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8-10D Marvels Around Mystical Kathmandu

In November 2019, Blue Sky Escapes curated our second holistic retreat — an 8D7N journey to Kathmandu, with an optional 2D extension to Pokhara — tailored specially for fitness and wellness enthusiasts who wanted to leave their footprints and pole marks in this trekker’s paradise.

Led entirely by fitness and wellness guru, Stephanie Bovis, the adventure included a 3D2N trek from Kharidhunga to Dolongsa Khamathang, with temple visits, stunning scenery, extreme sporting activities and boutique expedition camping experiences along the way.

But what truly distinguished this journey was the inside access our travellers had to local communities and personalities, such as a private meeting with a renowned Buddhist scholar and linguist. Other immersive experiences included spiritual and wellness activities like yoga, meditation, salt room therapy in an authentic Himalayan salt house and more.

Key Highlights

Day by Day Highlights

pacific ocean sunset

Day 1 (November 10, 2019)
Kathmandu (1,315m) — Bhaktapur (1,332m)

Arrive in Kathmandu and be privately transferred to Bhaktapur. Bhaktapur, which literally translates to “City of Devotees”, is a beautifully preserved medieval city-state in east Kathmandu Valley.
Built in the early 15th century, it is an ancient architectural dream, with the finest religious temples, palaces and courtyards scattered across the UNESCO heritage city.
Wander along the narrow alleys for a glimpse of Nepali life, where artisans weave cloth and chisel timber, and locals gather to socialise and make merry.

Day 2 (November 11, 2019)
Bhaktapur (1,350m) — Changu (1,927m)

Wake up bright and early and begin your day with a visit to Bhaktapur, a 15th century city home to a 55-window palace and many other pagoda-style temples built by Malla kings and famous for the beauty of their wood carvings. Bhaktapur means city of the “devout people” and it is a UNESCO heritage site.
Lunch will be at the historical Durbar Square area, after which you will be transferred to Changunarayan Temple — the oldest (5th century) pagoda-style temple in Nepal featuring intricate carvings of tantric deities. Hike in the countryside north of Bhaktapur (around 1.5-hours) through villages, followed by a visit to the temple.
Before your day concludes, visit a Buddhist scholar and linguist, where you will get the rare opportunity to have your questions about the religion’s traditions, beliefs and spiritual practices answered over a cup of chai or lassi.​

pacific ocean sunset
pacific ocean sunset

Day 3 (November 12, 2019)
Kharidhunga (2,600m) — Kalinchowk (3,500m)

Prepare for a long day ahead, starting with a 5-hour drive to Kharidhunga, passing through several villages, valleys and rolling hills. Upon arrival at Kharidhunga you will be introduced to your trekking team before embarking on an exhilarating 3D2N trek.
Follow a beautiful trail through the forest with gorgeous landscapes that overlook stunning valleys and pristine grassland below. ​ It is an easy uphill walk most of the time but the last leg of the journey will be relatively steep before reaching Kalinchowk (900 m ascension).
You will camp at a spot that offers a towering, gorgeous view of the mighty Himalayas. Your tent will be set up for a night under the stars.​

Day 4 (November 13, 2019)
Kalinchowk (3,500m) — Dhumthala (2,800m)

After breakfast, continue your hike along a steep trail (around 45 minutes) all the way up to the Kalinchowk Temple (3,850 m), an important Hindu pilgrimage site perched at the edge of the world.
Thereafter, trek along a ridge with incredible panoramic views of the expansive landscape, set against a backdrop of snowcapped mountains such as the imposing Gauri Shankar (7,134 m), the Annapurnas and Manaslu (8,163 m), among others.
After lunch at Kharka, cross the Tingsa-La Pass (3,600 m) and stroll through a dense rhododendron forest en route to your next campsite at Dhumthala (2,800 m) for the night.​

pacific ocean sunset
pacific ocean sunset

Day 5 (November 14, 2019)
Dhumtahala (2,800 m) — Dolangsa Khamathang (2,400 m)

Today’s last hike takes you through local villages to Dolangsa Khamathang, where daily life revolves around agriculture and farming. Upon arrival at your final stop, hop into your private transport (around a 4-hour drive) and travel to The Last Resort, a calm sanctuary of rustic and raw safari tents set in the tranquil outdoors.
Situated close to the Nepal-Tibet border on the Bhote Koshi river, unwind and refresh at the hotel. Time permitting, you can go on an adrenaline-filled adventure and canyon swing or bungee jump; or drive up to the border.
Fall asleep listening to the sound of the river and wake up to the birds singing.

Day 6 (November 15, 2019)
The Last Resort — Dhulikhel ​(1,542 m)

Tuck into a hearty breakfast before making your way to the banks of the Bhote Koshi river —
considered to be one of the 10 best white river rafting places in the world — for a thrilling morning of intense white rafting.
With mountains and cascades on both sides, rafting down Bhote Koshi makes for a heady experience with frequent rapids downstream and sudden lifts.​
Break for lunch on the banks of the river before heading to Dwarika’s Resort in Dhuklihel, a Himalayan nirvana designed for pure relaxation, reinvigoration and reflection.
You can choose from a holistic buffet of activities and entertainment, engage in a group yoga session with Stephanie Bovis, or wrap up the day with a various range of activities available to you. For example in the​ Himalayan Salt Room, Chakra Sound Therapy Chamber or Meditation Maze among many more.

pacific ocean sunset
pacific ocean sunset

Day 7 (November 16, 2019)
Dhulikhel (1,542 m)

Rejuvenate and begin the day anew with a meditation or yoga session with Dwarika’s meditation guru, or enjoy a slow morning.
The rest of the day will be dedicated to wellness and spiritual activities. Join Stephanie for a yin yoga session, active meditation or some HIIT training to get the blood pumping.
Other optional half-day activities include various hikes such as to Baralaon and Tinpipal to visit the Brahmin and Chhetri villages of Baralgaon.
​End the trip with a private farewell dinner arranged by and at the hotel.

Day 8 (November 17, 2019)

Option 1 (8D7N Kathmandu — Airport): Enjoy your morning at leisure. After checking out, make your way to Kathmandu for exciting day explorations, where you will visit a Buddhist monument and turn some prayer wheels, as well as monasteries in Bodhnath. Next up, travel to Patan, where we will have our lunch inside a peaceful historical courtyard. Patan was another kingdom within the valley of Kathmandu before the unification of Nepal in the 18th century. It is well known for its beautiful temples, and arts and crafts. Similarly, its small hidden Buddhist monasteries called vihar are things of beauty.

Option 2 (10D9N Pokhara extension): Hop on a 30-minute domestic flight to Pokhara — a metropolitan city located at the base of the Annapurna mountain region and gateway to the famous hiking circuit. A treasure trove of outdoor activities, go boating on the peaceful Phewa Lake, stopping at an island temple dedicated to the Goddess of the Lake called “Tal Barahi”. Spend the day hiking or cycling to a beautiful viewpoint at Shanti Stupa, a magnificent Buddhist stupa, before making a gentle descent down the valley.​

pacific ocean sunset
pacific ocean sunset

Day 9 (November 18, 2019)
Sarangkot (1,409m) — Begnas Thulokote (954m)

Early in the morning, we’ll take a short car ride to Sarangkot to see the sunrise over the Himalayas, with views of Annapurna (8,091 m), Annapurna South (7,219 m), Manaslu (8,163 m), Lamjung (6,900 m) and Machhapuchhre (6,993 m).
Expect Sarangkot to be crowded and a little touristy, but the views from here are considered one of the best in order to see the Himalayas from a relatively close distance. We’ll then drive back to the hotel for breakfast before heading off for the Begnas Thulokote hike (approximately 3-4 hours), which is part of the “Royal Trek” that was completed by Prince Charles in 1980.​

Day 10 (November 19, 2019)
Kathmandu (1,315m) — Airport

Take your time and enjoy breakfast at the resort’s terrace.

Head to the airport for a short flight to Kathmandu (30 minutes) to catch your connecting flight back home.

Bon voyage!

pacific ocean sunset

*This journey outline is a guideline only and may be subject to change. The final journey price includes (i) accommodation as specified, on the basis of double sharing rooms and tents,  (ii) activities and experiences (where specified), (iii) meals (where specified), (iv) private services with local English-speaking guide, (v) private transportation, (vi) entrance fees (where applicable), (vii) domestic flight (where applicable) and excludes (i) international flights, (ii) travel insurance, (iii) any visa charges, (iv) expenses of a personal nature, and will be confirmed based on the final number of confirmed guests. In this regard, if a pre-requisite number of guests for this journey is not met, Blue Sky Escapes reserve the right to cancel or make such amendments to the journey as they deem fit.

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