Experience the beauty of Kathmandu, Pokhara, and Chitwan. This tour takes you past small farming villages where you'll get the opportunity to experience local daily life, beautiful scenery of lush green forests, ancient temples, and rich terraced fields. Featuring a short easy trek, this itinerary is ideal for those short on time or new to trekking who want to explore the Pokhara Valley.

Highlights

  • Roam narrow alleyways in bustling Kathmandu and discover Durbar Square
  • Take a scenic flight to Pokhara with great views of the Himalaya
  • Go on safari by jeep, boat, and foot in search of wildlife in Chitwan
  • Discover traditional Newari life in the historic villages of Bungamati and Khokana
  • Experience the sacred atmosphere of Namo Buddha, one of Tibetan Buddhism’s holiest sites

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Welcome to Kathmandu! Kathmandu
Day 2 Swayambhunath, Pashupatinath, and Patan Durbar Square Kathmandu
Day 3 Fly from Kathmandu to Pokhara, Trek to Bhumdi (1,520 m) Bhumdi
Day 4 Trek from Bhumdi to Bhanjyang (6,775 feet / 2,065 m) Bhanjyang
Day 5 Trek from Bhanjyang to Bhadaure (5,479 feet / 1,670 m) Bhadaure
Day 6 Trek from Bhadaure to Sarangkot Sarangkot
Day 7 Sunrise in Sarangkot, Drive from Sarangkot to Pokhara Pokhara
Day 8 Drive from Pokhara to Chitwan Chitwan National Park
Day 9 Explore Chitwan: Safaris, Wildlife, and Relaxation Chitwan National Park
Day 10 Fly from Chitwan to Kathmandu, Overnight at Namo Buddha Namobuddha
Day 11 Namobuddha to Bhaktapur, Explore the Ancient City Bhaktapur
Day 12 Bhaktapur to Kathmandu, Vespa Village Tour Kathmandu
Day 13 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. 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: Swayambhunath, Pashupatinath, and Patan Durbar Square

Patan Durbar Square
Patan Durbar Square

After breakfast at your hotel, you'll be picked up by an English-speaking guide for a full-day tour of the Kathmandu Valley, visiting three sacred sites: Swayambhunath, Pashupatinath, and Patan Durbar Square.

This day fits quite a bit in—helpful for maximizing your time in Kathmandu—but doesn't overload you with too many sites. You can spend as much time as you like at each temple (this is a private tour just for you), although most people tend to spend an hour. For lunch, you'll stop at one of our recommended local restaurants. Return to your hotel in Kathmandu in the late afternoon and meet your trekking guide who will go over details for tomorrow's adventure.

Day 3: Fly from Kathmandu to Pokhara, Trek to Bhumdi (1,520 m)

Discover the World Peace Pagoda

After breakfast in Kathmandu, you'll be picked up by private transfer and driven to the domestic airport for your flight 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. Your specialist can help you get a seat on the right-hand side of the plane for views of the Himalayas en-route.

From Pokhara, you'll take a short boat ride across Phewa Lake to the start of the trek. You'll climb through the forest to the steps leading up to the World Peace Pagoda. This Buddhist stupa is one of over 80 Peace Pagodas worldwide, built in an attempt to unite people from all over the world and promote world peace. As well as being an impressive sight in itself, from this vantage point you also get stunning views over mountains, Phewa Lake, and the city below.

After a chance to wander around the stupa, you continue down through the forest on small walking trails, before climbing back up to join an open jeep trail snaking around the hill, which will take you through the village of Lukum Swara. The final climb of today takes you up to Bumdi village, home to Gurung and Brahman people, where you will spend the night and can learn more about these cultures.

Day 4: Trek from Bhumdi to Bhanjyang (6,775 feet / 2,065 m)

Never tire from the breathtaking views of the Himalaya

After a short early morning climb, the path continues through a beautiful forest where you'll see the mountains peeking out between the trees. Today is a great day for nature-lovers, as the path winds through a diversity of trees and plants and you can hear the birds above—you may even catch a glimpse of a monkey! Emerging from the trees briefly at Thulunchour, you then continue through the forest until the path joins a dirt road, from which you can see panoramic views of the mountains. These include the Annapurnas, Lamjung, Gangapurna, and Machhapuchhare (Fishtail) as well as three peaks over 8,000 m: Dhaulagiri, Annapurna I and Manaslu, in the distance.

Continuing along the jeep trail takes you gently uphill to Bhanjyang, home to Gurung and Brahman villagers.

Day 5: Trek from Bhanjyang to Bhadaure (5,479 feet / 1,670 m)

Experience local daily life

This morning, you'll climb the stone steps up to Panchase peak at almost 2,500 m, the highest point of your trek. Here, you will again be rewarded with views over the Himalaya. (If you get an extra early start, you can ascend all the way to the peak for sunrise.)

After taking in your surroundings, you'll descend down the far side of the hill to Alldanda. It's a gentle walk to your campsite, with regular views of the mountains above and villages below. The campsite is situated just above the town of Bhadaure, where you can experience a mix of cultures as there is a range of residents including Gurung, Kami, and Brahman.

Day 6: Trek from Bhadaure to Sarangkot

Visit Sarangkot Hill for beautiful panoramic vistas
Visit Sarangkot Hill for beautiful panoramic vistas

Today starts with a descent down the stone steps to the town of Bhadaure, then you continue to a jeep trail that takes you across a small stream and through villages, where you will get the chance to interact with locals. From Sarangkot Hill, one of Pokhara's main attractions, you'll have a panoramic view of the Himalaya as well as the entire city of Pokhara. 

Day 7: Sunrise in Sarangkot, Drive from Sarangkot to Pokhara

Lake Phewa
Lake Phewa

Sarangkot Hill, rising above Pokhara, offers one of Nepal's most classic viewpoints. Wake up early for a short drive to the top to enjoy the views, then have breakfast afterward and head out for your day in Pokhara.

Day 8: Drive from Pokhara to Chitwan

Bathe with elephants in Chitwan
Bathe with elephants in Chitwan

After breakfast, you will 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.

You will drive 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 9: Explore Chitwan: Safaris, Wildlife, and Relaxation

One-horned rhino, an endangered species, inside Chitwan
One-horned rhino, an endangered species, inside Chitwan

Today, choose from a variety of activities or take the day to relax and explore on your own. You can make the most of your day with a full day of jungle safari activities, spending time with Nepal’s majestic elephants in the dense jungle in search of wildlife or taking a river safari in traditional carved-out wooden canoes to spot wildlife and birds along the river banks.

Wildlife in Chitwan include the greater one-horned rhinoceros, spotted deer, hog deer, sambar deer, and barking deer as well as a wide variety of birdlife. With luck, there is always the chance of glimpsing the leopard, sloth bear and Royal Bengal tiger (although it is very rare to spot a tiger these days, recent spottings have occurred!). 

Day 10: Fly from Chitwan to Kathmandu, Overnight at Namo Buddha

The Thrangu Tashi Yangtse Monastery in Namo Buddha
The Thrangu Tashi Yangtse Monastery in Namo Buddha

This morning, you will be transferred to the Bharatpur airport for your 20-minute flight back to Kathmandu. On arrival in Kathmandu, you'll have time to explore a couple more of the main cultural sites of the Kathmandu Valley as they're located not too far from the airport. You can visit Boudhanath, one of the largest stupas in the world, or Pashupatinath, one of the holiest temples in the Hindu religion.

In the late afternoon, you'll then drive about one hour outside of the city to Namo Buddha, a beautiful hilltop site sacred to Buddhists, especially to the local Tamang population. This mountain retreat has incredible Himalayan views and a quirky architectural style making it a lovely place to relax and soak up being in the Himalaya. You'll arrive in time for sunset and can simply relax or head up to a lookout spot close by for stunning sunset views.

Day 11: Drive from Namobuddha to Bhaktapur, Explore the Ancient City

Panauti, one of the oldest villages in Nepal
Panauti, one of the oldest villages in Nepal

After breakfast overlooking the mountains, you'll drive to the village of Panauti to explore how Tamang Buddhist culture contrasts with Tibetan Buddhism. You'll start with a short walk down the hillside to the small stupa at Namobuddha. This stupa commemorates Siddhartha Gautam’s selfless act of offering his body to a hungry tigress, which is said to have contributed to his ability to achieve enlightenment and, ultimately, Buddha-hood. From here, you'll climb a short distance up to the newly built Tibetan Buddhist monastery perched on the hilltop above the stupa.

From here, you head back down into the Kathmandu Valley to Bhaktapur, one of the three ancient cities within the Kathmandu Valley. Bhaktapur is also known as Bhadgaun (city of devotees) and is the home of true medieval art and architecture and the center of traditional Nepalese wood carving in the valley. Compared to the other two cities (Patan and Kathmandu), Bhaktapur is the most original and is without a doubt the most historically authentic as it is literally a living museum where farmers dry their harvest, potters turn their wheel, and people go about their daily life as they have done for centuries.

Here, you will check into a charming traditional-style guest house and when you are ready, your guide will take you out to explore this fascinating ancient city at dusk.

Day 12: Drive from Bhaktapur to Kathmandu, Vespa Village Tour

The perfect way to get around the Kathmandu Valley
The perfect way to get around the Kathmandu Valley

After breakfast, you'll drive back to Kathmandu and drop off your luggage before heading out for an incredible day. Today, you'll be visiting two villages on the back of vintage Vespas, ensuring you really feel part of the city during your day of exploring. The twin villages of Bungamati and Khokana date from 16th century and are typical ancient Newar villages. They are located south of Kathmandu down a rutty road dotted with chaityas, very appropriate for the ancient procession route that this road in fact is. 

Day 13: 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 2 hours prior to departure.