Volunteer in Nepal with Plan My Gap Year, an award winning, international volunteer abroad organisation. PMGY provides safe, meaningful, affordable projects overseas with a wide range of programmes in Nepal, including Childcare and English Teaching opportunities.
“I spent 4 weeks in Nepal. We had the chance to experience white water rafting, paragliding, jungle walk and safari, trekking and 10 days working at the local project. We spent time at the Happy Home orphanage which was a great experience. The support we got before the trip was great as well as the support throughout the trip. PMGY was extremely affordable and enabled me to experience Nepal in the best way possible. Loved it so so much, wish I could go back.” – HARRIET WILSON | UNITED KINGDOM
A range of locations and projects on offer
Vast scenic contrasts from mountains to jungle
8 of the worlds 10 highest peaks including Everest
Trek iconic Nepal Himalaya & visit Kathmandu
PMGY provide a sociable structured meaningful experience across need driven community projects in Africa, Asia and South America. Each year, we have thousands of volunteers working across a range of our projects from teaching and childcare to wildlife, medical and more. Our volunteer reviews are testament to the extensive pre-departure support and legacy our team provides to match the unbelievable in-country experience our volunteers engage in.
We are transparent and affordable with our fees, committed to long-term sustainable community development, all our local programmes are fully vetted and offer some great travelling and cultural opportunities to ensure that your time with us overseas is the best it can be.
A combination of all these reasons and more are why so many of our volunteers choose to come back to us and volunteer year after year with PMGY!
Book your flights as early as possible after confirming your place on the programme to ensure you get the lowest airfare possible.
You should book your flights to Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu. The airport code is KTM.
PMGY work with various partners in the aviation industry to offer our volunteers competitively priced flights. If you would like any assistance in booking your flight, you can request an optional flight quote during the online application or feel free to call us or drop us an email.
PMGY have an ATOL Licence to ensure any flights booked through us are financially secured by the Civil Aviation Authority.
Travel Insurance really is a travel essential. It is mandatory for all of our participants to have adequate travel insurance in place across all their trip dates incase anything goes wrong when overseas.
PMGY have teamed up with the insurance company Endsleigh to create an affordable and comprehensive optional travel insurance policy specifically designed to insure PMGY volunteers for all their travel essentials. The policy is available to anyone up to the age of 75 and covers you for any PMGY destination and any onward travel you may arrange (excluding the US and Canada).
Plan My Gap Year Ltd is an appointed representative of Endsleigh Insurance Services Ltd, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
If you’d like to purchase Plan My Gap Year Travel Insurance, you can add this option on during your online application.
Before you begin your programme, we provide extensive pre-departure support on the build up to your volunteer project with us whether it is a month or a year away. This all begins from an online chat or a telephone call that develops into a regular email chain of next step communications to ensure you are fully prepared for your trip with us.
Further to this we provide a forty page plus Volunteer Handbook that provides all you need to know once you confirm your place on the programme with us; from visa guidance and how to get a background check to what to pack and more information on the culture and preparing for your project.
For all our destinations we have Facebook groups made up of our local teams, past, present and future volunteers that provides a great forum for volunteers to network and to also share project updates and community updates across the year.
We have also generated a range of informative and action packed videos to bring some tangibility on what volunteers can expect when travel volunteering with us. This can be accessed on our PMGY Vimeo channel.
Our pre-departure and programme preparation webinars are not to be missed either. They run on selected Tuesdays at 1pm (GMT) and will provide you with some invaluable advice on your upcoming trip. The first webinar covers all the essential pre-departure information you need to know and things you need to do before you go and the second webinar is more programme specific with advice and information for whilst you’re on your placement.
For those looking to go one step further, we introduced a 60 hour online TEFL course to really strengthen volunteers project preparation. This really is the perfect introductory course to teaching English abroad and enable you to acquire some key skills along the way as well as an internationally accredited certificate.
We have volunteer programmes in Kathmandu, Chitwan and Pokhara. Each location is unique in its own way. Most placements are rural but we do have projects closer to the cities.
Kathmandu is Nepal’s capital and only major city. It is a bustling metropolis rooted in history and rich in culture. Filled with temples, palaces and courtyards, the unique architectural heritage and religious influence make it a fascinating location to live and work.
All volunteers arrive in Kathmandu and spend their orientation period and final night here. During your orientation you will be located close to the Thamel area, which is the tourist base of Kathmandu. Take time to wander through the backstreets and capture the true essence of what this city has to offer.
More recently, from the earthquake that hit Nepal in 2015, Kathmandu has been suffering in isolation from a lack of tourist activity in the area. The reality is that there is in fact very little evidence of the Nepal earthquake and its demolition in the Kathmandu area. Families are still getting on with their lives as normal and buildings remain erect and open for business!
Chitwan is located in the vast flat and fertile Terrai region close to the Indian border, offering a different landscape to that of Kathmandu and Pokhara, which are closer to the Himalayas. It is somewhat of a tranquil retreat compared to the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu or the tourist hotspot of Pokhara.
Our programmes are based in a number of villages in the Chitwan district. Famous for its National Park, Chitwan offers a warmer climate and is a much more laid back experience than Kathmandu.
Paddy fields, ox-towed carts and an array of wildlife, make this a perfect location for those seeking a quieter and more rural atmosphere. However, at the weekend there is still so much to do – elephant bathing, jungle safari, white water rafting…there is definitely something for those seeking adventure!
After a breathtaking seven hour bus journey from Kathmandu you arrive in Pokhara, located 200km west of the capital. Set around the Phewa Tel Lake and surrounded by mountains, Pokhara is a humbling location.
In the Lakeside district you are able to find everything you need from western restaurants to International hospitals. But if you prefer a more rustic experience we have placements in quaint rural settings just outside of Pokhara.
Pokhara is the starting point for the majority of the trekking trips in Nepal. It’s also a great place for paragliding, canoeing and yoga!
All our programmes in Nepal run from 2-20 weeks beginning on the first and third Sunday of each month. Our Real Experience programmes that combine volunteering and travelling run for 4 weeks and start on specific start dates across the year.
PMGY’s programme in Nepal are ran by our dedicated and experienced in-country local teams who have been fully vetted by our UK team.
Such a committed local staff network provide the structure for your stay with us when working on our Nepal project. The support structure includes providing accommodation, meals, airport pick up and drop off, project transport, in-country orientation and 24/7 emergency support.
So whether you are teaching in schools, working at the temples or interning at the orphanages with us, our local team will also allocate you to your project as well as providing a great framework for you to enjoy a unique cultural experience with us in Nepal.
Your orientation will begin on Monday. After a refreshing morning breakfast, your day will kick off with a two-hour Nepalese language lesson. Learning Nepalese is not only a great cultural experience but also important preparation for your volunteer placement. Being able to readily communicate with the locals will make your experience all the more enriching.
Your orientation will continue with an introduction to the transport system, safety advice and all the projects we support in the community. You will also have the chance to change money, buy a local phone or SIM Card and visit the supermarket.
The orientation is based in our office a fifteen minute drive from the accommodation and in the heart of the tourist centre in Kathmandu so there is plenty of options and variety on offer for lunch.
After lunch, our local team will take you sightseeing around Kathmandu where you will have the chance to checkout the famous Monkey Temple, Boudha stupa and Pashupati temple. You will be accompanied by a member of our local team who will teach you all about Kathmandu’s rich and diverse history.
Our local team will then treat you to some home cooked food for the evening meal!
The next morning sees the orientation continue as we return to the office for the final part of the theoretical section of the orientation which is the cultural lesson. Our local team will teach you about life in Nepal, the do’s and don’ts, the local culture and religion.
Volunteers will then have the chance to try somewhere new for lunch in the bustling Thamel area and begin to pick an eye for some early souvenirs.
The afternoon is free for you to engage in more sightseeing and tick off some of the places you did not get to see in the previous day.
That evening its time to get prepared, packed and ready as the next morning you will be up early to travel to your volunteer placement location. If the location is close by you may be dropped off here on the Tuesday night.
Lunch is not included during your orientation period on the Monday and Tuesday. Please budget around £5 for this. Furthermore, entrance fees to the tourist sites we will visit during the orientation are not included in the Programme Fee and so you should budget around £10 for this.
Please make sure you arrive into Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu (KTM) on your chosen Sunday start date.
Day 1 (Sunday) – Arrival
Namaste! You will be greeted at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu by one of PMGY’s local coordinators holding a PMGY sign. We will transfer you to the volunteer host family accommodation, where you can relax and let home know you have arrived safely. In the evening you will get the chance to experience your first Nepalese dinner.
Day 2-3 (Monday-Tuesday) – Orientation
After a good first night rest in Nepal, its now time to begin your induction into life in Nepal. The orientation will be a mix of theory, culture and visits to local points of interest.
Day 4 (Wednesday) – Travel To Your Placement
On the Wednesday morning you will move to your project location. If you’re placed in Chitwan or Pokhara, then you will take the tourist bus. Our local team will take you to the bus station and ensure you have your ticket and seat on the bus. The buses are comfortable, come with air conditioning and reclining seats.
On arrival into Chitwan or Pokhara bus station, you will be picked up by one of our local coordinators who will take you to your accommodation. The cost of your bus ticket and transfer to/from the bus station is included in your Programme Fee.
Volunteers are advised to note that depending on road, weather and traffic conditions the journey times from Kathmandu to Chitwan or Pokhara can take anywhere from 7 to 12 hours.
If your placement is in Kathmandu then one of our local coordinators will take you to your host family or project residence in the morning.
Day 5-6 (Thursday-Friday) – Volunteering Begins
You will start your volunteer work on Thursday morning. Should you need anything whilst at the project, remember our local team are only a phone call away.
Day 7-8 (Saturday-Sunday) – Weekend
PMGY volunteers are offered a choice of rural and urban locations in this stunning and visually arresting country with volunteer programmes in Chitwan, Pokhara & Kathmandu. Each location is unique in its own way. This off the beaten track destination offers such stark and beautiful scenic contrasts from mountains to jungle and there are few countries in the world that are as well set up for independent travel as Nepal. Wandering the trekking shops, bakeries and pizzerias of Thamel and Pokhara, it’s easy to feel that you have somehow landed in a kind of backpacker Disneyland.
Out in the countryside lies a quite different Nepal, where traditional mountain life continues at a slower pace, and a million potential adventures glimmer on the mountain horizons.
Why not check out our weekend guide to find out what you can be getting up to in your free time!
The following weeks
Your next week(s) will follow a similar pattern as you will be volunteering Monday to Friday with free time at the weekends to explore and see as much of Nepal as you possibly can. Time will fly so make sure you make the most of it.
Last days (Friday-Sunday)
Sadly Friday is your last day at the project but the good news is you’re heading back to Kathmandu for a full free day on the Saturday to explore this fascinating city further. Your transport costs back to Kathmandu are included in your Programme Fee and you will be met at Kathmandu bus station to come back to our local teams accommodation for you final night in Nepal. Sunday is your last day in Nepal and you can depart at anytime. Your airport drop off is included in your Programme Fee. A member of our local team will transfer you back to the airport at a time that is convenient for your travel itinerary.
If you have not travelled much before, it is really hard to know what to expect and many volunteers (and their loved ones) are concerned for their safety and security.
Although we can never fully guarantee your safety, we do everything in our power to ensure your volunteering programme is as careful, safe and secure as possible. Every programme that PMGY offers has been personally inspected and selected by a Director of Plan My Gap Year. We have lived in the accommodation, experienced the orientation, worked on the projects and built strong trusting relationships with our local staff.
In the unlikely event that something was to happen, volunteers have various layers of support that they can go through (and people who will help them in the case of an accident).
1. In-Country Project Coordinators & Support Staff
2. Project Staff
3. PMGY UK Team
Projects are monitored on an on-going basis to gauge volunteers’ experiences and we are continually improving our placements and projects through this feedback. Security and safety of our programmes is constantly being reviewed and if you have any concerns we encourage you to discuss these with the local staff at your orientation. During orientation, project staff will also provide guidance in the area of safety and security.
Listed below are some general safety tips.
• Be modest with the amount of jewellery you wear in public.
• Do not drink tap water.
• Be cautious of beggars or crowds. Incidents of theft often occur when there are crowds and confusion to distract you.
• Be cautious about removing money in public.
• Always try to know where you are going before you attempt long journeys. Be especially careful at night.
• Use reputable taxi firms only. Our local staff will recommend some specific companies during orientation. If you are unsure – ask local staff who to use.
• Try to keep in groups at night and never walk alone along dark, empty streets. If possible use transport from door to door after dark.
• The recognised tourist areas can be considered potentially high risk areas for pickpockets and thieves.
• Leave your valuables behind before a night out in the town.
• For traffic safety, always keep looking to the left and right and walk slowly when crossing the road.
• Do not accept drinks or food from strangers.
Nepal’s climate is extremely varied due to the enormous range of altitudes found within such short distances. Kathmandu, due to its high altitude, is the coolest of the three locations. Pokhara is generally slightly warmer throughout the year than Kathmandu. Chitwan, on the other hand boasts a more subtropical climate.
The best time to visit Nepal is between October and April. October brings the start of the dry season where temperatures range from 25-30°C. This is the ideal time to go trekking. Cooler temperatures, around 20°C in Kathmandu, are found in December and January.
The heat picks up again as spring begins in February and lasts up until April. Over the spring period temperatures can rise up to 30°C in Kathmandu and even 40°C in Chitwan. However, with the increased heat comes the beginning of the monsoon season in June. The worst of the rain can be found in Pokhara and Chitwan, where it can get particularly heavy. Muddy roads and slippery conditions make trekking difficult during this tim
Your first few days in Nepal and the final night of your programme will be based in Kathmandu living with our host team in their family home. The accommodation here is nice and comfortable, has Wi-Fi and is a nice welcome into life in Nepal. Your accommodation type after these few days will depend on which programme you are joining.
It is important to note that accommodation in Nepal is comfortable but generally very basic; particularly in rural locations. Most accommodation will have western style toilets however some options only have Nepali style squat toilets so be prepared! More rural placements have bucket showers. Most accommodation does not have Wi-Fi access and electricity is intermittent so it’s a good idea to bring a torch and plenty of books! It’s a wonderfully rustic way to live and a million miles away from today’s hectic, hi-tech lifestyle, so enjoy every peaceful second!
Some of the orphanages we support have separate living quarters for volunteers (these are located next to the project). Rooms are basic and fit between 2 and 4 people with bedding provided. Wi-Fi may be available, but will be intermittent if so. Volunteers have their own space and privacy and should expect cold showers, potentially even bucket showers. The orphanage mother will prepare meals for you and the children. This is generally traditional Nepalese food. You’re more than welcome to lend a hand in the kitchen and learn how to cook traditional Nepalese dishes.
During your time on the programme you will live at the monastery in Kathmandu or Chitwan.
Volunteers will live at the monastery in separate volunteer living quarters. Accommodation is basic but comfortable. The monastery in Chitwan is located in a rural setting so volunteers should not expect western style toilets, hot water showers or internet access. The accommodation in Kathmandu is more modern.
Living at the monastery is a truly unique experience that can bring with it some amazing views. You’ll hear the gong go off at 5am every morning to call the monks for prayer and meditation – something you’re welcome to take part in! Living life side-by-side with the monks is definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity!
Staying with a host family is a great way to become immersed in the Nepalese way of life. You will either have a private room or share with fellow volunteers. You can be sure you will be made to feel like part of the family! The more questions you ask and efforts you make to socialise with the host family generally correlates to how much they interact with you and open their home to you.
In general you will be provided with bedding, mosquito net and a fan.
Please note that some host families have Nepalese toilets. These are squat toilets with a bucket of water to flush, and in more rural locations it can be a hole in the ground. The level of facilities at the host family will vary depending on how rural the location is.
It’s always handy to carry toilet paper and some hand sanitiser with you when in Nepal – just in case. Toilet paper is easy to find in the shops but hand sanitiser is only available in the cities, so its worth bringing a couple of bottles from home.
You will be served three freshly prepared Nepalese meals a day by your host family. Traditional Nepalese food generally uses a variety of fresh, local ingredients including; lentils, potatoes, tomatoes, cumin, coriander, chillies, yogurt and lots of rice so its may take a little getting used to.
Dhal Bhat is the national dish and is usually served for breakfast and evening meal every day. It is a dish comprised of rice, lentils and seasoned vegetables.
Most meals are vegetarian with typical dishes being pasta or noodles complimented by locally grown vegetables. There is the occasional chicken, pork or fish dish served up from time to time.
Here is an example of the meals you can expect:
* Our team will do their best to cater for any dietary requirements but there may be instances where you may need to purchase alternative ingredients at your own expense.
Most of the projects are in close proximity to your accommodation so you’ll be able to walk to and from the placement each day. The orphanage and monastery projects are based on site and the schools we work with for the host families are usually around a 15-20 minute walk from the accommodation.
PMGY welcome volunteers of all nationalities and backgrounds. The minimum age to join the programme is 18 and there is no upper age limit. All volunteers need to have a good level of English, although it does NOT need to be your first language. You do not need to speak Nepalese, although learning a few words in your days with us in Nepal will go a long way!
We require a clean background check from all our participants in advance of volunteering with us abroad.
In general no formal experience or qualifications are required for the projects, just lots of energy, enthusiasm and preparation.
Registration Fees must be paid within 7 days of the application being successful to confirm your place and Programme Fees are due at least 60 days before the programme start date.