This compact tour of Nepal gives you a taste of the countries beautiful mountain scenery, ancient cultures & religions, lush wildlife parks, remote hilltop villages, and includes time to relax in the lakeside town of Pokhara.
We start in Kathmandu with a guided walking tour through the bustling streets of the city to the central Durbar Square, full of ornate temples and palaces. Next we visit the hilltop temple of Swayambunath, overlooking the city.
Next we head to Chitwan National Park, which lies in the lowland Terai region of Nepal, bordering India. You have the option of an exciting day's white water rafting on the Trisuli River en-route to Chitwan if you wish. While at the park we include a jungle walk, river canoe trip, and either an elephant or jeep safari, as well as a village walk and early morning bird watching walk.
Our next stop is the ancient Newari hilltop town of Bandipur. The centre of Bandipur has been restored and its a lovely place to spend a little time looking around and enjoying the great mountain views if the weather is clear. You also have some free time in the afternoon here to hike down to Siddha Cave, one of the largest in Asia, or take a walk through the hillsides, villages and farmland around Bardia to get a real taste for rural Nepalese life.
From Bandipur we head to the lakeside town of Pokhara with its impressive setting at the foot of the mighty Annapurna mountain range. We include a tour here and a full free day when you can take some more short (or longer walks), hire bikes to look around, take a rowing boat out on the lake, or just relax amidst the beautiful scenery.
We head back to the Kathmandu valley next and enjoy a night in the hilltop village of Nagarkot on the rim of the Kathmandu Valley. With luck you can see Everest from here on a clear morning! Our final tours are to the ancient centre of Bhaktapur, a World Heritage Site, and to Pasupatinath temple and Boudhanath stupa before you finish with one last night in Kathmandu.
DAY 1 Arrive in Kathmandu. Transfer to hotel
We greet you on your arrival in Kathmandu airport today and transfer you to your hotel in the Thamel tourist disctrict of the city. Our rep will help you settle in and familiarise you with the local area. OVERNIGHT
Kathmandu hotel DAY 2 Kathmandu walking tour. Swayambunath stupa.
Our tour starts today with a guided walk from our hotel in Thamel through small back streets full of numerous tiny shops, workshops, temples, and stupas to Durbar Square with its array of wooden and stone carved temples and palaces. After lunch at a rooftop restaurant overlooking the square, we drive to the important Swayambunath Stupa which sits on a hilltop overlooking the city, visible from miles around. Also known locally as the 'monkey temple', we'll see these nimble inhabitants scampering in and around the trees and temple. OVERNIGHT
Kathmandu hotel MEALS
Breakfast DAY 3 Drive to Chitwan National Park. Rafting option
This morning we drive out of the Kathmandu Valley and drive to Chitwan National Park in the lowland Terai region of Nepal that borders India. This will be our first taste of rural Nepal, and we'll see terraced farmland, forested hills, and rushing rivers. An option is available today to spend a few hours white water rafting on the Trisuli river (those choosing this option will rejoin the group in Chitwan this evening). On arrival in Chitwan, we check into our lodge, and then take an early evening village walk to see how the local Tharu people live and work. OVERNIGHT
Breakfast & dinner DAY 4 Chitwan National Park wildlife safaris
We spend the whole day today exploring Chitwan National Park in search of the endangered Asian one-horned rhino, which Chitwan is famous for protecting. If you're very lucky you may also see a leopard, wild elephant or sloth bear, or even an elusive Bengal tiger, while the rhino, deer, monkeys, sloth bears, wild boar and numerous different birdlife are common sightings. Activities included are a jungle walk, river canoe trip and elephant safari. You may also take a jeep safari in the afternoon if you wish in place of the elephant safari. OVERNIGHT
Chitwan Lodge MEALS
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner DAY 5 Chitwan to the hilltop village of Bandipur
Early this morning you can take a walk outside the park dedicated mainly to bird watching, or you can take an early morning elephant ride if you didn’t do one yesterday (extra fee). After breakfast we leave Chitwan and the Terai and drive to the ancient hilltop Newari trading village of Bandipur. The centre of Bandipur has been restored, and is vehicle free, with some lovely old buildings. You have time this afternoon to relax here, or take a walk or hike through the surrounding fields, villages and hills. Walks include a 2-hour downhill hike through fields and forest to Siddha Cave, one of the largest in Asia and full of impressive rock formations (bring a torch). You can hike back uphill to Bandipur from here or walk down to the highway for our vehicle to pick you up. A shorter walk from the town centre can take you uphill for around 30min to the Thani Mai Temple, which is well worth it for its views at sunset if the weather is clear. In fact the whole of Bandipur affords good mountain views. OVERNIGHT
Breakfast DAY 6 Bandipur to Pokhara. Afternoon tour
We leave Bandipur this morning and drive on to the lakeside town of Pokhara, which sits at the base of the Annapurna range of mountains and is the main access point for trekking and rafting in the area. We will visit various places around Pokhara this afternoon, including the Peace Pagoda, Tibetan refugee camp and Devi Falls. OVERNIGHT
Breakfast DAY 7 Pokhara. Free day
Your day is free in Pokhara today. There's plenty to do, with beautiful walks into the countryside around the lake available from less than an hour to a full day. One popular hike is to the top of Sarangkot, a hilltop just outside Pokhara which provides great mountain views. You can walk there and back, or drive most of the way in one or both directions. Other options include hiring bicycles, or taking a rowing boat out on Phewa Lake. The setting beneath the spectacular Annapurna mountain range ensures any time spent in and around Pokhara is a pleasure. OVERNIGHT
Pokhara hotel MEALS
Breakfast DAY 8 Drive from Pokhara to the Kathmandu Valley. Overnight Nagarkot
We leave the Annapurna region behind today and drive back to Kathmandu (approx. 7 hours including stops). We skirt the city and head into the hills surrounding the valley and spend the night in the village of Nagarkot, The village is perched on a ridge and is known for having some of the best views in the Kathmandu Valley. OVERNIGHT
Breakfast DAY 9 Bhaktapur ancient centre, Pasupatinath & Boudhanath
This morning we hope for spectacular sunrise views from Nagarkot before driving down to one of the other ancient cities in the Kathmandu valley, Bhaktapur. The centre of Bhaktapur has been designated a World Heritage Site, and hosts the best preserved ancient buildings and temples in the Kathmandu valley, with some great examples of traditional wooden architecture to be seen. Our tour here will really give you a taste for how life has been led in the valley for centuries, and you'll see several traditional crafts still taking place, including a whole square dedicated to pottery. After lunch we head back into Kathmandu to visit two of the city's most important, and contrasting religious pilgrimage sites - Pasupatinath temple (Hindu) and Boudhanath stupa (Buddhist). The evening is free for you to explore Kathmandu and Thamel one last time and enjoy a farewell meal together. OVERNIGHT
Bandipur - 3-star hotel MEALS
Breakfast DAY 10 Kathmandu. Departure transfer to the airport
You have some free time in Kathmandu today until we transfer you to the airport for departure. Extensions to the tour are available to add more trekking, white water rafting or to visit Bardia National Park (the best place in Nepal to see tigers). First thing this morning there is also the option to take a spectacular mountain viewing flight up to see Mt. Everest (requires an evening international flight departure).OVERNIGHT