Nepal is full of countless outstanding sights but we go beyond most other tours, by building into our itinerary opportunities for you to meet people and engage with them as they live their daily lives, in the markets, towns and countryside, in homes and temples.
Swayambbunath (Monkey Temple)
Tour dates specifically timed to take advantage 2 of Nepal’s most colourful festivals – one for each tour
Visits to 3 UNESCO world cultural heritage sites in the Kathmandu valley
Meet yogis and all manner of interesting holy men at Pashupatinath
Overnight in the ancient Newari village of Bhaktapur Visit ‘off the beaten track’ historic hill top castle at Nuwakot
Rarely visited tribal villages around Chitwan Park
Ancient ridge town of Bandipur
Magnificent views of Mt. Annapurna, Mt. Dhaulagiri and Mt. Manaslu from Pokhara
Overnight in the trekking village of Dhampus
Bodhanath - one of the largest ancient stupas in the world
Nepal is well known for its magnificent landscapes but we run tours that offer an exciting ensemble of historic, cultural and religious places of interest including a number of UNESCO World Heritage sites using that landscape as back drop. Our photography tour is not a trekking tour. Rather we will go out of our way to explore medieval kingdoms, pagodas, temples and hillside villages with a particular emphasis on encountering the diverse local cultures of the ethnic people of Nepal using the majestic Himalayas as a backdrop. We time our tours to coincide with two important festivals, Holi in March and Deepavali or Daishin in October. Both add a colourful and lively experience to the tour.
Want to help Nepal? Visit!
In late April and mid-May 2015 Nepal was hit by two earthquakes which devastated local communities along the Kathmandu Valley. We successfully ran a full tour in October 2015 after the earthquake and are happy to report that Nepal is getting back on its feet and equally as important needs travelers to return.
We have made a few changes to our well established itinerary but again happy to let you know our new choices of hotels are more comfortable than ever. The Durbar squares in Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Patan have all suffered a degree of damage but are all being repaired and if anything are more interesting due to the lack of overt tourism. After leaving the Kathmandu Valley we make a point of briefly visiting and supporting an interesting community we have ongoing relationships with which were badly affected by the earthquake. We believe this overnight stop will be very insightful into what villagers went through and what new challenges they face, but don't worry your accommodation for the night is one the most idyllic guest houses in Nepal. In a new part of the tour we head south to visit Chitwan National Park where we make a point of visiting unique and rarely visited tribal villages instead of the standard 'wildlife' options. After that we revisit villages we know well around Pokhara that thankfully remained unaffected by the problems and where we have an ever increasing good relationship with the people.
For us Nepal has always been about the Nepalese people, always hospitable and welcoming. We want to help them as much as we can. Many of them lost their homes to the earthquake and if travelers don’t return, they may lose their future livelihoods as well. Tourism is one of Nepal’s largest sources of income, directly employing about five per cent of the total population but affecting it in many different ways. Without travelers, the country will take longer to recover.
The Kathmandu Valley is made up of three old medieval kingdoms, Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Patan. We will visit all three. After our exploration of Kathmandu and its environs we leave the big city in 4 wheel drive vehicles to explore hill villages surrounded by terraced paddy fields.
We travel along the dramatic Prithvi highway en route to Pokhara making numerous stops at some of the most important religious, wild life and historic trading sites in Nepal. Pokhara is a beautiful town on the borders of Phewa Lake and makes a great base for sunrise and sunset visits to a number of small villages. The lake reflects the majestic peaks of the Annapurna range, possibly the world’s most stunning mountains. On this tour we will be doing everything we can to help you capture magical vistas and wonderful landscapes, but as with all our tours Nathan will encourage you to encounter local people a very ‘up close and personal’ way whilst teaching you about their culture with the help of local guides. The big surprise for most people is just how rich and diverse the culture of Nepal is.
Day 1: Arrival at Kathmandu It is quite a thrill just flying into Kathmandu. On a clear day the views of snow-capped mountain peaks sprawling down below give you a real sense that you are arriving at a special country.
A representative and driver from our office will meet you at the airport and escort you to your heritage hotel in Patan.
Day 2: Patan For those who have not done one of Nathan's tours before there will be a morning workshops. In the afternoon we will take you for a short drive before a walking tour of Kathmandu’s famous Durbar Square and its local environs that some refer to as a 'living museum'.
Day 2: Patan (Big festival day) We start the day with an early morning visit to Pashupatinath famous as Nepal’s most sacred burning ghats we make a point of visiting local resident Yogis and interesting holy characters.
Our tour dates in 2016 have been specifically chosen to provide fabulous photography opportunities as we take part in two of Nepal largest and most colorful festivals. The March tour will include Holi. Commonly known as the festival of colour, you couldn’t ask for a better photo opportunity as locals playfully throw paint and water at each other in celebration of the cooling monsoon days to come. We stay in Patan which we believe is a little less 'full on' than Kathmandu but will give us plenty of action played out within a safer environment and one of the best preserved Durbar Squares. The October tour is timed to take in the Deepavali Festival, the Hindu festival of light or the Daishin festival.
Day 4: Bhaktapur Sunrise at Swayambbunath. This is a popular Buddhist temple on top of hill overlooking Kathmandu. It is affectionately known as the ‘Monkey Temple’ and bristles with the activity of worshippers from the very first light of the day.
Later that morning we leave our hotel in Patan and take a drive of about half an hour to Bhaktapur. Of the three medieval kingdoms of the Kathmandu valley Bhaktapur (or Bhadgaon) is the best preserved. As we walk through the traffic free cobbled streets we get to observe local potters busy spinning their wheels and drying their terracotta wares set against wonderful art and architecture of the Malla era to be found in the durbar square. Lion Gate, Golden gate, Art gallery, Statue of King Bhuptindra Malla, Nyatapola Temple and the Malla Palace of 55 windows are the living prides of Bhaktapur. We stay overnight in the heart of this city so we have plenty of time to explore all these places and the even more intriguing back streets in depth.
Day 5: Nuwakot Wake up to the timeless way of life in Bhaktapur, spend the early hours of the day soaking up the atmosphere of morning temple rituals and local markets.
After lunch we leave the city behind as we set off in 4 x 4 vehicles to take a scenic drive through rice terraces enroute to Nuwakot village. We stay in a famous farm which is superbly positioned on a hill overlooking the Trisuli River with views of surrounding hills and the far off Langtang Himal. This is rural bliss. Nuwakot is well known to us and despite being badly affected by the earthquake is a small but thriving village and has a nice cobbled street that leads up to Saat Taale Durbar, the beautiful old castle. A stone’s throw away from the Durbar is the area’s main temple, Nuwakot Bhairabi Temple and Jalpadevi Mandir, to which we are hoping to show continued support.
Day 6: Chitwan After a relaxing morning on the farm we will drive to Devghat one of the holiest places in Hindu mythology as well as a holy place for Hindu gods. The area boasts many natural features due to its geography and climate including tropical forests, wild animals and birds but we are here to see Yogis and Holi men involved in various rituals on the river banks of the Narayani River before arriving early evening at our bungalows in Chitwan National Park.
Day 7: Chitwan This day is dedicated visiting often overlooked tribal villages around Chitwan Park. Our 4 wheel drive takes us through gorgeous plains where the locals tend to their fertile paddy fields and typical village life.
We have plenty of time to make random stops as and when we see the perfect moments taking advantage of either the early morning or late afternoon sun.
Day 8: Bandipur Today we take a scenic drive along the Prithvi Highway to Bandipur, again scheduling time to make random stops as and when we please at paddy fields, stunning river views and market towns. Bandipur is considered to be a national gem, situated on a ridge at an altitude of 1030 meters. It is a well preserved ancient Newari town that used to be the main trading center from the late 18th century to recent times. It is community living in the narrow cobbled streets seem unchanged by centuries and will charm any photographer’s eye. It also has many vantage points to spy your first snow peaked mountains. Its medium elevation, excellent view of the Himalayas (Dhaulagiri, Annapurna, Manaslu, Ganesh, Langtang Himal, the Marsyangdi Valley)
Day 9: Pokhara After staying overnight in the centre of Bandipur we wake up early to make our way along outlying ridge to witness sunrise over a panoramic view our first snowcapped Himalayan mountains. This can result in stunning photos. We spend the morning enjoying leisurely short hikes out of town to nearby villages. In the afternoon we drive to Pokhara, on the way we will stop at picturesque hamlets and lush green fields as we please. As we approach Pokhara, our eyes behold the snowy pinnacles of the Annapurna Range; Dhaulagiri, Manaslu and Lamjung Himal.
Day 10: Dhampus The day starts with an early morning visit to see the magnificent views afforded at the World Peace Pagoda. We then take a boating trip on Phewa Lake and try to capture one of the most breathtaking sights of Pokhara; the reflection of the Machhapucchre’s (Fishtail) spire on the lakes waters from low level. In the afternoon we drive to Dhampus, a traditional Gurung village in time for locals returning from their work in the fields. We engage with their gentle way of life, often being invited into homes and gardens to take photos.
The village also affords some stunning and spectacular views of the snowy Annapurna Range, Dhaulagiri and Manaslu at sunset. We stay overnight in a typical trekking lodge.
Day 11: Pokhara Our typical trekking lodge gives us another breath taking view of Annapurna and Fishtail Mountain and the perfect opportunity for sunrise shots by literally crawling out bed onto a purpose built balcony area. After a hearty breakfast we revisit the village life to catch up with friends again to observe their morning activities in gorgeous light and against one of the world’s best back drops.
We return back to Pokhara by early afternoon where your comfortable hotel will be base for some free time to shop, get a massage or take an optional paraglider flight from Sarangkot Hill down to Pokhara Lake. Not to be missed if you like that sort of thing!
Day 12: Kathmandu From Pokhara we fly to Kathmandu. Stunning views of the Himalayan Mountains and picturesque hill top villages enthrall us. In the afternoon we visit one of Kathmandu’s most photographed monuments, Bodnath Stupa. This is not only a fabulous structure but is the centre of Nepal’s biggest Tibetan community and a constant hive of activity and prayer.
Day 13: Depart Kathmandu Our support team will drive you to the airport for your flight home.
Please Note: Itinerary days may be subject to changes or variations
We will be staying, where possible, in good standard heritage hotels. The in country hotel and logistics arangements are managed on our behalf by our partner PEAK, an IATA registered Nepalase agency.
Prices: $4000 per person
Please note: All prices are quoted in US$
We do not charge a single supplement. Single travelers will get their own room
Payment and Cancellations: 25% deposit must be made at the time of confirmation. Full payment of the remaining 75% is due 45 days before the tour starts. Cancellation of services less than 60 days prior to the start date will result in the deposit being retained. However this may be transferred to another tour date (minus any costs incurred in arranging the changeover)
English speaking local guide
All accommodation (12 nights’)
Breakfasts (always part of the hotel package)
All transport (A/C bus, boats, bicycles, horse and cart)
Free drinking water on the bus
All entrance and zone fees
International travel to and from Nepal
Any kind of insurance
Drinks and meals other than specified above under ‘inclusions’
Other personal expenses, e.g. laundry,phone calls, gifts etc.
Tips for local guide and staff
Flights Please note the following when booking your flights. The tour will start and end in Kathmandu. Those arriving after a long flight are recommended to request that we book an extra hotel for the night before the tour starts. On the last day, we will finish in the morning in time for you to catch a mid morning flight. Again, we can book extra hotel nights on request.
Engage Building on his years of experience in Cambodia Nathan feels that Nepal is the perfect place in which to offer tours that benefit from his teaching style. Indeed, many who have booked the Nepal tour are ‘returnees’: i.e. past clients on his tours in Cambodia and Burma. Nathan has always believed that his photography tours should open up a country by presenting opportunities to engage with local people. One of his principle aims, going far beyond teach - ing good camera technique, is to show participants that instead of being a barrier between the photographer and subject, the camera can be used as the key to open doors. He aims to show how, when used sympathetically, the camera can help to establish a vital connection between the traveller and the locals they meet. Nathan always goes out of his way to encourage opportunities for meeting and interacting with ordinary people going about their everyday lives. This approach offers one of the best chances for a photographer to become more than just a tourist looking on, and instead, someone engaging with local people and in local life. It is this which sets Nathan’s tours apart: they stand out as offering a really rich and exciting experience for participants, including the occasional accompanying nonphotographer.
Tuition This tour is for photographers wanting to expand their knowledge of travel photography and will help both novice and experienced photographers alike to capture very special images. This tour will include introductory workshops that cover both the technical and ethical issues of travel photography very specifically orientated towards photographing people. On the first day of the tour if you are new to photography you will attend the morning workshops in which Nathan will teach you how to take control of your camera. Photographers of all levels will attend the next workshop in which Nathan will give his take on travel photography. Those who have been one of our previous tours might want to skip the morning workshops and would then join the tour in the mid afternoon for the scheduled photowalk. During the rest of the tour Nathan constantly works alongside you, to help you understand particular technical challenges, give you artistic inspiration and, most importantly, lead by example in approaching local people. Time is also put aside to help you develop your post production skills so that you can subtly enhance your pictures thus producing a stunning portfolio of the tour and those taken on your future travels.
The Group In Nepal we will never run a tour with more than 8 participants. A group of this size is ideal for Nathan and his regular local guides to give everyone the attention they may need. This intimate group size forms a stimulating dynamic where photographers can share their experiences with like-minded people, and more often than not, they will leave with new friends. Whether you are a single traveller, or you come with a partner, you will find being in a small group who share a com - mon interest a great way to get something extra out of your trip. No more worrying about keeping people waiting while you try to frame your best shot!
Visas: Nathan Horton Photography Tours cannot be held responsible for your entry/exit arrangements. Getting the required documentation is solely your responsibility. No refunds will be made in the event of you being refused entry into the country where travel is to take place.
As visa rules can vary according to your country of origin we strongly advise that you research the visa rules for the country before you travel. Please refer to the visa information in Essential Information Sheet given for each country. The PDF can be downloaded below.
Travel Insurance: Travel insurance is compulsory for all Nathan Horton Photography travelers and should be taken out at the time of booking. Your travel insurance must provide cover against personal accident, death, medical expenses and emergency repatriation with a recommended minimum coverage of US $200,000 for each of the categories of cover. We also strongly recommend it covers cancellation, curtailment, personal liability and loss of luggage and personal effects. You must provide proof of your travel insurance on or before the first day of your trip; you will not be able to join the trip without it.
I“Inspiring, amazing, fabulous tour” Reviewed January 13, 2015 There are only a few adjectives but there is more: without Nathan’s guiding I would never get such pictures. He knows what looks good for a photo, which times are best for the light and how to engage people. Thanks Nathan, I’ll return for more tours!
“AWESOME!” Reviewed June 26, 2015 I did lots of research of different photographic tours, held in different countries before hand but it was Nathan’s tour that stood out to me..... I was not disappointed. During our workshops Nathan talked in a language I understood, not too highbrow or technical, from a beginners perspective. The trips to the temples were out of this world! The close rapport Nathan has with the nuns and monks of Angkor is lovely to see and makes for some gorgeous photographs. I came to the tour not knowing one end of my new DSLR from the other or what on earth Aperture was! .. I left after my 5 day tour with not only some wonderful photographs for my portfolio but with technical knowledge and confidence within myself and my camera. It was also a fantastic way to see Cambodia with privileged access and local knowledge.