Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Backpacking Itinerary: Nepal in Three Weeks

"Still I felt uncommonly happy at trekking once more behind a string of mules with their bright headbands, gaudy red wool tassels and jingling bells, over a road and country new to me with the promise of sixteen such days ahead. I felt I could go on like this for ever, that life had little better to offer than to march day after day in an unknown country to an unattainable goal."
HW Tilman, Nepal Himalaya

And so goes my favorite quote about Nepal. I will not say that my trip to the Nepal Himalaya was something life changing. I am still me after all. However, that trip did bring out the best in me, qualities I didn't even know I had. I was able to trek the Himalayas uphill and downhill for 10 continuous days. I was able to bungy jump and prove to myself that bravery is being scared shitless and doing it anyway. For all these, I am grateful. And by sharing this knowledge I've acquired about travel to Nepal, I am hoping that more people experience what I experienced and more in that amazing country.

Below is our backpacking Nepal itinerary in three weeks. This is the second in a series of itinerary posts I will be releasing. Hopefully, this will help future travelers to Nepal with their own itineraries and general planning.

Open Nepal Itinerary Map in Google Maps
Nepal Itinerary in Three Weeks

How to Go to Nepal from the Philippines & Southeast Asia

I am from the Philippines, a country in Southeast Asia without direct flights to Nepal's only international gateway, Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport. There will be a few connections to be made for those planning to go to Nepal from the Philippines. Fortunately, we spent three weeks backpacking in India before we went to Nepal. India has a number of cheap, direct flights to Kathmandu. We flew via SpiceJet Airlines and paid about 80 USD for the two-three hour flight.

To go to Nepal from the Philippines, you need to fly first to either Bangkok in Thailand or Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. From Bangkok, you can fly via Royal Nepal Airlines (RNA) or Thai Airways. A one way ticket with RNA can a bit expensive at around 250 USD. Thai Airways obviously is much more expensive. From Kuala Lumpur, you can fly via RNA and budget carrier AirAsia. A flight between Kuala Lumpur and Kathmandu via RNA is about 175 USD. If you book weeks in advance via AirAsia, flights either way cost anywhere from 145 to 185 USD. If you book way in advance, like several months, you might get cheaper rates as AirAsia likes to put up discounted fares from time to time.

View of Himalayas flying out of Kathmandu, Nepal
The view outside your aircraft flying between Southeast Asia and Kathmandu

I highly recommend getting in to Nepal via flight. Flying from Delhi, I specifically requested that I be seated at the left hand side of the plane. If coming from southeast Asia, request a seat at the right hand side. It's worth the trouble. You get spectacular views of one long, uninterrupted wall of the Himalayas.


Kathmandu, Nepal
Land of pigeons and pagodas. The Durbar Square in Kathmandu, Nepal.

What to See UNESCO World Heritage Cities: Kathmandu, Patan, and Bhaktapur; Exciting nightlife in Thamel; Yourself bungy jumping off a bridge (a daytrip to Kodari north of Kathmandu)
Get In Delhi, India to Kathmandu, Nepal via SpiceJet Airlines at 3,587 INR (80 USD)
Hotels Kathmandu Guest House ~ middle to high-end accommodations, a Kathmandu landmark
Hotel Red Planet ~ sufficiently clean and orderly guesthouse in Thamel, Kathmandu's tourist central
Posts Why Travel Tuesday: Most Beautiful Plane Ride in the World
Bungy in the Nepal Himalaya
Kathmandu, I Love You
When Temples Were Cool Again: Durbar Square of Kathmandu
How to Pass up a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Still Have a Rockin' Good Time

Annapurna Himalayas

Annapurna Sanctuary Trek, Nepal
The clearest skies over the only eight-thousander visible from the Annapurna Base Camp.
At 8,091 meters above sea level, Annapurna I is ranked the 10th highest mountain in the world.

What to See Traditional Nepali villages; Varying mountain terrains: crop terraces, rhododendron forests, glacial moraines, snowy valleys; Ancient glaciers; Snowy peaks of the high Himalayas
Get In Kathmandu to Pokhara via round-trip bus at 1,000 NPR (12 USD)
Pokhara to jump-off point for Annapurna Sanctuary Trek in Phedi via taxi at 800 NPR (10 USD)
Hotels Various guesthouses and lodges in the villages along the trail to the Annapurna Base Camp
Posts Trek to the Annapurna Himalayas in Nepal: Introduction
Trek to the Annapurna Himalayas in Nepal: Teahouse Trekking
Trek to the Annapurna Himalayas in Nepal: Preparations
Trek to the Annapurna Himalayas in Nepal: Things to Bring
Trek to the Annapurna Himalayas in Nepal: The Trek (Part 01)
Trek to the Annapurna Himalayas in Nepal: The Trek (Part 02)
Trek to the Annapurna Himalayas in Nepal: Budget
Trek to the Annapurna Himalayas in Nepal: The Take Away
Why Travel Tuesday: Annapurna Base Camp
Why Travel Tuesday: Porters of Nepal


Lakeside, Pokhara, Nepal
Boating is a popular activity in Phewa Lake, Pokhara in Central Nepal.

What to See Phewa Lake; Pokhara's lovely laidback charm; Panorama of the Annapurna Himalayas
Get In End-point of the Annapurna Sanctuary Trek at Naya Pul to Pokhara via taxi at 1,500 NPR (19 USD)
Hotels Holy Lodge ~ standard double/triple rooms in one of the quieter streets in the lakeside district
Baba Lodge ~ standard twin rooms at the southern end of lakeside district, near the bus station
Posts The Beautiful Women of Chetana in Pokhara, Nepal

Was this backpacking Nepal itinerary any helpful? Did you find travel inspiration in any of the Nepal stories and photos?

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