Kathmandu – Pokhara Annapurna Heli Tour

Arrival City

Kathmandu

Departure City

Kathmandu

Lodging level

Meals

Breakfast

Trip Grade

Easy

Maximun Altitude

4130 m

Attractions

Activity

Heli Sightseeing

Overview

An amazing tour, promising the best of mesmerizing mountain views and Nepalese culture.

Insightful tours to UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kathmandu, thrilling helicopter rides to the picturesque lakeside town of Pokhara and to the magnificent Annapurna Base Camp, with awe inspiring views of Annapurna range, Manaslu, Dhaulagiri, Jugal Himal and other Himalayan giants, this remains an unforgettable tour. The ultimate luxury tour offers insights into Nepali culture and magnificent aerial Himalayan Mountain vistas.

Itinerary

You will be greeted by a panoramic view of snow-capped mountain peaks sprawling down below once you fly in the sky of Kathmandu. A representative and driver from our office will meet you at the airport and escort you to your hotel. The representative will help you check into your designated hotel. At the hotel you will be briefed about your daily activities. Overnight at Hotel.

After the early morning breakfast, a fully guided sightseeing tour of Kathmandu kicks off. We drive Boudhanath. Boudhanath Stupa is one of the biggest Buddhist shrines in the world, where we observe Buddhist monks in prayer in the monasteries surrounding the stupa. The Tibetan flavor is well observed in the backstreets of Boudhanath. The maroon-robed monks enchanting the holy prayers and the mega statues of Buddha indulged in different mudras is a great opportunity to grasp the practices of rich Buddhist culture. Then you will be driving to the next major destination in Kathmandu- Pashupatinath. The scattered small temples devoted to different Hindu deities along with the main temple dedicated to supreme Hindu God- Shiva are the highlights of Pashupatinath. The cremation procedure ongoing at Aryaghat; a bank of Bagmati River is a worthwhile observation to understand the Hindu rituals during the funerals. After lunch, we take a drive to Patan Durbar Square, a UNESCO World Heritage Site is the most artistic and glorious Durbar Square in the valley appeals a thorough exploration. Arousing wooden crafts throughout the scattered monuments in the backstreets of Patan Durbar Square is worth appreciable. After the tour of these two mega destinations of the valley, we drive back to hotel. Overnight in hotel.

We wake up early to enjoy your Annapurna Base Camp Heli tour. After boarding the helicopter, we fly over lush vegetation and raging rivers all the way to the Himalayas, where we could sight the most beautiful views of mountains including Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, Ganesh Himal, Manaslu and Lamjung Himal among others. We stop briefly at Annapurna Base Camp to take pictures. Afternoon we fly back to Kathmandu and transfer to hotel. Later get refreshed and head towards Thamel’s legendary restaurant ‘Rum Doddle’ for farewell dinner. Overnight in Kathmandu OR Fly to Annapurna Base Camp and fly to Pokhara If you choose to stay in Pokhara, we will fly to Pokhara. Enjoy the lunch at Fishtail Lodge Pokhara, from where the mountains you have recently visited still look magnificent. Fishtail Lodge is an exotic hotel by Fewa Lake in Pokhara. In the afternoon, you can sail on the wooden plank over Fewa Lake to the lakeshore and stroll in the streets of Lakeside on your own. Overnight in Pokhara.

Our support team will take you to the airport for your flight home. Or you can stay longer for short tours such as game drive at National parks, rafting, Tibet tours, mountain biking etc. "OR" Fly to Kathmandu and depart Kathmandu If you have stayed in Pokhara, you fly to Kathmandu and then catch your international flight as per your flight schedule. Our office representative takes you to the airport for both your domestic and international flight.

General Information

TOUR GUIDE

We have a team of highly experienced and multilingual guides (guides who can speak your language – major languages only). They are professionally trained and are thoroughly versed about nature, culture and history of each place in this itinerary.

 

TOUR AVAILABILITY

We operate Nepal helicopter tours for private team of any size. So you can enjoy your private trip without having to deal and confront with other people who have different interests and attitude. Each trip is accompanied by a tour guide and driver(s). Nepal helicopter tours of four to eight days in duration are ideal for an extension trip if you have booked any longer trekking holidays in Nepal or tours/treks in Tibet.

 

ACCOMMODATION

Kathmandu and Pokhara offer a wide range of accommodation facilities, from 5 star luxury hotels to budget-priced guest houses. Top hotels give you high quality services. Explore Himalaya will assist you in hotel reservation.

 

MEAL

In Kathmandu and Pokhara, there are plenty of quality restaurants that serve Nepali and continental dishes. A good continental lunch or dinner at a good restaurant costs approximately USD 10-15. Full board option is also available on request.

 

MEETING/AIRPORT TRANSFERS

In all our packaged tours, airport pick-ups and drops are included. You need to pass on your International flight details to us for a “meeting and greeting” service at airport. On arrival you just pass on the Customs and come out of the Terminal building where you will see someone standing with a placard with either ‘Explore Himalaya’ or your name written on it. Our airport representative or tour officer will greet you and welcome you at the airport. You will then be escorted to your hotel where you will be briefed about your further activities in detail. After your trip is over you will be transferred back to the airport in time to catch your flight back home.

 

VEHICLE

We have a fleet of latest model luxury vehicles of all types and sizes, from small two-seater luxury cars to large capacity luxury tourist coaches. 4WD Land cruisers are used in off-road destinations like Jiri and Manang. Size and type of vehicle depend on size of your group. We use two-seater car for 1-2 persons, micro luxury 6-seater van for 3-5 persons, 10 seater van for 6-9 persons and tourist coach or coaster for group size above 10 persons. Our drivers are specially trained to serve in the hospitality industry. The vehicles are checked carefully before assigning them to your service.

 

TIPS

Tips are appreciated by your support team after the completion of your trip. The amount depends on your budget and appreciation of their work. As a suggestion, we advise that you can allocate 5- 10 % of the total tour cost as tips.

 

CLOTHING

Clothing varies with the types of tours and seasons. From April to the end of October, it is warm in Kathmandu, and warmer in Pokhara. In Nepal clothing for traveling purpose should be comfortable and light. You can also wear longer shorts provided that it is weather- friendly. In the months of November to the end of March, days are usually warm and evenings are cool. Put on your summer clothes during the day time but in the evening and night it is advisable to carry a light jacket. Winter season starts from December to February. One must be equipped with sufficient winter wears like jackets, sweaters, trousers etc. to stay protected from the cold. Though this is a Heli tour, you still need to be properly dressed as you are going in the altitude with a stopover above 4000m. In accordance to Nepali weather you can have your clothes well-packed in your luggage or you can also purchase clothes of your choice and needs from the clothing stores in Nepal.

Price 2023 / 2024

    The Trip Cost Includes
    • Airport transfers and escort
    • 3 nights Hotel Accommodation in Kathmandu on twin sharing with breakfast
    • Annapurna Heli sightseeing Tour
    • Guided sightseeing tour in Kathmandu with entry fees as per the itinerary
    • National Park Permit 

    The Trip Cost Excludes
    • Nepal Visa 
    • Any other airfares and airport tax
    • Lunch & dinner during stay in Kathmandu and Pokhara
    • Any expenses incurred in emergency evacuation due to weather condition/road blockage
    • Extra baggage charges if any
    • Any expense of personal nature, telephone calls, laundry, internet etc.
    • Tips to Guide, driver or porters
    • Travel Insurance & Medical expenses

Pay Now

BOOKING PROCEDURE

Your booking of this trip will be confirmed by email once we receive your deposit of $500 and the signed copy of booking form and contract. The balance is due no later than two months prior to departure. If you book a tour less than 2 months prior to departure, you must send the full payment within 7 days of confirmation by us.

CANCELLATION POLICY

If you cancel your booking, the following scale of charges will apply: • 2 months before departure – Loss of deposit (US$ 500) • 29 days to 2 months before departure – 30% of total trip cost • 10 to 28 days before departure – 60% of total trip cost • Less than 10 days before departure – 100% of total trip cost

DISCLAIMER

It is fundamental to acknowledge that trip is an adventure tour in mountains. This requires some flexibility. The itinerary is taken only as a guideline. We cannot be held responsible for any delays caused by International or domestic flights, strikes, Government regulations, weather or natural casualties etc. In such cases, Explore Himalaya shall provide suitable alternatives which will be decided upon mutual agreement. If you have any questions regarding this trip, please feel free to contact us at enquiry@explorehimalaya.com or directly by phone: +977-1-4518100. We answer all enquiries within 24 hours.

ANNAPURNA REGION

Annapurna region lies in the western part of Nepal covering Gandaki and Dhaulagiri zones. Known around the world for its exemplary trekking trails, the region boasts of being the home to some of the highest peaks in the world including Annapurna, world’s deepest Valley Kali Gandaki river Valley, world’s highest navigable Pass Thorong-la, world’s highest freshwater lake Tilicho, diverse flora and fauna and the native homeland of world class Gurkha tribe the Gurungs and Magars. The region is regulated and managed by Annapurna Conservation Area Project, the first Conservation Area and the largest protected area of Nepal. The region’s biological diversity complimented by equally fascinating cultural diversity have made it a dream destination for trekking in Nepal.

CLIMATE, FLORA & FAUNA

The climatic zone that you find during Annapurna Trek varies from subtropical to alpine. The southern slopes of the area has the highest rainfall rate in the country- 3000mm per year, whereas the northern slopes lying in the rain shadow has the lowest rate – less than 300mm per year. The difference in the climatic conditions in this region is responsible for its varied flora and fauna.

The Annapurna region possesses a variety of flora and fauna. It stretches from the subtropical lowlands and the high temperate rhododendron forest in the south, to a dry alpine steppe environment in the North. The Southern lowlands are lush with subtropical forests consisting of chirpine and alder. In the Northern highlands temperate forests of oaks, rhododendron, fir, and blue pine are found. The wet regions yield a variety of bamboo species. The higher altitude further North give rise to forests of birch, blue pine and juniper trees, which are replaced by juniper and rhododendron in the far North. In the semi-desert rain shadow region, behind the Himalayas, bushes of caragana and juniper species are evident. It has several species of wildlife. There are around four hundred and seventy-four species of birds, and around a hundred species of mammals. The Annapurna region serves as an excellent habitat for rare and endangered mammals like the snow leopard, musk deer, blue sheep, red panda and many of Nepal’s brilliantly plumaged pheasants.

ANNAPURNA PEAKS

The Annapurna massif contains six major peaks over 7,200 m: Annapurna I (8091m), Annapurna II (7937m), Annapurna III (7555m), Annapurna IV (7525m), Gangapurna (7455m) and Annapurna South (7219m), all of which can be seen at close quarters during Annapurna Base Camp Trek. Annapurna I, standing at a height of 8,091 m, is the tenth highest summit in the world. It is located east of a great gorge cut through the Himalaya by the Kali Gandaki River, which separates it from the Dhaulagiri massif.
Annapurna was the first 8000m peak scaled by a climber. Till 1948, Nepal was closed to all foreigners. It was in the year 1949 that the kingdom opened its doors to mountaineers. In that year two foreign teams received permission to enter the country, one Swiss and another American. In 1950, a French mountaineering team led by Maurice Herzog succeeded in climbing Annapurna, an 8000m peak. They had no information about the peak they would climb. With little or no information, they decided to take on the Annapurna. On 3rd June, Maurice Herzog and Louis Lachenel reached the summit of Annapurna I, after climbing for eight hours.  They had to suffer from severe frostbite which cost Maurice Herzog his toes and fingers. Herzog has written about the climb in his book The Conquest of Annapurna 1950.

Annapurna II, the eastern anchor of the range, was first climbed in 1960 by a British/Indian/Nepali team led by Jimmy Roberts, via the West Ridge, approached from the north. Annapurna III was first climbed in 1961 by an Indian expedition team led by Mohan Kohli. The summit party comprised Mohan Kohli, Sonam Gyatso, and Sonam Girmi. They climbed from the Northeast Face.

Tharpu Chuli (Tent Peak), shaped like a tent, at 5663m is an ideal peak for a short expedition. Lying across the Annapurna glacier, the peak offers excellent views of its neighboring peaks from its summit. 

Pisang Peak (6091m) forms part of Manang Himal. Towering above the Marshyangdi valley, this peak was first ascended by J. Wellenkamp, a German climber, in 1955.The start of the ascent to this peak starts at a village which shares its name: Pisang.

Machhapuchhre (6997m), Machhapuchhre lies in the center of the Annapurna Himal. Machhapuchhre possesses the rare beauty that makes it one of the world’s most photographed peaks. In 1957 Wilfred Noyce and David Cox climbed Machhapuchhre (6997m) up to about 6947m, within 50m of its summit. After this attempt, the government prohibited further climbing the mountain on the ground of it being sacred to locals. So, technically Machhapuchhre is unclimbed.

Poon Hill (3193m) is the westernmost crest of a spur that juts into the Kali Gandaki. The hill is named after the Magars called Poon, who lives in that area. To watch the sunrise over the Dhaulagiri and Annapurna Himal from this hill is an experience of a lifetime.

Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP)

ACAP was established in 1986 under the guidance of King Mahendra Trust for Nature Conservation. The project encompasses more than 7600 sq km. of the Annapurna range. As an innovative approach towards environmental protection, this area was declared a “conservation area” instead of a national park. In an effort to avoid any conflicts of interest, ACAP has sought the involvement of local people and has emphasized environmental education. ACAP projects include the training of lodge owners, with an emphasis on sanitation, deforestation and cultural pride. They have trained trekking lodge operators and encouraged hoteliers to charge a fair price for food and accommodation. ACAP encourages the use of kerosene/gas for cooking and made its use compulsory above Chhomrong in the Annapurna Sanctuary and on the route between Ghandruk and Ghorapani. ACAP is supported by ACAP entry fee collected from all trekkers who obtain permits for the Annapurna treks.

PLACES

Pokhara (827m)
Pokhara is the main town in central Nepal. It is the starting point of most of the major treks in the Annapurna region. Situated at an altitude of 827m, it is warmer and more humid than Kathmandu. This town is known for its picturesque spots like Phewa Tal (lake), which reflects one of the most unforgettable images of Mt. Machhapuchhre and the Annapurna Himal. Pokhara is one of the major travel destinations in Nepal.

Muktinath (3710m)
Muktinath, a sacred place both for Hindus as well as Buddhists, is located at an altitude of 3710 m at the foot of the Thorong La  pass in Mustang district. The Hindus call the place Mukti Kshetra, which means the “the region of salvation, while the Buddhists call it Chumig Gyatsa, Tibetan word for ‘Hundred Waters’. For Tibetan Buddhists Chumig Gyatsa is a place of Dakinis, goddesses known as Sky Dancers. Jwala Mai Temple, Vishnu Temple, Marme Lhakhang and Gompa Sarwa are some of the religious shrines to visit. The springs from the Gandaki River spurts out of the 108 waterspouts near the Vishnu temple, from where the Hindu pilgrims take ritual bathe. One special thing that is unique to this place is the Saligrams (Ammonite fossils). These are black stones that when broken open, reveal the fossilized remains of prehistoric ammonites formed about 130 million years ago. The old specks that appear on many saligrams are pyrite (fool’s gold). Hindus believe that the saligrams represent Lord Vishnu.

Jomsom (2713m) 
Jomsom serves as the centre for Mustang valley. It lies on the banks of the Kali Gandaki River. There is an airstrip with scheduled service to Kathmandu. The increase in the frequency of flights has brought more tourists to this area. Jomsom has a bank, post office, telecom office, a hospital and numerous hotels and lodges. The place is a popular stopover during Annapurna Circuit Trek.

Manang (3520m)
The Manang area was opened to outsiders in late 70s only. The dry and arid region of Manang called Nyeshang lies at an altitude of 3520m. There is an abundance of large chortens and maniwalls .The people of Nyeshang were granted special trading privileges by the King of Nepal hundred years ago. The businessmen from these parts are reputed to be both keen and astute. The tall peaks of the Himalaya – Annapurna II, Annapurna III, Annapurna IV, Gangapurna (7455m) and Tilicho Peak (7134m) are visible from this place. There is also a Himalayan Rescue Association (HRA) aid post in the village which makes an interesting and educational visit. This place falls in Annapurna Circuit Trek.     
  
Kagbeni (2810m)
Kagbeni is the northernmost village in this region that foreigners may visit on a normal trekking permit. The police check post at the northern end of the village fastidiously prevents tourists from proceeding towards Lo-Manthang, the walled city of Mustang without proper documentation. A green oasis at the junction of Jhong Khola and Kali Gandaki river, Kagbeni looks like a town out of the medieval past, with closely packed mud houses, dark tunnels and alleyways, imposing chortens and a large, ochre-colored gompa perched above the town.

Chomrong (2100m)
This is the highest permanent settlement in the valley. Chomrongis divided into New Chomrong and Old Chomrong. New Chomrong at 2040m is the upper part. It has resort hotels, a school and a helicopter pad. Old Chomrong at 2060m is the main part of the village with shops offices and lodges. There is a tremendous view of Annapurna South, which seems to tower above the village. There are good views of Machhapuchhare, the fish tail mountain across the valley. Beyond Chomrong, camping is limited to certain ACAP- designated camp sites and hotel construction is strictly prohibited.

Ghandruk (1940m) 
Ghandruk, a popular Gurung village that falls in Annapurna Base Camp trail, is a cluster of slate-roofed houses. It is the second largest Gurung settlement in Nepal after Siklis. Its actual Gurung name is Kond. Surrounded by neatly terraced fields, the village has electricity and an extensive water supply.  There are many hotels and lodges to cater to numerous trekkers and tourists that pass that way. The headquarter of the Annapurna Conservation Area Project is located here. Over here one gets to witness the unique culture, tradition and custom of the Gurung community. Ghandruk offers excellent views of Annapurna South, Gangapurna, Annapurna III and Machhapuchhre.

PEOPLE 

The Gurungs form the largest group in the Annapurna region. They come from Tibet to Burmese stock. Although essentially Animist and Buddhist, some lowland Gurungs have converted to Hinduism. They inhabit the higher northern slopes of the Annapurna, Lamjung Chuli and hills around Ganesh Himal. A large number of Gurung men serve in the British and Indian armies.
The immediate vicinity of Pokhara is largely populated by Chettris and Bahuns (Brahmins). They also live around the historic site of the old Gorkha kingdom. The Magars inhabit the lower trail between Baglung and Dana. They live high on the steep ridges along the tributaries of Kali Gandaki.

Another ethnic group of this region is the Thakalis. Known throughout the country as accomplished hoteliers and skilled traders, they are noted for their aggressive trading spirit. They make up one of the few richer groups of people in Nepal. The Jomsom trek passes through Thak Khola, the Thakali homeland.

In the valley of the Muktinath live the Baragaun Bhotiya. Their lifestyle is similar to that of the Tibetans. Another group of people who share a close affinity to the Tibetans are the Lopa people of Mustang, north of Kagbeni. Some of them practice the ancient pre-Buddhist religion of Bon which is infused with animistic and shamanic belief and ritual. The people living in the upper Marshyandi valley are generally known as Mananges. In the Nyeshang area, under which fall the villages of Manang, Braga and Ngawal, people are of Tibetan origin. But their language Nyeshang is not a Tibetan dialect. This area is popularly known by the name of its largest village Manang.

FESTIVALS

Lhosar
Lhosar” means New Year. Known as the festival of mountain people or highlanders, it is celebrated by various ethnic groups following Buddhism like Sherpa, Hyolmo, Tamang and Gurung. Interestingly, these groups don’t celebrate the festival on the same day. There are three types of Lhosars namely Tamu Lhosar (Gurungs), Sonam Lhosar (Tamangs) and Gyalbu Lhosar (Sherpas and Hyolmos) celebrated on different dates based on lunar calendar starting from January to February. During the festival people offer prayers for good health and prosperity at homes and monasteries. They exchange various goods and gifts, organize feasts and perform dances.

Tiji Festival
Tiji Festival is celebrated in Lo Manthang, the capital of Upper Mustang. It’s a three days festival observed annually at the onset of Spring season. As Spring season symbolizes regeneration of life, this festival is also about hope, revival and affirmation of life. The festival features a three days ritual known as ‘chasing of demons’. Monks donning masks and colorful costumes enact the story of Dorje Jono who fought against his demon father to save the Kingdom of Mustang from falling apart.

Yarlung Festival
The Yarlung Festival which literally means “End of Summer” is a three days festival celebrated all over Mustang. It normally falls during August full moon day every year. It is a three days celebration and is celebrated with horse races, drinking and dancing by local Thakali people. As the festival is celebrated at the end of summer marking the culmination of harvesting season, it is all about merry making and showing appreciation to the good lives the summer has offered. People also make offerings to Gods and receive the blessings from the seniors.

Dashain
Dashain is Nepal’s biggest festival, and people especially Hindus living in lower region of Annapurna also celebrate this festival. It is celebrated for fifteen days starting from the new moon of the Nepali month of Asoj (October/November). This festival marks the victory of goddess Durga over the demon king Mahisasur, or the victory of good over evil. People visit temples dedicated to goddess Durga. Children fly kites and play on swings supported by long bamboo poles throughout the festival. Tenth day, called as Vijaya Dashami, is the most important day of the festival. On this day people visit elders to receive blessings and tika (rice mixed with red vermilion put on the forehead). The barley sprouts (jamara) that were planted on Ghatasthapana are picked and worn in the hair.

Tihar
Tihar, the second biggest festival, lasts for five days. As with the rest of the country people especially Hindus, people living in lower region of Annapurna also celebrate this festival. The five days festivities mark the worshipping of Goddess Laxmi and different birds and animals like crow, dog, cow and ox. The third day is called Laxmi Puja or Deepawali on which people decorate their houses with lights and flower. On fifth day called as Bhai Tika, sisters worship brothers and exchange gifts. In short, celebration among families, relations and friends. Pujas (worship), lights, colors, flowers, new clothes, feasts and merriment, all these make up the joyous festival of Tihar.

TALK WITH EXPERT

Anuj Pandey

+977 9801024990

sales@explorehimalaya.com

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