Hidden Nepal

Nepal

Culture

Embrace native customs & culture of Nepal

Dates & Prices

Intro

Explore the hidden treasures of Nepal, from the heights of the mighty Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateau to the depths of the jungles. Marvel at the traditional heritage of the ornate Kirtipur & Parphing monasteries and enjoy the serene natural surroundings of Phewa Lake on a boat ride. Observe the rich cultural and culinary offerings in Bhaktapur before visiting the grand temples of Pokhara. Meet the indigenous Tharu villagers and experience the charm and hospitality of the Nepalese people.

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

  • Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal
  • Swoyambhunath Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • The scenic Pokhara city in Nepal
  • Sunrise at Sarangkot
  • Royal Chitwan National Park
  • The royal city of Bhaktapur

Places Visited

Kathmandu - Patan - Kirtipur - Chobhar - Pokhara - Sarangkot - Chitwan - Bhaktapur - Nagarkot

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 Boudhanath stupa where you can light butter lamps and get blessed by a monk. The rest of the evening is free at your leisure. Overnight in Kathmandu.

Meal plan: Breakfast

Located above the city of Patan is Patan Mahal, a delightful palace representing traditional Rajasthani architecture. The city dates back to the 12th century and has been home to one of the erstwhile ruling families of Delhi. Historically, Patan has been an important out-post for the capital, having played the backdrop for numerous wars featuring many ancient Northern rulers.

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 3 : Kathmandu

After breakfast, visit the UNESCO sites of Swoyambhunath Temple, where you can light a butter lamp and interact with the monks, and Kathmandu Durbar Square. There is an option of lunch, dinner or happy hour with the Sherpas, the ethnic group of the Himalayas. The rest of the day is free to relax or explore. Overnight in Kathmandu.

Meal plan: Breakfast

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.

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.

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Day 4 : Kathmandu

In the morning, visit the ancient city of Kirtipur and the picturesque village of Chobhar. Continue to Pharping monastery, where you can light a butter lamp and be blessed by a monk. The rest of the day is free to relax. Overnight in Kathmandu. 

Meal plan: Breakfast

Founded in 1099 AD, the small sleepy town of Kirtipur is steeped in history, witnessing many historic battles and invasions. With impressive medieval temples dotted along the maze of brick and stone streets, it is a centre of Newar culture. The old, upper town has been particularly well-preserved after a conservation project lined the streets with fine stone pavings and restored many of the temples. 

The small picturesque village of Chobhar overlooks the Bagmati River. The beautiful Chobhar Gorge lies below the village alongside Jal Vinayak Temple, an important pilgrimage site for the locals of the valley. According to legend, the gorge was carved out by the mighty sword of the Bodhisattva Manjushree in an attempt to drain the ancient lake that filled Kathmandu Valley. 

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Day 5 : Kathmandu - Pokhara

Transfer to the airport for your flight to Pokhara. On arrival, check in to the hotel. Proceed on a sightseeing tour around Pokhara, including a visit to the beautiful Devi's Fall and Gupteshwar Cave, one of the largest caves in Pokhara. Also see World 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. 

Devi's fall (also known as Devin's and David's) is a lovely waterfall lying on the Siddhartha Highway. Legend has it that a trekker (named Devin or David) was washed away by the Pardi Khola river and mysteriously disappeared down into an underground passage beneath the fall.

The entrance to Gupteshwar Cave is right across from Devi's Fall. The cave is almost 3 kms in length, with individual chambers varying from big hall-sized rooms to small passages where you must crawl on all four. This cave holds special value to Hindus since a phallic symbol of Lord Shiva is preserved here in the condition that it was discovered.

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Day 6 : 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 Bindabasini 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 7 : Pokhara - 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

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 8 : Chitwan

Enjoy an elephant safari, exploring the grasslands and looking for one horned rhinos and the famed Royal Bengal Tiger. Later, 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). 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 9 : Chitwan - Bhaktapur

Wake up early for bird watching at Chitwan National Park. Return to the resort for breakfast before driving back to Bhaktapur. Upon arrival, check in to the hotel. The rest of the day is free at your leisure. Overnight in Bhaktapur.

Meal plan: Breakfast

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 10 : Bhaktapur - Nagarkot

In the morning, 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.

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Day 11 : Nagarkot - Kathmandu

After breakfast, either drive to Changunarayan (approx. 1 hr) or hike (approx. 4-5 hrs), enjoying a walking day tour on the outskirts of Kathmandu Valley and exploring the local villages along the rural trail. On arrival, enjoy an excursion in and around Changunarayan temple. Later, drive to Kathmandu. The rest of the day is free at your leisure. Overnight in Kathmandu.

Meal plan: Breakfast

Perched on a narrow ridge, the UNESCO-listed Changunarayan Temple is said to be the oldest in the valley, believed to have been built in 323 AD by King Hari Datta Varma. Richly decorated with sculptures and carvings, the double-roofed temple is a living museum of the craftsmanship and artistic skill of the Licchavi period. 

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Day 12 : Kathmandu

Today is free to rest or explore at your leisure. In the evening, enjoy a farewell dinner with Nepali food and a 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 onward journey home. 

Meal plan: Breakfast

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. 

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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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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. 

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Hotel Heritage

Hotel Heritage lies in Bhaktapur, not far from the iconic Bhaktapur Durbar Square. The design of the hotel has been inspired by Malla, Rana, Newari and Mihila heritage, along with Hindu and Buddhist traditions. The bedrooms have been furnished with authentic antique pieces that create a comfortable and unique Nepalese experience. The Kutumba Restaurant serves local delicacies along with continental options. 

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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
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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