The Himalayan nation of Nepal boasts jaw-dropping mountain scenery and a vibrant culture to match. Wander the lively streets of Kathmandu, spend a night at a Buddhist monastery guesthouse, and take in astounding views of the Annapurna Himalaya in lakeside Pokhara. Then venture to Chitwan National Park, Nepal’s oldest nature reserve, to seek out elephants, tigers, and a plethora of avian species.
Arrive any time. Arrival transfer is included. Enjoy a six-course welcome feast tonight, savouring the diverse flavours of Nepali cuisine.
Spend the day exploring Kathmandu, the colourful capital of this Himalayan nation. Pay a visit to Bodhnath Stupa, the holiest Tibetan Buddhist shrine outside of Tibet, and explore the wood-carved temples, pagados, and palaces of Bhaktapur, Nepal’s medieval capital. Afterward, visit the Sisterhood of Survivors Project, dedicated to supporting female survivors of human trafficking. Meet a survivor who has successfully completed the project’s paralegal training, and learn how to make momos—Nepalese dumplings—with women enrolled in the project’s hospitality program. Enjoy your creations for lunch.
Opt to take an early morning flight over Mount Everest, catching a glimpse of the highest peak on the planet; then venture to the ancient hilltop temple of Swayambhunath, decorated with vibrant prayer flags and home to troops of rhesus monkeys. Later, we’ll hear about National Geographic Grantee Chhing Lhomi’s efforts to preserve the weaving traditions of the Upper Mustang region through her work with the Himalayan Indigenous Society, a Kathmandu-based nonprofit. Then depart for nearby Pharping, known for its Buddhist pilgrimage sites, and settle into a tranquil monastery guesthouse for the night. Get an insider’s view of monastery life, and enjoy a chanting and prayer service; or opt to take a walk in the monastery’s peaceful grounds.
Rise at dawn to listen to the monks’ morning chanting, and witness a stunning sunrise. Then drive to the small riverside village of Kurintar and hike to our lodge, nestled on a forested hill overlooking the Trishuli River. Opt to relax by the pool or take a guided walk through the surrounding countryside, stopping at local villages.
Kurintar/Chitwan National Park
Today, we travel towards Chitwan National Park, Nepal’s oldest wildlife reserve and a UNESCO World Heritage site. The park is home to 68 recorded mammal species, including the one-horned rhino and the Bengal tiger, as well as hundreds of species of birds. Check in to our lodge, located on the banks of the East Rapti River. After lunch, board a traditional flat-bottomed boat for a river safari, keeping your eyes out for aquatic birds, crocodiles, and other riverine fauna.
Chitwan National Park
Spend the day exploring Chitwan National Park on a variety of excursions; activities differ depending on the season. Set out on a jeep safari through the grasslands and forests, seeking out rhinos, leopards, elephants, monkeys, and the elusive Bengal tiger. Meet with a “tiger technician” from the Nepal Tiger Trust, a nonprofit dedicated to the protection and conservation of these majestic cats. Visit a farming village bordering the park for a glimpse of rural life, and return to our lodge this evening in time for a dance performance by the local Tharu people.
Chitwan National Park/Pokhara
Drive to Pokhara, an enchanting town set on the shores of turquoise-hued Phewa Lake against a backdrop of snowcapped Himalayan peaks. Enjoy a guided walk around the city, and opt to have dinner at a popular local restaurant.
Venture to Sarangkot village early this morning and hike to the famed Sarangkot lookout to witness a breathtaking sunrise over the Annapurna Himalaya. Back in Pokhara, climb up a lush forest path to the gleaming white Peace Pagoda, built by Japanese monks after World War II. Later, visit a Tibetan refugee settlement, established by the United Nations in 1964. Learn about the history of the community on a walk through their photo gallery, and enjoy a traditional Tibetan lunch. In your free time, opt to go paragliding, or take a boat tour of Phewa Lake.
Catch a flight back to the capital, Kathmandu. Enjoy time to shop in the bustling Thamel district, or choose to visit Pashupatinath Temple, the most sacred Hindu temple complex in Nepal.
Depart at any time.