16 Days Cultural Photography Tour in Nepal, 2022/2023- Visit Lo Manthang
Day 01 : Kathmandu arrival
Our team will welcome you at the Tribhuvan International Airport on your arrival day. We escort you to the hotel and help you with check-in. The remaining day is leisure. We suggest you look around the streets of Thamel and explore the souvenir shops. In the late evening, there is a welcome dinner with team members.
Day 02 : Visit the Monkey Temple and explore the old Ashan Market & Kathmandu Durbar Square
For the next two days, we take our time and explore the historical sites around Kathmandu city. Today, we'll be visiting the famous Monkey Temple, which is called Swayambhunath in the Nepali language. Monkey temple is situated on top of a hill and offers a fantastic aerial view of Kathmandu. From here, we'll walk through the busy alleys of old Ashan Market and Indra Chowk.
It's a very crowded and happening place. You'll see locals shopping and selling lots of goods and spices. Following your tour guide, you walk through narrow gullies to Kathmandu Durbar Square. Kathmandu Durbar Square used to be the royal residence and is now open as a museum. Locals love this place. There are many small eateries and shops located around the premises. Evening time is best if you want to see locals chilling.
Here, you'll visit palaces, courtyards, shrines, and temples. One of the temples is for the living goddess, Kumari. Fascinating, right? Yes, we have a living goddess in Nepal. You'll learn a lot about Nepali art, architecture, history, culture, and lifestyle on this tour. The tour guide will let you know where you cannot take photographs, so be attentive to that.
Day 03 : Visit Boudhanath Stupa, Pashupatinath Temple & Patan Durbar Square
After a delicious breakfast, we drive to Boudhnath Stupa in the morning. The ambiance around the stupa is immaculate in the morning & evening time. You'll feel a soothing sense around you. It is the largest stupa in Nepal and has monasteries and shops around the premises. From Boudhnath Stupa, we head to Pashupatinath Temple.
Pashupatinath Temple is one of the sacred temples in Nepal with huge significance to Hindus. It is a pilgrimage site. The holy Bagmati Lake flows behind the temple. The temple premises is huge and has numerous short temples. Our last stop for the day is Patan Durbar Square. It is situated on the Lalitpur side of the Kathmandu valley.
Patan Durbar Square is one of the three durbar squares in the valley and used to be the royal residence of Malla Kings. Here, you'll get to see intricate Newar architecture and visit museums, galleries & temples. The tour guide will explain all about the temples, palaces, and major royal events to you.
Day 04 : Visit Bhaktapur Durbar Square and Changunarayan Temple
Located in the eastern part of the Kathmandu Valley, Bhaktapur Durbar Square is a well-preserved open museum and UNESCO World Heritage Site. The durbar square has pagoda and Shikhar styles temples. You'll explore medieval art, woodcarvings, sculpture, colossal temples, etc. Some of the major highlights are the 55 Windows Palace, Golden Gate, Lion's Gate, Vatsala Temple, Nyatapola Temple, etc.
This place is also famous for its local delicacies and pottery. Do not forget to eat the local curd called Juju Dhau, chatamari, etc. You can also make pottery if you wish. From here, we drive to a brick factory, where you can see how bricks are made traditionally with hands. You are free to take pictures and see the process.
Then we drive to Changunarayan Temple. It is one of the oldest temples in Nepal located on the hilltop. The temple showcases ancient Nepali architecture with rich embossed works. This temple has a lot of stories and myths. At the main entrance, you can see stone pillars erected by Licchavi (kingdom) King Manadeva in 464 AD. The stone pillars have inscriptions in Sanskrit. These inscriptions are considered the oldest in Nepal.
Day 05 : Drive to Dakshin Kali Temple and explore Khokana Bungmati village
Today, after a warm breakfast, we’ll drive to Dakshin Kali Temple. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Kali. On some major occasions, locals sacrifice cockerels and uncastrated male goats in the temple. The hiking trail attracts lots of travelers here. For locals, Kali is the benevolent mother who protects her devotees and children from mishaps & misfortunes.
The next part of the day takes us to Khokana Bungmati village. This village has Rato Machindranath Temple and Karya Binayak Temple. The village is not easily accessible, so the old lifestyle and culture of the locals are well protected. It is a Newari village and has beautiful rice fields.
Day 06 : Drive to Pokhara
Without driving back to Kathmandu, we'll drive to the city of Lakes, Pokhara, on this day. The Cultural Photography Tour will now lead you to Lo Manthang in Upper Mustang. It's an overland tour. But first, we reach Pokhara. It takes around 6 hours to drive to Pokhara. Along the way, you get to see gorgeous scenery. In Pokhara, you'll have the evening free to explore the Lakeside Market and the serenity of Phewa Lake.
Day 07 : Drive from Pokhara to Kagbeni (Mustang) in a jeep
We'll wake up early and get ready to drive to Kagbeni. Kagbeni is located 159 km (98 miles) north of Pokhara, across the Kali Gandaki Gorge, the deepest gorge in the world. The drive is around eight hours long and follows a dirt road. We may come across landslides on the way. The drive is not on the comfortable side, but the route is surrounded by stunning Himalayan mountains. We'll drive through beautiful villages like Dana, Ghasa, Leta, Kalopani, Marpha, and Jomsom.
Day 08 : Drive Kagbeni to Ghami (3,520 m) via Syangboche Pass
Leaving Kagbeni, we’ll drive to Ghami. Before that, we visit a monastery and a Buddhist school. The guide will register the permits, and we'll enter one of the restricted areas in Nepal, Upper Mustang. Crossing Kali Gandaki river near Chhusang village, we pass by Bhina & Ghiling. The route ascends to Syangboche pass (4,200 m) and continues to Ghami village. The views are phenomenal from this pass.
Day 09 : Drive Ghami To Lo Manthang
From Ghami, we drive to Lo-Manthang, the lost forbidden kingdom of Nepal. On the way, we'll visit the ancient Ghar Gompa and Charang monastery. Driving along rocky foothills, we cross many passes and drive past mani walls before we reach Lo Manthang. The drive is short, so we'll have time to explore Jampa Gompa, believed to be built in the 15th century and known as the God House. We also visit Thuchen Gompa (built in the late 15th century), Chodey Gompa, the king's palace, the Monastic museum, and a Buddhist School.
Day 10 : Acclimatization day(Exploration Day)
Today is our acclimatization day in Lo Manthang. We spend the day exploring Namgyal Gompa, Sky Caves of Chhoser, and Shija Jhong Cave. The caves around the Chhoser are used for burial, meditation, and living back in the day. Many of these sky caves are still undiscovered and have huge archaeological importance. You can do this tour around Tiji Festival and see the locals celebrating the festival for three days doing several rituals and mask dances.
Day 11 : Drive from Lo Manthang to Jomsom
After breakfast, drive to Jomsom. The drive is bumpy and crosses many remote mountain villages. You will drive along the Kali Gandaki Gorge and head to Jomsom, enjoying breathtaking views of snow-capped mountains like Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, Nilgiri, Hiunchuli, Gangapurna, Tukuche, etc. Explore the beautiful town of Jomsom later in the day.
Day 12 : Drive from Jomsom to Kalopani
The drive from Jomsom to Kalopani is short. After breakfast, we leave and pass by Beni. The drive then continues to Kalopani, offering superb views of Annapurna I, Nilgiri, Dhaulagiri, and many other mountains. We'll visit Titi Lake and explore the old village.
Day 13 : Drive from Kalopani to Pokhara
Leaving Kalopani, we’ll drive to a dirt road and soon join Pokhara Baglung Highway. The landscapes along the way are stunning. It's a short drive to Pokhara. You'll have the rest of the day to relax and spend time at Phewa Lake.
Day 14 : Explore Pokhara
We have a full day in Pokhara to visit tourist sites. In the morning, drive to Sarangkot to witness an aerial view of Pokhara city. You can also do paragliding here. Later, we visit the International Mountain Museum and Peace Pagoda. The tour then takes us to Davis Falls, Gupteshwor Cave, and Mahendra Cave. There are many gorgeous lakes like Begnas and others around the city, where we can go too.
Day 15 : Drive from Pokhara to Kathmandu
After breakfast, we’ll drive back to Kathmandu today. The drive is comfortable and scenic. In Kathmandu, you have the remaining day free. Do shopping and explore nearby areas. The tour has ended. We meet you in the late evening over farewell dinner.
Day 16 : Final departure
Our adventure has come to an end. You'll check out of the hotel today. Our airport team will drop you at the Tribhuvan International Airport for your flight back home.