Border Information: If you are joining the trip in Kathmandu, you will most likely enter Nepal at Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport (IATA code: KTM). Wrapped around the Himalayan mountain range is the remarkable country of Nepal. It is the birthplace of the Buddha and is a land of legend and beauty. Within its narrow confines Nepal contains an utterly spectacular variety of culture and landscapes. Nepal has a stunning natural beauty and a simple charm. There is an important group meeting at 6:00pm. Your leader will leave a note at reception telling you where and when this important meeting will take place. Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Kathmandu before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Kathmandu. In Kathmandu we stay in a good quality hotel. Hotel for the night: Hotel Tibet Hotel Tibet Lazimpat Road Kathmandu 44600 Nepal Tel - +977 1442 9085 About Kathmandu: Kathmandu is the magnificent and evocative capital of Nepal - situated on the shores of the Bagmati river, it's a lively, bustling place where ancient collides with modern to create an exhilarating melting pot of sights, sounds and smells. Today's modern jumble of concrete buildings and busy streets has built up around the medieval old town, where wandering through the winding alleyways is like taking a step back in time. The heart of the old city is the magnificent Durbar Square, where Nepalese Royalty used to be crowned, and today it's a good spot to sit and watch the world go by. The buildings here date from the 17th and 18th Centuries, although many of the original structures were even older and many suffered from earthquake damage over the last few centuries. Other sights worth visiting are the Temple of the Living Goddess, the Royal Palace, the Pashupatinath Hindu temple, Boudhanath Buddhist stupa and Swayambunath (the Monkey Temple), all of which are set against the magnificent Himalayan backdrop. When all the sightseeing gets a bit too much, you can kick back and relax in the numerous cafes and bars around the tourist areas of Thamel and ‘Freak Street'.
Today is a free day to explore the incredible city of Kathmandu, soak up its atmosphere, and visit its historical sites. Activity Approximate Cost 2 night stay at the 5 star Dwarika Hotel NPR 250 Enjoy a scenic flight over Mount Everest NPR 200 Discover Kathmandu on a guided city tour NPR 100 Feast on a 9 course traditional Nepali meal NPR 750 2 nights to enjoy the sights of Kathmandu NPR 250 Visit the former royal palace of Narayanhiti and see the crown jewels of Nepal NPR 500 Visit the sacred Hindu Pashupatinath Temple, dedicated to Nepal's unofficial national deity NPR 1000 Get out of the city and explore the nearby national park of Sundarijal, and see its idyllic waterfalls and rock formations NPR 250 Visit the beautiful and tranquil Durbar Square in the nearby medieval town of Bhaktapur, and visit its nearby museums NPR 750
Today our journey begins with a drive to the historic village of Nuwakot, one of Nepal’s hidden gems nestled in the central hills of the country. Full of ancient temples and palaces, Nuwakot has a beautifully serene atmosphere and rustic ambience - perfect for getting a taste of the calm pace of rural Nepalese life. In Nuwakot we will stay in a hotel based inside an old manor house. Estimated Drive Time - 4-6 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!). About Nuwakot: The beautiful and serene village of Nuwakot is nestled amongst the mountains of central Nepal - in fact, the village has the interesting honour of being the most centrally-located settelment in the country. The town contains some historic treasures, most notably the 18th-Century Nuwakot Palace and Bhairab Temple - a UNESCO World Heritage site that once cemented the area as the capital of the valley and a vital stop along the trade route between Tibet and Kathmandu.
Today is a free day to explore the stunning village of Nuwakot and its surroundings. Activity Approximate Cost Freely explore the historic Nepalese village of Nuwakot and visit its 18th-century palace, once an important stop on the bustling TibetanKathmandu Valley trade route. Free
Today we will spend a little more time enjoying the serenity of Nuwakot, before taking a short drive to Nepal's second city - the adventure town of Pokhara! In Pokhara we will stay in a local guesthouse. Estimated Drive Time - 2-3 hours. About Pokhara: Set in the Himalyan foothills of Nepal, Pokhara is one of the most picturesque towns in the entire country. Set on the edge of Lake Phewa, the town has the spectacular backdrop of the snow-capped peaks of the Annapurna Massif - three of the world's tallest mountains (Annapurna, Dhaulagiri and Manaslu) are within 50kms of the city! The city was an important stop along the trading route between India and Tibet, and was a commercial centre for the Kingdom of Kaski in the 17th and 18th Centuries. Today Pokhara is the second-largest city in Nepal and home to a large Tibetan diaspora - there are a myriad of activities available for visitors, including biking, rafting, trekking and boat trips on the lake.
Today we will have a free day in the fantastic city of Pokhara. The area is famous for its myriad of spectacular waterfalls surrounded by fertile forests and towering mountains, for its fantastic choice of yoga and meditation retreats, and for its overwhelming choice of adventure activities from trekking to rafting to zip-lining to mountain biking! Activity Approximate Cost Take a boat out on Phewa Lake near Pokhara, basking in the spectactular mountain-and-forest scenery of one of Nepal's most beautiful spots NPR 500 Head out to the stunning Phewa Tal Lake on an unforgettable pony trek through the lush forests near Pokhara NPR 4000 Take an early trip to the summit of Sarangkot to witness the incredible sunrise while surrounded by some of the world's highest mountains, with the possibility of trekking downhill back to Pokhara NPR 4000 Visit one of Pokhara's beautiful ashrams to take a yoga or meditation course USD 10 Head out on an adrenaline-fuelled white water rafting expedition near the adventure town of Pokhara USD 40 Head out for an exhilarating mountain biking expedition in the mountains surrounding Pokhara USD 40
This morning we take a short drive out of Pokhara to the small village of Dhampus, where we start our 3-hour trek to our Annapurna eco-lodge. The lodge is dramatically located in the foothills of the mountains of Annapurna and Manaslu, and is a paradise for taking walks through the stunning Nepalese countryside. The trek is approximately 3 hours in total, and is relatively easy but is mainly uphill. The trek can be skipped by any individual if need be. In the Annapurna Region we will stay in a local eco-lodge. Estimated Drive Time - 1-2 hours.
Today we will explore the area around our eco-lodge, meet many of the locals, and get into the heart of the community. We will hopefuly visit a local school and give something back to the local community by helping to maintain their ingenious water systems. Activity Approximate Cost Get into the heart of a Nepalese rural community in the Annapurna region, visiting a local school and helping out with various sustainable development projects in the village Included in Kitty Head out on a fantastic trek along the ridge at the start of the Mardi Himal Trail, taking in the unreal vistas of Annapurna and Machhapuchhare in the mountain ranges nearby Included in Kitty
Today we will embark on a stunning walk along the ridge, taking in the incredible vistas of Annapurna and Machhapuchhare mountains in the background! We will stop at a small village for lunch and then take the steep downhill trail to rejoin our overland truck on the main road. From there, we will drive to the delightful town of Bandipur. The trek is approximately 5 hours in total, and is easy and relatively flat until the steep downhill section back to the main road which is a bit more challenging. The trek can be skipped by any individual if need be. In Bandipur we will stay in a fantastic local hotel. Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.
Today we will drive through stunning scenery down to the lowlands of Nepal and the Terai grasslands. Our destination is Chitwan National Park, where we will stay for the next 2 nights. If we arrive in good time we will make a visit to Bis Hajaar Tal, also known as 20,000 Lakes, which is a wetland area near the Royal Chitwan National Park. Here we will get the opportunity to see peacocks, wild boars, deer and there is also a slim chance of seeing tigers and rhinos. If we cannot visit the 20,000 Lakes area today we will make our visit tomorrow. In Chitwan we will stay in a local guest lodge. Estimated Drive Time - 2-4 hours. Activity Approximate Cost Explore the village of Chitwan on a tour by traditional ox and cart Included in Kitty Explore the heart of the incredible Chitwan National Park on a jeep safari (alternative to the 20,000 Lake excursion) NPR 3500 Elephant safari through the grasslands of Chitwan in search of Rhino & Tigers Included in Kitty Take a jeep safari around the stunning wetland area of 20,000 Lakes Included in Kitty Witness the fascinating and impressive local tradition of Tharu stick dancing Included in Kitty About Chitwan National Park: Chitwan National Park is situated in the central Nepali Terai, a huge nature reserve protecting hundreds of square kilometres of grassland and marshes. Home to over 700 species of animals in total, it's a fantastic place to look for wildlife - if you're very lucky then you may spot a heavily-armoured Asiatic Rhino, as well as sloth bears and even tigers! You can go on walking safaris, boat trips or travel by jeep in the National Park.
Today we'll spend the day exploring the National Park by canoe and on foot, and there is the option to take a jeep safari! There will be an opportunity to see a traditional Nepali dance demonstration in the evening. In Chitwan we will stay in a local guest lodge. Activity Approximate Cost Explore the village of Chitwan on a tour by traditional ox and cart Included in Kitty Explore the heart of the incredible Chitwan National Park on a jeep safari (alternative to the 20,000 Lake excursion) NPR 3500 Elephant safari through the grasslands of Chitwan in search of Rhino & Tigers Included in Kitty Take a jeep safari around the stunning wetland area of 20,000 Lakes Included in Kitty Witness the fascinating and impressive local tradition of Tharu stick dancing Included in Kitty
Border Information: Exit Nepal at Belhiya, enter India at Sonauli. Today we enter the legendary country of India. India has so much to offer, from the beautiful landscapes of the Himalayas, to the amazing temples and coastlines, rich culture, and of course the food! This morning we have a fairly relaxed start to the day before packing up and driving to the border. We will cross the border to India and continue on a short drive to the town of Gorakhpur. We will stay in a local hotel in Gorakhpur. Estimated Drive Time - 8-10 hours.
Today we will continue driving and reach the holy city of Varanasi in the evening. Estimated Drive Time - 6-8 hours. On the following day we will get up very early for an included boat trip down the Ganges. This is a magical time of day to see the famous ghats and watch the morning rituals of the thousands of people who come here to purify themselves in the holy river. We will have auto-rickshaws for the rest of the day to explore the rest of the city - we will have the opportunity to use them to visit a traditional silk workshop and the Mother India temple. In Varanasi we will stay in a comfortable local hotel. Activity Approximate Cost At dawn drift down the holy River Ganges in Varanasi Included in Kitty Explore the stupas and temples of Varanasi Free Visit the Mughal-era mosque of Gyanvapi in Varanasi Free Visit the ancient site of Isipatana and the museum in the town of Sarnath, one of the most sacred Buddhist pilgrimage sites in the world and where many Buddhist nations have built temples in their national styles USD 5 About Varanasi: Set on the banks of the river Ganges, Varanasi (formerly known as Benares) is the holiest place in the Hindu religion. Hindu pilgrims travel here from all over the world come here to wash away their sins in the blessed river water of the Ganges, and to cremate their loved ones who have passed away. In Hindu mythology, to die in the city of Varanasi will result in instant "moksha", a release from the cycle of death and reincarnation. Varanasi is also the birthplace of Buddhism, as the Buddha is said to have given his first ever sermon at the nearby site of Sarnath in 528 BCE. Dawn is probably the best time of day to experience the city - by floating down the river on a boat, you can witness thousands of worshippers coming to the river's ghats to purify themselves in their morning rituals. You will also be able to see the burning ghats, where the bodies of the faithful are cremated and their ashes strewn out over the waters. To the Hindu people, Varanasi is a very special and spritual place, and it has a very evocative and sometimes otherwordly atmosphere, although being so close to the intimate rituals of life and death can sometimes leave you feeling a little overwhelmed.
Today we will drive to the town of Khajuraho, having some free time to relax at our treehouse campsite when we arrive. Estimated Drive Time - 9-10 hours. On the next day we will head out for an included guided visit to the Khajuraho Erotic Temples. The next day is free to explore the area, relax on the banks of the river, or take an optional jeep safari to the nearby Panna National Park in search of wildlife. In Khajuraho we will stay in a campsite with good facilities. Activity Approximate Cost Jeep safari through Panna Game Reserve INR 1500 Guided tour of the famous erotic temples at Khajuraho Included in Kitty About Khajuraho: Khajuraho was once the capital of the Chandelas of Jejakabhukti between the 10th-13th Centuries CE, a small Rajput kingdom. Rajput kingdoms were small local dynasties that dominated political life across northern and central India between the 6th Century BCE and the 20th Century CE. The Chandelas of Jejakabhukti ruled over much of the modern-day region of Bundelkhand, and built the magnificent Hindu and Jain temples in Khajuraho in around 1000 CE. Considered to be "one of the seven wonders of India", the temples are in three geographic groups - western, eastern and southern. Because they were built in quite a remote and inaccessible location, the western group of temples have been almost perfectly preserved. Set in peaceful, well-kept gardens, the temples are magnificently decorated and covered in some very graphic carvings depicting all sorts of erotic acts!
After breakfast we leave our campsite and head to the city of Agra. Most of today will be spent travelling and we will arrive in the evening. Estimated Drive Time - 9-11 hours. On the following day we will have an included day tour of the major sites of Agra, starting with sunrise at the world-famous iconic mausoleum of the Taj Mahal, followed by a visit to the Agra Fort. In Agra we will stay in a local hotel. Activity Approximate Cost See the stunning Taj Mahal and visit the Agra Fort at Agra. Included in Kitty Community homestay to experience true Indian hospitality Included in Kitty Explore the peaceful grounds of the Itmad Ud Daulah mausoleum, often described as a 'draft' of the Taj Mahal INR 100 About Taj Mahal: The Taj Mahal is by far the most recognisable icon of India. One of the New Seven Wonders of the World, coming face-to-face with this magnificent building never disappoints. Built between 1632-1653 CE by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, the spectacular building was a mausoleum in memory of his second wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died while giving birth to their 14th child. Because of this origin, the building is often described as a "monument to love". It took over 20,000 labourers and skilled craftsmen to built it, some of whom were brought in from all over India, Central Asia and even Europe to work on the marble inlay work and complex decorations. The site has been described by UNESCO as being "the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage". The Taj Mahal is fantastic to explore at any time of the day, but the early mornings are the best - sitting quietly and watching as the iridescent white marble takes on a soft morning glow is a memory you will never forget. About Agra: Of course the main highlight of Agra is the iconic Taj Mahal, but this means that it is all too easy to overlook some of the city's other magnificient sites. Agra (then known as Akhbarabad) was the capital of the Mughal empire under Shahs Akhbar, Jahangir, and Jahan, before Shah Jahan moved it to Shahjahanabad (modern-day Delhi) in 1648 CE. The heritage of the Mughals is still evident, not just with the stunning Taj Mahal, but with the spectacular Red Fort and wonderful Itmad-ud-Daulah tomb (sometimes known as the'Baby Taj'). The city is also a good place for shopping, particularly jewellery, textiles and other arts and crafts.
We leave Agra today and head overland to the pink city of Jaipur, stopping en route at Fatehpur Sikri (the old capital of the Mughal Empire). Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours. On the following day we will have a full day exploring the sites of Jaipur on the truck with our local guide. Whilst in Jaipur there will also be the option for an early morning or late afternoon hot air balloon ride over the city. In Jaipur we will stay in a comfortable local hotel. Activity Approximate Cost 2 night stay and guided tour of Jaipur, the beautiful Pink City Included in Kitty Take an unforgettable sunrise or sunset balloon ride over the forts and palaces of Jaipur USD 250 See a traditional outdoor Rajasthani Kathputli puppet show in Jaipur INR 100 Explore the fascinating 18th-century astronomical observatory of Jantar Mantar Included in Kitty Visit the ancient citadel of the Amber Palace, a fascinating blend of Hindu and Mughal architecture Included in Kitty Head out to see a Bollywood movie at the Raj Mandir, one of India's most famous and elegant cinemas INR 80 Discover the perfectly-preserved 16th-century Mughal capital of Fatehpur Sikri, and its beautiful temples and monuments Included in Kitty About Jaipur: The city of Jaipur is the capital of the state of Rajasthan, and named after its founder Maharaja Jai Singh II who moved his capital here from nearby Amer in the 18th Century due to population growth. It is known as the "Pink City", as all the buildings within the walls of the old town are painted a dusky rose pink - the story goes that Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh ordered that all the buildings should be painted in this colour to welcome the visiting Prince of Wales (who later became Edward VII) to the city in 1876, and the buildings have remained the same colour ever since. Jaipur is busy and bustling, with chaotic streets full of traffic, but it is also home to some incredible architecture and colourful history. The Palace of the Winds (Hawa Mahal) in the city centre is the most famous building, with storey after storey of intricately carved honeycomb windows - and the impressive City Palace should not be missed. Other sites of interest include the old Jantar Mantar Observatory and the Iswari Minar Swarga Sal minaret. It's also a great city for people-watching, set out on foot and you will find yourself surrounded by tall, proud Rajasthanis. Many of the men sport magnificent handlebar moustaches and huge brightly coloured turbans whilst the women are equally colourful in their mirrored skirts and chunky jewellery. About Fatehpur Sikri: Fatehpur Sikri is the site of the perfectly preserved but deserted capital built by Akbar, the third Emperor of the Mughal Empire. In 1569 CE, Akbar founded the new city to honour the Sufi holy man Salim Chishti, who had previously blessed him and foretold the birth of Akbar’s only son. Akbar proclaimed the city as the new Mughal capital in 1571, only for it to be abandoned in 1585 due to the drying up of the only water source. After briefly declaring Lahore as the new capital, it was once again returned to the nearby city of Agra. There is little left of the wider orignal city, but much of the magnificent imperial complex, protective walls and wonderful old mosque remain almost intact, a testament to the might and power of Akbar and the Mughal Empire.
Today we leave Jaipur and travel to the chaotic Indian capital of Delhi. Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours.In Delhi we will stay in a friendly local hotel. About Delhi: Delhi is the bustling and thriving Indian capital, and the third largest urban area in the world (behind Tokyo and Jakarta). The Delhi area has been continuously inhabited since at least the 6th century BCE and has served as the a capital of various kingdoms and empires throughout the last three millennia, most prominantly by the Afghan and Turkic Sultanates of the medieval period, and the Mughal Empire between the 16th and 18th Centuries. The city was taken by British colonial forces in 1858 and made the capital in 1911, a status which was kept when India gained its independence in 1947. Delhi has many incredible sights spanning all eras of its history. The Lok Sabha (parliament building), President’s Palace, India Gate and the Rajpath are impressive reminders of the old British Indian Empire, while a trip on the metro to Qutab Minar will let you discover this intricately carved tower built during the Afghan Sultanate period. To surround yourself in the phenomenal Mughal-era architecture, take a visit to Humayan's Tomb (allegedly a forerunner of the Taj Mahal), and the magnificent Red Fort and Jama Masjid in the area known as 'Old Delhi'. Bustling Delhi is also a great place to indulge in shopping and people-watching. In the old town you'll find Chandni Chowk, a colourful shopping bazaar and fascinating market. The market is one of the most popular in India, taking it's name from the words meaning "moonlight square".
Today we will have an included guided tour of Old Delhi, heading to the Mughal Jama Masjid mosque, a local tea-maker, a Sikh temple, and the local spice markets. We will also have some free time to freely explore the sights of Delhi in the afternoon. Activity Approximate Cost Take a walking tour through some of the back streets and narrow alleyways of Old Delhi, discovering the hidden side of the city Included in Kitty Explore the Sanjay Colony 'slum' area of Delhi on a guided tour to see the micro-industries, schools and residential life there INR 600 Freely explore the colossal Mughal Red Fort in Old Delhi, built by the emporer Shah Jahan in 1648 upon moving the capital there INR 250 Visit the stunning Mughal-era mosque of Jama Masjid in Old Delhi, and climb its iconic minarets for an unrivalled view of the old city INR 400 Visit the Indira Gandhi Museum in Delhi, dedicated to the former Prime Minister who was assassinated by her own bodyguards in 1984 INR 100 See the ground-breaking modern architecture of the Delhi Baha'i Temple, known as the Lotus Temple due to its unique shape Free See the India Gate at the end of Delhi's ceremonial axis, built to commemorate all Indians who have died in various wars Free Explore the site of Humayun’s Tomb, a phenomenal early Mughal tomb that is said to be a major inspiration for the Taj Mahal INR 250 Discover the phenomenal 13th Century Qutab Minar and Mehrauli Archaeological Park in the south of Delhi, an intricately-carved pillar built during the Sultanate era of Indian history INR 250
Border Information: If you are leaving in Delhi, you will most likely exit India from Delhi's Indira Gandi International Airport (IATA code: DEL). Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Delhi. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Dragoman Sales team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below.