact Family Member Krishna Timilsina
Ward No 3 Tole Vagara
The Timilsina family offers five rooms for guests (with six beds total). In their six-member household they have two people who are able to speak English. They have a toilet, bathroom and water facilities. The family relies on working in the field for a livelihood and one member of the family has a job.

Family Timilsina
Head of Family Nandalal Timilsina
Contact Family Member Parbati Timilsina
Ward No 3 Tole Mulabari
The Timilsina family offers five rooms for guests (with six beds total). In their four-member household they have two people who are able to speak English. They have a toilet, bathroom and water facilities. The son is abroad in another country and the daughter studies. The family relies on work in the fields for their livelihood.

Nepal Homestay Villages – Pumdi Bhumdi Village

Adjacent to the bustling tourist city of Pokhara, Pumdi Bhumdi (also known as Pumdivumdi) is around 7 kilometres from the centre of Pokhara, at about 1,200m elevation, along the Siddhartha-Rajmarg Highway.

While the village is close to Nepal’s second largest city, Pumdi Bhumdi offers a solitude and peace not found in the major tourist centre.

Attractions and activities
A well-known attraction near Pumbi Bhumdi is the World Peace Pagoda (Shanti Stupa), sitting atop a hill overlooking Phewa Lake and the Annapurna Mountains. To reach the Stupa visitors can choose to canoe across the lake and hike, or arrange a taxi to drive them followed by a 15-minute walk.

Walking and trail running are popular around Pumbi Bhumdi. Heading west from Phewa Lake the trails ascend and descend switchbacks, perfect for nature lovers to spot butterflies, dragonflies, eagles and other birds. Paragliding is also a regular activity.

Views of the Annapurna Range and Pokhara Valley can be seen from Phewa Lake by boat or kayak (which is good for beginners). The beautiful Davis Falls and the impressive Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave are also on the way to Pumbi Bhumdi from Pokhara, just off Siddhartha-Rajmarg Highway.

Local life
The main occupation of most residents in Pumbi Bhumdi is agriculture. A significant percentage of the population hold government jobs and a smaller percentage have private jobs. About one third of Pumbi Bhumdi’s population goes abroad for study and/or work, a statistic that is increasing across Nepal.

The village has one secondary school and two primary schools and the population is a mixture of diverse Nepalese castes. The main religions are Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam.

How to get there
A taxi may be the most convenient way to reach Pumdi Bhumdi from Pokhara. Alternatively, buses may be available along the Siddhartha-Rajmarg Highway followed by a walk to into  the village.

HOST FAMILIES

Family Baral
Head of Family Madhu Parsad Baral
Contact Family Member Madhu Parsad Baral or Parbati Baral
Ward No 3 Tole Pokhara View
The Baral family offers 6 rooms for guests (with 4 beds total). In their three-member household there are two people who are able to speak English. They have a toilet, bathroom and water facilities. The family has jobs (as a teacher for a secondary school and college teacher) and they also depend on work in the field for their livelihood.

Family Baral
Head of Family Matrika Parsad Baral
Contact Family Member Matrika Parsad Batral or Sunita Baral
Ward No 3 Tole Pokhara View
The Baral family offers 7 rooms for guests (with 9 beds total). In their five-member household they are all able to speak English. They have a toilet, bathroom and water facilities. The children are studying engineering and nursing. Matrika Parsad Batral is the principal of the local government school and his wife works in the field. They depend on one job and agriculture for their livelihood.

Family Baral
Head of Family Raju Baral
Contact Family Member Raju Baral or Sita Baral
Ward No 2 Tole Pokhara View
The Baral family offers 8 rooms for guests (with 12 beds total). In their four-member household they are all able to speak English. They have a toilet, bathroom and water facilities. The family’s children are studying and Raju Baral is the principle of the local government school while his wife works in the field. The family depends on the school job and agriculture for their livelihood.

Family Bastola
Head of Family Shreekanta Bastola
Contact Family Member Shreekanta Bastola or Hemraj Bastola
Ward No 2 Tole Pokhara View
The Bastola family offers 9 rooms for guests (with 12 beds total). In their seven-member household they have four people who are able to speak English. They have a toilet, bathroom and water facilities. Two of the family members are studying while one works as a tourist guide. Shreekanta Bastola is retired from the police and works with his wife in the field for their livelihood.

Family Kadal
Head of Family Bedanatha Kadal
Contact Family Member Bedanatha Kadal or Sarita Kadal
Ward No 2 Tole Pokhara View
The Kadal family offers 10 rooms for guests (with 4 beds total). In their six-member household they have four people who are able to speak English. They have a toilet, bathroom and water facilities. The children work as a lecturer and staffing nurse while the parents have a cow they use to sell milk. The family depends on the children’s jobs and the milk for their livelihood.

Nepal Homestay Villages – Nirmal Pokhari Village

Situated amongst lush terraces and jungle, about ten kilometres south Pokhara, Nirmal Pokhari is best known for its production of oranges.

With an elevation of around 1,000m it is part of the Kaski District. To the east is the Village Development Committee (VDC) of Kristi and to the west, the Shivalaya VDC.

Compared to some other villages Nirmal Pokhari is less developed, making it a good choice for visitors seeking an escape to experience day-to-day farming and community life in Nepal without the distractions of busy tourist activities. An established volunteering program also exists for visitors to teach local children.

There are no public toilets however toilets exist within households.

Attractions and activities
Nirmal Pokhari’s location and climate means there is an abundance of natural vegetation and greenery amid the forests and farms. It is a peaceful and beautiful place to visit with numerous green mountains, beautiful rivers and interesting caves.

Visitors can also experience first-hand the production and sale of oranges in nearby markets including Pokhara. Some families in the region also produce coffee.

Local life
Many people are farmers by occupation however changing times see a trend of local people going abroad for laboring jobs. People are also employed in government jobs or run their own business (such as orange or coffee production or mini-shops). There is a significant divide in Nirmal Pokhari with some families barely managing to eat twice a day while some families are considered quite rich.

The education opportunities are not so highly developed. There are only three primary level schools and one secondary school. Local people go to Pokhara and other cities for higher education.

How to get there
From Pokhara the road is about 10 kilometres and is in fair condition. A local bus runs every 2 hours and taxis are also a convenient option for visitors.

HOST FAMILIES

Family Lamichhane
Head of Family Dilliraj Lamicchane
Contact Family Member Anita Lamicchane
Ward No 7 Tole Pokharathoak
The Lamicchane family offers six rooms for guests (with eight beds total). In their seven-member household they have four people who are able to speak English. They have a toilet, however there are no bathrooms or water facilities. The children work and study and their mother works in the field. They depend on the children’s jobs and agriculture for their livelihood.

Family Lamichhane
Head of Family Keshau Raj Lamicchane
Contact Family Member Tara Lamichhane
Ward No 7 Tole Pokherlthok
The Lamicchane family offers five rooms for guests (with eight beds total). In their six-member household they have four people who are able to speak English. They have a toilet, bathroom and water facilities. The children are studying and Keshau Raj Lamicchane went abroad to earn money while his wife worked in the field. They rely on agriculture and his salary for their livelihood.

Family Lamichhane
Head of Family Moti Parsad Lamicchane
Contact Family Member Moti Parsad Lamicchane
Ward No 7 Tole Pokharathoak
The Lamicchane family offers 12 rooms for guests (with 12 beds total). In their seven-member household they have five people who are able to speak English. They have a toilet, bathroom and water facilities. The children either have jobs, businesses and/or study and the family relies on this for their livelihood.

Family Pokhari
Head of Family Netra Parsad Pokhari
Contact Family Member Netra Parsad Pokhari, Laxmi Pokhari or Thakur Parsad Pokhari
Ward No 7 Tole Pokharathoak
The Khadaka family offers four rooms for guests (with four beds total). In their seven-member household they can all speak English. They have a toilet, bathroom and water facilities. Family members have jobs and businesses and on the farm they grow coffee and a lot of oranges to support their livelihood, visitors are encouraged to experiment with the coffee.

Family Pokherl
Head of Family Debaki Pokherl
Contact Family Member Arjun Pokheri or Ekraj Pokherl
Ward No 7 Tole Pokherlthok
The Pokherl family offers six rooms for guests (with nine beds total). In their seven-member household they have six people who are able to speak English. They have a toilet, bathroom and water facilities. Debaki Pokherl is 96 years old and has five grandsons. Family members have jobs including a doctor, teaching, nursing and studying law. The family works in the field and depends on their jobs and agriculture for their livelihood.