This tour packs in many of the best that Nepal has to offer. You will start with cultural and historical sightseeing in Kathmandu, before travelling to the jungle plains of Chitwan National Park. There, you will see all manner of wildlife (including many rhinoceros!) and get to experience traditional Tharu culture. From Chitwan, you will visit the birthplace of Buddha—Lumbini, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After Lumbini, you will travel to the pretty lakeside town of Pokhara, before embarking on the popular and spectacular Poon Hill trek. This is one of the best short treks in Nepal, as you will experience traditional village life, peaceful forests and sunrise views of the tallest mountains in the world. This tour is what Nepal is really about.
|Day 1||Arrival in Kathmandu|
|Day 2||Introduction to the Kathmandu Valley|
|Day 3||Drive to the Chitwan|
|Day 4||Chitwan National Park - Welcome to The Jungle|
|Day 5||Lumbini - The Birthplace of Lord Buddha|
|Day 6||Pokhara - The Queen of Lakes|
|Day 7||Pokhara – Nayapul – Tirkhedhunga (Hello to the Mountains)|
|Day 8||Tirkhedhunga – Ghorepani|
|Day 9||Poon Hill - Sunrise is best in the Poon Hill|
|Day 10||Trek to Nayapul|
|Day 11||Fly to Kathmandu from Pokhara|
|Day 12||Bhakatpur - The living history of the ancient Royal Monarchy|
|Day 13||Departure to the airport for onward journey|
• Airport arrival and departure transfers
• All land transfers as per the itinerary
• Sightseeing in Kathmandu
• Sightseeing entrance fees
• Professional English speaking tour guide for sightseeing
• Accommodation in Kathmandu and Pokhara – twin sharing
• Accommodation in trekking region – twin or multiple sharing
• English speaking trekking guide
• Necessary porters for baggage carriage
• Annapurna conservation area permit fee
• 15kg luggage allowance while on trek
• All meals
• Costs due to personal nature (shopping, tipping etc.)
• Costs due to unforeseen circumstances beyond the limit of Royal Mountain Travel
• Costs for internet, laundry, cigarettes, etc.
• Costs for bottled drinks
• Costs in Nepal entry visa fee
• Costs for International flights
• International airport departure tax
• Travel insurance
• Costs for the services other than mentioned above
Please note that the published itinerary is a statement of intent and is to be used as a guide only. Each day may vary due to the walking times of the group, and trail conditions. The guide in chMore...
Please note that the published itinerary is a statement of intent and is to be used as a guide only. Each day may vary due to the walking times of the group, and trail conditions. The guide in charge of your trip will alter the schedule as necessary, and any/all such alterations are at the discretion of Royal Mountain Travel and your guide.
Hotel in Kathmandu – In Kathmandu, we will be staying at Hotel Traditional Comfort.
While trekking, accommodation is in lodges and teahouses and is of a basic standard. Rooms may be twin or multi share, with basic shared toilet facilities. Showers are available in some places for a small charge.
Some people have the idea that trekking is all sweat and hard work with no fun. This is far from the truth. The days are designed to be challenging, but not exhausting. Each day is different depending on the terrain, distance to be covered, trail conditions and the pace of the group. However, as a guide, most days begin with breakfast at 7 am. You will then need to pack up your duffle bags before breakfast, as porters will set off early. Most days you will be on the trail by 8 am to take advantage of the cool morning and avoid the afternoon winds. Stop for a leisurely lunch around noon. This is generally about 2 hours, allowing plenty of time to explore the village or relax. The afternoon walk is shorter and you usually arrive around 4 pm, leaving time for excursions to nearby sites, exploration of the village or simply relaxing with a book and catching up on your diary. On some days we do not walk in the afternoons. Dinner is generally at 7 pm, after which you can relax by the fire.
Your duffel bag is restricted to 15 kgs. This is carried by porters and is not available to you during the day. Your daypack should contain all that you need during the day: warm clothing, water bottle, camera, sunscreen, lip salve, etc. Your guide will let you know each evening of any extra items you will need for the following day. If you have a comfortable daypack, your load will only be a few kilograms and will be hardly noticeable.
Meals are provided as mentioned in the itinerary.
On the trek, meals are available in teahouses, lodges and bhattis, with limited but tasty menus. Meals are generally simple but filling and include items such as noodles, curry and rice and momos. You may wish to stock up on ‘trail munchies’ before leaving Kathmandu.
The guide is in charge of the trek and looking after you. This is the person you should go to with all problems, concerns and questions. All our guides are highly trained in all aspects of trekking, conservation, high altitude medicine, first aid and emergency procedures. They are professionals selected for their knowledge and passion for Nepal and its people. Please remember that they are local guides and their English may be basic and limited to trek related topics.
It is impossible to have a ‘foolproof’ grading system as everyone has different expectations and perceptions of their own fitness level. Remember that no trek in the Himalaya is a stroll, as all involve going up and down in altitude, and altitude affects everyone differently. Regardless of age or fitness, preparation, before you arrive, is essential. Aerobic activity, swimming, cycling or brisk walking is recommended or, at the very least, walking up and down stairs in your trekking boots.
It is essential that you take out comprehensive travel insurance before travelling, which should cover against personal accidents, medical expenses, emergency evacuation and repatriation (including helicopter evacuation) and personal liability. We also recommend that it also covers cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
There are no specific health requirements for entry into Nepal. However, you should consult your doctor for current information regarding vaccinations, high altitude medication and medications for any reasonably foreseeable illnesses that you may encounter while travelling in Nepal. Be aware that some drugs have different side-effects at altitude. Please discuss this carefully with your doctor.
Please be aware that we will be travelling to remote areas, some of which are far from medical facilities. We strongly recommend that you carry a personal first aid kit, as well as sufficient quantities of any medicines you may need (including a spare pair of glasses).
Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) is a serious issue. It is the result of the failure of the body to adapt to high altitude and can affect anyone, regardless of age or fitness. It usually occurs above 1,800 meters, and the likelihood of being affected increases as you ascend. The way to reduce the effects of altitude is to ascend slowly, 300 meters per day above 3,000 meters, until you have acclimatized. Poor acclimatization can result in headaches, nausea, sleeplessness, difficulty breathing and the swelling of fingers and glands. The only cure for AMS is to descend to a lower altitude, and your guide’s decision on this matter is final.
Although our routes are carefully planned to allow for proper acclimatization, you may feel some effects of altitude for the first few days, or at higher altitudes. Breathlessness, lethargy and mild headaches are not uncommon, and generally decrease as your body adjusts. Maintaining adequate fluid intake is essential. Please advise your guide if you feel more severe symptoms, and do not medicate yourself without discussing it with them first.
Nepal has a generally temperate climate, but altitude causes distinct variations. The monsoon sweeps up from India each summer, making mid-June to mid-September humid and wet. The three other distinct seasons are all suitable for trekking, and each has its own advantages.
Changing global weather patterns have had their effect on the Himalayan climate, and mountain weather is notoriously changeable. Always be prepared for a change in conditions. If severe or dangerous weather conditions occur, your guide’s decision on any course of action is final.
Winter (December-February) is cold and you will need to be prepared with warm clothing. However, the air is very clear, providing the best mountain views.
Spring (March-May) is increasingly warm (especially during the day) and the rhododendrons are in bloom. Mist and clouds are not uncommon.
Summer (June-August) is the monsoon season. It will rain every day, although generally in the evening and night. The hills turn lush and green, and at higher elevation alpine plants will bloom.
Autumn (September-November) is the most pleasant trekking season, as the days are warm but not hot. There is little chance of snow and the skies are clear.
Your guide will help you budget for these. Prices for vehicle-based excursions depend on the number of participants.
Please note it is your responsibility to arrange and pay for your visas. You can get your visa at Tribhuvan International Airport on arrival, or apply online before you arrive. To fill out the online form, go to: www.online.nepalimmigration.gov.npYou will get a unique code after submitting your online visa application. Based on this code, upon arrival in Nepal, the immigration office will grant you your visa, after payment.
The prices (in US$) are:
Multiple entry visa valid for 15 days – US $25
Multiple Entry Visa for 30 days – US $40
Multiple entry visa valid for 90 days – US $100
It’s best to bring a mixture of cash in major currencies – USD, CAD, EUR, AUD – in large and small denominations. Cash and ATM cards are mostly used in Nepal. Both Visa and Master Card are accepted by ATMs. Currency exchange rates fluctuate. As of January 2016, the exchange rate was 1USD=104.25 Nepali Rupees.
No ATM machines are available while trekking or when staying at the Homestays. You should exchange sufficient cash into Nepalese Rupees for the duration of your trek, before leaving Kathmandu and Pokhara, as there is no exchange facilities or ATMs in villages along the way.
It is customary in Asia to tip service providers—such as waiters, porters and guides–approximately 10% of the total bill, depending on the service. Tipping is expected, though not compulsory, and shows an expression of satisfaction with the people who have assisted you. There will be several occasions during the trip in which to tip local guides and drivers. You may do this individually, or your tour leader will offer to collect the money and tip as a group. Recommendations for tipping drivers and local guides range from $1-$2 USD per person per day, depending on the quality and length of the service. For porters while trekking, the recommended amount is 300-500Rs (4-5USD) per porter per day; ask your guide for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture. The amount is entirely a personal preference, but as a guideline, $20-30 USD per person is appropriate.
Arrival in Kathmandu
If you fly into the Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport during the day, you will be treated to views of the snow-capped Himalayas in the distance, and the high wooded hills of the Kathmandu Valley. After you’re picked up in the arrivals hall by our representative, you will be briefed about our company and given other general information.
Overnight in Hotel Traditional Comfort
Introduction to the Kathmandu Valley
Today we will take you to Kathmandu’s major attractions, as the ultimate introduction to Nepal.
Kathmandu Durbar Square is listed as one of the eight UNESCO World Heritage sites in Nepal, and is a cluster of medieval temples, palaces, courtyards and winding streets. It is the traditional, social, religious and urban focal point of the capital city. Although it did suffer considerable damage in the 2015 earthquake, there is still much to see. We will also tour the various markets that radiate out from the Durbar Square, including Itumbahal, famous for its herbs, spices and medicines; Indrachowk, one of Kathmandu’s most colorful local markets; and Asan Chowk, dedicated to spices and local vegetables.
Patan Durbar Square is one of the three medieval Durbar Squares in the Kathmandu Valley (the other two being in Kathmandu and Bhaktapur), and although it did suffer some damage in the 2015 earthquake, it is now the best-preserved and most complete of the three. The square is dominated by the eighteenth century palace, with temples and a water tank being other attractions. You’ll also get a chance to visit the expertly renovated Patan Museum (inside what used to be the palace), which is generally regarded as one of the best museums in all of South Asia. The small but very well-curated collection of architectural information and Hindu and Buddhist arts and crafts is a perfect introduction to the symbols and architectural styles of Nepal, before going out and seeing them in ‘real life’, and for that reason it should be one of the first stops for any visitor to Kathmandu. Around the corner of the Patan Museum is the dazzling Golden Temple, which is one of the best examples of courtyard temple architecture in Kathmandu, and a combination of Buddhist and Newari architecture. It’s actually made from bronze, not gold, but that hardly matters because it is amazing regardless!
Boudhanath Stupa is one of the largest stupas in the world, and the most important Tibetan Buddhist monument outside of Tibet. Hundreds of pilgrims gather every day to make a ritual circumnavigation around the massive dome. The ancient belief is that even a great sinner shall be granted the chance to atone for their sins if they circle the Stupa even once. Tibetan monks in maroon robes with shaved heads wander the prayer-flag-decked streets, while pilgrims spin prayer wheels and light butter lamps in devotion. Since 1959, the Boudha area of Kathmandu has been the center of Tibetan exiles in Nepal. Go for a wander through the quieter lanes around the Stupa and you’ll find an array of interesting shops, craft workshops and other religious structures with a strong Tibetan flavor.
Pashupatinath Temple is Nepal’s most sacred Hindu temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva. It has been on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1979. Although only Hindus are permitted to enter the main courtyard, tourists can view the temple, and the Bagmati River runs beneath it, from the eastern bank. Pashupatinath is also one of the 14 places in Kathmandu where Hindu cremations take place. The idea of witnessing a cremation may be surprising or difficult for some tourists, especially those from cultures where such things are not practiced publicly. But there is nothing to be concerned about, and seeing such rituals can be a moving and rewarding experience as long as you keep your distance out of respect for the families of the deceased. At Pashupatinath you will also see a lot of sadhus, Hindu holy men, dressed in interesting clothes (or lack of!) and adorned with striking decorations and hairstyles. They will usually offer to pose for your photo in front of one of the smaller temples they live in, in exchange for a small fee.
Overnight in Hotel Traditional Comfort
Drive to the Chitwan
Leaving Kathmandu early in the morning we follow the Prithvi Highway along the Trisuli River, passing steep rice terraces, small riverside villages and vertigo-inducing suspension bridges. At Mugling we turn south and the Central Hills soon give way to the flat, fertile lowlands of the Western Terai and Chitwan National Park.
Chitwan National Park and the surrounding areas are the homeland of the indigenous Tharu people. They may understand Nepali, but they have their own language, culture and traditional beliefs that reflect this area’s proximity to India. On the way to our accommodation you can observe the local people in their traditional dress that differs from that elsewhere in Nepal, the flat, beautiful green farmland, and the Tharu villages dotted over the plains. In the evening you will get an opportunity to help with the preparation of your dinner, together with the local family. At night the Tharu people from the village will perform a cultural dance for you.
Overnight in Sapana Village Lodge
Chitwan National Park - Welcome to The Jungle
Today you get to enjoy various activities that will get you up close and personal with the abundant wildlife of the Chitwan National Park, including safaris, elephant washing, a boat ride and foot/cycle tours of the countryside.
It’s a good idea to start the day early if you want to make the most of the wildlife spotting activities in Chitwan National Park. Home to more than 600 rhinoceros, you are almost guaranteed a sighting of the enormous, magnificent creatures on a jungle safari. Your professional guide will make sure that you get close to the animals without being in danger. As well as the mighty rhinos, you will also see many colorful birds, deer, and possibly even the engendered gharial crocodiles from a paddle boat trip on the Narayani River. You may have the chance to tour the Tharu villages by bicycle or on foot, and even have a sunset cup of masala chai (tea) by the spectacular river. You may have expected to be overwhelmed by the beautiful mountains in Nepal, but you certainly won’t forget the serene beauty of the Chitwan National Park, which exemplifies the diversity of Nepal.
(Programs in Chitwan are subject to change depending upon local conditions).
Overnight in Sapana Village Lodge
Lumbini - The Birthplace of Lord Buddha
Today we head west through the region known as the Western Terai. This narrow strip of flat land stretching along Nepal’s southern border was once jungle, but much of the area was cleared in the 1950s and is now the country’s most productive region. Our stop is Lumbini.
Lumbini is the place where Siddhartha Gautam, otherwise known as the Buddha, was born in 623 BCE. The sacred place was marked by a stone pillar erected by Emperor Ashoka in 249 BCE. It is now home to many monasteries and monuments that have been built by various nations, each reflecting the architectural traditions of their respective cultures. Although the site was neglected for many centuries and had fallen into ruin, Lumbini is now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is a place of pilgrimage and a symbol of world peace.
Overnight in Hotel Buddha Maya Garden
Pokhara - The Queen of Lakes
Today’s drive is almost directly north, along the Siddhartha Highway, a dramatic road that twists and turns through landslide-scarred valleys, with spectacular Himalayan views. Climbing back to over 1000metres, the road also descends to the deep, steamy gorge floor of the mighty Kali Gandaki. During the monsoon, this road may be blocked by floods or landslides, making it necessary to take the longer route east to Bharatpur.
Pokhara is a small city of remarkable natural beauty, as it is situated on a sparkling lake, Fewa Tal, with hills and high mountains all around. Three of the world’s ten highest mountains can be seen from the city (Dhaulagiri, Annapurna I and Manaslu), as well as the distinctive Macchapuchhre (Fishtail). After reaching Pokhara and comfortably checking into our hotel, you will have the opportunity to walk around the Lakeside area of Pokhara, which is full of souvenir shops and restaurants serving international cuisine.
Overnight in Hotel Mount Kailash
Pokhara – Nayapul – Tirkhedhunga (Hello to the Mountains)
After breakfast, we start our trekking day with an hour and half drive to Nayapul. There, we meet our team of porters, who will carry your luggage during the trek. At Nayapul we will need to show your Park Entry Permit. Formalities out of the way, we then proceed on to Tirkhedhunga, through bamboo forests and pasture, and past a large waterfall.
Overnight in Basic Lodge
Tirkhedhunga – Ghorepani
This morning we will drop downhill to cross the Bhurungdi Khola River, before climbing the steep stone staircase to the Magar village of Ulleri. Reputation has it that there are 3767 steps—it’s certainly the toughest section of the trek! But making it all worthwhile is that as you climb, the peaks of Annapurna South and Hiunchuli emerge from behind the foothills. Pasture and cultivated fields soon give way to deep forests of oak and rhododendron as we reach Ghorepani.
Overnight in Basic Lodge
Poon Hill - Sunrise is best in the Poon Hill
An early, pre-dawn hour-long climb up to Poon Hill (3210m) will be rewarded with a spectacular, unobstructed sunrise view of the high Himalaya. Poon Hill is named after the hill tribe Pun, inhabitants of Ghorepani and the surrounding areas. From Poon Hill you will be able to see Dhaulagiri, Tukuche, Dhampus, Nilgiri, Annapurna,Macchapuchhre, Manaslu,Lamjung and many more.
Trek to Ghandruk (1940 meters), via Tadapani
After descending from Poon Hill we will continue our trek to Tadapani, during which we will trek along ridges and through pine and rhododendron forest. Tadapani has close views of Annapurna South and Macchapuchhre. The trail initially climbs through thick forest before clearing. We eventually reach the Gurung village of Ghandruk.
Overnight in Basic Lodge
Trek to Nayapul
This is our final day of trekking. We walk for around three hours, to descend to the Modi River and a small village called Eklebhatti. From here, we follow the river for about two hours, until we reach Nayapul.
Drive to Pokhara
From Nayapul we drive back to Pokhara, retracing the journey of a few days earlier.
Overnight in Hotel Mount Kailash
Fly to Kathmandu from Pokhara
The flight from Pokhara to Kathmandu takes just 30 minutes, but in that time you will be treated to spectacular views of the Himalayas.
After arrival in Kathmandu you will have free time to go for a walk or go souvenir shopping. Or, after all that trekking, just relax in the hotel!
Overnight in Hotel Traditional Comfort
Bhakatpur - The living history of the ancient Royal Monarchy
Bhaktapur is the quintessential Newari city, and one of the three old kingdoms of the Kathmandu Valley (the other two being Kathmandu and Lalitpur). Bhaktapur has some of the finest architecture in all Nepal. Among the three oldest cities of the Kathmandu Valley, Bhaktapur was once the largest, and was capital of Nepal during the Malla period.
In the narrow lanes and open squares of Bhaktapur you can see traditional crafts being made, such as pottery, metalwork, art, and the finest woodwork. Newari craftspeople are still renowned today as producers of some of the best traditional crafts in Nepal.
Departure to the airport for onward journey
We shall exchange our farewells, and promises to meet again. Because, “Nepal, Once is Not Enough.”