Luxury Lodges of Annapurna

Luxury Lodges of Annapurna and Chitwan National Park
This extremely varied trip offers everything from exploring ancient Kathmandu to rafting the Seti River and game-watching in Chitwan. However the highlight is a short trek, resplendent with sherpas and porters, visiting some of the most interesting villages in the Annapurna foothills, while surrounded by magnificent mountain views. Using a series of picturesque luxury lodges we offer a much higher standard of comfort than is normally available while trekking. Each lodge has twin rooms, attached bathrooms, hot running water, dining rooms, cosy lounges, gardens and stunning views.

Detailed Itinerary

  • Day 1
    Arrive Kathmandu, transfer to hotel; evening free.

    Day 2
    Free day for sightseeing in Kathmandu. You may wish to visit the monkey temple at Swayambunath, one of the largest Buddhist Stupas in the world at Bodnath, or the most important Hindu temple in the valley at Pashupatinath, visit Durbar Square in the heart of the old city where the old Royal Palace is located. Outside is Kumari Chowk, home of the Kumari, the young girl who is revered as a living goddess. The whole area is a maze of temples and images. Leading away from the square in all directions are narrow alleys, full of the most amazing variety of shops and stalls. Sightseeing tours can be booked locally. Today there will full trip briefing in the morning.

    Day 3
    For the forthcoming five days you will walk through unspoilt villages and meticulously cared-for terraces, where life has remained the same for generations. Forests of conifers, rhododendrons and bamboo surround us. Machhapuchhare, the sacred 'Fishtail' mountain is our companion as is the great bulk of Annapurna South, which towers above us at Ghandrung. You’ll spend four nights in lodges known for their comfort. All of them are perfectly located for the best views of the mountains. Early in the morning of day 3 we transfer to the airport for the flight to Pokhara where we should get superb views of the Annapurnas. hen we continue by road to our trek start point. Our walk will follow a ridgeline in the lower foothills of the Annapurnas with surrounding views of the Pokhara Valley. This route then drops to the Modi River Valley, where the Sanctuary Lodge is located. The lodge has magnificent views of the sacred and unclimbed Fishtail Mountain, or Machhapuchhre, as it is locally known. Lunch is at the lodge followed by an optional walk to the village of Birethanti. Or you may choose to spend the afternoon exploring the surrounding river valley.

    Day 4
    After breakfast you will leave the lodge walking out through the outlying farms following the Modi River Valley. Soon we begin to climb out of the valley and up towards the mountains. The trail passes through small hamlets, terraced rice fields and forests with spectacular views of the surrounding valley. Snacks are provided along the trail. Hot lunch is served on arrival at the lodge in the early afternoon. It is from this lodge that there are magnificent close up views of the surrounding mountains.

    Day 5
    You will wake up this morning with tea and coffee, served in the garden and watch the sunrise over Annapurna South, Annapurna 1, Hiunchuli, Gangapurna, and the Fishtail. After a relaxing breakfast and glorious views from the Himalaya Lodge, our guide will take us on an exploration of this mountain village and the surrounding countryside. Ghandruk was once a major recruitment centre for the famous Gurkha soldiers. The women of Ghandruk maintain a local industry of weaving traditional Nepalese rugs.

    Day 6
    After breakfast, it will be time to leave the Himalaya Lodge walking out through the village of Ghandruk. Buffaloes and goats graze in the surrounding fields. You may have to make way for the donkey and mule trains that convey goods to and from the Gurkha settlements. You may also meet some of the trekkers coming down from or heading up to the Sanctuary itself. We continue our descent for 2 or 3 hours until we reach Shauli Bazaar. From here, we follow the Modi River until reaching the Sanctuary Lodge. We'll have lunch at the Sanctuary Lodge before we ascend again, partly on well-paved steps and partly on switch-backs. We reach the Gurung Lodge after about 2 hours.

    Day 7
    This morning we begin trekking through the unspoiled village of Patlekhet. Our walk takes us through sub-tropical forests that include tree orchids, rhododendrons and magnolias. Along the way we will stop at the village of Pothana where many Tibetan traders live and sell their souvenirs. After about 3 hours we arrive at the Basanta Lodge. From the lodge there are sweeping views of the entire Annapurna Range. After lunch at the lodge there will be an optional walk through the old village of Dhampus.

    Day 8
    After an early breakfast, we depart along the ridge and descend through the wooded hillside and terraced farmland to the valley floor. This should take around an hour and a half. You will then be drive to Pokhara and should be back there by lunchtime and so you will have the afternoon to explore this small lakeside town. You can spend the afternoon sightseeing, rowing on the lake, renting a bike, shopping or you can simply relax in one of the many garden restaurants.

    Day 9
    After breakfast we drive through the countryside to Damauli. Here we will be met by an experienced rafting crew, who will provide a full and thorough briefing prior to our launch. Floating down the river gives us a chance to see village life along the banks as well as the abundant variety of birds. There will be a picnic lunch stop on the way to the camp. We will raft over 2 small grade 2 rapids which are no longer than 50m. The remainder of the trip is very much a floating experience. Upon arrival, you will be shown to your safari style tent with beds, a changing room, veranda and attached bathroom. For those who feel energetic, an optional hike to a nearby village will be arranged.

    Day 10 - 11
    The morning of day 10 is spent rafting. The route we take passes 5 grade 2 rapids each being no more than 50 metres. The remainder of the trip is an opportunity to enjoy the surrounding countryside. Rafting time will be 2 to 3 hours in total depending on water levels. Following our morning of activity we drive to Chitwan, where we spend two nights in a comfortable safari lodge. The most popular way of seeing the animals is on elephant-back, and we will be very unlucky not to see the Indian one-horned rhinoceros and several species of deer. It is also possible to make trips along the Rapti River in a dugout canoe, looking for crocodile and observing the many birds. We stay in a safari lodge, whose knowledgeable and helpful staff accompany us on all the excursions. The lodge has a complex of two roomed huts with attached bathrooms and a larger dining room/bar area.

    Day 12
    After breakfast we drive back to Kathmandu arriving in the afternoon.

    Day 13
    The trip finishes after breakfast. Depart transfer.

Date & Price

Includes & Excludes

  • Profile
    5 days walking with full porterage. Altitude maximum 1951m, average 1300m.
    Accommodation
    4 nights hotels, 5 nights comfortable mountain lodges, 2 nights jungle lodge, 1 night comfortable river camp.
    Food
    All breakfasts, 8 lunches and 8 dinners included.
    What to Know
    This trip is a fantastic introduction to Nepal. The trekking is moderate and graded A, with 5 days point-to-point walking. In the Annapurna region many of the trails consist of stone steps and whilst this makes easier walking a fairly decent level of fitness is still required, as there are a few steep uphill walks.
    Altitude is not an issue on this trip as the maximum height you will reach is 1951m with an average of 1300m.
    Group size and age
    Min. 2, max. 16, plus leader, rafting guides, naturalist guide (Chitwan only) and appropriate local staff. Minimum age 16.
    Experience is not necessary; anyone fit and healthy enough to complete a weekend walk can manage a Leisurely, A-grade departure.
    Walking & Trekking
    Trips are wholly trekking-focused or simply include a significant number of walking days during the itinerary.

Trip Notes

  • Do I need to take walking poles?
    If you are used to walking with trekking poles then take them with you, as you will probably find them useful especially on the way down. They are not essential though and the walk is manageable without them. It is mostly a personal preference but do remember to pack them as part of your main luggage to be stowed in the hold. If you decide later you'd like to have some, they are available to buy in Kathmandu.
    Any good tips for eating out in Kathmandu?
    Head down to the Everest Steak House in southern Thamel for a mouth watering steak and chips, well earned if you’re just back from trek. Finish it off with a cocktail in the legendary Tom & Jerry bar up the road!
    You can also head to Fire and Ice Pizzeria in Thamel, a great place with casual indoor and outdoor eating which is popular amongst travellers, and locals alike. This restaurant is a great place to meet for a morning cup of Italian espresso, or a hearty meal of delicious pizzas, pastas, ice cream and even a Grappa!
    Is there anywhere to store luggage while on trek?
    You will be packing your kitbag for the trek before you leave Kathmandu, and can leave your main luggage at the hotel in Kathmandu, where it will be stored securely free of charge. However, as with any destination, we recommend you keep valuables with you at all times.
    Any special food I should try in Kathmandu?
    Momos
    This Nepalese version of dumplings/ wantons is a traditional delicacy and a must try local dish while you are in Nepal. Momo dumplings are either steamed or fried with chicken/or buff (water buffalo) as well as stuffed with vegetables for vegetarians and have become the most famous fast food amongst Nepalese and can be found on the menus of most restaurants serving locals and tourists alike.
    Kwanti soup
    This mixed bean soup is usually served during festivals and gatherings and now has made its way in many of restaurant menus. Goes well with Naan or roti bread.
    Choela
    This is a typical Newari dish smoked meat (chicken; lamb or buffalo meat) tossed with spices and mustard oil. Easily available in most Nepalese and local restaurants in Kathmandu
    I have some free time in Kathmandu?
    If you are looking to do something off the beaten track just for half a day around Kathmandu, head out to Bungmati and Khokana. Just an hour drive on the outskirts of Kathmandu and you will find yourself in this sleepy little twin village where not much has changed in terms of construction, profession of people (most are still farmers, woodcarvers and weavers) or the pace of life. The twin villages are 15 minutes apart and you walk through the dirt trails, with farms and fields on either side. Should you have extra time and still want to do something, the Tibetan Refugee Settlement where you can see carpet weaving to a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery falls half way on the way back from here to the Hotel.
    On a lodge or teahouse trek, how much spending money should I allow ?
    US $ 40 – US $ 50 per day is ample, but it is possible to spend less (and more!). Meals are usually pretty cheap but extras such as sweets or snacks will add a bit more to your budget. There are plenty of ATMs in Kathmandu, so you can withdraw more Nepalese currency if you are running short towards the end of your trip.
    Can I buy any equipment in Kathmandu before the start of the trip?
    Yes. There are dozens of trekking shops in the Thamel area of Kathmandu. Depending on how good your bartering skills are, you can usually pick up items for about one third of the price that you'll pay in the Europe / America and its more fun to bargain! However, please note we cannot guarantee the quaility of anything you may purchase so buyer beware.
    Should I get my Nepalese visa in advance or at the airport?
    Most of our clients choose to get their visas at Kathmadu airport. This may mean some time queuing, but the transfer bus won't leave for the hotel until all arriving passengers are through Immigration and have collected their bags. So if you have your visa in advance, you will avoid the visa queue but you won’t get to the hotel any earlier. If you'd like to get your visa in advance, please contact the Nepalese embassy direct.
    Please note if you are staying in Nepal longer than 15 days, you will need to ask for a 30 day visa.

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

Duration: 13 Days
Trip Grade: Easy
Best Season: Feb-May & Sep-Nov
Accommodation: Tea House & Lodge
Meals: B&B
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