The tour starts at our hotel in Kathmandu this afternoon. Free arrival transfers are available for any flight, provided you have supplied Exodus with your flight details in advance and have requested one. The group flights are scheduled to arrive in the mid-afternoon.nbsp;This evening there will be a full trip briefing. Hotel Shangri Lanbsp;
Kathmandu sightseeing tour including Durbar Square and Boudhanath Stupa.
For those who wish, there is the chance to do an optional Everest sightseeing flight early this morning; this can be booked locally through your leader on day 1. We will leave the hotel late morning for our Kathmandu sightseeing tour. First, we drive to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Boudhanath to see the famous Buddhist stupa with its huge mandala; one of the largest spherical stupas in Nepal and indeed in the world.nbsp; We have lunch nearby and then continue to Kathmandu Durbar Square (which also has UNESCO status), one of three royal palace squares in the Kathmandu Valley.nbsp; Although the Kathmandu Durbar Square was heavily damaged in the 2015 earthquake the many palaces, temples and courtyards in the Newari style are interesting.nbsp;There will be a full trip briefing today. Hotel Shangri La
Drive to Pokhara; orientation walk
We leave Kathmandu early this morning and drive to Pokhara - traffic leaving Kathmandu can prolong the journey but once out of Kathmandu city, the journey usually takes around 6 hours depending on the road and traffic conditions. In the afternoon your leader will take you for an orientation walk along the shore of Phewa Lake. Pokhara is a pretty lakeside resort at the foot of the Annapurna range.nbsp; Temple Tree Resort and Spa, Pokhara
Walk through farmland and forest down to the Modi River Valley to Sanctuary Lodge, offering fine views of the sacred 'Fishtail' Mountain
We have a short drive to our trek start point, from where we follow a ridgeline in the lower foothills of the Annapurnas with surrounding views of the Pokhara Valley. This route then drops to the Modi River Valley, where Ker and Downey's Sanctuary Lodge is located. The lodge has magnificent views of the sacred and unclimbed Fishtail Mountain, or Machhapuchhare, as it is locally known. A picnic lunch is provided today.nbsp;nbsp; Ker and Downey Lodge (Sanctuary Lodge, 1,025m) nbsp;
Picturesque trek through villages, padi rice fields and forest to Himalaya Lodge in Ghandruk.
After breakfast, you will leave the lodge to start the trek through the scattered small farms. Following the Modi Khola and with constant views of Mt. Machhapuchhre ahead, you will soon climb the valley towards the mountains. It is quite a long climb up stone steps passing through the rice fields and forest, but we take plenty of stops. Finally, we arrive at Himalaya Lodge in Ghandruk in the early afternoon to a late lunch that is served on arrival as you enjoy the spectacular views of Annapurna Massif.Ker and Downey Lodge (Himalaya Lodge, 2,012m)
Descend to cross the river by suspension bridge, then climb to La Bee Lodge in Landruk.
Although we can see Landruk across the valley we have to descend to the river and climb up the other side to get there! Leaving the Ghandruk village, the trek descends steeply to the banks of Modi River. Crossing the suspension bridge, we trek up a stone staircase to Landruk village, enjoying the views of the Annapurna Range and passing under the cliffs where honey hunters climb up on the ropes to harvest the wild bee honey. Lunch will be ready as we arrive at our lodge. After lunch, you may either rest and enjoy the spectacular views of the mountains, or go on a sightseeing tour in the village with your guide. Ker and Downey Lodge (La Bee Lodge, 1,565m)
Gentle walk to Gurung or Mala Lodge at Majgaon; afternoon free to relax in the garden or explore the village.
You will start your trek passing through the village and farmlands with views of the Annapurnas behind. Today is an easier walk to Majgaon with no steep up or downhills. We will arrive at the lodge by lunchtime and in the afternoon you can enjoy the views of the mountains from your room itself or spend time in the garden. There is also the option of a guided village walk. Ker and Downey Lodge (Gurung / Mala Lodge, 1,400m)
Trek through sub-tropical forests to Basanta Lodge at Dhampus, with spectacular views of the entire Annapurna Range.
Starting your trek today, you continue trekking towards Patlekhet, a small village on the way towards Pothana. Pothana is used by Tibetan traders to sell their souvenirs and gifts to the tourist trekking up and down the trails to Annapurna Base Camp. As you reach your lodge in Dhampus, you get the spectacular views of the entire Annapurna range. Once at the lodge you will be served hot lunch after which you can take a short walk into Dhampus village. On the Christmas departure (18 December 2021)nbsp;a cultural performance at Basanta Lodge is included to celebrate. Ker and Downey Lodge (Basanta Lodge, 1,525m)
Short descent through woodednbsp;hillside to Phedi; transfer to Pokhara; free afternoon (optional boat trip on Lake Phewa).
After breakfast, we depart along the ridge and descend on a stone staircase through the wooded hillside and terraced farmland to the valley floor. Trek time 1.5-2hrs hours. We then transfer by vehicle to the hotel in Pokhara (1hr). The afternoon is free to explore Pokhara. You may want to visit the interesting mountain museum or you can go for a boat ride on Phewa Lake or hire a bike for a cycle along the lakeshore. Or you may simply want to relax by the hotel pool or wander along the lakeside browsing in the shops. Your leader will brief you on the various options available. Temple Tree Resort and Spa, Pokhara On the Christmas departure (17 December 2020) a special dinner is included in Pokhara to celebrate.
Drive to Chitwan; take an ox-cart ride around Tharu village and witness a traditional Tharu dance.
We drive from Pokhara to Chitwan, which will take about 4 hours. On a clear day look to the left as we leave Pokhara for the magnificent panoramic views of the Annapurna Range. The road takes us back to Mugling, from where we turn south to the lowlands of Nepal and our jungle lodge in Chitwan. We should arrive by lunchtime and after lunch well meet our naturalist guide who will go over the programme of activities. In the late afternoon we take an ox-cart ride around Tharu village and witness a traditional Tharu dance.nbsp; The knowledgeable staff from the lodge will accompany us on all the excursions.nbsp;Kasara Lodge
Explore the jungle on a bird-watching walk, take a dugout canoe ride down the Rapti River in search of crocodiles and try to spot rhinoceroses on a jeep safari.
Activities may be offered in a different order but usually, the programme will include an early morning bird watching walk before breakfast. Before lunch there will be another activity, normally a trip along the Rapti River in a dugout canoe, looking for crocodile and observing the many birds. Then before dinner, we set out on a jeep safari. If we are lucky we may encounter the Indian one-horned rhinoceros or some of the several species of deer found here.nbsp; Kasara Lodgenbsp; nbsp; nbsp;
Morning flight to Kathmandu; free time.
For those who wish, there is a bird-watching walk early this morning. We then transfer to Bharatpur airport and catch a flight to Kathmandu. Hotel Shangri La, Kathmandu
The trip finishes after breakfast. Those travelling on the group flights to London will transfer to the airport for their flight back to the UK.
Touring with Headwater
In 1985, Richard and Christine Bass made the life-changing decision to turn a passion into a business and thus Headwater was born at their kitchen table.
The first Headwater tours were launched in summer 1986 and modestly comprised three holidays in the Upper Loire Valley in France: a canoeing holiday and two self-guided walking holidays.
Their vision for Headwater was clear, right from the start. Richard and Christine wanted to offer their customers exactly what they loved in a holiday – family-run, friendly hotels, an authentic experience of a region, including culture, cuisine and fine wines, and above all a fantastic level of personal service, with staff on hand in resort to help and guide as required.
After a successful 10 years specialising in France, Headwater launched a new Great Walks in Europe brochure in 1995, offering a selection of hand-picked guided walking holidays in eight countries. As a result of the phenomenal success of this, a year later the first self-guided walking and cycling holidays in Italy were launched.
In 1999, Richard and Christine decided to retire and enjoy the fruits of their labour, and sold Headwater – but not before ensuring it was in the safest of hands to continue their legacy.
Today, they enjoy taking customers (new and loyal) on journeys on foot or by bike throughout 18 countries worldwide. Whilst they have embraced modern technology and changing times since 1985, Richard and Christine’s ethos remains key to all of their holidays and they consider it their mission to ensure that the same detail, knowledge and passion goes into delivering each and every trip.
With more than 32 years’ experience, their collection now includes 59 self-guided and 12 guided walking holidays and 62 cycling holidays. Their canoeing holiday in the Dordogne remains as popular as ever, as well as their choice of winter snow holidays (cross-country skiing and winter walking) that run between December and April in Austria and Norway.
They are particularly proud of their Headwater-employed representatives (reps) who are on-hand in 15 regions in France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Austria and Bavaria. Burgundy is their longest-standing “repped region” – Richard and Christine researched the holidays and they have been running them since 1992. Their reps provide 24-hour support in resort including: briefing you on arrival, transporting your luggage from hotel to hotel, offering a ‘Wine Service’ where they collect any bottles you’ve purchased en route and transport them to your final hotel for you, and giving you tips and advice and sharing their knowledge of the local area, the routes, the best views and generally helping you to make the most of your trip. Each year, before the season starts, the reps have an in-depth training session at Headwater HQ to make sure they’re ready for the summer ahead.
Their newest addition to the Headwater portfolio is a selection of single-centre activity holidays in Brittany and the Dordogne, France and Catalunya, Spain. These are ideal for multi-generational families and groups – take a look below for some Headwater inspiration.