Slow Trekking in Nepal in Everest, Annapurna and Langtang region for peoples of all ages. Facebook

CULTURAL SAFARI: Nov 21 - Dec 05, 2020


NEPAL CULTURAL SAFARII often meet people who would like to visit Nepal but do NOT perhaps want to go trekking. People who trekked there in their (much) younger days and would love to go back or those with a long-held dream to see the Himalayas. I made this tour itinerary a good six years ago now and we have refined it every year since. You will see a great swathe of Nepal WITHOUT going on trek. Well, OK, there are a few short half and full-day treks but they are easy and optional. Read on if this sounds like you.....

We will first spend a couple of nights in Kathmandu in a lovely hotel near Thamel with a peaceful garden. It is an amazing city, sometimes overcrowded and polluted and sometimes divine. I will take you to some of my favourite haunts; the backstreets of Assan Thole and the local lassi shop.

We will visit a restored palace for Nepali food with traditional dancing. I will guide you towards some of the better shops – genuine goods at fair prices. There are some really decent cafes in Kathmandu.

We will hit the road on Day 3 in our own vehicle. We know all the best places to stop along the way. Longer drives are broken up with plenty of breaks. The vehicle is air-conditioned but we should not need that in November/December. Hopefully, mild and sunny with cooler nights.

We will visit Chitwan for wildlife and stay two nights in the rather luxurious Jungle Villa Resort for some really engaging activities. After lunch on the third day we will head off on a well-made road to Lumbini, birthplace of the Lord Buddha. Never a dull moment on this road trip. Another new hotel here for 2020 – a little bit removed from the main gate but with a nice garden. Highly recommended so here's hoping.

Thansen Palpa is a Newari town situated on a ridge which often affords splendid views of the Himalayas. The hotel is very comfortable and friendly. In the morning we can walk down through the town to where our mini bus will pick us up for the 5 hours' drive to Pokhara. We will find a local lunch on the way.

At Pokhara we will stay 3 nights – there is a lot to do. We will go out on the lake, Phewa Tal, early in the morning, climb up the jungle trail for an hour to the Peace Stupa and, after a long cuppa, descend on an easy trail through the shady forest. Your afternoon here is free and there are loads of shops and cafes – we could even organise a super massage for you? Next day is another early start. Up before sunrise and a quick drive to Sarangkot. The view is stupendous and the walk down easy o nold stone stair trails – of course its optional. We could visit the Tibetan Refugee Camp later but the lure of café society, Pokhara style, is a strong one.

Half way back to Kathmandu is Bandipur. It is a quaint Newari village with no cars through town. An old renovated house (Rotary project) is our hotel. Local food is excellent. Try the momos or the samosa with fresh local yoghurt. You can walk the 9 km back to the main road in the morning if you like.

It's a longish drive today so we will start really early. We will drive through Kathmandu to Bhaktapur, just an hour the other side. We will stay two nights here in the Planet Bhaktapur hotel and go for a day-long trek on the second day. Of course, it is optional, or you could trek just the first half to Changu Narayan, one of the oldest temples in the valley, and then get a ride home. Next morning, we will explore the old city of Bhaktapur before returning to Kathmandu.

Accommodation in Kathmandu to be decided. I like the guesthouse at Benchen Vihar in Swayambu BUT they may have teachings at the time we want to stay. TBA. Either way we will have two nights for sightseeing, cultural interests, visiting projects in which you may have an interest or shopping or ALL OF THE ABOVE. Definitely a visit to Bouda at dusk one night with dinner at a Tibetan restaurant.

Cost this year is the same as last year $2700 AUD. It does include ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING: We will stay at quite nice hotels with attached bathrooms and good food. We will have a really competent driver in a spacious mini bus. I will personally escort the tour.

There are lots of trek reports from previous seasons and loads of photos at You can reach me at or I have a Facebook page called Slow Trekking. I hope to be in Melbourne around the end of March if you want to meet up or we can organise a WhatsApp call. This is definitely a trip you can come along on your own. The rooms are twin share and everyone gets a turn riding in the front seat of the bus. Vegetarian food is always an option (and good). If you need to shop for anything prior to departure from Kathmandu we will be in town and I am happy to advise.

The view from our hotel in Pokhara.

Our start date is November 21. This itinerary is not written in stone. Sometimes it is the inconveniences that become interesting diversions. It is ALL good.

Here is the day by day itinerary:

November 21:

Arrive in Kathmandu. We will meet you at the airport (Informing us of your arrival and departure times is a good way to confirm your place on the trip). Our hotel is very pleasant with a beautiful traditional garden. Dinner with your new friends?

November 22:

A big day out in Kathmandu. Walking around the backstreets, drinking a local lassi (sweet yoghurt drink), visiting some ancient temples, shopping and an excellent lunch. Home in time for a briefing on the upcoming trip, hopefully on a warm evening outside.

November 23:

Early start for Chitwan to beat the morning traffic out of the valley. We will stop for a tea break and a nice lunch but still be at the Jungle Villa Resort in time for afternoon tea.........or an elephant ride in the jungle at dusk!!

November 24:

Our time at Jungle Villa has a full program of which we will be informed upon arrival. An information slide show, a local singing and dance programme, a barbecue, an elephant ride to see rhino, a jungle walk to the endangered crocodile breeding station, a canoe ride on the Rapti River (yep, with crocs.), an elephant information session – really up close and personal. All with great guides like Ram Dinh, Chitwan's answer to David Attenborough.

November 25:

Shortly after lunch, and possibly a couple of hours bird-watching, we will pile into the mini bus and drive to Lumbini. There is never a dull moment on this trip which will probably take all afternoon. New place to stay at Lumbini (I have tried so many others, cheap and expensive, without success). This one has a garden, is a little bit away from the busy main gate of the Maya Devi park and comes highly recommended. Take a chance with us?

November 26:

A busy programme today, starting with a visit to the birthplace of the Buddha, the Maya Devi garden. It is a bit kitsch and rather touching at the same time. Afterwards we will hire a couple of cowboys with electric bemos for a jaunt through the park to a few of the choicest temples. It would take days to see them all and I think you will find the German and the Thai are a complete contrast and both exquisite. After this busy morning we will board our bus for Bhutwal, a huge town which few people have even heard of, for a good lunch stop. The drive is beautiful, if a little winding, and should see us in Thansen Palpa in time for the sunset – hopefully, if it is anything like last season, with an astounding view of the Himalayas.

November 27:

We might have more mountain views this morning. After breakfast we can walk down through the town. It is a well-kept Newari town with some cute architecture and friendly locals. They make a particular cotton weaving here called Dakkha. Worth a look. Boarding our bus at the bottom of the town we will head off on more winding roads through precipitous valleys to Pokhara. We will stop for lunch 'somewhere' along the way. Should be in Pokhara in time for a shower and dress up for dinner – or, like last season, to drop off our bags and head down to the lake for the sunset. We have three nights here. Relax!

November 28:

While we are staying here for three nights, it is only two days so a bit of a plan is handy. First morning up early, walk to the boat station and hire a couple of boats to take us over the lake. The Anapurna range should become more and more visible as we pull away from the shore. (Actually, an excellent view from our hotel as well). We can climb the steep trail for an hour to the Peace Stupa and then have a nice relaxing coffee while admiring the view some more. It is about two hours, gently downhill all the way back to Lakeside, where our hotel is located. This trek is optional. You can return with the boat and we will meet you for lunch as you 'do your own thing' in Pokhara.

Free afternoon. Lots of shops, cafes, photo opportunities. Hard to get lost here so do have a wander. We will pick a nice restaurant for dinner.

November 29:

Another planned early start for the sunrise at Sarangkot but we will play this by ear and try to pick the clearest day. No point driving up in the fog. On a good day we can walk back down. Pokhara is a great place to relax; you are on holiday after all. The views are superb and our modest hotel has a sunny terrace. We could visit the Tibetan Refugee Camp this afternoon. Another good restaurant tonight.

November 30:

It is not more than 4 hours to Bandipur today so no need for a very early start. We may go up to Sarangkot before breakfast if yesterday was not clear, but we would need to bus back down today. To be decided at the time. By about 10 am we should be on the road. I know a great coffee place on the way. Lunch in a traditional bhatti which is right next to our hotel. It is a small town with pretty architecture and views of the Himalayas and our plan is just to mooch around for the afternoon.

December 01:

It is a 9 kilometre downhill road to the highway. A delightful, easy walk. We will need to start very early though as we are driving back to Kathmandu and an hour beyond. Great to get there BEFORE the peak hour. Our hotel is outside Bhaktapur in an old converted boarding school. This is probably our longest day on the road.

December 02:

Our driver will drop us at Telkot. We can walk slowly uphill through the forest until we can see outside the Kathmandu Valley on one side and down into the valley on the other. It is an interesting walk, pretty one minute – in someone's grubby back yard the next. The trail leads to Changu Narayan which is the oldest temple in the area. We can lunch there and then walk back to Bhaktapur (transport available).

December 03:

Into Bhaktapur this morning. It is a UNESCO World Heritage listed town, much damaged in the earthquake of 2015. Still plenty to see but a couple of hours wandering is enough, I think. We will walk back to our hotel to check out and drive back to Kathmandu for lunch. Back in our familiar International Guesthouse. Would you like to go shopping, or just catch up with yourself after being on the road for 10 days? Dinner at a nearby restaurant.

December 04:

This is your last day so you can shop or sightsee as you like. Happy to help you organise your 'own thing'. Happy to help you shop. I will take you to Boudanath in the late afternoon to see the ancient stupa when the Tibetans are out doing kora. Tibetan restaurant.?

December 05:

GO HOME!!! We will have your flight info and get you out to the airport at the right time. You can stay on of course but we will need to book for you and it will naturally cost extra. Budget for about $100 AUD per day per person for us to look after you.


We had a great time on the last Safari, actually they have all been pretty good. It's a great mix of walking, visiting, relaxing and travelling. A couple of people have booked already so do get in touch if this sounds like your cup of tea. There is just a five day gap between the Pike Peak Trek (not so hard, not so high) and this trip so it is feasible to do both. Hope you might join us!

Teresa didi