Enjoy your complimentary pre-flight overnight hotel before your holiday begins. Full details from our office!
DAY 1: Wed 11 March Heathrow to Kathmandu
Relax in our complimentary VIP airport lounge before boarding an evening flight from London Heathrow to Kathmandu.
DAY 2: Thurs 12 March Kathmandu
On arrival in the afternoon we begin birding at the Godavari Botanical Garden if we have time. We should enjoy an introduction to some of the commoner species, and maybe some specialities too! Later we transfer to our excellent hotel, and relax with a welcome dinner. Overnight Kathmandu for two nights at the comfortable and highly recommended www.shambalahotel.com
DAY 3: Fri 13 March Phulchowki
The next morning we begin birding as we drive to the 2,740-metre summit of Phulchowki, the highest peak in the Kathmandu Valley, where we will have magnificent views of the Himalayan range on a clear day. We hope to see a large number of species, including Red-flanked Bluetail, Fire-tailed Sunbird, White-collared and Grey-winged Blackbird, Long-tailed Minivet, White-tailed Nuthatch and Orange-bellied Leafbird, Cutia, Kalij Pheasant, Red-billed Leiothrix, Black-faced Leaf Warbler and rosefinches just to name a few of the 250+ birds recorded from this hill alone! We take a packed lunch and spend the day here, driving to the highest point we can reach, then walking downhill enjoying the birds, forest and the panorama of nearby hills and distant snow-capped mountains. Although this day is mountain based, walking is slow and leisurely.
DAYS 4 to 8: Sat 14 March - Wed 18 March Chitwan National Park
We drive south for a four night stay at Chitwan National Park. En-route we will be actively birding, and we will see many new birds, and may top 100 species today. Chitwan is a World Heritage Site which occupies 932 square kilometres of dry deciduous forest, tropical evergreen forest and riverine grasslands. We stay in very comfortable accommodation, and enjoy immediate proximity to the Park itself. We may even see Greater One-horned Rhino crossing the grassland from our vantage point as we arrive! A larger number of birds (over 530) have been recorded here than in any other part of Nepal, and we can expect to see around a third of these. Long-tailed Nightjar, Indian Peafowl, Great Barbet, Red-billed Blue Magpie and Tickell's Red-breasted Blue Flycatcher are just a few. The park holds a similar wealth of mammals, and we should find Wild Boar, Sambar, Muntjac, Spotted and Hog Deer, and Rhesus and Common Langur Monkeys. Tiger are certainly present, and we hope to encounter this great cat, whose pug marks are seen in many locations in the Park. Leopards, Sloth Bears and Gaur are occasionally seen, as are Gharial and Mugger Crocodile. We will explore on foot, on elephant back, in dugout canoes and by jeep. Great fun and very enjoyable safari days! Four nights at Jungle Villa Resort. www.junglevillaresort.com
DAYS 8 to 12: Wed 18 March - Sun 22 March Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve
Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve is part of a vast expanse of open water, marshes, lagoons, sandbanks, mudflats and dry woodlands that lie to the north of a huge barrage. Situated just northeast of the Sapt Koshi and Trijuga Khola confluence, this enormous floodplain is one of Asia’s finest wetlands and a fabulous birdwatching area. Almost all of Nepal’s long list of wildfowl, waders, storks, ibises, herons, egrets, terns and gulls occur here, plus a great variety of land birds that include such specialities as Swamp Francolin, Red-necked Falcon and Striated Grassbird, Imperial Eagle, Pied Harrier, Vultures etc. This reserve is also the last refuge of wild Water Buffalo in Nepal, and home to rare Gangetic River Dolphin amongst other mammals. We explore the reserve and adjoining areas on foot and by jeep. There is some excellent birding available here, returning at night to the comfortable camp owned by our hosts. Birding within the camp grounds is very good, with a variety of waterbirds and passerines to keep any birder absorbed. With facilities now upgraded to include en-suite showers to all rooms, we are sure you will enjoy the charming and secluded Koshi Camp. www.koshicamp.co.uk
DAYS 12 - 13: Sun 22 March - Mon 23 March Kathmandu and Phulchowki
We return to Kathmandu, flying from the eastern town of Biratnagar back to the capital for our last two nights in Nepal. If we are lucky during this flight, we may have a good view of Everest, Kanchenjunga, and several other peaks all above 8000 metres. The following day we make our second visit to Phulchowki, where the constant throughput of birds at this time of year means we will enjoy different birding from our earlier visit, boosting our lists during a relaxing birding day. It is important to have an extra day in Kathmandu at the end of the holiday, as flights can be disrupted by weather, and this reduces chances of delays affecting our international flight. We stay again at the excellent Shambala Hotel for two more nights www.shambalahotel.com before taking our flight home on DAY 14: Tues 24th.
OPTIONAL EXTENSION Kathmandu and Mount Everest
Price: £440pp Single Supplement: £125
DAYS 14 - 15: Tues 24 March - Wed 25 March
On Tuesday morning we enjoy an exhilarating panoramic flight towards the summit of Mount Everest. This really is one of those 'bucket-list' experiences which will live in your memory forever. In the afternoon another memorable experience, as we take a guided tour of some of the special sites of Kathmandu. We also allow time for shopping in the good-value bazaar of nearby Thamel district, or just a final chance to relax in the excellent Shambala Hotel for another night. We travel home to the UK on DAY 15: Wed 25th.
Our afternoon sightseeing excursion will probably take us to two key sites, and top targets (subject to opening restrictions, traffic considerations etc) will be;
Boudanath is an important Buddhist temple listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Monument List. This is the biggest stupa in Nepal, built around the 5th century. Like other Buddhist stupas, Boudanath has a hemispherical dome, and it is believed that the relics of the great Buddha Kasyapa are buried inside, because of which it is greatly worshipped. There are numerous monasteries within the perimeter of the stupa, wherein Buddhists, Tibetans and foreign students live, to be close to this symbol of their spiritual master. The area is known as 'Mini-Tibet'.
Patan lies south of Kathmandu. It is justly proud of its temples and artisans, whose handiwork provides the focus of the stunning Durbar Square - the largest display of Newari architecture in Nepal. It includes the Royal Palace, which contains a richly decorated bathtub, and the two-tiered brick Jagannarayan Temple. A few minutes' walk north of the square is the Golden Temple, a Buddhist monastery guarded by sacred tortoises that potter around the courtyard; and the Kumbeshawar, reputedly the oldest (1392) temple in Patan. South of the square is an area of charming streets lined with metalsmiths and brassware shops.
Please note: all itineraries are given as a guide only. Actual holiday content may vary according to the judgement of your guide, and elements beyond our control (eg weather).