NEPAL & TIBET

Classic Nepal

10 days

This trip kicks off in Kathmandu, taking in ancient squares, temples and palaces, epitomising the religious and cultural life of the Nepalese. Visit one of the oldest Buddhist stupas in the world, overlooking the Kathmandu Valley. Witness Hindu culture at a sacred and ancient Hindu shrine. Lovers of wildlife will revel in the Royal Chitwan National Park, with its elephant rides, jungle walks and canoe rides. Wildlife here includes the one horned rhinoceros, sloth bears, leopards and the elusive royal Bengal tiger. We'll also take a boat ride across Phewa Lake, visit the home of Tibetan carpet making, and offer a flight over the majestic Himalayas, taking you up close and personal to Mt Everest.

Day 1: KATHMANDU

Arrive in Kathmandu and transfer to your hotel.

Day 2: KATHMANDU

Kick things off with a sightseeing tour of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Kathmandu Durbar Square, Swayambhunath Stupa and Patan Durbar Square. Kathmandu Durbar Square, with its old temples and palaces, epitomises the religious and cultural life of the people. The kings of Nepal were crowned and solemnised here. Swayambhunath Stupa is known as the monkey temple due to the tribe of monkeys here which often amuses visitors. More than 2,000 years old, this temple is said to be one of the oldest Buddhist stupas in the world, and is majestically situated high atop a hill overlooking Kathmandu Valley. Next onto Patan Durbar Square, where youll find the Krishna Mandir temple. This temple, which was built to honour an incarnation of Vishnu, is one of the best examples of this type of stone architecture in the world.

Day 3: KATHMANDU - NAGARKOT

Today we visit another UNESCO World Heritage Site, Pashupatinath Temple, one of the most sacred Hindu shrines in the world. The richly-ornamented pagoda houses the sacred linga, or phallic symbol, of Lord Shiva. Chronicles indicate the temple's existence prior to 400 AD. Next we transfer to Bhaktapur Durbar Square. Bhaktapur means 'the city of devotees' in Nepali language. Founded in 889 AD by King Anand Dev, the square is flanked by the Khasa Khusung and Hanumante rivers. Artistic temples and exquisite artwork offers a picture of the grandeur of medieval Nepal. After another short drive we arrive in Nagarkot, situated on top of a ridge more than 2,000 metres above sea level. It is renowned for sunrise and sunset views over the majestic peaks of the Himalayas, including Mount Everest.

Day 4: NAGARKOT - CHITWAN

A five-hour drive will take us from Nagarkot to Chitwan, where on arrival we'll settle into our hotel before visiting Royal Chitwan National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
This is one of Nepal's largest forest reserves with a wide range of wildlife; the great one horned rhinoceros, several species of deer, sloth bear, leopard, wild boar, fresh water dolphin, crocodile, more than 350 species of birds and the elusive royal Bengal tiger. Later in the afternoon, be taken deep into the jungle for viewing and photographing wildlife, or instead choose a jungle walk to experience the abundant flora and fauna. Time permitting take a safari on elephant back through the park.

Day 5: CHITWAN

The morning starts early with an two to three hour elephant ride and jungle safari penetrating through dense grasslands to view wildlife in their natural habitat. If you're lucky you may see the rare scene of the elephants taking a bath. After lunch at Temple Tiger Jungle Lodge, you may choose to relax or take a Jeep drive through the jungle, followed by a canoe ride down the Rapti River. Here you'll get the chance to see Gharial crocodiles, mugger crocodiles, fresh water dolphins and a variety of water birds. Or, you may choose to take a bird watching walk with one of our naturalists.

Day 6: CHITWAN - POKHARA

This morning choose another elephant ride or another park activity before we take a scenic five-hour drive from Chitwan along the scenic Trisuli River. Have lunch at Riverside Spring Resort before continuing to Pokhara and our hotel check-in. Pokhara is one of the most picturesque spots in Nepal. From here view the majestic Annapurna range of the Himalayas and the mountains of Dhaulagiri, Machhapuchhre (Fishtail), the five peaks of Annapurna and more. The beauty of Pokhara is enhanced by its lovely lakes, which have their source in the glacial region of the Annapurna Range. Well take a one-hour boat ride across Phewa Lake and visit Barahi temple, the most important monument in Pokhara, built in the centre of the lake. This two-storied pagoda is dedicated to the boar manifestation of Ajima, the protector deity representing the female force Shakti.

Day 7: POKHARA

We'll start the day early with a half-hour drive to Sarangkot for a sunrise view over the western Himalayas. This is the highest point on the Pokhara valley at an altitude of 1,592 metres above sea level. After breakfast visit Pokhara City, including the International Mountain Museum with its impressive exhibitions highlighting the customs, traditions, heritage, culture and way of life of the world mountain people around the world. Next is Begnas Lake, located in the Siswa village on the eastern part of Pokhara. The lake is a wondrous paradise, known for its clear spring-fed water and pristine lush surroundings.

Day 8: POKHARA - KATHMANDU

Today we visit the Tibetan Handicraft Centre, the pioneer of the Tibetan carpet industry in Pokhara. It provides jobs to people from the Tibetan Refugee Camp and local Nepalese. Profits go towards education, health care, sanitation and caring for the elderly. Next we head to Devi's Fall waterfall, also known as Patale Chhango (Hell's Fall). Legend has it that a trekker called David was washed away by the Pardi Khola and mysteriously disappeared into an underground passage beneath the fall. We then take a short flight to Kathmandu and visit the Boudhanath Stupa (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) to witness evening prayer. Boudha is among the largest stupas in south Asia and is the focal point of Buddhism in Nepal.

Day 9: KATHMANDU

Today an optional tour is available; an Everest mountain flight, where you will come face-to-face with the tallest mountains on Earth. This one-hour flight offers a panoramic view of the Himalayas. Even those who like the physicality of trekking relish this opportunity to 'conquer' the mountains in one fell swoop. There's also time today for shopping, before a farewell to Nepal dinner with an ethnic cultural show.

Day 10: KATHMANDU

Transfer to the airport for your final departure.

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