One place that we hard of that peaked our interest locally were the Bat caves on the north east of Pokhara.
We caught a taxi out to the site and were told about how they are working with the local school and that the profits from the ticket sales for the cave go to help buying school books and feeding the students.
This sounded like a great idea and I was very impressed with the cooperative focus in the community. We paid the entry fee and were given two torches.
“You need these. It’s dark in the caves.” we were told as one of the torches was given to me. The other torch was carried by one of the young guys behind the counter. He led us to the entry for the cave and came down with us.
It was a tight but simple network with one way in and one way out. There were quite a few young bats on the roof of the cave which the young guy pointed out to us. The young guy joined us and had nominated himself as a guide of sorts.
We finished the short wander through the caves in a little under ten minutes. Bats lined the roof in the higher areas of the cave. They had recently gone through their breeding season and there were hundreds of juvenile bats clinging to the roof.
Towards the end of the wander through the cave we decided it was time to grab a drink to re-hydrate. I offered the young guy who was with us a drink also.
The heart of the day and the humidity of the cave was being felt. He politely declined and stood around as we sat and enjoyed our drinks. On or way out the gate he blocked the exit and demanded payment for being our guide.
There had been no consent to any guide services that were vaguely solicited at best. A heated debate on the ethics of their dealings ensued. A word of caution; not much comes for free. Always ask and negotiate the price.