What are you doing this April?

A yogi in-the-zone
A yogi in-the-zone

At  Smiling Albino we are well known for our customized trips, we often find ourselves putting together trips that cater to our clients specific needs. Today we have one to share that we are opening to all our Smiling Albino friends.  This trip has one special departure next April, it takes on the highlights of Nepal with all the aspects of a Smiling Albino tour.

Highlights include stunning views, great treks that you don’t need to be a mountaineer to complete, sightseeing from the pillion seat of a classic Enfield motorbike, an overnight rafting trip and some mountain biking on easy roads with lots of downhill portions.  Of course it’s chock full of cultural as well, such as getting up close to local village life, as well as the opportunity to experience monastic life first-hand in a peaceful environment during a one night stay adjacent to a monastery.

This is not your tour of Nepal the “lazy way” or your hard core trekking trip, but what we like to think is the perfect balance.

 

Price:

Price per person (Maximum 10  person group) US$3840

Single supplement: US$875


April 1 – Welcome to Kathmandu!

Upon your arrival outside the Kathmandu airport your Smiling Albino host will meet and guide you through the initial culture shock of Kathmandu’s narrow, winding streets and introduce you to your gorgeous heritage hotel. “Swotha” lies in the very heart of the ancient city of Patan. It is a beautiful traditional home, inspirationally restored to preserve the authentic feel of old Patan, while providing modern comforts.

 

Depending on your arrival time we will take you out for a walking tour of the old city and the ancient Patan Durbar (palace) Square, learning about the secret alleyways and courtyard system that make this ancient city such a unique and well planned place. Incredible, when we think of our impressions of modern Kathmandu! As they say, old is gold.

 

Tonight we’ll treat you to a traditional Newari dinner (Newari are the original inhabitants of the Kathmandu valley) at one of the capital’s tastiest restaurants and prepare you for the adventure ahead.

 

Flight: TBA

Meals: D

Accommodation: Traditional Homes Swotha, Traditional Room, http://www.traditionalhomes.com.np/

 

About the accommodations

Restored as a model of how to preserve the glory of the past while ensuring relevance and sustainability into the future, Swotha is an inspiration. A boutique bed and breakfast nestled right in the heart of old Patan, amidst centuries old temples and the local bazaar, Swotha is the perfect place to get to know Nepal!

 

April 2 – Big sites on big bikes

Get ready for an exclusive day that only Smiling Albino can pull off – exploring Kathmandu’s perennial sites perched on the back of classic Royal Enfield motorcycles. There are a whopping 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites located in the Kathmandu Valley. Yesterday we visited Patan Durbar Square and today we will explore 2 of the most amazing UNESCO sites, with some more in store for tomorrow.

 

You’ll have one of the city’s best drivers chauffer you pillion-style, so you can sit back, take in the sights and smells, while locals envy your ride (a van option exists for those who do not want to ride on a motorcycle).

 

This is a brilliantly fun – and efficient – way to explore the maze of Kathmandu and have some fun with locals at the same time. In the afternoon we will ride out of the city and up a little mountain road to the rim of the Kathmandu Valley where we will spend the night in the ‘hill-station’ of Nagarkot, with the chance of simply amazing Himalayan Views at sunset!

 

Meals: B, L, D

Accommodation: Club Himalaya, Nagarkot, Standard Room, www.clubhimalaya.com.np

 

About the accommodations 

Club Himalaya is a well-appointed hotel perched in the very rim of the Kathmandu Valley. Each room has a balcony overlooking the incredible Himalayan Views and we might enjoy the pool and / or spa facilities after a day on the pillion seat; we’ll certainly enjoy the cosy bar and wood fireplace!

 

NepalLandscape

April 3 – Ancient temples and cities on mountain bike

This morning take an extra helping at breakfast to fuel us up for a day on the bikes. We ride out from our hotel down the little mountain road we came up for a short distance before turning off and following a jeep trail along a ridgeline to the ancient Changunarayan Temple, said to be the oldest temple in the Kathmandu Valley. We explore here and learn about this amazing complex built in honour of the Hindu god Vishnu and then get back on our bikes to head down the hill on a small road to the old city of Bhaktapur.

 

Bhaktapur is one of the three ancient kingdoms of the Kathmandu Valley (the others being Kathmandu and Patan) and is the best preserved. It is often called a living museum as you can see people living as they have for so long (with a few modern twists here and there), threshing grain in the city square or turning their pottery wheel and drying pots out in the sun. We’ll have lunch overlooking one of the gorgeous city squares and explore before we jump in the van and catch a lift back up to Nagarkot.

 

The biking: approx. 20 km, predominantly downhill on either quiet tarmac roads or jeep trail. A van is there for back up if you decide to trade bike seat for car seat for a while and you will get a lift back up the big hill in the van after exploring ancient Bhaktapur.

 

Meals: B, L, D

Accommodation: Club Himalaya, Nagarkot, Standard Room

 

April 4 – Kathmandu Valley by bike

Today we stock up on a hearty breakfast with a view before we hit the trails on our bikes again. Today we kick off with a blast downhill and skirt the main townships, opting instead for the small roads and tiny villages that still survive in the crowded Kathmandu Valley. We will get off the main roads and take small jeep trails down to the valley floor, then wind our way through town on tiny streets and back ways to avoid the main traffic.

 

We will have a picnic lunch on the way and make a few stops at local tea shops for a cup of ‘chiyaa’, the sweet milky tea that is the drink of choice in this part of the world. Once we reach the base of the ridge where we stay for the night we will trade bikes for jeeps and catch a ride up this big climb – take note as we will be riding down this track tomorrow!

 

The biking: approx. 25km, predominantly gentle riding on jeep trails and tarmac road, all with very little to no traffic. We do have to cross the main highway so we experience some traffic around this area until we hit rural scene again, please follow your guide’s instructions about traffic and the main road crossing.

 

Meals: B, L, D

Accommodation: Summit Village Lodge, Standard Room, http://www.summitvillagelodge.com/

 

About the accommodations 

Summit Village Lodge lies perched at Risal Danda just below the rim of the Kathmandu Valley. The lodge is located around a traditional Nepali farmhouse and overlooks a spectacular vista of the snowcapped mountains with the whole Kathmandu Valley in the foreground.

 

April 5 – Bike to the Monastery

Up early for a great breakfast with the amazing view laid out in front of us and then back on our bikes for a great downhill to kick off the day! If the coffee this morning doesn’t do it we will kick start our hearts with a blast down to the valley floor on that awesome jeep trail and then take back roads and walking paths through fields, depending on how energetic you are feeling. This day can be tailored for a long day with lots of technical riding, or a shorter day on gentle roads so just talk with your awesome biking guide about how you feel on the day.

 

Our destination for the day is the sacred location of Pharping, holy to Buddhists as it the place where the Buddhist saint Padmasmabhava, also known as Guru Rinpoche, came to meditate and achieve what we call ‘enlightenment’. Guru Rinpoche is credited with bringing Buddhism to the Himalayas (doing figurative battle to subdue the pagan demons and gods in order to do so!) so he’s a very important figure in these parts, where is he known as the second Buddha. Hence Pharping has a number of monasteries built in the area to work with and build on the special energy of this area and tonight we will be able to stay in one as guests in their simple but comfortable guest rooms.

 

The biking: Gentle riding on jeep trails and some tarmac roads or mix it up with a few technical pieces as well! This day is yours to make your own biking adventure – just talk with your bike guide and your host about how you feel on the day and you can mix it up accordingly. To put it in perspective, the shortest (nice) way to your destination today is approx. 25km.

 

Meals:  B, L, D

Accommodation: Neydo Monastery Hotel, Standard Room, (No website)

 

About the accommodations

The Guest House was built alongside the monastery so that more people can visit and experience this special location and life at this monastery. The Guest house supports the running costs of monastery. Almost 200 monks live and study here and guests can participate in their daily practice, eat alongside them, and experience monastic life first-hand in a peaceful environment.

April 6 – Yogis and the spa!

Today is open for you to either take the path of yoga, and soak up the amazing energy of this sacred place, or to head back early into town and hit the spa at the famous Dwarika’s!

 

For those who would like to, we can arrange for a number of things to get to know this special place – we can visit the cave where the great master Padmasambhava attained the Mahamudra level of realization. It is a lovely hike up hill to the Asura Cave, also known in the Tibetan tradition as Yangleshö, and on return we can take it easy and relax, or we can arrange some yoga or you might be able to join meditation session. You can also get to know about monastic life as the Monastery is very open and welcoming, with a mission to help people understand and appreciate how the Kagyu and Nyingma Traditions of Tibetan Buddhism are lived. We will overcome the language barrier if it arises but you will be surprised no doubt by the extent of English spoken here. In the late afternoon we will arrange your transfer by van back into town to check into the Dwarika’s Hotel.

 

For those who would prefer to take advantage of a glorious afternoon in the spa, we will arrange an early transfer by car/van into town to check in to the famous Dwarika’s where you can enjoy the pool and the amazing Ayurveda spa facilities.

 

Meals:  B, D

Accommodation: The Dwarika’s Hotel, Heritage Room www.dwarikas.com

 

About the accommodations

A truly amazing Nepali hotel that oozes culture, every brick and piece of wood has been laid by hand, creating a mystical environment and the ultimate place to hang your hat in the capital. Sure to be one of the most memorable places you’ve ever called home while traveling.

 

April 7 – Fly to Pokhara and ride the river

raftThis morning we get up bright and early to head out of town. We jump in a van to take us to the domestic airport for our spectacular half hour flight to Pokhara. Packed into this short space of time we see no fewer than four of the world’s fourteen giant mountains over 8000m; Daulagiri, Annapurna I, Manaslu and Shishapangma, before landing in Pokhara.

 

We will have an early lunch at ‘Lakeside’ an iconic restaurant on the shore of Phewa Lake after which Pokhara is named. All fueled up and ready to go we jump in a van which will take us down the road to the start of our rafting adventure. We raft the Seti River, putting in at Damauli, about an hour and a half’s drive from Pokhara and then raft for about 2-3 hours to reach our campsite on the riverbank in a serene place called Saranghat, unreachable by vehicles. Tonight we eat dinner under the stars and sleep in roomy two person tents.

 

Meals:  B, L, D

Accommodation: Fully supported camping on the riverside

 

About the accommodations

Your adventure tents bring you so close to nature that you actually feel part of it. This is due to the total lack of foundations, plumbing, or electronic devices. Made from generally eco-friendly material, your camping tent has a spacious balcony which backs directly out on to planet earth. Featuring floor-to-ceiling windows (when the zipper is open), majestic views of the surrounding mountain range, and a complete lack of ostentatious pretence, your nights in the Nepali wilderness should be comfy and memorable. A full crew setup, tear-down and move camp daily.

 

April 8 – Raft and drive to Astam

We continue our rafting down the Seti River for a few hours until we reach Gaigath, a holy confluence of the Seti and the Trisuli Rivers. Here we have a picnic lunch and then say goodbye to our rafting crew and relax in the car while we head back into Pokhara, about a three hour drive following first the beautiful Seti River and then the mighty Marsyangdi River Valley. Keep a lookout for mountain views on the way! On arrival in Pokhara we swap the van for sturdy jeeps and, after a welcome coffee and afternoon snack, we will hit the road again on to the beautiful hillside village of Astam.

 

We have incredible mountain views from our lodge tonight and can even take a Japanese bath to wash away the day’s exertions!

 

Meals:  B, L, D

Accommodation:  Hana No Ie, Cottage Room, http://hananoie-nepal.com/

 

About the accommodations

Enjoy 180 degree views of the Annapurna range from your lodge based on a 5 hectare farm which grows produce and provides a delightful space to relax and take in the simply stunning views.  Located in Astam just outside the town of Pokhara each cottage is built with sustainable techniques from natural materials and has a slight Japanese twist on the traditional Nepali village.

 

April 9 – Trek to Basanta Lodge, Dhampus, 1700m

This morning we rise to a spectacular view of the Annapurna section of the Himalayan Range (weather permitting as always) and a fantastic breakfast to get us ready for our day’s trek.

 

We hit the trail and follow the ridgeline to the beautiful Gurung village of Dhampus. The Gurung people are a famous ethnic group of Nepal, well known for their role in the Gorkha regiments of the Nepali, Indian and British armies. Tonight we stay in one of the famous Ker and Downey lodges, called the Basanta (meaning springtime) Lodge. We have amazing views from the garden and can relax with happy hour drinks and take it all in.

Nepal Kids.jpg

The trekking: approx. 3 to 4 hours; following the ridgeline with both descents and ascents; some steep sections; an overall elevation gain of approx 300m.

 

Meals:  B, L, D

Accommodation: Basanta Lodge, Dhampus, Standard Room (no website)

 

About the accommodations

Your accommodation at Basanta Lodge, Gurung Lodge and your lunch at Sanctuary Lodge are all part of the collection of famous “Ker and Downey” lodges located in this section of the Annapurna region. These lodges were some of the pioneers of trekking in comfort with civilized touches like attached bathrooms with hot showers, happy hour drinks, cozy blankets and down bedding warmed nightly by a hot water bottle.

April 10 – Trek to Gurung Lodge, Majgaon

After breakfast overlooking the mountains, we trek on to Majgaon and the Gurung Lodge. Our lodgings for tonight are built along the lines of a traditional Nepalese village with spectacular views of the surrounding valley and mountains from every room. Trek time to the Lodge is approx 3 hours, so after we have settled into our rooms, we could head out and explore the local village. We can visit a traditional house which has been transformed into a great little museum, illustrating how local people live, together with the tools and implements of day to day village life. We can then visit the school and it may be possible for the school children we meet to visit us this evening to perform their favourite dances and songs. This is a real treat, local style!

 

The trekking: approx. 3 hours; we drop off the ridgeline today and have a relatively (in Nepali terms!) easy trek down to Majgaon; an overall elevation drop of approx 300m.

 

Meals:  B, L, D

Accommodation:  Gurung Lodge, Majgaon (no website)

 

 

April 11 – Trek to Nayapul and on to Pokhara

After a last (but leisurely) breakfast on the trail, we head out to Birenthanti about 3 hours trekking away, where we will have lunch on the Modi River Valley at yet another fantastic little trekking lodge. The Sanctuary Lodge has great views of the sacred and unclimbed Fishtail Mountain, or Machhapuchhre, as it is locally known.

 

From here we have about 1 hour or so trekking into Nayapul, where we will bid farewell to our trekking crew. We will be met by the local Enfield gang and ride in style into Pokhara! Alternatively we can relax in a roomy van into town, about an hour away.

 

Here we will check in to the charming Temple Tree Resort and Spa, truly a great location. Spoil yourself with a bit of pampering in the spa or just relax by the pool, welcome after a great trek! In the evening we will head out into town for a great dinner on “Lakeside” to celebrate an awesome adventure in Nepal.

 

The trekking: approx. 4 hours with an overall drop in elevation to the riverside at about 1050m. There is a short climb at the end to get up to the road.

 

Meals:  B, L, D

Accommodation: Temple Tree Resort and Spa, Deluxe Room,

 

About the accommodations

Temple Tree Resort & Spa is a new, boutique hotel combining western standards with the distinctive architecture and culture of Nepal’s Western Himalayas. A perfect place to relax and unwind from a day of adventure in Pokhara.

 

April 12 – Play in Pokhara and, finally, return to Kathmandu

Most of today is free to relax or to explore this charming lakeside town, with its abundance of things to do, regardless of whether you are in an adventurous or relaxed frame of mind: you can go for a leisurely boat ride on the lake; take a 2 ½ hour return walk up to the World Peace Pagoda with its incredible views to the Himalayas; visit one of the Tibetan refugee villages that dot the area, where Tibetan carpets and other handicrafts are available; hire a bike and cycle along the lakeside; you can try your hand at tandem paraglide with a professional pilot, an ultra light ride, or even take a ride on the new zipline! Of course it is also lovely to just relax and take in the surroundings in one of the many lakeside cafes. Lunch is free to choose the food of your choice – we will give some good recommendations for great restaurants/cafes on Lakeside.

 

In the mid afternoon we will meet up at the hotel again to go to the domestic airport for that a stunning short flight back into Kathmandu where we’ll check into the legendary Yak and Yeti Hotel in the heart of town.

 

Tonight we head out to one of the city’s most excellent restaurants to celebrate a huge adventure and tell some tall tales of time well spent here in Nepal.

 

Meals: B, D

Accommodation: Yak and Yeti Hotel, Deluxe Room, http://www.yakandyeti.com/

 

About the accommodations

“Modern day sophistication meets cultural heritage” in the lush gardens of this 100-year-old palace and the newly designed wing. Find refuge among antique fountains, gilded temples and gorgeous gardens as you remain just moments away from all the shops and the vibrant life of central Kathmandu.

 

April 13 – Farewell, for now…

This morning is free to relax and enjoy the gorgeous garden of this famous hotel before it is time to take you to the airport for your flight home. If your flight is later in the day then we will be happy to help with some fun stuff to do!

 

Meals: B

Flight: TBA

Price:

Price per person (based on a 4-8 person group) US$3840

Single supplement: US$875

 

Optional activities:

Everest mountain flight, including transfers and taxes US$185

Paragliding in Pokhara: US$100 for ½ hour; US$145 for an hour; including transfers

 

Includes

  • Smiling Albino adventure kit on arrival day
  • Smiling Albino’s Nepali host to accompany you on each day of the adventure
  • All internal transportation in Nepal, including your return Pokhara-Kathmandu flights
  • Entrance fees and English speaking Nepali guide for sightseeing days
  • Mineral / drinking water during the day; water and soft drinks with meals in restaurants
  • Meals as per the itinerary (all meals while on trek, with boiled drinking water)
  • Accommodation as per the detailed itinerary above
  • Mountain bike hire and English speaking Nepali mountain bike guide / mechanic who will carry basic spares and tools
  • Rafting with all equipment and camping essentials provided
  • Full service lodge-based trekking with your trekking guide and porters, with all their transport, equipment, insurance and including their meals and accommodation
  • A basic first aid kit appropriate for the group size and trek route (it is critical that you discuss with us any medical conditions you may have and any medications you take)
  • Trekking permits and registration fees
  • Full tips kitty that we manage for your trekking crew, city guide, drivers, hotels, restaurants as well as your host
  • Lots of neat Smiling Albino surprises along the way

Excludes

  • Services and activities not mentioned in the detailed itinerary
  • Use of spa facilities where available in your hotels
  • Activities on Day 6, such as massage/spa at the Dwarika’s Hotel or yoga sessions, walks etc at Pharping. As we are unsure who will be doing which activities at this point in time, we will design activities for this day and supply a price closer to the time.
  • Any activities on day 12 in Pokhara
  • Any gear or equipment that you may need to rent/buy – please ask us if you would like any advice about gear to bring/buy/rent
  • International flights to and from Kathmandu
  • Nepal visa fees and international airport taxes
  • Any excess baggage charges
  • Comprehensive travel insurance that includes trip cancellation and rescue evacuation should this be required for any reason (we require this as the minimum insurance cover)
  • Rescue/evacuation costs (to be covered by your insurance)
  • Personal expenses (e.g. bar bills, entrance/photography fees at monasteries, laundry, telephone calls, postage, donations, extra snacks etc.)
  • Costs incurred due to changes in programs and reservations due to unforeseen events (e.g. landslides, strikes, fuel shortages etc.)

 

 

The Smiling Albino Service Difference

 

We understand implicitly that a perfect adventure is much more than nice hotels, great meals and hassle-free logistics. For a travel experience to be perfect, all pieces must work together like a symphony. It is the fine details which our guests appreciate most, like cold face towels after a hike, electrolyte beverages for your day cycling, and wine uncorked when the moment is right. From local maps to bottled water and colourful anecdotes on the areas we visit, a Smiling Albino adventure is a thorough, intimately hosted experience. We will also provide you with a complimentary mobile phone for your use throughout your stay. You’ll be treated with executive care during your Smiling Albino adventure.

 

What makes our adventures unique?

http://www.smilingalbino.com/about-us/

 

What do we promise you?

http://www.smilingalbino.com/about-us/promises.php

 

What should you bring for this adventure?

http://www.smilingalbino.com/travel-tips/what-to-pack.php

 

Ready to book? Email us at info@smilingalbino.com for more info and we’ll get you on the next departure. We look forward to hosting you!

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