October 2020: Walking in Nepal with Nigel and Toby Warren
Celebrating our ten year anniversary, Founder and Director of Exceptional Travel, Toby Warren and his father, Nigel are joining forces for this special , one-off walking adventure into the heart of the Annapurna Mountains. Limited to eight guests.
The father and son team are deeply passionate about the country. Nigel is a fluent Nepali speaker and his knowledge of the country will help bring you closer to the many Nepali hill folk you will meet along the way.
This Exceptional Journey begins in Kathmandu for a blast of rich and raw Nepalese culture. Travelling alongside Nigel Warren and our local expert guide, our guests have the chance to escape the well-trodden path and discover some of the hidden secrets this charming city has tucked away. Each day will be flexible and planned according to the wishes of our guests.
A relatively gentle trek then takes our guests into the foothills of the Annapurna Mountains. The scenery is utterly spectacular and even the smallest change in altitude can bring with it a startling contrast of landscape as you move from tropical lowlands to soft alpine meadows and up to rugged glacial moraines. This journey is as much about people as it is about spectacular views and Nigel will be only too happy to translate captivating stories of the realities of mountain life as we meet local villagers and retired Gurkha soldiers along the way.
Finally we have included two nights and a full day of complete rest and recuperation at Dwarika’s Resort, one of the finest retreats in Asia. Here our guests can ease tired limbs and process the wonder and accomplishment of the journey amongst serene and peaceful surroundings.
1st October 2020
Arriving in Kathmandu airport Toby and Nigel will meet you with our car and driver to escort you the short distance to Dwarika’s Hotel. After time to settle into your rooms and shake off the flight, a delicious dinner will be enjoyed this evening in Dwarika’s beautiful courtyard.
2nd October 2020
After a leisurely breakfast, those who wish will have the opportunity to explore Kathmandu with Toby, Nigel and our local guide. We will visit Kathmandu Durbar Square and the Swayambhunath Stupa, a UNESCO protected heritage site. Others may prefer to stay at the hotel and rest or take a one hour fixed wing flight to capture views of Everest from your window seat (this is not included and must be booked in advance to ensure availability). Lunch is included today and can either be enjoyed at the hotel or in town. This afternoon is free to rest by the pool at Dwarika’s or explore more of Kathmandu before coming together again for dinner.
3rd October 2020
After breakfast you will be driven to Patan (Lalitpur). Once a separate city to Kathmandu, Patan is home to the valley’s finest craftsmen who produce a treasure trove of fine art reflecting the region’s cultural heritage and age-old techniques. After lunch at a local restaurant we will visit the UNESCO-protected temple of Pashupatinath on the banks of the Bagmati River. From here we have the option to explore more of Kathmandu taking in the Boudhanath Stupa or to return to the hotel for a rest and a swim before dinner.
4th October 2020
After breakfast we will be driven to the airport in time for our 25 minute flight to Pokhara. From Pokhara airport we will be taken to the starting point of our trek at Nayapul as we wind our way into the foothills of the Annapurna Range. The walk takes us to Birethanti and follows a ridge in the lower foothills of the Annapurna range with exceptional views of the Pokhara valley. The trail then drops down to the Modi River for a riverside stroll before we reach our lodge for the night.
5th October 2020
Wake up with a tea or coffee as you watch the sunrise (optional!) over the peaks of the Annapurna Range. After a hearty breakfast we will walk along the Modi Khola Valley and begin our steady ascent up the mountainside enjoying a rest for a scenic picnic lunch along the way. The views are astonishing as we climb above the valley ending at Ghandruk for an overnight stay at the Himalaya lodge.
6th October 2020
After breakfast we will continue our journey passing Gurkha settlements and local villages along our trail. The daily routine of mountain life will be all around us as we pass buffalo and goats grazing in the fields and donkey trains carying goods down to Ghandruk village.
7th October 2020
This morning we start our trek through the remote village of Patlekhet passing sub-tropical forests adorned with wild orchids, rhododendrons and magnolias. Along the way, we will stop at the village of Pothana, an important trade route for the Tibetans. Arriving at Basanta Lodge for lunch we will enjoy sweeping views of the Annapurna Range. This afternoon will be free for those who want to sit back and enjoy the view while others may want to walk up to the local village of Dhampus.
8th October 2020
We will be met by a car and driver and driven to Pokhara (about 30 minutes). This afternoon we can take a boat trip on Phewa Taal, the second largest lake in Nepal. The lake is stream fed but a dam regulates the water reserve and it is classified as a semi-natural freshwater lake. Visit Barahi Temple – the island temple situated in a small island in the Phewa Lake surrounded by marvelous views.
9th October 2020
After breakfast we will be driven back to Pokhara airport in time for a regional flight back to Kathmandu. From the airport a scenic 45-minute drive takes us into the hills where we will stay at Dwarika’s Resort on the outskirts of the ancient Newari town of Dhulikhel. Arriving into the peaceful haven of the resort, you will feel immediately calm and welcomed by the typical warmth of the Nepalese.
10th October 2020
We have left the time here completely free to unwind and explore as you choose. A special farewell dinner is arranged during our stay but we won’t tell you more than that! Room upgrades and additional excursions can all be arranged on request.
11th October 2020
After breakfast you will be driven back to Kathmandu airport in time for your international flight home. Alternatively, you may wish to extend your time at Dwarika’s Resort or further explore Nepal. Those with more time to spare may want to journey into India, Tibet or Bhutan, any of which we would be happy to arrange for you on a private basis.
Toby was raised in Kenya and educated in the United Kingdom. At university he completed a year’s thesis on the effects of tourism on Kenya’s peoples, which ignited a life-long passion for the travel industry. Ultimately, this led him to accomplish his dream of founding his own travel company and he launched Exceptional Travel in 2009. Toby has travelled extensively in Kenya, Australasia and Asia but it was Nepal that enchanted him in a way no other country ever had and he returns as often as he can. In his spare time Toby is a passionate member of the MCC and a keen fisherman (both fly and sport).
Nigel’s familiarity with Nepal and its people spans some 52 years, since first visiting the country in 1966 when, as a young Gurkha officer, he was tasked to help recruit and deliver 300 new Gurkha recruits from Eastern Nepal to their training depot in North Malaysia. Several ‘duty’ visits to Nepal as a serving officer in a Gurkha battalion rekindled his knowledge and love for the country and its people. Following 29 years of service with Gurkhas he renewed his association with Nepal placing many adventure seeking ‘gap’ year students in a large number of village schools in Western Nepal through his company, Africa & Asia Venture. In his spare time Nigel is an accomplished artist specialising in watercolour and pastel artworks.
Cost Per Person
From £4,600 per person. Please contact Jenny Wilkinson at Exceptional Travel for further information. Tel: +44 (0)1608 638 777 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Single Supplement (approx. £930)
A scenic one hour flight past Everest (approx. $250per person)
Any personal items such as shopping, alcoholic beverages, laundry or telephone calls
Tips and gratuities
Dwarika’s remains one of Toby’s favourite properties in the world (which says something because he has seen most of them!) It is the charm and warmth of the place that makes it stand out; the friendly staff and traditional interiors carefully designed to reflect everything that makes Nepal and its culture so special. The property is conveniently located within walking distance of the most sacred Hindu temple, Pashupatinath and a ten minute drive from the heart of the city. 83 meticulously designed rooms and suites, offer an elegant experience comparable to the royal suites of the 14th century Malla kings of Nepal.
Ker and Downey
Ker & Downey offers the finest, most complete trekking programme in the Annapurna Range. Ker & Downey guests follow remote trails, resting each night in comfortable, purpose built lodges and charming converted Nepali village houses, spreading each day’s walk apart and allowing guests the opportunity to experience some of the most spectacular mountain vistas in the world without sacrificing comfort.
Nestled in the natural paradise of a lushly forested valley and set against the backdrop of the majestic Himalayan mountain range, The Pavilions Himalayas is a truly eco-sensitive luxury resort that gives back to the local community. Set on an organic farm, guests enjoy the natural beauty of Pokhara, the gateway to the Annapurna Himalayas. Breathe, hike, explore the beauty of Nepal beyond your expectations
Tucked into the foothills of this ancient Himalayan valley is one of the most peaceful retreats on earth. Every inch of Dwarika’s Resort has been carefully designed to provide a fully restorative and rejuvenating escape. Each of the spacious suites delivers a warm and inviting twist of traditional influences and contemporary design. Bright, panoramic windows face out into the mountains to catch the sun rising over jagged peaks and many offer a traditional daybed, balcony and writing desk for those in search of a creative escape in total privacy.