My daughter’s elephant safari in Chitwan, Nepal

August 20, 2011 by  
Filed under World, Leisure, Nature, Nepal

My 16 year old daughter recently returned from a school trip during which the group of teenagers did some treking in Nepal, spent time on a community project at a local school in the mountains and finally visited the Chitwan region where the group went crocodile spotting by canoe and got close to a rhino and her baby on an elephant safari. Here’s Sophie-Anne’s story…

To end our journey in Nepal we headed down near the Indian border to the Chitwan region. Chitwan is very tourist friendly, and as we personally discovered, there are lot of nice hotels there to cater for the tourist demand. The first settlers in the region were the Tarau people and within the village we were welcomed to look inside their traditional mud huts with straw roofs.

Canoe trip in Chitwan, Nepal

Canoe trip in Chitwan, Nepal

Like all cultures, the Tarau have traditions such as dancing or their distinctive tattoos and have managed to preserve this successfully. In Chitwan there is lots on offer to do, and we managed to fit in quite enough to exhaust any teenager, child or adult! We started our day in the canoe on the river, spotting crocodiles amongst other wildlife. It is exactly how I imagine Pocahontus’  (from the Disney film) daily life feeling like!

Elephants in the river in Chitwan,  Nepal

Elephants in the river in Chitwan, Nepal

After we had battled with the canoe in the quest to get out without falling in (trickier than you’d imagine) we began to trek through the jungle. Unfortunately our familiar friend the rain cloud had appeared and what was supposedly jungle felt more like a swamp.

Elephant safari in Chitwan, Nepal

Elephant safari in Chitwan, Nepal

Finally we emerged sodden out of the jungle to find ourseleves now at an elephant breeding ground. I suppose you can imagine how excited a group of girl teenagers were at the sight of baby elephant, but in our defence they are very very very cute. There was also a visitors centre filled with lots of interesting information about the elephants working lives, how they were trained and so on.

Elephant safari in Chitwan, Nepal

Elephant safari in Chitwan, Nepal

There was also a visitors center filled with lots of interesting information about the elephants working lifes, how they were trained and so on. After lunch, we finally got to ride the elephants! Four people were allocated to each elephant and we sat in a basket type area on the elephant’s back. During the safari we saw a rhino and her baby, deer and lots of other interesting creatures.

Rhino with baby in Chitwan, Nepal

Rhino with baby in Chitwan, Nepal

I hate to admit it but I must confess despite it being an amazing choice of travel for the Nepalese it is not the smoothest. It is almost like being swayed side to side very slowly whilst trying to dodge branches up ahead!

 Read about Sophie-Anne’s other adventures

My daughter’s teenage trek in Nepal
My daughter’s community project in the mountains of Nepal

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heatheronhertravels' Nepal - school trip photoset heatheronhertravels’ Nepal – school trip photoset

This article is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com – Read more travel articles at Travel Blog Home

You’ll also find our sister blog with tips on how to build a successful travel blog at My Blogging Journey

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My daughter’s community project in the mountains of Nepal

August 11, 2011 by  
Filed under World, Leisure, Misc, Nature, Nepal, Walking, World Issues

My 16 year old daughter, Sophie-Anne has just returned from a school trip to Nepal and in this second article she talks about the community work that her group did in a local school and her impressions of the children and local people that she met.

During our trip we had organised a community project, which would prove to be an amazing experience and culture shock. Upon arrival we were all giving a red mark on our head and a flower garland made by the villagers, despite the villagers’ stares (they had rarely seen westerners) we were made welcome immediately.

Sophie-Anne with a child from the school in Nepal

Sophie-Anne with a child from the school in Nepal

We were told the villagers were very upset that the electricity would not work, assuming we would be annoyed. This of course was not the case and despite the occasional girly scream when a leech was found, we all settled in happily to our tents. Our sherpas woke us up in the morning with a cup of tea and bowl of hot water each, which at the time felt like considerable luxury!

Camping beside the School in Nepal

Camping beside the School in Nepal

We soon got to work building a much-needed fence for the school and everyone, no matter how feeble and weak, got stuck in to the job. For a group of female teenagers building a fence, swing set and steps is a hard job and everyone in the group realised why builders have so many tea breaks.

Parents at the school in Nepal

Parents at the school in Nepal

We also got a chance to interact with the children, it is amazing how simple it is to form a bond despite the language barrier between us. At first the children were shy but soon they became increasingly lively, absorbing all the activities we had arranged for them.

Children trying the ipod in Nepal

Children trying the ipod in Nepal

Trying on the Raybans in Nepal

Trying on the Raybans in Nepal

They all seemed fascinated with our cameras, ipods and even the balloons we brought for them. I specifically remember one boy looking at some bubbles like Christmas had come early, and then spending the rest of the day in hysterics popping all the bubbles that was humanly possible.

Children playing with balloons in Nepal

Children playing with balloons in Nepal

One evening the villagers arranged a traditional evening where they sang and danced for us, it was wonderful to see a glimpse of their culture. Everyone got up and danced, although its safe to say our Bollywood style dance moves needed a little work.

Despite the huge culture difference (us in walking boots and them in flip flops for example) we were able to really connect with all of the villagers, finding things we had in common like dancing or singing.

This is best summed up by when we all heard Justin Bieber’s ‘baby’ playing somehow somewhere in the village. We all went back to our tents that night forgetting about the rain and leeches to ponder whether even Justin knew his songs had reached a remote area in the Himalayas.

Read about the other parts of Sophie-Anne’s trip

My teenage daughter’s trek in Nepal
My daughter’s elephant safari in Nepal

Other adventures in India and Nepal

 Exploring the ‘Abode of Snow’ in the Indian Himalayas
My Indian Sponsor Child
Kolkata in India – City of Joy

www.flickr.com

heatheronhertravels' Nepal - school trip photoset heatheronhertravels’ Nepal – school trip photoset

This article is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com – Read more travel articles at Travel Blog Home

You’ll also find our sister blog with tips on how to build a successful travel blog at My Blogging Journey

Subscribe to Heatheronhertravels Don’t miss out – subscribe to Heather on her travels

My teenage daughter’s trek in Nepal

August 4, 2011 by  
Filed under World, Leisure, Nature, Nepal, Walking

My 16 year old daughter, Sophie-Anne has just returned from a school trip to Nepal where she spent two weeks trekking, doing community work in a local school and finally visiting a nature reserve where she rode on elephants to spot rhino and other wildlife. Here she gives her impressions of the trek through the foothills of the Annapurna Range braving leeches and monsoon rain.

Trekking in Nepal

Trekking in Nepal

The town of Pokhara in Nepal is famed as a starting point for many brave adventurous hikers, so some may have been surprised to find a group of 20 teenage girls clad in newly bought hiking gear, with no mobiles in sight, ready to start the day.

Although some faces were slightly worried looking around at the impressive scenery the Himalayas has to offer I would say there was a general appetite for adventure among the group.  As the day went on the sun crawled out behind its cloud and everyone soon felt the heat; refuge was found in the scarcest bits of shade from towering greenery and in cool clear mountain streams.

In times of intense heat everyone, even the most vain of teenagers turned desperate; the khaki hats made an appearance and the hair was scraped back. We soon discovered what leeches looked like and even though they were a lot smaller than we had imagined, we all remained tense and quiet as we waited for the first victim.

Despite the heat and temptation to literally bathe in the paddy fields, everyone admired the amazing landscape. All of the locals we met passing through villages were heartwarmingly friendly and all quick to spread a smile. All along the trek there are lodges that are tourist friendly, and at the end of each trekking day we stayed in one of these lodges. The lodges are all quite similar in style, all being basic and comfortable with a similar menu and helpful staff.

Rice paddies in Nepal

Rice paddies in Nepal

After a peaceful night in one of these lodges we woke to pouring rain, we went in Monsoon season and I had expected this decision would haunt us sooner or later. It was the worst rain I have ever seen and I live in England! Everyone was tired but being surrounded by friends and a group made an unbeatable support system, during the day each individual had to adapt to cope with the situations. I can tell you that walking uphill through monsoon rain being completely soaked to the skin is a world away from the normal daily life we all had at home.

Trekking lodge in Nepal

Trekking lodge in Nepal

However, we did manage to bring some of home to Nepal by all singing in unison popular chart songs. We all decided that ‘man I feel like a woman’ by Shania Twain (let’s go girls) was the theme tune for the whole trip.  There were many relieved faces when at the end of the day the lodge was in sight, and although there was no way to post the thought on Facebook, we all felt like we had achieved something.

Treking in Nepal

Treking in Nepal

On our third day, the weather finally calmed down after we had experienced both extremes of weather. We were really able to stop and appreciate the view, the nature, the waterfalls and all the mesmerizing things there were to see.

Team trek in Nepal

Team trek in Nepal

A highlight and a most extraordinary sight was when we saw a small Nepalese man carrying his wife in a basket that was being supported solely by his head. The phrase we had recently discovered to explain all the strange things we saw was used again ‘only in Nepal.’

Read about the next part of Sophie-Anne’s trip to Nepal

My daughter’s community project in the mountains of Nepal
My daughter’s elephant safari in Chitwan, Nepal

Other adventures in India and Nepal

 Exploring the ‘Abode of Snow’ in the Indian Himalayas
My Indian Sponsor Child
Kolkata in India – City of Joy

www.flickr.com

heatheronhertravels' Nepal - school trip photoset heatheronhertravels’ Nepal – school trip photoset

This article is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com – Read more travel articles at Travel Blog Home

You’ll also find our sister blog with tips on how to build a successful travel blog at My Blogging Journey

Subscribe to Heatheronhertravels Don’t miss out – subscribe to Heather on her travels