Overview – Tour to Nepal
The former Kingdom of Nepal is a fascinating and exotic country to visit, the only country in Asia never to be colonised – its unique and often mysterious culture remains intact. Mountains dominate the landscape: of the world’s ten highest peaks, nine – including Mt Everest – are located within its borders. Isolated from the world until modern times, to the north lies the Tibetan plateau and China, and the east, south and west: India.
Elevation plays a major role in the climate. In the higher mountain ranges such as Pokhara temperatures can be cooler (22 degrees), and in the Terai (jungle region) and Kathmandu Valley the climate warmer – all areas are recommended on your tour to Nepal. Nepal’s indigenous population consists of two major groups; the Indo-Nepalese and Tibeto Nepalese: all wonderfully welcoming people.
The principal locations of Nepal are Kathmandu, Patan and Pokhara. Hinduism and Buddhism are the over-riding religions and Nepali is the official language. English is also widely spoken in developed areas. The currency is the Nepalese rupee. The population 27 million.
As Nepal has never been colonised it has developed a self-contained culture and society. Modern facilities are available in Kathmandu – the city has embraced tourism – however the country has retained its pagoda temples, ancient architecture and unique religious practices.
The Nepalese are renowned for their smiling faces, humbleness and good nature – they also have a great sense of humour! From remote villages, to magnificent landscapes and a fascinating culture: we promise to make your visit to Nepal breath-taking.
You can eat very reasonably in Nepal; under $5 gets you a good quality meal in most tourist class restaurants. On any tour to Nepal you can enjoy a fascinating mix of Nepali, Indian, Chinese, Tibetan and Western restaurants – choosing where to eat in some fascinating little places is a great part of any Nepal tour! Vegetarians are catered for.
The best itinerary for any tour of Nepal which encompasses its unique culture and wonderful landscapes is to begin in Kathmandu, travel to Bhaktapur which is less than 20km away, and then move out of Kathmandu Valley heading south to visit Chitwan National Reserve. After time there you can travel north west and again back towards the Annapurna range of the Himalaya at the beautiful lakeside town of Pokhara. Some travellers on a Nepal tour may also like to visit Lumbini – the birth place of the Buddha which can be fitted in between Chitwan and Pokhara – although bear in mind that this adds a lot more driving to your Nepal tour as the road between Lumbini and Pokhara is a difficult one. You must consider driving times as roads are seldom straight, they wind through the mountains with average speeds of less than 30 miles an hour.
Best time to visit Nepal
The best time to visit Nepal is either March into April or October into November which does not give you much of a window! Of course, you can visit year-round but the weather pattern is quite dramatic. For example, late November into mid-March it can be very cool especially in December and January. Those who like to trek into the Himalaya will find it almost impossible in these months. Even late November depending on how high you go can be minus 10 to 20 degrees and quite dangerous. Those who would like to walk to Everest base camp will find May the best and ‘high’ season or early October. Conversely, June to September is the warmer – but wetter – season particularly from July. It tends to be a case of heavy showers then the sunshine reappears again. The later in the summer you go, for example from June onwards it can get quite humid. Note too, that skies tend to be white as the cloud hangs overhead, rather than blue at this time of year.
Highlights Of a Nepal Tour
A tour to Nepal has many highlights and gives you a taste of the exotic! Here are just a few of them.
Fly over Everest. In Kathmandu you can arrange an aircraft flight over Mount Everest and the Himalaya. This forty-five-minute flight is dramatic and best experienced early morning – after 9am there is heavy cloud cover.
Old Kathmandu. The city’s exotic Durbar square – Durbar meaning palace. Some of the buildings here are several hundreds of years old and offer a glimpse of old Kathmandu and a wonderful insight into is exotic culture.
The Living Goddess. Combined this with a visit to the Kumari Palace the home of the Living Goddess.
Sacred Cremations. Perhaps, not for everyone, but still a memorable experience on any Nepal tour is Pashupatinath, the sacred place of cremations along a tributary of the Ganges.
A City lost in time. Bhaktapur is on any Nepal tour highlights. Visiting here is like stepping back in time with its ancient pagodas, cobbled stoned streets and medieval culture.
The jungle. Chitwan is another exotic experience, with so many elephants around it offers a really exciting touch to your tour. If you visit Pokhara – and many do – you could also experience a helicopter ride to Annapurna Base camp. Whilst expensive, it really is an experience.
You can easily find comfortable tourist class accommodation across Nepal. Kathmandu has anything from cheap backpack rooms, to several 3 to 4 star hotels and a smaller number of 5 stars hotels. In old cities, such as Bhaktapur, the small guest houses, converted from ancient houses give you a great experience – watch out for the low ceilings! In Chitwan, near the jungle, it is best to stay in a jungle lodge as part of the exotic experience. Nearby the park there are many to choose from. In Pokhara, there is a huge choice of hotels – again from the ‘backpack’ variety to comfortable hotels with pools. You are spoilt for choice.
Gareth Irvine – Gareth is a member of Facebook
I just wanted to give me thoughts on the October 2009 trip, to assist anyone who might be thinking of booking with Angel Holidays. This was a really fabulous, unique experience. Don’t expect a corporate, faceless plod around the tourist spots of Nepal on this trip. What you get from Steve and his team is a very personal, insightful trip into which the heart and soul of everyone involved is poured, particularly Steve’s. From the cultural insights we gained in Kathmandu Valley, actually spending time with real Nepali people in their homes, and learning about the politics and spiritual landscape of the country, to the exotic wonders of the jungle, with elephant rides and rhino safari this trip is… there’s no other word for it… magical. I was expecting a great trip but nothing like what I got. I met people who I hope to always stay in touch with, I learnt a huge amount, and I have incredible memories. Nepal is somewhere I’d love to go back to and hope to as soon as possible. The main thing about this trip is the personal touch. Steve is there with you literally every step of the way, and its clear that he gets as much out of the trip as everyone else does. Our group formed a fantastic bond while we were away, and much of this was down to the atmosphere of care and friendship that came from Steve. That’s it really. No, I’m not a stooge or a paid reviewer. Just a punter who had the trip of a lifetime.
Carys Williams – Carys is a member of Facebook
Even after months at home, my head is still reeling from the experience of this holiday. From being greeted at the airport to a wall of heat and roads of hell, to the tranquillity of the Annapurna range, it was a sensory, kaleidoscopic adventure of colours, sounds, smells that I will never forget. I met some fabulous people, saw some amazing things, did things I never thought I would ever do: taking part in an intimate domestic Hindu ceremony for one, standing on an elephant for another. The list is, quite frankly, endless. None of the above could have happened without the legend that is Steve Carver. He guides with humour and passion throughout and it is clear that his heart and soul has been poured into the project (as, indeed, it has with everyone he works with). The banter was legendary; the guides, genius. I loved every single second of the trip. I have bored all my friends and relatives with my stories and photographs and cannot recommend this trip highly enough. If you don’t go, I promise you will regret it.
Alison Henshaw – Alison is a member of Facebook
My trip to Nepal has been the highlight of my year. From busy cities and towns, to the jungle and the white topped mountains of the Himalaya, the scenery was definitely spectacular, it was also the people that made the trip. Everywhere we went there was a local guide. In Kathmandu we had a professor as a tour guide. It was amazing. Add to that elephants, a rickshaw ride, wild monkeys and sunrise over the Himalaya and you’ve got not just a holiday but a life affirming experience too.
Sharon Pike – Sharon is a member of Facebook
I have recently returned from a holiday of a life time with Angel Holidays. The whole journey from start to finish was extremely well thought out and put together by Steve, who by the way travelled with us and made us all feel very special. From the expertise local knowledge of the professor on our first day’s sightseeing, to the wonderful experience of having a local girl with us the entire time to share her perspectives. The other exciting opportunity was the jungle, the gentle elephants, in search of rhino and most of all washing elephants in the river, or was that them washing us!! The scenery was fantastic, out of this world at times. It was lovely to all work together as a team, getting up at 4.30am one morning to watch sunrise over the Himalaya was well worth it. I could write loads and loads more on this wonderful trip, from the Everest flight to the crocodile river trip, and Steve’s attention to detail and fun sense of humour to ensure we all had a good time made the whole journey of a lifetime even more enjoyable. I hope you all take the opportunity to experience this trip and if you wish to know more I am happy to talk to anyone who is thinking of going, I am so pleased I did.
Having travelled in Nepal recently with Angel Holidays this was the experience of travelling with a company who went that bit further to please and make the journey special. There were little surprises all along the way. Whilst you may be greeted with a set of papers detailing the itinerary of your holiday by other companies, we were given a book (bound and hand-made from local paper) containing such information, as a present from the company. In addition, we had the opportunity to add much needed funds to a local charity, and had the opportunity to see where the money was being spent. Angel Holidays were that special.
Ken & Judith Wise – Mr and Mrs Wise are members of Facebook
The trip was distinctive because it was packed with real contact with the local inhabitants. Visiting villages, temples, mountain lodges, we were able to talk, drink, and even dance with Nepali people. This is a holiday for people who want to see what is really going on. Angel Holidays have made a special effort to employ Nepali people who are very approachable and able to explain everything. We were joined by a university professor and a national poet among others, who took us into their own lives and helped us understand what it means to live in Nepal. It is not a holiday you will forget easily. We were always active in a vividly colourful culture. We were able to soak up the Himalayan landscape and were increasingly bonded as a travelling group by the input we had to make ourselves. We found much to amuse and interest us and we made a lot of friends.
Susanne Corry – Susanne is a member of Facebook
I used Angel Holidays as recommended to me by a couple of friends and I am so glad I did. My expectations were exceeded. The guides and organiser were outstanding : knowledgeable, friendly, safety-conscious, and had great sense of humour. Accommodation provided was of a high standard, clean and comfortable. The meals were excellent everywhere we went. The large group (26) was well managed and the information, entertainment and activities provided helped us all to get to know each other well. A friendly and personal touch was shown throughout the trip by Steve and his team which made my experience that much richer and unforgettable. Overall this was a wonderful trip with lasting memories. Anyone looking for an adventure in Nepal or elsewhere would be well advised to travel with Angel Holidays. Susanne Corry, Bath.
Paul Higinson – Paul and partner joined our Nepal trip
Wow….what a moving trip, we were taken on a ‘Journey that Changes Lives’, in short the best holiday we have ever had. Our host Steve Carver and his Nepalese team made it feel like we were being shown around by good friends….this is what touring holidays should be like. If you want to learn more about the real Nepal and learn more about yourself then this trip is perfect for you. The trip promised an insight into the real Nepal and far exceeded our expectations, we were treated to an insight into the amazing people of Nepal, their culture and how they live their life. We were led by well informed local guides, educated on the culture of Nepal by Surendra the passionate Professor from Kathmandu University and guided every step of the way. We visited the ancient cities and temples of Nepal and were privileged to visit the houses of local people, the burial ceremonies at the holy river and were humbled by the work of the nuns at the Old Peoples Home that our trip had helped to sponsor. We saw the rare one horned Rhinos of Asia, we paddled down the jungle river in a dugout canoe watching crocodiles and birdlife before cocktails at the river edge. We climbed in the foothills and saw the looming Himalaya mountains as the first sunlight of the day crossed their snow capped peaks. The list of experiences and memories is endless, thank you Angel Holidays, put us down for Peru in 2012 !
Paul Coathup – Paul and his wife joined our Nepal, India, Peru and Laos Cambodia trips
So we decided that we wanted to go to Nepal – we searched the net and then found the Angel Holidays website. We read the holiday description and you know how some things just feel right – this was exactly that feeling. There was just one niggling concern, we’ve been independent travellers for years and this was an “escorted group” holiday, the last thing that we wanted was to be herded around following a flag! We emailed Steve, he said that this was definitely not one of those tours, so we took a chance and loved every minute of it! The group gelled really well, the website seemed to act as a filter to produce like minded people who love to travel in the real sense of the word. Steve’s role is closer to one of a host than a guide, a host who has an intimate knowledge of Nepal and someone who takes real pleasure in passing on his knowledge and love of Nepal to others. The sights are superb, this is a truly beautiful and amazing country, we saw so much during our two weeks. Accompanying us on the journey were Pabi, a Nepalese lady who has a smile to die for. If you love travel, if you have a genuine interest in other cultures and you want to see Nepal….book this holiday!
Nigel Burton – Nigel joined our India tour
I have just returned from my 3rd adventure with Angel holidays, I got hooked on their style of holiday on my first trip with Steve to Nepal. Steve manages to make his trips adventures with the risks removed he gets you to places other tourists don’t get to see and to really experience local life through meeting local people and sometimes even eating in their homes with them. You will not stay in tourist hotels but in really interesting places. I have experienced a monastery stay in Nepal, a four hundred year old house in Lima on our Peru tour, a Bishop’s house in Peru and on my most recent trip to Rajasthan we stayed in 3 palaces, a one man tent in the desert, and a couple of Havelis On the three trips I have done with Steve to Nepal, Peru and India we have travelled on Buses, trains, tuk tuks, rickshaws, elephants, horse-carts, camels, camel carts, landrovers, boats, foot, bicycles, pick ups and small aeroplanes. Steve is more of a host than a tour leader and you will get free time when you will be able to explore on your own but Steve is always full of helpful advice and help with ideas and great at fixing things for you. I have had three memorable trips and no doubt will be back for more in the future and I have made some great friends along the way.