Traveling in comfort, you visiting not only highlights of any trip to Nepal like Pokhara and Chitwan but to places less well known where you can get a full flavour of the variety that Nepal has to offer. You explore the rich cultural heritage of Kathmandu and the Valley where you see a fascinating mix of Hinduism and Buddhism. Staying a night in the comfortable guesthouse of a monastery, you join the monks in their morning devotions. You visit Tansen, a lovely old town where few tourists go. No trip is complete without a visit to Pokhara where you can relax and admire the Annapurnas as they appear to shimmer over the beautiful Phewa Lake. Finally, you spend a couple of nights in Chitwan in a luxury jungle lodge. Here you go on a jungle safari and if you are lucky, you might even see a tiger.
On this tour, you stay in comfortable accommodation throughout.
|Day 1||Arrival in Kathmandu|
|Day 2||Full Day sightseeing tour of Kathmandu, Swyambhunath and Bhaktapur City|
|Day 3||Neydo Monastery|
|Day 5||Drive to Pokhara (830m)|
|Day 6||Sightseeing of Pokhara City and boating on Pewa lake, visit World Peace stupa|
|Day 7||Drive to Tansen and short hike up Srinagar Hill|
|Day 8||Drive to Chitwan|
|Day 9||Chitwan - Full day jungle activities|
|Day 10||Fly to Kathmandu|
|Day 11||Kathmandu – free day|
Arrival in Kathmandu
Your first impression of arriving at Tribhuvan International Airport is an experience in itself. But don’t be worried by the apparent confusion as your airport representative will be waiting to welcome you with your name written on a placard. Depending on traffic, you will be at your hotel within 20 minutes or so.
You then have time to relax and enjoy the ambience and comfort of the hotel. (Traditional Comfort Hotel or equivalent)
Full Day sightseeing tour of Kathmandu, Swyambhunath and Bhaktapur City
Kathmandu Durbar Square is listed as one of the Kathmandu Valley’s eight UNESCO World Heritage sites. Built between the 12th and 18th centuries, the ancient temples, palaces and courtyards and streets is a social, religious and urban focal point of the city. Visiting the Kumari’s house, home to the living goddess, if you are very lucky you might even see her peek out of her window at you. You also see the surrounding temples and the Itumbahal courtyard. This old Newari community that is set in its large courtyard is famous for its traders in herbal spices and medicines. From Durbar Square you then walk to through Asaan to the bustling Indrachowk, one of Kathmandu’s most colourful local markets. Continuing to Asaan Chowk you visit the Annapurna temple, dedicated to the goddess of Grains.
You then are taken to Swayambunath, otherwise nicknamed the ‘Monkey Temple’. This is one of the oldest and most revered shrines in the country. Perched on the top of a small hill, it is a not only a major landmark of the valley but a symbol of Nepal. The stupa has been an important Buddhist pilgrimage site since the 5th century. Buddha Jayanti (Buddha’s Birthday), Gunla (a month-long festival) and Lhosar (Tibetan New Year) are all celebrated with gusto here. You can reach the shrine by climbing 365 steps up the hill, or by a less steep but not so scenic route that winds around the back of the temple complex. You see many chaityas and temples but look out for the mysterious Shantipur Temple. This is where the 8th century Tantric Shantikar Acharya lived and it is said that his meditation kept him alive for many centuries.
In the afternoon you are driven to Bhaktapur, one of the most fascinating and important World Heritage Sites in Nepal. Bhaktapur is made up of three large squares filled with historic shrines and temples, Newar architecture and fine art. Famous for its clay pots and exquisite wood carvings, Bhaktapur is also legendary for its colourful festivals and its delicious and unique cuisine. Bhaktapur retains its medieval feel and the local people are still engaged in farming and traditional crafts like pottery, metalwork, art and woodwork which have supported the city since it was established in the 12th century. This is a ‘must see’ place to explore! You will be shown the magnificent Golden Gate in Durbar Square (square of the palaces), the Palace of 55 Windows, the Nyata Pola Temple, Newar houses and pottery square. Although the town was damaged in the 2015 earthquake, there has been a lot of work to repair the old buildings.
Neydo Monastery in Pharping, about 22 kilometres from Kathmandu, is a world apart in its little corner of the southern part of the Kathmandu Valley. Here you spend the night at Neydo Tashi Choeling Monastery Guest House. A Tibetan monastery, there are up to 140 monks living in the monastery from Nepal and India. The present Karma Charmé is the seventh reincarnate lama of in the unique Neydo Kagyu tradition, which also follows the Nyingma lineage Tibetan Buddhism. The monastery has Nepal’s biggest statue of the Amitabha Buddha flanked by statues of Avalokitesvara (Buddha of Compassion) and Vajrapani (protector and holder of the Buddha’s sacred teachings).
You stay in the monastery’s adjoining guest house. Originally built to accommodate monastic visitors, it was under-used and it was decided to open it so that guests could stay. Now profits from the guest house contribute to the day-to-day expenses of the monastery. The rooms are all very comfortable with ensuite bathrooms, a kettle to make tea and coffee, and a private balcony. There are other wider balconies where you can also relax, admiring some of the stunning views across the Valley. Excellent meals are provided in the dining room.
The monks are very happy for you to join them for their early morning and evening ceremonies in the main hall. Watched over by a towering image of the Amitabha Buddha, many people chose this peaceful setting for personal retreats, meditation, and courses that are given on Tibetan literature, Buddhist philosophy and ethics.
There are several short walks and hikes you can make in the area, visiting a number of smaller monasteries and going to the Asura Cave where Padmasambhava or Guru Rinpoche meditated and achieved the highest realization. (Neydo Monastery Guest House)
Rising early for the morning prayer ceremony with the monks, after breakfast you are driven to Kurintar, about 100km from Kathmandu on the banks of the Trisuli River.
Your lodge sits on a ridge in the middle of forested hills that slope down to the sandy beaches of the Trisuli River. Here you can find the tiny settlements of various tribal groups like Chepang, Dorai, Magar, and some Brahman and Chhetri people who eke out their subsistence from foraging in the forests, trapping the odd small animal or wildfowl, and cultivating wheat, rice, maize and vegetables. Typically animist, these people are the last of the hunter-gatherers who live in Nepal.
Drive to Pokhara (830m)
After breakfast at your hotel, you are driven to Pokhara, about 3 hours away from where you will have the rest of the day at leisure.
There are lots of things to see and do in Pokhara. There are a few museums, the most notable being the International Mountain Museum (IMM). In addition, there is an ethnographical museum, Pokhara Regional Museum and Annapurna Natural History Museum with collections of flora and fauna, and butterflies. There is also the Gurkha Museum featuring the history of the Gurkha soldiers. Gurkha soldiers are still recruited here in Pokhara. You might like to go boating or take the opportunity to try out paragliding. For the fearless, you might want to have a go at Nepal’s second bungee jumping site: Water Touch Bungee Jumping. Or if you are interested in Tibetan culture, you can take a tour of the Tibetan settlements with a Tibetan guide.
Sightseeing of Pokhara City and boating on Pewa lake, visit World Peace stupa
In the morning you are taken on a half-day sightseeing tour of Pokhara visiting Davis Falls, Bindebasisni Temple, the Seti gorge and also a visit to one of the Tibetan settlement camps.
You go boating on the lake and hike up to the World Peace Pagoda which commands a view over the lake to Sarangkot and the mountains. The pagoda was built in 1996 and is 35m high. Its 37 steps take you to its second tier where there are four Buddha faces that look out in the cardinal directions. A standing Buddha in bronze faces south, while a Sri Lankan Buddha meditates looking to the west, a Thai Buddha faces north and a Japanese Buddha looks eastwards.
Drive to Tansen and short hike up Srinagar Hill
Driving along the dramatic Siddhartha Highway, you pass landslide-scarred valleys as you climb and descend to the deep, steamy gorge floor of the mighty Kali Gandaki River.
This “off-the-beaten-track” ancient hill town of Tansen is a fascinating place to look around. Explore its cobbled bazaar and admire its beautiful old Newari houses. In a historic area, Palpa was the seat of the Sen kingdom that ruled over this region from the 16th century for almost 300 years. In the evening you hike up the Srinagar Hill to the view tower for a beautiful panoramic view of Palpa and its surroundings. On a clear day you can see the peaks of Kanjiroba far to the west, Dhaulagiri, Machhapuchhare/Fishtail and the Annapurnas, Manaslu and Gauri Shankar. It is an easy hike of about a kilometre up from the bazaar.
Drive to Chitwan
After breakfast, you are driven to Chitwan, about four hours away. Chitwan National Park was the first national park in Nepal and was set up 1973. It was made a World Heritage Site in 1984. With an area of over 932 km2 and an altitude of between 100 m to 815 m in the Churia Hills, it is home to 68 species of mammals. You may see the “king of the jungle,” the Bengal tiger as this is reported as being one of the best tiger habitats in the world. More commonly sighted are the one-horned rhinoceros, sambar deer, red muntjac, hog deer, rhesus monkeys, hanuman langurs and wild elephant. (Jungle lodge)
Chitwan - Full day jungle activities
Depending on local conditions and where you are staying, you will be taken on some or all of the following: jeep safari, nature walk, visit a local village outside the national park, jungle walk, canoe ride, and see a Tharu dance performance. (Jungle lodge)
Fly to Kathmandu
You are taken to Bharatpur airport and fly the 20-minute flight to Kathmandu. You then have the rest of the day free in Kathmandu.
Kathmandu – free day
You have the day free. You have the rest of the day free. You might like to try out one of the many cooking classes or workshops on offer, go for some more sightseeing or do some last minute shopping.
Transfer to Tribhuvan Airport to connect with your onward flight. Please note that you should check in three hours prior to your flight time.