Day 1 : Arrival in Kathmandu
It all starts here. But first, the formalities…
Our airport representative will be there to meet you outside the terminal at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu. You will recognize her/him from the Sherpa and Swiss Adventures signboard they will be holding. You will then be transferred to your hotel by our private tourist vehicle.
Later that day there will be a pre-trip meeting in our office. If your flight arrives after 4pm you will be briefed when you reach your hotel. Please ensure to ask any questions you may still have about the trip regardless as to when or where your briefing meeting takes place.
Please bring to the meeting: your original passport and your travel insurance policy (hard copy please). During the meeting we request you to clear any outstanding monies and sign the legally binding trip form and a non-liability disclaimer.
Thank you for your cooperation.
If there is time today, we will arrange some sightseeing for you. So, please advise us of your proposed flight arrival time when you book your trip. In this way we can arrange a suitable sightseeing tour to fit with your timing. Alternatively, you can rest and/ or explore the surrounding area yourself.
Day 2 : Fly to Chitwan. Jungle Activities: Jeep Safari, Tharu Village Walk
After breakfast fly to Bharatpur, the airport for Chitwan National Park. After a short road journey (approximately 35 minutes/ 18 km) you arrive at your hotel. Here enjoy a relaxing lunch and a briefing from your local jungle guide. After lunch you will enter the National Park by jeep – a 3 hour jeep safari. This is the best way to get far into the jungle and see as much as possible. On your return to the lodge you will set off on a Tharu Village walk (outside the park). The Tharu people are the indigenous people of the lowland area of Nepal, which is known as the Terai. Many of them still live in the traditional bamboo and thatched huts and maintain their age old traditions.
Chitwan National Park
Chitwan National Park is a World Heritage property and a Ramsar Site (wetlands of global significance) at Beeshazari Tal (20,000 lakes) in the buffer zone. The park was established in 1973 and covers an area of over 950km2. It has a very successful track record of conservation. Since Chitwan lies in the sub-tropical lowland areas of Nepal, the wild life here is very different from that found in the hills and mountains. With 68 mammal species, 544 species of birds, 56 species of reptiles and amphibians, and 126 species of fish, no wonder tourists flock here for their wildlife adventure. The Park is renowned for its protection of the Asian One Horned Rhinoceros, the Royal Bengal Tiger and the Gharial Crocodile. Equally as interesting are the indigenous peoples, the Tharus and so visit to the Park is incomplete without visiting a Tharu village.
Day 3 : Jungle Activities: Canoeing, Jungle Walk, Visit to the Crocodile Breeding Centre, and Visit Elephant Camp.
Before breakfast, canoe along the Rapti River where you can spot birds in the early morning light. You might be lucky and see animals coming down to drink at the riverside. At the end of the canoe ride get off in the Park and continue by foot. This is an exciting way to explore the high grasses and jungles of the Park. Your guide is very experienced and will know the best places to go, depending on the season, so that you have more chances of seeing wildlife. This morning you will also get the opportunity to visit the Crocodile Breeding Centre where there is a conservation unit specifically for the promotions and protection of the rare Gharial crocodile. You will return to the hotel for breakfast and can relax in the afternoon or explore the small town of Sauraha on your own. After lunch, late in the afternoon there is the possibility of a trip to the elephant camp where a senior naturalist will brief about the interesting habits of elephants. Tonight enjoy a Tharu culture show in your hotel.
Day 4 : Fly to Kathmandu: Visit Pashupatinath and Boudhanath
This morning you can go birdwatching. As the sun rises the birds come to life with their glorious colours and chatter! Nepal and Chitwan in particular, is a birdwatcher’s paradise. After breakfast, you will be transferred to Bharatpur airport for you flight to Kathmandu. On landing in Kathmandu we drive a short distance to Pashupatinath. This is the most revered Hindu temple in the country, particularly for worshippers of Shiva. After exploring the sights, sounds and smells of worshippers carrying out their devotions, we head to Boudhanath Stupa, heart of Tibetan Buddhism in Kathmandu. Here we take lunch gazing at the iconic “eyes of Nepal” painted onto the stupa. After the tour your guide will take you to your hotel. Late afternoon you have time to explore on your own or simply relax.
Pashupatinath: Pashupati Temple is the most holy and significant temple among worshipers of Lord Shiva. Non-Hindus are not allowed into Pashupatinath Temple itself but by standing on the opposite banks of the Bagmati, visitors can view the ghats where worship and ritual bathing takes place. A few metres downstream the burning ghats often present a horrific fascination. If that is too intimate, there are plenty of small shrines and trails to explore.
Boudhanath Stupa: Boudhanath Stupa is one of the most revered Buddhist sites in Kathmandu. Here in the early morning and late afternoon, hundreds of Tibetan and Nepali Buddhists come to circumnavigate the stupa in prayer with the sound of spinning prayer wheels and the ringing of bells filling the air. It is possible to eat in one of the many good restaurants around the stupa.
Day 5 : Morning Mountain Flight around Everest, and Bhaktapur Durbar Square
After breakfast depart for an early morning mountain flight! This flight is around 50 minutes and takes you east to see Mount Everest. Each passenger has a window seat so you are assured the best possible view. On landing we have a short drive to Bhaktapur. Bhaktapur is an ancient city, once the centre of its own kingdom. Explore Durbar (palace) Square with its ancient temples and monuments. We will enjoy lunch here and continue our exploring afterwards. In the late afternoon return to the hotel. Perhaps you have found a favorite spa or bar to spend the evening in?
A mountain flight is the best way to see the Himalayas without having to exert time and energy hiking! During the 50 minute flight you will see 20 of the highest peaks – starting from Langtang, the range closest to Kathmandu, and then moving towards Mt. Everest in the east. In case of bad weather this will be rescheduled for Day 6.
Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Kathmandu is made up of three towns which were original separate kingdoms: Kathmandu (Kasthamandap), Patan and Bhaktapur. While Kathmandu and Patan are separated by a bridge across the Bagmati River and are really indistinguishable, Bhaktapur lies out passed the airport and is very different. Within the Durbar Square is the royal palace of the Bhaktapur Kingdom and many ancient temples making up this World Heritage Site. Bhaktapur Durbar Square was severely damaged by both the 1934 and the 2015 earthquakes. Reconstruction from the 2015 earthquake is still underway. But there are still many fascinating ancient stone structures, temples and carvings to see. Bhaktapur is also famous for its pottery and it is possible to watch potters at work. As the centre of Bhaktapur is vehicle free, you can enjoy walking around the temples safely.
Day 6 : Sightseeing: Swayambhunath, Patan Durbar Square
Today is a little more relaxing. If you would like to take a later breakfast please let us know beforehand. After breakfast our guide will take you a short distance from Thamel to Swayambhunath, also known as the Monkey Temple. After climbing up many steps to the stupa you can gaze down on the city below. After spending time taking in the sights and sounds of Tibetan and Newari people worshipping around the Stupa, we descend back down to our vehicle and head across town to Patan Durbar Square. Each of the three ancient kingdoms – Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Patan – have a Durbar (palace) Square. Yesterday you visited Bhaktapur, today visit Patan.
After we have explored the square, the museum and the surrounding alleys and courtyards we will head back into Thamel. If there is time and you are interested we can stop at Baber Mahal Revisited. This is a complex of shops and restaurants built in renovated (and newly built) Rana architecture style. The shops there are quite exquisite, as are the prices. Perhaps a cup of coffee is enough! This evening there is a farewell dinner as we bid you goodbye.
Swayambhunath Stupa (or Monkey Temple as it’s often known) has great importance to the Valley’s indigenous Newar population whose religion is a unique blend of Buddhism and Hinduism. We reach the top by a long staircase from the east. In addition to devotees, visitors can see many monkeys on the climb up to the stupa (please do not feed or pet them) and have a wonderful view over Kathmandu.
Patan Durbar Square and Museum
Each of the three ancient kingdoms – Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Patan – have a Durbar (palace) Square. Each is very different and each site is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Patan Durbar Square is the smallest of the three. This square also saw damage during the 2015 earthquake and there is also construction going on. But this doesn’t detract from the beauty of the square. Around the square are many alleys and roads leading off to other interesting places such as the Golden Temple, water spouts and ponds etc. There are also plenty of shops to browse in. The Patan Museum is situated in the heart of Patan Durbar Square in a series of ancient buildings and courtyards. The museum is made up of different galleries, some that change with contemporary works. This is one of the best museums in Nepal in its layout, content and facilities and worth taking time to explore. Its larger outside courtyard is often used for cultural and musical events. There is a lovely restaurant set in a leafy courtyard (run by Dwarika Hotel) which offers good food in a unique setting.
Babar Mahal Revisited
Baber Mahal is a Rana palace. That is, the architecture is attributed to the Ranas of Nepal, who ruled from 1846 until 1951. During their reign a number of grand residencies were built by high-ranking dignitaries. These palaces stood in the middle of large landscaped grounds. Today it is still easy to recognize these palaces as they are mainly plastered in white and are built in the Neoclassical or Baroque European architectural style. Keep your eyes open while driving around the city! Baber Mahal Revisited is built on the remains of one of these great palaces… the stables to be exact. The current owner recreated this complex in the shape of one of the great Rana palaces. To us it is hard to see where the original building ends and the new building starts. But the renovation, recreation and blending of architecture makes this a unique place. It is home to two hotels, three restaurants, an art gallery, and a spa. A good number of shops selling unique items such as handmade jewellery, handmade paper, and brassware, etc make it worthwhile to visit. As does the wonderful architecture.
Day 7 : Final Departure
Depending on your flight time, you will be transferred to the airport. You will be transferred to the airport 3 hours prior to the departure time. In case your flight is late evening please let us know if you require half day use of the hotel which will incur extra charges as the check out time is usually 12 pm. Your airport representative will pick you from your hotel accordingly and take you to the international airport for your onward flight.
Bon voyage and pheri bhetaula!