You will be met by a representative of World Expeditions and transferred to the hotel. The remainder of the afternoon is at leisure. A pre-trek briefing will be given around 5pm where arrangements will be made for the distribution of your kit bag, sleeping bag and down jacket. Evening drinks are held in the hotel for all World Expeditions clients arriving today. Drinks and snacks will generally be served from 6:30 pm until 7:15pm, and this is a great opportunity to get acquainted with your fellow group members before heading out to dinner.
This morning a sightseeing tour takes in the key attractions in and around Kathmandu. We will visit Pashupatinath and Boudhanath, returning to the hotel by 2pm. In the afternoon you may have time to explore Swayambhunath, Durbar Square, Patan or Bhaktapur, and the lesser-known towns that dot the valley on foot, by bicycle or trishaw. The area has an amazing range of fascinating highlights, whatever your interest. Excellent bookshops, extensive markets, and novelty and handicraft shops contrast with fantastic centres of cultural and spiritual significance - Kathmandu has more World Heritage sites than any other city in the world.
This morning we take a flight west to Pokhara, Nepal's second largest town (820m). In good weather we are greeted with sights of the entire Annapurna Range. From here we drive for an hour to a pass between two river valleys to the village of Khare, where we commence our trek. There is no need to rush as this is a short day with plenty of time to reach our overnight stop. The trail ascends for the first hour, following a ridge through fields of bamboo clusters to magnificent rhododendron forest. Villagers greet us with "Namaste", the traditional Nepalese greeting, as we pass their homes and continue to the ridge top where at the crest the scale of the mountains astounds us. Machapuchare (6993m), Hiunchuli (6441m) and Annapurna South (7219m) can be seen from our immediate viewpoint. Overnight eco lodge.
The views from our campsite are excellent, and morning generally offers the best opportunity to view the huge peaks. As we walk, the peaks of the Annapurnas will be visible through the scattered rhododendron forest, offering a sample of the trek to come. After our longer uphill morning session, this afternoon will be a more gradual. We descend towards the Mardi Khola, trekking through dense forest of rhododendron, oak and birch until we reach the terraced fields of Landruk. We have time to explore the village and visit the nearby waterfall before spending the night at our private eco camp site.
High on the opposite side of the river, you can explore the village of Ghandruk. From this point, the trial descends along terraced slopes & forest down to the river. After crossing the river at New Bridge, the trail ascends steeply 500m to join with the trail from Ghandruk. From here it is a short walk to Chomrong (1960m). Chomrong is a village which offers spectacular views of Annapurna South & Machapuchare. Overnight eco lodge.
Our trail meanders downhill through fields and into forest of rhododendron, magnolia and lichen covered fig. We pass by waterfalls that cascade down narrow gullies that provide the perfect home for many small ferns and delicate plants such as exotic orchids bursting with colour. Overnight eco lodge.
It is a wonderful traverse through the forest and a fine contrast from the previous stages on the trek. We gain views of Annapurna South from Bhaisi Kharka before heading through a series of clearings that define the trail to the substantial Gurung settlement of Ghandruk (1990 meters). We visit the local Gurung museum in the heart of the village and then overnight in our private eco campsite.
Today we take a short trek to Nayapul before being transported back to Pokhara for an overnight stay. Remainder of the day is at leisure to explore the Pokhara city. It is important to us that this trek follows few of the commercial tea-house trails. Accordingly the route and campsites may be varied at the discretion of the group leader. Note that the walking hours include rest stops, are a guide only and can vary due to trail or weather conditions.
This morning we transfer to Chitwan by road. On arrival we are briefed on the planned activities during our stay. Late afternoon and early morning are the best times to sight wildlife, so other times tend to be for less energetic activities. We will have lunch at our lodge and commence our activity program. Our accommodation is at the Chitwan Adventure Lodge outside the park, generally in 2-bed huts with a private bathroom. Solar heated hot water is available in the afternoons.
Transfer to Trivandrum airport for the flight to the Maldives. On arrival at the International airport at Male, you will be transferred to your dhoni and meet other members of the group joining the Maldives section of this adventure. From Male we then cruise to the inhabited island of Waagali or to a resort island. Lunch aboard. Activities include swimming / snorkelling.Night at anchorage.
After breakfast we set sail to the nearby atoll and the fishing village of Felidu. Sailing time 4 to 5 hours. We spend the rest of the day in the village, meeting the local people and observing their life style. Overnight at the lagoon.
Sail to the beautiful uninhabited island of Vashugiri with time to relax on the beach, skin diving, snorkelling or swimming. We have a barbecue on the beach. Overnight at anchorage.
Sail to the inhabited island either Felidhoo or Keyodu, meet the islanders and have some time for local entertainment that evening.Night at anchorage.
A full day's activities are available including jungle walks, can rides, bird-watching and four-wheel-drive excursions, as well as lectures on other fauna. Our concession area is the territory of many species of wildlife including 3 tigers, 5 leopards, 7 rhino, and many deer, boar, bear, peacocks, an extraordinary number of bird species and is occasionally visited by wild elephants.
While there is no shortage things to see and do in Kathmandu, we recommend you spend time wandering the town and exploring the valley on bicycle or by taxi. The old Royal Palace, Durbar Square, Swayambhunath (the Monkey Temple), Pashupatinath (a major Hindu shrine) and the giant Buddhist stupa at Bodhnath are absolute musts. Our WE staff can arrange a guide and/or transport should you wish or you can head off armed with a map and explore to your hearts content.
We complete our last activity, and after breakfast transfer by road to Kathmandu.
On arrival at Trivandrum, make your way over the platform to the taxi stand. There you will meet a representative from Clipper Tours who will normally be holding a sign saying "Summit to Sea". You will be transferred to your hotel for overnight accommodation.
On arrival we transfer to our group hotel. This afternoon time permitting (subject to your flight arrival time) there will be free time to wander around Connaught Place in the heart of downtown Delhi. Our guide for this section of our trip will meet us at the hotel for a briefing.
In the early morning we have a sunrise visit to the Taj Mahal, Shah Jahan's mausoleum for his wife Mumtaz Mahal. We continue to Agra Fort, a fitting testimony to the Great Moghuls Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan during the era when Agra was the capital of the Moghul Empire. From the Red Fort we'll have more views of the Taj Mahal. Later that afternoon we board the train to Trivandrum. Our sleeping berths are comfortable and in most instances we are able to reserve secure four berth compartments for our groups. However travelling on Indian trains is by no means luxurious. Bedding is supplied so a sleeping bag is not essential. During the journey you will travel the complete length of India through a wide variety of cultures and peoples speaking a multitude of dialects. The journey will be a fascinating experience.
We transfer to New Delhi station to board the early morning Express train to Jaipur. The train takes five hours, reaching Jaipur by lunchtime, leaving the afternoon to wander the city. The famed "Pink City" of Jaipur is the capital of the state of Rajasthan, and was founded in the early 18th century by Maharaja Jai Singh, who moved from Amber to this new site on the plains. We visit the City Palace and the Jantar Mantar - the remarkable observatory reflecting Jai Singh's passion for astronomy. There is also the Old City with its bazaars and the Hawa Mahal - the Palace of the Winds, originally built as part of the City Palace complex to allow the ladies of the Royal household to watch the everyday life in the city without themselves being observed. Please note, we may travel by bus to Jaipur, depending on train schedules.
We ride through a number of small villages to Rajgarh where we stop for a packed lunch. After lunch we continue cycling another 15km before boarding the bus for the journey to Bharatpur via Mahua. Overnight: Hotel Shiv Vilas Palace
Cycling distance: 38km
We continue riding through timeless India, with lush flowering mustard plantations flanked by overhanging willow trees, and ancient ruins standing as witness to the glorious past of this region. Cycle 10 km to beautiful Siliserh Lake and enjoy lunch at a historical property built by Maharaja Vinay Singh in 1845. We continue our ride to Sariska National Park where our cycling ends for today. Sariska National Park was once home to a significant population of tigers, until a few seasons ago, when poaching reduced numbers. However there are many other animals in the park, and the atmosphere and natural surrounds make the visit very much worthwhile. Return to our hotel the Sariska Tiger Resort.
Cycling distance: 41km
Note: Sariska National Park is closed 1 July to 30 September and alternative sightseeing is a visit to Alwar Fort and our overnight accommodation will be in Sariska Tiger Camp Resort.
Departing from the outskirts of Jaipur we commence the bike section of our trip. Instruction and bike adjustment will take place this morning. We follow the old road that was once a merchant route between the princely state of Alwar and Jaipur. We continue along the Ramgargh road passing small farm settlements and providing endless entertainment to the villagers who are intrigued at the notion of westerners cycling through India. After 17km of cycling we stop at Ramgarh Dam, once the main water source for Jaipur, before continuing to an ancient brick factory, long since abandoned where we stop for a box lunch. After lunch we continue cycling past small towns until late afternoon where stop near Jaisinghpura and travel by vehicle to Sariska Tiger Resort where we will spend two nights. Overnight: Sariska Tiger Resort
Cycling distance: 65km
We continue our programme of sightseeing in Jaipur.
We leisurely cruise back to Male Atoll and anchor at a nearby resort island for our final night.
Today we begin cycling early to Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary. Our bikes provide a wonderful mode of transport to move around and explore the park, where swamplands provide habitats for hundreds of bird species. We will then travel with our vehicle to Fatehpur Sikri, to explore Akbar's deserted capital, before continuing on to Agra. Overnight: Man Singh Palace
Cycling distance: 28km
Trip concludes after breakfast. Transfer to the airport for onward arrangements.