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Nepal Himalaya Cultural Delights


10 days 9 nights

Code NP-KPCL9

Category Nepal Classic Tours

  • Group Size 2-16
  • Difficulty Level 2
  • Rating Popular
  • Highest Altitude 4297 ft.
  • Trip Starts From Kathmandu
  • Trip Ends At Kathmandu
  • Type Classic Circuits
  • Season This trip can be taken throughout the year
  • Destination Kathmandu Bhaktapur Bandipur Pokhara Chitwan Lumbini Patan
Dates & Prices
Please, contact us for the price and the dates for this trip

Overview

Kathmandu 3 nights, Bandipur 1 night, Pokhara 2 nights,  Chitwan National Park 2 nights and Lumbini 1 night.

It's a cultural trip with some mild adventures such as jungle safari excursions, short hiking, village visit, etc. First, we explore the UNESCO world heritage sites of Kathmandu valley that includes the Durbar Squares, Hindu temples, and Buddhist monasteries. Then we take a scenic road trip to the traditional Newari town of Bandipur-situated in a rural setting. On the way, we will take a thrilling cable car ride to the temple of Goddess Manakamana. Our next destination is the beautiful glaciated valley of Pokhara where we take boating trips in Lake Fewa and hike the ridge top Peace Temple.

A four or five hours drive from Pokhara brings us to Chitwan National Park in the southern lowland of Nepal, renowned for one-horned Rhinoceros, among other endangered species. In Chitwan, we embark on elephant back safari, canoe trip, birding and excursion to the Tharu tribal village.

The final destination of the tour is Lumbini- the birthplace of Lord Buddha- a less than 4 hours' drive from Chitwan. Here, we witness the birthplace of Lord Buddha and visit the ruins of ancient monasteries and also visit Buddhist temples and monasteries built by various Buddhist countries. From Lumbini, we will take a flight back to Kathmandu. 

The trip is suitable for travelers with average health conditions. There is no significant hiking or any other extreme adventures involved but some long drives. However,  you will have ample opportunity to stops along the way. The accommodation chosen is two or three-star hotels which are adequately comfortable. Everyone will have a private bathroom with running hot and cold water.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 01~Arrive in Kathmandu

You can obtain a Nepal visa upon arrival. Bring one passport picture and US$ 25 cash to pay in visa fee. After clearing immigration and custom, meet your guide and driver at the arrival gate.

After introductions, your guide and driver will transfer you to your hotel in the city (35 minutes). After wash up and change, proceed for sightseeing with your guide and driver. 

First, visit Swayambhunath Stupa - the 2000-year-old Buddhist monument situated atop a hillock on the western fringe of the city. The monument is associated with the evolution of the Kathmandu valley. The monument complex includes the stupa, an array of small shrines, temples, and monasteries. Swayambhunath is a popular pilgrimage destination for Buddhist as well as Hindu followers, and we will have the opportunity to watch the rituals performed by them.

The stupa complex also offers a panoramic view of the valley and perhaps Himalayan mountains on a clear weather day.

From here, we descend and drive to the Kathmandu Durbar Square in the heart of the city. Several of the temples and palace complex here are devastated by the last earthquake, but we are still able to see many other structures here. We will visit the Kumari House, among other temples. The house has rich wood carving at its door, windows, and balconies but more importantly, this is the residence of Kumari - the living goddess of Nepal! We will request for a glimpse of the goddess who briefly appears in the balcony if she is available.

We will take leisurely walk through the streets of Indrachowk and Ason - the traditional business hub and end up in Thamel - the popular tourist destination for budget accommodations, restaurants, and handicraft stores.

In the evening, we invite you to a Nepali welcome dinner in a typical Nepali restaurant. The restaurant also entertains the guests by Nepali folklore dancing.

Overnight: Hotel Moonlight Kathmandu
Meals : Dinner
Day 02~Explore Kathmandu Valley

After breakfast, meet your guide at your hotel lobby and proceed for sightseeing.

Our first stop will be at Boudhanath Stupa which is the largest Buddhist monument of Nepal. This stupa is also the holiest Buddhist temple outside Tibet. There are several active monasteries associated with different Buddhist schools. Tibetan refugees primarily dominate the area and remind of small Barkhor Square.

Next, we proceed to Bhaktapur, about 10 miles northeast of Kathmandu. Bhaktapur is the smallest of the three medieval principalities but the best-preserved one. With stone-paved streets, medieval-looking houses and temples, the city look like an open-air museum. We visit the durbar square with the former palace complex. Other attractions of Bhaktapur include the 5-storied Nyatapola Temple that survived two large earthquakes, Duttratray square with Duttratray Temple and Pujarimath Complex. Stroll through the narrow-cobbled lanes between the private dwellings and also visit the potter's square. We stop by the workshops of local carvers and painters and appreciate their skills of generations-old arts.

Our final stop of the day will be at Pashupatinath Temple - the holiest Hindu temple of Nepal. The temple lies by the sacred Bagmati River - one of the tributaries of the holy Ganges. The main temple sanctum is reserved for the Hindu worships and non-Hindus are not allowed inside, but we can watch the temple and rituals here from another side of the river. The river also has some pyres for Hindu cremation services. If we wait till late, we can watch the Hindu arati ceremony with oil lamps that wrap up the rituals of the day.

Overnight: Hotel Moonlight Kathmandu
Meals : Breakfast
Day 03~By road to Bandipur

(Altitude 1100m/3608 ft., distance 55 miles, 3 hrs)

We get up early morning for sunrise views. The blushing mountains with the first kiss of morning sun and the panoramic views of the valleys create an exhilarating scene. Take a leisurely walk in the environs, and after breakfast, we pack and leave for Bandipur-a sleepy town of medieval flair in west Nepal.

We drive via Kathmandu, and after four hours along the winding road down, we will stop in Kurintar for a cable car trip to the temple of Goddess Manokamana. This temple is known for fulfilling the wishes of her visitors! Every day, thousands of Hindu devotees flock into the temples with offerings that may include an animal sacrifice of goats and chickens.

Leaving Kurintar, we arrive in Dumre- a roadside town (19 miles from Kurintar, 1hr 30m) and we take a road that branches to the left and climbs to Bandipur town (8 miles, 30 minutes or less). Bandipur is a beautifully preserved village crowning a lofty ridge.

Check into your boutique heritage style accommodation and after wash up and change, take a stroll through the town; its main street lined with traditional row houses. The town preserves with attractive 18th-century architecture, pedestrian zone, and outdoor seating. At the north-east end of the road is the temple of Bindebashini and opposite that is Mahalaxmi Temple. The temples carry the rich wooden carving and detailed brass-work and are replicas of those found in the many old pagoda structures of the Kathmandu Valley.

Overnight: The Old Inn
Meals : Breakfast
Day 04~Travel to Pokhara

(Altitude 2919 ft., distance 44 miles, 2h 30m)

On a bright weather morning, Bandipur offers spectacular views of the snow-capped mountains.
After breakfast, we proceed for sightseeing and exploration. We first visit the Khadga Devi Temple, the most sacred and auspicious temple in Bandipur. Then we head up to the Martyrs Memorial Area, which honors seven Bandipur sons killed during the anti-Rana revolution of 1951. And then down to the shrine of Paarpani Mahadev (Shiva), important because it is he who receives appeals for rain from Bandipurays during dry spells.

We will also visit the Silk Farm, which is less than half an hour’s walk towards the west. The staff there will give you an exciting tour-and-talk on the history and method of silk-harvesting in the Nepali hills.

Afternoon, check out your hotel and continue our travel to Pokhara. We rejoin the highway in Dumre and proceed on a 2-hr 30 minutes scenic drive to Pokhara.

Check-in your hotel and after wash up and change, take a stroll the lakeside town of Pokhara.

Overnight: Lakeside Retreat
Meals : Breakfast
Day 05~Pokhara: Explore the attractions.

This morning, we will go for a sunrise tour of Sarangkot. Situated at an altitude of 1592m (5,221 ft.), Sarangkot offers spectacular sunrise and Himalayan panorama view on a bright weather morning, and it's only 30 minutes' drive away from the lakeside.

Your guide and driver will pick you up at your hotel usually one hour before sunrise time. A brief hike from the parking brings you to the top of the ridge. From here you will witness the magnificent sunrise and enchanting views of the Himalayan peaks and ranges of Machhapuchhre (Fish Tail), Dhaulagiri and Annapurna.

Retrace your drive back to the hotel for breakfast, and then your guide and driver will take you for sightseeing.

First, visit Lake Fewa and enjoy boating. Lake Fewa is the second largest lake of Nepal, Rara Lake in far-west Nepal being the largest one. We visit the island temple of Goddess Barahi - a beautiful two-storied temple.

Optional: Hike the Peace Stupa
We cross the lake by boat, and then we begin our hike. It takes about 2-3 hours from the lakeshore to get to the top of the ridge where lies the giant World Peace Stupa, looming over the lake. On a clear weather day, we will again enjoy breathtaking views of the mountain and the valley. If you are not interested in hiking, we can go by car.

Depending on available time and your interest, we can visit the Begnas Lake that lies about 8 miles from the city and is less frequented by foreign travelers.

Overnight: Lakdeside Retreat
Meals : Breakfast
Day 06~By road to Chitwan National Park

After breakfast, we transfer on a scenic 5 hours' drive to Chitwan National Park.

After lunch at our lodge, embark on a game drive to the forest. Jeep safari is operated during the dry season only and may cancel due to insufficient participants. In that case, there will be an alternative elephant back safari or jungle trek provided. Most commonly sighted animals are one-horned rhinos, deer, wild boar, and monkeys. One-horned Rhinos were once almost extinct in the early 70s!  We will always be on the lookout for less frequently seen animals such as bears, leopards, and Bengal tigers. Although the tiger population is believed to be about 100 in the park, it's a territorial animal, and due to thick vegetation, chances of seeing one are scarce! 

In the evening, attend an informative slide show on Chitwan’s flora and fauna, history of the park and the conservation efforts, conducted by the in-house naturalist who is usually a local with a wealth of knowledge on the park. 

Overnight: Riverview Jungle Lodge
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 07~Chitwan National Park: Jungle activities

After breakfast at your lodge, your nature guide will take you on a boating trip down the Rapti River. We will catch sights of sunbathing crocodiles and aquatic birds such as kingfisher, storks, egrets, etc.

After lunch, we will go on elephant back safari in the park.

In the evening, enjoy the cultural program that features folklore singing and dancing by Tharu troupe. Tharus are the original inhabitants of Chitwan and are believed to have immune against Malaria! 

The activities order may change depending on the park regulations and availability of the safaris.

Overnight at the lodge.

Overnight: Riverview Jungle Lodge
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 08~Road trip to Lumbini-the birth place of Lord Buddha

Today, we are off to Lumbini-the birthplace of Lord Buddha. It's 3-4 hours' drive from Chitwan.

Upon arrival, we check into our hotel after wash up and change, proceed to visit the birthplace of Buddha and other attractions of Lumbini. Lumbini is listed as the World Heritage site by UNESCO and holds an immense religious significance and attracts Buddhist pilgrims from around the world!

We first visit the Queen Maya Devi Temple - the spiritual heart of Lumbini. This temple marks the spot where the queen gave birth to Siddhartha Gautama, who was later to be known as Buddha. Adjacent to the temple there is the Pillar of Ashoka that belongs to 3rd century B.C. Nearby there is the ruin of ancient stupa and Pushkarini Pond. The queen is believed to have taken a bath in this pond, before giving birth to Buddha!

Lumbini now has many modern temples built by various Buddhist countries such as China, Japan, Myanmar, Korea, and Vietnam, etc. Depending on available time and your interest, we will visit one or two of these before returning to our hotel to rest.

 

Overnight: Buddha Maya Garden
Meals : Breakfast
Day 09~By flight to Kathmandu

After breakfast, transfer to the airport (14 miles) for a flight back to Kathmandu.

Upon arrival at Kathmandu airport, you are met by your guide and then taken to Patan city. Visit the Durbar square with former palace and cluster of medieval temples. Stroll through the stone-paved alleys with arts and craft workshops and traditional shops lined up on either side. Visit the Golden Temple - a Buddhist monastery of Newari Buddhist and 5-storied Kumbheswara Temple, among others.

You will have time for shopping before your guide transfers you to the hotel.

Overnight at the hotel.

Overnight: Hotel Moonlight Kathmandu
Meals : Breakfast
Day 10~Depart Kathmandu

After breakfast, check out of the hotel. Your guide and driver will transfer you to the airport in time for a flight to your next destination.

 

Meals : Breakfast

Trip Map

Trip Info

Trip Includes

  • Accommodation on double occupancy basis.
  • Chitwan National Park in full board plan and breakfast only in other places.
  • English speaking local tour guides.
  • Private air-conditioned vehicle with driver.
  • Sightseeing admission tickets.
  • Chitwan National Park admission fees and safari.
  • Internal airfares within Nepal.

Trip Does Not Include

  • Drinks, tipping, laundry, phone, and other expenses of personal nature.
  • Nepal visa ($25).
  • Extra expenses due to nature and unforeseen events.
  • Travel insurance.

Passport & Visa

Make sure, remaining validity of your passport is minimum six months when you return from the trip. And that you also have minimum one blank visa page for Nepal visa sticker. If you are traveling to other countries on this trip, please allow one blank visa page for each country.

You can obtain a Nepal visa from any Nepali embassies or consulates abroad or wait until you arrive at Kathmandu airport. If you plan to obtain Nepal visa upon arrival, please, bring one passport picture and US$ 25 cash to pay in visa fee (suitable for 15 days). They do not accept other forms of payments.

Trip Difficulty Level, Road, and Transport

This is motor vehicle-based tour suitable for travelers of all ages with a normal health condition. We do not have any risk of altitude on this trip. Sightseeing involves some walking and climbing the stairways. We provide a right condition vehicle which are mid-size sedan car or SUVs or vans, depending on the group size. There is no severe hiking or extreme adventures on this trip.

Accommodations

The trip accommodations will be in decent two or three-star hotels by local standard. You will have a private bathroom with running hot and cold water.

Meals

The trip includes daily breakfast in Kathmandu, Bandipur, Pokhara and Lumbini and full board in Chitwan National Park. You will have one Nepali welcome dinner the day you arrive in Kathmandu. 

All the hotels do have onsite restaurants, and you will find several options of restaurants in walking distance from your hotels as well. Ask your guide for recommendations. Please, budget US$10-15 for a decent three-course meal.  

Guides

Our guides are college-educated locals, proficient in English, and trained and licensed by local tourism authorities. Most importantly, they are friendly and committed to delivering the best services. Guide and driver will not be the same person. In Chitwan National Park, the lodge provides their in-house naturalists for jungle safari excursions.

Best time for this trip

You can undertake this trip throughout the year, but October and November are the best months when temperatures are mild, skies are clear, and we have clear visibility. The second best season is from March through early May. Temperatures are still mild, and we have rhododendrons and other wildflowers in bloom during this season.

Booking

US$ 300 is requested, along with a completed booking form. You can put the deposit on your credit card or send a check. Balance payment is due 90 days before the arrival date. Balance payment on credit card attracts an additional 3.5% fee. If you book the trip within 90 days before the arrival date, we request full payment at the time of booking.

Cancellation and refund

We must receive a cancellation request in written form. A cancellation fee of the land cost will be as below.

  • Ninety days prior departure: Administrative fee US$ 150 per person.
  • Sixty-Eighty-nine day's prior departure: US$ 250 or 25% of the land cost whichever is higher.
  • Forty-five days to Fifty-nine days prior departure: US$ 450 or 50% of the land cost whichever is higher.
  • Thirty days to Forty-four days before departure: US$ 600 or 75% of the land cost whichever is higher.
  • Less than Thirty days: 100%.

Accomodation

The hotels on this trip are decent two or three star hotels by local standard and are adequately comfortable. Everyone will have en suite bathroom with running hot and cold water.

moonlight hotel kathmandu
Moonlight Hotel Kathmandu
old inn
The Old Inn Bandipur
lakeside retreat pokhara
Lakeside Retreat Pokhara
river view jungle camp
Riverview Jungle Camp
buddha maya garden lumbini
Buddha Maya Garden Lumbini

Add Ons

Trishuli River Rafting

US$ 70

Trishuli River Rafting

Trishuli River is the first choice of a rafting enthusiast and is also suitable for family adventures. It’s 3+ and 4-graded river and can be run throughout the year. The rafting put in and take out locations are in convenient distance from Kathmandu, Pokhara and Chitwan National Park. Rafting trip in Trishuli can be made for a varied duration, depending upon the availability of time and interest. Scenic valleys and impressive gorges, exhilarating rapids and easier sections as well as the right amount of time all make it the perfect trip for first-time as well as experienced rafters. Rafting trip down Trishuli River provides an excellent opportunity to observe the diversity of demography, landscapes, and cultural heritage and the flora and fauna. We can experience the thrills of white-water on the course of three days trip. The river trip is best done in two days and traveler with time constraint can also do a day trip.

During the monsoon, Trishuli River promises a more challenging ride, with powerful rapids and whirlpools. When the river is running high and wild, there are hardly any rafters around, and rafting on the Trishuli River is without a doubt the most exciting thing you can do in Nepal during monsoon and quite possibly one of the best two days big water rafting trips offered anywhere. There are numerous exciting rapids as the name of Snail's nose, Teendevi, Malekhu rapid, Monkey rapid, Upset, Surprise, Monsoon, Cotton Pony, Ladies Delight, S-Bend, Highway, Monsoon and Pinball Rapid. This makes your fun more challenging during high flows with a good mixture of continuous rapids and pleasant calm water.

Kuringhat, a small and picturesque village is an ending spot from where you can drive to Kathmandu or Royal Chitwan National Park or Pokhara to continue your adventure in the Himalayas.

Everest View Flight

US$ 215

Mountain Flight

Buddha Air and other major domestic airlines of Nepal operate one hour daily mountain flight over the Himalayas - a wonderful opportunity to view Mount Everest and other majestic peaks without venturing into a laborious trekking. Of the fourteen peaks higher than 8000 meters, eight are in Nepal. Although there is no denying that walking up and down the hills for a close up view of the Himalaya is very much worth the effort, this we have to confess is not for everyone, due to the physical and time requirements. Buddha Air’s Everest Experience is meant especially for those who don’t want to leave Nepal without touching the sacred and majestic Himalaya. To get the best of the weather conditions in the mountains where strong winds start blowing gathering clouds and raising snow plumes which block the view as the day progresses ahead, mountain flights take place early in the morning. Mountain flight is something you don’t want to miss while you are traveling in Nepal.

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