Nepal for Seniors: Day Hikes, Culture, Landscapes and Luxury

Bhaktapur durbar square.
A 9 day trip to Nepal 
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From Himalayan sunsets, and mountain monasteries, to serene lakes and small villages, the Nepalese landscape will always impress you with its laid-back atmosphere and feel. Yet historic kingdoms, hiking trails and scenic flights also provide easy adventure. Nepal is a place with a rhythm idyllically suited to senior travelers, alongside exotic culture and discovery that will make you feel alive. Including three day hikes and an Everest flight, these nine days of luxury will reveal a remarkable Himalayan kingdom. Begin planning your dream Nepal vacation by visiting the best Nepal itineraries page on Zicasso.

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General Information

Photos
Kathmandu durbar square overhead.
Himalayan Everest evening view panorama.
Prayer wheels in Nepal.
Himalayas, Nepal.
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Kathmandu, Nagarkot, Bhaktapur, Changu Narayan, Namo Buddha, Sagarmatha, Mt. Everest, Swayambhunath, Kathmandu Durbar Square, Pokhara, Phewa Lake, Begnas Lake, Annapurna

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Nagarkot – Sunset Views of Mt. Everest

Mt. Everest peeps above its neighbors and the highest slab of rock and snow forms a surreal panorama. You will feel as if you could spend forever watching this view of forests in the valley below, ochre-colored dirt paths twisting away, and the sun setting behind the world’s highest mountains. Nagarkot is famous for Himalayan views and its sunrise and sunset that will impress you as the landscape changes color at a delightfully slow pace. It’s a view that welcomes you to Nepal and provides the backdrop for the next four days.

Once you touch down at Tribhuvan International Airport, an experienced local guide will meet you. From here a private transfer will escort you into the mountain foothills and Nagarkot village. Far enough away to provide serenity, yet close enough to the Kathmandu Valley highlights, Nagarkot is a quiet village with a handful of lodges perched on the ridgeline. Small market stalls line the lanes, hiking trails twist out from all over the village, and when the sun starts to set all the locals also enjoy the view. Settle into the luxury lodge, and you’ll already feel Nepal pulling you into its rhythm.

What’s Included: airport transfer, accommodation

Day 2: Nagarkot – Village Life, Gentle Hiking and Himalayan Panoramas

On your first morning in Nepal, wake early for a special treat. You will watch as Everest comes out of the shadows and the sun rises above a distant valley. Then, delight in the fact that you will have several more opportunities to enjoy the morning show. After breakfast, you will take a stroll, first through the village, where locals wave hello and you’re given the utmost respect. Age is highly revered in Nepal, a country where elders are always held in high esteem. This is extended to foreign visitors and the older you are the more you receive obsequious treatment. It will also be easy to communicate here since Nepal is a country of many tribal languages, which use English as a common denominator.

From the village, you keep walking, along a trail that weaves through rhododendron and bamboo forests. As the trees begin to thin, the views will extend and the Everest region rolls out towards the horizon. Although you’re not at any great altitude (below 6,500 feet), when you walk along a ridgeline you’ll begin to understand the appeal of trekking in Nepal. It will be a chance to explore otherworldly landscapes at your own pace. There will be plenty of options for the length of the trek, from two to four hours, all completed at a speed that suits you. Then, stop for tea and lunch in a village before you return back to Nagarkot for another sunset.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 3: Nagarkot – Exploring Historic Bhaktapur and Changu Narayan Temple

There’s nothing like the Himalayas to impress a feeling of solitude. When you look across at the mountains, you will feel humbled by nature before you spend the day discovering another side of the country. A five-story pagoda will be your compass point on the journey to Bhaktapur, one of three ancient kingdoms that once stood side by side in the valley. Other temples will impress you with their ornate carvings and peculiar clouds of incense. Some are cracked from earthquake damage but that somehow makes them feel more authentic. This architecture from past centuries wears its earthquake scars with pride as the dust and fissures seem to naturally reflect its age.

After lunch at a small local restaurant, you will continue through the valley to Changu, a village hidden amongst forest and charm. It will be here that you explore Nepal’s oldest temple while a local guide narrates the legends of the architecture. With its history and spirituality, this temple is incredibly important to local Hindus, and you’ll witness as locals conduct puja (ceremony) at the temple. As a senior traveler you may be invited to join one of these, or at least be a close witness to what’s going on. Return to Nagarkot and the lodge, where that sunset view only seems to be getting better.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 4: Nagarkot – Hiking to the Namo Buddha Pilgrimage Site

Today you’ll learn about a different religion, although you’ll recognize the similarities between Hindu and Buddhist practices. Namo Buddha was where Buddha offered his body to a starving tiger in a moment of spontaneous compassion. It’s long been a pilgrimage spot for people as they arrive from distant lands. Travel across a Himalayan valley to the trailhead and as you start walking the mountains will loom higher. You’ll stop to breathe and inhale the fresh alpine air. It’ll be a slow walk uphill and you may fall into pace with local pilgrims, who emanate an energy that’s quick to inspire. A snow-covered Himalayan range paints the horizon as these slow footsteps bring you to Namo Buddha in less than two hours.

Once you reach the mountaintop temple, there will be peace as monks meditate serenely and small lines of pilgrims enter the site. Emotion will be clearly visible in many of the patrons, although there’s an equally impressive equanimity on the faces of others. While the temple isn’t particularly big, or as ornate as those in Bhaktapur, there’ll be a wonderful atmosphere to enjoy. There’ll be plenty of opportunities to chat to other pilgrims, who share what Namo Buddha means to them. And it’s almost certain that you’ll soak up some of the founding Buddhist principles. Walk downhill as slowly as you came up and gaze out toward the mountains as prayer wheels chime from where you just left. Back at the lodge, you will enjoy your final Everest sunset.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 5: Kathmandu – Mt. Everest Scenic Flight and Cultural Connections in Kathmandu

This morning you’ll enjoy spectacular views of Mt. Everest on a scenic flight. At first you will see green valleys. Then tiny villages down below will begin to emerge, along with rice fields and ochre-colored pathways. Eventually the ridges rise higher and the valleys get deeper as towering mountains flank the landscape. The first of these giants are only topped with snow but soon the entire mountain is a blanket of snow and ice. You’re flying toward Everest, cruising alongside the world’s highest mountains. Everest isn’t alone here and its neighbors are just as impressive and some peaks appear twisted and unruly while others have a shape that could have been painted by a child. Soon you will come alongside Everest itself and admire its brutality, how it rises above glaciers and ice falls, how it marks the boundary with the Tibetan Plateau.

This fixed-wing scenic flight will offer the easiest look at Nepal’s most famous attraction, with the plane swooping around so there’s an uninterrupted view from every seat. Once you return to Kathmandu, you will spend a day in the city. Gold glistens as you enter a small temple, where incense burns alongside spirituality. A monk greets you outside the most important Tibetan stupas outside Tibet, providing insight into another Nepalese place of pilgrimage. Out on the streets of Thamel you’ll also make cultural connections, as many of the locals are keen to share conversation with esteemed older guests. Rather than return to Nagarkot you spend a night in the city, which will be a slight change of tempo that still offers plenty of tranquility after dusk.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 6: Pokhara – Monks and Monasteries and Mountains

The next day, it’s back to the mountains you’ll go, as you fly west to Pokhara with a window seat offering views onto eight lakes below. Pokhara is draped around Phewa Lake and backdropped by the Annapurna range of mountains. Sunset here is a little different to Nagarkot, as the mountains reflect back up off the water’s glassy surface. Once you touch down, you’ll enjoy coffee on the lakeshore, before you embark on a short journey into the valley and a monastery perched above Pokhara. Monks will invite you inside, where a special blessing ceremony takes place. It’s only for you, and they wish you good fortune in your travels while offering a unique insight into a Buddhist sanctuary’s inner workings. The afternoon will be at your leisure and you’ll find Pokhara a beautiful town to walk around without a guide.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 7: Pokhara – Begnas Lake Luxury Tour

The following day, mist rises evocatively from Phewa Lake and the mountains slowly emerge from the darkness. You take a moment to appreciate the scene while the Himalayas put on their sunrise show. After breakfast you head off deeper into nature, traveling through the Pokhara Valley to Seti River Gorge, where you will admire the brutal power of nature rather than just its beauty. Stop in Dobilla Village for Himalayan coffee, which is grown on nearby slopes by a cooperative. Then, weave across the plains to Begnas Lake where a small boat will take you around this piece of tranquility in the mountains.

Nepal’s great highlights concern the natural landscape. While the country is famous for the highest mountains, Himalayan landscapes are settings to connect with not places to conquer. The guide will paddle slowly along Begnas Lake and point out rare birds that flutter around the reeds. You cruise serenely towards a remote part of the lake, where there’s a chance to stretch the legs on a hike or a fishing excursion. Gurgling natural streams will welcome you to the private tour’s final spot, a spa resort that you can use at your leisure. Afterward, you will return to Pokhara when you are ready, where there will be many restaurants within a short walking distance of the lodge.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 8: Pokhara – Easy Himalayan Trekking Beneath the Annapurna Mountains

On your last full day in Nepal, you’ll hike in the shadow of the Annapurna Mountains. Himalayan trekking is never a race. In the mountains you must take your time when walking since trekking should be an enjoyable experience. Walk slowly and you will soak up the setting, from the snowy mountains on high to endemic flowers and subtle details all along the trail.

Like the day of trekking in Nagarkot there will be a choice of routes today, all of them into areas that can’t be reached by vehicles. You’ll start by driving an hour north of Pokhara, where you can access the trailhead and quickly get into wilderness areas. Mani stones line the trail and they contain painted messages of peace and harmony. Small stupas also dot the route, many of them showing a harmony between Hindu and Buddhist ideals. Whether it’s two hours or the whole day, you’ll experience village life along the trail and appreciate the solitude that exists in these iconic mountains. Back in Pokhara you will have a final lakeside sunset to complete all your visual impressions.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 9: Pokhara to Kathmandu – Departure

This final morning in Nepal will be left free, giving you time to shop in Pokhara or to sit back and watch the lake change color with the rising sun. You’ll be privately transferred to the airport for a domestic flight back to Kathmandu, where you continue onto your international departure.

What’s Included: airport transfer, breakfast