Arrive Kathmandu, transfer to hotel; evening free.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
After breakfast we drive back to Kathmandu arriving in the afternoon.
The trip finishes after breakfast. Depart transfer.