Let your lens live the magic of Nepal
Nepal is best known for Everest and the incomparable Himalaya ranges. It also has rugged valleys that connect the snow-capped giants from the north with the tropical jungles in the south. As it slowly shuffles into the modern era, this small, deeply spiritual enclave, still grabs on tightly to its colorful, ancient history and culture while showing off its natural grandeur with a tremendous variety of eco-systems. Nepal is truly a photographer’s dream-come-true land. Our experience has been nothing short of ecstasy as we walk anywhere making photos of anything we like and no one really cares as they go about their business. Most Nepalis are as interested in you as you may be in them and they are not bothered if you want to take their photo, as long as you politely ask first.
Our journey begins and ends in the capital city of Kathmandu which has a nice mix of international air carriers providing multiple daily flights. Our goal is to put you at the right place so you can make great images and have time to review and improve your photographic vision and technique throughout the trip while we take care of the logistics. In this photo tour we explore the chaotic streets of Kathmandu and its many religious temples as well as little villages where time really is in no hurry; and Nature is always there when we talk about Nepal. This especially designed trip offers endless photo chances – no exaggeration!
You will be greeted by a panoramic view of snow-capped mountain peaks sprawling down below once you fly in the sky of Kathmandu. A representative and driver from our office will meet you at the airport and escort you to your hotel. The representative will help you check into your designated hotel. After checking in and a brief rest, we head to Thamel neighborhood to see the hustle and bustle of which Kathmandu is known for. This will provide you endless photo options for street photography! We have a group dinner in the evening at a local restaurant. .
After breakfast, we drive towards Swoyambhunath also known as Monkey Temple. The site lying on a hill overlooking the Kathmandu valley is a sacred Buddhist destination. The maroon robed monks enchanting the holy prayers and the mega statues of Buddha indulged in different sects is a great opportunity to take hold of the practices of rich Buddhist culture. This prehistoric site is also popular for its gigantic Stupa. After finishing the tour of Swoyambhunath we take you to Boudhanath, where you will grab an opportunity for the insightful peep into the invaluable culture attached to Tibetan Budddhism. This may make you feel like you have just been to a spiritual journey. Bouddhanath is the largest dome shaped Stupa of the country where the practices of Buddhism can be observed at its best. .
After an early breakfast we depart to the airport for a 30-minute flight to Chitwan National Park (world heritage site) in the south-central part of Nepal, near the border with India. Upon reaching, we have another 30-minute vehicle transfer to our lodge, from where we head to the elephant breeding center to see these majestic animals and observe their livestyle. After lunch, we head to the crocodile breeding center to see them being raised to re-populate their dwindling numbers and disperse them over various regions where they have a chance for survival. .
An early departure is necessary for jeep safari. The drive is far from 'smooth' but there are plenty of photo ops. Traveling through dense wooded area offers you a great chance to spot endangered animals. We are only taking 3 people per jeep (plus the driver) so each person has ample room to photograph from all angles. We finish the afternoon with a canoe paddle down the Rapti Tiver where we can see crocodiles, birds and a great variety of wildlife and return to the lodge via jeep. You have an option of going on a hike with a birder/naturalist instead of the canoe ride. Afterward we also have the opportunity to see the elephants getting a bath. .
Today we fly/drive to Pokhara. Many people consider Pokhara the most beautiful part of Nepal and so do we. The city is within the easy view of the giant Annapurna massif where 3 out of the 10 tallest peaks in the world - Dhaulagiri, Annapurna I and Manaslu - are situated within 30 miles from the city, as the crow flies. In the evening we move towards World Peace Stupa from where we get the view of the Annapurna massif and the whole Himalaya Range. Without a doubt the view is hard to beat! The photo ops from here are endless, whether you are shooting the mountains, Lake Phewa or are in the forest below. We hike down for about 45 minutes and catch a boat and return to our hotel. .
We drive north from Pokhara to Nayapul for an hour and half. After reaching Nayapul we take a local vehicle and drive to Kimche for another half an hour. From the end of the road we begin our trek up towards the Himalayas to see how people live in these steep and rugged mountains. We slowly ascend the stone steps that wind from one village to another. (Lunch en route) There are photo ops everywhere so keep a sharp eye out for anything that catches your attention. Our route meanders through open fields, dense Rhododendron forest and pine forest as we take to the trail often paved with stones as we pass through quaint villages. It's sometimes hard to comprehend how the Nepali people manage to live on these steep and imposing mountains as they effortlessly scramble easily from a crop field to another, hop over a stone wall and race up a few hundred steps to gather or chop some wood. Since our porters are carrying our gear we only need to worry about a small day pack so you can concentrate on making photos along the way. The trek is about 5-6 hours at a steady pace and we will arrive in Tadapani in the afternoon. After some rest, we will have dinner. Overnight at a typical Nepali teahouse .
Trek to Ghorepani (2775m) via Deurali- Visit Gurung Hill on the way Today will be the longest trekking day of the trip as we will be on the trail for about 7 hours. So, we need to depart early, but need to keep a steady pace as slow and steady is the way while making photos along the way. (Lunch en route) On the way, we also visit Gurung Hill, a small hillock from where we can have the terrific views of the range. Continuing the trekking through the rhododendron forests, which look amazing during March-late April; we will reach at the hill-top village of Ghorepani with stellar views of the Annapurna Massif right in front of our eyes. The village is one of the biggest villages of the whole trekking and offers you beautiful views of Annapurna South, Hiunchuli, Mt. Fishtail, Dhaulagiri range etc. We should arrive in the later afternoon, just before dinner. Tomorrow is an early start (before sunrise) in order to hike about an hour to Poon Hill for the sunrise, so going to bed early is recommended! Overnight at a typical Nepali teahouse .
We get up very early as we need an hour to hike up to Poon Hill so we can be there before sunrise. The trail is easy so all one needs to do is walk a steady pace and before you know it, you'll be on top looking at Annapurna rising above your head! There is an observation tower here if you want to get an eagle's view of the region. The sunrise view you will have here is truly one of its kind! There are other lots of views to enjoy and photograph here before we head down to have breakfast in Ghorepani. We continue going down and head to the village of Hile, about 5 hours down the hill. As always, there are lots of photo ops along the way so keep an eye out for them. (Lunch en route) We will arrive in Hile in the late afternoon. After reaching Hile we take a local vehicle to Nayapul and a private vehicle from Nayapul to Pokhara. We will check-in once again in one of the hotels in Pokhara and relax rest of the evening .
After a much-deserved sleep in the luxury accommodation we depart to the airport in the morning and fly to Kathmandu. Upon arrival we will head east to Bhaktapur, one of Nepal's oldest and most exotic cities, third largest in the country and listed as a World Heritage by UNESCO for its rich culture, temples, and wood, metal and stone artwork. We will have lunch here. After that, we continue east to Nagarkot, a town located on the top of a large 'hill' where we will get stunning views of the Langtang Range including Mt. Everest. The view of sunset and sunrise from this location is breath-taking! .
We will be ready for the sunrise (weather-willing) and hopefully get the stunning views from our hotel with little effort. We drive down the hill and head to Kathmandu where we will visit Kathmandu Durbar Square, one of the three medieval palace squares of Kathmandu Valley. Kathmandu Durbar Square is a cluster of ancient temples, palaces, courtyards and streets that dates back to 12th - 18th centuries. At the square, you will find Hanumandhoka Palace Museum, Taleju Temple, Kumari Ghar (House of the Living Goddess), Kasthamandap and other temples and buildings (being renovated) as old as the city itself. .
We start the day with a visit to Pashupatinath, one of the most revered Hindu sites in Nepal. Pashupatinath Temple is dedicated to Hindu deity Lord Shiva, the supreme most God of Hindu. Here you can witness cremation ritual at ‘Aryaghat’, the cremation area of the temple. Then we take you to Patan, one of the three medieval cities in Kathmandu. Patan is a destination for connoisseurs of fine arts. We take a tour of the Patan Durbar Square - a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located in the square is the Patan Museum (originally a Malla palace), Krishna Mandir- a stone temple of Lord Krishna with its 21 spires and bas-relief art depicting scenes from the Mahabharata and Ramayana epics, Royal Bath or 'Tushahity' and surrounding Hindu and Buddhist temples. We return to Kathmandu and the rest of the afternoon is free for you to relax and enjoy Kathmandu at your own pace. Farewell dinner together at an appointed time. .
The morning is free for you to enjoy some last-minute shopping, packing and relaxing before we take you to the airport for your flight back home. .
We work with the motto "Tourism for Development". Explore Himalaya Community Service Project was conceived to empower underprivileged segments of Nepal.