Can you have a great time in Nepal with only two weeks?
Long trips to Nepal are the best way to get the most from this great country. However this is not always possible with today’s working lifestyle. I’ve already written a popular one week itinerary for Nepal and a longer 30+ day itinerary for Nepal.
However, if you have 14 days you’ll fit twice as much into your trip plan which is even better!
With new budget airline routes from Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and New Delhi opening up there has been an unprecedented rise in shorter trips to Nepal.
I’ve had great people from Malaysia and India wanting to make the most of these new offers as well as tourists visiting Thailand and India who never thought it possible to make it to Nepal so easily.
I’ve been to Nepal many times for both long and short stays. Although my next one is a long stay I’m taking two weeks off to enjoy myself when I arrive. As such, I’m considering myself a 14 day tourist to Nepal and this is how I’m planning it out and, how I would plan it out for you too.
Start planning with the time of year
This is the most crucial part of your itinerary. “When are you going to Nepal” is nearly as important as “how long will you be in Nepal”. Nepal has a four season temperate climate which will affect what you can do there at certain times of the year.
- September to late November is peak season. This is just after the monsoon season so the air is dry and clear. This is the perfect time for visiting Nepal for trekking and other activities.
- December, January & February are cold winter months throughout Nepal. It doesn’t snow in any of the main non-trekking cities in Nepal but it does hit freezing levels. There’s also a substantial lack of electricity at this time.
- February to April is Nepal’s second busiest tourist season with warmer temperatures throughout. Climate change often means downpours towards the end of this period.
- May to June is the start of the monsoon season. Short and long showers are more frequent and flight delays are getting more common. It can get brutally hot and humid.
- June to August is monsoon season is in full swing and you better come ready to get wet. Leeches are out in the valleys and flight delays are very common.
Now you should know what to expect weather wise depending on the time of year. There’s more detailed information about the best time to visit Nepal here there’s more on Nepal weather here.
For trekkers here’s a complete monthly look at the best time of year to go trekking in Nepal:
- What’s it like to trek in Nepal in January?
- What’s it like to trek in Nepal in February?
- What’s it like to trek in Nepal in March?
- What’s it like to trek in Nepal in April?
- What’s it like to trek in Nepal in May?
- What’s it like to trek in Nepal in June?
- What’s it like to trek in Nepal in July?
- What’s it like to trek in Nepal in August?
- What’s it like to trek in Nepal in September?
- What’s it like to trek in Nepal in October?
- What’s it like to trek in Nepal in November?
- What’s it like to trek in Nepal in December?
Festivals in Nepal
Nepal has more festivals throughout the year than many other countries. Do check out my list of festival dates in Nepal.
If you arrive during the Holi festival then be prepared to get hit by bags of color! Holi is one of the best festivals in Nepal so it might be worth your while planning to be in Nepal when the festival occurs.
What type of holiday do you want in Nepal?
With 14 days in Nepal you can split your holiday up a little in terms of what you want from your holiday. Thinking about what Nepal primarily offers helps: culture & history, trekking, jungle, adventure sports & relaxation.
There’s no reason you can’t do a little of everything. Just don’t expect to fit everything in as you’ll end up missing the best parts of Nepal in the rush. For planning, here are some outlines for people looking to only cover one aspect of an activity in Nepal.
- Trekking: The most common question for trekkers is wondering if they can trek to Everest Base Camp with only 14 days. You can! With planning. But it’s going to be tight and you won’t have time for much else. There’s also a lot more to trekking in Nepal than Everest so you might also want to look for something completely new! Weather planning tip: Monsoon season is not the best time for views!
- Culture & History: The good news for culture and history lovers is that you can cover all the main cultural sites within a week in Nepal. Meaning you’ll have plenty of time left to fit in other things. The Kathmandu Valley is Nepal’s primary attraction for culture. Yes there more, but let’s start there and see what else we can fit in! Weather planning tip: available all year round
- Jungle visits: Jungle lovers will have several options open to them too. Nepal has several national parks to choose from but again it’s up to you in regards to what you want to see. Either way it’s all very feasible with two weeks. Weather planning tip: avoid early monsoon season and monsoons season
- Adventure sports: Adventure sports can range from bungee jumping, zip-lining, paragliding, white water rafting and climbing. Weather planning tip: Again, monsoon season makes white water rafting and paragliding touch and go depending on that day’s outlook.
We’ve now covered the basics of what can be done in Nepal and at what time of year. By now I hope you are starting to get a clearer idea of what you might like to accomplish during your holiday.
If you still need help do check out my great and free page on how to plan a trip to Nepal.
There are of course ways to speed things up in Nepal if you want to fit a lot in. I’ll cover this later, but for now let’s move on to specific itineraries for a two week holiday in Nepal.
2-14 Day trekking Itineraries in Nepal
There are quite a few treks you can do in Nepal from under a week all the way to two weeks. Just remember that you’ve already lost two days – your arrival and your departure days! Here are ways to speed things up to help maximize your time for trekking.
Domestic flight delays are common in Nepal so if you are planning to fly to Pokhara for trekking in the Annapurna region then you’ll need to book ahead with an agency beforehand. Likewise if you need a guide waiting for you. Yes, you can spend another day in Pokhara or Kathmandu looking for a guide but do really need that pressure? Most likely you don’t.
Arranging a guide ahead of time will save you time if you really need all your days for trekking. If you want a recommended guide then you can contact me and I’ll send you their details. Meanwhile here’s my article on how to choose a trekking guide in Nepal.
Short treks in Nepal
Nagarkot Dhulikhel Trek
||Dhampus Village Trek
||Ghorepani Trek (Poon Hill)
Most short treks listed are Pokhara based. Pokhara is a 7am – 2pm bus trip from Kathmandu. Or a 30 minute flight from Kathmandu. Or a 6 hour car trip. These treks are great if you are mixing in culture and trekking into your trip to Nepal as they give you time to do both within two weeks.
To squeeze an extra day or two into your favor, book ahead with a guide as they can help in pre-booking your trekking permits plus either air, bus or private transport to Pokhara which will speed things up a lot.
There’s some good news if you don’t want a big trek but would like to see “something”
Nagarkot’s trek is more of a “morning hike” than a trek. But it is a green belt area and with good weather you will see the himalayan range.
Medium length treks in Nepal
|Mardi Himal Trek
||Annapurna Base Camp Trek (Annapurna sanctuary)
||Jomsom to Muktinath Trek
|Everest Base Camp Trek
If you’ve read my one week itinerary for Nepal then you’ll have seen Mardi Himal in the shorter treks list. You can however do it in under 5 days, but you’ll be missing out. With two weeks in Nepal dedicating 5 nights to it will make the most out of this great trek.
Everest Base Camp is the big trek for many people with two weeks travel time in Nepal. You can read my dedicated Everest Base Camp Trek guide for more precise information. With two weeks available you can make this trek. My advice is that if you want to see more of Nepal, like the heritage sites of Kathmandu Valley, then book your trek ahead of time.
By booking ahead you will have all your permits, guide and flights to Lukla waiting for you when you arrive. It means you don’t have to go looking for them and waste a day or two out of your sightseeing itinerary. However, be aware of online trekking agencies overcharging for this trek. Some charge up to 50% more than a guide already based in Nepal.
If you’d like the details of the guide I use and recommend feel free to contact me.
Lastly, if you really want a close up view of Everest there are plenty of daily Everest mountain flights that will take you right up close to Mount Everest. They are very popular with people on short time frames who want to see as much as possible.
Here’s my detailed list on the above short treks in Nepal
14 Day “Golden Loop” Itinerary
A great mixed itinerary where you can fit in a lot of Nepal’s sights and activities:
Like all good itineraries this Golden Loop itinerary is not set in stone. If you want to spend an extra day somewhere, you can. It just means you will be spending 1 day less somewhere else depending on your interests. i.e. one day less looking at heritage sites means you can fit in a day of kayaking, trekking or relaxing.
The Golden Loop itinerary includes: heritage, culture, adventure sports, relaxation, jungle activities and some trekking.
- Day 1: Arrive, check into hotel take a look around Thamel to get your bearings.
- Day 2: Take an early morning taxi out to Boudhanath to walk around the great stupa and see some Buddhist monks in nearby monasteries. Walk or take a taxi to Pashupathimet. Take a taxi back to Thamel for lunch before heading to Patan city. If you don’t have time for Patan then visit either Swayambhunath or Kathmandu Durbar Square.
- Day 3: Take a bus to Pokhara, arriving in the afternoon and explore lakeside.
- Day 4: Take a boat ride across the lake, hike to the World Peace Stupa, visit Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave and Davis Falls before heading back to lakeside for a sunset over the lake.
- Days 5,6,7 + (trekking): Take a short trek to enjoy the Annapurna mountain range (see the list of short treks above) .
- Day 8: Take a bus to Chitwan National Park, arriving at lunch time. Spend the afternoon on a Elephant safari or elephant bathing.
- Day 9: Do a full day jungle trek in Chitwan.
- Day 10: Take a bus to Lumbini arriving at lunch time either making a quick afternoon visit to Lumbini Development Zone or rest up and make a full day in the development zone the next day.
- Day 11: Either a full day in Lumbini development zone if you did not get to see anything yesterday or head back to Kathmandu if you did. See notes below *
- Day 12: Take an early morning bus back to Kathmandu. Check out either Swayambhunath or Kathmandu Durbar Square if you missed them earlier or go souvenir shopping to relax after your bus journey.
- Day 13: Take a taxi or bus out to Bhaktapur and spend either an over night there or a full day enjoying the well preserved heritage sites and souvenir stores.
- Day 14: Depending on your flight time you can spend the morning shopping in Thamel or by checking some of Kathmandu’s lesser known sites like the Kathesimbhu stupa or simply chill out at the Garden of Dreams (here’s a list of things to see and do in Kathmandu).
* Lumbini is generally of interest to those who want to see where Buddha was born. The area is not that well developed and offers little in terms of activities. Most people who don’t have an interest in Buddhism find it a little disappointing. If you feel this may be you then substitute the two days in Lumbini with an additional day or two in Pokhara, Bhaktapur, Patan or Kathmandu where there is more to see or do.
14 Day “Silver Triangle” Itinerary
An itinerary that takes you to the cities of Pokhara, Chitwan and Lumbini for adventure activities, trekking, jungle safaris and some spirituality
The Silver Triangle itinerary is for those who don’t have a huge interest in heritage sites, architecture or the Kathmandu Valley. It focuses more on adventure sports, adrenaline activities, mountains and jungle.
The Silver Triangle itinerary includes: Adventure, leisure and adrenaline sports, hiking, relaxation, jungle activities and some trekking.
- Day 1: Arrive into Kathmandu, check into hotel take a look around Thamel to get your bearings and if you have the time do check out Durbar Square.
- Day 2: Take a bus or plane to Pokhara, check out lakeside’s lake and shopping area.
- Day 3: Take a boat ride across the lake, hike to the World Peace Stupa, visit Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave and Davis Falls before heading back to lakeside for a sunset over the lake.
- Day 4: Take a sunrise trip to Sarangkot for a beautiful look at the mountains. Then, take to the air with a paragliding session.
- Day 5,6,7,8+: Go trekking into the mountains (choose from either the short trek list or one of the medium Annapurna treks) or go white water rafting.
- Day 9: Take a day of relaxation in Pokhara after your trek or rafting with a therapeutic massage, visit a Tibetan settlement or enjoy one of the many cafes that over look the lake while taking in some souvenir shopping. If you still have energy to burn, go zip-lining or take to the air with a micro-light flight.
- Day 10: Take a bus to Chitwan National Park, arriving at lunch time spend the afternoon on a Elephant safari or elephant bathing.
- Day 11: Do a full jungle trek in Chitwan.
- Day 12: Take a bus to Lumbini arriving at lunch time either make a quick afternoon visit to Lumbini Development Zone or rest up and make a full day in the development zone the next day.
- Day 13: Either a full day in Lumbini development zone if you did not get to see anything yesterday or head back to Kathmandu if you did.
- Day 14: Depending on your flight time you can spend you could easily fit in an early morning Everest Flight tour. Or spend the morning shopping in Thamel or chill out at the Garden of Dreams (here’s a full list of things to see and do in Kathmandu).
*There is a visit to Lumbini for those seeking a little bit of meditation or spirituality though it can be substituted with more days in Pokhara or Chitwan if that’s not to your liking.
Like I said at the start, none of the above is written in stone. If you don’t want to go trekking then you could go rafting, kayaking, mountain biking or even do some additional paragliding. If walks and hikes are more your thing then check out Rupa & Begnas lake. Likewise if you just want to rest and relax Pokhara has spas, meditation centers and a bevy of places to sit out under the sun and enjoy the scenery.
Jungle visits and tiger watching itineraries
So you want to see tigers and trek through the jungle eh? No problem. From Kathmandu there are daily buses to Chitwan National Park and Bardia National Park. A bus to Chitwan takes about 5 hours and is a little more efficient than flying there. Bardia on the otherhand can take up to 16 hours to reach by bus.
Itineraries in Chitwan are flexible and easily pre-planned. I don’t advise pre-booking anything in Chitwan aside from your guest house or hotel. Jungle Treks never book out here and you can literally book one the night before.
The amount of days you spend exploring the jungles of Chitwan is up to you. At the minimum a two night stay will let you do most of the basics.
- Day 1: Arrive into Chitwan (Sauraha) check into hotel, take a stroll through the village and walk along the river before dinner alongside it (relax). Arrive, check into hotel get to Elephant Jungle Safari (rush).
- Day 2-6: Jungle treks can either be for a day or several days. The choice is yours. Remember the weather conditions from earlier and see what you feel like. The deeper into the jungle you go the more you are likely to see rarer wild animals. This can be done either on foot or by a more expensive jeep safari.
Additional days: There’s not much else to do in Chitwan aside from jungle activities. There is however an elephant breeding center, elephant washing and ox cart rides to local villages along with long sunsets on the rivers. If that appeals to you then you can stay. Otherwise if you just came to Chitwan for a single trek you should now have enough time for a bus ride to Pokhara or back to Kathmandu. Check out my full guide to Chitwan for more information.
For trips to Bardia National Park you will have to prearrange your resort accommodation and to an extent your jungle trip. Bardia is not as commercialised as Chitwan. There really is no shopping or restaurants aside from resorts. What you get with Bardia, unlike Chitwan, is a near-on untouched jungle experience.
Though there are less tigers in Bardia there’s a greater chance at seeing them here than in Chitwan. Again, how long you stay is up to how much of the jungle you want to experience. Overnight stays in the jungle are not allowed however overnight stays in the buffer zones are. Many people will do two or three full treks in a row. Jeep safaris will bring you deeper in the jungle too.
Considering the travel time most people plan up to 5 days for trip to Bardia National Park. Do check out my exclusive guidebook to Bardia for much more detail.
Making your travel times more efficient in Nepal
The above itineraries can all be accomplished by you with a little bit of planning and preparation. One of the most important aspects of traveling on a timeframe in Nepal is arriving back into Kathmandu at least one day in advance of your departure date. This is important as sometimes buses get delayed so it’s important to stay a little ahead rather than miss a flight!
Likewise I’ve written these itineraries in order of ease. For example, in terms of transportation, it’s easier to go Kathmandu – Pokhara – Chitwan – Lumbini than Kathmandu – Chitwan – Pokhara – Lumbini.
Last minute tips for a two week holiday in Nepal
If you are going trekking then bring as much of what you need as possible instead of wasting time shopping. Good solid trekking boots/shoes are a must. While a rain/windproof jacket, sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat can be purchased locally if you want.
You shouldn’t need sleeping bags for the short treks depending on the time of year. Everything else can be picked up locally or by your trekking guide.
Do have spare batteries and a touch light. Nepal has terrible electrical load shedding. If you are addicted to your electronics then bring as many spare batteries as you will need for your stay. Alternatives include power packs for your mobile phone or tablet.
For souvenir shopping stick to Bhaktapur or the market outside the tourist office in Kathmandu Durbar Square. Thamel is great but more expensive and it can get quite crowded. If you are not spending much time in the Kathmandu Valley then shop in Pokhara’s Lakeside area.
Wrapping it up: your two week stay in Nepal
When you arrive into Kathmandu airport you’ll need to have passport photos and USD in hand for your visa. Check out my post on arriving into Kathmandu airport for more. Believe me, it will save you some time having them ready.
As you can see so far you can get a lot done in Nepal within 14 days!
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