Nepal & India Adventure with Gapforce

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About

Embark on an epic Gap Year journey through the Indian Subcontinent. Over 8 weeks you will go from the highest mountain in the world, through India and on to the beaches of Goa. We have used our twenty years experience to put together the best that India, Nepal and Goa have to offer. An exotic combination of volunteering programs in two countries combines with an epic 2,000 mile adventure. Run by our highly trained Gapforce guides, this program is unique to Gapforce and our gap year team.

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Reviews

89%
based on 29 reviews
  • Housing 8.3
  • Support 9
  • Fun 8.7
  • Value 8.6
  • Safety 9.1
Showing 1 - 15 of 29
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Harriet
9/10

My Nepal and India experience

My favourite memory is paragliding in Nepal, it is something that I never thought I could do and I was really proud of myself afterwards!
I really enjoyed the EBC Trek a lot more than I thought I would. I have never done hiking like that before but after doing that I would definitely like to do more. Also I thought Narayan was a great leader and would highly recommended Gapforce to use him in the future! He was very knowledgable and mixed well with the group.
I would recommend to future participants to not pack too many winter clothes for the trek as they take up a lot of room in the backpacks and you end up wearing the same items quite a lot!
I feel after this trip I can say that I have gained a lot more confidence! I was really nervous about the trip but India is always a place that I wanted to experience and I am so glad that i decided to do it. I liked the fact that I was on my own but was also in a group.

How can this program be improved?
I feel that the meal budget for Mumbai should be increased for the area we were staying in as I feel our choice of restaurants were limited.
There are some things on the website that we did not do. E.g Nepalese cooking lesson, camel safari in Jodhpur or working in a nursery in India. Maybe this needs to be rewritten or state that not everything will happen.
When we got to the highest tea house on the trek we could not purify water so we had to buy the bottles and we only got refunded for 1. Maybe people should be advised about this beforehand.
When we arrived back in Delhi from Udaipur we did not have money provided for each meal that day! This needs to be changed as whether we were on the train or not we are going to eat so we should be provided with money.
On the flight from Delhi to Mumbai Gapforce only booked with 15kg allowance. I feel this was stupid as a lot of us were over with our main rucksack.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Hannah
6/10

Nepal and India

I got to know a lot about culture. Also, getting to know the mindsets and world views of other people was very rewarding. The money budget for the food was bothersome almost everyday, because it pressured people into saving money and affected the choice of restaurants. As we were free to go on our own, it undermined further our team spirit. The leaders both were competent and experienced in their knowledge on traveling and getting along. But I would have preferred more encouragement regarding personal growth and confidence. Since we didn’t have to worry about trains, flights and buses, we weren’t really challenged to grow personally, and the waiting times before food and in between trains was boring. I expected to be more challenged, having to organize and engage more.

How can this program be improved?
More bonding games at the beginning, because people at that age need some external activation to get along well with each other, so that everyone feels comfortable after the first few days.
Response from GapForce

Hi Hannah,
Thank you for taking the time to leave a review. First of all, I am really pleased to hear that you would recommend our Nepal and India program to others.

In respect of the food budget, we endeavour to eat as a group as much as possible but there are times where this is not possible such as travel days when the group stops and has a choice or during rest days when the group have time to explore and need the flexibility. The food budgets are set for each location to ensure that a good standard of meal can be purchased at a choice of restaurants. Of course if people would prefer to go to more expensive restaurants they are free to do so but would need to cover any additional cost themselves. We always review our food budgets after each expedition in case any changes are needed.

I am pleased that you recognise the experience of our Expedition Leaders, they have been through a rigorous four month training course to ensure they can provide the very highest levels of safety and service.

Your program fee includes in-country travel which we arrange on your behalf and although I can see that arranging your own travel may aid personal development it is unfortunately not a feasible option when we have a group of 20 people and we need to ensue they are all travelling together. In India in particular, we often have to book train and bus travel two months in advance so it is not viable to have people book themselves. Nobody likes waiting around for travel but this is unfortunately an unavoidable aspect of travel the world over and does take some getting used to and ultimately part of the experience.

Once again, thanks so much for your feedback, it's really important to us that we hear how people found their experience and make any improvements where required. Again, great to hear you would recommend the program to others!

Best wishes

James, Manager, Gapforce

Yes, I recommend this program
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Hannah
8/10

Teaching is worth it.

I had a great time on this trip. I really enjpyed getting to work with Tibet World and helping them to continue their ground breaking work teaching English to anyone who wants to learn.

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How can this program be improved?
A few less days in Jaipur and jhodpur as there is not much to do there. The Nepal portioneren was great though.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Jeremy
9/10

Nepal adventure

Had an awesome time with some amazing people. White water rafting, Jeep Safari, Everest base camp and so much more. Loved it so much I had to stay for a few exra weeks afterwards! Colin and Fergus were fantastic leaders, always ready to answer questions, offer advice, and have a laugh. Highlight of the program was definitely summiting Kalla Pather to watch the sun rise over mount Everest.

From busy Kathmandu bars
to arctic trekking, this was a very varied trip that I'd recommend to everyone outdoorsy!

How can this program be improved?
Better communication in the months before the trip, but I had no real issues.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Frances
7/10

Gapforce Nepal and India Adventure

I throughly enjoyed my time in Nepal and India with Gapforce.
Within the group I made some friends for life that otherwise I would have never crossed paths with. However if you savour solitude this trip may not be for you. Spending intense time with people was hard but ultimately we grew to understand each other and came away from the experience as a family.
I loved my time in Nepal and definitely want to go back there at some point. Volunteering at the orphanage in Pokhara was a humbling experience and really opened my eyes to how privileged I am.
The Everest trek was my favourite part of the whole trip, having no contact with the outside world and spending days in picturesque surroundings was fun but definitely take a few books up there as you arrive to each place at 3/4pm and end up sat around with nothing to do at times.
India for me seemed to go by too fast as we only stayed in places for a few days. My favourite places in India were Udaipur, Dharamsala and Jaisalmer. Camping under the stars was by far the best night in India, however watching other members of the group exploit the camels by riding them was difficult for me to watch as someone who cares about animal welfare.
Our leader Colin was incredible and looked out for all of us while giving us space to get what we wanted out of the trip.
Fergus who only got to stay for 2 weeks due to health problems was also lovely, I felt comfortable talking to them both about anything that was bothering.
Overall I highly recommend gapforce as a company this was an experience I will never forget and has defiantly helped my develop as a person.

How can this program be improved?
- More in-depth kit list for Everest trek
- More in-depth training programme for Everest trek
Yes, I recommend this program
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Juliet
8/10

Bucket List

This trip was an experience like none other. I didn't know exactly what I was getting myself into when I signed up, I simply had an itch to travel to India! While I was expecting more volunteering throughout the program, I still had a great time and met wonderful people. If you're looking for more of a volunteering based trip, then this one probably isn't for you. But if you want to go an ultimate bucket list trip and help a few people along the way, then you've found the right program! The trip was challenging at times because our group was together 24/7 for two months and it's hard to please everyone at all times. Some parts were more enjoyable than others as well. Of course Base Camp was great, but it got to be mentally exhausting, as to be expected. While in India, we traveled to many many places, a little too quickly at times it felt. But because we did so many different things while in India, there was definitely something for everyone to enjoy at any given time. I personally preferred the second half of the India trip, but that also happened to be the time when we all fell a bit ill with food posioning or the famous Dehli Belly... Overall I had a great time, and while I didn't enjoy 100% of it 100% of the time, I definitely benefitted from the trip as a whole and made great friends along the way!

How can this program be improved?
Provide a more accurate description of the trip in advertisements, as far as amount of volunteering goes. Also, emphasize the fact that everything does not go perfectly according to plan all the time.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Lottie
10/10

Nepal and India

I have thoroughly enjoyed the Nepal and India adventure, never getting bored due to the fun packed busy schedule that was planned for us. From the Everest Base Camp trek to teaching English, we could emerge ourselves in the culture of these two fascinating countries. Having never been to Asia before I did not know what to expect and was a little nervous, however the fabulous guides Colin and Fergus were extremely organised an efficient, answering any stupid question we may have and always going out of their way to make sure we had an amazing time.
As with any trip there were lowlights, such as getting stuck in Lukla after the bad weather meant flights back were cancelled and then having to walk for a further 2 days. But in the long run it just made the trip that little bit more memorable!
All together a trip I will never forget, meeting the most amazing group of people that will now be friends for life, and experiencing once in a lifetime opportunities such as meeting the Dalai Lama! Due to all of this I would 100% recomend gapforce to any young traveller wanting an adventure.

How can this program be improved?
The before trip support was not as good as it could have been. I would have liked to have had a little more information and been put in contact with the leaders sooner. Other than that I had no issues!
Yes, I recommend this program
Hannah
9/10

Review of Nepal and India Trip

Having done the full 8week, India and Nepal programme, i overall really enjoyed it and think it was a great experience. I was the only one in the group not going to university (everyone was my age however - 18-19).

The Nepal part of my trip I throughly enjoyed, Chitwan and Pokhara were beautiful, I loved the trek and Katmandu was good fun.
A few changes/ recommendations I would make are:
- An extra day in Chitwan would have been great (and one less in Katmandu at the end)
-For the volunteering in Pokhara- the farm project was really great and I felt like I was making a big impact but the time in the orphanage coincided with a holiday so it didn’t feel as tho we were being much help! All the less was eye opening to see how excellently the children were looked after etc
- for the trek Yaks where used, I found it very hard to exploit an innocent animal for my own selfish ease and would highly recommend to anyone who is conscious of animal rights to request in advance not to use yaks and carry your own bags, this is a big regret of mine I have carried with me, I would also suggest to gapforce to consider to stop using yaks for future expeditions.
-On the trek , we ended up doing an extra 2 days walk to the road to get back- that walk was so cool and so much less touristy I would even recommend including it anyway- it may even save some money?
- I would also recommend buying lots of snacks before the Everest trek and planning them out day by day (I didn’t do this and ended up spending lots of money on snacks and as a vegan was left with a very slim snack option up at the top - understandably)

India overall was also good. It went so fast, it felt like we were flying from place to place, however very culturally and spiritually amazing. My highlights where Dharamsala (McleodGangi) I got to meet the Dalai Lama not once but twice and gave him a personal letter which he has responded to by sending me to some books. (For someone who practices Buddhism this was life changing). Another highlight was sleeping under the stars in Jaisalmer.

Some changes/ recommendations I would make would be:
- I am training to be a yoga teacher and came to India to explore more deeply the heartland for yoga- I think as we visited Rajasthan the home of yoga a yoga class or talk maybe should have been included (I’m not saying this as a yogi I’m saying it as I think it is a fundamental part of Indian culture overlooked on the trip)
-luckily due to our trek overrunning our time in Delhi was cut short- i think the 2 days in Delhi is plenty and would rather if it was me the extra days from that somewhere else like Udaipur
-In Jaisalmer, I think it was extremely irresponsible of gapforce to include camel riding, camel riding is nothing like horse riding now and in 10years time will hopefully have the coverage that elephant riding has - I saw a camel jumping trying to move with its legs tied up, and they have scars from beating all over there bodies, it was very disturbing. I rode in the jeep and still sleeping in the desert is incredible- no need for animal cruelty to do so. (Photos of camel abuse attached This first picture depicts the camels legs tied up. The second the piercing through which they tie its reigns. The third scars on its neck from sores from the reigns. The fourth a camels whose nose has been split open where the piercing was. The last branding marked on the camels. )
-spending money in the cities like mumbai , and Amritsar for food didn’t go very far- so expect to spend more money

Besides the trip itself I would advise anyone from the north of England, with more left wing views to be warned that on this trip me and my friend I came with from home were the only northerners and there was no other left wing people. This caused tension in the group and made me imparticular feel abit of an outsider. There were also no ethnic minorties or people not going to university. (It was a very white middle class type of person gapforce attracts, and despite everyone being lovely and I made some very good friends I would just be warned of this before booking.)
I would also say £50 a week is not enough spending money to bring. I would say £75. In Nepal I didn’t need to spend very much money until the trek but in India there was lots more free time which meant if you wanted to do additional activities abit more than £50 a week is a good idea.

If your deciding on wether to travel with a group or on your own I would say, with everything included I think it worked well for me to come with gap-force to India and Nepal- we got to stay in lovely pre booked hostels, and travelled on air conditioned buses and trains, once we got to places iternarys where sorted which took lots of the stress out of everything and I felt safe at all times in such a big group. Due to feeling quite disliked by the group for being more left wing and socialist I did think at many times I would rather have travelled alone however I can’t fault the amazing experience I had. I think if I was to go any older or if you want a more authentic and affordable experience i would recommend going on your own and having a more down to earth traveller experience. I

Our main leader Colin Lovel was lovely and very reasonable and went above and beyond to help me in many situations. He had a good understanding of the culture of India and Nepal and knew what was appropriate etc at all times. Fergus who we had in Nepal who unfortunately had to leave was also amazing and we were all gutted when he left us. Jade the guide who joined us for the trek was very knowledgable and helpful.

An experience of a lifetime and I would recommend:)

How can this program be improved?
Included in my review above ^
Yes, I recommend this program
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Ellie
9/10

Highly Recommend!

Overall, this trip was amazing! I didn’t expect to love Nepal as much as I did, it was absolutely beautiful, Chitwan and Pokhara were my favorite because it was more tranquil than Kathmandu. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to do the Mount Everest Base Camp Trek as I sprained my ankle a few days before in Pokhara (watch out for the potholes!) but the support I got from my leaders was amazing, Colin came with me to the hospital and was very comforting and helpful when trying to sort out what I was going to do. I met back up with everyone for the India portion of the trip which is so different to Nepal. I enjoyed the second half of India more because we went to calmer places (Dharamsala, Udaipur, Jaisalmer and Goa were my favorites). At first, it’s overwhelming with the list of all the places to go in India, but every place is worth going to because there is something to see and do in each place. Overall, Gapforce is a great program and they always seem to find (most of the time) really cool hostels and restaurants that I would never think of going to! I’ve learnt so much on this trip about different cultures, dealing with difficult situations, being around a large group of people all the time and also about myself. Would highly recommend!

How can this program be improved?
1. The amount of money given for each meal shouldn’t be the same for every place we go to as Mumbai (for an example) was more expensive so harder to keep in budget. And it’s also not realistic to have only Indian food for every meal (Delhi belly)
Yes, I recommend this program
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Janella
9/10

Nepal (4 Weeks) with Gapforce

Having done only the Nepal portion of the trip, I enjoyed it greatly. I liked the balance between the tranquility and flexibility of volunteering in Pokhara, the challenge and excitement of the trek, the fun of Chitwan, and hectic Kathmandu. Every destination had something different to offer, therefore we were not just having similar experiences in various places. It was great to share the trip with like-minded people, especially since this is a gap year company and therefore all participants are taking gap years and nearly the same age.
If you are thinking of doing this program, I would 100% recommend it, but you must be comfortable with uncertainty and changes of plans. A program leader and a friend had to leave in the middle of the trip because of medical conditions, and the program had to be extended by three days because of a flight cancellation. These and similar inconveniences are circumstances you have to be comfortable with for the trip to be enjoyable. However, this flexibility can also bring about good things; for example, at last minute the orphanage leader invited us to her son's wedding, which was a great cultural experience.
I recommend being mindful about your money and belongings during the trek. Most people ran out of money well before ending the trek upon buying basic things such as toilet paper, snacks, showers, etc. (since they are expensive because it is very high up). Take more cash than is recommended, and do not expect ATMs during the trek. Since you are moving around so much, it is quite easy to lose your belongings (I lost a few things), so keep checking on your valuables to make sure you didn't leave them behind. Be prepared to have stomach issues at least once, and research about Everest Base Camp beforehand to both appreciate it more and be prepared for the cold, lack of communication, etc.

How can this program be improved?
- Volunteering at the orphanage should be changed to other dates, since the children were on holiday and we were therefore only required to play & entertain them--often there was not much to do there.
- More information regarding prices and resource availability on the trek should be given. We needed more cash than was recommended for toilet paper, snacks, etc. This was especially important for the Gorak Shep part of the trek, since the only drinkable water has to be bought.
- Pre-trip communication was a little difficult, especially for internationals (I live in Peru and cannot call outside of Peru and the US, therefore reaching the UK office was very hard).
- A bonus improvement would be to add the city of Lumbini to the trip. It being Buddha's birthplace, I think it would be a good chance to learn more about Nepalese culture and religion, especially since there weren't many activities that were specifically for this purpose.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Will
9/10

Nepal

Only did the nepal part, the trek was great fun and especially enjoyed the week in Pokhora. I think the volunteering in Pokhora should be extended by a week with maybe a change in location in order to really contribute more. The leaders Barney and Ryan were also exceptional.

How can this program be improved?
Change of volunteering/ add on another week.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Quinten
9/10

Greatest Experience

I had a wonderful trip! I just did the nepal part, but it was amazing. We were able to see many various parts of the country. This gave me the chance to get to know different subcultures within the main culture. Of course the Everest Base Camp trek was a main part of the trip! It was beautiful to see the untouched nature. Luckily we were able to make it to Base Camp, that was an absolute highlite of the trip!! This was quite exiting because I suffered a day from altitude sickness, but thanks to the expedition leaders (who were of great help) I was able to continue! Thanks a lot GapForce for this experience of a lifetime

How can this program be improved?
The volunteering in Pokhara! I felt a bit useless at the childrens home! But please keep Pokhara in the Iternary it was the best part of the trip if you ask me. I also think the volunteering wasn't as good because it was an national holiday.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Aiden
10/10

Absolutely Brilliant!

I did both the Nepal and India sections of the trip and both were amazing! Thoroughly enjoyed both parts. I would defiantly recommend to anyone looking for adventure/expedition type trip. Paul and Barney were both fantastic, and great leaders to have on the trip. As with any trip to a location like India or Nepal there were things that did not go to plan, but the way that they were dealt with by Paul and Barney was very professional. Plus it all added to the overall experience! I can’t think of a place that we went to that I didn’t enjoy. As a whole I really enjoyed my two months and would defiantly recommend it!

How can this program be improved?
Consider group sizes as we could not stay with the host families in Nepal due to the number of people.
Yes, I recommend this program
Alice
10/10

Thank you ✨

A beautiful, intense, and sometimes difficult two months - every single day is vivid. The variegation of location, activity, etc., across the trip is astounding: we went from icy mountain passes at 5000m, to the sultry heat of New Delhi, cycling through the paradisiacal countryside of Chitwan in Nepal, - to the slums of Mumbai and cool, cloudy oceans of Goa. I would not have wished for anything to be different, despite difficulties (with heat, cold, altitude, illness), - everything was surmountable (and valuable), especially with the support of Barney and Paul and others in the group. And all difficulties were balanced easily by the beauty of other experiences: wandering the gardens of the Taj Mahal, working closely with Tibetan refugees in a village in the mountains, walking through the snow in the Himalayas and crossing high bridges in lush valleys, - and getting to know all the other lovely people who are with you there. I would 100% recommend this trip. Thank you thank you thank you to everyone involved ❤

How can this program be improved?
More accurate kit-list (some items were unnecessary, and others missing), and more information about the difficulties of the trek so we could be better prepared.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Anna
10/10

Nepal and India

This trip was such an amazing experience! I'd recommend anyone who's taking a year out to consider it. The first stage, in Nepal, was incredible - Kathmandu was as crazy as expected and we stayed in really nice accommodation. The trek was definitely the hardest part of the trip but by far the most incredible - there's nothing that compares to seeing Everest for the first time! I'd say if you are planning on going to do some training beforehand but as you're part of a group everyone helps one another and it's how the group really starts to come together as one team.
After one month in Nepal we flew to New Delhi and became obsessed with riding in the Tuk Tuks everywhere we could! The two weeks we spent in Mcleodganj teaching the Tibetan refugees was definitely my favourite part of India. It was an eye-opening experience and to hear all their stories of Tibet were heartbreaking and getting to know people over the course of the two weeks was amazing. We spent the last two weeks sight-seeing and got to see all the main sites across India and the Taj Mahal didn't disappoint - one of the most beautiful things I've seen! The long bus journeys from place to place were tiring but great stories, and the overnight train journey was great fun! Finishing in Goa was the perfect way to end, gave us time to look back on our crazy adventure and just spend time with each other before heading back home.
The leaders Paul and Barney couldn't have been better! They were so supportive and great fun - wouldn't have traded them for anyone!
All in all an experience I'll always treasure and so glad I made the decision to go!

Yes, I recommend this program

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Gapforce is a leading provider of structured Gap Year programs and summer opportunities overseas. The wide range of global adventures includes marine conservation, wildlife protection, community volunteering & healthcare, extreme expeditions,...