This tour combines two great Nepal experiences: Chitwan National Park in the subtropical lowlands and the Ghandruk Trek in the Annapurna foothills. Chitwan has a wide variety of wildlife including tigers, rhinos, elephants and many bird species.  The Ghandruk trek is suitable for every level—beginners, families, and older age groups alike—and includes overnight stays in Gurung villages.

Highlights

  • Experience two totally different aspects of Nepal, for a well-rounded trip
  • Observe wildlife, including Rhinos, Elephants and Tigers (if you are lucky enough to spot one in Chitwan National Park
  • Complete a 4-day trek in the trekking mecca of the Annapurna foothills

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Welcome to Kathmandu! Kathmandu
Day 2 Fly from Kathmandu to Chitwan Chitwan
Day 3 Chitwan National Park (Optional Activities) Chitwan
Day 4 Drive from Chitwan to Pokhara Pokhara
Day 5 Drive from Pokhara to Phedi, Trek to Pothana Pothana
Day 6 Trek from Pothana to Landruk 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, Afternoon to Explore Kathmandu
Day 10 Depart Kathmandu  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Kathmandu!

Kathesimbhu Stupa. Kathmandu
Kathesimbhu Stupa. Kathmandu

It's a beautiful flight into the Kathmandu Valley with views of the Himalaya and terraced valley floor. Upon arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport, one of our representatives will greet you and transport you to your hotel.

Depending on your arrival time, you'll have time to explore the city. Some popular sights include Kathmandu’s Durbar Square and its narrow alleyways teeming with small shops, ancient temples, and local restaurants. There's also Swayambhunath temple, where you can watch the sunset over the valley and the Himalaya to your north.

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. Then, if it's not too late, head to the busiest bazaar in the city, Asan Tole, which offers an authentic display of spice, fish, and vegetable stands that make for great photo ops. Practice some basic Nepali phrases and chat with friendly locals!

Day 2: Fly from Kathmandu to Chitwan

Chitwan

This morning you get up early to head to the domestic airport for your flight south to the famous Terai region of Nepal. The landscape and culture is totally different from that which you have experienced so far in Kathmandu. 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 be collected at the airport by your lodge and will arrive in time for lunch (unless you choose an afternoon flight) and a briefing about the activities available in the time you have left this afternoon and what’s on tomorrow.

Accommodation: Jungle Villa Resort

Day 3: Chitwan National Park (Optional Activities)

Elephant safari in Chitwan National Park
Elephant safari in Chitwan National Park

After a healthy breakfast, you'll have a full day of exploring the jungle with a selection of activities (see below) to choose from, depending which lodge and part of Chitwan you're staying in tonight.

River safari on the Narayani River
The outing commences with a nature walk or bullock cart ride through the riverine forest, followed by a scenic float down the river. Cruising on the wide expanse of the river, pockets of rapids propel the boats along as gentle waves lap at the sides. Sitting inside a hand-carved boat, keep your eyes peeled for a variety of birdlife and wildlife. Top of the list is the endangered fish-eating Gharial crocodile and its more sinister relative, the Marsh-Mugger.

Jeep Safari
Meet with your naturalist for a jeep safari in the national park to get a taste of the jungle. Explore nature in the comfort and convenience. Do not hesitate to ask questions and learn as much as you can - your naturalist will be extremely knowledgeable about the animals and the history of Chitwan National Park. During the safari, you will encounter wildlife such as different species deer, birds, monkeys, and the endangered one-horned rhinoceros, and hopefully the elusive Royal Bengal Tiger.

Elephant Safari 
Walk alongside the elephants through the jungle to spot wildlife

Elephant Bathing
Join the elephants in the river, where you can swim and romp with these gentle giants in the clear river waters.

Canoe down the Rapti River
Search for crocodiles, river birdlife and maybe a Rhino or two. Pull up on the riverbanks and take a short jungle walk to an elephant-breeding center

Accommodation: Jungle Villa Resort
 

Day 4: Drive from Chitwan to Pokhara

Pokhara
Pokhara

Today, you'll drive to Pokhara, Nepal's second city. 

Driving distance: 100 miles. Duration: 6 - 7 hours (depending on road conditions)

Day 5: Drive from Pokhara to Phedi, Trek to Pothana

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
Trekking distance: 3.5 miles (5.6 km)
Overnight: Pothana (6,102 feet / 1,860 m)  
Accommodation: Teahouse

Day 6: Trek from Pothana to Landruk

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
Trekking distance: 4.5 miles (7 km)
Overnight: Landruk (5,135 feet / 1,565 m)
Accommodation: Teahouse

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

Rice fields near Landruk
Rice fields near Landruk

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)
Accommodation: Teahouse

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
Trekking distance: 5.3 miles (8.6 km)
Overnight: Pokhara

Day 9: Fly from Pokhara to Kathmandu, Afternoon to Explore

Pashupatinath at night
Pashupatinath at night

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.
 
Accommodation: Hotel

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 city stroll, and/or souvenir shopping. A representative will meet you at your hotel and drive you to the airport for your return flight home. It's good to be at the airport at least 2 hours prior to departure.