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Advice on 6 day itinerary

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Mar 18th, 2016, 04:56 PM
  #1
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Join Date: Mar 2016
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Advice on 6 day itinerary

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

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* 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
fovc is offline  
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Mar 20th, 2016, 01:21 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
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Check the weather for Nagarkot before you go. If it's cloudy or hazy [often is] then the curtains will be well and truly closed on any views. There's no street lighting, and things are spread out. We were a bit underwhelmed, we knew what was there to be seen, but if the curtains are closed then you have to use your imagination!

We stayed in Bhaktapur for a week for the Bisket Jatra Festival. You can get to Nargakot by public bus from Bhaktapur in about 50 minutes. Bit quicker by taxi. So you might be better off staying in Bhaktapur [magical after dark], and if the weather forecast is good then take a taxi up to Nagarkot.

Tour companies will tell you that you've got time to visit Durbar Square, Pashupatinath, and Boudhanath. But in the v.short time you've allowed you're wasting your time. Just choose one...

- Pashupatinath is a weird experience, a bit like a morbid themepark. Unless you're an Hindu or look like you can pass for one, then much of the complex is off limits.

- Boudhanath is a wonderful place. But it's best experienced at dawn or dusk. We stayed in a monastery guest house here for a couple of nights and loved it.

...if you've got time at the end of your trip then visit one that you missed out at the start. Patan is worth an hour or two, as is the Swayambunath Stupa [dawn or dusk is best]

Although it's only 200ish kms between KTM and Pokhara the road [Prithvi Highway], which in places isn't in good condition, is very busy, and the drivers are nutters. Our trip there by Greenline 'luxury!' bus took over 10 hours due to a landslip. And if you're staying in the other side of Kathmandu at Bhaktapur or Nagarkot then you'll have to add another hour or more before your journey gets going.

Our bus back to Kathmandu took 6 hours.

Pokhara is in a lovely spot, the air is clean, and unless you're unlucky the views are awesome. The best views are from the viewing point at Sarangot. You can paraglide back down to Pokhara if you want!

Never went to Chitwan.
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Mar 20th, 2016, 07:07 AM
  #3
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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A different voice: We were not at all impressed with Pokhara and wouldn't stop there again. IMO it is primarily good for people who are coming or going from long treks because it is a taste of civilization (can't think of the best term to describe what I mean) after roughing it.

We used the agency Himalayan Encounters to arrange our drivers, and we stayed at a couple of their accommodations. We felt they were a good agency to work with and reasonably priced.

I guess I don't understand your question about the best safari companies since typically the lodging one chooses to stay at in Chitwan is the one that arranges your safaris/excursions.
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Mar 20th, 2016, 08:25 AM
  #4
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
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<<>>

For the vast majority of Nepal's population their whole life is spent 'roughing it'.

After leaving behind the often almost overwhelming pollution that envelops all of Kathmandu, Pokhara was literally a breath of fresh air for a few days, and the views stunning. Parts of Lakeside are a bit too touristy, but the area's all about clean air and getting out and about...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WeXKvZ9RokE

My homework found us the perfect place to stay with a charming Sherpa family, whose accommodation while basic but comfortable offered us stunning 360 degree views from the roof terrace, which including breakfast @ US$15 a night was an absolute bargain.
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Apr 14th, 2016, 10:07 PM
  #5
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
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Have you found any information about Chitwan safaris? I am not having any luck getting info about Chitwan and safari packages. We will be there next month.

Kathie and Lancaster Lad have given me good advice.
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Apr 26th, 2016, 11:42 PM
  #6
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
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Hello there, I visited Chitwan recently about 1 and a half years ago. It was a very pleasant experience. Specially, the jungle safari on the elephant. The mahouts were very good. We also managed to spot deers and few rhinos. Safari on jeep is not as popular and enertaining as safari on elephants. I got most of my info from tripadvisors. That's what they're there for eh. THE REVIEWS. cheers.
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Apr 27th, 2016, 11:57 PM
  #7
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
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Hello there, Well if it is a book you are looking for, I would recommend Nepal- by Bradley Mayhew from Lonely Planet. A guide to one of the world's premier adventure travel and trekking destination - Nepal. I think it can be helpful for you. Give it a look
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