Experience the highlights of Nepal with the right amount of cultural exploration, trekking, and plenty of downtime in between. This tour combines a visit to traditional villages followed by a multi-day trek through beautiful landscapes to stunning vistas in the Annapurna region. Begin and end in Kathmandu, exploring the capital's main attractions before your flight home.

Highlights

  • Visit Kathmandu's famous Monkey Temple before sipping chai in Durbar Square
  • Spending a night (or two) at the beautiful Summit River Lodge en route to Pokhara
  • Enjoy the peace of Bandipur, a hilltop town with incredible views
  • Learn about Gurung culture, the largest ethnic group in the Nepalese Himalaya

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Welcome to Kathmandu! Kathmandu
Day 2 Drive from Kathmandu to Summit River Lodge Kurintar
Day 3 Drive from Summit River Lodge to Bandipur Bandipur
Day 4 Drive from Bandipur to Pokhara, Evening Boat Tour Pokhara
Day 5 Drive from Pokhara to Phedi, Trek to Pothana (6,102 feet / 1,860 m)   Pothana
Day 6 Trek from Pothana to Landruk (5,135 feet / 1,565 m) Landruk
Day 7 Trek from Landruk to Ghandruk (6,365 feet / 1,940 m) Ghandruk
Day 8 Trek from Ghandruk to Nayapul, Drive to Pokhara Pokhara
Day 9 Fly from Pokhara to Kathmandu Kathmandu
Day 10 Depart Kathmandu  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Kathmandu!

The cityscape of Kathmandu and Boudhanath Stupa
The cityscape of Kathmandu and Boudhanath Stupa

Flying into Kathmandu, you'll have views over the valley, the Himalaya, and the terraced fields below. After completing customs, a representative will be waiting to greet you outside the airport and to guide you through the initial culture shock of Kathmandu’s narrow, winding streets to your hotel.

Once you've settled in, head out and explore the city. Kathmandu Durbar Square is a great place to start your exploration, where you'll walk through narrow alleyways teeming with small shops, ancient temples, and local restaurants. If you want to stretch your legs, Swayambhunath, the white stupa rising above the valley, is the perfect spot to catch the sunset over the valley.

In the evening, the tourist hub of Thamel is a good place to grab your first meal, with a variety of restaurants to chose from offering both Western and local Nepali dishes.

Day 2: Drive from Kathmandu to Summit River Lodge

Summit River Lodge
Summit River Lodge

Today's journey takes you on a scenic three-hour drive through the foothills of Nepal. You'll follow the banks of the Trishuli River, past traditional villages and terraced fields.

Kurintar is a small village surrounded by a fertile expanse of farmland and forested hills. Upon arrival, you'll take an easy 30-minute walk through the quaint village, across a bridge, to Summit River Lodge where you'll spend the night. This beautiful little resort has excellent forest views and a pool ready for a dip. (Do pack a swimsuit!)

Driving time: 3 hours (100 km)

Day 3: Drive from Summit River Lodge to Bandipur

The village of Bandipur
The village of Bandipur

After a late breakfast, you'll leave the resort behind and travel overland to Bandipur, a historic town near Gorkha that offers excellent views of the Annapurna range, including the eastern high peak, Lamjung Himal.

Conveniently located between Kathmandu, Pokhara, and Chitwan, Bandipur was once the center for trade between the lowlands and highlands, as well as between British India and independent Tibet. Today, Bandipur remains a popular mountain town to retreat to. Discover Bandipur's former grandeur, take a stroll through orange groves, appreciate the simple architecture, and admire the pink-tinged Himalayan sky at dawn.

Driving time: 3 hours

Day 4: Drive from Bandipur to Pokhara, Evening Boat Tour

Phewa Lake against the backdrop of the Annapurnas, Pokhara
Phewa Lake against the backdrop of the Annapurnas, Pokhara

After enjoying the sunrise and early morning, you'll leave Bandipur behind and travel overland to Pokhara, one of the enchanting places to view the Phewa Lake and the magnificence of Machhapuchhere (6,977 m) rising behind it create an ambiance of peace and magic. En route, you can take a detour to Begnas Lake, a beautiful spot for a short walk or boat tour.

After arriving in Pokhara, we will check in to our hotel and then head out to explore the lakeside and then relax over dinner.

Pokhara Valley

At 827 m, Nepal's second largest city is situated in a tranquil valley along the banks of Phewa Lake. It's the starting point for many of Nepal’s famous treks and rafting destinations. The valley surrounding Pokhara is home to thick forests, gushing rivers, clear lake and the world famous views of the Himalaya.

Driving time: 3 hours (79 km)

Day 5: Drive from Pokhara to Phedi, Trek to Pothana (6,102 feet / 1,860 m)  

Pristine forests on the way to Pothana
Pristine forests on the way to Pothana

Today is the first day of your trek! 

From Pokhara, a jeep will be waiting to drive you to Phedi where the trek begins towards Pothana. The trail ascends through forests of rhododendron, magnolia, oak, sandalwood, and pine until you reach the village called Dhampus. This is an authentic Gurung village, which gives you an opportunity to look at the magnificent views of the Annapurna ranges, as well as notable peaks like Lamjung Himal.

From Dhampus, the trail continues to ascend along a stone-paved path through more forests and mossy trees (keep an eye out for orchids). Once you get to the small village of Pothana, you’ll find a range of trekker facilities including shops, teahouses, and eateries. Relax and enjoy the magnificent mountain views.

Trekking time: 4-5 hours (3.5 miles / 5.6 km)

Day 6: Trek from Pothana to Landruk (5,135 feet / 1,565 m)

Get a taste of local Nepalese life
Get a taste of local Nepalese life

After breakfast in Pothana, you'll continue on a trail towards Landruk via the ridge to Deurali. You'll pass through rhododendron forests teeming with exotic birds, as well as friendly Gurung villages like Chandrakot, Tolka, and Bheri Kharka. Keep an eye out for a small lake and panoramic mountain views, especially of the Annapurna South, as you get higher.

The trail then descends through more scattered forests and villages with traditional houses until you reach Landruk where you'll spend the rest of the day. 

Trekking time: 2-3 hours (4.5 miles / 7 km)

Day 7: Trek from Landruk to Ghandruk (6,365 feet / 1,940 m)

Ghandruk village
Ghandruk village

Enjoy the last moments of your higher elevation views with breakfast in Landruk. Then, the trail begins with a steep descent towards the Modi Khola (river) for about an hour, followed by a steep ascent of 2-3 hours through scattered villages to Ghandruk, with great views of the Himalaya en route.

Eventually, you'll reach the village of Ghandruk, one of the largest Gurung settlements in western Nepal. Once here, you will have time to enjoy the landscapes and snow-capped peaks like Gangapura, Machhapuchhre (Fishtail), and Mount Annapurna.

If time permits, visit the Annapurna Mountain Conservation Area Project (ACAP) headquarters. The ACAP is the first conservation area and the largest protected area in Nepal. Rich in biodiversity, the area offers over 1,000 species of flowering plants, mammals, amphibians, and birds. You can learn about tourism management (and its effect on the environment) and activities that benefit local communities.  

Trekking time: 4-5 hours (2.5 miles / 4 km)

Day 8: Trek from Ghandruk to Nayapul, Drive to Pokhara

A morning view of the mountains from Ghandruk
A morning view of the mountains from Ghandruk

Start today with an early morning breakfast in Ghandruk and then trek past small villages and picturesque rice fields to reach Nayapul. Once you arrive, you'll meet your private jeep transfer waiting to take you back to Pokhara.

Driving time: 1.5 hours
Trekking time: 4-5 hours (5.3 miles / 8.6 km)

Day 9: Fly from Pokhara to Kathmandu

The dense buildings of Kathmandu City
The dense buildings of Kathmandu City

After breakfast, you may have time to do more sightseeing, relax, or check out one of the Pokhara's coffee shops. About 1.5 hours before your flight, you'll be picked up from your hotel and taken to the domestic airport to catch your flight back to Kathmandu.

In Kathmandu, you'll be transferred to your hotel and can enjoy the rest of the afternoon and evening at your leisure. Explore Kathmandu's streets on foot, bicycle, or rickshaw, perhaps shopping for souvenirs or seeing anything you may have missed at the beginning of your trip.

In the evening, choose from a selection of Nepali, French, Vietnamese, and Middle Eastern dishes in Kathmandu.

Day 10: Depart Kathmandu

The all-seeing eyes of Buddha at Swayambhunath
The all-seeing eyes of Buddha at Swayambhunath

It's time to say farewell to Nepal. Enjoy your last moments in Kathmandu with breakfast in a café, a final stroll through the narrow alleys and templtes, and some final souvenir shopping. A driver will be waiting for you at your hotel to take you to the airport for your return flight home. It's best to be at the airport at least 2 hours prior to departure.