This trip is ideal for the more independent-minded, adventure-seeking traveler who's willing to rough it a bit and seeks the support of a local guide who can offer advice and help uncover the region's hidden gems.
You’ll stay in budget accommodations at local teahouses and have plenty of free time for optional activities, plus an array of food choices available in each town. Meals are not included, so you decide where, with whom and what to eat, allowing the freedom to choose meals to suit your budget.
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Day 1: Kathmandu – Chisapani
Meet your small group and expert local guide at the tour office in the morning, and then take a 1-hour drive by minivan to Sundarijal, located on the outskirts of Kathmandu. Along the way, enjoy views of the hilly, forested terrain of the Kathmandu Valley and get acquainted with your fellow travelers as you prepare for your Himalayan adventure!
After your vehicle arrives at your first destination, hike with your guide up a long staircase that follows the water pipeline to the entrance of Shivapuri National Park. Take in the scenic beauty of your surroundings, where pine and oak forests mix with rhododendrons and a variety of orchids.
As you continue your trek along the staircase and past the water reservoir, learn about the unique wildlife that is protected in the park, including sloth bears, leopards, wild boar and Indian porcupine. Listen for a variety of birds and keep an eye out for 150 species of butterflies.
When your group reaches the village of Mulkharka, your guide will assist you to find a simple lunch in one of the wayside shops (all meals at own expense). Following a rest with food and tea, head through town, passing an abandoned school on your return to the forest.
Here, the steep incline eases and shade offers welcome relief from the warm temperatures. Soon, if the weather cooperates with clear skies, catch your first glimpse of the high, snow-capped Everest ranges of the Himalayan Mountains.
After approximately five hours on your first day’s trek, emerge from the wilderness and head into the village of Chisapani. In the evening, experience Nepali culture at an authentic teahouse, where you can purchase dinner and interact with the locals or just relax in the company of your guide and small group.
Overnight: hotel or teahouse lodge in Chisapani
Day 2: Chisapani – Nagarkot
After breakfast, prepare to hit the trail for a 7-hour hike, trekking through lush vegetation. You’ll walk both uphill and downhill along dirt tracks, passing through sporadic rural settlements along the way.
Take in the magnificent panoramic views of the dramatic and steep Himalayas en route to Nagarkot, situated on the edge of the Kathmandu Valley. When you arrive in the town after a full day of hiking, take the weight off and relax for a leisurely evening.
You can purchase dinner and stroll through the village for more breathtaking vistas of the surrounding mountains and valley below.
Overnight: hotel or teahouse lodge in Nagarkot
Day 3: Nagarkot – Bhaktapur
Wake up early in Nagarkot to relish the sunrise view for which the town is known, looking out over the distant Himalayas. After breakfast with your small group at the teahouse, hike down toward the medieval town of Bhaktapur, one of three royal villages in the valley.
Stop en route at Nepal’s oldest temple, Changu Narayan, located on a high hilltop in the village of Changu. Your guide will point out the magnificent Nepali architecture of metal and wood design, and describe the religious rituals of local Hindus as you peek into the ancient temple. You may even get to meet with monks!
Then, follow a scenic route through terraced rice fields, small villages and pine forests, switching back and forth between the wilderness trail and a countryside road for approximately five and a half hours with your small group.
Arriving in Bhaktapur late in the afternoon, take a leisurely stroll around town on your own, experiencing its charm and character. Located along the ancient trade route between Tibet and India, Bhaktapur was founded in the 12th century and is replete with pagodas and terra-cotta monuments, as well as fascinating palaces and temples.
Feel free to ask your guide for any dining suggestions or recommendations of top attractions to see during your free time.
Overnight: hotel or teahouse lodge in Nagarkot
Day 4: Bhaktapur – Kathmandu
Upon awakening in Bhaktapur, enjoy a free morning at leisure. Hang out at a teahouse or visit the temples, admiring their gilded roofs, intricate carvings and open courtyards. Or, simply catch sight of more gorgeous views of the Himalayas before returning to Kathmandu by minivan around 1pm.