Itinerary Details: 10 days/9 nights
Day 1: Kathmandu Arrival
Welcome to Nepal! Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel. Kathmandu is the capital of Nepal. The Kathmandu Valley, consisting of Kathmandu, Lalitpur, and Bhaktapur, may have been inhabited as early as 900 BC. The city houses various Hindu and Buddhist temples as well as the King's Palace. Overnight in Kathmandu.
Day 2: Kathmandu
Your morning starts with an optional flight to view majestic Mt. Everest.
After breakfast, visit the highlights of Kathmandu: Kumari Bahal, the Temple of the Living Goddess; Kasthamandap, the wooden house that gave Kathmandu its name; Durbar Square, the central area housing an array of temples; the Royal Palace, overlooked by the ancient Hanuman Dhoka; and Swayambhunath, the 2000-year-old Buddhist stupa. In the afternoon visit Pasupatinath, the famous Lord Shiva Temple and Hindu cremation ground, and Boudhnath, the 2500-year-old Buddhist stupa. During the visit to Boudhnath Stupa, visit Thangka Art Gallery. Learn about the ancient Tibetan art of Thangka and meet with the painters, both monks and learners. Overnight in Kathmandu.
ST's Hotel Recommendation
A heritage hotel, Dwarika's is a beacon of conservation in Nepal. The property is still managed by the same family who purchased the home in 1952 and retains woodwork and craftsmanship by local artisans.
Day 3: Kathmandu
After breakfast, drive to Patan and spend the morning with a Newar family. After a brief discussion on Newari culture and lifestyle, one of the family members will take you to the local market. It's a fascinating walk that winds its way through the complex interlinked courtyards and lanes of the old town. The stroll offers great insight into the lifestyle and traditional structure of Newari villages, with their many bahals (courtyards), hiti (water tanks) and tun (wells). You will be provided with local currency to bargain and buy spices, vegetables, and drinks in the market. Then, stop for snacks in the restaurant owned by your hosts. Back in the Dhakhwa House, cook traditional Newari food and treats.
Later, take a tour of Patan city, built in 3rd century AD by Emperor Ashoka. Patan boasts of fine arts enclosed within 4 stupas. Meet with a local Himalayan Singing Bowl Master to learn about the ancient healing traditions. Return to Kathmandu and overnight.
Day 4: Kathmandu Valley
Today, visit the enchanting 16th century Newari towns of Bungamati and Khokana. These are two settlements in the Kathmandu Valley that have been least affected by modern adaptations. The village has hundreds of master wood carvers and sculpture producers. The ancient village came into existence as early in the 7th century. Regardless of the rapid changes in lifestyle of the urban population and the globalized way of living, the Bungamati locals have remained untouched by modern waves and are living the life that they know best - simply rural - from the past several centuries. Return to Kathmandu and overnight.
Day 5: Kathmandu - Pokhara
After breakfast, transfer to the airport and fly to Pokhara.
Pokhara is a lakeside town often labeled the Switzerland of the East. The beautiful valley is situated at a height of 2950 ft. and has snow clad peaks, crystal-clear lakes, gorges and picturesque villages. In the afternoon, visit Old town. Pokhara’s traditional bazaar is colorful and so are its ethnically diverse traders. In its temple and monuments can be seen ties to the Newar architecture of the Kathmandu Valley. Evening at leisure and overnight.
Day 6: Pokhara
Sunrise visit to Sarangkot for spectacular photographic opportunities. Later, visit Bindebani Temple, Devis Fall, and Gupteswore Cave, a limestone cave dedicated to Lord Shiva. In the evening enjoy a boat ride on Lake Phewa. Overnight in Pokhara.
Day 7: Pokhara
Day ay leisure. Optional experience: After breakfast, drive to Phewa Power House and enjoy a leisurely hike to Damsadi Village (5 km). Enjoy the views of Pardi River, Mt. Annapurna, Mt. Manaslu, Mt. Dhaulagiri and the entire Pokhara Valley (subject to weather conditions). Later, visit a Tibetan refugee settlement. The settlers have established a handicraft center that provides employment and sources of income to the Tibetan community. Overnight in Pokhara.
Day 8: Pokhara - Kathmandu - Dhulikhel
In the morning, fly to Kathmandu and continue by vehicle to Dhulikhel. Popular among the traders, Dhulikhel was one of the well-known markets along the Nepal and Tibet trade route. The old city, believed to be inhabited for the last five centuries, still retains the medieval charm. You can find both Hindu temples and Buddhist stupas in and around the old city. Time at leisure to explore the town and overnight.
Day 9: Dhulikhel - Bhaktapur - Kathmandu
After breakfast, visit Banepa and Panauti. The town of 40 temples and 28 festivals, Panauti is a quaint city situated at the confluence of the two rivers Rosi and Punyamati. Considered as one of the area’s most important medieval sites, Panauti houses a variety of Buddhist and Hindu monuments. Its architecture is an excellent example of Newari craftsmanship. Visit Krishna Temple, Unmata Bhairav Temple, and Ahilya Temple situated nearby in the same courtyard.
The bustling little Newar town of Banepa used to be a major stop for traders travelling between Lhasa (Tibet) and Kathmandu Valley, boasting trade relations with the Ming Dynasty of China. The city today is a mélange of modern houses and traditional houses.
Continue to Bhaktapur, the City of Devotees. The best preserved of the three main medieval cities of the valley, Bhaktapur houses some of the most breathtaking religious architecture in the entire country. It has three major squares: Durbar Square, Taumadhi Square, and Dattatreya Square; studded with pagoda and shikhara-style temples. Devoid of traffic and pollution, Bhaktapur is often considered the cleanest city in the valley. Narrow stone paved streets snake through red brick houses, leading you to hidden temples, water sprouts, and courtyards. The city proudly displays its cultural life; artisans have been continuing traditional work like weaving and pottery for generations.
Arrive in Kathmandu and transfer to the hotel. Overnight.
Day 10: Departure
Today, transfer to the airport for your onward flight. Bon Voyage!