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Advice on 6 day itinerary

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Hi all,

My girlfriend and I are going to Nepal in late September, and would love some input as we finalize our itinerary. We've read a lot of the commentary on this board, and have come up with a (bit rushed*) 6 day itinerary. We're avid travelers and are primarily looking to learn about Nepalese culture (including food!), but we're also eager to see some of the natural beauty+wildlife Nepal has to offer.

Some things that would be great to get your help and wisdom on:

1. Any favorite stops on Nagarkot->Chitwan, Chitwan->Pokhara, or Pokhara->Kathmandu.

2. Is it worth seeing the Tharu village at Chitwan? We felt the Masai village in the Serengeti was a tourist trap rather than a cultural experience. What are the best safari companies? Is this worth reserving ahead of time?

3. Nagarkot vs. Bhaktapur vs. Patan. We could potentially skip Nagarkot altogether, or simply stop on the way from Nagarkot to Chitwan to see the other two Newar kingdoms.

4. Any favorite books on Nepal? I've got "Shopping for Buddhas" to start off the list

5. Driver/guide recommendations? Given the short duration, would love to have someone waiting for us at KTM. For the trek, would it be better to just wait until Pokhara to find one, or are we better off with some of the online/agency provided ones? We're getting quotes around ~300 USD, which is much more than rkkwan paid!


Itinerary
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9/20: Land early AM (theoretically 8am, Drukair); Run around and see Kathmandu (Durbar, Pashupatinath, Boudhanath, time permitting) then drive out to Nagarkot. Hotel: Hotel Country Villa

9/21: Early wake up for the famous sunrise, then breakfast and some wondering in town before setting off for Chitwan. Lunch on the way, time-permitting some bird-watching or canoe trip in the late afternoon. Hotel: River View Jungle Camp

9/22: Safari in Chitwan. Hotel: River View Jungle Camp

9/23: Drive to Pokhara, lunch on the way. Hotel: Hotel Tristar

9/24: Begin overnight trek (TBD which one). Hotel: teahouse

9/25: End overnight trek, fly/drive to Kathmandu. Hotel: Yak & Yeti, maybe Dwarika's

9/26: Early AM flight out

--------------------------------------
* We tend to travel on the speedier end of the spectrum, but we would have liked to have an extra day or two here. Oh well! We'll have a good excuse to go back :)

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