3-day adventure during the monsoon

  Group of 2 visited Nepal in July 2016

“Hi, my wife and I are traveling to Kathmandu on July 9th to attend an event. We depart on the morning of the 15th, so not much time, but we'd like to have an adventure on the 12, 13, and 14th. Considering it is the monsoon, not sure if hiking is a good option. But we want to experience the mountains, villages, people, food, culture etc. Will be just me (mid 30's) and my wife (early 40's). We're fairly fit, like camping, but also nice hotels. So would be cool to have a bit of a mix. Any ideas of suggestions?”


Raj Gyawali, a local specialist from Nepal, helped this traveler put together a customized itinerary.

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Trip planning highlights

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Trip planning conversation

Raj

Hi there! Monsoon is quite the time for weddings, so be prepared for some fanfare.

I am the local expert Joost has been talking about, and hopefully I will not disappoint! :-). Looks like you want to pack quite a bit into those three days. If you are prepared for a few showers, we could still pack in a hike, stay away from Kathmandu, and then back through a ton of culture in Bhaktapur, back into town.

Here is a suggestion. If on the 12th, you drove to Sankhu, then hikes for about three hours uphill to reach Nagarkot, a small hill at around 2000 m high, on the edge of the valley, stayed the night at the FarmHouse, then the next day walked down to Bhaktapur, the medieval town that was restored in the 70's, it would mean two days of hiking, each day around three - four hours max. You would pass by some villages (well, sort of, considering you are close to the city), At Bhaktapur the next day, I would stay at Peacock Guest House, a 700 year old building that survived the earthquake last year due to retrofittings that was done in the 70's - btw, they top TripAdvisor rankings in that town.

The last morning, I would do the DAWN at BHAKTAPUR, a pre-breakfast tour to see the city as it was in the past, as people go about doing what they did every day, since forever. Later after breakfast, I would go visit the Yogurt Maker in the HUMANS of BHAKTAPUR, an interesting trade (and the Bhaktapur yogurt is famous all over Nepal). Later, I would drive to Patan for a coffee at Kar.ma Coffee, a boutique that upcycles and downcycles everything from Coffee, and then back to where you are staying...

A perfect three days with a bit of everything... hikes, culture, immersion etc...

Sounds good?

Feel free to comment... like dislike, we can look at other options too...

There are also possibilities to do everything with wherever you staying as the base, but I presume if you did go out a bit from the city, you would feel more like having done something special!

Let me know... IF you like it, I can cost it out for you as well ...

Traveler

Hi Raj, this sounds really interesting!

My colleague, who is getting married, also suggested Pokhara. What do you think about that? It seems that it might be out of the way a bit... I'd prefer to limit time on transport if possible (train, bus, flights, etc). But still get a good feeling for the country...

So maybe you could suggest a few alternatives that we could consider?

Thanks so much

Traveler

Hi Raj, could I ask you for maybe 2-3 other options to consider? We like what you initially outlined, but just to consider a few additional options before make a decision.

Raj

Sure. Will send some other options too.. No issues. Give me some time

Raj

Here is another idea... This one in Pokhara. But with this short a time, you would need to fly.

I would fly to Pokhara afternoon of the 11th, if that is possible, in order to save some time. Once there, check into the hotel and relax in the evening.

Next morning, go on a hike to Peace Stupa, which takes about one and half hours after crossing the lake by boat. Later one could do the long route down through the forests, which can take about two hours or so. Makes a perfectly good day.

The next day, I would do the other sights of Pokhara - the Tibetan quarter, the Davis Falls (this time would be thundering, as the monsoon would have set in already), the Gupteshwor cave below Davis Falls, or even the bat caves.

The next day, at leisure, fly back to Kathmandu. Or drive back through the picturesque countryside.

An alternative here would be to drive halfway to Bandipur the day after the sightseeing and then the next day to Kathmandu. Bandipur is a small town on a hilltop saddle overlooking a deep wide valley right through to the mountains. If lucky (considering the time of year) one could get amazing views of the mountains (in Nepal the ones with snow)

Another option would be to Drive to Chitlang (a picturesque village south of Kathmandu) for two nights to really get a feel of Rural life in Nepal. This village has a goat cheese farm, and amazingly hospitable people, so the experience can be extraordinary. Stay there for two nights and come back via the Kulekhani lake

How do these others sound?

Traveler

We were curious to hear your thoughts on Raj's suggestions. Please let us know if any of the ideas Raj provided sound interesting to you.
Look forward to hear from you.

Traveler

Hi Guys,

Sorry for not getting back to you sooner. I really like some of the ideas. I'm going to ask my colleague, and do a bit of research, then will get back to you. Will definitely book through you guys as I think your service is great!

More to follow in a few days.

Raj

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Traveler

Hi Raj and Joost,

Just spent the morning reviewing plans with my wife. We would like to do the original plan and stay in Kathmandu valley.

July 9: arrive Kathmandu at 6:10am
July 9-10: Hotel Annapurna
July 11: free day in Kathmandu

Day 1 - July 12th: Kathmandu to Sankhu in car, then hike to Nagarkot where we spend the night (Farm House)
Day 2 - July 13th: Hike from Nagarkot to Bhaktapur where we spend the night (Peacock)
Day 3 - July 14th: Tour Bhaktapur in the morning, then car to Patan for some touring, and spend the night in Patan (hotel TBD)

July 15th: Depart back to Spain at 7:40am from airport

So we would like to move forward with this plan. We don't need hotel for the evenings of July 9-11 as that is booked. We may ask for help on what to see in Kathmandu on the day of the 11th, but are planning to leave that open, so will likely be taken care of.

So can you help us book a guide that can come along and lead all of this? We'd prefer a single person the whole time if possible... The hotels you suggested look fine. And we'll need one for the last evening in Patan. I'm assuming if we have a guide doing this with us the whole time, we can just have him book taxi's as most of the journeys by car seem quite short.

Please let us know your thoughts. Also would be good to know additional details on what to see/do in Nagarkot.

Thanks very much!

Raj

Got that... and will plan accordingly... in Patan on the last night we suggest that you stay at the INN or at SWOTHA - beautiful traditional places...which will complement where you are staying in Peacock Guest House...

You will of course have one GUIDE leading the whole thing.

We shall have you picked up from the airport when you arrive unless the groom or the hotel you are staying in is doing it already...

Pity you are leaving on the 15th.. the 16th is the Kathmandu Kora Cycling Challenge - aronud 3000 riders congregate and ride 50k, 75k and 100k routes around Kathmandu ... massive event we conduct every year.

Anyways, lets get this one settled... Hang on to hear from me on final rates. etc.

IN Nagarkot, its great to walk around, and the FarmHouse is just perfect for a lazy afternoon, which is what you might end up doing, as the place is just perfect for that.

Its not the best season for sunrises or sunsets, but the weather can surprise you from time to time, and you might get a lucky fantastic view of the mountain ranges...

Raj

Raj

The itinerary - whats included and excluded and the pricing all in the pdf file that I just uploaded... Just indicate to us if there is some error in any of the arrangements... and if its ok for you, just indicate it to us, and one of us will send you a link which you can use to make the payments. Once you do that, we will start all arrangements here and prepare for you coming in. Ideally, we would love to meet you a day before our arrangements start. We can also come and meet you for that... though I realize you might be busy with the wedding... which can be quite a big deal in Nepal... but slipping out is also fine, as its usually HUGE! :-)

Traveler

Hi Raj,

This looks ok. Except that the hotel "The Inn" in Patan is not listed at the bottom. Just want to be sure this is inclusuve of the price. If so, lets move it forward.

Thanks!

Raj

It is inclusive... no doubts about that... I might have missed it thats all...

Traveler

Ok.. So basically, all of the days apart from the wedding we have hotels, guides, entrances fees, meals, etc...

Great, lets move it all forward. Joost send me a link for payment.

Traveler

We're psyched for the trip!!!

Traveler

Going to spend the next few days in Valencia, and a little beach. Then will be getting on the plane in Madrid to go to Nepal for the first time... Awesome!!! :)

Traveler

Great, added some helpful info about getting your visa above.

Traveler

Thanks for that, I need to fix visas things up.... :)

Traveler

Wanted to drop you a quick note to wish you a great trip to Nepal. Looking at your itinerary, with the wedding and then a great program by Raj, I'm sure it will be an unforgettable experience.
Feel free to drop me or Raj a line in case of any questions.
Happy travels,
Joost

Traveler

Thanks Joost! We just checked into our hotel and resting a bit before getting cleaned up for the wedding. Everything good and smooth so far....

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Traveler Review

Day 1: really great. Nice walk up to a very cool hotel. Got away from the city and really got a feel for the country side.

Day 2: hike back down to Bhaktapur was ok. The second half of the hike was on a main road with lots of traffic, so not that enjoyable. I would have been better if we could have walked in more rural setting like the day before. We ended up catching a bus to get to the hotel. The hotel was noisy, and not very modern bathroom. I would have changed the hotel.

Day 3: very intense day. Early morning tour of Bhaktapor. Then move to Patan and tour and lunch and shopping there. Then Kharma Cafe, and finally goodbye dinner. Probably too many moves around on this day. Maybe would have been better to do Bhaktapor tour previous afternoon. Plus Kharma Cafe was not that interesting. I appreciate the concept of sustainable, local business, but driving 20 minutes there and 20 back for a coffee did not add significant value to the day...

I'm pleased with the support and service. I had no idea what to expect as I had never visited Nepal, so had some different thoughts in my head around what to expect. Organization and service was good, but now that I have a better idea of the urban Nepal, I would ask for some different options and focus things differently....