This 10-day action-packed itinerary covers all of Nepal’s most iconic sites and some lesser-known areas, providing a comprehensive overview of the country from UNESCO World Heritage cities to remote countryside and the spectacular Himalayas. Visiting Kathmandu, Pokhara and the national parkland of Chiwan, this is the perfect itinerary for travelers looking for equal doses of outdoor thrills and cultural enrichment.
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Begin your journey in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. Your tour starts as soon as you touch down, with a trip to Durbar Square in the old city, which acts as a historic record of four kingdoms, sporting architecture from each reign. Here you’ll see the Kumari Living Goddess Palace - the residence of the Royal Kumari, a young girl believed to be the incarnation of the goddess Taleju. You’ll also see Swayambhunath Stupa, the Monkey Temple, a complex of temples of different faiths dating back to the 5th century. In the evening, enjoy dinner with a local family for a true taste of Kathmandu. We recommend Dwarika’s Hotel for your luxury boutique accommodation in Kathmandu.
The UNESCO temples and architecture of Kathmandu Valley are your destination today. This beautiful green valley has been inhabited for millennia, and its ancient towns comprise an intriguing collection of temples, shrines and palaces: Patan’s Krishna Mandir and Budhanilkantha Temple Complex are particular highlights. Today you’ll also get the chance to view a traditional Nepali handicraft in action - carpet weaving. Many local and immigrant women support their families plying this time-honored trade, and it is a fascinating process to watch. Return to Kathmandu for the night.
Today you’ll enjoy some outdoor adventure with a safari through the UNESCO World Heritage Park of Chitwan. This expansive reserve is home to elephants, rhinoceros, crocodiles and bengal tigers, plus hundreds of bird species. You’ll traverse its grassy plains and forests on elephant-back, before settling into Tiger Tops Tented Camp for the night. This camp comprises 12 luxury tents each with ensuite located in the heart of the park, allowing you to stay close to nature in a sustainable manner without sacrificing comfort.
Explore more of Chitwan National Park today, with a nature hike along the riverbank, spotting native birds and taking in the unspoilt beauty of the surrounding forest. You’ll also have the chance to go fishing and canoeing today, and embark upon an afternoon safari showcasing the park as the light fades and the evening creatures begin to stir. Return to Tiger Tops Tented Camp tonight.
It’s off to the spectacularly scenic city of Pokhara today, where you have the option to take a half-day trek through Pokhara Valley. Enjoy views of snow-capped Machapuchare Peak in the distance and bright blue skies reflected in the surface of Phewa Lake. Alternatively, you can pay a visit to the International Mountaineering Museum, which includes information about climbing various Himalayan peaks, afterwards visiting a local orphanage. Tonight, you’ll check into a luxury Pokhara resort - we recommend Begnas Lake Resort and Tiger Mountain Lodge.
Wake up early this morning for a once-in-a-lifetime experience - sunrise paragliding from Sarangkot hilltop. Flying tandem with a trained instructor at the helm, you can enjoy breathtaking views of the Annapurna mountain range and Phewa Lake before touching down in Pame. If you’re up for more thrills, you have the option of taking a half-day trek to a nearby village or going on an exhilarating white-water rafting trip downriver. Both options promise unforgettable views of rugged Himalayan terrain and plenty of stories to recount back at your resort in Pokhara.
Today you’ll take a cruise on Begnas Lake in Nepal’s Kaski district, not far from Pokhara. This serene freshwater lake provides the perfect prelude to your next activity - a private flight aboard an ultra-light aircraft, soaring over Pokhara village and providing more amazing views of the Annapurna range. Next, you’ll get to stretch your legs on a hill-tribe village hike where you’ll learn about naturopathic treatments as they’ve been handed down over the centuries. Stay overnight in your Pokhara hotel.
It’s back to beautiful Kathmandu Valley today, where you’ll enjoy an afternoon mountain bike tour, visiting the area’s ancient cities before hiking to a nearby village to capture sunset views. In the evening, you’ll visit the old town of Dhulikhel with its ancient temples and historic pagodas. In addition to endless mountain views, Dhulikhel boasts some of the purest drinking water in the world and has long been considered the gateway to Tibet. After visiting this stunning city, return to Kathmandu to the charming Dwarika’s Hotel.
Enjoy more fresh mountain air today with a hike to a Himalayan viewing point, in time to watch the sunrise. Few sights can rival that of dawn in the Himalayas, and no visit to Nepal would be complete without this experience. Spend the rest of the day on a hike to a nearby Tamang village, a township of thatch-roofed stone houses and terraced farms etched into the mountainside. The Tamang people are one of Nepal’s largest ethnic groups, inhabiting the steep Himalayan foothills and forming tight-knit agricultural communities. Trek back to Kathmandu in the afternoon and settle into your hotel for the final night of your journey.
After breakfast, you’ll be chauffeur-driven to the airport for your departing international flight.
Located just outside Kathmandu, near Pashupatinath, Nepal’s most sacred mountain, Dwarika’s is the recipient of a prestigious World Heritage Award given for outstanding historical preservation. The 74 guest rooms and suites are decorated with intricately carved wood and terracotta work in the traditional Newari style and are equipped with wi-fi access. Krishnarpan, one of the hotel’s two restaurants, offers six- to 22-course authentic Nepali meals, Toran has Chinese and Indian specialties, while Fusion has live blues and jazz in a bar setting. Dwarika’s has no spa, but does offer massage treatments and a swimming pool. The business center is fully equipped with broadband Internet access and secretarial services. The hotel is approximately a 10-minute drive from the airport in Kathmandu.
Tiger Mountain Lodge is located on a hilltop ridge a thousand feet above the Pokhara Valley and just a half hour drive from town. With spectacular views of the Annapurna Range, the lodge has also been touched by history: Sir Edmund Hilary, the first man to scale Everest, led the hotel’s opening ceremony in 1998. The 19 rooms are arranged around the hilltop in hand-cut stone bungalows that blend into their surroundings. All the bungalows have spacious verandas, adjoining bathrooms, and elegantly traditional décor that blends Tibetan hand-knotted wool carpets with British watercolor wall paintings. The lodge offers a range of in-room massage treatments, personal yoga sessions, and meditation training. There is a mountain-view swimming pool for post-hike relaxation. The hotel serves organic produce and locally supplied products, including at its authentic Nepali lunch buffet, and at the dinner with a table d’hôte menu that features European and Nepali selections. The Main Lodge has a cozy central fireplace, comfortable seating areas, and a bar, arranged around a Nepali-style courtyard. Another special feature of the lodge is Colonel Jimmy's Library, with an impressive collection of Himalayan mountaineering literature and photographs. There is no business center. The hotel is located 40 minutes from Pokhara Airport.