■ 20 February – 05 March 2019
■ Register your details today for our 2020 journey
14 days from $4690 AUD
Discover the majestic sights and endearing culture of Nepal in luxurious comfort on this 14-day itinerary from Kathmandu, encountering UNESCO-listed landmarks and enjoying authentic interactions with the local community.
This journey is designed for those who want to venture off-the-beaten-track and gain a deep insight into Nepalese culture, without compromising on comfort. Each of the beautifully-situated accommodations has been selected for their unique blending of local architecture and cultural design features while boasting all the amenities of a modern hotel.
Experience the iconic temples and pagodas of the Kathmandu Valley before heading on safari to spot myriads of wildlife in the steaming jungles of Chitwan National Park. Engage with practicing Tibetan monks near the lakeside town of Pokhara, then revel in the breathtaking Himalayan views from the hilltop town of Nagarkot. Take the opportunity to go shopping for traditional artisan handicrafts in the renowned workshops of Bhaktapur and get an authentic taste of Nepalese life during a homestyle cooking class and a visit to our local sponsor school.
Join us for a unique journey into the heart of Nepal as we discover the distinct charms of this richly diverse country.
2 x Domestic Flights
Private Vehicles for long distances
Accommodation (twin share)
Boutique Hotels (11 nts)
Luxury Jungle Resort (2 nts)
* single supplement available
5% of journey cost goes directly to our sponsor school
Walking tour of Kathmandu
Entrance fees for all attractions included in itinerary
Cable car admission fee
Chitwan National Park jeep safari, dugout canoe and village tour
Traditional cooking class
Tibetan settlement tour
Tipping for both local guide and driver
DAY 1 - Namaste and welcome to Kathmandu
Fly into the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu where you will be met by your Namaste Journeys Guide and transferred to your hotel.
For the next three nights you will stay in one of Kathmandu’s most prestigious hotels, combining the architectural splendour of the Kathmandu Valley with all the comforts you’d expect of a spa hotel, it’s an inviting base to shake off any jet lag and experience your first taste of Nepal.
DAY 2 - Kathmandu
After a leisurely breakfast at the hotel, you’ll spend the morning being introduced to the culture of Nepal and what you can expect during your adventure, with a few “dos and don’ts” that will help you navigate your way through this beautiful country.
In the afternoon, we’ll head into the charismatic tourist district of Thamel to explore its narrow laneways packed with artisan workshops, which open out into town squares dominated by magnificent temples. Your guide will offer a fascinating insight into the city’s cultural heritage before travelling to the hilltop Swayambhunath Monkey Temple to watch the day’s final rays of sun cast a golden glow over the Kathmandu Valley. Translating as “self-risen”, Swayambhunath’s hill is believed to have spontaneously risen from the waters of a lake that once covered the entire valley.
In the evening, meet with your Namaste Journeys guides and fellow travellers for a welcome cultural dinner.
DAY 3 - Kathmandu Valley
This morning after breakfast we will make our way to Nepal’s most sacred Hindu temple, Pashupatinath. Set on the banks of the holy Bagmati River (just as Varanasi is positioned on the Ganges), Pashupatinath is an open-air crematorium that is accessible to the public. Sadhus and devotees of the Hindu God Shiva are often found here worshipping and, if you’re lucky, you may get the chance to have a photo or two taken with one of these famous dreadlocked holy men.
After Pashupatinath, we will head to Boudhanath – the largest stupa in Nepal and the holiest Tibetan Buddhist temple outside of Tibet. The original stupa was built sometime after AD 600 but was reconstructed again in the 14th century after being wrecked by Mughal invaders. Boudhanath is an impressive monument and thousands of pilgrims gather daily to make a kora (ritual circumnavigation) of the dome under the watchful eyes of Buddha, which gaze out from the square tower.
DAY 4 - Chandragiri to Chitwan National Park
Today we’ll depart Kathmandu and travel west, stopping at the sacred Chandragiri Hill for sweeping views of the Kathmandu Valley backed by the snow-capped Himalayan ranges. Ride the cable car up to the 2550-metre-high peak where the Bhaleshore Mahadev temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is found. From Chandragiri we will take a 30 minute flight towards the subtropical jungles of Chitwan National Park.
Take time in the afternoon to settle into your luxury lodge on the banks of the Rapti River, which blends seamlessly with the surrounding jungle through its use of sustainably-sourced wood and bamboo.
Admire the touches of indigenous Tharu culture in the interior decorations, then join your guide on a tour of a local Tharu village to experience the traditions of daily life and their close association with the environment of the Terai plains. Alternatively, you might like to retreat to the pool or the wellness spa for an Ayurvedic therapy before ending the day watching the sunset over the Rapti River.
DAY 5 - Chitwan
Begin the day at sunrise to make the most of the wildlife activity during a jeep safari and jungle breakfast in the Royal Chitwan National Park. Your guide will help you spot sambar deer, rhesus monkeys and sloth bears as you traverse the park’s forests, marshes and jungles, together with the iconic one-horned rhino and elusive Bengal tigers. Birdwatchers will be treated to an incredible diversity of more than 500 species, including endangered Bengal floricans and the vulnerable lesser adjutant.
After a buffet lunch back at the resort, join Chitwan’s elephants and their mahouts on the banks of the Rapti River for a well-earned bath as you scrub them and swim alongside while they revel in the cool waters. Those who prefer to stay dry can feed them some of their favourite foods, including potatoes, bananas and elephant-made sandwiches!
In the mid-afternoon, get a different perspective on Chitwan’s natural beauty as you slowly float downstream in a dugout canoe, spotting wildlife and a myriad of birds as they come to refuel beside the river. Soak up the tranquility with a sundowner on the banks of the Rapti River before being treated to a cultural performance of traditional dance and song by the local Tharu community.
DAY 6 - Chitwan to Pokhara
Rise with the birds for your final morning of wildlife spotting in Chitwan National Park, then prepare for our journey north to the lakeside town of Pokhara, which boasts spectacular views of the snow-capped Himalayas. Overlooking the tranquil waters of Phewa Lake, it’s made a name for its adventure sports such as paragliding and white water rafting while also being an ideal destination for lakeside strolls and handicraft shopping.
We’ll stop en route to have lunch at a local restaurant in Bandipur. One of Nepal’s most charming towns, Bandipur is a living museum of Newari culture, a beautifully preserved village crowning a lofty ridge, its main street lined with traditional row houses. We will arrive in Pokhara by late-afternoon where you’ll have time to explore the town at your leisure, with plenty of funky cafes and handicraft shops.
For the next three nights you will stay in a centrally located boutique hotel in Pokhara, showcasing the distinct architecture and culture of Nepal’s Western Himalayas. Enjoy a short stroll to Phewa Lake and to the many different restaurants, cafes and shops that are close by.
DAY 7 - Pokhara
Experience the serene waters of Phewa Lake and the stunning views of Pokhara during a morning boat ride, then stretch your legs on a short hike through local villages to the whitewashed Peace Pagoda. Built as a monument to peace, it perches atop Ananda Hill and (on a clear day) offers breathtaking views of the Himalayas and Phewa Lake.
Return to Pokhara for a relaxed, lakeside lunch, then travel to a nearby Tibetan refugee settlement to discover their long history of exile in Nepal. Visit a Buddhist monastery to learn about the monastic lifestyle and daily studies before feasting on authentic Tibetan foods such as tsamba (roasted barley flour) and butter tea with a local family. Without the right to work in Nepal, many Tibetan refugees earn a living selling artisan jewellery, ornate carvings and hand-woven carpets which are available for purchase.
DAY 8 - Pokhara
Enjoy a free day in Pokhara to experience one if its thrilling adventure sports, relax in one of its many cafes and bars or participate in a yoga class. Early birds can watch an unforgettable sunrise from the Sarangkot viewpoint while adrenalin junkies can get a bird’s eye view of Phewa Lake while paragliding amongst the eagles.
Pokhara’s picturesque lakeside setting also makes it ideal for doing absolutely nothing, giving you time to catch up on postcards or just kick back with a good book while soaking up the views.
DAY 9 - Pokhara to Nagarkot
Depart Pokhara this morning on a 30-minute flight to Kathmandu, enjoying the spectacular views of the snow-capped Himalayan peaks along the way. On arrival, we’ll travel through the picturesque rural landscapes of the Kathmandu Valley as we make our way to the rim-top village of Nagarkot, which is famed for its sunrise views of the Himalayas. We’ll spend the next two nights indulging in a “comfort above the clouds” experience at a beautiful mountain resort where you can watch the day’s first rays illuminate the Himalayas from the privacy of your balcony.
DAY 10 - Nagarkot
Set your alarm for an unforgettable Himalayan sunrise, with Nagarkot commanding panoramic vistas of the Annapurna, Manaslu and Langtang ranges, as well as views across the Kathmandu Valley and Shivapuri National Park. Established as an ancient fort to guard against attack from outside kingdoms, Nagarkot later became a summer retreat for the royal family and an international hill station. Opt to go hiking along one of the many walking trails in and around Nagarkot or spend the day relaxing beside the resort pool and being pampered at the spa.
DAY 11 - Bhaktapur
This morning we’ll depart Nagarkot and make our way to Bhaktapur, the “Place of Devotees” and one of the Kathmandu Valley’s UNESCO World Heritage-listed cities. It offers a glimpse into how the valley would have appeared during the medieval period, with soaring pagodas and beautifully preserved palace courtyards lined with stunning architecture. Mingle with devotees coming and going from the shikhara-style temples and discover the exquisite pottery, metal and stone works crafted in its artisan workshops before returning to your luxury hotel in Kathmandu.
DAY 12 - Volunteering & Cooking class
Today we’ll put your teaching skills to the test as we’re invited into the classroom to volunteer at Namaste Journeys’ sponsor school in Kathmandu. Be welcomed by the smiling faces of our dedicated students and staff, then participate in the morning lessons as you interact with these young and enthusiastic learners while discovering some of the unique challenges that education faces Nepal.
In the late afternoon, we’ll venture well off-the-beaten-track as we travel into the suburbs of Kathmandu to the home of a local family where you’ll discover the secrets of Nepali cuisine. Experience an authentic slice of Nepal amidst the comings and goings of daily life while learning about traditional ingredients and cooking techniques as you prepare a delicious Nepali feast to enjoy at the end.
DAY 13- Free day in Kathmandu
Spend your final day in Kathmandu exploring its UNESCO-listed landmarks and stocking up on last-minute souvenirs or just relaxing with a chai in one of the charming courtyard cafes. In the evening we’ll meet for a farewell dinner and drinks to reflect on the journey travelled together.
DAY 14 - Alas! It is time to say goodbye
After breakfast at the hotel, you’ll be transferred back to the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu for your departure flight.
“Khabi Alvida Na Khena”: as the Bollywood Blockbuster title says – “Never say goodbye”!