Frequently Asked Questions

If you are energetic, motivated and wish to provide a helping hand to needy children, youth, and community people, your initial interest in volunteering in Nepal will quickly be followed by a number of questions and doubts. We hope to answer most of these initial questions in this prospectus. We assure you, volunteering in Nepal through Real Journey Nepal is an investment for life and one that will impact all the decisions you make in the future. Our goals, education, peace, understanding, and true sustainable development, are reflected in our ethos as well as our low fees. Helping those in need is a job bigger than one country, so we invite all volunteers to join us in our efforts: Can you afford not to give your mind and body for a relatively short time in exchange for limitless life-changing experiences?

Booking Process:

1. Choose a Project and Apply Online

At Volunteer Society Nepal we do not have a complex process for the Payment and Booking Process. Simply complete the form on the Apply Now page, including uploading a passport photo and CV, and click submit. Applying does not commit you to a place yet, it helps us to get to know you and provide you with more information on the project and check if it’s the best match for you. Browse our projects and choose a location and the project you wish to join, and include the dates you wish to volunteer. Complete and submit our online application form with the details of your chosen program and possible dates.

2. Receive Volunteering Information

Within 48 hours (2 working days), Volunteer Society Nepal sends you an email confirming that VSN has received your application. The communication manager will acknowledge your application and answer any questions you have. The communication manager will help you with finding the right project. He or she will then confirm the location, project and dates of your program. You will then receive details on how to pay the reservation fee. We require this to confirm your booking with Volunteer Society Nepal.

3. Book Your Place

Once you receive your confirmation, you can secure your place. You do this by transferring a reservation fee of 100 euro to our bank account. If you book multiple programs for a longer term we might ask more. As soon as your reservation fee has been received by VSN, we will provide you with all the information and support you need to prepare for your upcoming volunteer program.
As we have to do all the administration jobs to secure your placement and also we need regular funding to run our projects , this Reservation Fee is a non-refundable fee which also covers processing your application and pre-departure support.

4. Real Journey Nepal Volunteer Confirmation

We will book you onto the project and email you a confirmation with your dates and then you can book flights. Once you book your flight, we ask you to send your flight details.

5. Welcome to Nepal!

VSN representative will be waiting at the Kathmandu, International airport to welcome you!

6. Final Payment and Start Volunteering!

The payment of remaining fees is to be made once you arrive at the Volunteer Society Nepal office and can be paid in cash in Nepali rupees, American Dollars, Pounds Sterling or Euros.


The founding principle of Real Journey Nepal is knowing we could get more money going to where it is needed most.

Real Journey Nepal is a locally owned and managed non-governmental, social development organization which aims to support the poorest and most vulnerable communities in Nepal. We are a small organization, with no international organizational umbrella. This means that all the volunteer fees and funding are lower than many other organizations. The fees are invested directly into Nepal. Volunteering at Volunteer Society Nepal is not free, as we are partly reliant on volunteers’ fees to fund our projects. We are thankful to those who have been supporting us by taking part in our programs over the years. It is these volunteers that have been enabling us to make such massive changes to the lives of hundreds of disadvantaged women and children.

Fees May 2023
Please Note: – A Reservation Fee of euro 100 is charged on top of the program fee.

Fees Included

  • Airport pick up and drop off
  • Food and accommodation from the moment of landing at the airport to the final day of your placement
  • In-depth cultural and language training
  • Guided sightseeing in Kathmandu
  • Fully trained host families
  • 24hr availability of VSN Nepal staff for emergencies
  • Assistance with visas and pre-departure support
  • Fundraising support
  • Support in booking any further travel in Nepal


  • Visa fee
  • Vaccinations
  • Travel Insurance
  • Sundries such as personal items, extra beverages and entertainment. A weekly budget of up to 25 should be sufficient to cater for our all your other expenses like a bottle of water, daily snacks, personal items and beverages etc.
  • Domestic flight costs
  • Transportation costs for the volunteers who want to work outside the Kathmandu Valley
  • Entrance fees to the main cultural and Heritage sites, Museums and Others.
  • If you wish to work for more than one location, then you are required to pay €40 extra to cover our extra logistic work and transportation costs.
  • Construction materials when you do any construction work, for example, paints, brushes etc.
  • Airport pick up and drop off
What is the volunteer program duration?

Real Journey Nepal provides programs from two weeks to ten months.

How soon can I start volunteering in Nepal?

You can start as soon as you like, but it is far better if you confirm that you are coming at least two weeks before you arrive in Nepal. This allows us time to prepare necessary accommodations, training and placement.

Can I schedule my own volunteer service for the dates that interest me?

Real Journey is very flexible on when volunteers can start the program, and it’s possible to start any day of the year. It just depends on your availability.

Can I volunteer in Nepal with a friend or be placed near other volunteers?

Real Journey Nepal welcomes individuals, couples, families, small and large groups, students and experts, as well as senior and young professionals. We have placed 15 health volunteers in one village before and often get requests from smaller groups too. We will do everything we can to place people together if that is what you would like. For groups of 4 or more, please contact us directly to discuss options.

Do you work with schools and societies abroad?

We are always looking to develop ongoing relationships with organizations and schools abroad. The chance to set up cultural exchanges is a great way of developing understanding from both sides. If you are interested then please contact Us by email directly

What personality characteristics are Real Journey Nepal looking for?

If you are enthusiastic, initiative taking and motivated to help needy people, especially school children, youth and women, you are perfect and exactly what we are looking for.

Do I need specific skills and past experience to volunteer in Nepal?

No, but if you do have some then we can find a placement that will put them to good use. For legal experience we can get you advising women on their legal rights, for subject specific teaching we can get you teaching direct or teaching teachers, or for health expertise we have a range of placements to suit your level. We also organize sufficient in-country training programs for all selected volunteers to enable them to work effectively with target groups.

Are Real Journey Nepal’s programs only for international volunteers?

No, not at all. We recruit local Nepali people to work alongside our overseas volunteers as their counterparts. This gives them a chance to work with foreign/English speaking people and gives them valuable exposure to other cultures.

Do I need to speak English to become a volunteer in Nepal?

It is important that you speak some English, but it is perfectly acceptable if you speak English as your second language. When you arrive in Nepal you will be placed into a training program that includes an intensive language course on basic Nepali phrases that you may need while volunteering which will also help you settle in.

Do I have to be from a certain country to volunteer in Nepal?

No, you can come and volunteer with us from any country. The majority of our volunteers come from the United States, Canada, Europe, Japan and Australia. In the year 2007, we had volunteers from more than 21 different countries.

Why do I need to pay to volunteer in Nepal?

Real Journey tries to keep costs as low as possible. Real Journey Nepal volunteering programs in Nepal are the most affordable in Nepal. Volunteers have to pay for their food and accommodation, training, sponsoring Nepali children, the costs for their Nepali counterparts, and travel; all of which is included in the overall fee. For a detailed look at what your money pays for please look at our What’s Included page.

What is included in the program fee?

  • All Food and Accommodation from the day you land to the end of the placement
  • Transfer to and from your placement
  • Nepali language lessons
  • Cultural Induction of up to a week incl. guided tours of key UNESCO world heritage sites of Kathmandu
  • 24hr support from the VSN team throughout your placement
  • Fundraising support if requested
  • Costs of moving placements if reason deemed appropriate
  • Access to VSN office for internet usage when in Kathmandu

What is excluded from the program fee?

  • Flights: To Kathmandu from home country or if the volunteer chooses to fly to their placement
  • Visa Fee
  • Immunizations: consult your GP for exact requirements
  • Travel Insurance.
  • Departure tax from airport
  • It is also helpful to have a weekly budget of approximately US $50. This can cater for all your personal expenses like extra bottled water, toothpaste, personal hygiene products, beverages and entertainment

How do I pay for my volunteer placement?

You don’t have to make any payment before your arrival unless you would like to. If you want to pay in advance you can do a wire transfer of money to our account directly or by using Western Union. However, most people choose to pay on arrival. The agreed fee is to be paid on the same day or next day of your arrival at the VSN Office in Kathmandu and can be paid in Nepali rupees, American Dollars, Pounds Sterling or Euros in cash. This will be arranged as part of your induction. We only accept payment in installments on placements over 3 months.

What happens if I leave the volunteer placement early, can I get my money back?

Once the volunteer makes their decision and pays for the program fee, upon receipt of invoice, VSN Volunteer Program does not refund any program fee under any circumstances. However, if the volunteer has unavoidable circumstances (such as illness, death in the family, etc) they may request to leave the program, and VSN will consider returning 25% of the host family cost (if the volunteer is registered for more than 30 days program). No refund will be made for programs lasting less than 30 days, or if the volunteer chooses to leave the program on their own.

Do I need travel insurance?

As with any overseas traveling, health insurance is recommended. Please obtain necessary health and travel insurance before coming to Nepal. Make sure you look into the details of the policy. Find out if it covers airfare in case of a medical emergency. Previous volunteers recommend InsureandGo.

Who organizes my flights to Nepal?

You do. You will need to organize your trip to and from Nepal, but we can help you to find affordable flights. Previous volunteers have recommended DialAFlight.

Do I need a Visa to volunteer in Nepal?

You will need a tourist Visa for your visit to Nepal. These can be obtained for up to 3 months on entry and extended to a maximum of 150 days within a year whilst you are here. The current fee $30 USD for the first two months and $30 USD per month thereafter.

Up to date information can be found at:

Where can I obtain a VISA?

Most of our volunteers obtain visa upon arrival at the Kathmandu airport, which is very easy. You just need to bring a passport size photo with you and payment as per the above.

What vaccinations should I consider having prior to arrival?

We suggest that you consult a travel doctor from your country before you arrive as it will depend greatly on what country you are traveling from. However, you should consider the following vaccinations.

  • Hepatitis A & B
  • Diphtheria
  • Tetanus
  • Yellow fever
  • Rabies
  • Tuberculosis
  • Malaria tablets (depending on placement area)

Where do I fly to and how long will it take to get to my host site?

Kathmandu has the only international airport in Nepal, so all international flights arrive and depart from there. Our representative will meet you at the airport. On your first day you will be staying near the VSN HQ in a suburb called Pepsi-Cola in Eastern Kathmandu. This is only about 15 min drive from the airport.

Will there be anyone at the airport to receive me?

Our volunteer representative will be there to meet you on arrival.

Will I get chance to explore Kathmandu during my language and culture program?

There will be plenty of time for you to explore the Kathmandu Valley during orientation. We offer full day guided tours of Kathmandu valley as a part of the language program, but you can request free time if you prefer.

How do I change money? Are Master/Visa or other cards accepted?

There are ATM services in most of Nepal’s cities, which will be open during the day. There are also several banks and money exchange services. You can bring Mastercard/Visa card, cash $/ Euro or travelers checks, these all are accepted. Solo, Cirrus and Maestro debit cards are rarely accepted in ATMs.

What are the living arrangements when volunteering in Nepal?

Please refer to the Food and Accommodation section for more information on what to expect. We have shown photos and in depth descriptions so you know what to expect. In Nepal you are provided with accommodations as part of your volunteer fee from the day you land to the day you finish your placement. For the volunteers who arrive earlier or who want to stay longer, it is not possible to offer accommodations, but we will help you find a quality, inexpensive place to stay.

During induction: During initial language training and cultural induction, you will stay at, or very near, the VSN office in Kathmandu with other volunteers. This initial training may also involve spending time in a local village with a Nepali family, to practice what you have learned. While you are there, you will be housed and fed by the local people who are compensated by VSN as part of your program fee.

On placement: Your style of accommodation will vary according to where you choose to volunteer. If you are working in Kathmandu then you will be in a home-stay in a modern house with electricity, gas/solar heated shower and Western toilet. However, when volunteering in a rural area you may be living in much more basic accommodation. Either way Nepal is a developing country and you should not expect Western style luxury.

What is the food arrangement on placement?

At least two meals a day are provided for you while volunteering. The usual meal times are 10am and 6pm. You can expect the national staple of Dal Bhat Tarkari which is a tasty and filling plate of rice, vegetable curry, lentils and pickles. This may be supplemented occasionally by noodles, eggs and other snacks dependent on your host family and placement. If this is not enough food for you then snacks will be available in the local area for very little cost (under $5 for a large plate of food).

Your home-stay will provide you with filtered water during your meal times. You are advised to buy your own bottled water once you arrive in Nepal, and only drink filtered/boiled water during your home-stay.

What if I have allergies or am a vegetarian?

With ample time to make arrangements this isn’t a problem. Specific allergies to staples of rice and pulses may make it difficult in rural placements to eat well and an urban placement may be a better option.

What should I bring for the host family?

It is not compulsory for you to bring a gift for the family but it is a welcome gesture. You could bring gifts like a t-shirt, key-chain, toys for the kids, books, chocolate etc. Something specific to your home country is a good choice.

Can I change my volunteer placement if I get dissatisfied?

VSN is very flexible, and we consider any requests from our volunteers for changes in their work-places seriously. It is possible to change the working areas to meet the expectation of volunteers. We cannot change position frequently, however, without genuine reasons.

Will I have access to communication such as e-mail, telephones and a post office?

This all depends on your placement. Every placement has access to a phone, and almost all will have access to a Post Office. If you are in a city, there are many places in which you can use a phone and have access to e-mail regularly. On arrival we make sure you are able to send an email home as soon as possible.

Am I able to take some time off during my volunteer placement to do some trekking while I Nepal?

Of course! The majority of our long term volunteers take a break during their stay with VSN for various trekking expeditions. VSN supports and encourages any volunteer wishing to take a leave of absence from their duties to explore the natural beauty of Nepal. We simply ask that any major projects you are overseeing to be managed appropriately prior to your departure.

What types of clothes am I allowed to wear? Should I wear specific types of clothes on the volunteer placement?

We advise female volunteers not to wear short skirts in villages. Nepalese people dress modestly and girls cover most of their body; it is the Nepalese tradition. Men in roles of authority such as teaching should wear a collared shirt if possible when they are in front of the class.

Climate in Placement Areas

Nepal is not always as cold as people think. The country is geographically divided into three parts. The Himalayan region of Nepal is at high altitude and will get to minus temperatures at night and in winter. The mid-hill region (Kathmandu and Pokhara) is over 20 degrees C all year around during the day but gets cold at night and out of the sun in winter. The mid-terai region (Chitwan) areas of Nepal are the lowest altitude and therefore the warmest, even in winter it won’t get below 10 degrees C at night here. In general the weather is cold from December to March, but warm in Spring and Fall and moderately hot during the summer. The Fall is the best time for trekking in Nepal because the skies are the clearest. Please bring your winter clothes (think layers!) if you are coming in Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb and bring summer clothes for the rest of the months. Please note that Nepali houses don’t generally have heating so a sleeping bag might be a good idea for winter nights. Nepal does have a monsoon season from August to September which can bring heavy rain.

How safe is it to volunteer in Nepal?

It is very safe to volunteer in Nepal. Some foreign embassies have had warnings in place about traveling to Nepal for over 13 years, but in this time not a single tourist has been attacked and the tourist trade continues to thrive with 555,000 visiting in 2008. VSN always ensures our volunteers are placed in safe environments. We are proud that despite having had more than 100 volunteers every year, we have had no mention of any of them feeling unsafe.

What steps are taken to avoid illness?

We always do all we can to ensure that all food and water during training and placement is safe and clean. VSN Nepal trains the host families regarding the safety of their water and food and all of them have experience accommodating past volunteers. They will always give you boiled water and well cooked food. However, there is still a chance of contracting illnesses like diarrhea or guardia in Nepal so you need to be very aware of personal hygiene like washing hands thoroughly.

How readily available is medication and treatment on placement?

Nepal offers basic medical services but there are several International standard hospitals in Kathmandu for emergency medical treatment. VSN generally refers to the CIWEC Clinic and the Nepal International Clinic.

However, if you are taking any prescription medicine, we suggest that you bring an ample supply from your home country.

Do I need to speak English to volunteer in Nepal?

Yes, it is important you speak basic English, but it is perfectly acceptable if it is your second language. When you arrive in Nepal you will be placed into a training program that includes an intensive language course on basic Nepal phrases that will also help you while volunteering.

Do I have to speak the Nepali language to volunteer in Nepal?

Many people in Nepal understand English, but speaking a few sentences in Nepali will make your life easier. Your orientation will include a week of intensive introduction to Nepali language and culture, and you most volunteers learn the Nepali language quickly. It helps if you are able to speak basic Nepali, and great fun as well. Volunteers on our short-term (2-3 week programs) will only have very basic teaching but this still helps. We can send you a few lessons of our course book in advance upon request.

Why volunteer in Nepal?

Volunteering will help you to see the world from a different perspective, which enables you to develop your critical thinking and cross-cultural skills. In addition, by leaving the familiar behind to go encounter new people and places, you will gain a better understanding of yourself and the world around you. Experiencing another way of life firsthand will enhance your independence, understanding, education and self-awareness. These life-skills are all invaluable.

2. Why Nepal?

Above all, the rural children, youth, schools and communities need your help. You may know that 97 out of 100 children and adolescents still live in villages, and that 31% of all Nepali people live under the poverty line. The education and health facilities in rural areas are insufficient; and the rural schools lack trained teachers, as well as a sufficient number of teachers in general. Every year, hundreds of children leave their villages to arrive in small and big cities in search of work. Most of these children are deprived of educational and other opportunities, so after coming into the cities they work as child laborers in restaurants, hotels, and factories. In such a messy situation, the small efforts from volunteers can bring hope for greater change in all rural communities. Ask your heart whether or not it is your responsibility to help the needy people of developing countries, as a member of this global village?

Should I volunteer in the city or the countryside?

There is need for help in both and so it depends which suits you. Traditionally aid has been focussed on the rural areas. However, due to increasing urbanisation, people from the villages of Nepal are flooding to Kathmandu where they have nothing and are in dire need of support. Some people want an experience of staying in a remote mountain village with minimal Western comforts in which case one of our placements in Solukhumbu would be perfect. However, if you want to help without sacrificing the regular email contact with home, a warm shower and comforts of a city then we have multiple opportunities in Kathmandu in health, teaching, environmental or orphanage work.

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