We begin this trip from Kathmandu, the country’s capital. Our first destination – Bandipur about 150km from the capital. We drive early and it takes about 5hrs to reach this scenic little town. Unlike most other tourist destinations, Bandipur is secluded and chaos free which gives us an unique opportunity to explore the culture andtraditions of its people and the beauty of its surrounding. We spend our night in Bandipur Mountain Resort. which provides the best service in the midst of beautiful surroundings.
The next morning we head to the famous valley of Pokhara also known as the valley of lakes and of course Mt. Macchhapuchre or the fishtail mountain, which is just at 85kms distance that is 2hrs drive from Bandipur and unlike Bandipur Pokhara is bustling with people but the crowd over here makes the atmosphere even more inviting and colorful. We spend a day in Pokhara visiting its famous sites and spend the night in Mum’s Garden Resort. which is a perfect place for good hospitality and sound accommodation. The next morning we drive to Tansen, considered as one of the most popular summer resorts because of its position and climate. Tansen is approx. 119km from Pokhara and it takes about 6 hrs to reach there. A walk around the town will soon reveal its diversity in caste and culture and offers a chance to mingle with the local people and get to know them better. Here in Tansen we can interact with the locals and know more about the place and the people. A stay with a local family will give you a taste of true Nepalese hospitality.
The next morning we head for the lowlands of Terai to the famous Pilgrimage site of Lumbini, the Birthplace of Lord Buddha about 91km from Tansen and just 2.5hrs drive from there. There are numerous places here of great historical and archaeological importance that are educational as well as interesting, the most famous being the sacred garden and the Ashokan Pillar erected by the great Emperor Ashoka himself to mark his visit to the birthplace of Lord Buddha. Then there are the recently built temples and shrines by the joint effort of many countries to preserve this historical place. We stay for the night here.
The next morning we move on to the famous national park of Nepal ‘The Royal Chitwan National Park’ for an adventure of a lifetime which is 185km(approx.) from Lumbini and a 3.5hrs drive away from there. Here we ride on elephants for a safari into the jungle, take nature walks deep into the jungle, enjoy a dugout-canoe ride in the waters of Budhi Rapti or go on a boat ride, do a bit of bird watching or simply enjoy the serenity of the place. For a cultural experience we visit a Tharu village on the edge of the park. Among other people inhabiting the Terai, Tharus are probably the most ancient of them all. So it is quite an experience to study the living ways of these people and their customs. We spend the night here at the Island Jungle resort.. situated inside the park and hence provides sound accommodation and opportunity to view wildlife in probably the best natural habitat.
After a wonderful night in Chitwan we go to the city of Janakpur, famous for the temple of Janaki and an important pilgrimage site for Hindus all over the world. Janakpur is 225km from Chitwan and from Chitwan it takes about 4hrs to reach there. This place gets very colorful during the festival of Bhivaha Panchami and Rama Navami. A visit to the countryside is truly an experience to cherish. The vast rice fields stretching as far as the eye can see, the huge Banyan and Peepal trees in the courtyards of mud huts with thatched roofs, smoking chimneys, the bullock carts laden with goods, where else can we see a life so simple yet so satisfying. We can move around the town in either Rickshaws or for an authentic experience in carts either drawn by man or bulls.
After a brief look of the city of Janakpur we continue our journey to the smallest wildlife reserve of Nepal ‘ Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve’ which is famous for its rare herds of wild Buffaloes found no where else in Nepal. This reserve is just 3hrs from Janakpur at a distance of 156km(approx.). So we can reach there by night and stay here at the Koshi Tappu Wildlife Camp which is inside the park giving an unique opportunity to see bird life and rare animals while staying in the luxurious safari tented camp. We can move around the reserve the next morning. This reserve is situated on the flood plains of Koshi river and because of various marshes, lagoons and mudflats, it is also a bird watchers paradise.
After spending the day with the Buffaloes and the Birds, we move on to the provincial town of Dharan which is just 70km and 1.5hrs drive from the reserve. We will reach there by night and as for accommodation, we stay at home of one of the locals and enjoy the simple but authentic Nepalese hospitality. Though not much of a beauty to look at, Dharan nonetheless is for those people who prefer cultural experience to nature study. The next day we can take short trips to local schools or NGO’s or talk with the locals, a village elder or a local representative, willing to assist us know more about the place, the people and the history. Spending a night with the locals will be interesting specially when you are there as one of the family member and not as an outsider.
From Dharan we drive to the charming hill town of Dhankuta the next day about 45km and just 1hr drive from Dharan. From here the Himalayas can be seen distinctly. A brief look of this town and we move to Hile , a small place but the perfect one to view the major peaks of eastern Himalayas including Mt. Everest. Hile is 1/2 hrs drive about 15km from Dhankuta. Here we will stay with a local family and experience the true Nepalese hospitality, mingle with their culture and live their way of life for a day. Further up about 25km from Hile about 1hr drive is Basantapur, a town at an altitude of 2,323m and famous for its scenic beauty. Here we will see Rhododendron trees covering hills and beautiful white Himalayas in the backdrop.
Basantapur to Dharan is 85km or a 2hrs drive. From Dharan we move on to Ilam famed for its vast tea plantations . Ilam is 220km from Dharan and it takes about 4 and half hours to reach there. Ilam doesn’t fall under the category of a regular tourist destination which makes it even more interesting to explore. And what better way than to have a chance to stay at a home of one of the locals, eat as one of them and live with them as a family. We stay here for the night. The next morning we can move around Ilam. Besides its natural beauty Ilam is perfect for a bit of cultural exploration. we can have a little chit chat with the locals in the bazaar section. Besides this we can also visit Ilam’s famous holy pond ‘ Mai Pokhari ‘, one of the famous Hindu pilgrimage site of Nepal. There is also a place called Antu Danda which at an altitude of 1,677m offers unobstructed views of Mt. Everest and Mt. kanchanjunga and is also famed for its bewitching sunrise and sunset. Ilam offers not just beautiful scenery but beautiful people too.
After a night at Ilam with the local family, we make a long journey to Hetauda about 475km and 6.5hrs drive from Ilam. We stop at Hetauda for a day and next morning we head to our final destination, Daman, just 3hrs drive from Hetauda at a distance of 56km. Daman is a place famed for its unobstructed view of the entire Himalayan range including the mighty Mt. Everest. The view from over here is breathtaking which in a way will refresh our minds and our memories of the places we visited so far. After sightseeing we head back to Kathmandu which is 80km from Daman and is about 3hrs drive.
Traveling is actually about the people we meet along the way. This is a tour with a perfect blend of people and places. Traveling along this country we will realize that without its simple, beautiful people and their colorful customs, Nepal is simply lifeless.
Tansen: Situated on the slopes of the Srinagar hill is the famous Himalayan town of Tansen. At an altitude of 1,371m, it is considered as one of the most popular summer resort on the basis of its position and climate. It provides an extensive view of the Himalayas from Dhaulagiri in the west to Gaurishanker in northeast. There are various artistic temples and shrines that one can see. One can also take a hike up the Srinagar hill for a panoramic view of Tansen.
Janakpur: Janakpur, situated in the Terai region, is an important pilgrimage site for Hindus said to be the birthplace of Sita, the consort of Lord Rama and the heroine of Hindu epic Ramayana. It is also the place where Sita got married to Rama. The name comes from Janak, father of Sita and King of Mithila now Janakpur . It has the famous Janaki temple built by Queen Vrisha Bhanu of the Indian state of Tikamgarh. Made of marble and beautifully carved this temple is also famous as the ‘ Naulakha ‘ temple named thus because the cost of building this temple is supposed to have been nine lakhs (900,000). Close to this temple is the temple of Rama. During Rama Navami and Bhivaha Panchami, thousands of pilgrims all over from India and Nepal come here to pay homage to Sita and Rama.
Bandipur: The small town of Bandipur is famous for its natural beauty. About 140km from Kathmandu at an altitude of 1000m ridge in Tanahu District, Bandipur has various scenic spots where one can enjoy a quiet time or take walks in the surrounding areas to discover people of diverse cultures living in harmony. Bandipur has temples that are beautifully carved in brass and wood especially the pagoda roofed Bindabasini temple dedicated to Goddess Durga, the guardian deity of this town. Also famous is the temple of Khadga Devi that comes alive once a year during Dashain, the national festival of Nepal.
Koshi Tappu Wildlife reserve: This is Nepal’s smallest reserve and home to the rare herd of wild buffaloes found no where else in Nepal. It was officially gazetted in 1979. About 65sq.km in area, it is situated on the flood plains of Koshi river in the eastern Terai. Mainly tall grass species and trees of Sissoo, Khair and Semal are found on its flat surface. It is also a paradise for bird lovers. The marshes, lagoons and mudflats create one of the best and finest bird sanctuaries in Asia.
Dhankuta, Basantapur & Hile: Dhankuta at an altitude of 1200m is a beautiful hill town inhabited by mostly Rais, Limbus and Newars. It is also a gateway to Makalu and Kanchanjunga mountain series situated at an altitude of 2,323m, Basantapur is famous for its scenic beauty and cool climate. The Tinjure danda in Basantapur is covered by Rhododendron forest. It is famous for the views of the Himalayas and for breathtaking view of sunrise and sunset.
About 13km north of Dhankuta is Hile, the place to view the major peaks of eastern Himalayas including Mt. Everest, Lhotse, Makalu, Kumbhakarna and others.
Daman: Located 75km southwest of Kathmandu valley on a highway to the Indian border is the scenic town of Daman(2,400m) which offers one of the best views of the mountains in Nepal. There is also a view tower fitted with long range telescopes. For the ultimate pan-himalayan experience, Daman is the place to choose which guarantees sights that are simply unforgettable.