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  • 1

    Arrive Kathmandu.

    On arrival to Kathmandu we transfer to our hotel. Those not travelling with the group will meet us in the hotel in the early evening. We usually stay at the Hotel Annapurna.

  • 2

    Free day in Kathmandu.

    A free day in Kathmandu for sightseeing or shopping. There are several temples in and around Kathmandu. Pashupatinath is the most important Hindu temple in Nepal whilst Bodnath is one of the largest Buddhist stupas in the world and home to many Tibetans living in Nepal. The monkey temple at Swayambunath offers great views over the Kathmandu Valley and Durbar Square has a wealth of temples and ancient palaces. We have a number of organised sightseeing tours that can be booked in the hotel in Kathmandu. For more details of all these optional activities please refer to the Optional Excursions section. An optional Everest sightseeing flight is available locally in Kathmandu. The cost and timings of this tour is provided locally by your leader. Anyone taking any internal sightseeing flight in Nepal should pay particular attention to the statement titled ‘Flying in Nepal’ in these Trip Notes. There will also be a full trip briefing today.

  • 3

    Fly to Pokhara; trek to Sanctuary Lodge at Birethanti (1150m).

    For the next five days we walk through unspoilt villages and carefully cultivated terraces, where life has remained unchanged for generations. Forests of conifers, rhododendrons and bamboo surround us. Machhapuchhare, the sacred 'Fishtail' mountain is our companion as is the great bulk of Annapurna South, which towers above us at Ghandrung. We spend five nights in lodges known for their comfort and all of which are ideally located for the best views of the mountains. Early this morning we transfer to the airport for the flight to Pokhara during which we should have superb views of the Annapurnas. From Pokhara we continue by road to our trek start point (1-hour). Our walk will follow a ridgeline in the lower foothills of the Annapurnas with surrounding views of the Pokhara Valley. This route then drops to the Modi River Valley, where the Sanctuary Lodge is located. The lodge has magnificent views of the sacred and unclimbed Fishtail Mountain, or Machhapuchhre, as it is locally known. Lunch is at the lodge followed by an optional walk to the village of Birethanti. Or you may choose to spend the afternoon exploring the surrounding river valley. (Trek time 3-4 hours).1150m

  • 4

    Trek through beautiful villages to Himalaya Lodge in Ghandrung.

    After breakfast we leave the lodge walking out through the outlying farms following the Modi River Valley. Soon we begin to climb out of the valley and up towards the mountains. The trail passes through small hamlets, terraced rice fields and forests with spectacular views of the surrounding valley. Snacks are provided along the trail. Hot lunch is served on arrival at the lodge in the early afternoon. (Trek time 5-6 hours). It is from this lodge that there are magnificent close up views of the surrounding mountains. (1955m)

  • 5

    Free day in Ghandrung.

    We wake up this morning with tea and coffee, served in the garden and watch the sunrise over Annapurna South, Annapurna 1, Hiunchuli, Gangapurna, and the Fishtail. After a relaxing breakfast accompanied by glorious views from the Himalaya Lodge, we will explore this mountain village and the surrounding countryside. Ghandrung was once a major recruitment centre for the famous Gurkha soldiers. The women of Ghandrung maintain a local industry of weaving traditional Nepalese rugs and there is a small cultural museum in the village.

  • 6

    Walk to Gurung or Mala Lodge at Majgoan.

    After breakfast, we leave the Himalaya Lodge walking out through the village of Ghandrung. Buffaloes and goats graze in the surrounding fields and you may have to make way for the donkey and mule trains that convey goods to and from the Gurkha settlements. You may also meet some of the trekkers coming down from or heading up to the Sanctuary itself. We continue descending for 2 or 3 hours until we reach Shyauli Bazaar. From here, we follow the Modi River until reaching the Sanctuary Lodge. We'll have lunch here before we ascend again on a mixture of well-paved steps and switch-backs. We reach Gurung or Mala Lodge (lodge varies by departure) at Majgoan after about 2 hours. (Trek time 5-6 hrs).

  • 7

    Trek through sub-tropical forests to Basanta Lodge at Dhampus.

    This morning we begin trekking through the unspoiled village of Patlekhet. Our walk takes us through sub-tropical forests that include tree orchids, rhododendrons and magnolias. Along the way we will stop at the village of Pothana where many Tibetan traders live and sell their souvenirs. After about 3 ½ hours we arrive at the Basanta Lodge. From the lodge there are sweeping views of the entire Annapurna Range. After lunch at the lodge there will be an optional walk through the old village of Dhampus (1525m).

  • 8

    Descend to Dhampus Phedi; drive to Pokhara.

    After an early breakfast, we depart along the ridge and descend through the wooded hillside and terraced farmland to the valley floor. This should take around an hour and a half. We then drive to Pokhara (30 minutes) and should be back there by lunchtime and so you will have the afternoon to explore this small lakeside town. You can spend the afternoon sightseeing, rowing on the lake, renting a bike, shopping or you can simply relax in one of the many garden cafes.(1000m)

  • 9

    Drive to Bandipur; trek through forest, farmland and hamlets to Mountain Lodge.

    After breakfast we drive to the village of Bandipur. The journey 2.5 hours from Pokhara so we should arrive by late morning. Lunch will be at the Old Inn where you will meet your guide and porter. You will also have time to explore this village. The trek takes roughly three hours. There is an initial descent followed by a walk through forest and farmland along the valley. There are several hamlets and schools along the route. The final 40 minutes involve a steady climb to our lodge which is located on a small ridge at an altitude of 1011m. After settling into your room and having a hot shower, drinks will be served around the central fireplace.

  • 10

    Follow a different trail back to Bandipur or trek to Seti River Camp for optional rafting; transfer to Chitwan.

    We leave the lodge and trek for three hours via a different route to Bandipur where we will have lunch before transferring to Chitwan National Park, arriving late afternoon (trek time approx. 3 hrs / 7km). In the late afternoon we meet our naturalist guide and witness a traditional Tharu dance. As an alternative to the walk this morning, an optional half day Seti River rafting excursion is available. Those who are rafting will walk to Seti River Camp (approx. 2hrs walking), from where the rafting begins. The rafting is on a gentle stretch of river and is suitable for beginners (approx. grade 2 rapids). It takes 2-3 hours (depending on water levels) to reach the exit point at Gaighat. Instruction and safety equipment is provided. At Gaighat the transfer vehicle will be waiting with the rest of the group, and you will continue together by road to Chitwan. A packed lunch is provided for those rafting. A minimum of 2 people are required; in order to partake you must make it known to your tour leader at the start of the tour in Kathmandu or Sanctuary Lodge. The next two nights are in a jungle lodge.

  • 11

    Activities in Chitwan, including a jeep safari, birdwatching walks and dugout canoe rides.

    Activities may be offered in a different order but usually the programme will include an early morning bird watching walk before breakfast. Before lunch there will be another activity, normally a trip along the Rapti River in a dugout canoe, looking for crocodile and again observing the many birds. Then before dinner we set out on a jeep safari. If we are lucky we may encounter the Indian one-horned rhinoceros or some of the several species of deer found here. We stay in a safari lodge, whose knowledgeable and helpful staff accompany us on all the excursions. The lodge has a complex of villas with attached bathrooms and a larger dining room/bar area.

  • 12

    Return to Kathmandu.

    There is another bird watching walk this morning before breakfast, after which we drive back to Kathmandu (approx. 5 hours depending on traffic) arriving in the afternoon.

  • 13

    End Kathmandu.

    The trip finishes after breakfast. Those travelling on the group flights to London will transfer to the airport for their flight back to the UK.

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