Classic Nepal

Nepal

Culture

Journey through Nepal's rich cultural history

Dates & Prices

Intro

Discover the iconic sights of Nepal, visiting the vibrant capital Kathmandu renowned for its many UNESCO heritage sites. Enjoy unrivalled views of the Himalayas from Pokhara and Sarangkot, popular starting points for some of Nepal's more intrepid treks. Marvel at the ornate architecture of the grand Panauti and Namo Buddha. Meet the friendly and hardy Tharu villagers and learn about traditional Nepali culture as you journey through one of the most beautiful countries in Asia.

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

  • Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal
  • Swoyambhunath Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • The old Newar city of Patan in Nepal
  • Royal Chitwan National Park
  • The scenic Pokhara city in Nepal
  • Sunrise at Sarangkot
  • The royal city of Bhaktapur
  • Beautiful Himalayan views from Dhulikhel

Places Visited

Kathmandu - Patan - Chitwan - Pokhara - Sarangkot - Nagarkot - Bhaktapur - Dhulikhel

What's Included

Arrival & departure transfers
Ground transport with driver
Domestic flights 
Accommodation
Meals (refer to itinerary for meal plan)
English-speaking guides
Entrance fees to sites & parks
Itinerary & Map
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Day 1 : Arrival

Arrive in Kathmandu where you will be met by a Travel The Unknown representative and transferred to the hotel. The rest of the day is free at your leisure. Overnight in Kathmandu.

Meal plan: n/a

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Day 2 : Kathmandu

In the morning, enjoy an optional mountain flight (supplement payable and weather dependent), where you will see the closest possible aerial views of Mount Everest and the Tibetan Plateau. Later, continue to Patan and visit the UNESCO-listed Patan Durbar Square. Optional extra activities in Patan include wood carving, sculpturing and visiting the industrial area. Proceed to Swoyambhunath Temple where you can light butter lamps and get blessed by a monk. There is also an optional dinner with the Sherpa, a Himalayan ethnic group. The rest of the evening is free at your leisure. Overnight in Kathmandu. 

Meal plan: Breakfast

The old Newar city of Patan is the third largest city in Nepal. The most notable sights include the temple of Taleju, the statue of Yogendra Malla, Krishna Mandir, Sati temple, the golden temple of Hiranya Varna Mahabiar and the Mahabouddha temple.

Kathmandu is the capital of the ancient mountain kingdom of Nepal, which was only opened up to foreign visitors in the 1950s. It has the air of a medieval city with its labyrinth of narrow streets, wooden temples and beautifully decorated palaces. In the background, you can often hear the gentle sound of cymbals and smell the rich aromas of the markets. 

Swoyambhunath is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is also known as the Monkey Temple because of the holy monkeys living in its northwest parts. When translated, Swoyambhunath means 'Self-Existent One'. It is believed to have been built more than 2,500 years ago under the order of King Manadeva. By the 13th century, Swoyambhunath had developed into an important Buddhist learning site and can now  be considered the most sacred temple among Buddhist Pilgrimage sites.

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Day 3 : Kathmandu

After breakfast, visit the UNESCO sites of Boudhanath stupa, where you can light a butter lamp and interact with the monks, and Kathmandu Durbar Square. The rest of the day is free to relax or explore. Overnight in Kathmandu. 

Meal plan: Breakfast

Kathmandu Durbar Square is located in the heart of old city Kathmandu. There are around 50 temples in the vicinity. Visit the 17th Century Durbar complex, Hanuman Dhoka, Paravati temple, great Bell and Drum, Bhairav and Taleju Temple. All around the splendour of historical monuments is the hustle & bustle of the market place. Vegetable vendors, trees of flutes, salesmen with their wares displayed on their person, souvenir hawkers, and street shop selling imported goods and tucked away in a quiet corner the glittering bead market for custom made bead necklaces.

Boudhanath (UNESCO World Heritage Site) is the centre of Tibetan culture in Nepal. The 36-meter-high Stupa of Boudhanath is one of the largest Stupas in South Asia and was renovated by Licchavi rulers in 8th century. The mandala design in Boudhanath is a copy of the one in Gyangtse in Tibet. The stupa is said to entomb the remains of a Kasyap sage venerable both to Buddhists and Hindus. Smaller stupas are located at the base. Today, Boudhanath bustles with Tibetan population, busy with carpet manufacture, trade, and prayers at the several monasteries belonging to different sects of Tibetan Buddhism. 

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Day 4 : Kathmandu - Chitwan

Drive to Chitwan and check in to the resort. Enjoy a village tour of the Tharu, an ethnic group indigenous to the Terai. In the evening, attend either a traditional Tharu dance or listen to a slide show presentation by one of our jungle experts, learning about the history of the Royal Chitwan National Park. Overnight in Chitwan. 

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

The Royal Chitwan National Park, opened in 1973, is Nepal's first national park created specifically to preserve their unique ecosystem. The park covers a pristine area of 932 sq. km and is situated in the subtropical inner Terai lowlands. There are more than 43 species of mammals in the park, most notably the endangered one-horned rhinoceros, gharial crocodiles, wild elephants, four-horned antelopes, striped hyenas, pangolins, gangetic dolphins and sloths.

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Day 5 : Chitwan

Enjoy an elephant safari, exploring the grasslands and looking for one horned rhinos and the famed Royal Bengal Tiger. Learn more about elephants during a visit to the elephant stables and attend an elephant bathing (Note: Elephant bathing is done during summer season as elephants love to bathe in the river willingly. They are not forced to take a bath during the cold season/day). Later on, drive to Rapti River and enjoy canoeing in a traditional dug-out canoe while viewing the aquatic birds, crocodiles and animals of the river banks. Proceed to the elephant breeding centre to watch the elephant cows with their calves and learn about the efforts to increase their population. Drive back to the resort where the rest of the day is free at your leisure. Overnight in Chitwan. 

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

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Day 6 : Chitwan - Pokhara

In the early morning, enjoy bird watching at Chitwan National Park before returning to the resort for breakfast. Later, drive to Pokhara and check in to the hotel on arrival. Proceed on a sightseeing tour around Pokhara, including a visit to the beautiful Devi's Fall and Gupteswar Mahadev Cave, one of the largest caves in Pokhara. Also stop at Seti Gorge and Old Peace Stupa. In the evening, go on a boat ride around Phewa Lake. Overnight in Pokhara.

Meal plan: Breakfast

Pokhara is a remarkably beautiful city situated 900m above sea level and 200km west of Kathmandu valley. It has several beautiful lakes and offers stunning panoramic views of Himalayan peaks. The lakes and magnificent Himalayan peaks rising behind them create an ambience of peace and magic. 

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Day 7 : Pokhara

In the early morning, transfer to Sarangkot to watch the sunrise over the Annapurna range (weather dependent). Return to the hotel for breakfast before continuing on a full day sightseeing around Pokhara. Visit the pagoda-styled Bindabashini Temple and Gurkha Memorial Museum. Later, explore the International Mountain Museum, observing the records of past and present momentous mountaineering activities around the world. Overnight in Pokhara. 

Meal plan: Breakfast

The white pagoda-style Bindabasini Temple is dedicated to the Hindu goddess Durga and located near the busy Old Bazaar of Pokhara. People flock here daily and offer animal sacrifices. It is a very popular spot for Hindu wedding ceremonies.

Gurkha Soldiers joined the British Army in 1815 and later into the Indian Army after its independence in 1947. The Gurkha Memorial Museum displays a collection of uniforms, medals (including the Victoria Cross) and pictures of the Gurkha infantry regiments, Gurkha engineers, signals and transport regiments and Gurkha Contingent of the Singapore Police Force.

Sarangkot (1592m) is the most popular tourist destination where the tourist can enjoy the great view of the Pokhara Valley and the magnificent view of the mountains. From Sarangkot, enjoy panoramic views of Annapurna (8091m/ 26,545ft), Manasalu (8165m/ 26,781ft), Ganesh Himal (7446m/ 24,422ft), Dhaulagiri (8167m/ 26,795ft), Machhapuchre (the sacred mountain) and 25 other mountains over 6000 meters (19,680ft) high. Sarangkot can be reached easily by car (30 minutes from Pokhara) and then a 45 minute hike to the main view point.

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Day 8 : Pokhara - Bhaktapur - Nagarkot

Transfer to the airport to catch a flight to Kathmandu. Upon arrival in Kathmandu, transfer to Bhaktapur and explore Bhaktapur Durbar Square. There are a range of optional activities available: taste delicious Newari food at lunch; observe Thanka painting, a style of Buddhist painting on cotton or silk applique; or visit the first bamboo school in Nepal. In the afternoon, drive to Nagarkot. Overnight in Nagarkot. 

Meal plan: Breakfast

Bhaktapur Durbar Square is located in the centre of Bhaktapur and was added to the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 1979. The Square is one of the most charming architectural showpieces of the Valley, highlighting some of the finest medieval arts of Nepal. The art Gallery of Bhaktapur Durbar Square contains ancient paintings belonging to the Hindu and Buddhist traditions of various periods and is open every day except Tuesday.

Situated at a height of 7,200 ft, the small farming village of Nagarkot offers stunning views over the Himalayan mountains. The villagers have adapted to their environment by using special farming techniques to deal with the steep terrain.

Bhaktapur is one of the 3 royal cities in the Kathmandu Valley. It was tragically damaged in the 2015 earthquake, with temples destroyed, traditional buildings made uninhabitable and whole streets lost. However, there is still much to see in Bhaktapur, with elaborately carved temples, medieval squares, and winding narrow streets between red-brick houses showcasing the city's rich culture and history. 

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Day 9 : Nagarkot - Dhulikhel

Start the day with a long walk to Dhulikhel (5 - 6 hrs), trekking through the countryside of Nepal's rural villages. Experience the combination of beautiful nature, rural lifestyle and diverse culture. Upon arrival, check in to the hotel where the rest of the day is free at your leisure. Overnight in Dhulikhel.

Meal plan: Breakfast

Dhulikhel is a small town of Newar ethnic community. Situated at the outer border of Kathmandu Valley, it boasts of beautiful Himalayan views, with a stunning panorama of snow-capped peaks. There are numerous temples lining the streets of Dhulikhel, each showcasing traditional Newari craftsmanship and artistic skill, alongside bare-brick houses with carved wooden windows and sacred statues.

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Day 10 : Dhulikhel

Wake up early to enjoy the sunrise view. The rest of the day is free at your leisure. Overnight in Dhulikhel. 

Meal plan: Breakfast

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Day 11 : Dhulikhel - Kathmandu

Enjoy a half day sightseeing to the small town of Panauti and Namo Buddha stupa. Later, drive back to Kathmandu. The rest of the day is free to relax or explore. Overnight in Kathmandu. 

Meal plan: Breakfast

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Day 12 : Kathmandu

Today is free at your leisure. In the evening, enjoy a farewell dinner with a Nepali cultural show. Overnight in Kathmandu. 

Meal plan: Breakfast

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Day 13 : Departure

Transfer to the airport at the appropriate time for your international flight home. 

Meal plan: n/a

Accommodation

Accommodation

All accommodation subject to availability. Final accommodation choices will be confirmed after booking.

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Tibet Guesthouse

Tibet Guesthouse is located at the heart of Kathmandu. The hotel has been designed and decorated in a traditional Tibetan style. bedrooms are spacious and equipped with modern facilities. The Nurbu Restaurant serves a selection of Nepalese, Tibetan, Indian and Chinese cuisine. Guests can enjoy panoramic views across the city from the rooftop restaurant and gardens. 

Visit hotel's site
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Rhino Residency

The Rhino Residency Resort is situated just beside Chitwan National Park. The design of the resort has been influenced by both traditional Nepalese culture and its natural surroundings. The simple bedrooms provide a comfortable space for guests to relax after exploring the National Park. The on-site restaurant serves Indian, Chinese and Nepalese cuisine. Other facilities include an outdoor swimming pool, hotel bar and beautiful gardens. 

Visit hotel's site
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Glacier Hotel

Glacier Hotel can be found beside Phewa Lake in Pokhara. The hotel bedrooms have a contemporary decor, along with modern comforts that include an ensuite bathroom, satellite television and wifi access. Guests at the Glacier Hotel can also enjoy the spa facilities, Cafe Lounge and Mediterranean Restaurant & Bar. The hotel's many terraces and balconies boast scenic views across the lake and surrounding forests. 

Visit hotel's site
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Club Himalaya

Club Himalaya lies at an elevation of 7,200 ft, boasting panoramic views of the mountains of Annupurna, Everest and Kathmandu Valley. The spacious bedrooms are furnished with modern comforts such as satellite television and air-conditioning. Each room has its own private balcony that provides beautiful mountain views. The hotel is home to an indoor pool, spa facilities and a selection of restaurants that guests are welcomed to enjoy during their stay. 

Visit hotel's site
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Dhulikhel Mountain Resort

Dhulikhel Mountain Resort lies within 20 acres of beautiful gardens, with a mountainous back-drop of the Himalayas. The refurbished Nepali cottages provide a traditional, yet comfortable stay for travellers exploring the region. The on-site restaurant offers a variety of cuisine options that includes local, national and international dishes. 

Visit hotel's site
Extensions

Highlights of the Subcontinent (22 days)

Discover iconic sights of India, Nepal & Bhutan

Essential Nepal & Bhutan (16 days)

Traditional cultures and majestic Himalayan scenery

Glimpse of India & Nepal (16 days)

Golden Triangle and the Himalayas

Hidden Nepal (13 days)

Embrace native customs & culture of Nepal

Classic Nepal (13 days)

Journey through Nepal's rich cultural history

Reviews

From start to finish, the whole trip was well planned to our requirements. Everything went smoothly and the guides and drivers looked after our every need. We stayed in an interesting and diverse selection of excellent hotels. Throughout the trip, the company regularly checked that everything was going OK and that we were happy. We felt very looked after. Overall, a wonderful holiday above our expectations. We would use Travel the Unknown again.

Graham & Barbara Wilson , Tailormade India & Nepal
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