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Dive into Nepal’s eclectic culture and astounding natural beauty on this 12 day discovery of Nepal.
In Kathmandu Valley, admire masterpieces of Newar architecture, explore an elegant hillside temple overrun with monkeys and stand under the towering Boudhanath Stupa, listening to the chants of Buddhist pilgrims. Soar above the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas by plane enjoying one of the most inspirational vistas of planet earth. Venturing out of the city, hurtle down a glacial river by raft, admire a sunrise over the Himalayas, then embark on an elephant-back safari, ending your adventure in the beautiful lakeside city of Pokhara.
Our Discovery itineraries explore a destination in depth, with carefully selected experiences, and ample free time for relaxation. Like all GetAboutAsia trips, Discovery itineraries can be customised to create your perfect holiday. Discuss itinerary options and extensions with our Asia Travel Experts.
Meet your guide at the airport and travel together to your hotel for check-in. During your drive your guide will provide an introduction to Kathmandu, answer your questions and discuss plans for the following day. Enjoy free time for the remainder of the day.
Kathmandu is by far Nepal’s largest and most diverse city, a genuine melting pot of ethnicities and cultures and a haven for travellers since its rise to popularity as part of the ‘hippie trail’ in the 60s and 70s. Once described as having more temples than houses, this exhilarating and complex capital is rapidly changing, but the half-hidden temples, chilli-growing courtyards and tiny craft workshops of its narrow lanes and alleyways reveal a city that has not yet abandoned its fascinating traditional cultural identity.
This morning, embark on a tour of Kathmandu Durbar Square in the heart of the Old City. With its cluster of elegant temples and palaces adorned with intricate wood and stone carvings, this UNESCO World Heritage site is testament to the sublime skill of several centuries of Newar craftsmen. Standing tall on a 12 stage plinth, the magnificent Taleju Temple dominates the square, its impressive three-tiered octagonal shaped roof rising 35 metres into the sky. Wander the area, taking time to admire the gigantic and colourful carving of Kalbhairav (the god of destruction) and the Temple of Kumari (the living goddess).
Venturing west out of the city, climb the 365 steps that lead up to Swayambhunath Stupa or ‘Monkey Temple’ to see the 2,000 year old Buddhist Chaityas and take in sweeping views of Kathmandu, hemmed in by the looming bulk of the mountains on the horizon.
In the afternoon discover more marvels of Newar architecture at Patan Durbar Square. The beautiful Krishna Mandir Temple, embellished with carvings of scenes from mythological war Mahabharat, was built in honour of an incarnation of Vishnu. Enjoy some time exploring the narrow streets here, perhaps whiling away a few hours in one of the many local art and sculpture galleries.
This morning you have the option to take a scenic flight over the Himalayas. Gaze from the small 18-seat plane in awe-struck silence as you swoop among the clouds over the snow-swept peaks of Everest and the tallest mountains in the world.
Afterwards, venture to the village of Deopatan, on the city’s eastern fringes, to see the revered Pashupatinath Temple. Standing on the banks of the Bagmati River, Pashupatinath is one of the most significant temples built in honour of Shiva in the world and attracts thousands of pilgrims from all over India each year. Non-Hindus are not permitted to enter this holy two-tiered pagoda, but standing on the opposite side of the river offers rewarding views of its richly ornamented silver plated doors, gold deity paintings and ornate wood carvings of Parvati, Kumar and Ganesh.
Just a short and interesting stroll away from the temple, you’ll find the iconic Boudhanath Stupa (Little Tibet). Looming at 36 metres tall, the stupa is the largest in Nepal and is considered the most important Tibetan Buddhist structure of its kind outside Tibet. Enjoy wandering the three large platforms at its base, taking in views of the mountains and listening to the prayer chants of pilgrims performing kora.
In the afternoon, leave for Nagarkot, stopping en route in the ancient Newar town of Bhaktapur, just east of Kathmandu, to explore the UNESCO World Heritage Listed Bhaktapur Durbar Square. This brick paved plaza, sometimes referred to as an ‘open museum’ paints a fascinating picture of the grandeur of medieval Nepal. You’ll find architectural surprises around every corner, with 10 exquisite temples and many more magnificently fearsome statues and beautifully intricate carvings to discover.
Take time to visit a traditional Nepali village nearby before venturing to the renowned beauty spot of Nagarkot. Perched at an altitude of 2,099 metres, this small village is renowned for offering some of the most spectacular mountain views in the entire Kathmandu Valley. Unwind on the hillside and soak up a mesmerising sunset over the jagged peaks of the Himalayas.
Rise early to catch the first rays of sunlight hitting the Himalayas, then drive to the small town of Telkot with your guide.
A 2-3 hour trek from Telkot takes you along a spectacular forested ridge, surrounded by terraced rice fields, tiny hillside villages and looming mountains to the Changu Narayan Temple. Dating back to the 4th century, the temple is dedicated to Vishnu and is exquisitely intricate, with multi-armed Tantric Gods forming the supportive beams between its double roofs and majestic stone lions guarding the gilded door.
In the afternoon return back to Kathmandu.
In the morning make your way to Bandipur and choose one of the following optional activities:
Option 1: White Water Rafting at Trishuli River
Experience a thrilling introduction to Nepal’s thundering glacial rivers on a white water rafting expedition along the Trishuli River. Alternately gliding smoothly downstream and hurtling over coursing rapids, this unforgettable adventure takes you from Charaundi to Kurintar, through a picturesque landscape of green hills and towering mountain gorges.
Back on dry land in Kurintar, your guide will accompany to your hotel for check-in.
Option 2: Visit Manakamana Temple
Manakamana Temple stands on a prominent hillside ridge (1302m) overlooking the river valleys of Trisuli and Marsyangdi. The quickest way to reach it is by the Austrian-engineered cable car, which glides up to the almost impossibly steep summit over a landscape of lush green forests. Built to consecrate the Hindu Goddess Bhagwati, it is believed that those who make the pilgrimage to this elegant pagoda style temple with a pure heart will have their deepest wishes fulfilled.
Later on in the day we continue onto Bandipur.
Located high on a ridge (1000m) above the road to Pokhara, is a relatively non-touristy town so it is unlikely that we will meet many other travellers there. On a clear day the views of the Annapurna and Manaslu mountain ranges are amazing - as is the warm local welcome. Bandipur is a basic village but the surrounding countryside makes for great walks and all the locals will want to talk to you and guide you on your way.
At the eastern part of the town is the pagoda-roofed Bindabasini temple which acts as the abode of the goddess Durga, Bandipur's guadian deity. The rich wooden carvings and detailed brass-work that adorn the temple are replicas of those found in the many old pagoda structures of the Kathmandu Valley. The other important temples and shrines in the vicinity include the Mahalaxmi temple with its exquisite woodwork and the Khadka Devi temple which comes alive once a year during the Dashain festival.
Enjoy the day free at leisure and opt to take a hike around Bandipur.
Option 3: Hike around Bandipur
Consider a hike to the less explored small village of Ramkot ‘Magar’ (approx. 4 hrs return), rich with local interaction opportunity's with the local villagers, witness age-old farming methods and bask in the glory of stunning views of the Himalayas, the views from here being in contrast to the ones you get from Bandipur. Or make a difference to give something back to the community - help out at the Learning Centre for under-privileged children.
Our guesthouse tonight is a restored village mansion in the heart of the old bazaar. The timber and red brick building with carved beams and staircases has pleasant twin and double rooms with separate shared facilities. In front of the guesthouse is a café and bar serving simple, delicious meals from locally sourced organic ingredients.
In the morning, leave for Pokhara with your guide.
Nepal’s unofficial ‘second city,’ Pokhara stands on the shores of the placid Phewa Tal Lake in the shadow of the looming pyramid-peak of Machapuchare.
We row in a traditional boat across the placid water to the small, pretty island that sits halfway across the lake, stopping off to discover the two storied pagoda temple that lies half-hidden by trees in its centre.
The eastern shore of Phewa, affectionately known as ‘lakeside’ or Baidam, is the hub of the city’s shopping, dining and nightlife scene. Enjoy whiling away a few hours here browsing the craft and book shops, or soaking up the laid back vibes outside a cafe overlooking the lake.
Today we enjoy the short one hour trek past tiny Chhetri and Brahmin communities to Sarankot.
Standing high above Pokhara Valley, this renowned local lookout spot commands jaw-dropping views of the snow-capped Himalayan peaks, from Annapurna II in the east to the pyramid summit of Machapuchare and Dhaulagiri in the west.
This afternoon take in the history and beauty of the Pokhara Valley itself, paying a visit to the spectacular KI Singh Bridge and nearby Devi Falls before moving on to a Tibetan refugee village to discover the community’s thriving textile and carpet industry.
Travel with your guide to the ancient town of Gorkha to explore the royal palace.
Perched on a knife edge ridge high above the town, this fort, palace and temple rolled into one is considered the masterpiece of Nepalese architecture by many. It’s a challenging 1,700 step climb up the hillside to reach it, but on a clear day the astounding views out to Mt. Lamjung, Mt. Manaslu and the Ganesh Himal mountains are more than worth the effort.
In the afternoon, drive to Chitwan to prepare for your safari adventure. With a name that translates literally to ‘heart of the jungle’, Chitwan National Park encompasses 932 sq km of protected forest, marshes and sweeping grasslands. Sitting on the fringe of the Indian Plains, the park is one of the last remaining refuges for rare and endangered species such as the one horned rhino, tigers, leopards and Gangetic dolphins.
Rising early to avoid the mid-day heat, embark on a jungle safari across Chitwan National Park. Explore the park by elephant-back, venturing deep into sub-tropical Sal forest and across muddy lagoons where the Indian One Horned Rhino wallows. Traipsing through rippling grassland which grows up to 20 feet in places, get up close to hyenas, buffalo, deer and wild elephants, always keeping one eye peeled for the majestic Bengal tiger creeping through the overgrowth like a shadow.
In the afternoon, relax around the lodge, or explore more of the park by 4 wheel drive and canoe. You can glide down river on a traditional dugout canoe carved from half a tree trunk, passing metres from Gharial and mugger crocodiles looming silently just beneath the murky surface. Freshwater dolphins, otters and a large selection of water birds are also common sightings.
This morning fly from Chitwan back to Kathmandu. After landing enjoy some free time for the rest of the day, perhaps exploring the city’s many handicraft, art and book shops.
In the evening, celebrate the mix of ethnicities, cultures and exotic flavours that make the Kathmandu Valley so unique at a live cultural dinner show. Take a seat on a cushion around the low table and sample an array of popular Nepali dishes as dancers in vibrant traditional costume tell the story of the region to a rhythmic folk soundtrack.
On your last day, enjoy free time until your departure flight.
Phone now to discuss options to personalise your itinerary.
All Get About Asia trips have been designed to make sure you have an unforgettable travel experience. We have developed several trip styles to cater for our diverse range of travellers. Read what your ideal Get About Asia experience might look like here.
|Standard:||from AU $3,407|
|Superior:||from AU $2,680|
All GetAboutAsia prices are based on twin share and depend on availability and season. All our itineraries can be customised including international flights and extra nights. For questions or further information, Enquire Now!
Hotels/lodges each night of the itinerary (excluding your departure day).
This trip package includes 1 internal flight (Pokhara - Kathmandu) which retails at about 200AUD.
Visa for Nepal
All foreign nationals (except Indians) require a visa to enter Nepal
Getting a visa at the airport can sometimes take time due to long queues. There have been instances when passengers were asked to show return flight tickets. You will also need to provide 2-4 passport photos and the following fees in US dollars cash. Always have extra US dollars just in case.
The following costs were correct at time of writing:
- Multi entry visa valid for 15 days - US$25
- Multi entry visa valid for 30 days - US$40
Availability of accommodation and season.
|Physical:||Medium (light trekking)|
"Nowhere in the world captures your imagination quite like Nepal, but the reality exceeded my wildest dreams. From the captivating views of the Himalayas, to the friendliness and openness of the wonderful people I encountered - and all the history, beauty and sights to see, Nepal really was that trip of a lifetime, that I’m looking forward to doing again." — Luke, QLD, June 2016