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.

Trip highlights

Overnight at a Buddhist Monastery, Experience the serenity of a Buddhist monastery by spending the night in the comfortable accommodations of its guesthouse. Opt to take tea and enjoy the chanting rituals with the approximately 200 resident monks to gain understanding of their everyday life.

SASANE Lecture, Enjoy a talk with a woman who has graduated from the SASANE program, which trains victims of human trafficking to be paralegals who, in turn, fight trafficking. Gain valuable insight and learn about the struggles these brave women face in helping others.

Tibetan Refugee Settlement, Visit the Tashiling Tibetan Refugee Camp, established as a temporary settlement in 1964. Walk through this friendly quarter (now home to over 500 people) before enjoying a traditional lunch at its restaurant to support the community.

Traditional Weaving and Indigenous Peoples Lecture, Learn about National Geographic grantee Chhing Lhomi, who works to preserve the ancient weaving traditions of the Upper Mustang region. Enjoy a talk from Chhing or one of her collegues about the Himalayan Indigenous Society and their ongoing efforts.

Itinerary - 10 Days

Day 1 Kathmandu

Arrive any time. Arrival transfer is included. Enjoy a six-course welcome feast tonight, savouring the diverse flavours of Nepali cuisine.

Day 2 Kathmandu

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.

Day 3 Kathmandu/Pharping

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.

Day 4 Pharping/Kurintar

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.

Day 5 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.

Day 6 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.

Day 7 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.

Day 8 Pokhara

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.

Day 9 Pokhara/Kathmandu

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.

Day 10 Kathmandu

Depart at any time.

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