Day 1: Trip starts in the Nepalese capital Kathmandu
Kathmandu is a frantic and beautiful ancient city which dates back to 12AD. Now home to 4 million mostly Hindu and Buddhist people it is a feast for all the senses. From the moment you step off the plane you will be dazzled by a kaleidoscope of colours, scents and noises. Today is free to relax after your journey or to start your explorations of the capital.
Day 2: Guided walking tour of Kathmandu Old Town and bazaars
After breakfast we set out with a local guide on a walking tour visiting the bazaar and temples of Old Kathmandu. Much of the day to day life of the city takes place in the local bazaar, a fascinating mix of people selling spices, rickshaw drivers 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 to visit Bodnath, the largest stupa in the
country and a destination for Buddhist pilgrims from all over Nepal.
Day 3: Drive to the lakeside city of Pokhara; relax and prepare for the trek
After breakfast, we leave the Kathmandu Valley behind and drive to Pokhara, a journey of around 6 hours. We'll stop for lunch at a typical Nepali roadside cafe along the way. Pokhara is smaller and more relaxed than Kathmandu and is beautifully situated on the banks of Lake Phewa from where, on a clear day, there are superb views of the snowcapped Annapurna range, including Machhapuchhre - the famous 'Fishtail' mountain. In the afternoon there will be a briefing by your tour leader to give you an idea of what to expect on a day to day basis while on trek and to make sure that everyone is properly equipped.
Day 4: Drive to start of trek; hike to Sanctuary Lodge (1,150m)
This morning we depart Pokhara by road, it's about an hour drive to the point where the trek starts. Our walk will follow a ridgeline in the lower foothills of the Annapurna with surrounding views of the Pokhara Valley. We plan to enjoy a picnic lunch with a view along the way. The route then drops to follow the Modi River Valley where the first of our comfortable Ker and Downey lodges, Sanctuary Lodge, is located. The lodge was constructed in the traditional mountain style by local artisans and has a beautiful garden where you can enjoy magnificent views of the sacred and unclimbed peak Machhapuchhre, or Fishtail Mountain as it's more commonly known because of its shape like a fish's tail.
Find out more about all of the Ker and Downey Lodges used on this trip at https://keranddowneynepal.com/lodges.
Today's seven kilometre walk is expected to take around three-and-a-half hours with a total descent of 460 metres.
Day 5: Trek to Himalaya Lodge near Ghandruk (2,000m)
After breakfast, we leave the lodge walking out through the outlying farms following the Modi River Valley. Soon we begin to climb out of the valley and up towards the mountains. The trail passes through small hamlets, terraced rice fields and forests with spectacular views of the surrounding valley. Snacks are provided along the trail and a hot lunch is served on arrival at the lodge in the early afternoon. Himalaya Lodge affords magnificent close-up views of the surrounding Annapurna mountain range. It also overlooks the settlement of Ghandruk with its whitewashed, stone tiled houses clustered closely together on the valley side. Populated by the Gurung ethnic group, Ghandruk is a popular recruitment location for the Gurkha soldier regiment of the British Army.
Today's 10 kilometre walk is expected to take around five-and-a-half hours with a total ascent of 850 metres.
Day 6: Trek to La Bee Lodge at Landruk (1,565m)
We wake up this morning tea and enjoy coffee served in the garden and watch the sunrise over some of the highest peaks on the planet - Annapurna South, Annapurna 1, Hiunchuli, Gangapurna, and the Fishtail. After a relaxing breakfast and the glorious views from the Himalaya Lodge, we start our trek to Landruk. After leaving the village of Ghandruk, the trail descends steeply to the banks of the Modi River. We reach the base of the cliffs where the famed honey hunters of Nepal climb up on ropes to collect the honey from bees' nests on the cliff side. We then cross a strong suspension bridge to the opposite banks of the Modi. From here is it about an hour trek up switchbacks and steps to reach the Gurung village of Landruk which enjoys glorious views of the Annapurna range.
La Bee Lodge is small and intimate, with only 12 en-suite rooms and is exquisitely perched on a cliff edge with awesome views stretching far into the distance. After lunch on arrival, we will set out in the afternoon to explore the village and surrounding area on a guided walk.
Today's six kilometre walk is expected to take around four hours with a total ascent of 315 metres and descent of 750 metres.
Day 7: Hike to Gurung Lodge at Majgaun (1,400m)
After breakfast, we leave the Bee Lodge and trek to our final Ker and Downey lodge of the holiday, Gurung Lodge situated close by the village of Majgaun. Today's trek contours the hillside, with small ups and downs, passing through villages and farmland. We reach the Lodge in time for lunch with the option to join an afternoon hike through the surrounding villages.
Gurung Lodge has been built in the style of a typical timber and stone tribal house, set in lovely gardens with 11 en-suite rooms, a beautiful lounge and dining area with exposed wooden roof beams.
Today's six kilometre walk is expected to take around four hours with a total ascent of 135 metres and descent of 300 metres.
Day 8: Trek and drive to Pokhara (830 m) via Tashiling Tibetan village
After breakfast, we set off along the ridge and descend through the wooded hillside and terraced farmland to the valley floor where we meet the road and our trek ends. Driving back to Pokhara we plan to stop at Tashiling, a thriving village of Tibetan refugees with its own schools and monastery, where you can watch Tibetan carpets being made.
On arrival back in Pokhara the afternoon is free to relax. You can hire a boat and spend time on the lake or explore the lakeside area where many of the souvenir and clothing shops are located. Pokhara also has a great choice of cafes and restaurants serving hungry trekkers all types of cuisine from around the world!
Today's two kilometre walk is expected to take around one-and-a-half hours with a total ascent of 210 metres.
Day 9: Drive to Chitwan National Park; briefing and village walk
Today we drive to the flat lands of Nepal's Terai region where we stay just outside of 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. We'll be briefed today on the variety of activities that we can enjoy in the Park and orientate ourselves on a short walk around the village. All Park activities will be accompanied by a trained naturalist guide who will help us get the best enjoyment from these excursions.
Day 10: Search for rhino, walk and canoe in Chitwan National Park
Throughout your stay you will be kept busy except for a couple of hours around lunch time when you can read or relax in the shade. Activities in the park include a jeep safari searching out Chitwan's famous rare one-horned rhino, bird watching, jungle walks and a dugout canoe trip 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 we 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.
Day 11: Drive back to Kathmandu
Today we drive back to Kathmandu. In 2018 due to ongoing roadworks this journey is taking longer than usual, possibly up to eight hours.
Day 12: Trip ends today in Kathmandu
Our trip ends today in Kathmandu.
Touring with Explore
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