Fly, via Doha, to Kathmandu, Nepal's charismatic capital. For two nights, you’ll make your home at Dwarika’s, a cluster of exquisitely carved and decorated Nepali houses and courtyards.
The sacred city of Kathmandu is an ancient trade hub and a cultural cauldron sitting in the shadow of the snow-capped Himalaya. From the gilded Taleju Temple and the House of the Living Goddess, you can plunge into the medieval Old City's labyrinthine back streets. In the hills, Swayambhunath is a 2,500-year-old ‘Monkey Temple’, that’s decoratively draped in prayer flags. Over at Patan, a once-independent kingdom is now an arts and crafts epicentre.
Tucked in the foothills of magnificent Mount Macchapuchre (known as Fish Tail), Pokhara is just a 30-minute flight from Kathmandu, but feels a world away. Enchanting, tranquil and picturesque, lakeside Pokhara is the perfect place to embark on treks or rafting expeditions, or simply drink spicy chiya tea by the water's edge, gazing up at the high Himalaya.
Get lost in Pokhara's old bazaar, an early Newari settlement on the Trans-Himalayan trading route. The Bhadrakali Temple is dedicated to the Hindu’s black goddess of Kali and is lavishly decorated. At Devi's Falls you’ll encounter a thundering underground cascade. When you surface there’s a boat trip on Phewa Lake offering dreamy views of the Annapurna Range in the distance or perfectly reflected in the lake's glassy water.
It's a scenic drive through unspoiled valleys to reach the sleepy hilltop village of Bandipur. A hub for Newari craftsmen since the 19th-century, amble amid the old bazaar and handsome traditional architecture to soak in its relaxed atmosphere. Bandipur is often described as a natural lookout, and it affords some of the finest views of the gargantuan Annapurnas.
Revel in Bandipur's magical old-world ambience, and head out to nearby Sidhha Cave. Discovered in 1987, it's thought to be the largest cave on the South Asian subcontinent.
Veer south into Nepal's tropical terrain as you enter Chitwan National Park, one of Asia's finest and richest wildlife sanctuaries. Chitwan is truly a wildlife wilderness. Its densely forested hills and steamy riverine grasslands are serenaded by a choir of crickets and stalked by a wealth of predators. Look out for myriad bird species, wild elephant, rhino and the majestic, but elusive, Bengal tiger.
An early start works best when it comes to spotting wildlife in Chitwan's sal forest and grassy plains. An expert naturalist will open up the wilderness on a walking safari. They’ll point out birds, identify scat and tracks, and increase your chances of encountering wild animals. In the afternoon, you’ll cross the river by boat to head yet deeper into the jungle.
After a quick flight to Kathmandu and a short onward drive, you'll arrive in the ridge-perched town of Dhulikhel. This bastion of Newari tradition and culture is crammed with temples. Dhulikhel also boasts a breathtaking panorama of the Himalaya.
Soak up those matchless mountain views, then pay a visit to the Namo Buddha. Adorned with fluttering prayer flags, it’s set against a backdrop of glistening peaks.
After a leisurely breakfast, you’ll visit Namo Buddha, one of Nepal’s holiest Buddhist sites. Adorned with prayer flags, legend says that an incarnation of Buddha sacrificed himself to feed a hungry tigress and her cubs.
Make a leisurely return to Kathmandu and head to the airport for your return flight. Make sure you secure a window seat for one final Himalayan view!