About Volunteering in Nepal

The Mountain Volunteer. Life-changing experiences is what we offer

The Mountain Volunteer was founded by Scott and Sunita as a natural outgrowth of their dedication and service to Nepal as The Mountain Fund our 501c3 charity. 

Scott MacLennan began serving in Nepal over a decade ago and established health clinics and hospitals in rural communities. In 2010 he was recognized for the Sir Edmund Hillary Medal for his service in Nepal. Sir Edmund Hillary was the first to climb Mt. Everest, the world's highest peak, which is located in Nepal. 

Sunita Subedi Sharma (MacLennan) was born and raised in Nepal. Her childhood memories are of persecution for having been born a daughter, rather than a son. Since early childhood she's felt in the most personal and direct means, the oppression that women in Nepal face daily. Later, after suffering domestic abuse in an arranged marriage, she left that marriage and determined to dedicate her life to helping women and children in Nepal to have a better life. 

Scott and Sunita MacLennan

Together we invite you to be a part of our work, to join with us in helping women and children and improving lives for thousands in Nepal. 

 

 

 

 

 

Sir Edmund Hillary Mountain Legacy Medal

Award Winning Program

The Sir Edmund Hillary Mountain Legacy Medal is your assurance of the quality and legitimacy of The Mountain Fund and our program The Mountain Volunteer. Our years of experience in and service to the people of Nepal will provide you with a depth of experience and connection that can't be matched by anyone. 

Learn more about The Sir Edmund Hillary Mountain Legacy Medal here.

 

About Nepal

Nepal's acronym of Never Ending Peace And Love, does well to characterize this nation of good natured and accommodating people; a land of majestic Himalayan scenery comprising eight of the world's ten highest mountains, including Mt Everest: the uppermost place on earth at 29,029ft (8,848m).

Situated between India and Tibet, the Kingdom of Nepal is filled with as many different ethnic groups, customs and traditions as it is diverse in geography. From the hot Indian plains and steamy southern Tarai lowlands, the terrain crosses the Kathmandu Valley and rises to the frozen heights of the Himalayan peaks towards the Tibetan plateau known as the 'roof of the world'. Spread across these varied altitudes are communities of colorful cultures and people (many untouched by modern development), animated cities and towns, and far-flung mountain villages. Life here revolves around an intricate intermingling of ancient Hindu and Buddhist religious rituals. Numerous festivals are celebrated throughout the year colored by a diversity of religious and tribal traditions. The capital of Kathmandu brings an assortment of these different societies together into a vibrant collection of brilliant sights and exotic smells, with modern shops co-existing with street sellers, while pyramidal Buddhist temples, holy Sadhus of the Hindu faith and medieval palace squares fill the urban landscape.

Nepal is well endowed with glorious scenery - verdant terraced valleys, rushing rivers and ice-blue lakes that originate in the 'abode of snows', or Himalayas. The uplifting sight of soaring mountains is a magnet for mountaineers and trekkers, offering some of the greatest challenges and most scenic walking opportunities on earth. Its diverse terrain offers tremendous opportunities for adventurous activities, and although mountain climbing and trekking are the most popular, there is also superb white-water rafting on steep mountain rivers, as well as elephant-back safaris or tiger tracking in the Royal Chitwan and Royal Bardia National Parks situated within the jungles of the southern Tarai belt.

Nepal has many attractions, but the essence of the country is its smiling, friendly people with their heartfelt palm-pressed greetings, and together with its inspiring scenery, this beguiling kingdom is a place where one visit is usually not enough to satisfy the captivated traveler.

More Info About Nepal...

Nepal Culture
Nepal Climate
Nepal Health
Nepal Government
Nepal Travel

Nepal Culture

LANGUAGE:

Nepali is the official language. English is spoken in all major tourist areas.

CUSTOMS:

Nepal has numerous cultural practices that are unusual to foreigners. In the tourist areas there is a high degree of tolerance towards visitors, but away from these places foreigners should be sensitive to local customs. Never accept or offer anything, or eat with the left hand. Do not eat from someone else's plate or offer food from one's own. Women should dress conservatively and cover as much as possible. Permission should be sought before taking photographs, particularly at religious sites. Public displays of affection between men and women are frowned upon.

TIPPING:

Restaurants and hotels may add 10% to bills in which case no further tip is required; otherwise a 10% tip is customary in places that cater to tourists. It is customary to tip guides and porters on treks. Elsewhere it is not customary to tip, but gratuities are always appreciated.

BUSINESS:

The Nepalese are warm and friendly, and business tends to be conducted with a combination of formality and sincerity. Much time is given to small talk and socializing. Handshakes are fairly common, though one should wait to see if greeted with a hand, or a namaste - a traditional greeting of a small bow accompanied by hands clasped as if in prayer. Visitors should return the greeting. Dress tends to be formal and conservative, with suits and ties the norm. Titles and surnames are usually used; the elderly in particular are treated with great respect and the word 'gi' is added after the name as a polite form. Punctuality is important, although it may take some time to get down to business, and negotiation can be a long process. English is widely spoken and understood, though discussions in Nepali may occur between Nepalese themselves within a meeting. Business hours are usually 9.30am or 10am to 5pm Sunday to Thursday (closing at 4pm in winter). Saturday is a holiday.

ELECTRICITY:

Electrical current is 220 volts, 50Hz. Round two- and three-pin plugs are used.

COMMUNICATIONS:

The country code for Nepal is +977, and the outgoing code is 00, followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the UK). City/area codes are in use, e.g. (0)1 for Kathmandu and (0)41 for Pokhara. Two mobile phone operators provide GSM 900 network coverage in the main cities and towns, but this does not extend to the summit of Mount Everest! In the main tourist centers of Kathmandu and Pokhara there are Internet cafes on every corner.

Nepal Climate

The Kathmandu Valley has a mild climate most of the year, situated at an altitude of 4,297ft (1,310m). Summer temperatures range from 67-81°F (19-27°C), and in winter temperatures are between 36 and 68°F (2-20°C). During the rainy monsoon season between June and August, there is an average rainfall of between 7.8-14.7 inches (200-375mm) in Kathmandu. May and June can be very hot and humid until the monsoon rains bring relief. In spring (March to April) and autumn (October to November) the temperatures are pleasant with occasional short bursts of rain, while November to February are dry, but can be very cold, especially at night.

Nepal Health

There is a risk of malaria between June and September in the low-lying areas including Chitwan National Park, but not in the common trekking areas. Outbreaks of Japanese encephalitis occur annually, particularly between July and December; vaccination is advised. Cholera outbreaks occur and food and water precautions should be followed. Untreated water should be avoided; visitors can buy bottled water or purify their own. When trekking it is preferable to treat river water rather than leaving a trail of plastic bottles behind. Purifying water with iodine is the cheapest and easiest way to treat water. Altitude sickness is a real risk for trekkers. Many trekkers may suffer from altitude sickness above 8,202ft (2,500m); if symptoms persist it is wise to descend as quickly as possible. Standard of care in hospitals varies, but there are traveler's clinics in Kathmandu and numerous pharmacies in the major towns. Medical insurance is essential, which should include air evacuation. Travelers arriving from infected areas require a yellow fever vaccination certificate.

DISEASE:

There is a risk of malaria between June and September in the low-lying areas including Chitwan National Park, but not in the common trekking areas. Outbreaks of Japanese encephalitis occur annually, particularly between July and December; vaccination is advised. Cholera outbreaks occur and food and water precautions should be followed. Untreated water should be avoided; visitors can buy bottled water or purify their own. When trekking it is preferable to treat river water rather than leaving a trail of plastic bottles behind. Purifying water with iodine is the cheapest and easiest way to treat water. Altitude sickness is a real risk for trekkers. Many trekkers may suffer from altitude sickness above 8,202ft (2,500m); if symptoms persist it is wise to descend as quickly as possible. Standard of care in hospitals varies, but there are traveler's clinics in Kathmandu and numerous pharmacies in the major towns. Medical insurance is essential, which should include air evacuation. Travelers arriving from infected areas require a yellow fever vaccination certificate.

View information on diseases: Malaria, Japanese encephalitis, Cholera

General considerations: Malaria is a common and life-threatening disease in many tropical and subtropical areas. It is currently endemic in over 100 countries, which are visited by more than 125 million international travelers every year. Each year many international travelers fall ill with malaria while visiting countries where the disease is endemic, and well over 10,000 fall ill after returning home. Fever occurring in a traveler within three months of leaving a malaria-endemic area is a medical emergency and should be investigated urgently.

Cause:

Human malaria is caused by four different species of the protozoan parasite Plasmodium: Plasmodium falciparum, P. vivax, P. ovale and P. malariae.

Transmission:

The malaria parasite is transmitted by various species of Anopheles mosquitoes, which bite mainly between sunset and sunrise.

Nature of the disease:

Malaria is an acute febrile illness with an incubation period of 7 days or longer. Thus, a febrile illness developing less than one week after the first possible exposure is not malaria. The most severe form is caused by P. falciparum, in which variable clinical features include fever, chills, headache, muscular aching and weakness, vomiting, cough, diarrhoea and abdominal pain; other symptoms related to organ failure may supervene, such as: acute renal failure, generalized convulsions, circulatory collapse, followed by coma and death. It is estimated that about 1% of patients with P. falciparum infection die of the disease. The initial symptoms, which may be mild, may not be easy to recognize as being due to malaria. It is important that the possibility of falciparum malaria is considered in all cases of unexplained fever starting at any time between the seventh day of first possible exposure to malaria and three months (or, rarely, later) after the last possible exposure, and any individual who experiences a fever in this interval should immediately seek diagnosis and effective treatment. Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment can be life-saving. Falciparum malaria may be fatal if treatment is delayed beyond 24 hours. A blood sample should be examined for malaria parasites. If no parasites are found in the first blood film but symptoms persist, a series of blood samples should be taken and examined at 6-12-hour intervals. Pregnant women, young children and elderly travellers are particularly at risk. Malaria in pregnant travellers increases the risk of maternal death, miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death. The forms of malaria caused by other Plasmodium species are less severe and rarely life-threatening. Prevention and treatment of falciparum malaria are becoming more difficult because P. falciparum is increasingly resistant to various antimalarial drugs. Of the other malaria species, drug resistance has to date been reported for P. vivax, mainly from Indonesia (Irian Jaya) and Papua New Guinea, with more sporadic cases reported from Guyana. P. vivax with declining sensitivity has been reported for Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, India, Myanmar, the Republic of Korea, and Thailand. P. malariae resistant to chloroquine has been reported from Indonesia.

Geographical distribution:

The risk for travellers of contracting malaria is highly variable from country to country and even between areas in a country. In many endemic countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia and the Mediterranean region, the main urban areas, but not necessarily the outskirts of towns, are free of malaria transmission. However, malaria can occur in main urban areas in Africa and India. There is usually less risk of the disease at altitudes above 1,500 metres, but in favourable climatic conditions it can occur at altitudes up to almost 3,000 metres. The risk of infection may also vary according to the season, being highest at the end of the rainy season. There is no risk of malaria in many tourist destinations in South-East Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. Source: WHO.

 


Cause:

Japanese encephalitis (JE) virus, which is a flavivirus.

Transmission:

The Japanese encephalitis virus is transmitted by various mosquitoes of the genus Culex. It infects pigs and various wild birds as well as humans. Mosquitoes become infective after feeding on viraemic pigs or birds.

Nature of the disease:

Most infections are asymptomatic (e.g. cause no symptoms). In symptomatic cases, severity varies; mild infections are characterized by febrile headache or aseptic meningitis. Severe cases have a rapid onset and progression, with headache, high fever and meningeal signs. Permanent neurological sequelae are common among survivors. Approximately 50% of severe clinical cases have a fatal outcome. Geographical distribution: Japanese encephalitis occurs in a number of countries in Asia and occasionally in northern Queensland, Australia.

Risk for travellers:

Low for most travellers. Visitors to rural and agricultural areas in endemic countries may be at risk, particularly during epidemics of JE. Prophylaxis (protective treatment): Vaccination, if justified by likelihood of exposure.

Precautions:

Avoid mosquito bites.

Source:

WHO.


Cause:

Vibrio cholerae bacteria, serogroups O1 and O139.

Transmission:

Infection occurs through ingestion of food or water contaminated directly or indirectly by faeces or vomit of infected persons. Cholera affects only humans; there is no insect vector or animal reservoir host.

Nature of the disease:

An acute enteric (intestine) disease varying in severity. Most infections are asymptomatic (i.e. do not cause any illness). In mild cases, diarrhoea occurs without other symptoms. In severe cases, there is sudden onset of profuse watery diarrhoea with nausea and vomiting and rapid development of dehydration. In severe untreated cases, death may occur within a few hours due to dehydration leading to circulatory collapse.

Geographical distribution:

Cholera occurs mainly in poor countries with inadequate sanitation and lack of clean drinking water and in war-torn countries where the infrastructure may have broken down. Many developing countries are affected, particularly those in Africa and Asia, and to a lesser extent those in central and south America.

Risk for travellers:

The risk of cholera is very low for most travellers, even in countries where cholera epidemics occur. Humanitarian relief workers in disaster areas and refugee camps are at risk.

Prophylaxis (protective treatment):

Oral cholera vaccines for use by travellers and those in occupational risk groups are available in some countries.

Precautions:

As for other diarrhoeal diseases. All precautions should be taken to avoid consumption of potentially contaminated food, drink and drinking water. Oral rehydration salts should be carried to combat dehydration in case of severe diarrhoea. Source: WHO.

Nepal Government

NEPAL EMBASSIES:

Royal Nepalese Embassy, Washington DC, United States (also responsible for Canada): +1 202 667 4550.

Royal Nepalese Embassy, London, United Kingdom (also responsible for Ireland): +44 (0)20 7229 1594/6231.

Royal Nepalese Embassy, Canberra, Australia: +61 (0)2 6162 1554.
Royal Nepalese Embassy, Cairo, Egypt (also responsible for South Africa): +20 (0)2 361 6590.
Royal Nepalese Consulate-General, Auckland: +64 9 520 3169.

FOREIGN EMBASSIES IN NEPAL:

United States Embassy, Kathmandu: +977 (0)1 400 7200.

British Embassy, Kathmandu: +977 (0)1 441 0583.
Canadian High Commission, New Delhi, India (also responsible for Nepal): +91 (11) 4178 2000.
Australian Embassy, Kathmandu: +977 (0)1 4371 678.
South African High Commission, Colombo, Sri Lanka (also responsible for Nepal): + 94 11 5635 966.
Irish Embassy, New Delhi, India (also responsible for Nepal): +91 (0)11 2462 6733.
New Zealand Consulate, New Delhi, India (also responsible for Nepal): +91 11 2688 3170.

NEPAL EMERGENCY NUMBERS:

Emergencies:100 (Police); 228094 (Ambulance)

Nepal Travel

KATHMANDU AIRPORT:

Tribhuvan International Airport (KTM)

Location: The airport is situated four miles (6km) east of Kathmandu.
Time: GMT +5.45.
Contacts: Tel: +977 (0)1 470 274.
Transfer to the city: A pre-paid taxi service operates from immediately outside the arrival gate. Rates are exhibited on a board and the fare must be paid in advance. Local buses also serve the airport, the journey is 35 minutes and costs Rs40.
Car rental: Car rental companies are represented.
Facilities: Facilities include banks and bureau de change, shops, duty-free, snacks, Internet, post office and tourist information. The airport is well equipped with facilities for those with disabilities.
Departure Tax: Rs. 1,130 (international), Rs. 169.50 (domestic).
Website: www.tiairport.com

PASSPORT & VISA REQUIREMENTS:

Avoid the stress and queues, get a visa agency to arrange your visa.
Travel Visa Pro, San Francisco, USA. 1-888-470-8472 or www.TravelVisaPro.com
Global Visas, London, UK. 0207 190 3903 or www.globalvisas.com

Entry requirements for Americans: United States citizens must have a passport and visa.

Entry requirements for UK nationals: British citizens must have a passport and visa.

Entry requirements for Canadians: Canadians must have a passport and visa.

Entry requirements for Australians: Australians must have a passport and visa.

Entry requirements for South Africans: South Africans must have a passport and visa.

Entry requirements for New Zealanders: New Zealand citizens must have a passport and visa.

Entry requirements for Irish nationals: Irish citizens must have a passport and visa.

Passport/Visa Note: Tourist visas can be issued on arrival to most nationalities. A 60-day visa costs US$30 and a 150-day/multiple-entry visa costs US$80. Tourist visas are valid for Kathmandu Valley, Pokhara Valley and Tiger Tops in Chitwan. Visitors intending to trek or visit other areas should obtain a permit from the Central Immigration Office.

VISA AGENCIES:

Travel Visa Pro, San Francisco, USA. 1-888-470-8472 or www.TravelVisaPro.com

TOURISM:

Nepal Tourist Office, Kathmandu: +977 (0)1 4256909 or www.welcomenepal.com

DUTY FREE:

Travelers to Nepal do not have to pay duty on 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars or the equivalent in other tobacco products; 1 litre of alcohol and perfume for personal use. It is illegal to export goods that are over 100 years old.

HikerAlert.com

Have questions?

Do you have questions about
Volunteering in Nepal?


Facebook Join Our Facebook Group!
Email Contact Us Via Email

Featured Video

Awards

Executive Director Scott MacLennan is awarded the
Sir Edmund Hillary Mountain Legacy Medal.

GlobalGiving vetted Organization 2015

Volunteer at Her Farm

Her Farm Nepal logo

News

OUR LATEST TWEETS

Sites We Like