Combine two classic Nepal experiences: the Ghandruk trek in the Annapurna foothills and Chitwan National Park in the lowlands of Nepal. Chitwan National Park has a wide variety of wildlife, including tigers, rhinos, elephants, and many bird species. To end the tour, you'll overnight in Namobuddha for a beautiful vantage point over the Kathmandu valley before doing some last-minute sightseeing. 

Highlights

  • Experience two totally different aspects of Nepal, the Himalaya and the jungle
  • See wildlife, such as rhinos, elephants, and tigers in Chitwan National Park
  • Trek to Ghandruk, one of Nepal's classic routes in the lower Annapurna foothills
  • Spend a night at Namobuddha overlooking the Kathmandu Valley

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Welcome to Kathmandu! Kathmandu
Day 2 Explore Kathmandu Kathmandu
Day 3 Fly from Kathmandu to Pokhara, Trek to Pothana (6,102 feet / 1,860 m)   Pothana
Day 4 Trek from Pothana to Landruk (5,135 feet / 1,565 m) Landruk
Day 5 Trek from Landruk to Ghandruk (6,365 feet / 1,940 m) Ghandruk
Day 6 Trek from Ghandruk to Nayapul, Drive to Pokhara Pokhara
Day 7 Explore Pokhara, Fly from Pokhara to Chitwan Chitwan
Day 8 Explore Chitwan National Park Chitwan
Day 9 Fly from Chitwan to Kathmandu, Overnight in Namobuddha Namobuddha
Day 10 Drive from Namobuddha to Bhaktapur, Bhaktapur Sightseeing Tour Bhaktapur
Day 11 Depart Kathmandu  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Kathmandu!

Kathesimbhu Stupa. Kathmandu
Kathesimbhu Stupa. Kathmandu

Flying into Kathmandu, you'll have views of the Himalaya and of the terraced fields and hillsides, below. After completing customs, a representative will be waiting to greet you and drive you to your hotel.

After you've settled in, you'll have time to explore the city. Recommended sights to see on your first day include Kathmandu’s Durbar Square and its narrow alleyways teeming with small shops, ancient temples, and local restaurants, and 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.

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 Pokhara, 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! 

After an early breakfast, you'll be picked up from your hotel and driven to the airport to catch your flight to Pokhara. This is a city located west of Kathmandu. Your specialist can help you try to get a seat on the right-hand side of the plane for views of the Himalayas en-route.

Upon arrival, 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 4: 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 5: 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)

Day 6: 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 7: Explore Pokhara, Fly from Pokhara to Chitwan

Chitwan National Park
Chitwan National Park

After breakfast, you'll be transferred to Pokhara domestic airport for your flight to Bharatpur, Chitwan's main airport. A car will be waiting for you there, to take you to the jungle of Chitwan National Park.

Arriving at your lodge, you'll settle in and take a walk around the grounds. You can choose from a number of activities to do this afternoon or simply relax at your lodge for some rest and free time.

Flight time: 20 minutes

Day 8: Explore Chitwan National Park

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

Today is yours to explore on your own or we can organize a couple activities on the river, in the jungle, or with elephants at an elephant camp. 

Day 9: Fly from Chitwan to Kathmandu, Overnight in Namobuddha

Overnight in Namobuddha
Overnight in Namobuddha

This morning, you'll have the chance to fit in one last jungle or village activity before your transfer to the Bharatpur airport for your flight back to Kathmandu. 

After arriving in Kathmandu, you'll be driven to Namobuddha, a beautiful location which is sacred to Buddhists, especially to the local Tamang population. There is a lovely stupa commemorating the selfless act of Siddartha Gautam offering his body to a hungry tigress—an act which is said to have contributed to his ultimate achievement of enlightenment and ‘Buddhahood’.

Flight time: 20 minutes

Day 10: Drive from Namobuddha to Bhaktapur, Bhaktapur Sightseeing Tour

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 Panuati before heading to Bhaktapur in the afternoon.

In the morning, explore how Tamang Buddhist compares with Tibetan Buddhism. You'll start with a short stroll down the hillside to visit the little 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. You'll learn about the significance of the place and its place in local Tamang culture before we climb a short distance up to the newly built Tibetan Buddhist monastery perched on the hilltop above the Stupa.

From here, you head to head out of town to Bhaktapur, one of the three ancient cities within the Kathmandu Valley. 

Day 11: 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.