It is hard to conceive that the rugged, snow-covered peaks of the Everest region and the exotic wildlife of the jungles of Chitwan National Park can both be found in the small nation of Nepal. This exciting trip takes us trekking to the heights of Namche Bazaar and Sherpa village of Khumjung, where you can check out the famous Yeti scalp! We enjoy close-up views of towering Himalayan peaks, including Mount Everest. After returning to Kathmandu, we explore Nepal’s subtropical lowlands in Chitwan National Park, where we search for rhino, crocodile, deer and the elusive Royal Bengal tiger. We stay in a jungle lodge and go on safari on elephant-back and in dugout canoes. Majestic scenery, stunning trekking and captivating wildlife encounters: Nepal at its very best.
Day 1 - Kathmandu (1360m)
Upon arrival in Kathmandu, you are met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. Our airport representative will be waiting outside the airport terminal a few metres from the exit door. Look out for the Peregrine signboard. The drive from the airport to the hotel is around 20 minutes. A briefing given by our group leader is scheduled for the late afternoon. He will discuss our trekking program and co-ordinate any last minute arrangements. The evening is free, but usually our tour leader will organise an evening meal (optional) at one of Kathmandu's fine Nepali restaurants. Alternatively you can enjoy a dinner at the hotel.
Shangri La Hotel or similar
Day 2 - Kathmandu (1360m)
In the morning we explore Kathmandu on an organised sightseeing tour. We visit Bodhnath Stupa, one of the biggest Buddhist shrines in the world, where we observe Buddhist monks in prayer in the monasteries surrounding the stupa. We also visit Pashupatinath, the most famous Hindu temple in the country, located on the banks of the holy Bagmati River. Here we see Hindu holy men (sadhus) meditating, pilgrims bathing and occasionally funeral pyres burning on the ghats. The rest of our time in Kathmandu is free for further sightseeing and exploration. In the late afternoon you will be issued with your trek pack and departure information for the next morning...
Shangri La Hotel or similar
Day 3 - Phakding (2652m)
(Trekking: approx 3 hours) In the early morning we take the spectacular flight from Kathmandu to Lukla (2827m), flying parallel to giant Himalayan mountains bordering Nepal and China (Tibet). The flight time is about 40 minutes and we land at an airstrip built by Sir Edmund Hillary and the Sherpas in the mid-1960s. After landing we have time to explore the village while our Sherpa crew sort and load our trekking equipment. In the afternoon we begin our trek by descending towards the Dudh Kosi River where we join the main trail to Namche Bazaar, located just above Chaunrikharka (2713m). The walking is easy and after passing through the small village of Ghat (2550m) it is a short walk to Phakding.
Day 4 - Monjo (2835m)
(Trekking: approx 3½ hours) From Phakding we cross the river and head up the valley, following porters from the south that are ferrying supplies to Namche Bazaar. The trail keeps close to the river valley and is lined with beautiful blue pine and rhododendron forest that is very spectacular in the spring months, when the flowers are in bloom. We cross the Dudh Kosi River at Benkar, where there are tantalising glimpses of the snow-capped peaks of Kusum Kanguru (6369m) and Thamserku (6623m). From here it is only a short walk to Monjo (2835m), where we arrive in time for lunch. We spend the night in Monjo with the afternoon free, giving us an opportunity to do some exploring around the village. The day has been deliberately kept short to aid acclimatisation, which is a very important process.
Day 5 - Namche Bazaar (3446m)
(Trekking: approx 4 hours) Today the walking is a little tougher and includes a steep ascent to Namche Bazaar. From Monjo it is a short walk to the entrance of the national park, before we cross the Dudh Kosi River to Jorsale (2805m). The trek continues upstream on generally flat terrain, crossing back to the right bank to the confluence of the Bhote Kosi and Dudh Kosi Rivers, where we start the steep climb to Namche Bazaar. After crossing a large and stable suspension bridge high above the river, we slowly ascend at a steady pace. There are some fantastic photographic opportunities as the peaks of Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse and Taweche (6542m) come into view for the first time. After arriving in Namche Bazaar, we enjoy lunch with the afternoon is free to bargain in the shops for Tibetan artefacts or simply relax and marvel at the beautiful scenery.
Day 6 - Namche Bazaar (3446m)
(Acclimatisation Day) We remain at Namche Bazaar for a second night to allow for proper acclimatisation to the altitude. Namche is a prosperous village situated in a large protected hollow. It gained its importance during the period when Tibetan salt was traded for the lowland grains of Nepal. Today a limited amount of trade still exists at Namche and Tibetans are often seen in the village trading rugs and Chinese-made goods, clothing, salt and dried meat. It is recommended that you take the opportunity to see both the sunrise and sunset views from the national park headquarters above the village. The stunning vista includes a superb panorama of the Khumbu peaks and great views of Everest. After breakfast, a variety of options exists. Perhaps a walk towards Thami (3810m) above the beautiful Bhote Khola River Valley or a visit to the national park headquarters to see the interesting displays of Sherpa lifestyle and culture. There is also a mountaineering display and information on the park's flora and fauna. Your guides are on hand to offer advice and escort you on walks.
Day 7 - Thyangboche (3875m)
(Trekking: approx 6 hours) From Namche Bazaar, we climb towards the park headquarters and follow a contouring trail high above the Dudh Kosi River. Above Namche the route to Thyangboche becomes visible with the monastery seen nestling below the summit of Everest and surrounded by other Himalayan peaks. On today's walk there are opportunities to spot local wildlife including the beautiful Danfe pheasant, often seen among the birch and silver fir forest between Shanasa and Trashinga, and Himalayan Thar, on the high ground above the trail. After reaching the reforestation nursery at Trashinga, the trail drops steeply before crossing the Dudh Kosi River at Phunkitenga (3250m) where we take lunch. In the afternoon we ascend, initially steeply, through pine, fir, black juniper and rhododendron forests towards Thyangboche. The monastery and our lodge are located in a beautiful meadow surrounded by towering Himalayan peaks in a truly peaceful and tranquil setting. The most notable peaks seen from here are Kantega, Ama Dablam (perhaps the most beautiful peak in the region) and, of course, Mount Everest.
Day 8 - Khumjung (3790m)
(Trekking: approx 4 hours) According to legend, the Lama Sange Dorjee from Tibet's Rongphu Monastery founded Thyangboche Monastery in the 17th century. It was destroyed by an earthquake in 1933, rebuilt and again badly damaged by fire in 1989. Construction of the present monastery was completed in 1992. We visit the monastery and the nearby museum. There is a small entrance fee for the museum and a small donation to the monastery is also appreciated. In the afternoon we retrace our steps and descend steeply through a beautiful forest of juniper, rhododendron and fir to Phunkitenga. After a welcome break and perhaps a cup of tea, we cross the Dudh Kosi River and ascend to Trashinga. From here the trail contours high above the valley through Shanasa and on to the village of Khumjung, where we spend the night.
Day 9 - Phakding (2652m)
(Trekking: approx 5 hours) We enjoy a leisurely departure from Khumjung and head to the airstrip at Shyangboche and then back to Namche Bazaar. Here we enjoy a final opportunity to visit the shops in the bazaar before we descend steeply down to the large suspension bridge over the Dudh Kosi River. We follow the trail through Jorsale and back to Monjo, where we take lunch. In the afternoon it is a short walk via Benkar, through blue pine and rhododendron forest, with great views of Kusum Kangaru on the way back to our lodge in Phakding.
Day 10 - Lukla (2800m)
(Trekking: approx 3 hours) Today is an easy one for our last day of trekking. We descend down valley before making the final climb up to the airstrip at Lukla. After settling into our lodge we are free to wander around, relax or perhaps enjoy a hot shower! In the evening we enjoy a farewell dinner, followed by a few celebratory drinks and perhaps dancing with our Sherpa companions.
Day 11 - Kathmandu (1360m)
We rise early in the morning to be ready for the arrival of our aircraft for the flight back to Kathmandu. On arrival in Kathmandu we are met and transferred back to our starting hotel. The rest of the day is free for further sightseeing, shopping and exploring the bazaars and markets. Located in the south of the city, Patan is also worth a visit with its own Durbar Square full of historic structures and statues of past kings. Alternatively, a visit to Bhaktapur is highly recommended if you have not done this already.
Day 12 - Chitwan National Park
From Kathmandu we drive for approximately five hours to Chitwan National Park. After arriving and settling in, we are introduced to the camp staff and resident naturalists who will discuss our program at Royal Park Wildlife Resort. There is some flexibility and activities may vary with the time of year, and known wildlife movements and locations. We may visit the elephant camp to see how their handlers, known as phanits, care for these beautiful animals. A late afternoon safari riding on elephants takes us into the forest and grasslands to observe the varied and exciting wildlife in the park. In the early evening the local Tharu dance troupe may perform a cultural program. We then enjoy dinner and afterwards we have free time to relax in the bar and discuss the day's sightings, or simply enjoy listening to the exotic sounds of the jungle at night.
Royal Park or similar
Day 13 - Chitwan National Park
An early morning excursion could include either another elephant safari to different parts of the park in search of the great Indian rhino, deer and exotic bird life or joining one of several other activities. Tiger sightings are rare these days, but these magnificent animals do inhabit the park. After breakfast we leave the lodge for a trip by dugout canoe on the Rapti River. This is an exciting trip with chances to view marsh mugger crocodiles and various birds that inhabit the riverbanks. In the afternoon we visit the elephant breeding centre with our guide, who will explain exactly how these amazing creatures are looked after. There will even be an opportunity to help bathe the elephants! The evening is free to relax over a drink in the heart of the jungle.
Royal Park or similar
Day 14 - Kathmandu (1360m)
(Driving time: approx 5 hours) There is the option of an early morning bird watching safari for those interested - it is well worthwhile. After breakfast we drive on to the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu. The evening is free but usually our group leader will organise an evening meal (optional) at one of Kathmandu's fine Nepali restaurants.
Shangri La Hotel or similar
Day 15 - Kathmandu (1360m)
Our trip ends today after breakfast. Your leader will be on hand to advise and assist with your onward travel arrangements. A departure transfer to the airport is not included and Kathmandu has so much to offer and occasionally flights from Lukla can be delayed, so we recommend that you consider booking pre-tour or post-tour accommodation and a departure transfer before you commence your travels.