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Mountainous Nepal is home to some of the most rewarding scenery in the world, largely due to the Himalayan Mountain range running through its spine. Visit peaceful lakeside towns, ancient religious sites and search for iconic wildlife in the lowlands.
Explore Tour Leader
12 nights comfortable hotel
2 nights comfortable lodge
Trip maximum 16 Explore Average 11
Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.
Arrive in Kathmandu; the busy, colourful and chaotic capital city of Nepal. Centuries of history are revealed in shrines, hidden temples and narrow backstreets, and the Himalaya provide a spectacular backdrop to this intoxicating city.
Our hotel in Kathmandu is about 30 minutes' drive from the airport. For those arriving on time our leader will meet you in the hotel reception at 5pm for the initial tour briefing. After this, for those that wish, there is the chance to go out for dinner. Should you miss the meeting, your leader will leave you information giving the meeting time for the next day in the hotel reception and will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up.
There are no activities planned today, so you are free to arrive in Kathmandu at any time. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive into Tribhuvan International Airport (KTM).
If your flight arrives earlier in the day, you might choose to walk in to the centre of town which is around 15 minutes from the hotel.
This evening you might like to have your first taste of Nepalese cuisine. The local dumplings are a good bet. Called momos, they consist of a flour-based dough filled with meat or steamed vegetables. Also worth trying is dal bhat, a lentil based soup usually served with rice and vegetable curry. Whatever you try you'll find the cuisine varied, a mixture of influences from around the region, and a riot of colours and flavours.
Hotel Shanker (or similar)
This morning we have arranged a walking tour visiting the bazaar and the Durbar Square area, the centre of old Kathmandu. Much of the day to day life of Kathmandu takes place in the bazaar: a fascinating mixture of people selling fruit, vegetables and spices; potters spinning their wheels to produce small household bowls and containers for temple offerings; devotees visiting their favourite gods at temples and small shrines dotted along the sides of alleyways; rickshaw wallahs honking their horns and the ever present sacred cow wandering amongst it all. In the afternoon we plan to visit the Temple of Pashupatinath on the banks of the Bagmati River, the holiest Hindu shrine in Nepal and also Buddhanath, the largest stupa in the country and a destination for Buddhist pilgrims from all over Nepal.
In the morning we visit the almost perfectly preserved city of Bhaktapur, also known as Bhadgaun or City of the Devotees. Bhaktapur feels more like a huge medieval village with its potters wheels and its many intricate stone and wooden carvings. We then continue to our lodge at Nagarkot on the Kathmandu Valley rim. Sunset views from Nagarkot back across the valley to Kathmandu are very impressive.
The Fort Resort (or similar)
Thirty five kilometres east of Kathmandu and at an altitude of 2,174 m, Nagarkot stands on a ridge between the Kathmandu valley in the west and the Indrawati valley in the east. We'll get up early to catch the sunrise from the roof of the lodge and after breakfast take a walk to a nearby hilltop along the ridge for spectacular views over the Himalayas. There are many other possibilities for short walks during the rest of the day, including visits to neighbouring farms growing crops of fruit, vegetables and grain, under the spectacular backdrop of the snow capped Himalayan peaks.
We make a morning departure to drive out of the high Kathmandu valley and descend to the foothills where we overnight at the much lower altitude of about 262m. As we leave the valley, on clear days we will have views of the Ganesh, Manaslu and Annapurna ranges of the Himalaya. En route we have the option of a half-day's whitewater rafting on the Trisuli River (Grade III-III+). No previous experience required. Includes all permits, services of experienced river guides, helmet, life jacket and lunch. We recommend that you are confident swimming for at least 25 metres unaided if participating in the rafting. As the rafting finishes at the beach just below our accommodation, those who do not wish to raft may relax by the hotel pool.
Riverside Springs Resort (or similar)
Next day we make our way to the small hill bazaar of Gorkha (1 1/2 hour's drive) where the surfaced road ends. The town which gave the feared Gurkha soldiers their name was also the place from which King Prithvi Narayan Shah set out to unify Nepal in the 18th century. A walk up to the ridge on which stands his old palace fort is well worth the climb. The view over the surrounding Annapurna and Manaslu ranges is spectacular.
In the morning there is an option to visit the nearby Manakamana Temple (1302m), the sacred place of the Hindu Goddess Bhagwati, taking a cable car up to the temple. Local people call the goddess the wish fulfilling deity and the temple is a popular pilgrimage site. Afterwards, we continue our journey on to Pokhara situated beside Lake Phewa Tal beneath the Annapurna range.
The Lake Side Retreat (or similar)
On our first morning in Pokhara, we take a walk through some small Gurung and Chettri settlements to the World Peace Pagoda, situated on a ridge above Pokhara. From here there are spectacular views of the mountains making up the Annapurna range which at this point are only 48km away - from Dhaulagiri in the west to Annapurna II in the east. The rest of the day is left free to explore the tranquil town of Pokhara, perhaps taking a boat trip on the lake, or simply sitting back and admiring the breathtaking beauty all around.
Today we'll visit the Mountain Museum housing expedition memorabilia and information on ethnic groups, flora and fauna. We'll also visit Tashiling, a long established settlement of Tibetan refugees. We spend some time here watching wool being sorted, dyed and eventually made into Tibetan carpets which are exported all over the world and then visit the village's Buddhist monastery.
Leaving Pokhara we take a short drive to the hilltop town of Bandipur. After a short walking tour of the town and the bazaar there is free time to explore this traditional Nepali town. Bandipur is a small, quiet town that doesn't attract as many tourists as nearby Pokhara. There are several small temples to visit and stunning views back across the Himalaya.
The Old Inn Bandipur (or similar)
Today we drive from Bandipur to Chitwan National Park. Once a private hunting ground, Chitwan is now a National Park, with thick tree cover and tall elephant grass sheltering a wealth of animals, most famously the one-horned Rhino. Throughout your stay you will be kept busy during the day (except for a couple of hours around lunch time) with many activities available, including jeep safaris searching out the one-horned rhino, bird watching, jungle walks and drives and dugout canoe trips along the Rapti River. Canoeing will be dependent on the water level, floating silently down the river in a traditional dugout canoe gives us the opportunity to spot many varieties of water birds. On a nature walk in the company of trained native naturalists you can walk along trails in the less densely forested parts of the park. An early morning bird watching walk near the river will reveal many of the 450 bird species that can be found in the park, especially kingfisher. A trained naturalist will help you get the best enjoyment and interest from these excursions.
Tigerland Safari Resort (or similar)
Today we continue our exploration of Chitwan National Park on foot, by canoe and with an afternoon jeep safari.
Today we depart for Kathmandu (approximately 5-6 hours drive).
Today is left free to explore Kathmandu. You may like to visit Swayambunath stupa, perched on a hilltop and also known as the 'monkey temple' because of its resident group of very inquisitive primates. Or perhaps Patan, the 'city of beauty', whose Durbar Square has the finest collection of temples and palaces in the entire country.
The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Kathmandu.
There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Kathmandu at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day, luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you'll need to depart from Tribhuvan International Airport (KTM).
Temperatures in the lower altitude regions are extremely pleasant. At Pokhara variations in temperature are very limited: from the coldest recorded of 8°C (46°F) to the highest of 31°C (88°F). The mountains are best admired, with greater air clarity, from October to January, while from February to May the skies may be hazy. Monsoon rains are strongest in June, July and August. The coldest months are December and January.
2 Pin Round
Rafting on the Trisuli - a half day white water rafting trip. No previous experience required. Includes all permits, services of experienced river guides, helmet, life jacket and lunch. Minimum number of participants is 4. US$ 70. Swayambunath - Approx US$ 25 (minimum 4 people) Patan - a half day sightseeing trip to Patan, one of the three royal cities in the Kathmandu Valley. The city is known for handicrafts and carvings and is home to more than 1000 monuments. US$ 35(minimum 4 people) Cable car to Manakamana Temple - US$ 25 (minimum 4 people)
You can expect to wear short sleeved shirts and t-shirts during the day in the Spring and Autumn months but it does get cool in the evening, so bring some warmer clothing as well. In December and January evenings can be very cold and you will need a down jacket and thermal layers. It's worth bringing a good quality waterproof. No bright coloured clothing for Chitwan. Do not wear lycra tights or leggings or very short shorts as the Nepalese find these offensive. Nagarkot can be cold most times of the year.
Comfortable shoes (eg. trainers) and sandals, plus lightweight boots if you wish to take part in any walks.
One main piece of baggage and a daysac. You will find it more convenient to travel light when outside Kathmandu. Any extra luggage can be stored in Kathmandu hotel.
A torch, binoculars for animal & birdwatching in Chitwan National Park, a universal bath plug and antibacterial handwash, are useful to have along. You may also want to bring with you ear plugs and insect repellant. We advise taking a water bottle for day to day use.
Can you drink the water?
The water quality is poor and therefore it is recommended to avoid drinking tap water during your trip.
We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK citizens, check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice.
Please refer to our COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry. Whilst we strive to update this on a regular basis we recommend you also check the FCDO website for the latest advice on entry requirements in this fast-evolving situation. Information can change at any time.
Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.
Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. However, please note that if you voluntarily make any changes to your booking including changing your trip or departure date, any additional costs or charges incurred will not be covered. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions
Nepal: An entry visa is required by UK, New Zealand, Australian, US & Canadian citizens and can be obtained on arrival at Kathmandu Airport and various international border crossings between Nepal and its neighbouring countries. This currently costs $30 USD for a 15 day visa, $50 USD for a 30 day visa and $125 USD for a 90 day visa. All visas are issued as multiple entry visas and are valid from the date they are issued. There have been reports of lengthy delays when completing the form to obtain the visa at the airport, especially during peak times. We therefore recommend that you fill in the visa information prior to arrival using the following link: http://online.nepalimmigration.gov.np/. This will produce a receipt with a barcode, which you will need to print off and produce on arrival to obtain the visa. Please note if you are filling in the form before you arrive, please do so only within 15 days of arrival as application forms are only stored for a maximum of 15 days. Whether you are filling in the form on arrival or before, a passport-sized photograph for immigration is required along with the exact cash. Payment must be made in cash, UK sterling and US dollars are both accepted. If you are ineligible for the visa on arrival or wish to obtain a visa before you travel, please refer to your nearest Nepal embassy.
If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.
Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information.
You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.
Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.
The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.
Free transfers are not available for Polar customers.
If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.
For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here
It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.
Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.
You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.
We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.
On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.
An ability to swim is essential for your safe enjoyment of the water based activities on this trip. If you wish to participate in these activities then we insist that you are able to swim.
Nothing compulsory, but we recommend protection against malaria, infectious hepatitis, typhoid, tetanus, polio and Japanese encephalitis. Consult your travel clinic for latest advice on different prophylaxis available against malaria. Although not compulsory, travellers may wish to take immunisation against meningococcal meningitis. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.