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Epic India to Nepal


If India and Nepal are calling your name, this is your sign. On this 20-day adventure, you’ll eat your weight in delicious street food, witness the majesty of one of the Seven Wonders of the World (the Taj Mahal of course) and cruise down the holy Ganges in Varanasi. Hang in Buddha’s hometown (Lumbini), search for sloth bears and rhinos at Chitwan National Park and traverse colourful Kathmandu. Pull on your adventure boots and dive into a rafting experience in Pokhara, camp on the beach and enjoy dinner beneath the stars by the Trisuli River, then trek the Annapurna Circuit. Enjoy the chance to stay with local families along the way, including in a remote village in Hemjakot where you might choose to tuck into a home-cooked dinner with your newfound crew. End it all back in Nepal’s capital and take your newfound spirituality, cooking skills, adventurous spirit or all three back home!

20 days, from

$1,083

per person

GROUP SIZE

16 people max

ACTIVITY LEVEL

3
Trip code: HHYKC
Style: Basix
Theme: 18 to 35s

Details

Countries Visited:  India Nepal
Accommodation: Hotel (11 nights), Jungle Lodge (2 nights), Heritage Property (1 night), Overnight sleeper train (1 night), Tea House/Trekking Lodge (2 nights), Homestay (1 night), Camping (1 night)
Transportation: Overnight sleeper train , Private vehicle , 4x4 Safari Vehicle/Jeep , Auto rickshaw , Cycle rickshaw , Shuttle bus , Train , Canoe , Bike
Included Meals:

  • 1 breakfasts
  • 2 lunches
  • 2 dinners

Group size: Minimum 1, Max 16
Minimum Age: 18

  • It's hard not to fall in love with the tiny Rajasthani village of Tordi. The locals will feed you and you'll sleep in a 16th-century palace. Oh, and there's some ruined temples and a pretty cool fortress nearby by too.

  • The Taj Mahal may be one of the most recognisable buildings in the world, but do you know its poetic history? A local expert will fill you in.

  • Explore Amber Palace and snaps pics in front of a slew of other ornate pink-hued buildings in oh-so-pretty Jaipur.

  • See pilgrims praying and bathing along the ghats of the sacred Ganges River during an unforgettable sunrise cruise in Varanasi, one of India's holiest cities.

  • Lumbini is no ordinary town. Visit the birthplace of Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, and tour its temples and the legendary Ashoka Pillars.

  • Spot Rhino's and other exotic wildlife in Chitwan National Park, one of the best places to view wildlife in all of Asia.

  • Stretch your legs on an awesome three-day, low-altitude trek through villages and rhododendron forests, taking in the amazing sights of the Annapurna ranges.

  • Kick back in super-zen Pokhara, where you can take a boat out on the smooth water of Phewa Lake and cruise beneath behemoth mountains.

Itinerary

Show Full Itinerary

Day 1: Delhi

This Himalaya adventure kicks off in Delhi. Meet your tour leader and new travel mates at a 6 pm welcome meeting. If you arrive early, there's plenty to do in this wonderfully chaotic city. Wander the streets, sip on your first chai or practice haggling in one of the many markets!

Day 2: Tordi

Keep this one quiet. Your next destination takes a bit of work to get to, but that’s because it’s our little secret! Journey through picturesque countryside by train, first to Jaipur, and then onwards by private vehicle to Tordi (approximately 7 hours). This remote and rarely visited village offers a fantastic glimpse of the real Rajasthan. We stumbled across it years ago, and everyone loved it so much we put it on the itinerary. The locals will feed you and you'll sleep in a 16th-century palace with its owner as your host. And there's a ruined temple and fortress nearby. Settle in, then savour delicious local flavours at an included dinner of tonight.

Day 3: Jaipur

Kick on to Jaipur (approximately 2.5 hours), India's oh-so-pretty 'Pink City'. You'll have plenty of free time here to haggle to your heart's content at the bazaars and backstreets where vendors sell a variety of textiles, precious and semi-precious gems and stunning blue pottery. Drop by one of India’s finest palaces, the Royal City Palace, where the guards’ moustaches are almost as impressive as the building itself. Foodies will want to hit the streets for raj kachori chaat, a big fluffy chaat served with chutney, yoghurt, chilli and potato. Then cool off with a lassi from Lassiwala on MI road, Jaipur's oldest and most famous lassi shop. Cinema buffs won't want to miss the chance to take in a Bollywood blockbuster at the spectacular Raj Mandir Cinema.

Day 4: Jaipur

If you're keen for a different view of the Pink City, an optional early morning hot air balloon ride is a trip highlight for many visitors. For more information please see the 'Important Notes'. Later in the morning, you’ll drop by Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds), the impressive five-storey facade with pink and honeycombed windows is it the most photographed building in the country after Taj Mahal. Then it’s out to the old capital of Amber and an exploration of the hilltop fort complex known as the Amber Fort. The rest of the day is free for you to use as you like.

Day 5: Agra

Take advantage of the chance to rub shoulders with the locals on a five-hour public bus ride to Agra today. Agra might not be the prettiest city in the world, but the minute you check out its top-notch site that won’t matter one bit. Of course, we're talking about the Taj Mahal, India's most enduring symbol and an epic monument to love and loss. For some reason local families find it more interesting to take photos of you than the actual Taj Mahal. But none of it matters, you'll be too busy standing there with your mouth gaping open to notice.

Day 6: Agra - Overnight train

Today is free to explore at your leisure. Agra Fort is a spectacular option where you can stroll the palatial gardens of this red sandstone stronghold and get some great views of the Taj Mahal from afar. Then it's on to the next stop - Varanasi. Tonight it’s time for a unique slice of Indian life aboard an overnight train (approximately 12 hours).

Day 7: Varanasi

One of holiest cities around, Varanasi is the ultimate destination for Hindu pilgrims who travel from far and wide to experience this spiritual city. Overflowing with temples, shrines and devotees, it might not be one of the world's cleanest cities but there’s no doubt it’s one of the most amazing. Maybe take the chance to perfect your yoga in this epic chakra-balancing place. Otherwise, just chill out and soak in the spiritual surrounds as it's an early start tomorrow.

Day 8: Varanasi

Today’s an early start, but it’s completely worth it - a sunrise boat ride along the sacred Ganges is a revelation. Even if you're not the spiritual sort, you can't help but get goosebumps. Pass the many ghats (stairs leading to the water) and temples along the river, and watch thousands of Hindu pilgrims cleanse their sins in the holy water as the sun bathes the surrounds in glorious shades of amber and orange. Afterwards, set off by auto rickshaw to the oldest part of the city, to explore its maze of narrow alleyways packed full of small shops, stalls and lumbering cows. See pilgrims performing rituals  unchanged for hundreds of years and pass chiming temples as wafts of incense fill the air.

Day 9: India/Nepal border crossing - Lumbini

Wave goodbye to India as you travel to the border (Sunauli border crossing) and enter into Nepal, continuing to the town of Lumbini. Make sure to charge up your music and fish out your book as it's a long day of travel (about 8-10 hours including stops). Lumbini is no ordinary border town, but the birthplace of Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, and one of his four holy places of pilgrimage. Check out the beautiful Ashoka Pillars and hop on cycle rickshaws to the Maya Devi Temple, the actual site where Lord Buddha is thought to have been born. Later on, bunk down in a jungle camp for the night.

Day 10: Chitwan National Park

Take off you religious hat and pop on your safari one as you drive to Chitwan National Park by private vehicle (approximately 5 hours). UNESCO (who know a thing or two about this kind of stuff) declared it a World Heritage site in 1984, and it offers some of the best wildlife viewing in Asia. Think the Jungle Book come to life with rhinos, deer, monkeys and a wide array of birds, including Nepalese wild chickens, all found here.

Day 11: Chitwan National Park

This morning you’ll hop aboard a jeep, meet your local guide and take a safari drive through Chitwan National Park. Maybe you might catch a glimpse of one of the 100-or-so Bengal Tigers that call the park home. There are also a number of optional activities available through your accommodation, including biking, bird watching, cultural performances, canoe rides and village tours.

Day 12: Kathmandu

On to your final destination of the Nepalese patchouli–scented capital, Kathmandu (approximately 7 hours). Maybe book in for a massage or a yoga session when you get there to ease those body kinks. With the rest of your free time, perhaps visit the giant Buddhist Stupa at Bodnath, head out into the narrow streets – home to holy men, monks, bicycles, and sacred cows – and buy souvenirs or chill out with cool drink.

Day 13: Kathmandu

The day is yours to explore Kathmandu as you wish before a meeting at 6pm to discuss the next stage of your itinerary. As this is a combination trip, your leader and the composition of your group may change at this location. If you haven't already, head out to the hustle and bustle of Durbar Square, or book an Urban Adventure tour to see Kathmandu from another perspective. For more information, visit www.urbanadventures.com/kathmandu/products

Day 14: Trisuli River

Enjoy a morning drive over the rim of the Kathmandu Valley and soak up the views of the Ganesh and Lantang ranges. Arrive in either Baireni or Galaudi, for some rafting on the Trisuli River. Hit the water and enjoy the thrill of the rapids aptly named Ladies Delight, Rock Garden and Snell's Nose. Camp on the beach and enjoy dinner under the stars.

Day 15: Trisuli River - Pokhara

Have more fun on the river including negotiating the Monsoon and Upset. Late morning we end rafting at Kurintar and enjoy a light lunch and drive to Pokhara (4 hours). Arrive Pokhara in the afternoon and take a walk around with your leader who will point out some of the best sights and sounds. This evening is free for you to chill out at one of the many lakeside restaurants and bars.

Day 16: Ghandruk (1950m / 6397ft)

Today we drive from Pokhara to Nayapul, which takes around 1 hour. Hope you broke in your boots before the trip, cos this is where the trekking bit starts. It's all mostly uphill today - that’s some diverse terrain right there! There’s a dirt track leading to Birethanti and Shyauli villages. Then reach a stone staircase up to Kimche, where you’ll stop for lunch. Continue to follow the stone flags that lead you through fields of wheat to Ghandruk. Total trekking time is approximately 5 hours. Stay in your first Nepalese teahouse tonight.

Day 17: Tolkha (1700m / 5577ft)

Look east. That’s Landruk, the next village on the route.  Look down. That’s the Modi Kola River 600 metres below. Look around the corner. That’s Tolkha, your base for the night. What, you can’t look around corners? Ok, you’ll just have to trek there instead. Begin with a mountain view for breakfast, then start the trek towards Tolkha. It takes about 2 hours mostly descending and then its time for an ascent of around 3 hours to our next teahouse stay.

Day 18: Hemjakot (1530m / 5019ft)

Rhododendron is a tricky word to spell, but super pretty to look at. You’ll see a bunch of these bright pink and purple plants today. Do you know what you won’t see much of? Other people. We’ve picked a pretty remote trail from Dhampus to Hemjakot, and tonight you get to stay with a local family. The first 2 hours are mostly uphill and then its mostly downhill from there for a total of around 6 hours. Pack your best smile and get an even bigger one in return.

Day 19: Pokhara

It's a short descent of around 3 hours to Phedi before catching a transfer to Pokhara in time for lunch (approx. 40 mins). Enjoy free time in the afternoon to do all the things you didn’t do the first time round. We highly recommend taking a rowboat (doonga) out on Phewa Lake. If there’s blue skies you’ll have mountain views for miles.

Day 20: Kathmandu

It’s a long bus back to Kathmandu so bring snacks. Once you’ve arrived back into Kathmandu (approx. 3 pm) there’s time to sip on a banana lassi and wish you didn’t have to go home. No accommodation is included tonight and you are free to depart any time after our arrival back in Kathmandu.