DAY 1. 25OCT22. ARRIVAL IN KATHMANDU
Arrive in Kathmandu, the bustling Nepali capital city. From the airport, drive to the city center. Walk around Durbar Square, once the seat of royal families, and today, a magnificent testimony to the city’s glorious past and traditional Newar architecture and engineering. After walking by ancient temples and palaces, continue through the narrow streets to the hotel. Check-in, and take some time to recuperate from the long flight. In the evening, drive to Boudanath, the massive Buddhist stupa erected here back in the 6th century to serve traders and pilgrims who took the rigorous journey between Tibet and India, long before Kathmandu was a city of any significance. Enjoy a welcome dinner in a restaurant overlooking Boudanath to watch the sunset over this massive structure. In the evening, take back to the city streets as troops of girls perform the tradition of bhailo – singing and dancing to traditional songs in exchange for money, sweets, and food. This is a tradition taking place annually over the third day of the Tihar Festival. Late in the evening, revert to the hotel for a first night in Nepal.
DAY 2. 26OVT22. GORU TIHAR AND NEWAR NEW YEAR
Today, Kathmandu, and the entire country celebrate Goru Tihar, the fourth day of the Tihar Festival. This day collides with the Nepal Sambat – the Nepali Lunar New Year, celebrated by the Newar people, the original inhabitants of Kathmandu valley. The Newar people take to the streets dressed in their best attire, playing national music using traditional instruments, and dancing in the streets. Together with the Tihar celebrations, this day is one of the most festive days throughout this ancient city. In the evening, climb atop Swayambhunath Stupa, often referred to as the Monkey Temple, for a view over Kathmandu at night.
DAY 3. 27OCT22. VIEW OVER MOUNT EVEREST
In the morning hours, take a walk again through the streets of Kathmandu to see the special tradition associated with Bhai Tika, the last day of the Tihar festival. This day celebrates the special bond between sisters and brothers. Sisters would put a tika on their brothers’ forehead, feed, and pamper them. Around noon time check out the hotel, and drive to Bhaktapur. One of the oldest cities around Kathmandu valley, Bhaktapur’s old streets retain the unique atmosphere of ancient times. First, stop by the pottery square, where traditional potters handmake traditional pottery works. Then, continue to the fifty-five windows palace, the city’s own Durbar Square, and other monumental sites. In the afternoon, ascend to Nagarkot, a village nestled atop a high ridge overlooking Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak. Get in time to enjoy the sunset from this high vantage point before setting in the lovely resort for the night.
DAY 4. 28OCT22. FLIGHT TO JANAKPUR
Wake up very early in the morning with a prayer for a clear sky, and get to the balcony hoping for a good view of the sunrise over the Himalayas. After breakfast, check out the hotel, and head to Kathmandu airport for the thirty-minute flight to Janakpur. Near the Indian border, Janakpur and its inhabitants are quite different from those seen on the street of Kathmandu. With a near-Indian appearance to them, the ladies are all dressed in beautiful, colorful saris. On the short ride from Janakpur airport to the hotel, stop in a small bustling market. After lunch, take a walk through the streets of Janakpur as the city is getting ready for one of the most important festivals throughout the year. Arrive in the afternoon at the big yard in front of the beautiful Janaki Mandir Hindu temple, a gathering place for city dwellers. Wait here for the sunset over the temple before reverting to the hotel for the night.
DAY 5. 29OCT22. JALESHWOR VILLAGE
Drive for one hour out of Janakpur to the small village of Jaleshwor. The village is home to two quite distinct ethnic groups. On one side of the village live the Hindu Mithila people. Of a clear Indian origin, the colorful Mithila people retain to very basic lifestyle. Their houses’ walls are beautifully decorated with traditional motifs, hand-painted by the women of the community. A sizeable Muslim community inhabits the other side of the village. Spend the entire day walking the small village paths, visiting local homes, engaging in friendly talks, visiting the local school, and hearing about the realities of living on the edge of civilization. In the afternoon, get to the pond by the Mithila side of the village, and watch as families flock in preparation for the oncoming festival. Late in the afternoon, embark on the one hour’s drive back to Janakpur.
DAY 6. 30OCT22. CHHATH PARVA
Again, a very early wake up call, long before dawn, to take to the streets of Janakpur. The entire city is out on the streets, firecrackers explode on street corners, and families are going to take their places around the two huge ponds right at the heart of the city. Each family brings a wide array of alms to wash in the holy water before sunrise. As the sun rises, hundreds of lady-worshippers pour water out of bronze vessels back into the pond to greet the sun and ask for blessings from Surya, the solar deity. The celebrations wind off soon after the sun rises over Janakpur. Revert to the hotel for breakfast. Then check out the hotel, and board the vehicle for a long drive across the Terai – the stretch of tropical jungles that runs along the Indian border. From time to time, make a stop at a roadside market or by people tending to their fields. In the evening, arrive in a simple hotel in Hetuada and stop here for the night.
DAY 7. 31OCT22. CHITWAN NATIONAL PARK
Continue driving along the Terai, arriving around noontime at Chitwan National Park. Chitwan was established in 1973 to protect endangered wildlife species. Up until the 1950s, only the Tharu people, considered to be immune to Malaria, were able to survive in the hot, humid, and Malaria infested jungles of the Terai. In the 1950s, the Nepali government has eradicated Malaria, which has led to massive migration of people from the hilly region of Nepal to the fertile plateaus of the Terai. Massive deforestation to support the establishment of new villages and fields has led to the loss of habitat of the tigers, one-horned rhinoceros, wild elephants, deer, crocodiles, and many other species. In a well-conducted effort, the decisive actions taken by the government have led to an impressive recovery of many of these species which are now abundant throughout the park. Take an afternoon Safari within the protected area to track some of these elusive species.
DAY 8. 01NOV22. KURINTAR
After breakfast, board a canoe for a few hours’ cruise down the Rapti River, the primary water source and, thus, a popular place for wildlife gathering in the park. This is another fantastic chance to encounter some of the park’s rich wildlife. After lunch at the hotel, board the vehicle and drive north, leaving the Terai and heading to the hilly region – the stretch of hills and mountains of up to 3,000 meters (10,000 ft) above sea level, locked between the Terai to the south, and the Himalayas to the north. Late in the evening, arrive at the resort at Kurintar to spend here the night.
DAY 9. 02NOV22. THE CHEPANG PEOPLE
Drive up the hilly region to visit the Chepang people. Located low within the caste system, the Chepang were driven out of the fertile lands of the wide-open valleys and found refuge in the rough lands up the mountains. Living on the verge of constant poverty, with no land, possessions, or stable source of income, the Chepang are in a continuous struggle to survive. Spend a few hours visiting their village, surrounded by beautiful forest overlooking the Manaslu peak of the Himalayas, revert to Kurintar for a second night.
DAY 10. 03NOV22. BACK TO KATHMANDU
Leave Kurintar, and drive to Kathmandu. Once back in the national capital city, head to Pashupatinath, the country’s largest Hindu temple and an important pilgrimage site for Hindus from all over the world. The temple is famous for the cremation ceremonies taking place outside of it, on the banks of the Bagmati River. Mourning families say farewell to the earthly form of their loved ones and give them a last blessing on the journey of their soul back to the samsara, the wheel of life. Next, drive to the city center, and enjoy an evening stroll through the cheerful streets of the Thamel – the backpacker’s city within a city. Here, travelers from all over the world celebrate the spirit of freedom and travel amid trendy cafes and restaurants of global cuisines. After a farewell dinner, set in the hotel for the last night in Nepal.
DAY 11. 04NOV22. DEPARTURE
After early breakfast, drive to Kathmandu airport for the international departing flight out of Nepal.
Dates & Pricing
25th October, 2022–4th November, 2022
- $1,722 Per Person (For a group of 6 or more)
- $493 Single Room Supplement
Festivals and Wildlife in southern Nepal rates are quoted in US Dollars.
[email protected] reserves the right to change the Festivals and Wildlife in southern Nepal rates and programs due to changes in flight schedule, changes in airfares, and other local circumstances.
Prices are based on twin share occupancy.
Rates for private groups of 2 travelers and above:
2 travelers- US$2,271/ person
4 travelers- US$1,922/ person
- Domestic flight Kathmandu - Janakpur
- Accommodation at hotels selected including breakfast
- Meals as per program (Half board basis - not including day of arrival and departure)
- Private transfers
- Entrance fees to all sites and monuments as per program
- Bottled drinking water
- English Speaking guide
- International flights to/from Kathmandu
- Nepali tourist visa
- Travel/health insurance
- PCR/COVID tests, or any tests that might be required for international or domestic travel
- Expenses that might incur due to the results of COVID tests before, during or after the tour
- Excess luggage (limited to 20 kg on domestic flight)
- Expenses of personal nature (food and drinks beyond those provided, laundry, etc.)
- Anything not clearly mentioned in the program
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