Size of groups.
For the moment, the HPC can't handle more than 3 volunteers at a time,
on one project. This is firstly for administrative and logistical reasons (i.e. beyond present capacity), but also because the impact of greater number of foreigners in these areas, however well-meaning, which are not regular tourist routes or otherwise frequented by many non-local visitors, has not yet been assessed. Such an assessment will be on-going, and any increase in numbers would be gradual and appropriate with the response of the villagers,
Getting to Nepal
Obtain a visa for Nepal before you leave your country of origin if you can. Otherwise you can get one at the airport on arrival. Have passport-sized photos with you. If you plan to travel to India as part of your visit, get your Indian visa before leaving, if appropriate - it's a more complicated process in Nepal.
Visa are available for 15, 30 and 90 days costing £20, £35 and £75 respectively. You can get up to 60 days upon arrival at the airport (payable in foreign currency). Check Nepalese Embassy websites for up-to-date information. Visa extensions are easily available in KTM for periods of 30 days @ $1 a day (payable in rupees). You can stay up to 120 days in a calander year, with another 30 days upon 'special approval'. HPC can provide a letter for this or you can show an onward ticket. You would need a tourist visa, as the small scale nature of the programmes means HPC does not have the status required to obtain non-tourist visas. However, you may be able to arrange this via an institution in your own country, for example Fullbrite Scholarships, or certain Universities that run programmes in Nepal. HPC would be able to provide you with a letter of support to help with this.
On arrival in Kathmandu
In Kathmandu, we can provide (very) basic accommodation while staying here - you are welcome to help out at the SUNRISE FARM in SITA PAILA, linked to HPC, on the West side of the city. Here is a chance to get over jet lag and become quickly introduced to and involved with Permaculture programmes in Nepal.
For volunteers staying for extended periods of time, language instruction can cost $150-250 per month. For the real professionals, research assistants (who may also be able to act as translators/language instructors) can be arranged, who may charge between $200-$500 per month, plus travel, accommodation and food.
A minimum of 2-3 weeks in the field is recommended, so with travel, orientation, etc. at least 4 weeks is best allowed for a fulfilling time. Any time in addition to this is a bonus both to you and the programmes.
Travel costs (2011 prices). Flights from KTM to Nepalganj, $170; bus $12; Bus to Surkhet $12. Unless you fly, costs to visit other programmes in Nepal by bus can range from $2 to $15. Flights range from $80-190 (one way).