On the surface, Nepal is a destination sought for its world-class hiking routes and jaw-dropping mountainous scenery. But if you ask anyone that’s been here, it’s the people—some of the friendliest we’ve ever met—who make Nepal unmatched as a travel and cultural destination. Underneath, there is so much more to discover and you’ll only know how much it’s gotten underneath your skin until you’ve decompressed at home. Our 12-day cultural immersion is designed for those wanting to dive deeper into village life in the Himalaya, who aren’t physically able to do a lengthier hike, or who are short on time.
12 Days of hiking in the Himalaya:
Day 1: Arrival to Nepal
Flying into Kathmandu, you’ll be greeted by our Dharma Trips representatives and taken to the Shangri-La Hotel in the heart of the city. Meet with fellow Dharma Trippers for an orientation and get-to-know you dinner where we’ll answer any last minute questions before the jet-lag rolls in.
Days 2-3: Kathmandu temples
Explore the ancient royal Kingdom of Kathmandu with the Himalaya as your backdrop. Home to a whopping seven World Heritage sites, you’ll visit some of the largest Buddhist stupas—the Boudhanath temple and Swayambhunath,the famed Monkey Temple. Feast on Tibetan momos before shopping for any last minute supplies.
Day 4: Travel Day
Embark on a scenic 4x4 journey on possibly the most windy and exhilarating mountain road you’ll ever experience. Lunch in a tranquil village, ride past wild rivers and never ending rice terraces before overnighting in the valley of Arughat Bazar.
Day 5: Arrive in village
Squeezing ourselves onto a local bus, we arrive in Arkhet Bazaar in the late morning, our last stop before entering village life. A short yet steep hike up stone stairs (3-4 hours) ends in the small villages of Pokhari-Nebot, your home for the next four days. A welcome ceremony and traditional dinner in the village leader’s home awaits.
Days 6-9: Cultural Village Life Immersion Program
The days spent in Pokhari are a magical time, where locals of all ages share their unique Gurung culture with you. You’ll immerse yourself in the daily life of a working Himalayan village, learning the simple yet oh-so-intricate dealings of villagers. You will assist in an earthquake rebuilding or community betterment project. Help plow the fields with oxen, thrash freshly harvested millet or read English to the local school children, all while taking freshly made chai breaks from ama (your host “mother”). Learn the secrets behind the traditional lentil and rice dish of Dal Bhat and rhaski (local millet wine) while listening to traditional folk songs around a campfire. Or simply relax and unwind in a rice terrace, taking solace Ganesh Himal, a 24,350 ft giant towering over the village. Morning yoga will start everyday while in Pokhari
Day 10: Hike Darche Danda
Often compared to the extremely popular Poon Hill hike in the Annapurnas, Dharche Danda is a little known gem with sweeping views of the Himalaya. The hike itself is a moderate climb beginning with terraced rice fields before yielding into dense jungle. We’ll camp on it’s peak, so that we can catch both a sunset and sunrise on the majestic Himalaya. Porters and all camping equipment (tents, sleeping bags, cooking equipment, ect.) will be provided. A traditional Nepali dinner followed by a campfire will finish our night under the stars.
Day 11: Hike down to Barpak
After a beautiful sunrise and morning breakfast at the summit, we’ll descend through the jungle to the historic town of Barpak, a village that had just 20 out of 1,400 homes left standing after the devastating 2015 earthquakes. You’ll see the rebuilding efforts of this picturesque mountain village that sits some 6,000 ft above sea level and is home to Gurungs, Ghales and Sunars. You’ll spend a night in this vibrant village rich in unique cultural history.
Day 12: Jeep to Pokhara or Kathmandu
A final morning breakfast before a jeep ride back to either the lakeside town of Pokhara or for those short on time, to Kathmandu. The official program concludes her.