Are you one of those looking for a combined Kathmandu Pokhara tour and day hiking itinerary? If the answer to this question is YES! you are on the right page. In these writings, we will discuss some essential things you may need to consider while planning this trip and some sample itineraries.
Hi, my name is Raj, and I have experienced customizing itinerary for over a decade in the travel industry of Nepal. Today on this page, I will give you some idea on how you can plan Nepal Itinerary that includes a major city Kathmandu, Pokhara, with day hiking options. Before we jump into a sample itinerary, you may want to know some other essential things. If you especially have limited time but want to visit Kathmandu, Pokhara, and also hiking, you may want to know some of this essential information first. So, you know how exactly it works.
How Many Days You Need?
Things to keep in mind, the longer the days you have cheaper, the trip cost will become
You may need at least 4 night 5 days Nepal itinerary with flight option. While preparing the itinerary that combines Kathmandu, Pokhara, along with day hiking, you should be aware that travel options that connect these two cities may affect the total day you need and the cost of the trip. Things to keep in mind, the longer the days you have cheaper, the trip cost will become. Especially if you are willing to experience the tourist bus ride or even a local bus. But instead, if you choose flight options, you may significantly save time (at least two full-day activities), but the cost of this trip will increase due to the flight cost. Let me breakdown the relationship between the total days you need with travel options, which affect the total days and the overall cost of the trip.
|Travel options||Days you save/ need||Travel Time||Budget Option|
|Flight in and tourist bus out||Save One Day||30 min flight/7-hour drive||Medium|
|The round trip flight options||Save Two days||1 hour round trip flight||Expensive|
|The round trip tourist bus option||Need Two Full additional days||15/16 hour on tourist bus||Budget|
The tourist bus ride between Kathmandu- Pokhara- Kathmandu may take up to 7/8 hours, but you will spend almost full days inside the bus because of the departure time and break in between the journey. The tourist bus departure from both cities is at 7:00 AM with expected arrival time around 3:00 PM.
Arrival and Departure to And From Nepal
Arrival and Departure time to and from Kathmandu may affect the entire days and the activities you want to do in Kathmandu. What does that mean is; if you arrive Kathmandu on an early flight, you might start Kathmandu sightseeing stright after you arrive in the city that saves one full day activities. But instead, if you arrive late in the afternoon, you might end up not doing anything except transfer to your hotel and look for a place to eat dinner.
You shouldn’t count the arrival and departure day Unless it is early arrival and late departure.
This theory will apply the same on your departure time. If you have an evening flight back home or late in the evening, you might be able to use the last day doing some activities and departure. But instead, if the flight is during mid-day, you might just wake up, have breakfast, easy on packing, and leave the hotel for final departure. In summary, either you shouldn’t count the arrival and departure day Unless it is early arrival and late departure.
What Activities You Want to Cover
The activities that you may want to explore may affect the budget and the total days you want. However, if you just wish to explore the iconic world heritage sites in the city of Kathmandu and hiking around Pokhara along with mountain views five-night should be enough. I gathered some possible activities around Kathmandu if you wish to extend, but keep in mind If you want, just the highlights and major part to explore one Night two days in Kathmandu might be enough.
Activities in Kathmandu
World Heritage sightseeing: Full days Kathmandu world heritage sightseeing may last up to 7/8 hours. The tour covers 5 of the major world heritage sites, such as Shyambhunath, Pashupatinath, Boudhanath, Patan Darbar Square, and Kathmandu Darbar Square.
Bhaktapur Nagarkot Day tour
While they said spending one night in Nagarkot is worth the early sunrise and sunset views over the Himalayas compear to just a day tour. But If you don’t have time for an overnight, you may want to explore the Bhaktapur city and quick drive through Nagarkot as well. However, Nagarkot is one of the famous hiking destinations near Kathmandu Valley as well. Day hiking from Changunarayan or two night three days Kathmandu Valley trek is a great way to enjoy around Nagarkot and Bhaktapur.
Khokana Bungmati and Kritipur Sightseeing
It’s an old town located in the southwest Kathmandu valley, Khokana Bungmati and Kritipur is one of the ancient cities with history back in 16/17 century. A lot of tourists wouldn’t include this in the itinerary, but If you are one of those like to venture different sites, this might just be perfect for you. It’s a full-day tour and required a tour guide.
Thamel Dreams Of Garden and Local Market
The local market, Ashan, Indrachok, near Thamel (The only touristic town in Kathmandu Nepal), has some of the exciting local things hidden. You may want to include Dreams of Garden, Thamel, Ashan, Indra Chok, Kathmandu Darbar Square, New Road walking tour. This area doesn’t require a guide, and it’s free. You can explore independently. Some of my clients said they enjoy this walking tour the most finding exotic looks of old Kathmandu. It depends on how further you want to explore, but this self walking tour may take minimum as 3 hours to maximum up to full day. If you don’t like walking for this long but love to see the local market, there is an option to take a three-wheeler tricycle. We call it a Rickshaw in Nepal.
Mountain Flight Over the Himalayas
If you don’t have time and energy to ladder up for two weeks to Everest Base Camp trek, early mountain flight might be just the right option for you. There are two types of facilities available one in the helicopter, and the other one is on a small aircraft. The helicopter is about USD 1,000 to 1,200 per person for a 3/4 hour touchdown tour to Everest Base Camp. But in the small plane, It is about USD 200 per person for 1-hour sightseeing from the top.
Activities in Pokhara
I personally like Pokhara more than any other city because I love nature. That’s what Pokhara is all about. Pokhara itself offers the best natural activities. For adventure lovers, Paragliding, Hot Air Ballon, Zip lining, Buggy, Boating, Rafting, Biking, and Hiking is the main attraction of Pokhara. Let me Breakdown how you can spend your time in Pokhara. On a clear day, Pokhara city itself offers a magnificent view of the Himalayas from every corner. Even If the tourist on a tight schedule, they don’t miss Pokhara city Tour, Sarangkot Sunrise, Boating in Phewa Lake.
Day 01 Activities in Pokhara
Fly to Pokhara and full day Pokhara sightseeing in the city those covers (Davis falls, Gupteshor cave, Mountain Museum, Seti George, Old Pokhara town, Mahendra Cave) And Himalayas sunset tour from Stupa in the evening. Overnight in Pokhara. To follow this idea you have to take a flight to Pokhara. You might be able to do the Stupa sunset tout If you travel on a tourist bus. Because you wouldn’t be able to complete the sightseeing as you spend the days on a tourist bus. On a clear day flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara offers some of the most spectacular mountain views of Annapurna, Manaslu, Langtang and Ganesh Himal range. SO, flying to Pokhara not only saves time while moving one city to another but also offers an incredible mountain view of the Himalayas.
Day 02 Activities in Pokhara
For a hiking lover, Instead of taking a car to go Stupa, you can make a day hike to Stupa. If that so, you need to take a boat to cross the Phewa lake and trek to Stupa. Back and forth, it will roughly take 4/5 hours. You can include boating in Phewa lake and walking tour around the on the same day to make it a full day to enjoy the day.
Day 03 Activities in Pokhara
Today, you can do the sunrise hike and may be extended to a day hike to Naudanda. In order to follow this idea, you should wake up early, take a private car and drive until the base of the Sarangkot hills and hike to the top of Sarangkot before sunrise. Almost no tourist would miss these activities in Pokhara as Sarangkot Sunrise Tour is one of the best in Pokhara. There are several options you can choose from. Someone who doesn’t like or can’t hike you can drive all the way and drive back to Pokhara as well. Instead of driving back if you prefer to take the paragliding down to the city, this is another most popular option among the adventure seekers. Or instead of paragliding down or a drive back if you further want to enjoy the mountain village hiking. You can do a day hike all the way to Naudanda and take the taxi back to Pokhara in the evening as well.
Day 04/05 Activities in Pokhara
2 night 3 days hike to Dhampus Sarangkot is one of the most popular ideas among the hiking lovers. In this idea, you will spend one night in Dhampus, the second night in Sarangkot, and third night in Pokhara do the sightseeing and back to Kathmandu.
Kathmandu Pokhara Tour with Hiking (Sample Itinerary)
All the comment above was to make sure you know what the possibilities around Kathmandu and Pokhara are. Depending on what you like, you can create your own itinerary based on the available option I gave you. However, to make your life easy, combining my expertise, Here is some sample itinerary you may like to consider.
Sample Itinerary 01 without Hiking
Day 01: Visit 4 of the major world heritage sites in private cars (Shyambhunath, Patan, Pashupatinath, and Boudhanath).
Day 02: Early flight to Pokhara and sightseeing in the city. David falls, Gupteshor cave, Mountain Museum, Seti George, Old Pokhara town, Mahendra Cave. And Himalayas sunset tour from Stupa in the evening. Overnight in Pokhara.
Day 03: Early Sarangkot Himalayas sunrise tour and a day hike to Naudanda or Paragliding options back to the city. Boating in the Phewa Lake, hike around the lake, local market, shopping, and free day in the afternoon.
Day 04: Drive from Pokhara to Kathmandu on a tourist bus (7-8 hour) and Nagarkot in a private car. The total journey will take about 8-9 hours, but this is the cheapest option and the way to enjoy the landscape of Nepal via overland. Considering the flight cost, you can take the flight back to Kathmandu and transfer back to Nagarkot as well. Overnight in Nagarkot.
Day 05: At Nagarkot, you will enjoy the early sunrise view of the Himalayas from the rooftop of your hotel. Depending on the weather, you will see some of the most spectacular views of the Himalayas from Nagarkot. After breakfast, you can continiue sightseeing in Bhaktapur, which is on the way to Kathmandu airport.
Sample Itinerary 02 with Hiking
Day 01: Visit 4 of the major world heritage sites in private cars (Shyambhunath, Patan, Pashupatinath, and Boudhanath). It takes about 6 hours to complete — overnight in Kathmandu.
Day 02: Kathmandu to Pokhara on an early flight and hike to Dhampus. Overnight in Australian Camp. You will take a taxi/car from Pokhara airport Phedi and then about 5/6 hours of trek to get to the camp. It is a relatively easy hike.
Day 03: Dhampus to Naudada hike and take a taxi to Sarangkot. Sarangkot is one of the most popular hill stations for sunrise and sunset view of the Annapurna range. Overlooking view of Pokhara city and hundreds of gliders are gliding in Sarangkot’s sky every day. If you are one of them, this is the right spot to take a chance to paraglide here.
Day 04: Hike down to Pokhara or glide down If you love Paragliding. Pokhara sightseeing in the afternoon. You have the options to enjoy in Pokhara by visiting (David falls, Gupteshor cave, Mountain Museum, Seti George, Old Pokhara town, Mahendra Cave). If you just want to relax by doing some independent walk around the lakeside, boating in Phewa lake, that is also an alternative option. Overnight in Pokhara
Day 05: Depending on your budget, you can either take the bus to Kathmandu or a flight back to Kathmandu.
There are many ways to create a Kathmandu Pokhara tour and day hiking itinerary. However, the one above we just discussed is only a few of them. The itinerary and activities will depend on your available days from the starting to the end. If you don’t know what to do and where to go in Nepal, We are here to help you. NEST Adventure is one of the leading companies in Nepal offers some of the best-customized itineraries to their customers. If you want to receive our exclusive offer, you can send us an email with the exact available time frame, so we can take a look and try to fit what you can do. It helps me to understand if you include your interest, budget, mode of transportation, and the categories of the hotel.
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