Enjoy the stunning palaces, pagodas and stupas of the Kathmandu Valley; the jungles and tall grasslands of Chitwan from elephant back, the breathtaking Himalayan panorama from Pokhara; with the opportunity to take a once in a life time flight past the World’s highest peak, Mt Everest. Chitwan is home to the one-horned rhinoceros, sloth bear, deer, tiger and over 400 species of birds.
Nepal’s extensive national parks are particularly rich in flora and fauna and protect one of the largest stretches of tiger habitat in the world. This tour features the two finest: Bardia and Chitwan. Both lie in the low-lying grasslands of the Terai, along the Indian border in the far west of the country, and retain viable populations of tigers and one-horned rhino, as well as gharial and mugger crocodiles. Safaris are conducted on elephant back and by Jeep, with the occasional boat ride to search for crocs and freshwater Gangetic dolphins. You’ll also get to spend time in local minority villages, and experience some of the country’s most exotic medieval architecture in and around Kathmandu.
A compelling mix of landscapes, exotic religious monuments and vibrant Nepali cultures are showcased on our popular, 9-day group tour through the Himalayan foothills of the Kathmandu Valley. It starts in the capital, with visits to Durbar Square and the historic town of Bhaktapur, site of the country’s best preserved medieval temples, before heading west to Bandipur, where you’ll get your first really spectacular view of the Himalayan ice peaks. Next, it’s on to the lakeside town of Pokhara, whose surrounding ridges offer more astounding panoramas of the nearby snow line. From there, you’ll proceed southeast to Chitwan National Park in the tarai grasslands, where wild rhino and other rare animals may be sighted. A final night in Kathmandu, visiting the famous stupa of Swayambhunath, brings the trip to a suitably magical conclusion.
Explore the finest monuments and historic sites of the Kathmandu Valley on this introductory tour of Nepal. You’ll visit the great stupas of Swayambhynath and Boudhanath, with their all-seeing eyes and long lines of prayer flags, and experience evening aarthi at Pashupatinath, where the flickering butter lamps, dreadlocked sadhus and orange-robed priests provide great photo opportunities. Wildlife forms the focus of the next few days as you visit Chitwan National Park in southern Nepal, domain of the one-horned rhino, before cutting back north to Pokhara for dreamy views of the Annapurna range. More wonderful panoramas punctuate your journey back east, which is broken by a stay at the pretty Newari town of Bandipur.
Rising abruptly from the foothills above Pokhara, the snow-capped Annapurna range of central Nepal offers the easiest access to the high Himalayas. ‘Easy’ is, of course, a relative term. The network of paved pathways you follow to penetrate this roadless region are rarely level and frequently long and steep, climbing from deep river valleys through semi-tropical rice terraces, rhododendron forests and farming villages to high ridges that can see snowfall at any time of year. The rewards for the effort are some of the most astounding views on the planet. Lined up along the near horizon are a phalanx of giant ice peaks rising to over 8,000m (26,000ft). The high points of the so-called ‘Annapurna Circuit’ (a collective term for the various round routes that may be followed in the area) offer a grandstand view of these beautiful summits, at their most ethereal when the sun’s first rays turn their tops molten orange at dawn. The combination of relative accessibility and the warm, genuine hospitality of the mountain people whose villages you visit en route have made this part of the country one of the most popular trekking destinations in the world. Our route, however, follows much less travelled tracks, some of which have only recently been opened to foreign tourists. It also includes nights at two high, community-run lodges from where, weather permitted, you’ll be treated to among the finest panoramas the country has to offer. Book-ending the trek are stays in Nepal’s atmospheric capital, Kathmandu, and its second city, Pokhara, where you can combine a spot of rest and relaxation with shopping for handicrafts and Himalayan curios.