An ideal family vacation with a bit of everything Nepal has to offer. Discover something of the country’s history as well as artistic and religious traditions with visits to UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Kathmandu and Bhaktapur.
A short trek takes you into villages amidst awesome mountain scenery and amid the lowland jungle terrain of Chitwan National Park you are sure to see elephants and rhino as well as plenty of other animal and bird life – perhaps even a tiger. And there is time to relax also – Kurintar is perched above the Trishuli River and also offers options for short hikes or river rafting. Sit back in Lakeside Pokhara and admire the towering Annapurna Range – or opt for more adventurous pursuits (hiking, boating, paragliding…)
Absolute highlights of the trip are your homestays in Hemjakot and Barauli. Here you are welcomed into the communities, discovering firsthand the cultures and traditions of two very different ethnic groups – Gurung from the hills, Tharu from the plains.
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 Bhaktapur Durbar Square with Pottery making session.
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 with many locals continuing to practice these crafts. Bhaktapur is also legendary for its colourful festivals and its delicious and unique cuisine.
Although the town was damaged in the 2015 earthquake, there has been a lot of work to repair the old buildings. You will explore the magnificent Golden Gate in Durbar Square, the Palace of 55 Windows, the Nyata Pola Temple, Newar houses and pottery square.
Handicrafts are still made here the old-fashioned way, by hand, and you will be shown traditional pottery making processes, from forming the pots with a wooden paddle to drying them. To make your visit complete, why not try your hand at pottery.
Kathmandu to Kurintar transfer.
The drive from Kathmandu to Kurintar offers incredible views of this diverse country and you pass 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.
Located above the sandy banks of the Trishuli River, Kurintar is the perfect setting to spend the afternoon relaxing, exploring the village or taking a half day rafting trip – Kurintar is a popular spot for rafting trips and offers easy options for beginners.
Kurintar to Pokhara Transfer.
Drive along the Trishuli River and head into the beautiful Pokhara valley. Pokhara, also known as “lake city”” is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Nepal. Well-known as the starting point for numerous treks, it is also renowned for its natural beauty and majestic mountain views.
The afternoon is free for your own explorations.
Pokhara to Kande. Trek to Australian Camp.
This morning we will drive to Kande, about 1 hour from Pokhara. There is a nice gentle walking trail from Kande to Australian Camp. It takes about 1.5 hours to the beautiful village known as Australian Camp (originally “Thulo Kharka” meaning big pasture, it used to be a seasonal herding place of buffalo and cow herders).
On a clear day you have unobstructed views of the Himalayan Mountains of Annapurna range, Machhapuchhre, Manaslu range and also beautiful green hills.
Trek from Australian Camp to Hemjakot Homestay.
From Australian Camp, trek down to Hemjakot Village via Dhampus, which takes 2-3 hours. The trail to Hemjakot is very nice, walking through the jungle. If it is a clear day, you will see Annapurna Himalayas in the background. Rich in cultural authenticity and beautiful views, Hemjakot is an ideal destination for travellers to relax, admire the stunning scenery and immerse themselves in village life.
The thirteen households comprising the Hemjakot Community Homestay network belong to the Gurung and Dalit communities. The Tibetan-derived Gurung community is culturally dominant here. Staying at this homestay gives visitors the chance to experience the rural lifestyles of these mountain-dwelling people.
Hemjakot to Pokhara transfer. Free afternoon in Pokhara.
After breakfast, hike down to Hemja Phedi which will take about 1 and half hours to 2 hours. Like yesterday most of the route will be through forest. Upon reaching Hemja Phedi your transport will be waiting.
In Pokhara the rest of the day is free to relax, explore Lakeside, take a boat trip in Phewa Lake… the options are almost endless.
Pokhara to Chitwan transfer. Welcome program in Chitwan.
From Pokhara, you drive toward the dense forest and fertile lowlands of Sauraha, gateway to Chitwan National Park. Just across the Rapti River rhinos, tigers, and crocodiles inhabit its tropical forests. This is also where the Tharu People reside.
On arrival at the lodge, you will be offered welcome drinks and the details of your stay and the jungle activities you will enjoy are explained.
In the late afternoon sail along the Rapti River looking out for crocodiles and other wetland species – maybe even a rhino wallowing. Enjoy sunset at the confluence of the Rapti and Narayani Rivers before returning.
There will also be a slide show presentation on Chitwan National Park: one of our jungle experts will introduce the background, history and wildlife of the park.
Jungle Activities: Jeep Safari, Nature Jungle Walk, Tharu Cultural Stick Dance.
Jeep Safari: Scheduled morning and afternoon safaris are organized in the core area of the National Park using lodge’s own 4X4 vehicles. Jeeps are one of the best ways to experience the dense flora and diverse wildlife of Chitwan as we pass through various habitats.
Nature Jungle Walk: Nature walks are a unique highlight of Chitwan. Exploring on foot helps you to be into the shoes of naturalists who explore, study and unravel the hidden secrets of the park. The jungle walk offers a great chance of spotting wildlife and is quite adventurous.
There are well-defined circuits based on animal movements in different habitats of the park and the walks length and difficulty will be adjusted to suit you.
Both jeep and walking safaris are led by experienced naturalists and nature guides – routes will be based on current wildlife activity and weather conditions.
Evening Tharu Cultural Dance Program: Watch traditional Tharu stick dances at the cultural centre. These dances are performed by the local Tharu people with long and short sticks. They represent the different festivals and ceremonies and are often quite war-like.
Jungle Activities: Boat safari in the morning, Tharu village walk.
An early morning (pre-breakfast) boat safari will show a different aspect of the river and wildlife activity than seen at sunset.
One of the largest indigenous ethnic groups living in the Terai (Lowland) are the Tharu. They usually live beside rivers close to the heavily forested regions along the southern base of the Siwalik mountain range.
You can take a village tour visiting various settlements seeing how they comfortably combine modernity and tradition. Or spend a full day visiting their settlements and immersing yourself in the culture. Many still live in the earthen, thatched-roof huts and cottages that are the traditional village architecture of the Tharu people, surrounded by gardens, domesticated animals and farmland.
Chitwan to Kathmandu transfer.
Returning to Kathmandu you will leave the lowlands, climbing into the Central Hills to join the Prithvi Highway at Mugling. It is then a slow journey towards east for approx. 6 hours along the busiest highway in Nepal. It is however a scenic route with steep rice terraces making a dramatic backdrop to the river, funeral pyres, suspension bridges and villages.
You will still have some free time for souvenir shopping or just relaxing. Maybe visit Thamel, the major tourist hub of Kathmandu where you can shop, visit cafes and restaurants.
Free Day in Kathmandu.
Day at leisure for individual activities.
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.
My friends and I booked our trip with RMT based on a recommendation of a friend. I am pleased with how they managed our itinerary while we were there. Arzoo our contact person was very responsive.