Frequently Asked Questions

When can I begin my volunteer placement?

You can arrive at any time of the year. Starting times for volunteer programs are flexible, however, if you really want to trek, the best times to arrive are from March to May and September to November. June through to August is monsoon season and while some trekking is possible, conditions are not ideal.

Visa Requirements

All foreign nationals, except Indian citizens, require a valid passport and visa for Nepal. You may acquire a visa in advance from any Royal Nepalese Embassies or Consulates abroad or purchase a 15 day multiple entry (AU $65), 30 day multiple entry (AU $85) or 90 day multiple entry (AU $175) visa, on your arrival in Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu and at entry-point Immigration Offices..

Tourist visas can be extended at the Department of Immigration in Kathmandu and the Pokhara Immigration Office on request. Tourists can stay a maximum of 150 days in Nepal, during one calendar year.

Passengers departing from the Tribhuvan International Airport are required to pay an airport tax of Rs. 1356 if going to SAARC countries (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) and Rs. 1695.00 to all other international destinations.

Will somebody pick me up from the airport?

Yes, a staff representative will be waiting outside of the airport terminal (they are not allowed to wait inside so you will need to make your own way outside) holding a placard with your name on it. They will then take you to your guest house or to our office. Please let us know your flight details as soon as possible to ensure that our staff will be on time to meet you.

Should I bring valuables with me to Nepal?

Petty theft is not rife in Nepal however it does happen, and tourists are often targeted. Unless absolutely necessary it is not advised that you bring a laptop on your placement. Internet is frequently available in Internet cafes in Kathmandu and Pokhara, and if you are in a very rural area, you can probably live without it between trips to larger towns. While cameras and video cameras are a good idea and can provide excellent memories of your trip, flashy, expensive goods may make your host family uncomfortable, and it may also encourage people to ask you for money because they think you are rich.

Can I secure my valuables?

If you want to secure your passport and plane ticket while you are on placement you can give them to a staff member to put in our safe. Your room at your placement will probably have a lock on it, and it is recommended that you buy a lock for your bag too. Your host family, particularly the children, will be very curious about you and will possibly rifle through your bags. They will probably be most interested in sweets but it is better to keep things locked just in case.

How do I pay my program fees?

Your program fees should be paid on your arrival to Nepal. Fees can be paid in Euro or in Nepalese Rupee which you can withdraw from an ATM on arrival. If you wish to extend your placement, please speak to our staff and arrange to pay the appropriate fees with them.

Do I need insurance?

The program fee does not include insurance so we advise that you buy travel insurance to cover any health expenses or lost items.

Will you refund my program fees if I go home before the completion of my placement?

Once you have begun your training we do not provide a refund of the program fee. In case of serious illness, death in the family, or other unavoidable circumstance, we can discuss a refund of 30% of the host family costs, provided the volunteer is registered for a program of more than 30 days. No refund will be offered for programs of less than 30 days.

Will I receive any training?

You will receive up to 10 days of cultural and language training depending on the length of your placement. The first stage of your training will take place in our office in Thamel, the tourist district of Kathmandu. We will provide you with basic Nepali language skills and cultural information that will assist you in your placement. The second stage of your training will take place in a training village nearby Kathmandu. In the training village you will become accustomed to what life will be like in your village placement and will continue with your Nepali language training with one of our language teachers. During the first stage of the training, you will stay at either Happy Home (a childrenís home in Kathmandu) or in a guesthouse in Thamel. From the first day of your training we will cover the costs of your accommodation and basic food costs. We will also pay for two days of accommodation in Kathmandu after you finish your placement. You will need to cover the rest of your expenses during the rest of your time in Nepal. In the second stage of your training we will transport you to your training village and then to your placement and back.

Where will I be placed and can I chose my placement location?

Volunteers will be placed in villages around Pokhara, Chitwan, Kathmandu Valley, Lantang or the Everest region. We will generally decide on your placement location depending on our need and your skills. Please let us know well in advance if you have any particular placement preferences and we will attempt to arrange something for you. We will let you know your placement location while you take part in training in Nepal.

How can I be contacted when I am in my placement?

In case of emergency, your family can contact our staff in the office. You may or may not have access to an international phone in your host family. There will probably be an international phone in your village that you can access. The same goes for email. You may have Internet access in your host family but as it is expensive you should use it only briefly or wait until you travel to a larger town (perhaps during time off on weekends) and use the Internet there. In remote placements you will not have Internet access at all.

What is the health care like in Nepal?

Health care facilities are reasonably good in urban Nepal. For serious health problems we advise that you visit the International clinic in Kathmandu. For minor health ailments, local doctors and pharmacies are fine and cheap. In your placement village you will have very little, if any, access to health care, therefore we advise that your bring a comprehensive first aid kit.

Is there anything I can do to prepare for an English teaching placement before I arrive?

We can provide you with basic TEFL training before you begin your placement. You may like to brush up on English grammar and perhaps bring along any English language books as they are hard to find in Nepal.

What is the climate in Nepal?

Nepal experiences four climatic seasons: March to May (spring), June to August (summer), September to November (autumn) and December to February (winter). About 80 % of rain falls during the monsoon season (end of June to mid-September), so the rest of the year is dry.

How much money should I bring?

This depends on a number of things. We will cover all basic food and accommodation expenses during your training and placement and for two nights in Kathmandu before your departure. We advise that you arrive in Kathmandu 1 or 2 days before starting training to help you assimilate into the culture. You will need to cover the cost of food and accommodation during this time. Costs will vary according to how much time you spend traveling on your own, whether or not you go trekking/traveling, if you drink beer or other alcohol! Costs will also depend on how often you phone home / use the internet etc. Once in your village placement you will find it is very difficult to spend any money at all. Lonely Planet Nepal is a good guide to how much you should budget for per day. Remember to account for our program fees and any extra activities (trekking, safari, bungy) and extra transport and food.

How can I access money in Nepal?

The best way to access money is from one of the ATMs in Kathmandu or Pokhara. You can exchange currency into Nepali Rupee at one of many money exchange office in Kathmandu. Travelers checks can be cashed at banks and Western Union offices are available too. Credit and debit card facilities are very rare.

What should I bring with me?

Here is a list of things that may help when you are deciding what to pack... (Keep in mind whether you want to trek or participate in other activities apart from volunteering).
  • First Aid Kit

  • Mosquito repellant

  • Sun cream

  • Water purification tablets

  • Sleeping bag

  • Hiking boots

  • Flip flops or Tevas sandals

  • Fleece jacket (for colder months and for trekking)

  • Light weight cotton clothes

  • Waterproof jacket/Poncho

  • Sarong (women) or you can purchase traditional lungi cheaply in Nepal

  • Torch (flashlight)

  • Swiss Army Knife (Pen Knife)

  • Books about your country

  • Photographs of your friends, family and home

  • Souvenirs for host family and staff from your country

  • Examples of your local currency

  • Music (IPod/Mp3/Cdís) for yourself and your placement

  • Basic English/Nepali dictionary

  • Coloured pencils/pens/colouring books/stickers

  • Inflatable globe

  • Books on teaching English/English grammar to assist you if teaching

Is there anything I can bring that would be useful to the organisation?

Childrenís books, English novels and English grammar and language books are all very useful to the organization and can help maintain libraries in the schools and childrenís homes that we support. Donations of stationery, clothes and art supplies are also useful.

What sort of toiletries/sanitary items should I bring?

Things like shampoo, soap, toilet paper and tissues are commonly available in Nepal and are much cheaper than your home country. For females, if you use tampons you will need to bring them from home because they are not commonly found in Nepal. Bring hand sanitizer or wipes from home and remember mosquito repellant from home, as it is much more effective than the brands found in Nepal.

Can I buy English books in Nepal?

Yes, there are quite a few new and used English book stores in Kathmandu and Pokhara. Pilgrims is one of the best in Kathmandu. Books are around 500 rupees and volunteers can receive up to 20 % discount. You can also return used books and received up to 50 % discount.

Can I bargain in Nepal?

Yes. Apart from some of the bigger supermarkets and international stores, most places will not have fixed prices and will expect you to bargain. If you donít, expect to pay much more than you have to. Generally, merchants will ask you how much you are willing to pay for an item (expecting you to say much more than it is actually worth) and they will appear shocked and offended at whatever you say and will end up asking you for more. If this is the case ask them how much they think it is worth. Normally its value will be around half to one third of that price. This is just a general guide and not every sales person will work in the same way. Donít go overboard and negotiate over every penny. It wastes time and can cause bad feelings towards you. Just be aware.

What vaccinations do I need to travel to Nepal?

There are a couple of vaccinations you should consider before traveling to Nepal. This is just a guideline and we advise that you see your GP for professional medical advice.
  • Diphtheria

  • Tetanus

  • Polio

  • Hepatitis A & B

  • Typhoid

  • Yellow fever

  • Rabies

  • Tuberculosis

  • Malaria tablets

What is your postal address in case my family/friends want to send me something?

You can have mail sent to our P.O. Box and we will hold it at the office or try to send it to you depending on where your placement is.

c/o your name
PO Box 19531,
Kathmandu, Nepal

If you are sending a package by FedEx, or delivery method, please send it to the office, you will also need to put our contact details.

16 Pakanajol, Thamel, Nepal

In front of the yellow star youth club or Near the Sarakhutte Police Post

Do I need qualifications to volunteer?

You do not need any formal qualifications to volunteer with us. All you need is a passion for helping people and a commitment to the program and the ability to be flexible.

If you are applying to teach English, it helps if you a strong understanding of written and spoken English and English grammar. Those interested in volunteering in a health placement should have some previous medical or first-aid experience. The same goes for environmental programs. There are a couple of other things that are imperative to you having a rewarding experience while volunteering in Nepal. Flexibility, patience, tolerance, and a sense of humour will stand you in good stead in your volunteer placement. Be willing to embrace a new place and new culture and approach all things with an open mind. Enjoy!

Volunteer Programs

We also help you to arrange

Volunteers' Testimonials

6th / Dec / 2008

Take lots of things to do and read, as in the mountains there are less people to talk with, and if there is no school...

- Tegan Burnet

Sep / 2008

The Langtang area is very impressive, and waking up every morning with the view of the massive mountains...

- Tami Nudel

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Best Volunteer Nepal is an Australian registered charity operating in
Australia and Nepal and in partnership with a local Nepalese organisation which
is registered with the social welfare council of Nepal as a non-profit volunteer organisation
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