- Catch views of the Himalaya from the hilltop village of Nagarkot
- Explore the ancient cities of the Kathmandu Valley
- Take a wildlife safari in Nepal's famous Chitwan National Park
- Visit Lumbini, the Birthplace of Buddha
|Day 1||Welcome to Kathmandu, Drive to Nagarkot||Nagarkot|
|Day 2||Sunrise from Nagarkot, Drive or Hike to Bhaktapur||Bhaktapur|
|Day 3||Explore Bhaktapur & Patan, Overnight in Patan||Patan|
|Day 4||Fly from Kathmandu to Chitwan||Chitwan National Park|
|Day 5||Explore Chitwan: Safaris, Wildlife, and Relaxation||Chitwan National Park|
|Day 6||Drive from Chitwan to Lumbini||Lumbini|
|Day 7||Explore Lumbini, Fly to Pokhara||Pokhara|
|Day 8||Explore Pokhara: Adventure & Relaxation||Pokhara|
|Day 9||Fly from Pokhara to Kathmandu, Depart!|
Day 1: Welcome to Kathmandu, Drive to Nagarkot
As you fly into Kathmandu, you'll have beautiful views over the city, the Himalaya, and of the terraced fields below. After going through customs, a representative will be waiting to greet you and guide you through the initial culture shock of Kathmandu’s narrow, winding streets as you drive (one hour) to the village of Nagarkot situated in the hills northeast of Kathmandu. This is the ideal way to escape the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu on your first night!
Instead of driving the entire way to Nagarkot, you can also opt to hike for 2-3 hours to reach the village and the hotel where your luggage will be waiting. It's a moderate uphill hike through villages and farm fields with beautiful views of the surrounding valleys; a great way to stretch your legs after a long flight.
Day 2: Sunrise from Nagarkot, Drive or Hike to Bhaktapur
Get up early to catch the sunrise over the Himalaya—a beautiful sight, followed by a great breakfast! After breakfast, you can either be driven straight to Bhaktapur from Nagarkot (1 hour) or you can hike there (4 hours). Hiking is downhill and passes through the village of Changu Narayan, one of the Kathmandu Valley's UNESCO World Heritage sites. The famous temple in this small town is the least-visited such site in the valley, making it a special place to visit given fewer crowds. The temple dates back to the 13th-century and is believed to be the oldest temple in Nepal.
Although Bhaktapur was extensively damaged in the 2015 earthquake, most of the impressive buildings—including the tallest temple in the Kathmandu Valley and the five-story Nyatapola Temple—remain standing in this medieval Newari city. The town is known for its production of fine Newari crafts, especially pottery, which you can see drying in the large town squares.
Day 3: Explore Bhaktapur & Patan, Overnight in Patan
In the morning, you'll explore the temples and courtyards of Bhaktapur. After that, you'll be driven to Patan, about an hour by car. If you like souvenir hunting, Patan is the best place in the Kathmandu Valley to do this. The town is full of traditional Newari craftspeople, so you can find shops selling Buddhist thangka paintings, metal statues, all kinds of jewelry and brass and copper cookware.
Patan doesn’t contain as many hotels as central Kathmandu (although the number is growing quickly), but that’s to the discerning traveler’s advantage. A number of local heritage buildings have been turned into boutique guesthouses with a lot of charm.
Day 4: Fly from Kathmandu to Chitwan
This morning, you'll get up early for your flight to the famous Terai region of Nepal, Chitwan National Park. You'll find that the landscape and culture are totally different from Kathmandu or the Himalaya. The name '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.
Upon arrival at the airport in Chitwan, you will be picked up by a representative from your lodge and get to the lodge 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.
Day 5: Explore Chitwan: Safaris, Wildlife, and Relaxation
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 6: Drive from Chitwan to Lumbini
After breakfast in Chitwan, you have a 3-4 hour drive to Lumbini. Lumbini is a Buddhist pilgrimage site in the Kapilavastu district of Nepal near the Indian border, where Queen Mayadevi is said to have given birth to Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha. The Buddha lived between roughly 563 and 483 BCE.
Lumbini is one of four magnets for pilgrimage that sprang up in places pivotal to the life of the Buddha, the others being at Bodhgaya, Sarnath, and Kushinagar. As of 1997, Lumbini is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The holy site at Lumbini has ruins of ancient monasteries, a sacred Bodhi tree, an ancient bathing pond, the Asokan pillar and the Mayadevi temple, where the precise place of birth of Buddha is located. From early morning to early evening, pilgrims from various countries perform chanting and meditation at the site.
Lumbini is also home to the Crane Sanctuary, a place abundant in culture and birdlife. Be sure to take binoculars to catch a glimpse of the Eurasian Wigeons, Eurasian Marsh Harriers, and the Booted Eagles.
Day 7: Explore Lumbini, Fly to Pokhara
In the morning, you'll have time to enjoy the sunrise and explore the temples around Lumbini. You'll then be transferred to Bhairawa airport for your flight to Pokhara. Upon arrival in Pokhara, you'll be transferred to the hotel by private car.
Day 8: Explore Pokhara: Adventure & Relaxation
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 9: Fly from Pokhara to Kathmandu, Depart!
After breakfast, you'll be transferred to Pokhara's domestic airport for your flight back to Kathmandu. If you're flying back home from Kathmandu today, you need to ensure your flight departs no earlier than 11 am to ensure you'll have enough time to catch it. (The earliest you can arrive back in Kathmandu will be around 9:15 am.)