logo
logo

Study Trip

Nepal: Kathmandu Valley and Beyond to: Bhaktapur, Chitwan, Lumbini, Pokhara

Saturday 9 to Wednesday 20 November 2019
Leader: Khun Jim Lehman, Former Council Member of the Siam Society

 

Photos courtesy to Khun Tom Vitayakul

 

The Siam Society will organize a Study Trip to Nepal entitled: "Nepal: Kathmandu Valley and beyond to: Bhaktapur, Chitwan, Lumbini, Pokhara" from November 9 - 24, 2019. The Study Trip will be led by Former Council Member Jim Lehman. Khun Jim was the Peace Corps Director in Nepal from 1986 to 1988 and has kept up his knowledge of Nepal through numerous extended visits over the years. He will be assisted by a leading Nepali guide. This trip is very similar to the Siam Society Study Trips to Nepal led by Khun Jim in January 2013 and November 2014.

“Beyond Kathmandu” will begin on the outskirts of Kathmandu with a two night stay in the World Heritage city of Bhaktapur, including a sunset visit to the Kathmandu Valley rim city of Nagarkot for a view of the Himalayan Range. The next day, the group will take a flight to the World Heritage Site of Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha, for an evening full moon ceremony at the Mayadevi Temple, an extensive tour of the various Buddhist temples representing numerous countries, sects and various architectural traditions and include Alms Giving at the Thai temple. Following the stay in Lumbini the group will remain in the subtropical lowlands of Nepal and proceed by land for a rustic two days near Chitwan National Park on the Indian border. Staying at a jungle style resort there will be time for nature excursions on elephants, wild rhino viewing and boat rides on the Narayani River, which will be of special interest to any birders in the group.

From Chitwan the group will fly to Pokhara, the second largest city of Nepal on beautiful Lake Fewa, known to Thai as Bokkharani Lake the site of the tragic and romantic story of the Kinnaree. Pokhara has many attractions, including a sunrise view of the Annapurna peaks and the Mountaineering Museum. On Day 9, the group will begin by land the trip back to Kathmandu, with an overnight stop in the hill town of Bandipur, an ancient Nepali city once an important stop on the Salt Trade from Tibet. Then, the next day, continue the trip to Kathmandu to check into the Kathmandu Hyatt Hotel and begin our stay in Kathmandu Valley. Time in the valley will include a visit to the Pashupatinath Temple, the exquisite Patan Square and Museum, a visit to the Swaymbhunath Stupa and an early morning visit to the Boudhanath Stupa, all World Heritage sites. The return flight to Bangkok will take place mid-day on Day 12, Wednesday. Note: except for the overnight stay on the land journey from Pokhara to Kathmandu, the complete program will consist of two nights in five unique locations. The program will also include lectures regarding contemporary Nepal, the tragic 2015 earthquakes and the history of the Lumbini World Heritage Site. Other lectures can be added depending on the interests of the group. The optional Mt. Everest Mountain Flight can be arranged the day before the group returns to Bangkok. More information on this optional activity is contained in the itinerary that follows below.

Due to limited hotel space in Kathmandu during the High Season of November, the program will be limited to 20 participants. If you are interested please book as soon as possible, so that hotel reservations can be confirmed. The deadline for booking is September 17th. Also, you will need to book your TG flight soon, as many tourists as well as Nepali returning home for the most important Nepali holiday of the year (in November). will be booking flights in November.

A visa for Nepal can be quickly obtained at the Nepali Embassy located at 4/1, 27 Sukhumvit Soi 71, tel: 2-390-2280, 23917240. Contact the Siam Society Office if you want assistance in obtaining a visa.

For those of you interested in more information about the trip Khun Jim will be available to meet with you on the Saturday mornings of August 10th and August 17th at 10.30 am at the Siam Society. If you plan to attend one of the two meetings please inform Khun Jim at lehmanjd@gmail.com or by SMS at 082 072 0099. If you have traveled to Nepal before, suggestions for additional activities and changes to the program are welcomed. This is your Study Trip, so you are encouraged to participate in the final design of the program.

One final comment, a Nepali friend of Khun Jim, when he was asked by a foreign friend after the earthquakes, what could be done to help Nepal, replied, "Come visit!, to help tourism recover from the earthquakes! That is the best thing that you can do.”

 

The tentative programme will be as follows:

Day 1: Saturday 9 November 2019: Bangkok – Kathmandu - Bhaktapur

8:00 am Meet at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport; check-in counter for Thai Airways International.
10:30 am Depart Bangkok for Kathmandu by TG 319 for the four hours flight to Kathmandu.
12:45 am Arrive at Kathmandu International Airport and proceed for High Tea at the internationally famous Dwarika Hotel (www.dwarikas.com) for snacks and a short briefing. When the group returns to Kathmandu a Gala Dinner at the hotel is planned.
3:00 pm Depart to the nearby Narayanhithi Palace Museum to visit the former home of the Royal Family of Nepal. It would be more appropriate to visit this museum when the group returns to Kathmandu at the end of the program. However, when the group returns to Kathmandu, it will be a Tuesday and the museum is closed.
5:30 pm Check-in at Hotel Heritage (www.hotelheritage.com.np), for two nights. The hotel is in walking distance of the Old City of Bhaktapur.
7:00 pm Nepalese dinner and overnight at the Hotel Heritage.
 

Day 2: Sunday 10 November 2019: Bhaktapur and Nagarkot

7:30 am Breakfast at the hotel.
8:30 am Visit to the medieval city of Bhaktapur a World Heritage Site since 1979, to visit Durbar Square the major attraction of the old walled city. Of the Valley's three Durbar Squares it is the best preserved. The splendid palatial square has many artistic masterpieces such as the 55-Windows Palace, the Gold Gate and the Peacock Window. Much of the architecture of the city dates from the 15th century and in the center of the city is Nepal's tallest temple. The program will also include a visit a Tanka painting school.
12:30 pm Lunch will take place at a local restaurant.
2:00 pm Depart Bhaktapur for the ancient town of Thimi which was once the fourth largest city of the Valley but is now a sleepy backwater and almost tourist free. We will stop briefly to visit the pottery kilns and the old city. Then proceed to Nagarkot, at 4,195 meters, for a Himalayan Sunset which is considered one of the most scenic spots in the Valley. After Sunset return to the Heritage Hotel for a lecture on Contemporary Nepali Issues including earthquake reconstruction.
7:00 pm Continental dinner and overnight at Hotel Heritage.

Day 3: Monday 11 November 2019: Flight to Bhairahawa and Bus to Lumbini

7:30 am Breakfast at the hotel.
8:30 am Departure for Kathmandu Domestic Airport for the 40 minutes flight to Bhairahawa, in the Terai, near the Indian border.
10:30 am Depart for Lumbini by bus (1 hour). Lunch on enroute.
2:00 pm Check in at the Hotel Kasai Hotel in the Lumbini Area (www.lumbinihotelkasai.com)
2:30 pm Proceed to the Lumbini Museum and the Maya Devi Temple. Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha, is located some 250 kilometers west of Kathmandu, rests on the plains of Kapilvastum and is six kilometers from the Indian border. In the 6th Century B.C. this was the home of the Sakya Clan. There are numerous buildings of religious significance in Lumbini, the most important is the stone pillar erected by Emperor Ashoka in 250 B.C., which was discovered in 1895.
5:00 pm Discussion on World Heritage Sites.
6:30 pm Dinner at the Kasai Hotel.
 

Day 4: Tuesday 12 November 2019:  Full Day Activities at Lumbini Historical Area

7:30 am Breakfast at the hotel.
8:30 am Lecture by Professor Bidari on the development of the Lumbini Historical Site. Professor Bidari, now retired, was for many years the Senior Archeologist at Lumbini. He will also discuss recent improvements to Lumbini funded with Thai assistance. Professor Bidari is the author of "Lumbini Beckons", which has been translated into Thai.
10:00 am All day tour of Lumbini including a visit to several of the more interesting temples built by Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana practitioners from Thailand, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, China, Korea, Germany, Vietnam, and Burma. Lunch will be at the Thai Temple. On the return to the hotel late afternoon there will be a visit to the Crane Sanctuary in front of the hotel. Hopefully, the migratory cranes will be present. In the evening we will return to the Maya Devi Temple to observe Full Moon ceremonies.
7:00 am Dinner at the Hotel.

Day 5: Wednesday 13 November 2019: Lumbini to Chitwan National Park (3 hours drive)

8:00 am Breakfast at the hotel.
9:00 am Departure by bus to Chitwan National Park, which was established in 1973 and granted World Heritage status in 1984.
12:30 pm Arrival, and check-in, followed by lunch, in Chitwan at Temple Tiger Green Jungle Resort. (www.templetigernepal.com) Also, a briefing on Chitwan National Park and Temple Tiger Resort.
3:30 pm Two-hour Elephant Safari to view wild rhino and other wildlife and then enjoy a sunset on the Narayani River.
  For tomorrow various activities can be chosen by Siam Society members from the activities below.  Note bird watchers should take advantage of the rare migratory birds that will be near the river at this time of year. Activities include:
  Elephant safari;
Boat ride on the Narayani River with a visit to Chitwan National Park;
Escorted nature walks and bird watching;
Presentation and lectures on the flora and fauna by Senior Naturalists;
Walk and excursions to a Tharu Village;
Ox cart ride; and Tharu cultural program.
7:30 pm Dinner at the Round House.

Day 6: Thursday 14 November 2019: Temple Tiger Activities

7:00 am Breakfast at the Round House.
8:00 am Activities to be considered by Siam Society members from various activities discussed the previous day. Birders might want to get up early to observe rare migratory birds. An early elephant rides is also possible.
10:00 am Canoe ride on the Narayani River and River Crossing to Chitwan National Park.
11:00 am Jeep Safari in the Chitwan National Park.
12:30 pm Riverside Picnic Lunch inside Chitwan National Park.
1:30 pm Elephant Briefing.
4:00 pm Canoe Return to Temple Tiger Resort and Visit to Tharu Village, local indigenous people of Chitwan and the Terai.
6:00 pm Slide Show Wildlife Presentation by Senior Naturalist
7:30 pm BBQ Dinner and a Tharu cultural dance program.

Day 7: Friday, 15 November 2019:  Chitwan to Pokhara

7:00 am Breakfast at the Round House.
8:00 am Departure by bus to the Bharatpur Airport (one hour drive). The flight to Pokhara will take 20 minutes. Pokhara is the second largest city of Nepal and one of the most popular destinations. Three out of the ten highest mountains in the world are located within 30 miles of the city and are part of the northern skyline of the city. It is the base for the most popular trekking trail in the country for international tourists, the Annapurna Circuit
11:00 am Arrive and Check-in to Temple Tree and Spa Hotel (www.templetree.com) followed by lunch in a local restaurant.
1.00 pm A Pokhara City Tour which will include the International Mountain Museum which is devoted to the mountains of Nepal and the mountaineers who climbed them. Inside you can see the original gear from many of the first Himalayan ascents, as well as displays on the history, culture geology, and flora and fauna of the Himalaya Region.
  Seti Gandaki Gorge: Another of Pokhara natural wonders is the Seti Gandaki River. Flowing right through the city, the boisterous river runs underground at places. Amazingly, at certain places the river appears hardly two meters wide; however, its depth is quite beyond imagination, over 20 meters. Then the group will visit the nearby Gurkha Museum run by Gurkha military veterans.
4.00 pm Boat Ride to the Bokkharani (Fewa) Lake and Barahi Temple: The Barahi temple is the most important area in Pokhara. Built in the Center of Fewa Lake, this two-storied pagoda is dedicated to the boar manifestation of Ajima, the protector deity representing the female force of Shakti.
5:30 pm Return to the Hotel Temple Tree for an early dinner and early lights out. (A VERY early departure for a sunrise view of the Himalayas is necessary).
 

Day 8: Saturday, 16 November 2019: Pokhara

5:00 am Departure for Sarangkot for aHimalayan Sunrise. (http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g293891-d447150-Reviews-Sarangkot-Pokhara_Gandaki_Zone_Western_Region.html)
9:00 am Return to Hotel for late breakfast.
11:00 am More sightseeing of Pokhara City. The Old Bazar: The traditional bazaar is colorful and so are its ethnically diverse traders. In its temples and monuments ties to the old Newar Architecture of the Kathmandu valley can be seen. This area is strewn with shops selling commodities ranging from edibles and cloth to cosmetics and gold.
2:00 pm Lunch in the Old Bazaar
3:00 pm Visit to the Bindyabasini Mandir, Pokhara's most important shrine. It is dedicated to Goddess Bhagwati, yet another manifestation of Shakti. The park – like grounds offers a fine picnic area, and on Saturdays and Tuesdays when devotees flock there to offer sacrifices, it takes on a festive flavor.
4.00 pm Free time for exploring and shopping, followed by dinner on your own. The Temple Tree Hotel is conveniently located nearby the lakeside restaurant and shopping area. A map to return to the hotel on foot will be provided. Lakeside restaurants near the hotel will be recommended.
 

Day 9: Sunday, 17 November 2019: Pokhara to Bandipur

7:00 am Breakfast at the hotel.
8:30 am Departure by bus for Bandipur Hill Station, a three hours drive. Bandipur is a beautiful town located on a high ridge which once flourished from the Salt Trade between Tibet and Northern India.
12:00 pm Arrive at Bandipur for lunch and check-in at the Old Inn Bandipur (www.rural-heritage.com/accommodations.com)
2:00 pm After lunch a walking tour of old town Bandipur, to observe what is considered a living open-air museum of Newari culture.   Temples and markets will, of course, be visited.  Followed by free time to explore the small city and make your way back to the Old Inn.
5:00 pm Dinner at Old Inn.

Day 10: Monday, 18 November 2019: Bandipur to Kathmandu

7:00 am Breakfast at the Hotel.
8:00 am Departure by bus for Kathmandu, 4 hours.  Lunch on the way.
3:00 pm Check into the Hyatt Hotel.
4:00 pm  Visit the most important Hindu Temple in Nepal, Pashupatinath Temple for the evening Aarati Ceremony. Non-Hindus are not allowed to enter the main temple; however, they can still visit the exteriors, the funeral area, the holy river and most importantly observe the Aarati Ceremony, held every evening by the Bagmati River. The temple is a major pilgrimage destination for Hindus from all over the world, especially visitors from India.
7:00 pm Six Course Dinner at the Krishnarpan Restaurant at Hotel Dwarika. Both the Dwarika Hotel and the Pashupatinath Temple are a short distance from the Hyatt Hotel. With the traffic congestion of Kathmandu Valley, the distance between locations must always be considered in program planning.

Day 11: Tuesday, 19 November 2019:  Kathmandu / Full Day Tour

6:00 am Optional Everest Flight. This is not included in the program, but can be arranged at additional cost for those interested. The Hyatt Hotel is very close to the airport. The fare is $225 per person, with a 4% charge if credit card is used for payment. It is a one-hour flight with a guaranteed window seat and on a clear day you will be able to see Mt. Everest.  November is the best month for clear days in Nepal. For more information visit the following website: hhtps://www.buddhaair.com/everest-experience
7:00 am Breakfast at the Hotel.
8:30 am Kathmandu City. Begin with a visit to Durbar Square, the seat of royalty until the last century, a wonderous cluster of ancient temples, palaces and courtyards. It is also home to The Kumari, the living Goddess, the ferocious Kal Bhairav image, erotic carvings and many other noteworthy attractions.
11:30 am Depart for Patan for lunch at the Patan Museum.
1:30 pm Walking tour of Patan Dhurbar Square. Nowhere else can be seen such a compression of marvelous monuments within a limited space like in the Patan Durbar Square. Beside the old royal palace, which dominates all others in grace and grandeur, is the 17th-century Krishna Mandir, noted for rare stone carvings on its walls, which depict various episodes of the epic wars of Ramayana. The Hiranyavarna Mahavihar (Golden temple) and Rudravarna Mahavihar Temple are also nearby and will be visited. There will be free time to explore the Square on your own.
5:00 pm Dinner hosted at the residence of Mr. Basant Mishra, owner of Venture Travel, Nepal.
 

Day 12: Wednesday, 20 November 2019: Boudhnath Stupa and Departure for Bangkok

7:00 am Breakfast at the Hotel.
8:00 am Departure for the Boudnath Stupa (the photo at the very end of this Program Description), one of the largest Buddhist Stupas in the world. Also, this stupa is the heart of the Tibetan community of Kathmandu Valley and is surrounded by over four dozen Tibetan monasteries. It is believed to have been built in the 5th Century.
10:00 am Return to the Hyatt Hotel for final packing and checkout.
11:00 am Depart to the International Airport for check-in.
1:55 pm Departure for Bangkok on TG 320; arrival in Bangkok at 6:30 pm

 

 

Booking

THB 95,000 (THB 98,500 for non-members). Single room surcharge THB 24,000. A deposit of THB 30,000 and photocopy of passport must accompany the booking. Your reservation will be confirmed as soon as the deposit has been made. Payment in full is required 60 days before the start of the trip (i.e. by Tuesday, 17 September 2019).

Please pay by cash or cheque payable to ‘The Siam Society’. There is a 4% surcharge for credit/debit card payment to cover bank charges. Alternatively, you can deposit/transfer the money to the Siam Society travel account at the Thai Military Bank, Asoke Branch saving account no. 053-2-18000-7. Please fax or e-mail the deposit or transfer docket to us. In case the tour has to be canceled due to insufficient participants, a full refund of the deposit will be made.

Includes/Excludes:

The contribution includes meals as mentioned in program, accommodation for two persons per room, entrance fees, gratuities and other costs incurred to make this trip possible. It excludes visa fee (if any), airfares, personal expenses, personal beverages, etc.

Airfares are not included in the price, but for those who would like us to book and buy their tickets it can be arranged at the time of booking.

To comply with payment and cancellation policies set forth by tour agencies, and to facilitate smooth working condition between the Siam Society and the tour agencies, please read carefully the revised cancellation policies stated below:

Cancellation charge:

60 days before the start of the trip:                                              Deposit forfeited
60-30 days before the start of the trip                                          50% of the tour cost
Less than 30 days or cancellation without notice:                           No refund

Your booking will not be confirmed until deposit payment has been received. Please book your place as soon as possible. Please supply a copy of your passport with your booking.

The Siam Society reserves the right to change the programme as necessary. Seats are limited. Please book your place as soon as possible. For further information and bookings please contact Khun Prasert or Khun Supanut.