Here’s a trip for those who want to experience the many different facets of Nepal. By just arriving for our Nepal trek, we get a feeling that we have taken a step back in time. Nepal is a country that is forever changing and yet, in many ways, remains the same. The people, history and culture will all have a profound affect upon us, but there are also the majestic Himalayan mountains – the highest in the world. Whilst trekking through the foothills, we encounter a mystical and almost spiritual feel about them.
Annapurna & Chitwan
Combining trekking with river rafting and encounters with lowland wildlife, this trip offers terrific variety. It is also a fantastic opportunity to meet the many different groups of people who have, for decades, been offering visitors a warm welcome to the Himalaya.
Today is an arrival day and no activities are planned, so you may arrive at any time. If you are arriving early in Kathmandu you may wish to wander down to Durbar Square, which is the spiritual heart of the city located only 10 minutes walk from our hotel. Please ask at the hotel reception for suggestions of things to see and do in Kathmandu. A pre-departure meeting for the first (Nepal) part of your tour takes place this evening at the hotel. Please also check the noticeboard for details of this meeting and for any other messages from your tour leader. Please also bring your passport and travel insurance documents to the meeting. Afterwards we have the opportunity to go out for an optional group dinner.
Today we visit Bodhnath Stupa, one of the biggest Buddhist shrines in the world, where we observe Buddhist monks in prayer in the monasteries surrounding the stupa. We also visit Pashupatinath, the most famous Hindu temple in the country, located on the banks of the holy Bagmati River. Here we see Hindu holy men (sadhus) meditating, pilgrims bathing and occasionally funeral pyres burning on the ghats. The rest of our time in Kathmandu is free for further sightseeing and exploration. You may wish to wander back into the centre of town, scour the shops in Thamel or just relax in the hotel gardens. Alternatively you may wish to arrange for a taxi to take you out to Bhaktapur, probably the most fascinating of the medieval towns in the Kathmandu Valley.
This morning we drive out over the rim of the Kathmandu Valley before descending to follow the Trisuli River Valley. On a clear morning, views of the Ganesh, Manaslu and Annapurna ranges can be seen as we head west to the town of Pokhara. After a driving journey of six hours, we arrive in the early afternoon and check into our hotel. The rest of the afternoon is free to wander around the shops or relax in one of the cafes by the lakeside. Alternatively there is the option of a boat ride out on to the lake.
(Walking time: approx 5 hours)
We catch a bus for the fairly short drive to the village of Naya Phul. In clear conditions, there are fine views of Annapurna peaks and the famous fishtail peak Machhapuchhare along the way. We commence our short Annapurna trek and for the first hour we follow a dirt track road along the banks of the Modi Khola River to the villages of Birethanti and Shyauli. From Syauli we then ascend above the valley floor on a stone staircase. To the north, there are again superb views of the Annapurna Mountains. A short but steep section leads to Kimche (1630m) where we take lunch before following a wide and well-defined path of stone flags that contours through fields of wheat and millet to the largest village in the region, Ghandruk, which is the site of our overnight lodge. There are great views of the Annapurnas from here.
(Walking time: approx 5 hours)
We are now over 600 metres above the Modi Khola and we can look east across the valley to Landruk, the next major village on the trek. Close as it may seem, this requires a steep descent down to the river and then a steady climb back up the other side. The scenery is fabulous on this section and more than makes up for the effort of the walk down and the climb up the other side. We take lunch at Landruk, a neat Gurung village, before contouring around the valley and ascending to the small village of Tolka (1780m).
(Walking time: approx 4 hours)
After breakfast we continue the climb uphill to the pass at Bhichok Deorali. Here, after a welcome break, we descend through forest of oak and rhododendron to Pothana for lunch. In the afternoon we descend gradually following the crest of the ridge, through pretty forest of oak and rhododendron to the village of Dhampus and our overnight halt. From here there are superb panoramic views including the 8000-metre peak of Manaslu to the east and we will have the opportunity of enjoying both sunset and sunrise from our lodge.
(Walking time: approx 2 hours)
After breakfast and enjoying the views of the Annapurna range we pass through the village and descend steeply into the Yamdi Khola river valley to Phedi. Here we catch our transport to our hotel in Pokhara. We arrive in time for lunch and the rest of the afternoon is free to unwind. We have time to explore the lake and to enjoy the many excellent restaurants and cafes in this beautiful lakeside town.
Seti River Whitewater Rafting
We leave Pokhara after breakfast for the short drive to the start of our rafting adventure on the Seti River. After introductions to our rafting crew we then put on jackets and helmets, have a short safety briefing before taking to the water. This river is an ideal and gentle introduction to whitewater rafting. Over the next two days we raft for approximately 30 kilometres through beautiful countryside, with plenty of small fun rapids. Lunch is taken on one of the many pristine white beaches and there are plenty of opportunities to swim in the warm waters. In the afternoon we continue our gentle pace down the river to reach our camp by mid-afternoon and enjoy free time before our cook serves a hearty evening meal. After dinner we relax and enjoy reliving the thrills of the day’s rafting. (L, D)
Chitwan National Park
In the morning, whilst we enjoy breakfast, the guides break camp and load the rafts. Then it’s off on the water for a pleasant combination of bouncing rapids and magnificent scenery before we reach the confluence of the Trisuli River at Gai Ghat, where we transfer by bus to Chitwan National Park. During our lodge stay we ride elephants into the jungle and, accompanied by a wildlife guide, go in search of Indian rhinoceros, sloth bear, deer and a multitude of different birds. Tiger sightings are very rare these days; however, luck may be on our side! We also have time at for some optional activities such as jeep and canoe safaris. (B)
We catch a morning bus through the lowlands, following the banks of the Trisuli River before climbing back into the Himalayan foothills and on to Kathmandu. The bus trip takes about six to seven hours and there is a stop along the way to enable us to purchase lunch. Alternatively you may wish to take some snacks with you. Tonight there is a chance to go out and celebrate our last night together at one of the many restaurants in Kathmandu.
Our journey comes to an end this morning. You can extend your stay in Kathmandu by booking some post-tour accommodation or join on to one of the many other Imaginative Traveller’s trips that leave from here. These bookings should be made before you start your travels.
While the information presented here details our planned itinerary, including routes taken, activities included, accommodation and meeting times, please accept that unforseen changes may occur. We are constantly on the lookout to improve our program and further enhance your experience. Naturally, we will keep you up to date with any last minute amendments to your tour.
Key: (B) = Breakfast, (L) = Lunch, (D) = Dinner