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Celebrate the diverse cultural heritage of Kathmandu and explore a hilltop ancient town of Bandipur before retreating to Pokhara for spectacular views of the Himalayas. UNESCO has inscribed seven groups of historic monuments and buildings within Kathmandu Valley that witnessed some of the most artistic and architecture developments of Buddhism and Hinduism from the 5th century. This trip offers a walk back in time where ancient traditions prevail amid colorful markets, villages and 26,000 feet snow capped peaks.
Visit the Seven Heritage Sites of major temples, palaces, and stupas in the Kathmandu Valley to witness ancient religious practices of Buddhism and Hinduism. Take a walk back in time while strolling along the ancient houses and villages on the 3000 ft hilltop town of Bandipur, once an important stop along the ancient Tibet-India trade route. Rejuvenate at the picturesque lakeside town of Pokhara with spectacular sunrise views of the majestic Himalaya mountain range.
Upon arrival at the Kathmandu Airport, you will be welcomed and transferred to your hotel. Rest of the day is free to rest up from your long flight.
Overnight in Kathmandu
Take a short drive this morning up to the 5th century Swayambunath Temple, also popularly known as the Monkey Temple with a lively resident population of holy monkeys throughout the temple grounds. This is the oldest Buddhist monument in the Kathmandu Valley and a sacred Buddhist pilgrimage site for Tibetans and followers of Tibetan Buddhism. Enjoy views of Kathmandu City from the temple grounds.
Later, do a walking tour around the Heritage site of Kathmandu Durbar Square. Surrounded with spectacular architecture, this square vividly showcases the skills of the Newar artists and craftsmen over several centuries. The Square also holds the palaces of the Malla and Shah kings who ruled over the city. Along with these palaces, the square surrounds quadrangles revealing courtyards and temples. If schedule permits, you can catch a glimpse of the Kumari Living Goddess.
Explore the narrow Local Alleys around the Durbar Square to see typical local life and lively markets. From daily necessities, spices to colorful Pashmina scarf vendors, these alleys are a treasure cove for street photography where life and architecture have not changed much in generations.
Overnight in Kathmandu
Today head outside of the city to Bhaktapur also known as the “City of Devotees”. This former royal capital city from 12th to 15th century lies along the ancient trade route between India and Tibet. Dotted with numerous historic religious sites and a traditional pottery square, this ancient city has suffered bad earthquake damage in 2015, but it provides a pleasant walk back in time.
7 miles north of Bhaktapur, visit Changu Narayan, considered the oldest Hindu Temple in Nepal. The Temple has a stone inscription pillar erected by King Manadeva in 464 AD.
Back in Kathmandu City, visit Bodhnath, one of the holiest Buddhist sites in Kathmandu and the largest spherical stupas in Nepal. The influx of large populations of refugees from Tibet has seen the construction of over 50 Tibetan Gompas (Monasteries) around Bodhnath.
At sundown, head over to Pashupatinath, Nepal’s most sacred Hindu temple and site of Hindu cremations. This is also one of the most significant Hindu temples of Lord Shiva in the world. Here you will witness the sacred Aarti ceremony.
Overnight in Kathmandu
Depart the city today for Bandipur, a picturesque and well preserved medieval town nestled 3,000 ft high on a mountain ridge part way between Kathmandu and Pokhara.
This town was once an important point of trade by Newar traders from Bhaktapur plying the ancient route between Tibet and India. The traders left a legacy of a beautiful small town dotted with old shop houses and residential areas that are largely unchanged till this day.
The drive from Kathmandu takes around 4 to 5 hours. It’s a little tedious along a windy narrow highway that can see some traffic congestion, but it’s well worth the effort to explore this hidden town that sees very few visitors.
Overnight in Bandipur
Rise early for spectacular sunrise views of the Himalayas from your lodge. Take easy short walks around the town and surrounding village to see a more traditional way of life here.
Today’s drive to Pokhara takes about 2 hours. This quaint lakeside town is a gateway for hikers and climbers heading towards the Annapurna Range and the secluded Upper Mustang Region.
Visit the International Mountaineering Museum of Pokhara, learn about the various mountains and climbing peaks, Tibetan people and environmental projects. Continue to a Tibetan Refugee Camp to learn about the hardships of thousands of refugees in Nepal. The only source of livelihood for many of the Tibetans is through carpet weaving and selling of small trinkets.
Overnight in Pokhara
Early this morning, drive to Sarangkot to enjoy spectacular sunrise views over the snow capped mountains. Depending on weather conditions, best to do this before dawn for the best views. Depending on your fitness level, you can discuss with your guide on your preferred hiking duration to visit small villages spread across the foothills. Nestled among agricultural fields of millet and vegetables, the hills are dotted with numerous traditional villages from various ethnic groups including the Magars and Gurungs who have earned worldwide fame as Gurkha soldiers.
Back in Pokhara town, enjoy some free time to relax and explore quaint restaurants, shops, bookstores and western style cafes by the lakeside.
Overnight in Pokhara
Return to Kathmandu today with a short flight flight from Pokhara.
Upon arrival at Kathmandu Airport, you will be welcomed and proceed to Patan, another ancient Royal Capital City. Your hotel will be located inside the Patan Durbar Square, a Heritage Site built around 250AD. Spend your last day exploring this small town and the Patan Museum, a very well curated with lots of original religious artifacts. Stop by a shop to receive a special “Singing Bowl” therapy.
Overnight in Patan
Transfer to Kathmandu Airport for onward journey.
Our private tours include the things that make it so you don’t have to worry about logistics for your trip.
Consider a pre- or post-tour extension to this itinerary in India or a Scenic Everest Flight. It’s quite easy to add a couple of days in Delhi with an excursion to see the Taj Mahal, or take an one-hour mountain flight for a close-up view of Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak at 29,029 ft, along with superb view of many other Himalayan peaks.
If you are traveling through New Delhi, consider a side trip to Agra to see the iconic Taj Mahal...truly a must-see. India makes it easier to get e-visas now, so if you're flying through Delhi, take advantage of the opportunity!
Take a breathtaking flight over the majestic Himalaya with close up views of Mount Everest and many other spectacular peaks at over 25,000 ft.
Here’s an explanation of what to expect and the planning process with a Red Lantern Journeys travel consultant.
The price for this trip will vary based on many factors including:
Your peronal travel consult to work with you to prepare your itinerary, recommend tours and activities and accommodation and explain the reasoning behind every aspect of your tour.
You'll have your own private, chauffeur-driven vehicle for all of your airport transfers and daily excursions. These will also include your personal, English-speaking guide who is licensed and will provide the insights to make each of your tours an exceptional experience.
We've inspected hundreds of hotels and can recommend accommodation that fits your style and budget.
We have access to a wide range of activities to make your trip truly memorable. Activities range from visiting iconic sights to meeting local personalities, adventure sports, and exclusive dining experiences!
October through April are the best times to travel to enjoy clear skies and good mountain views. January and February can be very cold at night, but main tourist sights will be less busy.
From May, temperature and humidity starts to build up around Kathmandu valley. The monsoon season lasts from June through September where mountain views will be obscured.
Some of our favorite hotels in Nepal are the smaller luxury boutique hotels in great locations that have between 20 and 50 rooms. These can fill up well in advance of the bigger hotels that have hundreds of rooms…so plan accordingly.
For travel during the peak season of October through December and March to April, book at least 6 months in advance. For travel in the shoulder seasons, book at least 4 months in advance. For travel in the monsoon season of June through September, book at least a month in advance.
Please provide as much information as you can to help us prepare before contacting you. For example:
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