Itinerary #1: Ghorepani Poon Hill & Ghandruk Trek
If you’re considering an inaugural trek in Nepal, this trip plan is the perfect introduction to the nation’s capital and monumental peaks; combine some downtime and cultural exploration in the Kathmandu city center and valley with a five-day trek in the Annapurna Region. You’ll hike through pink-flecked rhododendron forests, tiny villages, and rice paddies, accompanied by the ever-present splendor of snow-capped mountains.
Spend your first two days getting to know Kathmandu’s wild streets and sacred sites, including pilgrimages to a trio of iconic landmarks: Swayambhunath, Pashupatinath, and Patan Durbar Square. Make the most of city life with a night out or rest up before the adventure ahead. On day three, you’ll fly to Pokhara, then will be driven to Nayapul to begin your trek.
Your first day on the trail is filled with lush fields, a waterfall, and gorgeous valley vistas as you journey to Tikhedhunga. You’ll spend tonight — as you will all nights on the trail — in a teahouse, where you can mingle with fellow trekkers and tuck into traditional fare. You'll climb up the ridgeline the next day, then through blooming rhododendron blossoms and old oak forests en route to Nangethanti, where you’ll refuel at lunch, then onto Ghorepani.
Wake up before dawn on day five for an incredible hike to the top of Poon Hill in time to watch the sunrise over the valley, illuminating the peaks of the Annapurnas. After breakfast back in town, you’ll trek to the small village of Tadapani, where you’ll spend the night. On day six, it’s onto Ghandruk, the “Switzerland of Nepal;” this terraced village is home to the Gurung, a Nepalese ethnic tribe.
The next morning, you’ll finish up the trail at Kimche, where a jeep will meet you and transfer you to Pokhara. Rest and relax in this scenic city on the banks of the stunning Phewa Lake. In the morning, you’ll return to Kathmandu, where you can lounge around or stop by anything you may have missed at the beginning of your trip. After a final breakfast on day nine, you’ll head to the airport for your departure. Learn more.
Itinerary #2: Nepal’s Classic Highlights
Tour Nepal’s three main regions—Kathmandu, Chitwan, and Pokhara—on this trip plan, which features incredible sites like Buddha’s birthplace and the jungles of Chitwan National Park. You’ll also have the option to hike or be driven to some destinations, and will have plenty of time to relax as you make your way around Nepal.
Spend the first third of your adventure in the Kathmandu Valley; you’ll head straight out of the buzzing capital city to Nagarkot, a charming hilltop village nearby. The next morning, get up early so you can watch the sunrise from your perch in the hills, then hike or drive down to Bhaktapur, a Newari city that dates back to the middle ages. Wander through large courtyards and town squares, where local Newari craftspeople set their beautiful clay creations out to dry.
The next day, you’ll venture to Patan, another traditional Newari town, esteemed for its beautiful wood and stone carvings, and gorgeous architecture. You’ll spend the night here, then you’ll fly to the wilds of Chitwan on day four. Discover the jungle by jeep safari, boat safari, or a guided walk with an expert nationalist, keeping your eyes peeled for rhinos, exotic birds, and the park’s elusive Royal Bengal Tigers.
On day six, you’ll drive to Lumbini, the birthplace of Prince Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha. Join pilgrims from around the globe as you explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site, which features the Asokan pillar, a sacred Bodhi tree, ruins of ancient monasteries, and a temple that stands on the very place Buddha’s mother, Queen Mayadevi, gave birth. Enjoy the quiet of this holy site at dawn, then, after breakfast, head to Pokhara, Nepal’s second-largest city.
Located on the banks of the gorgeous Phewa Lake, Pokhara is the perfect place to relax at a coffee house, take a yoga class, peruse funky shops, or lean into adventure. The city is also a world-class destination for paragliding; if you’re inspired, soar above the lake, taking in stunning views of the Himalaya beyond. On day nine, dine at a lakeside restaurant and soak up the incredible views at breakfast before you head back to Kathmandu for your departure. Learn more.
Itinerary #3: Lower Mustang Trek
If you’re interested in doing a short, less strenuous trek in a lower altitude, consider this trip plan, which takes you to the unique landscape of Nepal’s Lower Mustang region. See the world’s deepest gorge, admire views of the world’s tallest mountains, and visit Muktinath, a holy Hindu pilgrimage site, as well as a monastery belonging to a pre-Buddhist animist religion.
You’ll touch down in Kathmandu, Nepal’s buzzing capital, where you’ll have a bit of time to see some city highlights; watch the sunset from Boudhanath Stupa, explore vibrant bazaars, or tuck into some momo, traditional Nepalese dumplings. In the morning, you can pop into temples and wander the alleys near Kathmandu Durbar Square before you head off to Pokhara, situated on the banks of the beautiful Phewa Lake.
On day three, enjoy a coffee as you look out onto the lake, then head off to Jomson, the center of Nepal’s Mustang district. En route, you’ll be treated to incredible areal vistas of the mountains and Kali Gandak, the deepest gorge on the planet. Take the rest of the day to explore Jomsom, where views of snow-capped giant peaks greet you at every turn. Journey into the valley to Marpha to learn about the Thakali people here; be sure to sample the delicious local apple brandy before you settle in for the night.
Your trek begins in the morning when you’ll make your way to Kagbeni, a clifftop village that looks down on the Kali Gandaki Valley and the rivers below. Be sure to explore the town’s 800-year-old monastery, the ruins of an ancient palace, and fascinating remnants of civilizations from centuries ago. The next day, you trek to Jharkot, an old, fortified village home to a 500-year-old monastery and an active school of Tibetan Medicine.
Take a break from hiking on day six with a visit to Muktinath, a holy site for Hindu and Buddhist pilgrims with spectacular views of the Himalaya. Another religious site greets you the next day in Lupra, where you’ll stop at a monastery devoted to Bonpo, an ancient animist religion with few outposts in the region. From there you’ll end your trek back in Jomsom; in the evening, relax and celebrate your adventures on the trail! You'll then return Kathmandu and can either rest at your hotel or do some last-minute sightseeing around the city. In the morning, you’ll head to the airport after one last breakfast in Nepal. Learn more.
Itinerary #4: Kalinchowk Multi-Sport Adventure
Get your adrenaline pumping with this thrilling trip plan perfect for adventurous travelers! You’ll trek, camp, and mountain bike away from the crowds, spend a full day on tackling rapids on a spectacular river and can try bungee jumping, canyoneering, and so much more.
Begin your trip with two days in Kathmandu, where you can explore the city and the Kathmandu Valley however you like. This list has some great ideas, including a morning helicopter flight over the Himalaya and soaking in local culture with guided tours. On day three, you’ll head to the Last Resort, the last stop before Tibet, for some luxe glamping and heart-pumping adventures. Dangle from the world’s biggest swing, go bungee jumping or canyoneering, navigate the thrilling ropes course, or relax with a massage before enjoying evening cocktails and dinner.
The next morning, you’ll hit the trail for the next few days on a trek off-the-beaten-path. Your trail winds above the stunning Bhote Kosi River and you’ll spend three days hiking through pristine forests and dazzling meadows with incredible views of the Jugal Himal section of the Himalaya. You’ll camp under the stars and will stop at sacred lakes that link together, culminating at Kalinchowk, an extraordinary rocky spire with breathtaking panoramic views and a religious shrine revered by shamans, Buddhists, and Hindus.
In Khurikharka, you’ll swap from hiking boots to cycling shoes. Soar downhill from the ridge on a variety of trail through rhododendron forests, verdant hillsides, and Sherpa villages to the Bhote Kosi River, where you’ll camp for the night. The next morning, enjoy a hearty breakfast to fuel you for a day of dominating the river’s rapids. After, you’ll be driven back to your hotel in Kathmandu, where you can enjoy a hot shower and a delicious meal in the city. You’ll head to the airport the next morning after breakfast. Learn more.
Itinerary #5: Luxury Trek in the Everest Region
This trip plan is perfect for travelers who are short on time but want to explore the breathtaking highlights of the Everest region in style. Spend your days trekking and flying by helicopter through this iconic region, then unwind at night in well-appointed resorts with delicious food and unbeatable views.
Kathmandu welcomes you for your first two days; explore the city’s highlights at your own speed — perhaps enjoy your first sunset from the perch of Bouhdinanth Stupa — then tour the ancient city of Bhaktapur, where you’ll learn about Newari culture and crafts. On day four, you’ll board a helicopter and fly to Lukla, then will trek for about four hours to Phakding. Check in to your gorgeous lodge, enjoy a hot shower, and take in the phenomenal vistas from the warm dining room as you celebrate your first day on the trail.
On day four, you’ll trek to Namache Bazaar, the epicenter of sherpa life in the Khumbu region. Although this is a longer and more challenging day on the trail, you’ll cross the highest suspension bridge in Nepal and you’ll get your first peek at Everest. You’ll head to the world’s tallest mountain the next day on an epic helicopter tour featuring incredible views of Everest Base Camp, Khumbu Icefall, and the Gokyo Lakes.
You’ll take to the skies again on day six when you fly to Kongde. Take the day to rest at your beautiful lodge: adjust to the altitude, then enjoy the mesmerizing views of the Everest region as you tuck into a menu prepared with organic ingredients grown on the premises. The next morning, enjoy a final day on the trails as you trek back to Phakding’s lush greenery; you’ll spend the night in a luxury lodge on the banks of the gorgeous Dudh Koshi River.
After breakfast on day eight, you’ll be flown back to Kathmandu; take in the vistas and changing landscapes as you leave the Khumbu region and fly through the Kathmandu Valley. Once you’ve checked in to your hotel, you’re free to wander tiny alleyways near Durbar Square, visit local temples, or simply relax before enjoying dinner in town. You’ll head to the airport in the morning. Learn more.