This tour combines three of Nepal's most famous regions—Everest, Pokhara, and Chitwan. You'll start with a short multi-day trek into the heart of the Everest region to Namche Bazaar for views of Mount Everest. Returning to Kathmandu, you'll fly to Pokhara for a bit of relaxation and optional day tours into the surrounding hills. Finally, you'll head south to Nepal's jungle in Chitwan, to experience the wildlife and unique cultures of this region.

Highlights

  • Roam narrow alleyways in bustling Kathmandu and discover Durbar Square
  • Catch sight of the impressive Mount Everest after a hearty day of trekking
  • Explore colorful Namche and sip tea or coffee at one of the world's highest markets
  • Take a scenic flight to Pokhara with great views of the Himalaya
  • Go on safari by jeep, by boat, or by foot in search of wildlife in Chitwan

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Welcome to Kathmandu! Kathmandu
Day 2 Explore Kathmandu Kathmandu
Day 3 Fly from Kathmandu to Lukla, Trek to Phakding (8,563 feet / 2,610 m) Phakding
Day 4 Trek from Phakding to Namche Bazaar (11,290 feet / 3,440 m) Namche Bazaar
Day 5 Acclimatization day in Namche Bazaar Namche Bazaar
Day 6 Trek from Namche Bazaar to Lukla (9,186 feet / 2,800 m) Lukla
Day 7 Fly from Lukla to Kathmandu Kathmandu
Day 8 Fly from Kathmandu to Pokhara, Explore Lakeside Pokhara
Day 9 Explore Pokhara: Guided or Self-Guided Day Tours Pokhara
Day 10 Drive from Pokhara to Bandipur Bandipur
Day 11 Drive from Bandipur to Chitwan Chitwan National Park
Day 12 Explore Chitwan: Safari by Jeep or by Foot Chitwan National Park
Day 13 Explore Chitwan: A Day With Elephants Chitwan National Park
Day 14 Fly from Chitwan to Kathmandu Kathmandu
Day 15 Explore Kathmandu Kathmandu
Day 16 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: Explore Kathmandu

Boudhanath stupa
Boudhanath stupa

Kathmandu has a special atmosphere during the early morning hours when the city is slowly coming to life yet not too chaotic. It's a great time to walk and explore the streets or have a chai overlooking one of the local courtyards or durbar squares. 

After breakfast, there are then a number of ways you can spend your day given the numerous famous sights around the Kathmandu Valley. You can use this as a free day or we can provide a local English-speaking guide who knows the city well and can explain the history and significance of the sights (along with a private jeep to take you around).

Later in the evening, head out for dinner at one of the city's great eateries, or your specialist can arrange a home-cooked dinner with a local family.

Day 3: Fly from Kathmandu to Lukla, Trek to Phakding (8,563 feet / 2,610 m)

Experience landing at Lukla's mountain airport
Experience landing at Lukla's mountain airport

After breakfast, you'll fly to Lukla (30 minutes) and land on a steep mountain runway, which brings you to the start of your trek. Try to get a window seat on the left-hand side of the plane and keep your camera close: the flight takes you between mountains and through valleys, with great views of the Himalaya on clear days.

You'll then trek a short distance today through local villages where you'll likely encounter fellow trekkers, locals, and yaks with their tinkling bells. (Having an easy first day is intentional, allowing you time to get used to the higher elevation.)

Continue through the Dudh Koshi Valley on a well-marked trail and stay overnight in Phakding. 

Trekking time: 3-4 hours (4.7 miles / 7.5 km)

Day 4: Trek from Phakding to Namche Bazaar (11,290 feet / 3,440 m)

The Hillary suspension bridge before the climb up to Namche Bazaar
The Hillary suspension bridge before the climb up to Namche Bazaar

After breakfast in Phakding, you'll start a steady and steep incline towards Namche. This is a challenging day as you'll start to feel the altitude. The route also consists of a number of high suspension bridges over the Dudh Kosi River that you need to cross.  

Just beyond the village of Monjo is the entrance to the Sagarmatha National Park, which was set-up in order to protect and preserve the fragile mountain environment (your guide will cover your permit fees here). The trail gets steeper along the way, and if the weather is clear, you will get the first glimpses of Mount Everest.

When you arrive at Namche, settle into your accommodations and explore the town. Namche is a great place to stock up on supplies as there are numerous small shops selling snacks and trekking gear, as well as restaurants and bars. If here on a weekend, check out the Saturday market—a meeting place for the Hindu traders from the lowlands and the Tibetan yak caravans that have crossed the glaciated Nangpa La

Trekking time: 4-6 hours (4.6 miles / 7.4 km)

Day 5: Acclimatization day in Namche Bazaar

View of Khunde and Khumjung villages
View of Khunde and Khumjung villages

Today is a rest day so take time to relax and sleep in. Namche is tucked away between two ridges amid the giant peaks of the Khumbu and has an abundance of lodges, tea shops, and souvenir markets. It is an ideal place to spend a day acclimatizing to the higher altitude.

To speed up the acclimatization process, you can also head to the Khunde Hospital set-up by Sir Edmund Hillary, or take a highly-recommended one-hour walk up to the Everest View Hotel above Namche for views of notable peaks like Ama Dablam, Nuptse, Lhotse, and Everest. There are also good views from the Sherpa Culture Museum just above town.

Day 6: Trek from Namche Bazaar to Lukla (9,186 feet / 2,800 m)

A suspension bridge on the way to Lukla
A suspension bridge on the way to Lukla

Wake up for an early breakfast in Namche, then retrace your steps back to Lukla following the Dudh Kosi river valley. It's a long day, but it won't be too difficult as it's downhill and you'll be in good shape from all the previous days of trekking.

You'll make your way through villages like Chumoa, Benkar, Phakding, and Chuthawa, eventually reaching the Pasang Lhamu Memorial Gate signifying the end of the trek. Though most of the route is an easy downhill slope, the last section of trail before arriving takes you uphill—a fitting way to finish.

With Lukla’s handful of shops, bars, and cafes—and even a faux Starbucks!—there are plenty of things to occupy your time as you reflect on your experience.

Trekking time: 6-7 hours (11.1 miles / 17.9 km)

Day 7: Fly from Lukla to Kathmandu

Propeller flight from Kathmandu to Lukla
Propeller flight from Kathmandu to Lukla

After breakfast in Lukla, you'll take an early morning flight back to Kathmandu. 

Upon arrival, you'll be transferred to your hotel and will be able to 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.

Other ideas include rewarding your muscles after the trek with a massage service at Seeing Hands (services are offered from the visually impaired), or the more upscale Kinjalla Spa. You can also take an early evening yoga class at Pranamaya Yoga, with two locations in Thamel and Patan.

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

Flight time: 30 minutes

Day 8: Fly from Kathmandu to Pokhara, Explore Lakeside

View of Machapuchare from Pokhara
View of Machapuchare from Pokhara

After breakfast, you'll be picked up and driven by private transfer to the domestic airport for your flight (30 minutes) to Pokhara, Nepal's second largest city. This is a stunning half-hour flight along the Himalayan range where four of the world’s 14 giant mountains over 8,000 m can be seen: Dhaulagiri, Annapurna I, Manaslu, and Shishapangma. 

Upon landing, a driver will be waiting to bring you to your hotel. The rest of the day is yours to explore or just to relax by the lake. Pokhara has plenty of great cafés, restaurants, funky shops, and yoga studios that cater to expats and adventure travelers.

Day 9: Explore Pokhara: Guided or Self-Guided Day Tours

Boats along the shore of Phewa Lake
Boats along the shore of Phewa Lake

Today, you'll have a full day in Pokhara to relax or enjoy a variety of activities. You may want to explore the cafés and restaurants, go shopping, or perhaps do something more adventurous like paragliding or mountain biking.

Day 10: Drive from Pokhara to Bandipur

Views of the valley from the Old Inn
Views of the valley from the Old Inn

In the morning, after breakfast, you'll have time to explore the streets of Pokhara or walk along the lake. You could also take a short boat tour, paragliding trip, or a hike/drive to the Peace Pagoda for great views over Pokhara. 

In the afternoon, you'll be met by your driver and head to Bandipur, a beautiful hilltop village 2-3 hours drive east of Pokhara. It is a small town perched high on a ridge, at 1,030 m. As the center of the town is pedestrianized, you can walk among the red-brick temples and traditional old homes without the same stress of traffic as in Kathmandu. Bandipur used to be an important center of garment manufacturing and was a trading stop along the India-Tibet route.

You'll arrive just before sunset in time to enjoy the views, explore the village, and take in a meal at your hotel overlooking the valley below.

Day 11: Drive from Bandipur to Chitwan

Chitwan National Park
Chitwan National Park

After breakfast, you'll head out in your private vehicle to the famous Terai region of Nepal. The landscape and culture are totally different from that which you have experienced so far and from the high, alpine regions of the Himalayan range. The name the ‘Terai’ refers to the extensive plains in the southern part of Nepal—this area is the most northern extension of the great Gangetic plains of India, land that was won and lost in decades of struggle and shares both Indian and Nepali characteristics and culture.

During the drive, you'll pass through narrow winding gorges and deep river valleys past terraced fields tilled by generations of family members, reaching the vast plains and the vibrant jungle of the Chitwan National Park in time for a late lunch. This is a stunning overland journey and you will be able to relax and take in the incredible views of this diverse country from the car.

You'll arrive in Chitwan in the early afternoon and check into your resort and meet with a representative to go over the program for your time here.

Day 12: Explore Chitwan: Safari by Jeep or by Foot

Wild endangered one-horn rhinoceros grazing in Chitwan
Wild endangered one-horn rhinoceros grazing in Chitwan

Today is sure to be memorable, as it's a full day of safari activities in the Chitwan National Park and you're guaranteed to see some spectacular wildlife. All wildlife activities are escorted by an experienced naturalist who will tell you everything you want to know about the park and its flora and fauna.

Wildlife that you can see includes the greater one-horned rhinoceros, spotted deer, hog deer, sambar deer, barking deer, gharial crocodiles and a wide variety of birdlife. With a bit of luck, you may even glimpse a leopard, sloth bear, or Royal Bengal tiger.

Day 13: Explore Chitwan: A Day With Elephants

The elephants at Tiger Tops
The elephants at Tiger Tops

Get up early this morning and follow the elephants into the grasslands beside the river, where the mahouts cut and collect the grass for the elephants to eat during the day. While watching the beautiful sight of the elephants grazing in the morning mist, enjoy a steaming cup of traditional Nepali tea. You can even have a go at cutting and binding the grass yourself—it's harder than the mahouts make it look!

Return to the Elephant Camp after breakfast, where you will sleep tonight. Spend the rest of the morning with the mahouts, learning how to take care of the elephants. Lunch will be ready around noon, and you might wish to relax and be lazy (just like the elephants) during the hot midday hours.

In the late afternoon, when the temperature is pleasant, go for a walk in the jungle with the elephants and their mahouts. You will be walking alongside the elephants, watching how they move, what they eat, and listening to their communication, which consists of rumbling and trumpeting. The naturalist will explain everything you want to know about the surrounding eco-system as you move through the jungle, grassland, and wetlands with the elephants. You will most likely encounter tiger tracks, deer, various species of birds, and maybe a rhino or two, depending on the route you take.

As an overnight guest at the Elephant Camp, you will be surrounded by elephants living in a spacious, chain-free environment. You'll be immersed in the elephants’ daily life all day; even after dark, you will feel the elephants' presence through their verbal and infrasonic communications.

Day 14: Fly from Chitwan to Kathmandu

Kathesimbhu Stupa in Thamel
Kathesimbhu Stupa in Thamel

After breakfast in Chitwan, you'll be transferred to Bharatpur airport and return to Kathmandu by flight. 

Once you're back in Kathmandu, you'll be transferred to your hotel where the rest of the day is yours. Explore the city's streets on foot, bicycle, or rickshaw, perhaps shopping for souvenirs or seeing anything you may have missed at the beginning of your trip.

Flight time: 25 minutes

Day 15: Explore Kathmandu

Boudhanath stupa
Boudhanath stupa

Kathmandu has a special atmosphere during the early morning hours when the city is slowly coming to life yet not too chaotic. It's a great time to walk and explore the streets or have a chai overlooking one of the local courtyards or durbar squares. 

After breakfast, there are then a number of ways you can spend your day given the numerous famous sights around the Kathmandu Valley. You can use this as a free day or we can provide a local English-speaking guide who knows the city well and can explain the history and significance of the sights (along with a private jeep to take you around).

Later in the evening, head out for dinner at one of the city's great eateries, or your specialist can arrange a home-cooked dinner with a local family.

Day 16: 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 temples, 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 two hours prior to departure.