Fall Festivals East of Everest

Celebrate Dashain in the Arun Valley with views of the world's highest peaks
Overview

overview

This trip offers a spectacular yet accessible opportunity to experience the richest celebration of Himalayan culture among dramatic peaks, away from other travelers, in a region where local people will welcome you with an open candor only seen in such little-visited areas. Bring your camera to capture the amazing photo ops you're sure to encounter!

The trip is planned around Dashain (pronounced "Dah-sai"), the biggest and most widely-celebrated national festival of Nepal. The 15-day celebration is a time for family reunions and rejoicing around themes of the conquest of good over evil.  The main deity worshiped during Dashain is the goddess Durga (Kali), the divine mother. 
The giddiness of the festival is heightened by the ideal weather of the season and the anticipation of the imminent rice harvest. This is a pleasant time for trekking in the lush, green hills, a season when clear weather typically allows breathtaking views of distant Himalayan peaks. Makalu, in particular, will be a constant feature of the horizon along your trail.

Your trek will also take you through hill bazaar towns during their weekly bazaar days, allowing you to enjoy the spirit of the market and see different cultural groups in their finest traditional dress. The mighty Himalayas serve as a backdrop for the Arun Valley’s distinctive culture, flora, and fauna, making this an unforgettable trekking experience for anyone up for the challenge. The trip is also a photographer's dream. Average daily trekking time is 4-7 hours, and daily trekking distance is 5-8 miles. No technical climbing experience or equipment is required.

itinerary

itinerary

  • Day 1: Arrive Kathmandu
    Seek out Kathmandu's many temples

    Upon arrival in Kathmandu, you will be met by a guide and transferred to a comfortable Western-style hotel for an orientation to Nepal presented by JOURNEYS staff.

    Meals
    None
    Lodging
    International Guest House (upgrade available)
    Show on a map
  • Day 2: Kathmandu
    Tibetan Buddhists throng around Bouddha Temple

    Your city guide will introduce you to Kathmandu and show you some of the city's significant sights today. First, visit Bouddhanath, the Buddhist temple that has become a gathering place for Tibetans outside of Tibet. Monks and meditators circle the base of the temple doing their koras, prayer flags stream in the breeze, and the sounds of chanting echo from monasteries on the perimeter of the square. Then, visit Durbar square in the city center, where you will see Hindu pilgrims and holy men around the central temples. Also wander the bazaar and witness the hustle and bustle of a growing city. After the tour, your guide will be available to help you buy any extra gear you need for the trek, or to select souvenirs that you can leave in storage in Kathmandu while you're on the trail.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    International Guest House (upgrade available)
    Show on a map
  • Day 3: Tumlingtar / Trek to Sabhaya Khola
    Begin your trek among millet fields and cottages

    Depart by air for Tumlingtar in the Arun Valley of remote East Nepal. Tumlingtar is located on an ancient lake bed that is now bisected by the roaring Arun River. The flight takes about an hour and may offer spectacular views of Himalayan peaks and glaciers. Your camp at about 1,600 feet elevation is at Sabhaya Khola, not far from the Arun and only a short walk away from local villages.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Camp
    Show on a map
  • Day 4: Trek Sabaya Khola / Wana
    The landscape is quite picturesque at this time of year

    Enjoy a short trek to Wana, a Chetri and Brahmin village that has other castes living on its outskirts. The gradual trek uphill to the village passes through a great variety of terrain, most of it agricultural. You may be able to peek inside houses along the way, and you will join Nepalese travelers on the winding trails. Your camp at Wana is near a ridge top, giving you spectacular mountain views.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Camp
    Show on a map
  • Day 5: Dashain Celebrations
    Participate in a tika ceremony and be a part of Dashain tradition

    Today is the tenth day of Dashain, the highlight of the festival celebration, when families rejoice and play games together. All Hindus and many Buddhists receive red rice paste tikas from their elders. You will hardly see anyone on Nepal's trails or streets today without this red mark on his or her forehead. Once the tika ceremony is over, families feast and communities gather together in the village commons to celebrate with folk songs and dances. Visit several homes in Wana and also walk to other nearby villages, where you will see children playing on giant bamboo swings, flowers strung from every rooftop, and general revelry in the streets. Consider this fair warning that the party may encroach on your campsite tonight, because once they meet you, the locals will want to learn all about you and welcome you into the festivities.

     

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Camp
    Show on a map
  • Day 6: Wana Market / Chainpur
    Greet villagers at one of their weekly markets

    Thursday is weekly market day in Wana, and even during Dashain, people from up to four hours away will walk to town to buy and sell goods. Witness the morning market set-up and browse the wares for a bit before setting out on your day's trek. Walk today to the commercial hub of the region, Chainpur (3,600 feet). This is considered by many to be the most attractive hill bazaar community in Nepal. In the afternoon you will be joined on the trail by merchants walking on from Wana to Chainpur, where they will seek more business at tomorrow's market. Camp tonight and tomorrow above the village at a site nestled among tall trees, with a view of Makalu.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Camp
    Show on a map
  • Day 7: Chainpur Weekly Market
    Browse the colorful market wares

    Friday's market in Chainpur is the largest weekly market in the region. Vendors of all ages drift in throughout the morning, and families picnic around the edge of the market. It's not only a chance for commerce but also the week's opportunity for social exchange. Peruse the wares, capture great photos, and enjoy the people-watching during this leisurely day. Outside the market grounds, the narrow cobblestone streets of the town are lined with shops. You may be able to bargain for local crafts, especially the brassware that is the regional specialty. 

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Camp
    Show on a map
  • Day 8: Trek Chainpur / Tumlingtar
    Local kids greet you along the trail

    Return to where you started, in the town of Tumlingtar. Explore some of the villages you pass as you walk, and soak up the views on your last full day of walking under a horizon of peaks. Your trek comes to an end at the airstrip where you first landed. Camp at Tumlingtar, and dance around the campfire with your team of trekking staff.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Camp
    Show on a map
  • Day 9: Fly Tumlingtar to Kathmandu
    Board a flight to Kathmandu, then take in gorgeous mountain views from the window

    Take an afternoon flight to Kathmandu, where you'll enjoy the rest of the day free. Spend the night at a comfortable Western-style hotel.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    International Guest House (upgrades available)
    Show on a map
  • Days 10-11: Kathmandu
    See the sights during your last days in Kathmandu

    Enjoy two final days in Kathmandu to pursue your own interests. Your guide is available if you wish to see other areas of the Kathmandu Valley.

    Consider taking the optional Everest Mountain View Flight (additional cost) to see the mighty Himalayas from the air.

    The ancient city of Bhaktapur, UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a good place to explore if you have an interest in culture, temples, and ancient architecture. Take some time to look in the shops to observe potters, weavers, brass-makers, religious artisans, Brahmin priests, and spice merchants carrying out their professions as they have done here for hundreds of years.  

    If you'd rather get out of the city and into nature, Shivapuri National Park, located about an hour north from Kathmandu, is the perfect place to see wild
    life, birds and botany (specifically orchids and medicinal plants).

    Meals
    2 Breakfasts
    Lodging
    International Guest House (upgrade available)
  • Day 12: Kathmandu / Onward
    Pick out remembrances of your time in Nepal

    Transfer to the airport for your flight home, or extend  your trip with a visit to Chitwan National Park.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Show on a map
Price and Date Details

Price and Date Details

Oct 5-16, 2015
Or Privately on Request
Land Cost:
$3,250
*Includes all flights within Nepal
Single Supplement:
$350
The single supplement is applicable if a roommate is not available or if single accommodation is specifically requested. While single accommodation is not available on all trips, we will try and honor this request whenever possible.
Need to Know

Need to Know

Duration:
12 days
The number of days, or duration, in a destination corresponds with the itinerary as published. This is the time period covered by the land cost. The total number of days includes the time required to travel between the USA and the destination country.
Comfort Level:
1
Camping to 3* hotel in Kathmandu (upgrade available in Kathmandu)
Group Size:
2-12
The stated range indicates minimum required for guaranteed departure and maximum accepted on the scheduled dates. Exceptions can often be made for private departures.
Activity Level:
5
Camping to 3* hotel in Kathmandu (upgrade available in Kathmandu)

Resources

Trip Extensions

Trip Extensions

Chitwan National Park

Duration: 3 days

Chitwan National Park is probably the world’s best habitat for the rare Bengal Tiger and the One-horned Rhinoceros. Ride elephants in search of these animals and the hundreds of other animals and birds found here. Almost 700 sq. miles of lush rive... read more

Nepal Rafting and Chitwan Jungle Safari

Duration: 6 days

A complimentary extension to a relaxing Nepal experience.

The Kathmandu Valley: Bhaktapur & Dhulikhel

Duration: 3 days

Explore the heart of the Kathmandu Valley outside the bustling capital with an excursion to ancient Bhaktapur city and a stay in the town of Dhulkhel. The culture here is Newar; the homes are traditional red brick trimmed with finely carved wood.  B... read more

×