15 Day Classical Experience
Nepal is admittedly a long way from your home. You may fall in love with the country – surely the combination of friendly people, awe-inspiring geography and its unique cultural blend captivates many people who return time and time again. One needs to look no further than the mountaineer Edmund Hillary. He was a last-minute replacement for a member of the expedition that was attempting to summit Mount Everest. While his mountaineering success is well known, fewer people are aware that Hillary was so captivated by the Nepali landscape and the Sherpa people that he returned to Nepal time and time again.
Since Nepal is so far away, if you are making the commitment to experience the country and its people, it makes good sense to fully immerse yourself. Nepal has so much to offer – friendly people, awe-inspiring mountainous scenery, rugged and accessible national parks teeming with wildlife, a unique religious and cultural blend of Hinduism and Buddhism. The exotic, mystical, bustling capital of Kathmandu sits in sharp contrast to a trekking path where no mechanized vehicles will be encountered. Serpentine twisting roads hugging the sides of mountains offer visual thrills, as does the opportunity to whitewater raft or gently sail a crystal-clear lake. Nepal truly has it all.
Trek and Tours, a locally owned Nepali company that knows Nepal inside and out, has created a 15-day trip that offers the chance to fully immerse you with all that is magical about Nepal. You will experience the unique cultural, architectural, geological and natural wonders. There will be opportunities to ride an elephant while searching for wildlife through a national park. A trek through valleys of the Himalayan foothills offers panoramic views of the mountains.
Our Classical Experience provides full but gently-paced days that will leave you with a lifetime of memories to savour.
Day 1Arrive at Kathmandu International Airport
Immediately outside of Customs you will be greeted by our representative and transferred by private van to your comfortable hotel. The remainder of the day will be at your leisure. Once you are settled, you will have various options to best begin your exploration of the sights of this ancient, exotic and fascinating city.
Overnight in Kathmandu
Day 2Kathmandu Sightseeing (plus optional morning flight over Himalayas)
For those interested, we offer an opportunity to take an optional early morning sightseeing flight over the rugged Himalayan mountains. You will be transported to the airport by private van.
Kathmandu’s airport can be chaotic with various international flights landing and small groups of hikers and mountaineers departing on small planes for their domestic treks. We will guide you to your plane and ensure that you smoothly board your 45-minute flight that will offer a stunning perspective of the Kathmandu Valley, lush vegetation, torrential rivers and wide valleys. The panorama shifts to jaw-dropping views of the jagged, towering snow-covered peaks whose outline is familiar to all. The plane will pass close to Mount Everest … and yes, it’s profile really is just as you have seen it in photographs!
After landing at the airport and returning to your hotel for breakfast, we will travel by private van to Pashupatinath, the largest Hindu temple of Nepal. Dedicated to the supreme Hindu god, Shiva, we will see exceptional carvings of various deities. Our guide will explain the meaning of the details of the fascinating ornate architecture of the various shrines and temples.
After lunch, our sightseeing tour continues as we make our way to Swayambhunath, a Tibetan Buddhist stupa whose watchful eyes gaze from a hilltop overlooking Kathmandu.
Overnight in Kathmandu
Day 3Drive to Chitwan National Park and Half-Day Safari
After breakfast, we depart by our private van for a 4-5 hours, 166 km ride on the winding Prithvi Highway. Throughout much of our journey, we will be able to see the Class IV and V rapids of the whitewater river Trishuli that surges far below us. We will pass through a variety of small Nepali villages that will afford us our first glimpse of a way of rural life that has changed little over the centuries. Our destination is a resort located immediately outside Chitwan National Park.
Chitwan National Park is Nepal’s first national park and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984. Within its 932 square kilometres of forest, marshlands and grasslands are endangered one-horned rhinos, Royal Bengal Tigers. Its waters are home to the South Asian freshwater (Gangetic) dolphin.
After a refreshing lunch at the resort, we will embark on a tour of the park. Our mode of transportation–nothing less than a giant Asian elephant!
We return to our resort in time for dinner and an evening performance by indigenous Tharu dancers.
Overnight in Chitwan
Day 4Full Day of Safari Activities in Chitwan
We enjoy a full and varied day of outdoor activities that will offer us a chance to appreciate the wide diversity of wildlife in this gorgeous national treasure.
Immediately upon waking (but leaving time for “a morning coffee”), we will accompany a park naturalist to view some of the hundreds of both residential and migratory bird species that find sanctuary here.
After breakfast, we will canoe on the Rapti River, viewing various birds, aquatic lie and hopefully members of the resident population of Gantetic dolphins.
Our final activity will be a jungle safari to view land-based wildlife. We will end with a visit to an elephant breeding centre. While we won’t observe “breeding”, we will witness “an elephant bathing session”.
Overnight in Chitwan
Day 5Drive to Lumbini and Half-Day of Sightseeing
After a second consecutive early morning of bird watching and an enjoyable breakfast, our van will take us 100 kilometres to the southern Nepalese holy city of Lumbini. Revered by Buddhists as the place where Buddha was born in 563 BC, there are numerous monasteries, temples and other holy sites.
After lunch, we will begin our leisurely exploration of this cradle of one of the world’s great religions. Our private guide will explain the significance of the Mayadevi Temple (that honors Buddha’s mother), the Pukarani Pond (where the Buddha took his first ritual bath) and the Ashoka Pillars that were erected in 269 BC. Overnight in Lumbini
Day 6Sightseeing in Lumbini and Environs
Today we will continue our exploration of significant sights and shrines associated with Buddha that are located outside of Lumbini. We will begin by driving to Tilaurakot where we will see the remains of Buddha’s home and gardens. Continuing onward, we will visit a variety of holy sites, statues, parks and a pagoda that have enormous religious and historical significance.
After what will prove to be a very full but emotionally filling day, we will drive back to our hotel.
Overnight in Lumbini
Day 7 Drive from Lumbini to Pokhara
The 200-kilometre drive along the Siddhartha Highway offers the chance to experience a never-ending tableau of spectacular Nepalese rural landscape and scenery. One of the most serpentine roads in a country famous (or notorious) for them, this highway will leave you gasping in wonderment.
Our destination – Pokhara – is Nepal’s most beautiful city. Nestled against a glacial-fed lake and offering views of the mighty Annapurna mountains (including six of the world’s highest peaks), we will be challenged to decide “what direction to gaze at first”. Fortunately, we will be spending enough time here to allow all vistas to be slowly savoured.
Once we arrive in Pokhara, we will transfer to our hotel in the Lakeside District.
Overnight in Pokhara
Day 8Full Day of Sightseeing in the Pokhara Valley
After breakfast, a 30-minute ride in our van will deliver us to the trailhead of a 15-minute walk to that will lead us to the top of Sarangkot, famous in Nepal for aerial adventures such as paragliding and zip-flying.
The craggy peaks of the snow-covered mountains of the nearby Annapurna range glisten in the near distance. The van will meet us at the top and drive us back to our hotel for lunch.
Our Pokhara afternoon consists of various sightseeing delights including a tour of the city itself, a visit to the mystical Davis Falls the Mahendra Cave system (containing inside it a statue of the Hindu Lord Shiva inside), the Bat Caves and the Seti River Gorge. Our day of adventure will end with a boat ride on the crystal clear Fewa Lake.
Overnight in Pokhara
Day 9 Drive from Pokhara to Phedi; Trek to Dhampus Village
After an early breakfast, our van will drive 45-minutes to the village of Phedi where we will start a three-hour hike. Though a bit challenging at first, we will soon settle into a gentle, relaxed pace. We will walk through dense Rhododendron forests and alongside terraced fields with lush vegetation. At the top of a ridge awaits a breathtaking view – the panorama of the Annapurna Range and Machhapuchhre (Fishtail)
Our destination is Dhampus, a small mountainous village inhabited by Gurungs (family member of the famous Gurkha warriors).
After a refreshing lunch at our hotel, we will explore the various sites that lie within Dhampus Village.
Overnight in Dhampus Village
Day 10Trek to Australian Camp
The second day of our trek will take us approximately three hours. After breakfast, we will start a gentle one-hour climb through Rhododendron and oak forests that will see us arriving at the small village of Pothana. after resting, we will commence a pleasant hour-long hike on toward Australian Camp. Once there, we will be overwhelmed by the majestic 360-degree panoramic views of the Annapurna Range.
We will renew our energy over lunch at the Lodge before spending the afternoon exploring and gawking.
This evening – the weather permitting – we will be treated to a memorable and utterly spectacular sunset over the mountains.
Overnight in a lodge in Australian Camp
Day 11Trek to Kande
With the memory of last night’s sunset still vividly in our memory, we will relish the sun rising over the majestic Himalayas. After a leisurely breakfast we will commence our 2-hour hike toward the village of Kande where we will meet our awaiting van for the drive tothe now-familiar city of Pokhara. Though it has been only two days since we left, we will likely marvel at the wonders we have experienced since we were last there.
Overnight in Pokhara
Day 12Drive from Pokhara to Bandipur
Today sees us enjoying a scenic 2-3 hour ride to the hilltop settlement of Bandipur. A living museum for the Newari culture, there are countless places to explore and activities to partake in. Plan on enjoying another mesmerizing mountain sunset.
Overnight in Bandipur
Day 13Drive from Bandipur to Kathmandu
After yet another breathtaking sunrise, our van will transport us the 150 kilometres back to Kathmandu. Along the way we will be enthralled by yet more scenic tableaus of rural life, raging rivers and lush terraced fields. Traffic slowly builds as we approach Kathmandu. Six hours after we have started – not including our break for lunch – we will arrive back to the now familiar teeming and vibrant city.
Overnight in Kathmandu
Day 14Sightseeing in Patan; Tibetan Refugee Camp
Our morning’s tour has us driving the eight kilometres to the Patan. Best known for its rich cultural heritage, especially it’s tradition of arts and crafts. We will have numerous opportunities to witness artisans at work and if we wish, to purchase souvenirs directly from them.
The UNESCO World Heritage Patan Dubar Square is the site of an ancient royal palace. Despite being heavily damaged in the April 2015 earthquake, this Square remains a legacy of Nepali culture as well as containing priceless artefacts.
When we are ready to leave Dubar Square, we will drive to a nearly Tibetan Refugee Camp. Nepal has long offered sanctuary to many Tibetans who fled the Chinese invasion of their country. Numerous Tibetan handicrafts are made here and are available for purchase. Especially good deals can be had for handcrafted Tibetan carpets and rugs.
Though there is no shortage of things to do or sites to see, we have intentionally left unstructured in order to facilitate last minute shopping or photography.
Overnight in Kathmandu
Day 15Depart Kathmandu
After breakfast at our hotel, you will be chauffeured by our van through streets that have now become familiar. There is a rhythm to the chaos and a harmony to the mélange of sounds that emanate from the mixture of vehicles, wandering cows and countless stalls of shopkeepers and customers. The international airport will be a stark reminder and contrast to what you have experienced and will carry within you for the rest of your life.
Included and Additional Expences
- Transfers from / to Kathmandu International Airport
- 4 nights accommodation in a 5 Star hotel in Kathmandu (twin share) on a BB Basis
- 2 nights and 3 days in Chitwan National Park (AP Basis)
- All activities in Chitwan National Park as described in itinerary
- 2 nights accommodation in Lumbini – twin share on a BB basis similar to 4 Star hotel
- 3 nights accommodations in Pokhara – twin share on a BB basis similar to 5 Star hotel
- 2 nights accommodation on trek – twin share in a mountain lodge on FULL BOARD Basis
- 1 night accommodation in Bandipur -- twin share on a MAP basis - in similar to 4 Star hotel
- A porter to carry baggage during the 3-day trek (including providing porter with his own food, accommodation and daily wages)
- An English-speaking guide throughout the trip (including providing porter with his own food, accommodation and daily wages)
- Guide and Porter insurance
- Trekking Permit
- TIMS Permit
- Down jacket, sleeping bags (to be used if required during the trek)
- Souvenir duffel bag/kit to carry trekking gear
- All land transportation and transfers as noted in itinerary
- All sightseeing tours as described in our itinerary
- All entrance fees as described in our itinerary
- Alcoholic beverages; soft drinks and mineral water
- Lunch & Dinner in Kathmandu & Pokhara
- All expenses of a personal nature
- Expenses pertaining to Mount Everest Sightseeing Flight (Day 2)
- Travel (Health) Insurance (mandatory)
- International airfare to/from Nepal
- Nepal Entry Visa (This can be obtained upon arrival at the airport in Kathmandu for a US$30 fee. 2 passport-sized photographs are required in order for the visa to be issued.)
- All gratuities
- Any other service not specifically mentioned within the previous (“Included”) section