Khiraule: The Tale

Khiraule is a village in a remote part of Nepal. Although in the Everest region, it is well away from the well-trodden tourist trail.

However it is for me a
place of considerable significance, having been deeply involved with
a major project in Rotary to raise funds to transform the village school.

To find out more about the village, the school and the recent flooding disaster, please click on:

The Tale


If you would like to help alleviate the human tragedy caused by the recent flooding disaster please visit MyDonate website

To find out more about
the Khiraule Education
and Healthcare Project,
visit their web page by clicking on

For background on
Rotary's involvement with Nepal click on the Lancaster Guardian
article above.






If you would like to help alleviate the human tragedy caused by the recent flooding disaster please visit MyDonate website

To find out more about
the Khiraule Education
and Healthcare Project,
visit their web page by clicking on


For background on
Rotary's involvement with Nepal click on the Lancaster Guardian
article above.











































To find out more about
the Khiraule Education
and Healthcare Project,
visit their web page by clicking on


For background on
Rotary's involvement with Nepal click on the Lancaster Guardian
article above.


















Khiraule:  The Trail

A group of us are trekking to Khiraule to visit the village school that has been supported by Rotary and to raise money to help alleviate the problems caused by the recent major flooding disaster in Nepal which has caused significant loss of life and the destruction of many homes.

Please revisit this page often during the course of our trek as I hope to be reporting on our experiences on the way and the situation in Khiraule.

If you would like to help alleviate the human tragedy caused by the recent flooding disaster please visit MyDonate website. 

Click on map to enlarge

To find out more about the village, the school and the recent flooding disaster, please click on: The Tale

Philip Hoyle, November 2014

The Trail Report
(Kathmandu time is 5:45 hours ahead of UK time)

Saturday 8th:  Depart from UK:

Great start.  Train cancelled and Ann had to drive us to Manchester Airport!

Sunday 9th:  Arrive Kathmandu:

After 16 hours we arrive.

We brave passport and visa formalities.

Challenged by personnel whom the Indian Civil Service would be proud to call their own.

We avoid bogus porters trying to extract 'tips'.


Pat Steel and Philip being greeted
on arrival at hotel in Kathmandu
by members of the Rotary Club of Dhulikhel

The swirling mass of humanity and traffic in Kathmandu then hits us. We grind to a halt and the spaces around us as quickly filled with two wheeled vehicles. Horns honk, police whistles blow and we see premises catering for every human need or want! 40 minutes to travel 7 miles.

Wow this is quite a cultural shock!

Monday 10th:  Sightseeing in Kathmandu:

07:43  Just been woken by my alarm, breakfast then sight seeing today. Dog constantly barking outside- mental note to be vigilant as I have no rabies protection!

12:47  Greetings from the Revive Cafe (aptly named) for lunch after an eye-opening morning surviving the traffic and pollution in Kathmandu.

Monkey Temple this morning where multitudes of monkeys prosper on edible offerings to the Buddhist deities.

My son Christian was treated to metal domes over his head, held in his hands and on his knees.

These were struck to produce alternating sounds while he was asked to meditate.

A 120 Rps 'tip' (75p) failed to produce an appreciative response!

A lunch of pizzas and beer is now being enjoyed over lunch at a boys table at the 'Revive Cafe'. A tobacco-free hash pipe has now been produced for communal enjoyment!

19:22  I should have mentioned before now how everyone on the flight to Kathmandu, who had not previously been to Nepal, was impressed by the sight of the Himalayas seeing the the mountains as we flew parallel to them. None of us could recall seeing peaks immediately in the eye line from the window, rather than looking down on them. It brought a tingle all round.....

Sight seeing was completed this afternoon and shops were examined, mostly from the outside. Christian however took a shine to some Buddhist art in one particular shop. This required closer inspection. I must admit it was quite appealing. We touched upon price and the bargaining process started as a natural consequence of the initial enquiry. Discounts and re discounts (for two items) were offered and rounding discount would have followed but son then announced it was too early to buy and he wanted more time to compare and consider. Long faces accompanied our departure.

Sleeping bags and down jackets have now been hired, porter bags packed and last minute preparations completed before we fly to Phaplu tomorrow to commence trekking.

Additions to this blog will therefore be dependent upon the availability of Internet and telephone signals.

Tuesday 11th:  Fly to Phaplu and trek to Jyalsa:  2 hrs; 2,500m

Wednesday 12th:  Jyalsa to Bagol/Bududanda:  5 hrs; 1,500m

Good morning from the Himalayas. We flew to Phaplu yesterday and walked up to a Monastery in a village of Tibetan Refugees who had fled Chinese persecution. Camping at 2,700 metres resulted in a very cold night.  Tibetan music and chants wafting through the air as I was lying in my sleeping bag! Not a good night for most people however under canvass- still adjusting to time difference

The walk today started cold then warmed up as the sun came, cold again when the mist arrived at lunchtime and then a warm afternoon.

Today, we are told, was an easier walk although the loose stones and mule trains kept us alert.

Tomorrow we go down 1km and then up the same distance - down and up Scafell!

Thursday 13th:  Bagol/Budhidanda to Sotang:  6/7 hrs;  1,100m

Friday 14th:  Rest at Sotang/Visit School and Hospital

Today was spent in Sotang visiting hospital and school.  Met an inspirational doctor and head teacher. Naturally I was tapped up to see if Rotary could help to fund a new boys toilet block.  Seeing what they currently have, I could see the point.  Promised to think about it.

Visitng the Market was unbelievable - like stepping back in time to the Middle Ages.

Saturday 15th:  Sotang to Khiraule:  6 hrs;  2,000m

Today we trek to our destination, Khiraule.

Up at 6 a.m., away at 8 a.m. We carry light packs; the Sherpas average 45 kgms!

As I write this Khiraule is 2 hours away.

Three days there but telephone connection dicey

Sunday 16th:  Khiraule visit School:

This has been probably the most humbling and uplifting day of my life.

We were camped just above Khiraule School and about midday we all went down to the playground where the whole school was assembled to be clapped to the seats of honour (we had just transported there).

Every child, teacher and member of the management committee then lined up to greet us personally. We were festooned with garlands and shawls (about 40 each) completely covering our necks and shoulders. I have never experienced a welcome like it!

After the National Anthem, entertainment followed in the form of Nepalese songs and dances, some in national costume, plus speeches to which I responded with emphatic thanks for such an overwhelming welcome.

Our gifts to each child - a bag containing pencil cases erasers pencils geometry kits and exercise books were then presented

Monday 17th:  Khiraule:

We walked up 250 metres (from 2,450) to the Buddhist shrine at the top of mountain range and halfway back down we called at the monastery where we were given tea and biscuits by the two Lamas and then Chang- locally fermented millet with the strength (about) of fortified wine.

More tea and Chang in the afternoon at Lhakpa's sister's house!

I should perhaps have mentioned the the highest mountain we see on our travels is Mera Peak 6,640m. Also one of lead Sherpas Galdin has climbed Everest twice - from the north and south sides

Tuesday 18th:  Khiraule:

This was our last full day in Khiraule.

Volunteer workers went to the school variously to teach, dig trenches, fix the broken PC and paint windows outside the new classroom block.

I used the morning to write my detailed report on inspecting the project (backed up by Christian's photos). My report confirms about 80 percent of the project is completed so I will be recommending to Ashok that he releases the remainder of Rotary funds he is holding when I see him in Kathmandu.

Last night was party time. A bonfire with complementary beer, singing Nepali and English songs and then all dancing around in a circle to Nepali music. Then funky disco music was put on for Mark to lead a number of enthusiastic young locals. Great fun

Wednesday 19th: Khiraule to Bung:

Today we had to say goodbye to Khiraule. The school opens at 10 a.m. when we all were welcomed back to the playground again and presented with further shawls and garlands. Speeches followed and there was a special ceremony involving cups of tea and Chang. The Head of the Management Committee said something to the effect that they were a poor village with nothing to give us except their hearts and he hoped we would return. Very moving especially when it came to giving our individual responses

We are now in Bung.

One of the nice things about our route is that we pass through villages that seldom see Westerners. Children flock to us saying Namaste Namaste and in Sontang and Khiraule it must have seemed to them that 'the circus had come to town '.

People are unbelievably welcoming and hospitable. Just lovely

Thursday 20th:  Bung to Sotang

We spent yesterday late pm and evening in Bung where we visited the secondary school- another welcome with tea and a shawl each. There is much more I could say especially about Khiraule but I am restricted to short texts. A longer will have to await access to the Internet in Kathmandu. We now go back to Sotang for the night.

Friday 21st:  Sotang to Budhidanda

Yesterday was a fairly uneventful walk from Bung to the familiar campsite at Sotang. Today was the 'big one', repeating the one out but in reverse. We were up at 6 a.m. packed and ready when we had breakfast at 7 leaving at 7:45 and arriving here at Budhidanda at 3:45 p.m.. Now resting while the tents are erected.

Saturday 22nd:  Budhidanda to Jyalsa

We set off early again today to walk to the Jyalsa area. We ascended 1,250m to just below 3,000m and probably walked laterally nearly 25k even allowing for 1½ hrs for lunch. These lunch stops seem part of the ritual because hot food is served.

Today it was really cold at 2,400m so the hot drinks and food were welcome. Now camped at a cold 2,700m

Sunday 23rd: Jyalso to Phaplu

Last night the temperature dropped to -7°;  not surprising perhaps since we were camped at 2,800m.

Christian was up a at 6a.m. to take super photos of the sun coming up over Dud Kunda and Numbur Himal. The former, I am told, is about 6,340m.  There is a lake there with the name translated meaning "mother's milk).

We left leisurely at 9a.m. for a short 2 hour walk to Phaplu for our flight to Kathmandu tomorrow.

We stay in a lodge tonight so it should be warmer and we have beds and full shower facilities - pure luxury!

Mon 24th:  Phaplu to Kathmandu

I am now back in Kathmandu and able to get on the Internet.

Here are some photos (plus one movie) of our visit to Khiraule:


Mules grazing on our camp site at Sotang


Giving out gift bags at Khiraule School


Lama in Khiraule Monastery


Voluntary work painting at Khiraule School


Children in Khiraule playground


Khiraule School - we do like ourselves photographed!


Jokers at Khiraule School
click on the photo to see the movie)


Lhama in Khiraula Monastery


Voluntary work painting at Khiraule School


Christian walks on water


Showered with silk shawls in welcome ceremony at Khiraule


Farmer works his water buffalo


Tibetan refugee monastery


Prayer wheels at Sagamatha Monasetry


Khiraule School


One of our better toilets!


A delicious birthday cake cooked over an open fire!


See me at the wrap up dance at the Khiraule Welcome ceremony


Dancing around the camp fire - last night in Khiraule

Tue 25th:  Shopping in Kathmandu

Yesterday was a rather 'bitter-sweet' occasion. We had to say our final farewells to our superb Sherpas who have carried their 40/45 Kg  packs unstintingly and also with a smile. When we waved to them for the last time it felt like a parting from friends - which really was just what they were. We had had the ritual sharing of the clothes and other items we were throwing out by means of a draw and our tips were handed out - they seemed well pleased and were thought every rupee they received was well-deserved.

And then the spectacular fight back from Phaplu to Kathmandu. The clear flying conditions made for super flight rising quickly with great views of the mountains.

Kathmandu airport was a pain. A new domestic terminal is being built and to call the temporary arrangements chaos would be complimentary! After we got our bags we had to trolley them for nearly a mile because a conference of South West Asian States starts today. Typically only VIP international flights were being given priority and the transport for others had to park a long way from the airport. To cap it all we had been 'bumped out' of the Tibet Guest House to the near-by Nirvana Hotel! The upside was we had superior accommodation for the night with hot showers and really comfortable beds and very nice rooms. The downside was we had to move back to the original hotel this morning. This is just something with which you have to put up in Nepal.

In the evening we had a fantastic meal (at least for me) - chicken tandoori - at famous climbers' restaurant "Rum Doodles". Notices all over from famous people eg Chris Bonnington. Cost of meal £4!

Then it was back for a great night's sleep - the first in civilised conditions in 12 days!

Today has been devoted to shopping. There are great bargains to be had - even in the fake branded clothing!

Wed 26th:  Leaving Nepal

Now back 4 p.m. from long Rotary Lunch. Yummy Chinese meal at nice hotel with court yard and cane seats. 15 Australians were there who had carried out eye camps. 8 locations in 8 days and over 6,000 patients seen. Many cataracts removed. Then we had speechifying. Think I may be on Nepali TV?!

Currently waiting at hotel for transport to airport and flights home.

Reflections on Nepal


Galdin is a great guy who led most of our walks. He has been up Everest twice from the north and south sides. He told us that clients take oxygen at 6,500 m and Sherpas at 7,500 m. He carries 4 oxygen tanks- 2 for himself, a spare and a client's spare.

He was at Everest Base Camp when an avalanche hit camp 1 earlier this year. He was the rescue party that found 7 dead Sherpas and managed to save 3. The clients had left some time previous. All the dead Sherpas were his friends so his sense of loss was obvious.

I was told (not by him) that Sherpas can earn up to £2,000 for Everest trips - a small fortune in Nepal terms. What I don't understand is why there is not a levy on climbers (for what after all are vanity projects) to build up a compensation fund for widows and orphans. Instead, compensation for those lost earlier this has yet to be fully determined by the Nepal Government.


Food and Hygiene:

I was warned by my GP (who has been to Nepal several times that I was going to 'the D&V Capital of the known world' and that 'monumental care with hygiene was required'.

I think I followed the advice fairly carefully: only drank water from sealed bottled or which had been well boiled - and even then doubly treated it by passing it through my Aqua Pure bottle; avoided dairy products (except cooked cheese and powdered milk); practically went veggie for the whole trip; ate no salads (water may have been untreated); only ate fruit I peeled myself; and scrupulously washed my hands with sanitiser.

I have been okay but others have been less fortunate with illness leading to lost appetite and general weakness.


Food on the Treks:

Our cook Dhoja was outstanding and supervised high standards of hygiene throughout. Over a camp stove he even produced pizzas and a delicious birthday cake for one of our number. The food was good with plenty of carbs (rice, potatoes and noodles) for energy and fresh veg and fruit bought along the way. I could even tolerate Dhal Blat (rice with lentil sauce) as time passed - Sherpas, incidentally seem to exist on the latter.



The people must be some of the most friendly in the world. Everything is done with a smile and nothing is too much trouble. Everyone has more time and a lack of the materialism which is so obvious in the Western World. The children we me were unexceptionally delightful.

As we were not on a recognised trekkers and climbers route (we would have been before the airport at Lukhla opened) we were the centre of curiosity as we reached villages and towns. People watched and, of course, greeted us "Namaste, Namaste" but the children rushed out to see us - all with delightful smiling faces. Some of the older ones liked to try out their English - "Where are you going?"  "What is your name?" "How are you?" etc. etc. In Sotang, which I would class as a town, the number of people coming out to see and greet us suggested it was the equivalent to 'the circus coming to town'.

I will remember the people I got to talk to who could speak English: the young doctor at the hospital in Sotang who is making real improvements with little in the way of funds and resources - he will stay perhaps another year as his home is at the other side of Nepal which is 3 days away; the Headmaster of Sotang School - so dignified and proud in a quiet sort of way that he was able to impart improving education in such a remote area, again with little in the way of facilities and resources (I am hoping I can help him to get the new boys' toilet block built -so many pledges of support already); and the teaching staff at the secondary school in Bung - their positive attitude was inspirational. Going to Nepal you cannot help but be touched by the people who are already educated and their dedication to making better opportunities for the young people in their charge.

Nepal is now firmly in my heart and my desire to help the people there is undimmed.


Shopping - An unreal experience!

So many small shops selling: pashminas; clothing, climbing and walking wear; foodstuffs and various tat. Quality varies greatly and fake leading brand names abound. Even so, you can still get excellent bargains, especially in knitwear if you are careful about quality and take the trouble not to overpay. But it is important not to go 'over the top' squeezing the last rupee out of a negotiating session. The note denominations seem large but Rps 156 buys you £1 and the currency is weak and depreciating. Do you really want to screw down people who have so little when the prices are already a fraction of what you pay at home? Good quality Pashminas (to delight any lady) can be bought for between £5 - £15 and 'cashmere' scarves for between £10 and £25 - start adding another digit in the UK and okay you have quality assurance but at what price!

Walking around the streets of Thamel in central Kathmandu you take you life into your hands. No pavements, narrow streets, dense traffic and pollution, with motorcycles vying to fill any space that comes available. Horns constantly honk (not aggressively) to make people aware of vehicles and their intentions. It is just different and, although superficially scary and I saw near misses, I never actually saw anyone hit by the traffic. I was told by a senior Rotarian at the lunch on the last day that efforts were being made to improve the road infrastructure and bring down the high casualty rates. A total drink / driving ban had recently been introduced and had gained popular support and this had had the effect of reducing accidents markedly. Drink driving in the conditions I saw would be the height of irresponsibility - I cannot begin to contemplate the potential havoc.



To say I am glad I went to Nepal would be a complete understatement. I have had an experience of a lifetime!

Things I will always remember:

  • Kathmandu as a populous third world city congested and with high levels of air and other pollution;
  • walking in the mountains with wonderful views of high snow capped peaks;
  • chatting to our Sherpas with their lovely dispositions, natural dignity and friendliness;
  • greeting the children we passed;
  • talking to the school headmaster and young doctor at the hospital in Sotang;
  • arriving at the School in Khiraule and actually seeing it for the first time - 'a lump in my throat';
  • attending the School welcoming and departure ceremonies;
  • seeing what our fund raising had done and what a difference it had really made;
  • visiting Lhakpa's family and the Llamas in the Monastery and experiencing their hospitality;
  • singing and dancing around the campfire on the final night in the village;
  • sharing a tent with Ray - and we are still friends!;
  • eating and laughing in the dining tent when camped with people with whom I now have forged bonds of friendship and mutual regard; and
  • flying in a small aircraft and ascending so quickly to gain marvelous close up views of the mountains.

These are just some of the things I will never forget about Nepal. Truly, for me, a trip of a lifetime.