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Nepal Encompassed

Trip type: 
Cultural
Adventure level: 
3. Moderate
Max group size: 
12
Avg user rating: 
2.5
Asia, Nepal | 16 days
Trip code: 
HNSN
What's included: 

Transport - Private Bus, Minibus, Jeep

Accommodation - Guesthouse (7 nts), Hotel (3 nts), Farmstay (2 nts), Lodge (2 nts)

Meals - No meals are included on this trip

Trip Highlights: 
Little-visited Bandipur
Wildlife of Chitwan National Park
Kathmandu & Pokhara
see full itinerary >>

Trip Highlights: 
Little-visited Bandipur
Wildlife of Chitwan National Park
Kathmandu & Pokhara
see full itinerary >>
What's included: 

Transport - Private Bus, Minibus, Jeep

Accommodation - Guesthouse (7 nts), Hotel (3 nts), Farmstay (2 nts), Lodge (2 nts)

Meals - No meals are included on this trip

Trip Overview: 

A non-trekking cultural journey discovering Nepal’s highlights. Many people want to see the Himalaya but simply don't want to trek, and, contrary to popular belief, this is possible. This trip is the perfect introduction to Nepal - and to adventure travel - offering a more relaxed journey through this exciting and beautiful mountain country. The itinerary includes mountain views, local villages, and the lowland jungle of Chitwan National Park. So no trekking, but no shortage of adventure!

Itinerary: 
Day
1-3
Kathmandu

Kathmandu

Take an overnight flight - on arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

Namaste! Welcome to Nepal.

Welcome meeting at 18:00 on Day 2. 

Kathmandu is a fascinating mixture of legend and modern development with a rich artistic and cultural heritage. Narrow lanes lead to small squares and courtyards where ornate carved balconies overlook shrines and temples. Crowded markets and bazaars are the centre of Nepali life, where stalls and small hole-in-the-wall shops sell everything from bangles to Buddhas to beetroot. Kathmandu has been a travellers' centre for many years and this is reflected in the international flavour of the bright lights and 'Coca Cola culture' of the central Thamel district.

Take a tour of the significant cultural and religious landmarks of Kathmandu, starting with a visit to one of the holiest Hindu temples in the world - Pashupatinath, dedicated to one of the trinity Gods in Hindu pantheon. Meet the saffron clad, dreadlock sporting ascetics who readily pose for photos for little alms. Witness the Hindu cremation on one of the funeral pyres on the other side of the Bagmati River.

Bodhnath is a short distance away, located in the heart of the Tibetan community, Bodhnath's stupa is the largest in Nepal, and the area is a maze of restaurants and workshops. Later, climb to the 'monkey temple' of Swayambhunath. Situated on a hill top, the instantly recognisable stupa, with its Buddha eyes, attracts a steady stream of pilgrims, and the views out over the valley are superb. The guided tour now takes us through the heart of the old city to Durbar Square, home to the palace of the Kumari Devi, who is considered to be a living goddess. You conclude the tour walking through the old market areas of Indrachowk and Asan to the KEEP office.

KEEP (Kathmandu Environmental Education Project) is a non-profit, non-governmental organisation that aims to minimise the negative influences of tourism by advocating and promoting 'minimum impact' trekking. Its aims are both to provide impartial and independent information to travellers, and to ensure the future ecological and cultural prosperity of Nepal through positive-impact tourism and outreach project work. At the organisation's Information Centre you will get practical advice about conservation and trekking.

Included Activities

  • Kathmandu - Visit to KEEP
  • Kathmandu - Guided city tour
  • Kathmandu - Durbar Square
  • Kathmandu - Bodhnath Stupa
  • Kathmandu - Pashupatinath Temple
  • Kathmandu - Swayambhunath Temple

Optional Activities

  • Kathmandu - Day trip to Patan - NPR400
  • Kathmandu - Everest scenic flight - USD190

Accommodation

Hotel (2 nts)

 

Day
4
Bhaktapur

Bhaktapur

Crowded with visitors from Kathmandu during the height of the day, the rest of the time Bhaktapur offers a true Nepali experience. Simply wander the narrow streets from square to square or down cobblestone laneways to watch the local traditions come alive before your eyes, and appreciate the peaceful simplicity of this town. Bhaktapur has its gem in the Durbar Square - a World Heritage site listed by UNESCO. The wooden palace and the five storey pagoda temple are two of the most beautiful buildings in Nepal and the people here live up to their town's name, which translates as 'town of devotees'. This palatial enclave has bewitched pilgrims and travellers for centuries.

Our guesthouse has small rooms, and is in a great location close to the Bhaktapur-Nyatapola Temple and porters square. A roof top restaurant offers a fabulous view of Bhaktapur.

Accommodation

Guesthouse (1 nt)

Day
5/6
Nuwacot

Nuwacot

You travel to the historic town of Nuwakot and the Famous Farm (approx 6 hrs.)

Set on a terraced hillside above a fertile valley, the 'The Famous Farm' is an imposing manor house and two charming cottages. The Farm itself is a delight of quiet corners and verdant niches with terraces of colourful, organic crops. In the afternoon you explore the locality, including a visit to the former citadel of the Shah dynasty built to serve as an important stop on the thriving trans- Himalayan trade route.

Choose to either relax and enjoy the mountain air, or set off on pathways and trails through the nearby forest to explore this quiet corner of the upper Trisuli region. Foreign travellers are still a rarity in these parts so except some locals to be surprised and delighted by your presence.

Accommodation

Farmstay (2 nts)

Day
7/8
Bandipur

Bandipur

Transfer to Bandipur (4.5hrs approx) - located high on a ridge (1000m) above the road to Pokhara, is a relatively non-touristy town so it is unlikely that youwill meet many other travellers there. On a clear day the views of the Annapurna and Manaslu mountain ranges are amazing - as is the warm local welcome. Bandipur is a basic village but the surrounding countryside makes for great walks and all the locals will want to talk to you and guide you on your way.

At the eastern part of the town is the pagoda-roofed Bindabasini temple which acts as the abode of the goddess Durga, Bandipur's guadian deity. The rich wooden carvings and detailed brass-work that adorn the temple are replicas of those found in the many old pagoda structures of the Kathmandu Valley. The other important temples and shrines in the vicinity include the Mahalaxmi temple with its exquisite woodwork and the Khadka Devi temple which comes alive once a year during the Dashain festival.

Consider a hike to the less explored small village of Ramkot ‘Magar’ (approx. 4 hrs return), rich with local interaction opportunity's with the local villagers, witness age-old farming methods and bask in the glory of stunning views of the Himalayas, the views from here being in contrast to the ones you get from Bandipur. Or make a difference to give something back to the community - help out at the Learning Centre for under-privileged children.

Our guesthouse tonight is a restored village mansion in the heart of the old bazaar. The timber and red brick building with carved beams and staircases has pleasant twin and double rooms with separate shared facilities. In front of the guesthouse is a café and bar serving simple, delicious meals from locally sourced organic ingredients.

Accommodation

Guesthouse (2 nts)

 

Day
9-11
Pokhara

Pokhara

Embark on a drive to Pokhara, which takes approx 2.5hrs. Pokhara enjoys a delightful setting on a lake beneath the snow-capped peaks of the Annapurna range, making it an excellent place to relax. There may be time to hire a small boat for a quick paddle on the lake for sunset. There are also plenty of cafes where you can put your feet up and enjoy international cuisine, while the main street is full of shops and stalls selling a wide range of Nepali and Tibetan souvenirs.

Pokhara is part of a once vibrant trade route extending between India and Tibet. To this day, mule trains can be seen camped on the outskirts of the town, bringing goods to trade from remote regions of the Himalayas. This is the land of Magars and Gurungs, hardworking farmers and valorous warriors who have earned worldwide fame as Gurkha soldiers. The Thakalis, another important ethnic group here, are known for their entrepreneurship.

Set your alarm clocks for an early wake-up as this is the day you have an opportunity to witness one of the grandest spectacles; the first rays of sun splashing the snow garbed mountains of Annapurna range. The nearest one, Fishtail, is a mere 25 kms away from the viewpoint at Sarangkot. You drive by chartered vehicle to Sarangkot (approx. 25 minutes). There's also an option of walking up to the top most viewpoint at Sarangkot, about a 45 minute walk from the lower viewpoint. After breakfast down at the Lakeside,   visit one of the famous natural wonders of Pokhara- Devi's Fall, where the water from Fewa Lake thunders into a hole and disappears. You then proceed to the Tibetan Refugee Camp, located in close proximity to the Fall, where you can go bargain hunting for the Tibetan handicrafts in the many shops dotting the open-air market. Or you can simply roam around visiting the local monastery and the carpet factory witnessing 'girl-power' at work.

There are host of places you can visit and activities you can indulge in during your free time in Pokhara, for which you can always avail of your tour leaders recommendations and service.

You stay in a simple hotel in Pokhara.

Included Activities

  • Pokhara - Devi's Fall
  • Pokhara - Sarangkot visit
  • Pokhara - Tibetan Refugee Camp visit

Optional Activities

  • Pokhara - International Mountaineering Museum - NPR500
  • Pokhara - Boating on Fewa Lake - NPR500

Accommodation

Guesthouse (3 nts)

Day
12
Chitwan

Chitwan

It's time to head to the lowlands and to the famed Chitwan National Park. You drive to Chitwan by tourist bus early in the morning, and settle into our the hotel in the Sauraha village on the edge of Royal Chitwan National Park (approx. 5 hours). This afternoon you will pay a visit to a tribal 'Tharu' village by a traditional mode of tranport - a bullock cart.

You spend our first and last night in Chitwan, with the middle night spent at Ghatgai. Though the village itself is now developing, there are still some perfect settings, particularly where small restaurants look out over the river to the jungle beyond.

Included Activities

  • Chitwan NP - Canoe ride
  • Chitwan NP - Jungle walk
  • Chitwan NP - Crocodile Breeding Centre
  • Chitwan NP - Village tour

Accommodation

Lodge (1 nt)

Day
13
Ghatgai

Ghatgai

In the company of a local expert park guide you spend a short while in the morning canoeing deeper into the park (approx. 45mins) before you start the walk to Ghatgai, a village in another section of the park. The walk takes approximately 6 hours total but much of this time will be stopped at various watch-towers known as 'machans', for animal sightings and identifying various birds, wildlife and flora. The group splits, with no more than 5 or 6 people plus a guide in each group. You walk slowly and quietly to maximise your chances of seeing animals. Royal Chitwan Park offers some of the best wildlife-viewing in Asia, with rhinos, deer, monkeys and a wide array of bird life including the infamous Nepalese wild chickens. Accommodation in Ghatgai is a simple riverside lodge with cottage-style rooms which may be multishare. Toilet and bathrooms are shared.

Accommodation

Guesthouse (1 nt)

 

 

Day
14
Chitwan

Chitwan

Return to our hotel at the edge of the National Park via Twenty Thousand Lakes and get the chance to visit a crocodile breeding centre. The walk to the crocodile breeding centre is approximately 2 hours, with more opportunity to spot wildlife along the way. Following your visit here its another half hour walk to meet the vehicle, which will transfer you back to the hotel.

You stay in a hotel by the small village of Sauraha on the edge of the park and on the banks of the Rapti River.

Included Activities

  • Chitwan NP - Canoe ride
  • Chitwan NP - Jungle walk
  • Chitwan NP - Crocodile Breeding Centre
  • Chitwan NP - Village tour

Accommodation

Lodge (1 nt)

Day
15
Kathmandu

Kathmandu

It is a long bus journey back to Kathmandu (approx. 5 hrs). Arriving in the early afternoon, subject to road conditions, you'll check back into your hotel and the rest of the day is free for you to explore more of this legendary city.

Accommodation

Hotel (1 nt)

Day
16

Tour ends

Your adventure ends today and you will be transferred to the airport for your flight home.

 

In the Heavens

A leisurely wander amongst the bazaars and temples of Kathmandu and the countryside around Bhaktapur gives you a wonderful introduction to everyday Nepali life. Leaving the capital behind visit historic Nuwacot staying in a converted farmhouse on a terraced hillside. Enjoy the traditional atmosphere and hills of Bandipur, an undiscovered gem, before continuing to Pokhara, famous for its beautiful lake-side setting and for stunning views of the Annapurna.

Non-trekking trip

Many people want to see the Himalaya but simply don’t want to trek - with this itinerary there are plenty of opportunities to stretch your legs if you wish; but you avoid a dedicated trek, and there is no shortage of adventure. Sarankot, for example, is reached by road and provides stunning views of the Annapurna massif. You can return to Pokhara by vehicle or ramble down the hill through the hamlets that dot the hillside - perfect!

Chitwan Jungle

Head to Chitwan National Park to try to spot rhino, plus if you’re really lucky, the elusive tiger! Closer to the ground you can explore the park by foot or canoe. Finally you return to Kathmandu for some last-minute shopping or a dramatic over-flight of Mt. Everest (optional).

Our Himalaya Discovery trip is just one of our Nepal tours. To find out more visit our Nepal holidays page.