Himalayan Discovery Safari

The beauty, culture, and history of Nepal revealed
Overview

overview

The Himalayan Discovery Safari is an excellent, active introduction to the scenic beauty, natural history, and cultural diversity of Nepal. Combine an easy-paced trek with a short raft trip and a game-viewing elephant safari in a remote part of Chitwan National Park, a wildlife sanctuary in southern Nepal. This trek’s combination of trails through rarely-visited areas with spectacular mountain views, excellent leadership, and an easy pace makes it a perfect Himalayan adventure for first-timers.

This trip is less arduous, less crowded, and more scenically and culturally varied than treks in the Everest or Annapurna areas and without the issues of high altitude, difficult air access, or weather-limiting conditions. JOURNEYS first pioneered this route in 1982. You will camp in a community forest planted by some of our early trekkers and meet with now-grown students who benefited from area schools we have supported over the years.

itinerary

itinerary

  • Day 1: Arrive Kathmandu
    Immerse yourself in Kathmandu's unique culture

    On arrival in Kathmandu, you will be met at the airport and transferred to your Western-style hotel.

    Meals
    None
    Lodging
    International Guest House or similar (upgrade available)
    Show on a map
  • Day 2: Kathmandu
    Explore Kathmandu's temples

    Your second day in Kathmandu includes guided visits to the famous temples of Swayambhunath, Pasupantinath, or Boddhanath. Boddhanath is a great white half dome with the Eyes of Buddha painted on it and is one of the most famous cultural icons of Nepal. Nowhere on earth will you encounter such a concentration of varied Buddhist activity.  Not far away, you will visit one of the most holy and venerated of all Hindu temples, Pasupatinath. Non-Hindus are not allowed inside the golden-roofed pagoda-style temple, but you can glimpse the great golden bull through the doorway. Rhesus monkeys are everywhere around the grounds, riverside cremations are often taking place, and there is always a colorful group of ascetic pilgrim visitors encamped in the general area. If time permits, you will visit the Tibetan refugee center and Patan, another of the old Kingdoms of the Kathmandu Valley.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    International Guest House or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 3: Kathmandu / Gorkha
    View majestic mountains from your camp

    Travel five scenic hours by minibus to Gorkha, the ancient capital of Nepal. Gorkha Bazaar is alive with people marketing, tending animals, doing laundry, bathing, and socializing. Your trek begins with a climb to the palace of King Prithvi Narayan Shah, the 11th grandfather of the present king. The nearby temple of "Gorkha Kali" (Goddess of Destruction) is believed to give Nepalese Gurkha soldiers their legendary bravery. Venerated as one of the holiest places outside of Kathmandu, the inner sanctum traditionally, was accessible only to the king. Trek two hours to your first camp for your overnight.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Camping
    Show on a map
  • Day 4: Gorkha / Arkhul
    Trek through local communities among the mountains

    Start a full day of trekking amid the serenity of Chetry, Newar, and Gurung communities seldom visited by Westerners. After walking only a few miles from the road, you will feel as though you have gone decades back in time. Meet children on their own long "treks" to school, then hike down to a river valley. Your camp is beside a stream that invites bathing, bird watching, and meditation.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Camping
    Show on a map
  • Day 5: Arkhul / Muchok
    Hike along the river valley

    Continue following the river valley today; at times you will trek on a path cutting into the rock above the stream. You'll cross rice fields before beginning the longest climb of your trek. Tonight's camp is at the edge of a picturesque village that lies partway up the 8,000-foot ridge. Keep an eye out for deer, eagles, and brightly-colored sunbirds in the forests.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Camping
    Show on a map
  • Days 6-7: Muchok / Sirendanda
    Visit local communities while trekking

    Today you'll finish your climb in time to see the soft morning light on the high peaks. Lunch will be in a park-like laurel and rhododendron forest near Barchak, a Buddhist Gurung community on the ridge top. In the afternoon, you'll feel as if you are walking into the sky as you trek north along the ridge's narrowing trail. Camp for two nights at Sirendanda at the edge of a great forest. Together with a small Buddhist monastery and a nearby community, JOURNEYS has been active in a forestry project in this area. Enjoy a free day to explore the surroundings or to push further along the ridge with your guide. You may reach elevations as high as 13,000 feet! Lammergeier (Bearded vultures) and rare musk deer can be seen in this area during the day. Listen for barking deer and owls at night.

    Meals
    2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
    Lodging
    Camping
    Show on a map
  • Day 8: Chilaune
    Get to know villagers on your daily hikes

    Take an alternate route back along the ridge today. Much of the trail lies along the boundary between forest and farmland, providing a unique opportunity to observe both nature and culture. Camp is at 6,000 feet tonight.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Camping
  • Day 9: Chilaune / Palungtar
    Search for farms along the way

    Continue south with a gradual descent. Pass through Ampipal, a prosperous community with a small missionary hospital, and enjoy one last panoramic view of the high peaks before descending to camp on the ancient lakebed of Palungtar.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Camping
    Show on a map
  • Day 10: Trisuli River to Chitwan
    Raft the Trisuli River

    Transfer by jeep or minibus to the Trisuli River. After a brief instruction clinic, begin rafting on the Trisuli River near Fishlingtar. The elevation here is about 1,800 feet and it is quite warm, even in winter. This is participatory paddling under the direction of an expert guide.

    After your river adventure, depart for Chitwan National Park in Nepal's southern lowland Terai region, where you will explore the flora, fauna, and people of the region and spend two nights in an airy, comfortable lodge in the jungle.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Temple Tiger Lodge or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 11: Chitwan National Park
    Search for diverse wildlife in Chitwan National Park

    Spend a full day exploring wonderful Chitwan National Park. This is a fantastic contrast to the middle hills and higher Himal. During your visit, you'll join elephant safaris, a dugout canoe trip, and a game hike. Observe rhinos, deer, boar, and other animals. A former Royal Hunting Reserve, the park is home to tigers, leopards, and several other species of cats. This is also an amazing area for bird watching, particularly during the winter when migrants from northern Asia fly south to join the resident population. More than 300 species of birds have been recorded here. You'll also visit nearby Tharu villages to observe how these people and their customs differ from those in the hills. 

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Temple Tiger Lodge or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 12: Chitwan / Kathmandu
    With luck, you may spot rhino and other large mammals

    After exploring Chitwan in the morning, travel back to Kathmandu. Road conditions may necessitate return by air, but plane schedules can be erratic and may entail long waits.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    International Guest House or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 13: Kathmandu
    Explore Kathmandu's shops

    Today is free to spend at your leisure or do some last minute shopping.

    Consider taking the optional Everest Mountain View Flight (additional cost) to see the mighty Himalayas from the air.

    The ancient city of Bhaktapur, UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a good place to explore if you have an interest in culture, temples, and ancient architecture. Take some time to look in the shops to observe potters, weavers, brass-makers, religious artisans, Brahmin priests, and spice merchants carrying out their professions as they have done here for hundreds of years.

    If you'd rather get out of the city and into nature, Shivapuri National Park, located about an hour north from Kathmandu, is the perfect place to see wild life, birds and botany (specifically orchids and medicinal plants).

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    International Guest House or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 14: Kathmandu / Onward

    Transfer to the airport for your onward flight.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    None
    Show on a map
Price and Date Details

Price and Date Details

Mar 3-16, 2015
Nov 3-16, 2015
Or Privately on Request
Land Cost:
$3,600
The cost quoted is the Land Cost and is subject to change. This covers accommodations, transfers, activities, touring, guide services and meals as described in JOURNEYS' Trip Notes. The quoted Land Cost will apply when group size falls in the specified range and when travel is on the indicated dates.
Single Supplement:
$450
The single supplement is applicable if a roommate is not available or if single accommodation is specifically requested. While single accommodation is not available on all trips, we will try and honor this request whenever possible.
Need to Know

Need to Know

Duration:
14 days
The number of days, or duration, in a destination corresponds with the itinerary as published. This is the time period covered by the land cost. The total number of days includes the time required to travel between the USA and the destination country.
Comfort Level:
1
Camping & charming jungle lodge
Group Size:
2-12
The stated range indicates minimum required for guaranteed departure and maximum accepted on the scheduled dates. Exceptions can often be made for private departures.
Activity Level:
4
Camping & charming jungle lodge

Resources

Trip Extensions

Trip Extensions

Dhulikhel Lodge Visit

Duration: 3 days

Lovely lodge with traditional architecture, private gardens and panoramic views; village and short treks nearby.

Bangkok Hospitality

Duration: 3 days

If you are passing through Bangkok and want more than a transit stop, ask for our three day/two night Bangkok Hospitality Extension. We meet you at the airport and transfer you to an attractive centrally located hotel. This extension also includes y... read more

Phuket

Duration: 4 days

Phuket is the largest of Thailand's islands. It is incredibly varied with rocky beaches, long broad sandy beaches, forested hills, and clear waters great for snorkeling and relaxing. There is no better way to end a trip!

Kathmandu Hospitality

Duration: 3 days

2 hotel nights with breakfast, 2 airport transfers, Kathmandu sight-seeing, ticket reconfirmation and assistance with any necessary trekking permits.

Angkor Wat 3-Day Odyssey

Duration: 3 days

This excursion focuses on the amazing ruins of Angkor in Siem Reap. Angkor Wat, a spectacular architectural legacy of a period of bizarre regimes, is the most famous and confusing of the ruins in southeast Asia. This makes a perfect extension to any ... read more

Angkor Wat 5-Day Odyssey

Duration: 5 days

This excursion takes you to Siem Reap where you explore the magnificent Angkor sites followed by a ride on the Tonle Sap to see the local fishing villages. Then a short flight to Phnom Penh where you visit interesting museums, including Toul Sleng, a... read more

Delhi Hospitality Package

Duration: 3 days

Visit Delhi before or after any JOURNEYS Asia tour.

Chitwan National Park

Duration: 3 days

Chitwan National Park is probably the world’s best habitat for the rare Bengal Tiger and the One-horned Rhinoceros. Ride elephants in search of these animals and the hundreds of other animals and birds found here. Almost 700 sq. miles of lush rive... read more

×