Nepal multi-activity & cultural holiday

“A 13 day small group holiday covering the main cultural highlights of Nepal, from Kathmandu and Bhaktapur to the incredible mountain scenery of the Annapurnas.”

Highlights

Kathmandu | Pokhara | Khare | Dhampus terraces | Annapurna views | Machhapuchhare Mountain | Chitwan National Park | Bhaktapur

Description of Nepal multi-activity & cultural holiday

Unlike many holidays in Nepal, this multi-activity and cultural holiday takes a leisurely pace with an opportunity to up the energy levels at certain points along the way, if you like. But this is not a hard core trekking holiday at all. Simply an opportunity to take in the cultural and mountainous magnificence of the Annapurna mountain range.

Starting and ending in Kathmandu, we take a short flight to Pokhara where we stay on the shores of Lake Phewa at the foot of the Annapurna range. Take a sunrise drive up to Sarankot, and then hike back down to the lake for a wonderful start to the day.

More spectacular views are to be had at our next stop in Khare, where we spend the night in forest lodges in a clearing created to have great views out to Annapurna South, Huinchuli, Machhapuchhare and Lamjung Himal. An early morning hike out to the stunning mountain terraces of Dhampus, a village from which you can see the sacred Machhapuchhare or the 'Fishtail' Mountain is also a favourite outing for many of our guests.

One of the other natural highlights of this holiday is our two nights spent in Chitwan National Park which is famously home to black rhino, the authorities having saved it from near extinction. They are still pretty elusive, but one of our adventures here includes a trip on the Rapti River in a traditional dugout canoe, keeping eyes open for all wildlife including not only the rhino, but also crocodiles, deer and superb birdlife.

Our last couple of days on the road take us to Bhaktapur, just 12km east of teeming Kathmandu, and yet a city that is still steeped in tradition. We spend a night here, giving us plenty of time to take in the maze of ancient streets, two Durbar (main) Squares and ancient pagoda style temples. Our final day is in Kathmandu, where you are free to explore this charismatic if chaotic city, with most travellers opting for the Old City with its ancient temples and Buddhist architecture rather than the growing modern metropolis.

There are also options to travel further afield on this final day, such as to the monkey temple at Swayambunath, one of the largest Buddhist Stupas in the world at Bodnath, or the Hindu temple in the valley at Pashupatinath. Some guests even sign up to take an optional Everest sightseeing flight. We will help you sort out whatever suits you best. Whatever you choose, Nepal will never leave you shortchanged in terms of authentic and unforgettable experiences.

Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

01273 823 700

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08 Apr 2018
£ 2299
including UK flights
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22 Apr 2018
£ 2299
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23 Sep 2018
£ 2499
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21 Oct 2018
£ 2499
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Holiday type

Small group holiday

Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.

What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Simplicity
Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.

Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
Mythbuster
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
No.
Valerie Parkinson
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson

Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Roshan Fernando
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando

Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travellers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Nepal multi-activity & cultural holiday

Accommodation and Meals:
The accommodation used on this trip is a mixture of hotels, guesthouses and a jungle lodge. All of our selected accommodation is locally staffed and source produce locally wherever possible in order to boost the economy and help the community in their surrounding areas. The Raniban Retreat in particular is very environmentally and community conscious. They conduct free medical clinics in neighbouring villages and have a straw art exhibition which aims to raise funds for medical staff and cancer screening. Where meals aren’t included, clients can support local businesses by trying some authentic cuisine at restaurants recommended by your guide. Try Nepalese dumplings (Momos), mixed bean soup (Kwanti) with rotis or the typical Nepali dish of rice and curry and lentils (Dal Bhat).

Activity:
We spend time sightseeing in Kathmandu, Pokhara, Chitwan and mediaeval Bhaktapur, visiting historic and religious sites such as the Durbar squares. Entrance fees to these local sites contribute towards their maintenance which is particularly crucial following the 2015 earthquakes. We also visit the Royal Chitwan National Park where we hope to see the one-horned rhinoceros, deer, and crocodiles to name but a few animals - we aim to promote the conservation of the area and to educate visitors on the rich wildlife within the park. We have a strict animal welfare policy and do not include elephant rides in any of our itineraries as this is a type of animal interaction that we don’t wish to endorse. We are keen however to continue to visit Chitwan National Park to ensure that we support the conservation of the highly endangered species found there; the role of tourism is still key for the survival of these species and by offering alternative activities such as dugout canoe rides, jeep safaris and bird watching walks we can still offer the chance to be part of this contribution.

There are also three daywalks into the Annapurna foothills which as an activity has very limited detrimental impact upon the environment, residents and communities in the regions we visit. We operate a ‘leave no trace’ policy.

Local Craft and Culture:
This trip is packed with colourful Nepalese culture and opportunities to immerse yourself in their range of religious, historical and natural sites. Highlights include: ancient architecture and temples in Bhaktapur, Pokhara’s traditional bazaar and lakes, the Japanese Peace Pagoda. In Kathmandu, Pokhara and Chitwan there will be traditional and handcrafted souvenirs available for purchase. Buying handmade jewelry, painted masks and puppets, prayer wheels, handwoven bags and tapestries all helps to support small vendors and their craft.

Charity:
After organising tours to the Himalayas for over 40 years, we have developed many long lasting partnerships with our operators and leaders as well as some of the local communities we visit. We seek ways to give something back and we usually help with small-scale practical projects that can help local communities and their environment, whilst giving the maximum possible long-term economic benefit. Together with our local leaders we manage all our own projects and over the years we have helped build schools and a children’s home. We have built water tanks and provide water pipe for villages and have helped with hydro electric projects. We have sponsored and installed more than 130 smokeless stoves and 50 solar cookers.

Group Size:
This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.

UK Office:
It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.

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