The short, early morning flight to Nepal promises breathtaking views of some of the world’s highest mountain peaks, including the Everest. Do remember to choose a seat on the left hand side of the aircraft.
A Compass India Holidays representative will meet you at Kathmandu airport and assist with your hotel transfer.
Nestled between the southern low lying Mahabharat Range and the dizzying northern snow peaks of the Great Himalaya Range, Kathmandu Valley is a fertile saucer-shaped tract of land with a dazzling cultural tradition of art, music and architecture. The pagoda design, ubiquitous in Asia, is Nepal’s cultural legacy to the world, its blueprint carried to the Chinese Emperor’s Court in the 13th Century by Newari virtuoso architect Arniko.
The capital of modern Nepal, Kathmandu City evolved around a single wooden structure used as a rest stop by travelers plying the ancient trade route between India and Tibet. The wooden pavilion or Kastha Mandap that lends the city its name still stands in Kathmandu’s expansive Durbar Square. A prominent destination on the hippie trial, Kathmandu has been highly popular with tourists for decades and on its busy streets, buzzing cafes, pizzerias, pubs, book shops, sushi bars, music stores and camera sellers jostle for space with exotic centuries-old temples, residential houses and stupas. As a gateway to the great Himalayan peaks of Everest, Annapurna and Kanchenjunga, Kathmandu is one of the world’s most important mountaineering hubs and it’s common to, before climbing season, to run into legends of the mountaineering world across the table from you in a coffee shop.
Overnight at Kathmandu.
Breakfast will be served at the hotel. Later, proceed for sightseeing.
Pasupatinath is one of the most sacred Hindu shrines in the world and part of the Panchkedar, the five holiest temples to Shiva. The majestic two tiered pagoda structure of the temple is embellished with gold and silver. Shiva’s bull, a six feet tall black stone Nandi guards the entrance which is restricted to Hindus only, although the
The magnificent Swayambhunath Stupa stands on a hill gazing down benignly at the valley below through its benevolent Buddha eyes. The high winds on the hill cause the maze of prayer flags around it to flutter noisily as devotees turn the prayer wheels, light candles and butter lamps, while circumambulating the stupa. Erroneously and flippantly called Monkey Temple owing to the large simian population in the wooded hillside, Swayambhunath is among the oldest structures in the Valley, and according to legend, not built by the hands of men.
On the outskirts of Kathmandu, the stupendous Boudhanath is the largest stupa in the world. There is a maelstrom of activity around the stupa at all times of day. Devotees walk around it, children play on it, curio stores blare Buddhist chants set to electronica, ceremonial drums beat in nearby monasteries and the heady smell of incense and butter lamps hang heavy in the air. Above them all, the stupa’s giant Buddha eyes keep watch.
Overnight at Kathmandu.
In the morning, you have the option to take the famed Everest View Flight, a thrilling hour long loop in Himalayan skies on an STOL aircraft that takes you within touching distance of some of the world’s highest mountain peaks, including the Everest, Makalu, Lhotse, Manaslu, Kanchenjungha, Cho Oyu and others. Do be aware however that proximity to these high summits and deep Himalayan valleys lead to a rather bumpy ride but the view promises to be worth every rattle and shudder.
Later, proceed for a full day’s visit to Patan and Bhaktapur.
Across the Bagmati River, lies Patan, the second largest city of Kathmandu Valley and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A spacious, busy Durbar Square - crowded with locals who gather to relax and catch up on the temple steps - yields to numerous narrow winding alleyways snaking out in every possible direction. Some lead to tucked away temples, others to Malla-era houses still in use, while still others might lead to workshops where artisans are engrossed in making fearsome traditional masks or exquisite thangkas. In Patan, there is something surprising and magical around every corner.
Near the Northern edge of the Durbar Square, stands the majestic five-tiered pagoda structure of the Kumbheshwar Mahadev Temple. The oldest temple in Patan, this structure dates back to the 14th
century. Bhaktapur, the “City of Devotees” stands on a hilltop a few miles east of Kathmandu. One of the four Malla Era capitals of Kathmandu Valley, Bhaktapur retains much of its medieval charm and way of living and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
A treat for the eyes, Bhaktapur is full to the brim with exquisite shrines, palaces, sculptures, temples, columns and lakes, with practically every visible square inch of the city teeming with elaborate and intricate stone or woodwork. Fittingly, Bhaktapur served as the backdrop for much of filmmaker Bernardo Bertolucci’s stunning “Little Buddha.”
Overnight will be at Kathmandu.
Breakfast will be served at the hotel. Later, you will be escorted to airport to board the flight to Chitwan.
Formerly the hunting grounds of Nepal’s royalty, the Chitwan area was declared a national park in 1970 and since then, has proved to be one of the region’s greatest conservation success stories, particularly for the Asian one-horned rhinoceros (which now number over 500 adults) and the Bengal tiger. Asian elephants, bisons, sloth bears, hog deer, fishing cats, Gangetic dolphins, mugger crocodiles and the distinctive fish-eating ghariyal are a few of Chitwan’s other famous residents that populate its misty bamboo-sal-pine forests and scenic river valleys.
For those looking for a relaxing getaway, the private sit-outs of Chitwan’s luxurious royal era hunting lodges often offer great opportunities for wildlife sightings without having to step out of the comforts of one’s lodging.
For the rest, daily early morning jeep and elephant safaris into the forest are recommended, as are jungle walks with experienced trackers, and a visit to the highly intriguing elephant breeding center known for its spirited and playful baby jumbos.
Canoe rides up the Rapti river, perfect for birdwatching and close encounters of marsh mugger crocodiles and ghariyals, are a Chitwan speciality and a must-do.
Visits to nearby villages inhabited by the Tharu community give the visitor insightful glimpses into Tharu art, culture and daily life as well as the tribe’s unique symbiosis with the surrounding forest.
After breakfast at the lodge, enjoy forest walks or a short elephant ride. Later in the afternoon, you’ll be transferred to the airport for your flight to Kathmandu. A Compass India Holidays representative shall meet you at Kathmandu airport and assist you with your hotel transfer.
The rest of the day is free for you to catch up on some last minute curio shopping, or enjoy the buzzing nighlife at one of Thamel’s many steakhouses and pubs.
Overnight in Kathmandu
The morning is free for you to explore the city. Later, the Compass team will escort you to the international airport in time for your onward flight.