DURATION – 13 Nights / 12 Days
This tour was put together because of the many requests I received from my intrepid and adventurous female friends and contacts. Some of whom do not wish to ride motorcycles, and others who do wish to ride but do not want to ride the challenging off-road tracks to Mustang and Tibet. However, they want to experience Nepal.
Nepal is one of the richest countries in the world in terms of bio-diversity due to its unique geographical position and variation in altitude. The elevation of the country ranges from 60 meters above sea level to the highest point on earth, Mt. Everest at 8,848 meters. All within a distance of 150 kilometres resulting in climatic conditions from sub-tropical to Arctic. This results in huge variations of scenery.
Nepal is occupying only 0.1 % of the earth and is home to:
⦁ 2 % of all the flowering plants in the world.
⦁ 8 % of the world’s population of birds (more than 848 species).
⦁ 4 % of mammals on earth.
⦁ 11 of the world’s 15 families of butterflies (more than 500 species).
⦁ 600 indigenous plant families.
⦁ 8 of the 14 highest (8000 m) peaks of the world
⦁ 108 different ethnic group and cultures.
Upon arrival, you are met by one of our representatives and transferred to the hotel. Your hotel is a peaceful oasis in the middle of the chaos of Kathmandu. It has beautiful gardens and a swimming pool.
Evening: We will meet at a given time in the lobby of the hotel. After introductions, there will be a brief explanation of the trip, and what is expected.
We will then take you to a welcome dinner at a typical Nepali Restaurant where we will also be treated to a typical Nepali music and dance show.
Sightseeing Tour of Kathmandu
Because we have 2 nights in Kathmandu you have today to spend sightseeing. There is just so much to see and do in Kathmandu and, of course, there is SHOPPING!
We will arrange transport for those of you who want to sight-see.
Some of the things that are worth seeing:-
The Boudhanath Stupa is a huge Buddhist stupa, that is also one of the oldest monuments ever built in Nepal.
The stupa stands on the massive three level Mandala style platforms surrounded by colourful family style houses. The Stupa is said to have been built in the 5th Century and is a sight of great veneration to the Buddhist.
Pashupanath Temple is one of the most sacred of Hindu Temples in the world.
It is amongst the five principle pilgrimage sites for the Hindus. On an annual pilgrimage during Shivaratri Festival, thousands of devotees of Lord Shiva from all the Hindu communities of the world, pay their homage here.
Pashupatinath is the reincarnation of Shiva in his most benevolent form as the shepherd of fertility and so there are no animal sacrifices in this temple. Only fruits, flowers and vermilion are offered. It lies on the banks of the Bagmati river and for the Hindus, to be cremated at Pashupatinath, means a direct passage to heaven.
We will see the cremation Ghats that are directly in front of the temple where 70-80 people a day are cremated here.
Bhaktapur is an ancient city close to Kathmandhu where you will see beautifully preserved wooden and brick buildings, stroll through lanes and many squares (no cars allowed here), visit the art school where you can watch the Thangkas and Mandalas being painted. You can buy these at a ridiculously low price considering how many hours have gone into creating them.
There is also The Monkey Temple that sits high on a hill above the city where you can watch the monkeys dive-bombing into their swimming pool and, of course you must walk through the devastating damage in Kathmandu’s main Durbar Square. There are many ancient buildings here.
Later afternoon: we meet back at the hotel to be introduced to our motorcycles for those of you who are riding. After a briefing, you will be taken on a short ride around the city to familiarise you with the bike and the traffic.
The rest of the evening is free
Ride Kathmandu / Bandipur (144 km)
We leave early this morning so we can avoid the traffic. Stay close to each other behind the road captain as it is not straightforward to negotiate the traffic and the twists and turns to leave this bustling city.
When we finally get to the main highway everything speeds up, Trucks, buses and private cars are all doing their utmost to pass each other on any part of the road they can. This includes your space. Stay calm and stick to your line and the bike in front.
After descending on the tight winding road from the Kathmandu plateau, the road levels out and becomes much smoother and quieter as we cruise along the side of the Marshyangdi River.
Just after Dumre town we turn off onto a small winding road that ascends 8kms to Bandipur.
Bandipur is a picturesque town nestled in the Himalayan foothills of Nepal. There are stunning views from here across to the entire Annapurna Range plus the peaks of Dhaulagiri, Manaslu and Langtang. A visit to the town is an opportunity to get a close look at Newar cultural life. It is a living museum of Newar life as it was hundreds of years ago. It has been lucky enough, so far, to escape the ravages of main stream tourism. It used to be an important stop on the India/Tibet main trading route.
We have a 5 minute walk to our hotel, as the town is vehicle free, then the rest of the day is free for you to explore.
Ride Bandipur to Pokhara via (84 km)
Today we ride to Pokhara. We descend to the main highway again then follow the Marshyangdi river, ascend through terraced agricultural lands and small villages until we reach the outskirts of Pokhara. The road here is incredibly rough so concentrate on not hitting too many potholes! It is also busy with traffic doing crazy things.
If you can take your eyes off the road briefly you will see the Annapurna Mountain range ahead of us. This includes the beautiful Fish Tail Mountain.
Pokhara stands at 884 m above sea level, about 700 m lower than Kathmandu Valley. In Kathmandu Valley the high temples are all around you, in Pokhara it is the mountains. Only foothills separate Pokhara from the full height of the Himalayas, and the magnificent 8000 m. peaks of the Annapurna range.
Pokhara is a vacationer’s paradise with its crystal-clear lakes and fantastic views of the Annapurna range.
Our hotel here is beautiful. Also in lovely gardens and with a swimming pool. It is really close to all the shopping, cafes and nightlife. It is very safe to walk round here at night.
We spend two nights here as there is a lot to see and do. If you choose to do one of the adventure activities, you would be advised to book them today.
Free Day in Pokhara Free Day in Pokhara
Optional Activities in Pokhara:-
PARAGLIDING, BUNGEY JUMPING, ZIPLINING, MICROLIGHT FLIGHT
The Paragliding flight lasts for about 1 hour. You ride in tandem with your instructor and you can ask to do some acrobatics if you are an adrenaline junkie. They will be only too happy to oblige.
Of course, the views are stunning and you should be able to give your camera a good workout.
The Microlight flight is best done early morning or late afternoon. Once again, your camera will get a great workout.
The Zipline is reputed to be the longest, fastest and highest in the world. You speed along at 160kms and hour for 2 kms. If you are brave enough to open your eyes you will get some stunning views.
On the Bungy Jump you can opt to do the “water touch” if you are brave enough!
BOATING on PHEWA LAKE:
Lots of choices here:
Hire a paddle-boat and cruise around the lake , or paddle across to the tiny island where you will find a very old and special temple.
Hire a Canoe that is faster than the paddle-boat so you can do any of the above or, go right across the lake to the track that will take you up to the Peace Pagoda that is virtually on top of a mountain. The grinding climb up this path is worth it once you see the views from the top.
Hire a paddleboard
Or just choose to walk or cycle around this beautiful lake.
TIBETAN REFUGEE VILLAGES.
There are 2 main ones. These are worth a visit if you want to meet the women who live and work here. The government of Nepal does not give Tibetans any autonomy so they must survive doing what they know best, and that is making crafts. This is a great opportunity to purchase gifts directly from them rather than giving your money to middlemen in the shops in town. You can watch them making stunning wool carpets (that sell bargain prices) and many other trinkets.
There are lots of choices:- The Mountaineer Museum, The Gurkha Museum and the Pokhara Museum
CAVES AND WATERFALLS
You can cycle or walk to the closest
SPAS, YOGA AND MEDITATION
Lots to choose from
SHOPPING, SHOPPING, SHOPPING!
Need I say more!
Ride from Pokhara to Lumbini (212 km)
A long ride today, but all on main highway through beautiful forested roads climbing and descending to the Terai Plains and on towards the world heritage site of Lumbini.
On the way, we stop for lunch at Tansen.
This is a very popular summer resort because of its location and climate. Tansen is situated on the slopes of Shreenagar Danda at an altitude of 1343 meters. The views from Tansen are spectacular.
Toward the north you have an ultra-wide mountain panorama all the way from Mt. Dhaulagiri in the west and in the east, there is Mt Gauri Shankar.
The cobblestone streets are too steep for cars so the medieval is very authentic. This town has a very rich history of which the locals are very proud of. There is lots to see here as well if we have the time.
After lunch continue to ride south towards Lumbini.
Lumbini is historically the place where Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama) was born in 523 B. C. Of course, it is a World Heritage listed site, and thousands of Buddhist pilgrims visit here every year.
The Sacred Lumbini Gardens contain a huge complex of monasteries and temples that have been erected by nearly all the Buddhist countries from around the world.
The Maya Devi temple is the most important religious site where Buddha’s mother gave birth to him. Archeological explorations in the early 90’s have proved that this is in fact correct. They have found ruins that date back more than 2000 years.
You can spend a lot of time walking round this site. You need to remove your shoes so wearing socks is a good idea as there is a lot of rough ground to negotiate.
If you wish to explore more of the different Buddhist sites that depict the different aspects of Buddhism depending on the country that has erected a temple there, it is best to hire a pushbike as there is a lot of ground to cover.
Make the most of the rest of the day after we check into our hotel.
Ride from Lumbini to Chitwan (189 km)
After breakfast, we are taken on a short sightseeing tour of Lumbini Gardens, then we are on the road again to another World Heritage site – Chitwan National Park.
The road heads east through beautiful forested lowlands. We pass through many towns as this part of Nepal is heavily populated. It lies close to the Indian border and it is also a very rich and lush agricultural area.
We will be staying in the busy little village of Sauraha, that lies on the northern fringes of the park.
It is not allowed to stay in lodges within the park nowadays because of conservation of the park and its wildlife, which is a very forward thinking move by the powers that be. The only way in to the park now is by booking and riding in park vehicles or on elephants. All strictly controlled.
Chitwan National Park, is the oldest national park in Nepal. It has an area of 932 square kilometers and crosses over into India.. It was designated as a World Heritage Site in 1984. The name Chitwan means “heart of the jungle”.
In recent years, this park has risen meteorically on the lists of the “Things to do” in Nepal. Consequently, soon, is a good time to visit, because the tourists are going to become overwhelming.
The park covers a pristine area with a unique ecosystem of significant value to the world. It contains the Churiya hills, ox-bow lakes and the flood plains of Rapti, Reu and Narayani rivers. The Sal forests dominate the vegetation of the park. The grasslands contain a diverse and complex community of over 50 different species.
The tall elephant grass can reach up to 8m tall so is quite difficult to spot even the biggest of animals.
The park boasts of more than 43 species of mammals, 45 species of amphibians and reptiles and 450 species of birds.It is renowned for its endangered animals. The most famous being the elusive one horned rhinoceros.
Our hotel is like a little jungle oasis right in the middle Sauraha village. Once again, there are beautiful gardens and a very small but very welcome swimming pool. It’s very hot here.
NB Make sure you have mosquito repellent! After we check in, you will be given the opportunity to take an ox cart ride around the village or, you can walk down to the river and chill out with a drink and watch the sun set over the jungle. And, if you are lucky, you will catch glimpses of wild animals coming down to the waters edge to drink.
After dinner you will be treated to a cultural show or there are many bars you can explore. Before you do that, we need to check out who wants to do which activities tomorrow, as we have to book some of these.
Elephant Safari: One of the best ways to enter the jungle. The wild animals do not take any notice of your elephant and, it also masks the human smell.
NB. For those of you who are apprehensive about riding an elephant that has been through harsh training techniques. There is now an education programme for the mahouts where they learn softer, psychological techniques rather than the old ways of bashing, stabbing, yelling.
Jeep Safari: A great way to get further into the jungle. The jeeps are quiet and small. The animals are used to them. This takes 4 – 5 hours. This takes you to the National Park headquarters where you can visit the crocodile breeding centre.
Jungle Walk: Not for the faint hearted. The guides are only armed with a bamboo stick and some of them can be a bit “gung ho’ and full of bravado when encountering animals.
Canoeing: Paddle along the river banks and come across the wildlife. This is best done early evening.
Elephant breeding center, Elephant stables and bath time. All close to town, you can wear your swimming togs to join in on the bath time.
Cycling: This is not allowed within the park but there are numerous authentic Tharu villages close by where you can visit their museums and check out the crafts.
Ride from Chitwan to Daman (163 km)
Daman is perched at 2322m above sea level and is reputed to have THE most spectacular views of the whole Himalayan mountain range from Dhaulagri to Mt Everest from the viewing tower within the resort where we stay.
We follow main highway all the way. It climbs and twists forever through beautiful forested hills that are terraced for agriculture on impossibly steep slopes. Passing through unique little villages.
The hotel tonight is a 200m walk from where we have to park the vehicles. It’s a delightful up and down track through beautiful forest. The effort to get there is worth it because this comfortable hotel is perfectly set up for maximum views.
Rest of the day is free to relax or explore around the village.
Ride from Daman to Kathmandu (Approx. 84 Km)
After breakfast we ride towards Kathmandu via Khulekhani Dam. About 7 km down the winding road we turn off onto a dirt track (mostly gravel) for another 24 km to Khulekheni Dam.
The security guards at the dam do not allow people lingering along the dam area. So, a short break for some quickly taken photographs, we continue on the ride to Kathmandu.
Some section of the road is still under construction so we need to take care. However, it is only about 15 kilometres and then the route becomes better, except for the jeep drivers who are going like crazy with their horns blaring loudly.
Rest of the day is free to relax or explore around the town.As we near Kathmandu the traffic ramps up to all levels of crazy and frantic so be as alert as you can if you are riding.
Finally, we arrive back at the peaceful oasis of Hotel Manaslu, where we spend the next two nights
Free Day in Kathmandu
Free Day to relax or explore around the town. Take in more of the sights or do lots of shopping in Thamel.
Free until final departure.