This 14-day trip is the perfect way to get a taste of Nepal including major world heritage sites in the valley as well as Chitwan National Park, Pokhara and the traditional Newari town of Bandipur. Start by visiting Bhaktapur city in the Kathmandu Valley and savoring lunch in Panauti. Winding roads through rural landscapes then lead you south to experience the exotic wildlife in Chitwan – one of the best national parks in Asia. Chitwan is famous for Asian elephants, deer, One-Horned Rhinoceros and the elusive Royal Bengal Tiger as well as many species of bird. From here travel to Pokhara; the city of lakes and mountains. Pokhara is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, closely surrounded by beautiful, mesmerizing mountains. En-route back to Kathmandu a short visit to the traditional town of Bandipur. A living museum, Bandipur will give you a glimpse of ancient Newari culture and architecture. Wildlife, incredible scenery, cultural traditions and history – this trip introduces the incredible diversity and magic Nepal has to offer.
International Airport arrival transfer in Kathmandu.
Namaste & Welcome to Kathmandu, Nepal!!!
Depending on your travel history, your first impression of arriving at Tribhuvan International Airport may be an experience in and of itself. The time it takes will depend on whether you need to queue for a Visa-on-Arrival as well as immigration and customs. Luggage tags will be checked on exit so have your luggage receipt handy (usually attached to your boarding pass). Luggage trolleys are available and free to use. As you walk down the tunnel to the arrival lounge you will find many people showing various placards and waving anxiously. Please walk slowly checking the placards and do not get anxious – our airport representative will be waiting to welcome you with your name written clearly on the placard. They will assist you to your correct vehicle. Depending upon the traffic the drive to your booked hotel can take up to 30 minutes or more.
Sightseeing of Bhaktapur Durbar Square and Panauti.
Start the 6-hour sightseeing tour at Bhaktapur (12km away). A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bhaktapur is a brilliant illustration of Newari architectural skills, a city of pagoda roofs and harmonious blend of wood, mudbrick and copper. From the 13th century Bhaktapur’s kings of the Malla Dynasty were so fond of wrestling that Malla (wrestler/wrestling) became the hereditary title of the heir to Bhaktapur’s throne. The Durbar Square is wide and open to entertain wrestling bouts and beefy carved wrestlers are the city’s trademark – also worshipped as guardians of holy temples. Continue to Panauti, a small, traditional agricultural town where travellers can experience authentic Nepali-Newari hospitality and enjoy local home-cooked meals. Lunch at Panauti Community Homestay. Established by local women, the program is a paradigm of successful female empowerment/entrepreneurship in Nepal. You are also supporting and motivating local female entrepreneurs just by appreciating their local culture and tradition. Local folklore holds that Panauti was an offering from a King of Bhaktapur to his sister as dowry. Surrounded by green hills and holy rivers, this spiritual town is full of both Hindu and Buddhist temples, making it special in Nepal.
Sightseeing of Patan . Drive to Pharping.
Patan Durbar Square is surrounded by a fascinating array of temples built in various architectural styles representing different eras. The numerous temples display gods and humans together as in Nepal they have co-existed for millennia. Newari history and culture is apparent everywhere and the city is a source of great pride in Newari history and culture. Leaving Patan for Pharping the change in scenery is immediately apparent. Drive through farmland and lush green forest as the winding road climbs out of the Kathmandu Valley, which you can view below you. 19 kms south of Kathmandu this Newari town is home to numerous temples (Buddhist and Hindu) and is an important pilgrimage destination.
Pharping to Kurintar Transfer.
Kurintar is a small village located on the sandy banks of the Trishuli River and has become a popular destination for travellers interested in rafting on the river. The journey is stunning, and you will be able to relax and take in the incredible views of this diverse country from the car. You will see tiny settlements of various tribal groups including Chepang, Dorai, Magar as well as 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. Accommodation is in a village reached by hanging bridges. (20-30 mins walk)
Kurintar to Chitwan (Barauli). Welcome program in Barauli.
For a morning hike many local trails lead through the villages and fields. There is an abundance of birds and butterflies; orchids hang off the trees along shaded paths. Entering the forest, descend into a narrow valley; follow the stream via its many pools and falls to one that is deep enough to swim. Let the guide know your interests and how far you wish to go, and they can design a walk to suit you. Later drive to Barauli, a small Tharu village amidst the vast jungle and very close to Chitwan National Park. Famous for its wildlife, the area is less known for its rich cultural value. The Tharu are traditionally a shy, agricultural-based people. At Barauli, you will be welcomed, and you can relax and enjoy the food and culture of the local Tharu community. Accommodation is in twelve cottages especially built. They are simply, but attractively furnished and offer you everything you need for a comfortable stay – each has a modern attached bathroom and comfortable beds. The village women live close by and ‘own’ the cottages, with their names on a board outside. They take care of their guests as if you were staying in their own homes. The purpose of Barauli Community Homestay is to provide a platform for locals to generate extra income yet protecting their culture and traditional values whilst offering guests a close-up glimpse of typical village life.
Jungle Activities: Jeep Safari, Cycling, Tharu Cultural Stick Dance.
Jeep Safari: With Barauli located on the edge of Chitwan National Park, jungle safaris are one of the many highlights of our homestay. We have our own jeeps and excellent naturalists. There is no chance that you will miss anything there is to see on your jungle safari. Cycling: We assure you that cycling via small Tharu villages and fish farms to the shore of the Narayani River is an experience you will recount often. We recommend cycling towards evening when the sunset looks like a golden ball sinking into the Narayani River. Cultural Dance: Tharu are proud of their culture, perhaps because they have one of the best cultures in Nepal. The famous Tharu stick dance; when women dance and sing, is simply amazing. The dancing takes place in front of our homestay, normally at night, to provide a bit of recreation and relaxation from the days’ activities. If guests enjoy the dance, then they are more than welcome to join in.
Transfer from Chitwan to Bandipur.
From the plains of the Terai (Chitwan and Barauli) return to the hills as you drive via Mugling to Bandipur. Climb through pristine forests on the historical trail at Dumre Bazaar to a town that has hardly changed in centuries. Bandipur is a beautifully preserved hilltop town with traditional Newari houses. Once an important stop on the India-Tibet trade route, it was bypassed by the construction of the Prithvi Highway in the 1960s. Today Bandipur invites travelers to experience its unique offerings: rich hill culture, mountain views, and hiking. Unlike most trading posts in the Nepal hills, Bandipur has retained its age-old cultural attributes – temples, shrines, sacred caves, innumerable festivals and Newari architecture. With its attractive 18th-century architecture, pedestrian-zone and outdoor dining, it has a distinctly European feel.
Hike to Ramkot Village with a local guide and Pack lunch.
Local trails lead through villages where you can see typical village-life, traditional homes and interesting temples. Purano Kot, formerly an old fort, lies just a twenty-minute walk west from the bazaar. A small temple nearby contains old statutes. Beside this, a Newari temple has been built, where local people come to pray for rain to the god Mahadav during times of drought. A two-hour hike away is Ramkot village. It is a typical Magar village with traditional round houses, little touched by modern development. Named for the god Rama whom a local legend says spent a few days here during exile and left behind clothing. Another two hours along an easy trail is Chabdi Barahi, a pilgrimage site sacred to both Buddhist and Hindu.
Bandipur to Pokhara transfer.
It is a short drive from Bandipur, re-joining the Prithvi Highway before heading west across the Madi River; climbing again (with view of deep rocky gorges crossed by suspension bridges) then descending to the broad Seti Valley. Lakeside Pokhara is a relaxing laid-back place surrounded by incredible scenery, whilst the old town retains a glimpse of pre-tourist chaos and traffic.
Morning excursion to Sarangkot. Sightseeing at Tibetan Refugee Camp and World Peace Pagoda.
30-minutes away, the hill station at Sarangkot is a popular place to enjoy the sunrise over the Annapurna range and offers panoramic views of Pokhara, Fewa Lake, the sea of green hills and chains of snow-capped peaks. 3kms south of Pokhara Lakeside (near Devi’s Fall) is the small settlement of TashilIng. Near the camp entrance handicraft purveyors set up stalls and entice visitors to part with cash. There is also a small Tibetan carpet factory, where Tibetan carpet weaving techniques can be witnessed and a carpet showroom. On a clear day the views of the mountains are dotted with paragliders. Drive through lush green forest towards Chhorepatan and the brilliant white World Peace Pagoda – s a Buddhist pagoda-style monument constructed by Japanese monks on a hilltop overlooking Phewa Lake and Pokhara city with panoramic views of the Annapurna range.
Day at Leisure in Pokhara.
Pokhara is renowned for its adventure activities (including paragliding, ultralight flights and hiking) as well as just being a beautiful city that sits alongside Phewa Lake where you can simply hang out and relax. There is never a dull moment when you are in Pokhara – choose your activities.
Pokhara to Kathmandu transfer.
From Pokhara to Kathmandu the winding Prithvi Highway affords beautiful views of hills and village settlements as well as the Trishuli River.
Kathmandu is a diverse, historic city with amazing architecture, exquisite wood carvings and metal craft which showcase the skills of the Newar artisans of centuries ago. Hinduism and Buddhism have co-existed in the Kathmandu Valley from time immemorial and the Valley residents make little distinction as they worship at both Hindu and Buddhist shrines. Kathmandu is a city where ancient traditions are zealously guarded whilst at the same time embracing modern technology.
Free Day in Kathmandu.
Day at leisure for individual activities. Suggestions: You can book a guided tour and explore the heritage sites of the Kathmandu Valley, join a Dal bhat or Momo cooking course at a local’s house, or grab your map and explore the city on your own. Your options are limitless. Check out our Day Tours for more options
International Airport departure.
Check-in is 2.5 hours prior to departure, and it is best not to skim on time as queues can be long and slow. Your booked airport transfer will be at your hotel ready to take you to the airport in time, allowing approximately 30mins driving time depending on time of day. At the airport security will check your flight ticket – either hard copy or on your mobile – along with your passport before you are allowed to enter the departure hall.
I highly recommend Royal Mountain Travel. The entire staff was amazing, especially our guide, Puskar, who was incredibly friendly, knowledgeable, and patient.