Namaste Nepal: Kathmandu, Annapurnas and the Teraï

From pretty cities cradled in the foothills to the plains of Terai, this culturally exotic journey promises beautiful emotions be it at the foot of the Himalayan foothills or at the jungle of southern Nepal. Our fascinating journey starts in the Kathmandu Valley. From the Buddhist stupa Swyambhunath overlooking the valley to Patan, one of the three ancient imperial cities, we switch to the Hindu universe by discovering Pashupatinath temple along with the cremation site dating from the XIIth century which is dedicated to Lord Shiva. From there we head on to Bhaktapur, the city of medieval architectures, the most beautiful of the three imperial cities of the valley. We then head to Pokhara for a short trek through the Nepalese villages nestled at the foot of Machhapuchhre.  Before heading to explore the plains of Terai, we visit Tansen, a stronghold of the Rana dynasty. Then we make our way to the plains of Terai & visit Lumbini, the birthplace of Gautama Buddha.  You will experience radical change of scenery in the heart of the Chitwan National Park with a jungle atmosphere very similar to Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle. In search of rhinos, tigers & other animals, we can explore & discover the jungle either on foot, canoe or elephant.

Itinerary

  • Day 1 Welcome to Kathmandu and transfer to hotel

    Welcome to Kathmandu. After settling in at the hotel, we visit Swaymbhunath Buddhist stupa overlooking the Kathmandu valley.

    Accommodation: Hotel

  • Day 2 Patan - Khokana - Kathmandu.

    Visit to Patan, one of the three ancient imperial cities of the valley & known for its artisans who were the founders of the artistic statues seen there. Then, we continue to Bungamati, a village of Newar artisans of the 15th century. Stroll among the terraced crops at the village of Khokhana. We return to our hotel in Kathmandu in the late afternoon.

    Accommodation: Hotel

  • Day 3 Pashupatinath - Bhaktapur.

    Day of discovery of the jewels of the valley of Kathmandu: Pashupatinath, Hindu site dating from the twelfth century, place of cremation dedicated to Shiva, where the pilgrims bathe in the sacred river Bagmati. We then leave for the sumptuous pedestrian city Bhaktapur, 15 km from Kathmandu, the most beautiful of the three imperial cities of the valley. We stay overnight in Bhaktapur to soak in all it has to offer.

    Accommodation: Hotel

  • Day 4 Bhaktapur - Changu Narayan- Bodhnath.

    In the morning, we stroll through the narrow streets of Bhaktapur and transfer to Telkot and hike along the ridge to Changu Narayan, the oldest temple in the valley, dedicated to Vishnu and situated on a promontory overlooking the valley. We then descend on foot to the Newar village of Sankhu. Then a short transfer to Bodhnath. The great stupa of Bodhnath is located in the heart of the Tibetan district where many monasteries of the exile were constructed. We spend the night in Bodhnath to enjoy this sacred place after the departure of the tourists.

    Accommodation: Hotel

  • Day 5 Katmandou - Bandipur.

    We leave the valley of Kathmandu and take the road for Bandipur, sumptuous village of Newari traders. This place has superb view of the Himalayan range including Mount Manaslu (8163m). In the afternoon, we take a short walk in the vicinity of this village famous for its orange trees.

    Accommodation: Hotel
    Drive: 4 hours
    Hiking: 1 hour

  • Day 6 Bandipur - Pokhara - Australian Camp (2050 m).

    We reach Pokhara (2h30) for a lunch break. Then, we travel to Kande (1700 m) in the low valleys, surrounded by terraced rice fields. Now, we are in Gurung country. This is the beginning of our trek to Annapurna Camp.

    Accommodation: Lodge
    Drive: 4 hours
    Trek: 1 hour
    Ascent: +350m

  • Day 7 Australian Camp - Landruk (1 640 m).

    We walk to the village of Landruk in the valley of Modi Khola. We have a nice day of walking between villages and rice fields to start our mini trek in the heart of the Annapurna Range.

    Accommodation: Lodge
    Trek: 4 hours
    Ascent/descent: +250m/-500m

  • Day 8 Landruk - Ghandruk (2050 m).

    We descend to the Gurung village of Landruk which offers a superb view of South Annapurna (7219 m) and Himchuli (6441 m). Crossing Madi Kola and climb uphill to Ghandruk, Gurung village with solid houses surrounded by walls of stones that protect rice fields and wheat fields. Very nice view of South Annapurna and Machapuchare.

    Accommodation: Lodge
    Trek hours: 4
    Ascent/descent: +450m/-300m

  • Day 9 Gandruk - Pokhara.

    Descend to Birethanti (1100 m) to reach road then transfer by bus to Pokhara. Free afternoon for relaxation in Pokhara.

    Accommodation: Lodge
    Trek: 5 hours
    Descent: -850m

  • Day 10 Pokhara – Tansen - Lumbini.

    After breakfast, we take the road to Tansen. During the journey, we cross the Nepalese countryside and take advantage of the varied landscapes: mountains, valleys, rice fields, villages. We arrive in Tansen in the afternoon. We discover this ancient city and fief of the Rana dynasty. We visit the historical center and Tansen Durbar palace. We then continue to Lumbini, which is very close to the Indo-Nepalese border.

    Accommodation: Hotel
    Drive: 8 hours

  • Day 11 Visit of Lumbini - Chitwan Park, Terai region

    We visit Lumbini, birthplace of Gautama Buddha. Various international Buddhist communities have built temples and monasteries at this holy place. We visit some of them. Then in the afternoon, we take the road to Chitwan National Park.

    Accommodation: Hotel
    Drive: 5 hours

  • Day 12 Chitwan Park: canoeing, elephant ride and hiking

    A day devoted to the discovery of the jungle. Canoeing down the river to observe birds at sunrise. Elephant riding in search of rhinoceros; Walk in the jungle to experience Kipling’s world of deer, bear, ...and sometimes even tiger. In the evening, Tharu warriors perform dances.

    Accommodation: Hotel

  • Day 13 Stroll and return to Kathmandu

    Morning walk to observe the birds (indian roller, kingfisher, bee-eater, bar-headed goose, etc.). After breakfast, we take the road to Kathmandu. Free time upon arrival in Kathmandu.

    Accommodation: Hotel
    Drive: 5 hours

  • Day 14 End of stay

    End of stay

Travel notes:
The program has been drawn up according to the latest information available during its drafting. Imponderables are always possible and situations beyond our control can modify the process. Depending on the meteorological and operational conditions, your management team reserves the right to modify this itinerary in order to ensure the best version of the stay and your safety. Always,  for security reasons, the management and the organization reserve the right to interrupt your participation if your technical level and / or your physical form do not correspond to those required. In no case shall this interruption give rise to any reimbursement or payment of compensation.

Dates & prices

Departures for English-speaking groups:

No departure for now

Trip code: NEPDEC-EN

Included

- Transport by private vehicle according to itinerary
- Accommodation in 3 * hotel on BB in Kathmandu (Hotel Tibet, Manaslu or similar)
- Accommodation in a 2 * hotel in Pokhara (Hotel Lake View or similar)
- Trek on full-board in lodge
- Flight: Pokhara - Kathmandu
- English speaking Altaï Guide
- Visits as per itinerary: with a cultural guide and a private vehicle
- Porterage of luggage: up to 12kg maximum per person during the trek
- Trekking support team: assistants and porters
- Trekking permits: ACAP and TIMS
- Staff Insurance

Not included

- Entrance to historical sites & monuments
- Meals in Kathmandu & Kathmandu Valley
- Nepalese visa: US $ 25
- International flights
- Insurance: Repatriation, Medical & Helicopter Services
- Gratuities, all persomel expenses & equipments, drinks, sleeping bag and all that is not in "THE PRICE INCLUDES"

Notes

For many years, we put our know-how and our experience of Himalayan destinations to the service of travelers coming from different horizons. You will be able to find in your groups participants coming from our various partners.

Terms and conditions

Booking conditions

By registering for one of our travel, the customer bindingly accepts the General Terms and Conditions of Sale. Each customer must complete a registration form. The booking is definitively recorded when the customer has settled the payment of a deposit of 30 % of the total travel price (subject to availability at the time of registration). In case of short-term bookings – within 30 days prior to the travel departure – the full travel price is due immediately. Payments can be settled via bank transfer (SWIFT code/IBAN number) or online, directly from our website (soon available). You will receive an email with a booking confirmation as quickly as possible.

Invoice procedure

Once your booking is registered, we send you an email with the invoice. Full payment is required at least 30 days before your arrival. If the customer does not settle the payment of the travel price within the period agreed upon, Altai Nepal reserves the right to cancel the booking free of charge.

Cancellation policy

If for any reason, you decide to withdraw from a journey, the amount already paid will be refunded subject to the following exceptions:
  • Cancellation up to 30 days prior to the agreed beginning of the journey: No cancellation fees. Unless you have given a written agreement to pay for additional tailor-made services (hotel, internal flights, activities…). In that case, you shall be charged the corresponding amount
  • Cancellation between the 30th and 21st day prior to the agreed beginning of the journey: You will be charged 30 % of the travel price, in addition with every non-refundable expense for additional services booked on request (internal flights, site entrance tickets, activities…)
  • Cancellation less than 20 days to the agreed beginning of the journey: You will be charged 70 % of the travel price, in addition with every non-refundable expense for additional services booked on request (internal flights, site entrance tickets, activities…)

Any cancellation shall be notified in writing (email, letter or fax). Notice of cancellation will be effective upon receipt by us of your written communication. All the cancellation conditions will be specified on your booking confirmation. 

If it comes apparent at an earlier point in time that the minimum number of participants cannot be reached for a travel, Altaï Nepal is to exercise his right of withdrawal immediately. In such a situation, you will be informed of the cancellation of your travel no later than 21 days prior to the agreed beginning of the journey. Altaï Nepal can also cancel a travel in case of circumstances amounting to "force majeure": volcanic eruption, civil disturbances, strikes, weather and climate conditions, and travellers’ security… In such cases, you are immediately refunded any payments on the travel price; however, you shall not be entitled to any compensation.

Changes to travel contract

If a change to travel contract is made at the customer’s request, the customer shall pay any fee that might arise from this change. In any cases, every request for changes shall be notified in writing. In case of external events that could not be foreseen, Altaï Nepal might change some aspects of the travel contract. We will endeavor to advise you of any changes as quickly as possible.

Prices and price revision

All group travel prices on our website have been calculated for the indicated number of participants for each trip. The price list is confirmed after the booking. If the number of participants is lower than expected, an additional payment charge might be applied. For each travel and program, we mention the price per person – valid for the minimum number of participants – and we provide you with detailed explanations about the services included or not. Any change in the exchange rates or in the price of travel services in particular regarding the cost of the fuel, might entail price revision.

Contract transfer

In case of assignment of the contract by the customer to an assignee, modification and cancellation conditions apply.

Insurance

We recommend that you take out personal insurance for your travel with Altaï Nepal, as soon as your booking is confirmed. We kindly request you to send us the information related to your insurance contract (name of the company, name of the contract, insurance policy number, telephone number) and to bring it along with you during the journey.

Practical info

Staff

This trip is led by a professional Nepali English-speaking Tour Leader, who is part of the Altai Nepal Team. During the trek, he is assisted by junior guides, sirdar and porters.

Food

Meals in lodge during your stay
The dhal bhat (literally lentil-rice) is the basis of all meals, this national dish is often enriched with vegetables and sometimes meat. It is a balanced dish in energy and nutritive intake, not fat and above all very digestible (digestion is more difficult at altitude). Meals in Kathmandu and in the valley are not included. You will have plenty of time to discover Indian, Bhutanese, Chinese, Thai and other cuisines. All drinks are at your expense.

Accommodation

In Kathmandu and in the cities in general, you are accommodated in 3 * hotels. In trek, depending on the regions and itineraries, you sleep in lodge or homestay. A "Nepali lodge", an evolution of homestay, is a Nepalese house arranged to receive hikers. Comfort varying, they are certainly not hotels but they allow to make a trekking in appreciable conditions, and this even in high altitude: bed, mattresses, tables and chairs, toilets, etc. In addition, the use of lodges considerably reduces the number of porters and cut down the infrastructure of trekking.

Transportation

Transport/transfer by bus & plane

Budget & exchange

In Nepal, the national currency is the Nepalese Rupee: 1 US$  ~ 100  / 1 € 115 Nepalese Rupees. The easiest currencies to trade are the Euro and the US dollar (cash or traveler's checks). Credit cards are accepted in the shops of major hotels. You can withdraw currencies with your visa card in Kathmandu.

Tips

Tipping is still very present in Asia, in general, and in Nepal in particular. Linked to the customer's satisfaction, it is an integral part of the “tourism” culture of the country: independent of the salary level, the tip is taken by the Nepalese as a sign of appreciation. Its amount depends on your appreciation of the services rendered and your generosity. Your guide can help you on this subject by making a collective envelope to ensure a just share for the staff. Like money, if you have clothes to give, do not hesitate to seek the guide’s help who will make a fair distribution. In addition, we ask you specifically not to give sweets and / or bars energy / chocolate to children: there is virtually no dentist in mountainous areas. The same rule applies for medicines: they are not necessarily adapted to Nepalese who have, moreover, a lot of trouble to follow the correct dosage.

Vital equipment

Clothes, from head to toe:

- Trekking shoes. They must combine three qualities: strength, good grip of the foot and ankle (high stems) and impermeability. Choose shoes with non-slip soles, crampons and relatively rigid, they must have a grip on the ground. The "Vibram" type soles have a good reputation, pick them if you have a choice.
- Light shoes (tennis) or sandals for cities, villages or for evening after the day's walk
- Few pairs of walking & mountain socks
- 2 trekking trousers
- Underwear. This is the first insulation you will have, take care of it. Fine technical fibers, such as Carline or Polartec are very effective, warm, flexible, comfortable and lightweight. They dry very quickly
- 1 or 2 breathable T-shirts
- 1 fleece jacket. It has the advantage of being resistant, warm, light, and dries quickly, with a soft touch. The most adapted, well known among the mountain people, are the Polartec, Carline and Ulfrotté fibers
- 1 mountain jacket. The most efficient jackets against wind and rain are made of Goretex, or Micropore, a "breathable" material that allows the rapid evacuation of perspiration.
- 1 down jacket is recommended (you find in Kathmandu for 40 to 50 € or US$)
- 1 rain coat
- Gloves or mittens and hat
- Hat
- Good Sunglasses
- Warm Sleeping Bag
- Water purifiers (micropur, aguatabs ...) Nepal is in the northern hemisphere. Temperatures increase from January to May and decrease from September to December. From April until the end of October, provide lighter clothing.

Material

- A sleeping bag (essential for all trekking trips). Warm, comfortable, tailored to your size, shaped sarcophagus (closer to the body and has a closing hood), with side zipper closure for an opening at your convenience. To sleep in all seasons, it is necessary that your bag is powerful enough to fight temperatures of -5 ° C to -15 ° C (according to trips, altitude and periods, the coldest months December to February). Feel free to take a comfortable sleeping bag, indeed, " He who can do the most, can do the least!”
- A toiletry bag and bath towel
- Sunblock cream (face and lips)
- Headlamp, with batteries and spare bulbs
- Waterbottle of 2 liter minimum, light and isothermal
- Pocket knife, multi-purpose preferably
- Toilet paper + lighter



Helpful equipment

- Walking sticks
- Waterproof bags to protect your belongings
- Notebook or travel diary

Luggage

All of your luggage must be divided into 2 bags: - Provide a flexible travel bag with side zipper giving easier access to its contents, bag type marine 80 L and about 13 Kg maximum (16 kilos for camp/tent trekking). No suitcase or trolley because it is untransportable by the porters. We use the porters’ service during the treks. You have the possibility to leave part of your belongings, that you will not use during the trek, at the hotel in Kathmandu. - A small backpack (capacity about 40l) for your belongings each day of trekking: sweater, spare t-shirt, water bottle, picnic-lunch, sunglasses, small things ... To protect your travel bags, we will provide Altaï Bags too. They are solid and waterproof.

Passport

The information mentioned is only indicative. They may be subject to change without notice by the Nepalese authorities. It is therefore prudent to check with embassies and consulates in your country the month before you leave.
Passport valid for 6 months after the return date. Children must have an individual passport. They can no longer be registered on their parents' passports. ID card is not accepted

Visa

This is an individual visa. Obtaining your visa is under your responsibility. It is obtained on the spot as soon as you arrive in Kathmandu. Rates are as follows:
- 15 days Visa : 25 US$ (or equivalent in euros) + 1 picture
- 30 days Visa : 40 US$ (or equivalent in euros) + 1 picture
- 90 days Visa : 100 US$ (or equivalent in euros) + 1 picture
To obtain Trekking permits, you must provide your passport and 1 photo ID. You must provide us with the good quality scans of the double page containing all the information of your passport and 2 photos of identity.

Mandatory vaccines

Although no vaccine is required, be sure that vaccines commonly used in western countries (tetanus, diphtheria, polio, typhoid) are still valid. Hepatitis A and B vaccines also recommended.

Health information & recommendations

Your Tour-leader has a pharmacy of first urgency. It is recommended to bring your personal medication (in sufficient number): aspirin, elastoplast, iodized alcohol, intestinal antiseptic, small scissors, tricosteril, face and lip sunscreen ... Also think about visiting your dentist, if you have some untreated caries, they have the annoying habit of waking up with altitude.
- Recommendations: Even if no vaccine is required for Nepal, you will ensure that vaccines currently practiced in Western countries (tetanus, diphtheria, polio, typhoid) are still valid. Hepatitis A and B vaccine also recommended. The risk of malaria is small, because we usually move more than 1500/1800 m, above the altitude of life of mosquitoes. The other areas crossed are hardly infested.
- Hygiene: water is not drinkable in Nepal. On the tourist grounds, it is always possible to buy bottled water. However, in order to limit pollution and preserve natural areas, we strongly recommend that you drink purified water. For that, think to bring a water bottle of minimum 1.5 liters and purifying tablets of water (micropur, agua tabs ...). Some hygiene rules: wash your hands frequently, and before each meal (there are pharmacy antimicrobial solutions to use without rinsing, useful in case of excursions); ensure the maintenance of perfect body hygiene and careful care (disinfect) of skin wounds; do not consume tap water, not drinkable, drink only boiled water for 30 minutes then filtered, or preferably bottled water capsulated (avoid drinking natural drinks like pressed fruit juice); do not consume ice cream or "lassi" (milk-based beverage) bought on the street; meat and fish / shellfish should be cooked well before consumption.

Weather

From the eternal snows of high peaks to the tropical lowlands, Nepal has a wide variety of climates.
- In autumn (October to mid-December): the days are very beautiful but can be fresh in altitude. At 3000 m altitude, temperatures can drop to -10 ° C at night.
- In winter (m-december to mid-february): The nights are generally cold, the climate is dry. If nighttime temperatures drop easily below 0 ° C to 3000 m, the days are often sunny. Treks below 4000 m are very pleasant. Few tourists at this time.
- In spring (March to end of May): at this season, Kathmandu is in full bloom and the rhododendrons are magnificent. The weather is nice and it's getting hot with some night storms. Temperatures vary between 10 ° C and 28 ° C, but can rise to over 30 ° C. Between 2000 and 3000 m, temperatures rarely drop below 0 ° C. On the other hand, a few rare frosts or snowfalls are possible in March from 4000 m.
- In summer: it's the monsoon season. It interrupts the majority of trekking from June to the end of September. Certain regions of the "Trans-Himalayan" zone, Mustang and Dolpo, however, remain sheltered from the monsoon regime that prevails in the rest of the country. These are the only circuits accessible in Nepal in summer.

Electricity

In recent years, due to a lack of hydropower facilities, electricity and water outages are becoming more frequent in Nepal, especially in Kathmandu (mainly in winter and spring). The hotels have generator but the electricity is limited. It is the same for the consumption of water.

Sustainable tourism

In a concern of respect for the environment, Altai engages for a minimum impact on the environment. Altai has always worked for a more responsible tourism and is part of a journey organization that respects equitable and sustainable principles. Harmonization of practices ensures a fair distribution of economic benefits and improved working conditions of local teams and their awareness of the protection of the environment Adopt, you too, simple actions during your travels and act in favor responsible tourism.

- Avoid leaving garbage behind: drop them in garbage cans or bring them back with you
- Use drinking water sparingly (prefer showers to baths and report leaks) and avoid wasting it (prefer biodegradable soaps for washing etc.)
- Avoid degrading cultural sites: do not touch the statues, do not move stones and objects etc.
- Prefer exchanges to donations (gifts too important given the standard of living of the country can destabilize the local economic balance)
- Take a walk, especially in some fragile ecosystems, observe the wildlife from a distance, do not leave the trails, limit trampling and do not bring back "memories": give up picking rare flowers, collecting fossils, etc.
- In some hotels, you will have individual air conditioning. It is strongly recommended to avoid excessive energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions to cut it systematically when you are not present in the room.
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Buddhi

My local agent
Buddhi

  • Native to Eastern Nepal
  • Trekking guide for more than 20 years
  • Specialist of Annapurnas, Everest, Ladakh and Rajasthan
  • English & French-speaker
  • Good notions of German and Chinese
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Region
Kathmandu Valley and the Terai
Activity
Hiking & discovering the culture
Duration
14 days
Group
2 to 15 people
Code
NEPDEC-EN
Price
From €1,435
Level
2/5
Comfort
4/5
Language(s)
English

Strengths

- The Chitwan Park in the tropical Terai region, the foothills of the Annapurnas, the surroundings of Pokhara and Kathmandu.
- An easy trek in the heart of Annapurna.
- The discovery of Newar architecture.
- Travel framed by our best cultural guides.

Required level

This type of trip is of an easy standard and is accessible to all. It is perfect for people who like to hike easy and who are also interested in discovering historic sites, as well as the culture of the country. Walking is the best way to discover varied landscapes, the routes are easy, however it is requested to have good shoes and good hiking equipment.
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