11 days of tailor made exploration at a pace that suits you – we offer options for different activity levels, including rafting, short walks etc to ensure that you enjoy your holiday at your own pace.Departure:
11 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! We have designed a leisurely program which you can take at your own pace, but that still enables you to get to know the real Nepal – from the bazaars and temples of Kathmandu to the traditional atmosphere of a village stay; to stunning Pokhara and on to Chitwan National Park for an unforgettable elephant ride and your chance to see rare Nepali animals like the Royal Bengal tiger. You have the chance to get as active as you like, with active options like rafting and walking in the itinerary, or take it easy at your preferred pace.
BRIEF ITINERARYDay 01:
Your arrival in KathmanduDay 02:
Sightseeing in the Kathmandu ValleyDay 03:
Mountains, pilgrimage sites and ancient villagesDay 04-05:
Everest, rafting and village lifeDay 06:
Exploring PokharaDay 08:
South to the jungleDay 09:
Chitwan National Park Day 10:
Return to KathmanduDay 11:
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 we have a full day of sightseeing in Kathmandu and surrounds. We visit the holy Buddhist stupa of Swayambunath, also called the Monkey Temple - a famous Buddhist pilgrimage site perched on a hill overlooking the Valley. We then visit the sacred Hindu temple and pilgrimage site of Pashupatinath, dedicated to Lord Shiva and then drive out to Bhaktapur, one of the three ancient cities of the Kathmandu Valley. Tonight we make our way to Dhulikhel for a gorgeous sunset over the Himalayan Range.Swayambhunath
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.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.Bhhaktapur
Bhaktapur is the one of the three ancient cities within the Kathmandu Valley. It is also known as Bhadgaun, meaning the city of devotees and is the home of true medieval art and architecture in the Valley. Lying 14 km east of Kathmandu city, Bhaktapur was founded in the 9th century and is shaped like a conch shell. Not only because of its famous carved peacock windows but also due to its museum, Bhaktapur is the centre of traditional Nepalese wood carving. Compared to other royal cities in Patan and Kathmandu, Bhaktapur is the most original and is without a doubt the most historically authentic as it is literally a living museum where farmers dry their harvest, potters turn their wheel and people go about live as they have done for so long.
We will visit the Durbar Square (palace square) with its array of temples overlooked by the Palace of Fifty-five Windows built by King Bhupatindra Malla. We will also visit the Taleju Temple which is the best example of Pagoda style structure in Nepal. It stands majestically on five terraces, on each of which stands a pair of figures. As you go up from one terrace to the next, the figures gain strength of ten times that of the lower terrace: we see two strong men; two elephants; two lions; two griffins; and two goddesses. Dhulikhel
Dhulikhel, like Nagarkot is a hillside town with spectacular mountain views, a great place to relax and pamper yourself and to enjoy the spectacular sunrise and sunsets over the snowy peaks. In the fore ground a beautiful display of hills and scattered farmhouses dominated the deep valley of the Indrawaty River. It is an old town on the road north to Tibet and has some lovely old Newari buildings (Newar people are the original inhabitants of the Kathmandu Valley and are renowned as artisans and beautiful architecture).Day 03: Mountains, pilgrimage sites and ancient villages
Dhulikhel is a great place for an early morning to catch the sunrise over the Himalayan Range! After breakfast we will take a short drive to Namo Buddha, a stupa at an ancient pilgrimage sight. From here we have a pleasant downhill walk through orange orchards and villages to the ancient village of Panauti before a drive back into Kathmandu to our hotel.Namo Buddha
This is one of the three holiest sites in Tibetan Buddhism south if the Himalayan Range. Legend has it that the name, which translates as 'Hail to the Buddha', came into use in the seventieth century when a superstition took hold that the site's true name should not be uttered. It was here that the Buddha was said to offer himself to a tigress to save a child, an act which helped pave the way for his eventual enlightenment. Panauti
Panauti is located approximately 30km from Kathmandu, in a small side valley of alluring farming land and village sanctuaries. In the 13th century Panauti was the capital of the autonomous kingdom of Banepa and it is still the most important historic village in the area and has retained its historic authenticity. The town is built in the Newari's signature style, with pink brick and carved wood. The village is full of rural calm and only in September is the idyll disturbed by the ‘Carriage Festival’. The old town is wedged between two small rivers with a cluster of important temples at the confluence. It is regarded as an ancient power place, with an invisible third stream also connecting here. Cremations are held at the confluence and a festival is held here once a year in January with every 12 years being of major significance as the third stream is said to be seen at this time.Day 04-05: Everest, rafting and village life
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!
In these days we are in for a real insight into life in Nepal, with village stay. After breakfast at our hotel we will set off west to the small village of Bandipur where we will spend the afternoon and one full day to get closer to the pace and feel of life in the village.
For those who wish there is the optional activity of a white water rafting adventure on the Trisuli River (optional and subject to minimum numbers), rejoining the group later this evening in Bandipur. Bandipur
Bandipur lies south of the Highway from Kathmandu to Pokhara and few foreigners know about it or stop here. From the highway we climb up to Bandipur at 1005m, with more Himalayan peaks appearing with each metre climbed. Set on the ridgeline and winding its way up and down, Bandipur’s main street has many 3 or 4 storey brick buildings with carved wood windows. The three or four temples in the town add to the atmosphere in what is a traditional Nepali hill village, little untouched by tourism. In our stay here we relax and we stretch our legs with optional walks through the village and out into the surrounding countryside for superb views up the Marsyangdi River valley against the backdrop of Himalayan Range. Many of the Himalayan Peaks can be seen, including Langtang Lirung, Ganesh Himal, Manaslu and the Annapurnas to the west.Day 06: Pokhara
After breakfast we will bid a fond farewell to Bandipur and drive a couple of hours westwards to the stunning lakeside town of Pokhara. After a nice lunch on lakeside we will visit Mahendra Cave (a good torch is useful here) and relax afterwards at the tranquil lakeside. Pokhara
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 07: Exploring 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 08: 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. Day 09: Chitwan National Park
Today we will 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 10: Return to Kathmandu
After breakfast we will drive (or fly if you prefer it) back to Kathmandu. Upon arrival you are free to spend your time relaxing, shopping, more exploring, or simply watching the world go by from a terrace coffee shop!Day 11: 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.