Day 1 Kathmandu
Namaste! Welcome to Nepal. The adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 5pm. Quirky Kathmandu is a fun mix of ancient architecture and contemporary development. For decades, it’s been a legendary destination, the first stop for exploring the mightiest mountains in the world. Its streets are filled with signs of the country’s long artistic and cultural heritage, and you can explore the narrow lanes of Pashupatinath, filled with holy men, monks, bicycles, incense, goats and even sacred cows. Discover crowded market places, bazaars, and hole-in-the-wall eateries that are the centre of Nepali life, as prayer flags flutter overhead.
Day 2 Nagarkot
After breakfast, head to Nagarkot (approximately 3 hours). Along the way you'll visit Bhaktapur and Changunarayan, both of which have been protected by UNESCO Heritage status. In Bhaktapur, begin your explorations at Durbar Square, which is reputed to be the most beautiful piece of art in Nepal. Durbar Square is home to the majestic Lion Gate and Golden Gate. After exploring the beautiful temples of Bhaktapur, travel to Changunarayan, which is located on a high hilltop that is also known as Changu or Dolagiri. The temple is surrounded by forest with a champak tree and a small village. The temple is known to be the oldest temple in the history of Nepal. Continue to Nagarkot and take in the awesome Himalayan views it offers.
Day 3 Pokhara
Wake up nice and early and be greeted by a 180° sunrise view. Be sure to have your camera ready to snap the glory of the surrounding Himalayan peaks in the morning light. It's well worth the early start! Afterwards, head back to the Kathmandu Airport (1.5hrs) for a short flight to Pokhara (the flight takes approximately 30 minutes). Arriving in Pokhara, we head out as a group for a boat trip on the lake, Phewa Tal. Relax lakeside and enjoy the lush and tranquil surrounds against the backdrop of incredible mountains, and spend some time at Barahi Temple, which is situated in the middle of the lake itself. Tonight's accommodation has fantastic grounds to spend some quality family time in; make the most of that swimming pool.
Day 4 Astam Village
Heading out of Pokhara, arrive at Hemja for the start of the trek to Astam Eco Village. This walk (approximately 4 hours) takes you through some beautiful countryside. Settle into your Astam eco village, a lovely mountain retreat that's been run by the same family for seven generations. With a nice green lawn to relax and admire the mountains from, and optional yoga on offer for those interested, this lodge is a blessing after today's half-day hike. The reward for your efforts today is a 360° view of the Annapurna and Manaslu mountain ranges, Pokhara Valley and the surrounding countryside.
For the trek we suggest you carry a day pack for your water bottle, camera, hat, sunscreen while your main backpack will be carried by porters.
Day 5 Pokhara
Return to Pokhara in the morning. On the way there, stop in at a Tibetan Refugee camp, where you'll have the opportunity to meet with Tibetan monks and perhaps buy some interesting handicrafts. The rest of the day is free for further exploration in the peaceful surroundings of Pokhara. A fun option is to take a boat for a row out on the lake, especially if the weather's fine. The lakeside area has great shopping opportunities as well as a few internet cafes. The old area of Pokhara is well worth checking out, as is the elaborate Hindu temple and the Buddhist monastery. Your leader can recommend further optional activities.
Day 6 Pokhara
After breakfast, visit the fascinating International Mountain Museum to learn some amazing tales of past climbing expeditions – some ending in triumph, some ending in tragedy. Mount Everest is legendary of course, and this is great chance to learn more about the courageous feats it's seen over the years. There's a collection of equipment on display from many of the early expeditions in the Himalayas, as well information on their natural history. Afterwards, enjoy some time to relax and take in the mountain views. This is a good chance to save some energy for tomorrow's action-packed rafting adventure.
Day 7 Seti River
After breakfast, drive to the starting point of your two-day rafting adventure on the Seti River. After a safety briefing, and getting kitted out with the right equipment, set off from nearby Damuli (approximately 1.5 hours from Pokhara) and work together as a family as your team navigates through the water chutes and channels. Pass through the Nepali landscape of terraced rice fields, local villages, waterfalls, suspension bridges, men fishing and women washing clothes, and through an isolated gorge surrounded by wildlife-rich jungle. The river flow is gentle and the rapids are medium class. If you get wet, the river’s not that cold! End the day pitching a tent by the river on a white sandy beach. Spend your evening chilling out in this secluded spot in front of the rushing river, surrounded by mountains that feel close enough to touch. The camp makes an atmospheric base for the night, with dinner served around the campfire to the sound of the wilderness.
Day 8 Chitwan National Park
Continue your rafting adventure this morning, drifting along crystal clear Himalayan water and sometimes doing battle with the rapids (and maybe even your fellow rafts...). Your rafting will finish up around lunchtime, as you say goodbye to your rafting crew. Then it’s time to take off your helmet, put on your safari hat and drive down to the lowlands and Chitwan National Park (approximately 1.5 hours). UNESCO (who know at thing or two about this kind of stuff) declared it a World Heritage site in 1984, and it offers some of the best wildlife viewing in Asia. Think of it like ‘The Jungle Book’ come to life – there's rhino, deer, monkeys and a wide array of birdlife here, including the infamous Nepalese wild chicken! Your accommodation here is a real treat, built in traditional Tharu village style and surrounded by nature and the exotic sounds of the jungle.
Day 9 Chitwan National Park
Today is all about exploring Chitwan National Park and discovering the wildlife that lies within. Hop aboard a jeep and take a 4 hour safari drive through the park – if you're a very lucky person you might catch a glimpse of one of the 100 or so Shere Khan-esque Bengal Tigers that call the park home. There’s also the chance to float down the Rapti River in a dugout canoe(1.5hrs), keeping an eye out for the great Indian rhino, deer, exotic bird life, and the marsh mugger crocodiles that inhabit the riverbanks. A birdwatching walk through forests and across grasslands is also a great way to get closer this incredible piece of nature. There will also be some great opportunity for cultural interaction here – later today you will enjoy a cultural show.
Day 10 Kathmandu
You have this morning free to explore the jungle a little more before taking a transfer to Bharatpur (approximately 1.5 hours), then a short flight back to the Nepalese patchouli-scented capital, Kathmandu (approximately 30 minutes). If you wish, join a walk through the backstreets and vibrant local markets to Durbar Square, in front of the old royal palace and home to numerous beautiful temples, and browse the stalls of merchant's wares. Hunt for the perfect souvenir and last minute present (Tibetan prayer flags, anyone?) there are plenty of bargains to be had and it’s the perfect chance to perfect your bargaining skills. Maybe end this incredible trip through Nepal with a final farewell feast of momo (dumplings).
Day 11 Kathmandu
Your adventure through Nepal comes to an end today. There are no activities planned, and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.