Triple Temptations

Kathmandu Valley, Chitwan National Park, and Pokhara Tour Package (10 days, 9 nights)

Blessed with the densest concentration of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Kathmandu Valley is a treasure trove of religious, cultural, and architectural heritage.  It’s pagoda roofed temples, squares choking with sculptures, sites that are holy to both Hindus and Buddhists, and countless festivals evoke Rudyard Kipling’s famous line, ‘The strangest dreams of Kew are the facts of Kathmandu.’ Walk into the Kumari Temple in Kathmandu, and the dream of seeing a living goddess comes true.

     

    Day 01 Arrival in Kathmandu

    Assistance at the airport upon arrival and transfer to hotel. Dinner at hotel.

    Day 02 Visits to Kathmandu City, Swayambhunath, and Patan City

    Breakfast at hotel. Full day sight-seeing of Kathmandu City, Swayambhunath, and Patan City.
     
    Kathmandu City
    Three dynasties, a century-long oligarchy, and hordes of hippies have at one time or another occupied the center of old Kathmandu, the Basantapur Durbar Square. Kumari, the living goddess, lives here. In this one square are the wonders, eccentricities, and diversity of Nepali temples. Here is the intimidating image of Kaal Bhairav. Criminals or suspects were brought before this statue in ancient times and put on trial. It is said that if they lied, they died on the spot. 
     
    Swayambhunath
    From its hilltop perch Swayambhunath offers a sweeping view of the Valley. On some evenings roseate mountain tips are visible to the north. It’s also the locale for mythological tales. One story tells of the entry passage into the subterranean world of nagas (serpents) lying below the stupa. The eye-seeing eyes of the Buddha give away nothing on that story. If being on this primeval site did not fulfill your wishes, take the western stairs to the small pool with a small statue in the middle. It is believed if you can land a coin on the statue’s palm, your wish comes true.
               
    Patan 
    It would be easier if there was a map of Patan that shows all the places that are not of religious or cultural significance. Even its tile-roofed Newari-style houses are architectural gems. There are over 150 vihars, or monasteries, in Patan, many of which are not endowed with wonderful sculptures. Sculpting metal is Patan’s traditional craft, the levels of brilliance of which can be judges from the statue of King Yoganarendra Malla that stands at the apex of the stone pillar in the Patan Durbar Square. Even centuries after being exposed to the elements, the king’s face shines brilliantly when sunlight falls on it.

    Nepali cultural show and dinner at a local restaurant

    Day 03 Visit to Pashupatinath, Boudhanath, and Bhaktapur City

    Breakfast at hotel. Full day sight-seeing of Pashupatinath, Boudhanath, and Bhaktapur City.
     
    Pashupatinath
    Pashupatinath, which is named after Lord Shiva’s form as ‘Master of the Beasts,’ is one of the holiest sites in the world for Hindus. The main temple that houses a black Shiva linga sits surrounded by temples and shrines. Just outside the temple’s walls life encapsulated in scenes: animals being sacrificed; bodies being cremated; sadhus posing for photos and demanding money in return; wailing and singing. A little further and above these is the deer park, where blackbucks and chital saunter. According to Hindu mythology, Shiva once frolicked here in the form of a stag.
     
    Boudhanath
    There are places you see and there are places you feel. Believed to be built in 600 A.D. by the Tibetan king, Songtsen Gampo, wrecked by a Mughal army of iconoclasts in the 14th century, and subsequently rebuilt, the Boudhanath stupa is a place you feel. Boudhanath is a blend of monks and nuns in their robes, the smell of butter lamps, the blur of spinning Tibetan alphabets on huge prayer wheels, the faint tinkle of bells and the murmurs of chants. Go there and let your senses take control.
     
    Bhaktapur
    Bhaktapur, which means ‘City of Devotees,’ is devoted to living up to its name. The city’s foundations were laid out in the 11th century, during the reign of King Ananda Malla. By the 18th century, it had turned into a mosaic of 172 temples and monasteries. Bhaktapur’s charm is that several of those structures remain today. Notable among those historical gems is the towering Nyatapola Temple in Taumadhi Tole. Walk west from there and you will arrive in the great outdoor museum-like Bhaktapur Durbar Square, where the masterful Palace of 55 Windows and the Golden Gate will have you spellbound.

    Overnight at hotel

    Day 04 Fly by Buddha Air to Chitwan

    Transfer to hotel in Chitwan. Lunch followed by visit to the Tharu Cultural Museum. Evening walk and sunset viewing. In the evening, Tharu cultural show at hotel.
     
    Chitwan National Park
    The guide leading you stops suddenly. Without turning around, he motions to you to stop, and points his finger at a huge One-horned Rhinoceros browsing on a patch of grassland. You can hear the sound of the rhino’s chewing, fearing at the same time that it might hear your pounding heartbeat. Or a tiger might saunter across the jeep track mere meters from you. But Chitwan offers no guarantees. Sometimes all you hear is crashing sounds, high-pitched calls, bird songs, deep silence, and all you see is a tiger’s claw marks on a tree trunk.
     
    Tharu Cultural Museum 
    The Tharu Cultural Museum is a collection of evidences of the Tharus’ ingenuity in utilizing jungle resources. Their craftsmanship makes the inhospitable jungle look like a hardware store. Pots, traditional dresses, murals, and items of daily use are on display. Steer your wives away from the Tharu jewelry section; they might develop a hankering for them.
     
    Sauraha 
    Sauraha looks like it sprouted from a Thamel seed. The electronic music from the restaurants could disgust you, but that is forgotten as the sun begins to set at Sauraha. The sight feels more than just the end of a day; it feels like a bewitching film ending, leaving you both delighted and wishing it could have lasted a little longer.
     
    Tharu Cultural Show
    The Tharu Cultural Show usually involves traditional Tharu songs and dances, including the stick dance. Try to learn the steps of the dances, for the beautiful Tharu girl might pull you up to dance with her. Don’t be fooled by her amazingly colorful and patterned traditional attire; the prima ballerina in many Tharu dances is a man dressed as a woman!

    Day 05 Full day jungle activities

    Early morning breakfast at hotel. Canoeing or jungle walk. Visit to the elephant breeding center. Lunch. Elephant back safari or jeep safari. Evening walk to a Tharu village and Sauraha.
     
    Canoeing 
    The second day in Chitwan begins with a canoe ride down the Rapti River. Wisps of mist rise from the water surface, creating a dramatic effect, as your canoe glides deeper into the wilderness. A log on the river bank moves. You peek through your binoculars and realize it’s a mugger crocodile or a gharial, warming its body in the sun.
     
    Jungle Walks
    Perhaps the mouth is the only part of the body that gets a rest during jungle walks. Fingers point frantically, eyes widen, necks turn and crane, and, occasionally, much to the chagrin of the guide, a loud phrase of joy escapes your lips. The presence of over 50 mammal species in the park make jungle walks an exciting as well as potentially dangerous activity—the combination that all adventures are made of.
     
    Elephant Breeding Center
    A visit to the Elephant Breeding Center is similar to watching a reality show about Chitwan’s giants. You can watch them devour rugby-ball-sized capsules of wheat grains and sugar wrapped in grass, sprinkle dust on their bodies, and use bamboo sticks to scratch their backs. You can also play with the adorable baby elephants.
     
    Elephant Safari
    Riding an elephant provides a lofty perch from which to cover the rivers, grasslands, and Sal forests of Chitwan. It is also safer than jungle safaris or walks. When you are on an elephant, imagine yourself in one of the many royal hunting trips that were regularly held here in the past, on some of which British kings and queens have joined. You can shoot, too—with cameras.
     
    Jeep Safari
    Too large an area to cover, too little time to do it in. Jeep safaris are the quickest way to see the jungle, although they are also the noisiest. Going on a jeep safari allows you to visit the deeper areas of the park, where, owing to the seclusion, the chances of seeing the larger animals increase.   
     
    Tharu Villages
    A Tharu village is as eco-friendly a place as you will ever see. From the jungle’s elephant grass alone they make roofs, ropes, and mats. Their ability to make objects out of the simplest materials makes a visitor feel wasteful. Body art is an age old custom among the Tharus. Ask them to show you their tattoos; new ideas may emerge from the Tharu motifs.

    Day 06 Bird watching tour and departure for Pokhara

    Early morning bird watching tour. Breakfast at hotel. Drive to Pokhara. In Pokhara, a walk on Lakeside.
     
    Bird watching in Chitwan 
    In Chitwan, a bird watching tour guide moves his hands as if he were shooting at a circle of enemies. Eyes and hands need to move fast in a place that has 450 species of birds. Aerial duels between birds of prey, serpent eagles with a snake in its talons, Ruddy Shelducks gliding on the water surface like two ice skaters in love, kingfishers plunging into the water and emerging with a glistening fish in its beak. Even after such sights guides are often apologetic, saying that you ought to have seen more!
     
    Pokhara
    Nature seems to have created Pokhara based on the winning design in a competition: a chain of mountains, a verdant valley, and a lake. But its origin is all about the destructive side of Nature. Pokhara was created centuries ago by a massive avalanche-triggered flood. Entire hills were razed to form a valley. Centuries later, the nightmare event has created a painter’s dream location. ‘At the touch of love,’ claimed Plato, ‘everyone becomes a poet.’ The same could happen to a person at the sight of Pokhara.
     
    Lakeside
    Pokhara’s Lakeside turns people into amphibians. You go to the lake, come back for a meal, then go boating, and return in the evening for a round of karaoke. Sound and air pollution are second to the visual pollution of countless shops and restaurants in lakeside. If overwhelmed, seek refuge in the many parks running parallel to the lake.

    Overnight at hotel

    Day 07 Sight-seeing in Pokhara

    Breakfast at hotel. Full-day sight-seeing of Pokhara. Activities include boating on Phewa Lake and seeing Varahi, and visits to Devi’s Falls, Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave, Bat Cave and Mahendra Gufa.
     
    Boating and Varahi Temple
    What better way to start a visit to a place referred to as the Lake City than to go boating? Boating is almost an unwritten law in Pokhara; however, failure to experience it is more about missed rewards than punishment incurred. It is also a reconnaissance of Pokhara. From the expanse of the lake most of the nearby places are visible, so you can pick and plan visits. Boating becomes a pilgrimage if you go to the Pokhara’s most famous Hindu temple, the Varahi Mandir. It is an 18th century Vishnu temple, the god residing here in his boar avatar. 
     
    Devi’s Falls
    Devi’s Falls is a spectacular (and deafening) testament to the old saying: Water is mightier than stone. The Pardi Khola plummets to the underground world at this site, where, according to local lore a Swiss named David and his girlfriend fell into the maw and drowned. Perhaps Devi was easier on the locals’ tongues than David; hence Devi’s Falls.
     
    Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave
    The Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave is a subterranean spiritual center. There is a large stalagmite in the cave, revered as a natural Shiva linga. There also something for the atheist and agnostic. By paying an additional 70 rupees on the entry ticket, you can enter a tunnel behind the linga and reach a moist chamber near the roaring Devi’s Falls.
     
    Bat Cave and Mahendra Gufa
    The Bat Cave is a deep, dark, and damp place. And there are the eponymous bats clinging to the ceiling. It certainly would make the ideal venue for a vampire-themed costume party. Panic may seize you if you struggle to emerge from the narrow chute that serves as the exit route for the slim and adventurous. A similar environment awaits you at the Mahendra Gufa, which is much larger than the Bat Cave. Dare yourself to go further (with a guide) from the first 125 meters, beyond which there are no lights and the darkness thickens.

    Overnight at hotel

    Day 08 World Peace Pagoda Hike and Tibetan Refugee Camp

    Breakfast at hotel. Walk to the World Peace Pagoda. After returning from the hike, visit the Tibetan Refugee Camp.
     
    World Peace Pagoda
    The World Peace Pagoda is a good place to find individual peace. The trail to the pagoda passes through a dense forest that offers excellent birding. After watching your fill of birds, climb to the top and take in a captivating bird’s-eye view of Phewa Tal.
     
    Tibetan Refugee Camp 
    You’ve read their stories in books, seen documentaries about their flight across the Himalayas, and heard tales of their guerilla battles against the Chinese Army. In Pokhara, you can finally meet and talk to the Khampas, the former Tibetan guerilla fighters. Beside the military history, the refugee settlements are also enclaves of Tibetan culture. Stepping into any of the three settlements in Pokhara can feel like being transported across the Himalayas to Tibet.

    Day 09 Watching sunrise from Sarangkot, departure for Kathmandu

    Early morning trip to Sarangkot for seeing sunrise and mountains. Breakfast at hotel. Departure by Buddha Air to Kathmandu.
     
    Sunrise from Sarangkot 
    An early morning visit to Sarangkot produces yawns and gapes—yawns as you wait for dawn and gapes as you witness the Himalayas bathe in the morning light. Sarangkot is like taking a step nearer to the mountains visible from Pokhara. Stretched out on the horizon are Dhaulagiri (8,167m), Manaslu (8,156 m), the iconic Machhapuchhare (6,997m), and numerous peaks of the Annapurna range. Sarangkot is the likeliest place where you take a giant leap toward the mountains by deciding to do the Annapurna Base Camp Trek.

    Overnight at hotel in Kathmandu

    Day 10 Departure from Kathmandu

    Breakfast at hotel. Transfer to International Airport for departure.

    Contact Us Book Now Download PDF Kathmandu Valley, Chitwan National Park, and Pokhara Tour Package (10 days, 9 nights)

    The best time to visit?

    February – March and then September to early November are the best times to visit.
     

    Attire

    Kathmandu is hot from March to May. September is cool with chances of rain, so carrying umbrellas is wise. Avoid dresses that reveal too much of your body. October onwards, warm clothes are needed for Chitwan’s and Pokhara’s chilly mornings and evenings.
     

    What to do when inside temples and monasteries?

    When inside or near temples and monasteries do not act in any way – excessive photography, talking loudly, wearing shoes into prayer rooms – that impinges on the activities of the priests or devotees.
     

    Is swimming permitted on the Phewa Lake?

    Yes, although the water tends to be polluted near the shores. Best to swim further away from the edges.
     

    Is it risky to enter the caves?

    Entry without a guide is not allowed in Pokhara’s caves. Areas with low oxygen levels are out of bounds, so you are safe. If you experience any difficulties while inside, ask your guide for help.
     

    Are Jungle Walks Safe?

    Yes, provided you follow the safety measures. Explain to your guide that you would be happy to spot animals, but do not want to flout safety rules to do so. It’s good to carry a span stick for protection against animals.
     

    Necessary Items

    Sunscreen, insect repellent, hats and sunglasses, binoculars, Swiss army knife, book on Nepal’s birds.

    Contact Us Book Now Download PDF Kathmandu Valley, Chitwan National Park, and Pokhara Tour Package (10 days, 9 nights)

    Package Includes

    • Airport pick-up and drop
    • Sight-seeing in Kathmandu, Chitwan, and Pokhara
    • Hotel accommodation in Kathmandu, Pokhara (Hotel with B&B Basis) & Chitwan (Hotel with Full Board Basis)
    • Entrance fee for: Kathmandu, Swayambhunath, Patan, Pashupatinath, Boudhanath, Bhaktapur and Chitwan National Park

    Package Excludes

    • Transportation (Arrangement of transportation via air or road can be done as per client’s request)
    • Visa fee at the International Airport
    • Laundry
    • Personal expenses
    Contact Us Book Now Download PDF Kathmandu Valley, Chitwan National Park, and Pokhara Tour Package (10 days, 9 nights)

    Adult (12yrs+) Child (02-11yrs) Infant (below 2yrs)**

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    ** Infant tickets will be issued at the check-in counter before your flight at 10% of adult fare rate

    Download PDF Kathmandu Valley, Chitwan National Park, and Pokhara Tour Package (10 days, 9 nights)