14 days of exploration with options for different activity levels to suit your preferred pace; from the heritage sites of the Kathmandu Valley to the jungles of the Terai, to the birthplace of Buddha and the stunning lakeside town of Pokhara with it’s incredible mountain views.Departure:
14 DaysBest Season:
October to March (Possible all year round)
If trekking is not for you, but you like to get an insight into the life and culture of the place you visit, then this is your trip! This self paced program allows you to take more active or relaxed options as you prefer, on the trip of a lifetime around Nepal. You can take the activities at your own pace, but the program still enables you to get to know the real Nepal – from the bazaars and temples of Kathmandu to the elephants and tigers of Chitwan National Park, to the birthplace of Lord Buddha at Lumbini. From the traditional atmosphere of charming hill towns to stunning Pokhara, you have the chance to get as active as you like, with active options like rafting and walking in the itinerary, or taking it easy at your preferred pace.
BRIEF ITINERARYDay 01:
Your arrival in KathmanduDay 02:
Sightseeing in the Kathmandu ValleyDay 03:
Kathmandu and PatanDay 04:
Kathmandu – Daman Day 05:
South to the jungleDay 06:
Jungle safari in Royal Chitwan National ParkDay 07:
From the jungle to the Buddha Day 08:
From the plains to the mountainsDay 09:
Tansen to PokharaDay 10:
Back to KathmanduDay 12:
Excursion to Pharping Day 13:
Free day in KathmanduDay 14:
DETAILED ITINERARYDay 01: Your arrival in Kathmandu
Upon your arrival at Kathmandu airport we will greet you and transfer you to your hotel. Depending on your arrival time, we can organise some exploring in the afternoon to introduce you to this amazing place and its unique ancient-modern mix.
Exploring the old city, you’ll wander through narrow streets and alleyways, discovering hidden temples and meeting the locals. Exotic produce and a bewildering mix of people are everywhere; you're likely to see Ghurkhas, Tibetan women in their striped aprons, traders from India, and sadhus - Hindu holy men - perhaps on pilgrimage to one of the many temples and shrines of the valley. Day 02: Sightseeing in the Kathmandu Valley
After breakfast at your hotel we will explore the must see sites of Kathmandu and its surroundings. We will explore Pashupatinath Temple complex and Boudanath Stupa. These temples are both exceptionally important sites to their respective religions, Pashupatinath being sacred to Hindus and Boudanath to Buddhists. In the afternoon we will visit Kathmandu Durbar Square before relaxing in our hotel over dinner.Pashupatinath
Situated 5 km east of Kathmandu City, Pashupatinath temple is one of the holiest temples in the Hindu religion and was first mentioned in 365AD. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva, one of the three main gods in Hinduism, as his birthplace. Situated on the banks of the sacred Bagmati River, the main temple is built in pagoda style with gilt roof and richly carved silver doors. Non Hindu visitors are only permitted to view the temple from the east bank of Bagmati River, as entrance into the temple is strictly forbidden to all non Hindus. Pashupatinath is the main cremation site for Hindus in the Kathmandu Valley, with cremation ghats lining the Bagmati River below the temple. It is such an important pilgrimage site that any Hindu should visit it once in their life and there is a constant stream of sadhus coming and going from Nepal and India.Boudhanath
This Stupa, 8 kms. east of Kathmandu City, is one of the biggest in the world. It stands with four pairs of eyes in the four cardinal directions keeping watch for righteous behaviour and human prosperity. This Buddhist Stupa was built by King Man Deva on the advice of the Goddess Mani Jogini. Boudanath is part of the shared history of Nepal and Tibet, with Tibet having held ruling privileges over the site until the last century. It is built on an octagonal base inset with prayer wheels and the stupa is ringed by houses of Lamas or Buddhist priests, monasteries and shops. Kathmandu
Kathmandu Durbar (palace) Square and its array of temples are overlooked by the Hanuman Dhoka Palace, the ancient palace of the Nepalese Royalty. Also known as Kantipur, this is one of the three ancient cities of the Kathmandu Valley, the others being in Patan and Bhaktapur. Inside the Durbar Square complex we will visit the residence and temple of the Living Goddess; we will also see the Kasthamandap, the impressive resting place from which the name ‘Kathmandu’ is said to have come and which is said to be made from the timber of a single tree. Day 03: Kathmandu and Patan
After breakfast at your hotel we will explore the must see sites of Kathmandu and its surroundings. We will have a morning tour to the holy Buddhist stupa of Swayambunath, also called the Monkey Temple. After lunch we will explore the ancient city of Patan and visit the Tibetan Handicraft Centre.Swayambunath
Located in a hilltop above Kathmandu, this Buddhist Stupa is said to be 2000 years old and is one of Nepal’s most important Buddhist sanctuaries. The oldest inscription discovered dates back to the 5th century and refers to the founding of a monastery.
The Stupa which forms the main structure is composed of a solid hemisphere of brick and earth supporting a lofty conical spire capped by a pinnacle of copper gilt. Painted on the four sided base of the spire are the all seeing eyes of Lord Buddha. The whole hill is a mosaic of small Chaityas (memorials) and temples and it is one of the only places that you can see the Stupa, Pagoda and Shikar style of temple. It is a sacred Buddhist place of worship, but it is also holy to Hindus and you can also find Hindu shrines here – a fine illustration of the religious tolerance found in Nepal.Patan
The cities in the Kathmandu Valley are made up of 3 ancient cities and Patan is located across the Bagmati River to the south of Kathmandu city. Patan is also known as Lalitpur, the city of fine arts. According to legend the founding of Patan dates back to Pre-Christian times. As opposed to the Malla cities of Kathmandu and Bhaktapur that were mainly influenced by the Hindu religion, Patan was for many years a major Buddhist city. It is believed that it was founded in the third century B.C. by the famous Buddhist emperor, Ashoka, who visited the town while on a pilgrimage from Northern India and built four stupas that enclosed the centre of the old town. This would make it the oldest continuing Buddhist town in the world.
We will visit the Patan Durbar Square and see the Krishna Temple built by King Siddhi Narsingh Malla, Hiranya Varna Mabavihar and the Mahadouddha Temple.
This is followed by a trip to the Tibetan Refugee Camp and Handicraft Centre, where you can see the hand weaving of Tibetan carpets and mounding of metal statues. Day 04: Kathmandu – Daman
After breakfast this morning we will say goodbye to Kathmandu and go exploring beyond the valley rim. We head out of town in our van, gaining our first glimpse of the Himalayan Range just after we leave the valley at Thankot.
After a short descent to Naubise we commence climbing through terraced fields, forest of oaks and rhododendron and authentic villages. We descend into the pretty Palung Valley and then our last climb takes us into Daman our destination for tonight. From Daman we have spectacular views of the icy and snow-capped Himalayan peaks form east to west. In clear weather it is possible to see Mount Everest from here.
80 Kilometres, Duration: 3 hours, Altitude: 2322 metres Day 05: South to the jungle
Today we head south to the jungles of Nepal’s Terai region. Our destination of Chitwan National Park is home to rich wildlife, lush grasslands and rare species of birds and animals. Highlights include seeing the iconic one-horned rhino, bison, wild boar, monkeys, deer and a wide array of birds (over 400 species on record), and with luck on your side even the Royal Bengal tiger, bear and leopard are a possibility. Another highlight of the trip is the canoe ride on Rapti River, which borders the northern side of the park, the banks of which are home to sun-bathing 'mugger' crocodiles and the unique long-nosed 'gharial' crocodiles.
We will arrive at our hotel in the afternoon after our overland trip from the mountains to the jungle. In the evening, before dinner, we will have a slide show showing us the culture of Nepal and highlights of the park, or a performance of the Tharu stick dance, a traditional local dance. Distance: 95 Kilometres, Duration: 4 hours, Altitude: 150 metresDay 06: Jungle safari in Royal Chitwan National Park
Today we have a full day of jungle safari activities! Our excursions include Elephant safari, Wildlife walk, jeep safari, canoeing and bird watching. Unlike African animals, those in Chitwan tend to be rather solitary and shy, but the chancing of sightseeing these are very high owing to the expertise and experiences of guides.Day 07: From the jungle to the Buddha
This morning is for the bird lovers – for those who wish, we take you bird watching to spot some of the 400 different species of birds that live in the park. After breakfast we will be able to see the buzz and liveliness of the Terai as we make our way to Lumbini, the birth place of Lord Buddha. We will visit his birthplace and historical home, before he departed his royal life to seek enlightenment, and visit some of the many temples and monasteries now located in this highly significant place.
Distance: 90 Kilometres, Duration: 3 hours, Altitude: 150 metresDay 08: From the plains to the mountains
After breakfast we again witness the diverse landscape of Nepal as we ascend from the sub-tropical plains to the delightful hill top retreat town of Tansen. We follow the Siddhartha Highway, arriving in Tansen for lunch. From this lovely old trading town we have magnificent views both to the north and to the south. In the north we have a magnificent panorama of the Himalayan Range encircled by a waving valley. To the south we see the vastness of the flat landscape that is the Terai, stretching into the Northern plains of India.
Distance: 65 Kilometres, Duration: 3 hours, Altitude: 1343 metresDay 09: Tansen to Pokhara
Today we drive to the stunning lakeside town of Pokhara. This is a haven for those coming back from trekking or a road trip! The afternoon is free to relax or explore some more active options. For the adventurous we can arrange paragliding or Para hawking and there fantastic leisurely options, including a boat ride on the glassy lake or an afternoon massage!
Distance: 142 Kilometres, Duration: 4 Hours, Altitude: 800 metresPokhara
The rare combination of snow-clad peaks and snow fed lakes and rivers has helped to make the valley of Pokhara (210kms/131 miles from Kathmandu) one of the most picturesque natural attractions in Nepal. It is virtually in the centre of Nepal and, while it is only 800m above sea level, it has stunning close up views of the Himalayan Range, in particular the famous Annapurna massif. There are basically two towns here today; one is the busy section, with hotels and restaurants down by the lake that most tourists find themselves in, and the other consists of the noisy back streets of the fast diminishing old town. Here you will find the old bazaar, with traditional buildings built by Newari artisans who migrated westwards from Kathmandu three hundred years ago.Day 10: Pokhara
This morning we will get up early - before dawn - to make the journey by jeep/van and a short walk to the hilltop village of Sarankot. Here, with breakfast being prepared for us, we revel in the sight of one of Nepal's most famous vistas – the stunning sight of the Annapurnas and Machhapuchhare emerging from the morning mists as the sun rises.
We then have the option of walking down to Pokhara – a 4km, 1 ½ hr walk. Those not wishing to do this walk can travel to Pokhara in the vehicle. This afternoon you explore the area further as you take in the World Peace Pagoda (built in 1994 and sitting on a ridge overlooking Phewa Lake) and Devi’s Falls. We can also make time for a visit to one of the Tibetan villages that dot the area and where superb carpets and other handicrafts can be haggled over. Day 11: Back to Kathmandu
After breakfast we wave goodbye to Pokhara and drive back through an exotic landscape of terraced hillsides and pretty villages until we reach the emerald green Trisuli River where we have the option to experience some rafting! No experience is needed for this two hour rafting ride, but it is a great chance to enjoy the water and the spirit of adventure.
The experienced guide will steer you, with paddling help from yourself and your comrades. Where we paddle, the Trisuli is an easy grade of river with now and then a rapid, enough to get the taste of adventure. We take a break from rafting for our picnic lunch on the riverside and then continue in the afternoon back to Kathmandu.
Distance: 142 Kilometres, Duration: 4 hours, Altitude: 1300 metresDay 12: Excursion to Pharping
This morning we make a short excursion 26 km out of Kathmandu to one of Buddhism’s most holy places, Pharping. It is believed the Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche) meditated in a cave here on a visit into Nepal. The Padmasambhava was the Buddhist saint credited with introducing Buddhism to Tibet and beyond. Here we have the chance to visit different types of Buddhist monasteries and stupas and the Padmasambhava Cave. Distance: 26 Kilometres, Duration: 1and 1/2 hoursDay 13: Free day in Kathmandu
This morning you have the option of taking an early morning mountain flight before breakfast – this flight is a truly spectacular 1 hour flight along the Himalayan Range to unforgettable Mount Everest and back!
The rest of the day is free for you spend your time relaxing, shopping, doing some more exploring, or simply watching the world go by from a terrace coffee shop!Day 14: Depart Kathmandu
After breakfast at your hotel, you are free until it is time for us to transfer you to the airport in time for your flight home.