Culture Exploration Tour – 16 Days

Trip Facts

  • Total Days - 16
  • Hotel in Kathmandu - 6 Nights
  • Monastery stay - 1 Night
  • Hotel in Bhaktapur - 1 Night
  • Hotel in Nagarkot - 1 Night
  • Hotel in Namo Buddha - 1 Night
  • Guest House in Bandipur - 1 Night
  • Hotel in Pokhara - 3 Nights
  • Home stay - 1 Night
  • Highlights - Culture / History / religion / landscapes
  • Best Time - Spring / Autumn / Winter

Establishing a close connection to the historical heritage sites of Kathmandu valley, its surroundings, lively city streets and picturesque natural landscapes, this tour guides you to uncover all that Nepal has to offer. This tour guides you through two distinct valleys; Kathmandu, full of cultural heritage sites and lively history and Pokhara, an incomparable natural beauty with panoramic view of Annapurna mountain range and serene beauty of Fewa lake.

Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu
Day 02: Visit Kirtipur / Swoyambunath & Kathmandu Durbar square
Day 03: Visit Bungamati / Khokana / Patan & museum
Day 04: Visit Sankhu & Boudhanath
Day 05: Drive Kathmandu to Bhaktapur via Thimi
Day 06: Drive Bhaktapur to Nagarkot
Day 07: Trek Nagarkot to Changunarayan & drive to Namo Buddha
Day 08: Drive Namo Buddha to Kathmandu: visit Pashupatinath & Kapan monastery
Day 09: Drive Kathmandu to Bandipur via Manakamana
Day 10: Drive Bandipur to Sedi Bagar
Day 11: Drive Sedi Bagar to Milanchock, visit Astham and drive back to Pokhara
Day 12: Visit Sarangkot / Devi's fall / Gupteshwori cave & World Peace Stupa
Day 13: Visit Pokhara old market & mountaineering museum
Day 14: Flight Pokhara to Kathmandu
Day 15: Free Day in Kathmandu
Day 16: Departure

Day 01: Arrive in Kathmandu airport and you will be transferred to the hotel by one of our representatives. Welcome dinner at one of the traditional Nepali restaurants in Kathmandu.
Overnight: Hotel
Elevation: 1334m

Day 02: Visit Kirtipur, Swoyambunath and Kathmandu Durbar square: start our tour with the historical fort town Kirtipur which is about an hour drive from Kathmandu. Then we visit magnificent Buddhist stupa called Swoyambhunath followed by a visit to Kathmandu durbar square, old palace square.

Kirtipur - Originally a Newari foundation, Kirtipur is still a centre of Newari culture. It has been merged with surrounding villages to form the municipality of Kirtipur. It consists of many temples, monasteries. The town which dates from 1099 A.D. straddles two hills and a large pond in between. It is a natural fortress.

Swoyambhunath is one of the oldest stupas of the Kathmandu Valley. It is situated on one of the highest hills in the valley. It watches over the Valley from the top of a hillock on its western side just three kilometers west of the city center. The stupa is one of the holiest Buddhist sites in Nepal and its establishment is linked to the creation of the Kathmandu Valley out of a primordial lake. Swayambhu is also known as Samhengu and is recognized as a World Heritage Site. It is also one of the oldest and most glorious Buddhist shrines in the world which is said to be two thousand years. The four sides of the stupa are painted with the eyes of Lord Buddha.

The Kathmandu Durbar Square holds the palaces of the Malla and Shah Kings who ruled over the city. Along with these palaces, the square also surrounds quadrangles revealing courtyards and temples. The square is presently known as Hanuman Dhoka, a name derived from the statue of Hanuman, the monkey devotee of Lord Ram, near the entrance of the palace. The preference for the construction of royal palaces at this site dates back to as early as the Licchavi period in the third century. When Kathmandu City became independent under the rule of King Ratna Malla (1484-1520) the palaces in the square became the royal palaces for its Malla kings. When Prithvi Narayan Shah invaded the Kathmandu Valley in 1769, he also favored the Kathmandu Durbar Square for his palace. Other subsequent Shah Kings continued to rule from the square until 1896 when they moved to the Narayan Hiti Palace. One of the most visited sites in the square is the house of the Kumari (a living goddess who is the reincarnation of Kali).
Overnight: Hotel

Day 03: Visit Bungamati, Khokana and Patan: drive for an hour to visit traditional Newari villages called Bungamati and Khokana. Then we drive back to Patan where we visit some of the oldest temples and palace squares. We also visit one of the best museums of art and culture of Nepali history.

Bungamati - Situated beyond the southern belt of Ring Road, inside the valley, Bungamati is a small Newari village still abiding its tradition as their significant part of life. Very less influenced by the modern city, Bungamati exemplifies true beauty of the still living age old culture and civilization, your journey to Bungamati, starts with a vantage point where one can behold the entire village of Bungamati and Khokana. Walking down the lanes of Bungamati, you will pass through local Newari people busy working intricate designs in wood or stone on their way to creating many more beautiful artifacts keeping their talents running for the future generations to enjoy. Though, small in size, at least 100 people from the village earn their living through wood carving. The village was earlier, the origin of the precession of the chariot of Machindranath, one of the most important festivals of the Newari community.

Khokana - A traditional and tiny Newari village eight kilometers south of Kathmandu, (on the outskirts of Patan) which has its own history and has retained its tradition and culture It is a living museum and recalls medieval times. The farming community of Newars who live here are mostly dependent on agriculture and much of their daily activities take place outside of their dwellings.

There are women sitting outside spinning, men crushing seeds, and other daily activities. The village is famous for its unusual mustard oil harvesting process in which a heavy wooden beam is used to crush the mustard seeds in order to extract the oil. It is believed that a share system was used in the past here. This oil can be consumed if desired, but it can also be used for therapeutic massage. This was also the first village, indeed the first habitation, to be electrified, before Kathmandu.

Patan - the second largest town in the valley is situated to the south of Kathmandu. Patan's great building boom took place under the Mallas in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. Numerous temples of widely diverse styles, as well as many Buddhist monasteries, are scattered around the fascinating town. Patan is famous for its crafts and metal works which are wonderful souvenirs.

Patan Museum is housed in a courtyard within the Northernmost building complex of the Durbar area. The most picturesque setting of the palace that has been created in so small a place by piety and pride is known now to the people as Keshav Narayan Chowk after a temple standing at the center of the courtyard dedicated to Keshavnarayan- a form of Lord Vishnu. This part is recorded in the history as Chaukot Durbar or four-cornered-fort-palace.

This is the first public museum in Nepal that has been created as an autonomous institution of this type managed by its own Board of Directors. The museum has been acclaimed, by the visitors, as one of the finest museums in South Asia. The popularity is growing day after day and is economically self sustained now.
Overnight: Hotel

Day 04: Visit Sankhu and Boudhanath: a scenic drive to another small traditional village Sankhu to witness incredible Newari culture. On our way back, we visit a Buddhist stupa called Boudhanath. Then we go to Bairoling monastery to experience true Buddhist culture where we spend the night as well.

Sankhu is also known as the Eighty Siddhas as there are four of five caves where the Siddhas of India are said to have stayed. One of the caves is also said to have been the practice cave of Nagarjuna, and an image of the great master which was originally in the cave has been taken outside and placed some distance away.

In the Kathmandu Valley Padmasambhava made a pilgrimage to Sankhu where he met Shakyadevi and took her to Yanglesho. Vairotsana, leaving Tibet after his teachings were slandered, stopped in Nepal and offered a golden icon to the monastery of Sankhu

Sankhu is also the site of the month long worship to the Goddess Swasthani. The Swasthani Purnima is a tribute to the Goddess through fasting, meditation and ritual bathing, mainly by women. It begins on the full moon of the Nepali month of Magh and ends on the full moon of the Nepali month of Phagun.

Bouddhanath Stupa lies about 6 km east of downtown Kathmandu and it is the largest stupa in the Valley and one of the largest in the world. It presents one of the most fascinating specimens of stupa design with hundreds of prayer wheels and 108 small images of Buddha all around. Just like Swoyambhunath, this stupa has four sides with the watchful eyes of Lord Buddha. All the Buddhists throng to this stupa to take part in the sacred rituals during the Buddhist festivals.
Overnight: Monastery

Day 05: Drive Kathmandu to Bhaktapur: today we drive to the oldest part of the Kathmandu valley called Bhaktapur. This fascinating city reminds you the true culture and living style of medieval period.

Bhaktapur- Located about 20 km east of Kathmandu in the Kathmandu Valley, Bhaktapur is known as the 'City of Devotees', the 'City of Culture', the 'Living Heritage', and 'Nepal's Cultural Gem'. It is one of the 3 royal cities in the Kathmandu Valley. We visit four different squares in this city: Durbar Square (palace square), Tamaudi Square (public square), Pottery Square and Dattatrey Square.
Overnight: Cosy

Day 06: Drive Bhaktapur to Nagarkot: drive for an hour on a winding road to one of most popular hill stations which offers great view of Himalayas and an ideal place to get refreshed from Kathmandu's hustle bustle.

Nagarkot – One of the most popular hill station / viewpoints close to Kathmandu valley. We will be rewarded with the panoramic view of 33 different mountain peaks of different regions including Mt. Shisapangma of Tibet.
Overnight: Hotel

Day 07: Trek Nagarkot to Changunarayan and drive to Namo Buddha: we drive down to Telkot and start our short hike (2 hours) to Changunarayan where we visit one of the oldest temples in Kathmandu valley. Then we drive to Namo Buddha.

Changunarayan is a fascinating place where you can see the oldest Manu script found in Nepali history and some magnificent temples. Then we will have an exciting drive to Nagarkot for an hour on winding road. It is a great place to escape from Kathmandu’s hustle bustle.

Namo Buddha or Takmo Lujin is a very sacred place for the Buddhists. The Stupa situated just off to the downtown Kathmandu is visited by scores of pilgrims every year. There is a legend behind the reverence of this place. According to the Buddhist legend, the King Mahasattva gave his body to a hungry tigress at this place. His reliquary Stupa remained underground for centuries. One day a hermit called Bhagavan (Sakyamuni) came to this site and got attracted to the bulge. It is said that he clapped his hands, and miraculously the Stupa appeared.
Overnight: Resort

Day 08: Drive Namo Buddha to Kathmandu: On our way back from Namobuddha, we visit a Hindu temple called Pashupatinath and a Buddhist monastery called Kapan.

Pashupatinath Temple is one of the holiest pilgrimage destinations for all the Hindus of the world. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, one of the trinity and the guardian (patron) deity of Nepal. This is one of the oldest temples, situated on the banks of the Holy Bagmati River. It is a double–roofed golden temple with four triple silver doorways. Pashupatinath covers an area of 281 hectares, which is one of the biggest temple complexes in Nepal.

Kopan Monastery is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery near Boudhanath, on the outskirts of Kathmandu valley. It belongs to the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), an international network of Gelugpa dharma centers, and once served as its headquarters.

The monastery was established by the FPMT founders, Lamas Thubten Yeshe and Thubten Zopa Rinpoche, who bought the property from Nepal's royal astrologer in 1969. Its name comes from the name of the hill on which it was built.

Kopan has become especially famous for teaching Buddhism to visiting foreigners. The first of what would become annual month-long (November–December) meditation courses was held in 1971. These courses generally combine traditional Lam Rim teachings with informal discussion, several periods of guided meditation, and a vegetarian diet.
Overnight: Hotel

Day 09: Drive Kathmandu to Bandipur via Manakamana: drive for about 3 hours to the place called Kuringhat then take a cable car to visit one of the holiest temples for Hindu called Manakamana. Then we continue our drive to a traditional trading town called Bandipur. We spend a night in a small guest house running by a Newari family.

Manakamana temple situated in the Gorkha district of Nepal is the sacred place of the Hindu Goddess Bhagwati, an incarnation of Parvati. The name Manakamana originates from two words, “mana” meaning heart and “kamana” meaning wish. Venerated since the 17th century, it is believed that Goddess Bhagwati grants the wishes of all those who make the pilgrimage to her shrine to worship her.

The Manakamana temple lies 12 Km south of the town Gorkha. The temple is located on a distinguished ridge 1302 meters above sea level and overlooks the river valleys of Trisuli in the south and Marsyangdi in the west. The spectacular views of the Manaslu- Himalchuli and Annapurna ranges can be seen to the north of the temple. The temple is approximately a 104 Km drive from Kathmandu.

Bandipur is a picturesque town nestled in the Himalayan foothills of Nepal, a land as famous for its natural beauty as for the hospitality of its people. Bandipur lies midway between the capital Kathmandu and Pokhara, another popular tourist destination.
Overnight: Guest House

Day 10: Drive Bandipur to Sedi Bagar via Pokhara (820m): exciting drive to Pokhara and continue to it's outskirt to Sedi Bagar followed by a short walk to Thapa family home.
Overnight: Home Stay

Day 11: Drive Sedi Bagar to Milanchock, visit Astham and drive back to Pokhara: we drive to a small place called Milanchok where we start our trek to Astham to meet our host family for the day and to experience their traditional country life; have lunch with the family and retrace our trek back to Milanchok. It is about 4 - 5 hours trek altogether. Then we drive back to Pokhara.
Overnight: Hotel
Walking time: 4 - 5 hours

Day 12: Visit Sarangkot , Devi's fall, Gupteshwori and World Peace stupa: early morning drive to Sarangkot to catch sunrise over the mountain peaks of Annapurna range. The view from Sarangkot is superb. Several different peaks of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges, including the two highest peaks in the world,-Annapurna I (8091m) and Dhaulagiri (8167m) can be seen.

Then we drive back to Pokhara. we resume our sightseeing for the day visiting Devi's fall, a water fall that goes into a narrow canal, and Gupteshwori cave and World peace stupa; which offers you great view of Pokhara valley and Annapurna range.
Overnight: Hotel

Day 13: Visit Pokhara Old market and Mountaineering museum: start our day visiting oldest part of Pokhara valley which offers you historical side of Pokhara valley. Then we visit mountaineering museum which gives you real opportunity to learn about history of Nepal mountaineering.
Overnight: Hotel

Day 14: Flight Pokhara to Kathmandu (1334m): panoromic flight back to Kathmandu, which offers you spectacular view of Himalayas.
Overnight: Hotel

Day 15: Free day in Kathmandu
Overnight: Hotel

Day 16: Transfer to the airport and departure

The tour price includes:

  • Transfers airport / hotel / airport.
  • Accommodations in Kathmandu / Nagarkot / Namo Buddha / Pokhara on BB Basis
  • Welcome dinner at one of the traditional Nepali restaurants
  • Transport, guided visits and entry of the monuments in Kathmandu / Patan / Bhaktapur / Pokhara
  • Private vehicle Kathmandu - Bandipur - Pokhara
  • Flight Pokhara - Kathmandu
  • A professional English speaking tour guide (Culture Guide for KTM / Adventure guide for Bandipur / PKR Part)
  • Private vehicle during sightseeing
  • Full board in Bandipur
  • Dinner at Home stay (Sedi Bagar)
  • Lunch in Astham with Adhikari family
  • Your international flight re-confirmation.
  • All necessary documents and government tax.
  • Insurance for staff

The tour price does not include:

  • International Flights
  • Lunch and Dinner in Kathmandu / Patan / Nagarkot / Namo Buddha / Pokhara
  • Travel Insurance (compulsory and we strongly advise you to take out to cover accident / repatriation, helicopter / medical care)
  • Alternative / additional transportation (Flights / vehicles), accommodation in case of bad weather, flood, heavy rain, landslide, strike, road blockade etc
  • Personal expenses such as cold drinks, mineral water, alcoholic drinks, telephone etc.
  • Tips for tour staff or car/van/bus driver

NOTE: The price of the tour will be adjusted according to the group size.



Weather Report

Climate:
From the eternal snow of the high peaks to the extensive tropical lowlands, Nepal has a wide variety of climates.

Spring: March to late May: In this season, Kathmandu is in full bloom, lots of different types of flowers can be seen at this time of the year.  Temperature is mild, end of the cold winter and approaching warm and hot summer.  Temperatures vary between 10 ° C to 28 ° C but can rise up to 30 ° C.  Between 2000 and 3000m, temperature rarely drop below 0 ° C. However, few frosts or snowfalls are possible in March above 4000 m.

The summer/monsoon period - It interrupts the majority of trekking from late June to late August. Some of the trekking regions "trans-Himalayan", Dolpo and Mustang, however, remain protected from monsoon prevailing rest of the country. They are the only channels available in Nepal in the summer.

Autumn: mid September – mid December - Perfect temperature and weather for trekking. Brings cooler days, but clear skies. Above 3000 m altitude, temperatures can drop to -10 ° C at night.

In winter: mid-December - mid-February - Nights are generally cold, dry climate, Above 3000m, temperature drop down to 0 ° C to - 15 ° C at night, the days are often sunny.

Luggage

  •         Travel Pack / Suit case
  •         Day pack

 Clothing

  •         Lightweight, low maintenance and versatile clothing
  •         Shirt/t-shirt(s)
  •         Convertible travel trousers
  •         Lightweight fleece
  •         Lightweight waterproof jacket
  •         Comfortable shoes/boots
  •         Sandals
  •         Hat (sun/warm hat)
  •         Warm clothes / Jackets / trousers (If travelling in early Spring / Autumn / Winter)

Accessories

  •         wallet
  •         Luggage locks
  •         Head light (torch)
  •         Wash bag
  •         Travel towel
  •         All purpose travel soap
  •         Small repair kit (needle and thread)
  •         First aid kit
  •         Accessory bags
  •         Guide book
  •         Electrical adaptor
  •         Insect repellent
  •         Sun cream

Document

  •         Valid passport
  •         Print out of Airline tickets
  •         Contact detail of Embassy / Tour agency
  •         Travel insurance

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