Day 1: Arrive at Kathmandu.
Upon your arrival at Kathmandu you are greeted by an Easy Tours Facilitator or your guide, and your chauffeur. This itinerary assumes an arrival at Kathmandu by the early afternoon, at the latest. If your arrival is later, an additional night can be arranged at Kathmandu and your touring will begin the next day.
Welcome to an ancient Himalayan nation that offers a fascinating culture, incredible scenery, very warm and friendly people, great trekking opportunities, and a whole lot more. With the exception of congested Kathmandu, Nepal has charming, laid back cities and towns, along with picturesque wildlife parks that are home to many endangered species. The unfortunate picture
(of the effects of the 2015 earthquake) painted by the media, like much of what they do, is severely exaggerated. For example, the three ancient temples, all UNESCO World Heritage sites, in Kathmandu received very little, or no, damage. The three Durbar Square’s (all of which are also UNESCO World Heritage Sites) in the queen cities of the Kathmandu Valley did receive fairly heavy damage, but most of their monuments are still standing and still provide wonderful insights into the local culture over the last millennia.
You are driven to Bhaktapur
, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for a guided exploration. Bhaktapur lies on the way between Kathmandu airport and Nagarkot.
Bhaktapur is a UNESCO
World Heritage Site and one of the Kathmandu Valley’s three queen cities, literally meaning The City of Devotees. Although this queen city received extensive damage during the 2015 earthquake, there still is enough remaining to marvel at as you walk around the ancient square with its unique architecture and charming temples. The architecture and culture here is different from what you will experience in most of Kathmandu, as ancient Newari architecture and culture are found here in their purest form.
After this exploration
you will be driven to your hotel in Kathmandu and assisted with your check-in.
Day 2: Kathmandu.
Weather permitting, you have the option of experiencing the Everest flight
this morning - you can have us facilitate this with private assisted transfers between the hotel and the airport, or you can save a little money by having your hotel travel desk arrange this as part of their daily group airport transfers. If you decide to take this flight, on your return you will freshen up and have breakfast. If weather conditions result in the flight getting cancelled, this can be substituted for the following day.
Continue your exploration of the Kathmandu valley with a visit to the Swayambhunath Temple and Pagoda, Kathmandu’s signature monument. With a history that may go back as far as 2500 years, this ancient complex is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The temple and stupa are built on a hilltop and are visible from most of the Kathmandu Valley. The devout walk up the hill from the base (365 steps), but most tourists prefer to drive up almost all the way up and then use the few steps on the other side of the hill. Although a couple of the surrounding monuments were destroyed/damaged during the 2015 earthquake, the main structure still stands, along with other smaller shrines and monasteries surrounding it.
From here you will proceed for a tour of Pashupatinath Temple
, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most sacred Hindu shrines in the world. Originally built around 2400 years ago, the (now) spectacular temple was reconstructed by a Nepalese king in the 15th century after the original wooden structure was (purportedly) consumed by termites.
A lesser known fact among western visitors is that Nepal’s natives are primarily Hindus (over 80%), and Pashupatinath’s surrounding area is dotted with ancient Hindu shrines and ashrams, as well as a steady stream of pilgrims and worshippers. Nepal’s holy river, Bagmati, flows through here and its banks are constant witnesses to Hindu ceremonies for the dead and the living. There is a cremation area where pyres are always present, and our guides will ask you for a mindful approach in these areas. The main temple and most of the surrounding shrines received no damage in the 2015 earthquake.
There is a break
After lunch you will be driven to the Kathmandu Durbar Square
, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Some of the ancient monuments here were also damaged or destroyed during the earthquake, but much of it remains intact. The monuments in the Square were built between the 12th and 18th centuries, and this is where most of the state ceremonies are performed up until today. Start with a visit to Kumari Ghar, the abode of the Living Goddess, a beautiful 17th Century three-story building. If you are fortunate, you may be graced with her appearance in an upstairs window. You will explore the ancient square and its many monuments, possibly stopping for a photo opportunity in front of the Kal Bhairav, an ancient and impressive stone relief of Lord Shiva in one of his fearsome manifestations.
Proceed to the Boudhanath Stupa
, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is one of Kathmandu’s two landmarks. This is the largest stupa in Nepal and a major pilgrimage destination for Buddhists. Said to have been built just after Lord Buddha’s departure from the world about two and a half millennia ago, the stupa has multiple legends associated with it in both Nepalese and Tibetan Buddhism. The influx of Tibetan Buddhists escaping China’s control over the last six decades has influenced the area around it as many of them have settled here, and have also built over 50 Gompa’s (monasteries) around the Stupa. Exploring the stupa and its colorful surrounding areas is a highlight for any visitor to Kathmandu. The spire of the stupa and a few other areas received some damage in the 2015 earthquake and repair work is ongoing.
After the Stupa you will enjoy a walk in Thamel
, the main bazaar area of Kathmandu. Thamel is also where a lot of the inexpensive hostels and other budget lodging options are located, and its colorful alleys are always abuzz with activity. Locals and backpackers flock to this area to shop for a vast range of products, from daily requirements to souvenirs, from clothing to footwear to toys. There are also a large number of dining and street food options, ranging from local Nepalese delicacies to western fare.
You will return to your hotel after this exploration.
Day 3: Kathmandu - Pokhara.
Continue your tour of the Kathmandu valley with a tour of Patan City, one of the three queen cities of the valley. Another UNESCO world Heritage Site, Just like other parts of Kathmandu, although some structures here were damaged or destroyed by the 2015 earthquake, much of the amazing historic site remains, and is more than well worth
a visit. Patan is the city of fine arts, and you will start with an exploration of the Durbar Square. The museum here houses a collection of ancient bronzes and religious objects. Other noteworthy monuments are the impressive carvings at the 17th century Krishna Mandir and Mahavihar, and the 12th century Golden Temple of Lord Buddha.
There is a break
you are driven to the airport where you are assisted with boarding your afternoon flight to Pokhara. Arrive at magical Pokhara and you are greeted by an Easy Tours Facilitator and ushered to your chauffeur driven vehicle. You are driven to your boutique Hotel and assisted with your check-in.
Pokhara is one
of those beautiful towns where one can stay for a week or longer just to relax and rejuvenate in the natural beauty and relaxed ambiance, similar to South Asian towns like Kochi and Leh (Ladakh) in India, Luang Prabang in Laos, Chiang Mai in Thailand, and Thimphu in Bhutan.
You don’t have to relax in Pokhara - it is an area of lakes and mountains, and the valley and surrounding Himalayas offer some of the world’s best trekking, paragliding, and hand gliding.
There is excellent kayaking and white water rafting, zip lining, the Pokhara Ultralight (for a unique gliding experience), mountain biking, and a whole lot more. Extended stays can easily be facilitated, for more relaxation and/or other activities. Pokhara is also a part of most of our Nepal trekking itineraries, as much of that is conducted in the Himalaya’s surrounding the Pokhara valley.
The boutique tourism area
around Phewa Lake is full of wonderful little café’s, bars and souvenir shops, and is a delightful destination for your evenings.
Pokhara was a key stop on a busy trade route that extended from India to Tibet. To this day, mule trains can be seen camped on the outskirts of the town, bringing goods to trade from remote regions of the Himalaya. This is the land of the Magars and Gurungs, hardworking farmers and fierce warriors who have earned worldwide fame as Gurkha soldiers, and who are also assist your guides during your treks in the Himalayas. The British Army has long recruited soldiers from this region, and continues to do so today. The Gurkha soldiers serve in the British army, and can then either retire in the United Kingdom with full benefits and a pension, or choose to return to Nepal and enjoy the added benefit of converting the pound into Nepalese currency.
Day 4: Pokhara.
Explore the old trading area in the town of Pokhara. Decorated pony trains from the Kali Gandaki trade routes are supervised by men from the mountains that live a lifestyle from centuries ago. You will walk through the bazaar which is alive with the multiple dialects and the animated bartering of these tribals. You will also visit the Bindhyavasini Temple and the fascinating Butterfly Museum located in the grounds of the university.
There is a break
Enjoy a boat trip on Phewa Lake. You will go past the simple three-story villa where the King of Nepal maintains his winter home. Stop at the small golden temple to the Hindu god Varahi which is nestled in foliage on an island in the centre of the lake. You will see many fishermen and other pilgrims take their long canoes (carved from tree trunks) to the island to visit the shrine. The serenity of Phewa Lake and the magnificence of the holy summit of Machhapuchhre (Fishtail Mountain) at 22,890 feet (6,977 m) are sights one has to experience to appreciate. Pokhara is at an elevation lower than Kathmandu, and has a much more tropical feel to it, which leads to the amazing diversity of bright flowers that adorn much of the valley.
Day 5: Pokhara - Kathmandu - International Flight.
Your departure from Pokhara today will depend on the timing of your international flight from Kathmandu. There are a number of flights between Pokhara and Kathmandu, from the early morning to the mid-afternoon. We facilitate this flight so as to ensure that you will not miss your international flight, by keeping a time buffer and a back-up flight, in case of delays or cancellations. If your schedule permits, you can enjoy your boutique resort until it is time to check-out at noon. You are driven to the airport and assisted in boarding your flight to Kathmandu. Arrive at Kathmandu, collect your bags, and check-in for your international flight. If there is more than 4 hours between your Kathmandu arrival and the international flight departure, a chauffeur driven vehicle and a guide can be arranged for a nominal charge. If your flight departs in the early morning, lodging and airport transfers can also be provided for a charge.
Our services end at Pokhara or Kathmandu airport.