3 nights from only $595
Single Supplement: $295
5 nights from: $1395 Single Supplement: FREE
Experience the diversity and the magic of Nepal amid an unforgettable world of profound and ageless beauty. At the ancient crossroads of Asia, an enchanting kingdom gilded in Hindu and Buddhist culture nestles beneath the rugged peaks of eight of the world’s ten highest mountains. In Kathmandu, the capital, pilgrims make their way to local shrines as merchants sell their brightly colored and fragrant wares.
- It's Included:
- Roundtrip international airfare between India and Nepal
- Accommodations for 4 nights in Kathmandu and 1 night in Delhi
- 9 meals—4 breakfasts, 2 lunches, and 3 dinners
- 5 small group activities
- All land transportation
- Services of our own resident O.A.T. Trip Leader
- Gratuities for local guides, drivers, and luggage porters
- All transfers
On Day 16 of the main trip, enjoy breakfast at our hotel, followed by free time and lunch on your own in Varanasi. Later, fly from Varanasi to Kathmandu, Nepal, via Delhi, arriving late this evening.
After breakfast this morning, we’ll learn more about Kathmandu (4,265 feet), the capital and largest city of Nepal. It is a bustling epicenter filled with spice sellers and artisans, rickshaws and sacred cows. Pilgrims make their way to local shrines as merchants sell their brightly colored and fragrant wares. Artisans gifted in their ancient techniques display woven fabrics and ceramic bowls made for temple offerings.
Our day begins with a visit to the holiest temple in Nepal: the Boudhanath Stupa. Like Mecca is to Muslims, Boudhanath Stupa, standing 36 meters high, is the main pilgrimage site for Tibetan Buddhists. Tens of thousands of pilgrims make the journey each year. The temple’s hemispherical dome represents the emptiness from which everything begins; rising above the dome, the harmika shines the Buddha’s eyes in four directions that symbolize his total awareness. When Tibetan refugees entered Nepal, they settled around the Boudhanath Stupa, creating a small village that elicits the holy atmosphere of Tibet’s sacred city, Lhasa.
We'll also visit the Narayanhiti Palace Museum, a walled palace that was once home to Nepal’s royal family, during our tour of this vibrant city.
Later, we’ll head to Thamel, where we'll have lunch together, followed by free time for exploring the shops of this popular Kathmandu district. We’ll then return to our hotel and enjoy a Welcome Dinner with fellow travelers, followed by a chance to meet a local Nepali woman who has reached the summit of Everest three times and the opportunity to talk with her about her experiences.
At dawn, you may elect to enjoy an optional flight to Everest, known in Nepal as Sagarmatha or “Goddess of the Sky.” Avid climbers call this mountain “the ultimate climb,” and with its astounding summit height of 29,029 feet above sea level, Mount Everest earns the title of the tallest peak on Earth. Rising majestically out of the Himalayan range, its snowy peak and intricate geography offer us breathtaking views from the air.
After breakfast we'll journey to Kirtipur, an ancient city about 3 miles southwest of Kathmandu. Today, the city is filled with labyrinthine brick and stone streets, many of which are dotted with medieval temples—but times in the “City of Glory” were not always so peaceful. Due to Kirtipur’s strategic position, Gorkha king Prithvi Narayan Shah made it his first priority to capture the city during his 1767 conquest of the Kathmandu Valley. After two attacks and a six-month siege, the king took Kirtipur, and tragically ordered his troops to cut off the noses and lips of every male in the city.
We’ll take a tour of Kirtipur before departing for Patan, which sits across the Bagmati River from Kathmandu. Patan was developed on relatively thin layers of deposited clay and gravel in the central part of a dried ancient lake known as Nagdaha. The city was designed in the shape of the Buddhist Dharma-Chakra (Wheel of Righteousness). The four thurs, or mounds, located on the perimeter of Patan are known as the Ashoka Stupas, named for Emperor Ashoka who visited Kathmandu with his daughter, Charumati, in 250 BC and erected the five stupas. These mounds are joined by more than 1,200 Buddhist and Hindu monuments of various shapes and sizes located throughout the city. Patan is known for its art and artisans—the region has produced the most artists and finest craftsmen in Nepali history, and their devotional artwork gives us stunning displays of Nepal's fused cultures.
After lunch, we'll explore Patan Durbar Square, one of the seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Nepal that are preserved within a protected Monument Zone. Within the square, we visit the residence of the medieval Malla rulers of Patan, which is now an historical art museum. The Patan Durbar Square is reputedly the most picturesque of all the ancient Malla cities with its intricately carved architecture, delicate wind chimes, and ornate fountains.
Then we'll head back to our hotel, and the evening is at leisure for you to explore as you like.
After breakfast this morning, travel overland to Bhaktapur (Bhagdaon). The “City of Devotees,” Bhaktapur is a UNESCO World Heritage Site spanning four square miles. With its historic Durbar Square, ancient courtyards, and holy temples, the city was the crown jewel of the Malla Empire 700 years ago.
Next we’ll travel to the village of Nagarkot for lunch, known for its scenic views of Mount Everest and the Kathmandu Valley. After returning to the hotel, you’ll have time to relax before we gather for a Farewell Dinner.
Enjoy some free time to revisit some of your favorite sites in Kathmandu, or discover some new treasures on your own. Perhaps you’ll find a street artist painting intricate thangkas—Buddhist art for meditation—and reminisce about the Summer of Love on Freak Street, a former Bohemian mecca. Or simply relax over strong jasmine tea and savor the bustle of an exciting city culture much unchanged by the hands of time.
After lunch on your own this afternoon, we fly to Delhi, India, for a final night to rest before returning to the U.S.
Arise very early this morning, and depart for the Delhi airport and our flight to the U.S.
Please note: This extension may not be available on all departures. Ask our Adventure Specialists for details. Call 1-800-955-1925.