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Kathmandu Valley and a Glimpse of Everest  The Natural Adventure Company 11

Kathmandu Valley and a Glimpse of Everest

Overview

This rewarding and relatively easy trek, unique to The Natural Adventure Company, is designed for adventure enthusiasts looking for a perfect combination of culture and adventure. On the Kathmandu Valley and a Glimpse of Everest tour, before heading to the foot of Mt Everest, you will do a warm-up trek (including one short cycling day) around the Kathmandu valley, visiting several temples and stupas and enjoying some great scenery. Once you are warmed up, you will fly to Lukla and join the epic journey to the Sherpa capital and gateway to Mt Everest, Namche Bazaar, where you will take in unforgettable views of Ama Dablam, Everest, Lhotse and the other mighty Himalayan peaks.

All our Nepal and Himalaya treks are private departures, so you are free to choose your date (between September and May), and companions (minimum group size is 2 people) and our trekking support crew will be with you during the entire trek – we provide one of the highest staff to client ratios on the trek: one trekking guide per party, one Sherpa assistant for every four trekkers and one porter for every two trekkers. During the trek, you will need to carry only your daypack. 

On this adventure, you will spend 4 nights in a nice hotel in Kathmandu, 1 night in standard hotel in Nagarkot, 1 night in a budget hotel in Bhaktapur (all on a twin share basis) and 6 nights on a twin share basis in lodges (tea houses) in the mountains.

Highlights

  • Explore vibrant Kathmandu and Namche Bazar
  • Experience authentic Sherpa villages, meet locals during tea house stays and soak up the Sherpa culture
  • Visit ancient temples and stupas in the beautiful Kathmandu Valley
  • Cycle from Nagarkot to Bhaktapur
  • Trek from Lukla to Namche Bazaar
  • Take in incredible views of Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse and Ama Dablam

Click to view map

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Kathmandu

Upon arrival at Kathmandu Airport (you can choose any flight you wish), you will be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel in Kathmandu. Relax at your hotel, then explore the streets of Kathmandu.

Day 2: Kathmandu Sightseeing & Trek Preparation

After a lovely breakfast in the morning, we start a guided sightseeing tour to four UNESCO World Heritage sites of Kathmandu that have historical and spiritual values. We will visit Pashupatinath, Temple Swoyambhunath Stupa, Kathmandu Durbar Square and Bouddhanath Stupa. Meet your trekking guide at the hotel lobby and get the all information about your trip, and also feel free to get his help for last-minute gear shopping in Thamel.

Day 3: Drive Kathmandu – Sundarijal; Trek to Chisapani | 4 h | 2215 m

After early morning breakfast, we drive to Sudarijal, located 25 km northeast of Kathmandu (45 min drive). Sundarijal (1325 m), one of Shivapuri National Park’s entrance points, boasts a stunning temple and beautiful waterfalls. From Sudarijal we start walking through the pine forest, home to 177 species of birds. After 4 hours of walking through the forest, we reach Chisapani village. Overnight in a tea house.

  • Walking for the day: 4 hours, ↑890 m, final elevation 2215 m

Day 4: Trek Chisapani to Nagarkot | 6-7 h | 1965 m

The first section of trekking passes through the forest, and you will enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery. Once the forested trail is crossed, we reach Jhule village and eat our lunch. Then we follow mostly the Jeep track until we reach Nagarkot which commands one of the broadest views of the Himalaya in the Kathmandu valley. From Nagarkot, you can admire 8 of the 13 Nepali Himalayan ranges, including Annapurna range, Manaslu range, Langtang range with a view of Kathmandu valley and Shivapuri national park. Overnight at Hotel Country Villa or similar standard hotel.

  • Walking for the day: 6-7 hours, final elevation 1965 m

Day 5: Cycle Nagarkot to Bhaktapur | 2-3 h | 1965 m

After breakfast at the hotel, we meet our cycling guide and start biking down to Bhaktapur. In the first section, we bike downhill on a surfaced road and ride past pine forest and villages. The road later on levels up and we bike through a series of terraced fields and small towns to Bhaktapur. The homemade yoghurt of Bhaktapur is a must-try. After lunch, we will stroll the ancient Durbar square and admire the skills of Nepali woodcarvers. Overnight in a budget hotel in Bhaktapur.

  • Cycling for the day: 2-3 hours, ↓615 m final elevation 1350 m

Day 6: Drive to Kathmandu & Trek Preparation

You will have some time in the morning for further exploration of Bhaktapur before you return to Kathmandu (45 min drive). Enjoy some leisure time and prepare for tomorrow’s trek.

Day 7: Flight Kathmandu – Lukla; Trek to Phakding | 4 h | 2610 m

We drive off to the airport early in the morning and take a scenic flight to Lukla. Make sure you sit on the left for your first great views of the Everest region. The landing at Lukla is an adventure experience by itself, but the pilots are highly skilled. Upon arrival at Lukla, we meet our other crew members, and after some packing and arrangements, we start our trek through the village of Lukla until we reach Phakding village. We will follow the Dudh Kosi, the river that flows down from the Himalayas, crossing many hanging bridges along the way. There are some monasteries in the vicinity that are worth a visit.

  • Walking for the day: 3-4 hours, ↓200 m, final elevation 2610 m

Day 8: Phakding to Namche Bazaar | 5-6 h | 3440 m

Walking through a beautiful pine forest, the track leads us along the Dudh Koshi River through series of suspension bridges, one of which is the famous Hillary Suspension Bridge with a wonderful viewpoint of the gleaming Mt Thamserku (6618 m). We pass through the last village of Jorsale before finishing with a challenging uphill climb to Namche Bazaar. Enjoy the first glimpse of Everest.

  • Walking for the day: 5-6 hours, ↑1000 m ↓100 m, final elevation 3440 m

Day 9: Namche Bazaar Walks | 5 h | 3440 m

Today we walk around the Khumjung valley. Hillary School and Khunde Hospital are the places we can visit in this valley. We hike to a viewpoint to enjoy the great view of Mount Everest, Ama Dablam, Thamserku, Lhotse and then trek back to Namche.

  • Walking for the day: 4-5 hours, ↑450 m ↓450 mfinal elevation 3440 m

Day 10: Namche Bazaar to Monjo | 5 h | 2835 m

Today is a short walk from Namche to Monjo with a climb to the highest hotel in the world to enjoy a superb view of Mt Everest, Mt Nuptse, Mt Lhotse, Mt Ama Dablam and a close up view of Thamserku. Trails descend from Namche Hill crossing the Dudh Kosi River; near the confluence of the Dhudh Koshi and the Bhote Koshi Rivers we reach Monjo.

  • Walking for the day: 5 hours, ↑350 m ↓850 m, final elevation 2835 m

Day 11: Monjo to Lukla | 3 h | 2840 m

It’s an enjoyable and rewarding walk from Monjo to Lukla. Take your time to take in Sherpa village life on your last day of trekking in the Himalayas. Check-in for the overnight and relax with an ice-cold beer after the adventure you’ve just completed.

  • Walking for the day: 3 hours, ↑150 m ↓350 m, final elevation 2840 m

Day 12: Flight Lukla – Kathmandu & Overnight

Recall the memories from the trek and enjoy the flight back to Kathmandu. Back in Kathmandu, you can spend some leisure time. We meet up for dinner in the evening and celebrate the successful completion of the Everest Highlights Trek.

Day 13: Departure

Private transfer to Kathmandu Airport or optional extension.

Optional Chitwan Jungle Safari Extension (2 nights)

Experience the other side of Nepal in the jungle of the Chitwan National Park. Once home to a royal hunting reserve, Chitwan is now widely recognised as one of the best national parks in Asia. The park offers protection to numerous species including the one-horned rhinoceros, Bengal tiger, leopard, sloth bear, wild elephant, striped hyena, Gangetic dolphin, crocodile and wild bison.

  • Take a boat along the Rapti river, which shelters about a quarter of the world’s remaining gharial population
  • Jump on a jeep safari and spot a range of wild animals
  • Spend some time in a local village, visiting the wildlife display centre and learning about local life
  • Accommodation on twin share basis in a comfortable local hotel
  • Meals included: 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners (excl. beverages)

Important: You will see other tour operators offering elephant riding activities and many tourists taking part in them during your time in Chitwan. However, we have an elephant welfare policy, and as such, we discourage travellers from riding elephants in Nepal or anywhere in the world. See the Responsible Travel section for more information.

Day 1: Kathmandu – Chitwan National Park

We walk off to the tourist bus stand, which is around 15 min walk from your hotel. Take the tourist bus and ride past river valleys, terrace fields, and highway settlements to southern lowlands (5 h). Upon getting off the bus, meet the staff, who will drive you to the resort. After having checked in, enjoy the lunch and make yourself comfortable amidst the beautiful garden. The manager will brief you about the activities schedule. In the afternoon, drive to the nearby river where alligators, birds, and rhinos can be spotted along with the mesmerizing sunset view. Overnight.

Day 2: Chitwan Activities

Early in the morning, we drive to the river and start canoeing through the jungle to spot alligators and various species of birds. After canoeing, we walk through the forest and take the jeep back to the resort. After lunch enjoy a jeep drive into the national park where we can spot more wild animals, and if lucky, Royal Bengal tigers. After we drive back to the resort, enjoy the dinner, and walk to the community hall to view the cultural show. Overnight.

Day 3: Chitwan – Kathmandu

After breakfast, the staff will drive you to the bus station and you will board the tourist bus. You can get back to Kathmandu or opt for Pokhara.

What to Expect

Accommodation

On this Everest highlights trek, you will spend 3 nights in a nice hotel in Kathmandu on a twin share basis and 7 nights on a twin share basis in lodges (tea houses) in the mountains. We have carefully hand-picked all places and regularly monitor their quality. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.

Tea houses are mountain lodges that are located along many of the trekking routes in Nepal that provide meals and accommodation. They are similar to mountain huts in the Alps except that in Nepal you primarily get private rooms and a wide choice of food. The tea houses, in general, offer simple but adequate accommodation; please be realistic about what to expect in the high mountains and in remote areas. Most tea houses are built specifically for trekkers, but some, in the more remote regions of Nepal, may double as the family’s home.

The teahouse’s centre is the heated eating hall (some lodges charge a fee to switch the heater on). The bedrooms are almost all twin-share (note that you may still be asked to share with 2 or 3 during peak season on very rare occasions). Bedrooms are not heated, and you will need to bring or hire a sleeping bag.

Most tea houses have only one or two basic toilets, and sometimes these are located outside the main building. Toilet paper is not provided so you should bring your own or buy it from the tea house. If there is not a flush handle, there should be a container of water to use.

The owners make most of their income from the meals and beverages. For this reason, you are expected to eat all your meals at the teahouse at which you’re staying. Most teahouses sell snacks, soft drinks, tea, coffee and other essentials such as soap and toilet paper. Almost all tea houses have electricity, but power outages are quite frequent. Electricity is available to charge your cameras and other electronic devices for a small fee at the dining rooms of most tea houses. A few of the lodges on this trek have WiFi which varies in quality of signal. Some lodges now have hot showers (you will be charged a small fee for using them). Note that sometimes this is simply a bucket of hot water and not a proper shower head.

Click to view default hotels

Click to view upgraded hotels

Meals

Several years ago, tea houses’ choices were limited and pre-booking the lodge fixed menu was often the only option. Since then, as the lodges have improved in quality, so has food choice, with most tea houses now offering an extensive menu. To give our customers choice, we now operate our trek on a lodge only basis (welcome dinner and all breakfasts in the Kathmandu hotel are included, as well as breakfast and dinner in Nagarkot and breakfast in Bhaktapur). You will need to plan £25-30 per day in total for all meals when in the high mountains.

  • For breakfast, you can have toast, tea, eggs, and porridge. It gets served at around 7-8 am which is ideal for the early morning trek.
  • Dal Bhat which consists of rice, dal (pulses), lentils, spinach, gundruk, optional meat, and others is a typical meal offered for lunch.
  • For dinner (normally, it’ll be served around 7:30 pm to 8:00 pm), where once there was a choice of 2-3 different rice or lentil based meals at the lodge, most now offer a menu of 20 or more choices from the basic (such as dal bhat) through western-style (pizza, spaghetti) to more sophisticated (yak steak with blue cheese sauce).

Difficulty & terrain

This is one of the easiest treks in the Himalayas as you will be trekking roughly 4-6 hours a day. Still, you should be in good physical shape and have some experience in multi-day trekking (read more about difficulty grades).

Acute mountain sickness

Altitude is not a huge issue on this trek as you will always overnight at an altitude below 3500 m. Still, if you have any pre-existing health conditions that you think may make you more susceptible to AMS, we recommend that you consult your doctor before booking this trip.

When to go

The main trekking season in Nepal is from September to May when daytime temperatures at most altitudes are generally comfortable for walking; the sky is clear much of the time and rain and snow are occasional occurrences. Different seasons offer different advantages for the Everest Highlights Trek. The best times are in spring ‘pre-monsoon’ (March, April and May), and in autumn ‘post-monsoon’ (September, October, November). The summer months are very wet as it is the monsoon season and winter is extremely cold. 

  • Post Monsoon: September to November. This is the main trekking season in Nepal. Skies are usually clear and days on trek are sunny and mild with clear mountain views. Nights will be colder with temperatures dropping as low as to minus 10ºC at the highest altitudes.
  • Winter: December to February. Despite the cooler conditions, this is a good time to trek in Nepal. Skies are usually very clear especially in December and the mountain views are at their best. Nights will be very cold with temperatures down to minus 15ºC to minus 20ºC at the highest altitudes but days are pleasant and sunny. The trails are also much less busy at this time of year. If you want to trek during the winter months you need lots of warm clothes.
  • Pre-monsoon: March to May. Both day and night temperatures will be warmer in general but often a haze will build up in the afternoons. Flowers bloom in this season and this is one of the reasons many people chose to trek in spring.

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice

Tipping

It is customary in Asia to tip service providers such as waiters, at approximately 10%, depending on the quality of service. All our staff in Nepal (guides, assistant guides and porters) are fully insured and paid a fair wage; however tips are not a substitute for wages. The amount is purely a personal matter but we would suggest a tip per day of 15-20 USD for your guide, 8-10 USD for your porter and 5-6 USD per day for assistants and other staff. These apply to the whole party, not per person. Obviously this is very much a rough guide and you are completely free to give whatever you feel is appropriate.

Inclusions

Included

  • All airport transfers as listed in the itinerary (one arrival and one departure transfer per party)
  • 4 nights in a nice hotel on a twin share basis in Kathmandu, welcome dinner and all breakfasts included
  • 1 night in a standard hotel on a twin share basis in Nagarkot, dinner and breakfast included
  • 1 night in a budget hotel on a twin share basis in Bhaktapur, breakfast included
  • 6 nights twin share accommodation in trekking lodges in the mountains, meals not included
  • Full day sightseeing tour of Kathmandu including entrance fees 
  • Return flights from Kathmandu to Lukla with 10 kg check-in baggage and 5 kg hand baggage 
  • All national park fees and trekking permits 
  • 1 English-speaking tour guide in the lowlands
  • 1 English-speaking trekking guide in the mountains
  • 1 Sherpa assistant for every 4 trekkers
  • 1 porter for every 2 trekkers 
  • Detailed pre-departure information pack including guide book, city maps and trekking maps 

Excluded

  • International flights and international airport departure fee
  • Visa fee
  • Lunches and dinners in Kathmandu and Bhaktapur (except for the welcome dinner in Kathmandu), lunch in Nagarkot and all meals in the mountains (plan £25-30 per day in total for all meals)
  • Drinking water (beverages)
  • At some lodges, there might be extra charges for using showers, WiFi or charging phones etc
  • Extra expenses due to unforeseen events such as natural disaster, roadblocks or health conditions of a fellow traveller
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • Personal expenses and tips
  • Any items not explicitly listed as included in the programme

Options, extras & supplements

  • Single room supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room (Kathmandu and Nagarkot only – ask our experts for a quote); in the tea houses you may ask the owner if there are single rooms available and you can pay locally for them
  • Unfortunately, we are not able to accommodate solo travellers on this adventure
  • Breakfasts upgrade package (add 7 breakfasts)
  • Full board upgrade package (add 7 breakfasts, 12 lunches and 6 dinners)
  • Kathmandu upgrade to a superior 4 or 5-star hotel
  • Extra nights in Kathmandu (highly recommended – Lukla airport is notorious for being shut to fog. If you have no flexibility regarding your international flight schedule, this can cause huge problems for you. When fixed-wing planes are unable to fly, but helicopters to Lukla are available, clients may choose to travel by helicopter; in this event, the extra cost will be approximately US$500-600 per person. So, if you have the time, it is worth booking extra nights or arranging fully flexible international flights.)
  • Optional Chitwan Jungle Safari Extension

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