01Arrive in Kathmandu.
On arrival you will be met by an Asian Tour Company representative and transferred to the exquisite Heritage property called Dwarikas. Dwarika’s Hotel is a living museum with 5-star accommodation and service.
Overnight Dwarikas Hotel.
02Sightseeing of Kathmandu.
Today we enjoy a half day sightseeing tour of Kathmandu.
About Kathmandu: Once a traditional medieval city of breathtaking Newari architecture, Kathmandu is now fully grown into an urban capital with a population of over 4-million people. Nevertheless, it has not lost its magic, especially in the ancient, narrow streets and in countless temples and shrines where Buddhist and Hindu iconography mix in fantastic ways. Bodha is a 1,400-year-old stupa that attracts pilgrims from across Buddhist Asia. At Bodha, we see pilgrims circling the stupa to make a kora, turning the stupa's giant prayer wheels as they go. With new monasteries sprouting up all around it, Bodha is rapidly becoming a world center of Tibetan Buddhist study. Swayambu is an ancient Buddhist temple with commanding views of the valley. We make a steep climb of 300 steps to reach this stupa. Swayambu was established as a shrine around 500 BC and by the 13th century AD, had become an important center of Buddhist learning. Its eyes, painted on four cardinal points, keep watch over the Kathmandu Valley. Pashupatinath, with its triple-roofed temple, burning ghats, and wandering sadhus (holy men) along the sacred Bagmati, is one of four major sites of Shiva worship on the subcontinent. Its temples and ghats are set along the Bagmati because the waters of this river eventually river flow south to join the mighty Ganges, holy river of India. Entrance to Pashupatinath's inner temple precinct is for Hindus only, but from the outside, we are able to see the huge structure of Nandi, the bull, and a smaller statue of Hanuman.
Overnight Dwarikas Hotel.
03Transfer to Shivapuri.
We take a short drive north of the valley to the Shivapuri Heights Cottage, stopping enroute at the sacred temple of Budhanilkantha. Visit the magnificently carved stone idol of the sleeping Vishnu. Carved from a single block of black basalt stone of unknown origin, the statue measures 5 meters in length and lies in a reclining position inside a recessed tank of water. Only Hindus can approach the statue to leave offerings but other visitors can view the statue through the fence that surrounds the sacred tank and it is well worth picking up a local guide to listen to the history and myths surrounding this resplendent statue. Lunch at the Cottage. Afternoon at leisure or enjoy a short walk to the monastery. Authentic Nepal, awaits you at the Shivapuri Heights Cottages.
Situated in the Himalayan foothills at an altitude of 6000 feet and surrounded by trees this Kathmandu home stay allows for tranquil rejuvenation in a quiet rural setting.
Overnight Shivapuri Heights Cottage.
04Optional walks or relax.
Most people who stay at the Shivapuri Heights Cottage love to browse through the extensive library that is available and simply soak up the atmosphere or perhaps enjoy a cooking lesson from the talented chef, Jas Bahardur, who has worked with the Cottage for over 20 years.
Overnight Shivapuri Heights Cottage
05Hike & drive to Nuwakot.
Take a 5 hour hike through the Shivapuri National Park and then a 2 hour drive to Nuwakot Follow a lovely trail through the National Park that takes you to the road-head at Kakani. Here a vehicle will meet you for the 2 hour drive down into the trisuli valley and up onto the ancient town of Nuwakot
Think of a farm on a terraced hillside, of an ancient fortress and citadel of terracotta tiled roofs and gold finials glinting in sunshine. Below is a fertile valley, a river meandering through it. The scene is given vast scale by the surrounding great green hills – yet actually merely foothills – rising in the north to the snows of The Langtang Himal.
That farm, fortress and citadel are Nuwakot. Nuwakot Bazaar is a centre-piece of the Nepalese story; of the shaping of far-flung tribes and of trans-Himalayan races into a unified kingdom. An imposing manor house and two charming cottages form a courtyard, while The Farm itself is a delight of quiet corners and verdant niches with terraces of abundant, colourful, organic crops. Not that it was always so; for with once prosperous families headed to Kathmandu for education and a plastic existence, rot, collapse and subsidence had long been the reality.
The ways and moods of the working farm permeate and the new freshness of the interiors takes nothing from their rustic ambiance. There are a total of 11 bedrooms, a dozen or so guests is typical and families.
Overnight the Famous Farm House.
06Drive to Trisuli.
Sightseeing of the Nuwakot Palace and then. Drive through the mid-hills of Nepal following the Trisuli River. Stop enroute at the Trisuli centre for lunch. Cross the Trisuli by foot on a 200 metre suspension bridge and then enjoy a 20 minute walk through the villages to Brigands Bend.
The small Lodge of just 12 rooms, clusters around a colonial-style bungalow that sits on a ridge amidst the tropical forested middle hills, sloping down to the sand beaches of the river. Forests cascade down the hillsides, enclosing tiny settlements of tribals: Chepang, Dorai, Magar, some Brahman and Chettri, who eke a living from foraging in the forests, snaring the odd small animal or wildfowl, cultivating wheat, rice, maize and vegetables and generally embrace the rituals of animism that culminate in Hinduism.
The approach to the Lodge is through a village, it’s homes skirting the rich flat terraces of the ‘tar’ – a flat plateau bordering the river’s gorge.
Accommodation is comfortable with plenty of space to relax in private, read, meditate and enjoy the clean air, the soothing ripple of the Trisuli’s waters flowing below For the Nature enthusiast, there are walks into the hills behind to visit the village homes of the Chepang and Magar. Or just put your feet up and unwind !!
Overnight at Brigands Bend.
07Visit Manakamanar and hike to Gorkha.
Lying in the hills above Brigands bend is the sacred temple of Manakamana and this accessed by a 30 minute cable car ride. From Manakamana it is then a 4 hour hike down to the Gorkha Gaun Resort.
Gorkha Gaun (GG) Resort is ideally located in the lush green hills of Gorkha, facing Mt. Manasulu in the north. Manaslu meaning “Mountain of the Spirit” at 8,156 meters (26,759 ft) above sea level is the eighth highest mountain in the world. Gorkha Gaun offers comfortable cottage-style accomodation and relaxation away from hustle and bustle of city life.
Overnight Gorkha Gaun Resort.
08Visit Gorkha Palace and then transfer to Bandipur.
The palace of Prithi Narayan Nepal, the father of modern-day Nepal lies on a hill top above the town of Gorkha and makes for an interesting visit and affords spectacular views of the valley below and mountains above. Then take the 2 hour drive to the mountain town of Bandipur.
The enchanting paradox of Bandipur is that although it is the definitive mountain town there is in fact nowhere else quite like it. You’ll love its eagle’s nest location, its lazy walks through orange groves, its simple architecture, and you’ll never forget the utterly stunning pink-tinged Himalayan skyline of dawn – and another before twilight.
Its sense of history is unique too for it was a centre of exotic trade between lowland and highland and between British India and independent Tibet and it is this fact of history that explains its prosperity and faded grandeur.
Some say it is like entering an earlier age, back into a Nepal that elsewhere barely still exists. This house has stories of ancient trans-Himalaya trade routes and of store-rooms crammed with merchandise en route between the opulence of India and the grandeur of Tibet.
Restoration and conservation of this traditional Newari Town House required keeping the low ceilings and the overall sense of proportion and scale. The practical inclusion of comfortable and clean showers and toilet facilities are achieved.
Overnight at The Old Inn.
09Hike and raft to the Seti River Camp.
We hike out of the village for one hour downhill and then meet our transport for the short drive to the river-put-in-point. Here you will be met by your experienced boat crew, who will give you a full briefing prior to launch. All items for your overnight stay will be carried in the raft in waterproof bags. The remainder of your luggage will travel in the vehicle to your raft finish point.
The Seti river offers a fine combination of superb scenery and gentle rapids.
Overnight Seti River Fixed Camp: The Camp is a fully staffed facility and is situated on a grassy bank overlooking the beach and river. Accommodation is in large safari style equipped tents. Each tent has twin beds with sheets and blankets and attached western style flush toilets and showers with hot and cold running water.
There is a large central dining room built in traditional style where guests gather for their meals. Food is both Continental and Nepalese. In keeping with the surroundings, kerosene lamps, torches and candles are provided after dusk since there is no electricity in the camp.
Overnight Seti River Camp
10Raft to Gai Ghat and then transfer to the Chitwan National Park.
After a hearty breakfast and packing we leave camp at about 9.30 am. Today we have time to explore, bird-watch, photograph and learn about the local people. A packed lunch is served enroute..
After finishing the raft trip we drive on to the Chitwan National Park and the Tiger Tops Tharu Lodge.
RELAX INTO THE RHYTHM OF NEPALESE LIFE
Tharu Lodge offers guests the perfect blend of a quiet but captivating wilderness retreat, fused with local cultural encounters. A short bullock-cart ride from the Narayani River, the natural boundary between Chitwan National Park and the surrounding townships, takes you to doors of Tharu Lodge. Emulating the longhouse style of Tharu architecture and built from local materials, Tharu Lodge offers a unique and comfortable insight into Nepalese village life.
Overnight Tiger Tops Tharu Lodge.
Nestled beside lush forest and overlooking idyllic Terai landscapes, Tharu Lodge is the perfect place to unwind. Dine al fresco under the shade of a mango tree, take a refreshing dip in Tharu’s garden side pool or simply sway gently in a hammock in the afternoon breeze. At night, enjoy nothing but the sounds of the forest that is just metres from your window.
11Wildlife and Cultural Activities
ADVENTURE AND THE COMMUNITY
If you are feeling a little adventurous, Tharu Lodge offers a range of outdoor wilderness activities that are both informative and enjoyable. Now with five resident elephants, guests can enjoy an elephant safari into the community forest and past the endless strikingly green rice paddy fields. Afterwards, step on board a gentle boating safari down the peaceful Narayani River, and keep an eye out for marsh muggers or the endangered gharial crocodile resting on the banks. Try your eye on a bird watching tour– Tharu Lodge naturalists have recorded more than 300 species of birds in the surrounding habitats, stretch your legs on a jungle walk, or relax into the evening with a sunset stroll.
Exploring the surrounding villages by foot or bullock cart is one of the best ways to experience rural Nepali life and absorb the simplicity of a farming community. Close to the Lodge you can visit the Tiger Tops Swiss Air Primary School, one of Tharu Lodge’s main sites of community engagement.
Overnight Tiger Tops Tharu Lodge.
12Fly to Kathmandu
Transferred to the domestic airport and fly to Kathmandu. On arrival you will be met and transferred to the Dwarikas Hotel for your final night in Nepal.
Enjoy dinner in the beautiful Krishnaarpan Restaurant.
Overnight Dwarika’s Hotel.
Transferred to the airport for your international departure.