Arrive in Kathmandu and transfer to our hotel. Those on Land Only arrangements will join us in the afternoon at the Royal Singi Hotel.
Today is free for sightseeing in Kathmandu. You may wish to visit Durbar Square in the heart of the old city where the old Royal Palace, with its intricate woodcarving is located. Outside is Kumari Chowk, home of the Kumari, the young girl who is revered as a living goddess. The whole area is a maze of temples and images. Leading away from the square in all directions are narrow alleys, full of the most amazing variety of shops and stalls. Alternatively you may wish to visit the monkey temple at Swayambhunath, one of the largest Buddhist Stupas in the world at Bodnath, or the most important Hindu temple in the valley at Pashupatinath. Sightseeing tours can be booked locally. Please see the Optional Excursions section. There will also be a full trek briefing today.
We depart Kathmandu early in the morning and head towards Pokhara. After leaving The Kathmandu valley we head westwards along the Trisuli Valley. We get superb views of the mountains as we follow the river to Mugling. Continuing we stop for lunch in one of the roadside cafes before reaching Pokhara. A short drive brings us to Lumle, from where it is a short walk to Birethanthi, a pretty riverside resort on the bank of the Modi Khola.
We start our trek by following the Modi Khola upstream. The trail climbs all morning on a well built stone staircase passing neatly terraced hillsides to Ghandrung (1,951m). Ghandrung is a large, prosperous Gurung village and we have time to explore the maze of narrow alleyways separating neat slate-roofed houses and watch the ever-changing sunlight on Annapurna South and Machhapuchhare
We descend on a magnificently made stone staircase down to the Modi Khola and cross it by a narrow bridge. It's then a steep climb the other side of the valley to Landrung, another fine Gurung village, with superb views of Annapurna South and Hiunchuli.
We contour round the valley for a while before a steep climb through forest to a col at Deurali - a group of herders' huts and tea houses, where there are good views back to Annapurna South. Staying close to the ridge we trek to a view pointknown as Australian Camp where we spend the night
A walk through the forest brings us to the road at Khare. Here we meet our transport for the drive to Pokhara, where we spend the night. There should be time this afternoon to walk around this attractive lakeside town.
Day 9 - 10
We drive to Chitwan, where we spend the next two nights. The most popular way of seeing animals is on elephant back, and we will be very unlucky not to see at least the Indian one-horned rhinoceros and several species of deer. We also make trips along the Rapti River in a dugout canoe, looking for crocodile and observing the many birds. The safari lodge has knowledgeable and helpful staff, who accompany us on all the excursions. The lodge is made up of a small complex of two-roomed huts with attached bathrooms and a dining/bar area.
After breakfast we drive back to Kathmandu arriving in the afternoon.
We fly to the mountain airstrip of Lukla (2,800m.), and then set off on the first leg of our Everest trek, heading northwards up the valley of the Dudh Kosi ('milk river'). We descend from the small plateau, down into the forested valley. The trail crosses several tributary streams and we have some tantalising views before reaching the small settlement of Phakding (2,652m.), where we will spend our first night.
We follow the Dudh Kosi north, crossing from one bank to the other. Heading out of Phakding we climb high above the river. This day's walk takes us through magnificent forests of rhododendron, giant fir and magnolia trees, and both in spring and autumn the ground is bright with flowers. After Jorsale (2805m.) the trail climbs over a spur and alongside a moss strewn cliff, to cross the river, and start the steep climb to Namche Bazaar,the administrative centre of the Khumbu region and headquarters for the Mount Sagarmatha (Everest) National Park. Namche is a prosperous Sherpa village and an important trading centre with a weekly market at which fresh foodstuffs brought up from lower villages are bought.
We spend the day exploring the area around Namche Bazaar, with a chance to introduce ourselves properly to the Sherpas and their way of life. We climb steeply out of Namche Bazaar with excellent views of Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse and many other peaks. We will have the opportunity of visiting the Edmund Hillary Hospital in Kunde. Passing through the village of Khumjung we descend back into Namche.
Day 15 - 16
There will be time this morning to visit the National Park Museum with views of Everest and the Sherpa Culture Centre, with interesting displays of Sherpa culture and the history of Everest climbing. Descending through Namche Bazaar, we pick up the trail again, following the Dudh Kosi south through rhododendron and pine forests, past Jorsale, Monzo and Benkar to Phakding, where we spend a night. We retrace our steps from Phakding back to the small airstrip of Lukla.
We fly back to Kathmandu and transfer to our hotel.
A free day in Kathmandu for sightseeing or shopping. You may like to visit the towns of Patan and/or Bhaktapur. See the Optional Excursions section.
Those on the group flights to London will be transferred to the airport after breakfast. Those on land only arrangements will leave us after breakfast.