Trip at a Glance
- March 26 – April 6, 2018
- Daily practice with Nancy Zampella
- Escorted by BJ & Lauren of RetreaTours
- Explore Kathmandu, once an ancient kingdom and now the capital of Nepal
- Stay in the peaceful Tibetan Buddhist enclave of Boudhanath in Kathmandu
- Discover the magic of picturesque Pokhara, surrounded by the majestic Annapurna Range of the Himalayas
- Enjoy a stunning day hike in the foothills of the Himalayas
- Limited to 12 guests
- $3199 per person (based on double occupancy; international airfare not included)
Registration closes on November 30th–secure your spot in Nirvana today!
The following itinerary serves as an outline for your intended activities beyond daily yoga and body rolling with Nancy Zampella. Please see details in the “About Your Daily Practice” section below. All activities are optional, as this is *your* retreat and we want you to use your time as you desire.
March 26 You’ll arrive at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, Nepal and be taken to your wonderful guest house in the Boudhanath area of Kathmandu. This guest house serves to fund a children’s home, women’s workshop, and a seasonal soup kitchen. We love this location because it is safe, quiet, and feels a world away from the hustle and bustle of central Kathmandu and the tourist district in Thamel. You can enjoy quiet mornings in the garden with the multicolored prayer flags fluttering in the breeze, spreading blessings across the area.
The most important feature of this area is Boudhanath stupa (a stupa is a Buddhist monument). Boudhanath is one of the largest and most important Tibetan Buddhist stupas in the whole world; it is a sacred pilgrimage site for Tibetan Buddhists and there are more than 50 Buddhist monasteries in the area. The core value of this religion—compassion—permeates the whole neighborhood. As the pilgrims circle around the stupa, deep in prayer, you can feel the waves of peace and love envelop you.
March 27 – 31 During the next few days you’ll enjoy guided tours of the Kathmandu Valley. Nearby Pashupatinath is a fascinating Hindu temple complex to visit. This temple is devoted to Shiva in his role as the Protector of Animals, and there is an on-site deer park and plenty of feisty monkeys! Pashupatinath is a perfect place to get deep insight into Nepal’s dominant Hindu culture, as this is where cremations take place along the holy Bagmati River.
You’ll also visit Bhaktapur, which was one of the three ancient kingdoms of the Valley (along with Kathmandu and Patan). Bhaktapur was among the hardest hit by the April 2015 earthquake, but the Newari people that inhabit Bhaktapur are resilient, hard-working, and rebuilding is well under way. Here you can experience a real treat: an authentic Newari dinner. Newari cuisine and its many courses are particularly delicious because this area’s soil is especially fertile. Top it off with Bhaktapur’s world famous yogurt and this is a meal for the history books!
You’ll have plenty of down time to explore all that Boudhanath has to offer, as well, as the stupa is ringed with local shops that offer beautiful jewelry, clothing, antiques, instruments & more. The street encircling the stupa is lined with delightful cafes and restaurants to relax, journal, and enjoy some of the best Oreo cheesecake this side of NYC (really!)
Perhaps one morning you’ll want to take a flight to see the mighty Mt. Everest. (Please see more about this option in the “Price and Inclusions” section on this page.)
April 1 This morning you’ll take a beautiful and quick 30-minute flight to the city of Pokhara. Pokhara, Nepal’s second biggest city, has a very relaxed feel and is set on gorgeous Lake Phewa, Nepal’s second largest lake. The Lakeside neighborhood is dotted with delicious restaurants and arty shops, but wait—look up! You’re nestled next to the Annapurna Range of the Himalayas! The Annapurna range includes some of the highest mountains on the planet (the Annapurna I peak is the 10th highest, and Annapurna II is the 16th), as well as some of the most beautiful (sacred Machhapuchhre is often referred to as the “Matterhorn of Nepal”).
April 2 – 4 Over the next few days we’ll enjoy down time around the Lake in addition to some activity. If you’re an early riser, you’ll see the soft pink light of sunrise hit the peaks and slowly illuminate the entire mountain range before your eyes. One morning we can awaken before the sun and drive to nearby Sarangkot hill for a true “reach out and touch the mountains” kind of view. This hilltop provides a breathtaking panorama of the entire Annapurna Range.
If you’re feeling adventurous, Pokhara has countless options for you. They have one of the world’s longest ziplines as well as paragliding options. An ultralight flight will give you a heavenly glimpse of Machhapuchhre (or “Fishtail Mountain”) and the other peaks of the Annapurna range. Or perhaps a more leisurely row boat ride in Lake Phewa is more your speed.
You’ll have an opportunity to get even closer to the mountains, as well. We’ll take one beautiful day hikes, suitable for all levels of fitness. We’ll take a trek to see the gorgeous vista of Dhaulagiri I—the 7th highest mountain in the world. Dhaulagiri translates into “beautiful, dazzling white mountain,” and we think you’ll agree. Dhampus is a perfect place to experience real village life in rural Nepal, and this is the wonderful time of year to hike through the rhododendron forests in this area; the national flower of Nepal awaits!
We’ll also have plenty of down time in Pokhara. Perhaps you’ll take some time to look for souvenirs or enjoy a massage (or two!) Lakeside has some wonderful restaurants—who knew that the Gateway to the Himalayas has amazing Italian food? We have our favorite restaurants that offer excellent local Thakali specialties and quality Western food, along with beer and wine if you’re in the mood.
April 5 This morning we’ll say our goodbyes to Pokhara and fly back to Kathmandu for one last night in Boudhanath. Perhaps some last minute shopping or stupa gazing is in order. We’ll enjoy one more dinner together in this magical mountainous country as we reminisce about all of the new and interesting things we’ve experienced together.
April 6 Today you’ll depart from Kathmandu and head home…or to your next destination! We can help you extend your trip, whether you want to stay in Nepal or hop over to Bhutan or India. Let’s talk!
Extend Your Stay
If you’d like to extend your journey before or after this retreat, we would be more than happy to help you plan your stay! We can advise you on hotels, flights, and itineraries, whether you want to arrive in India early or stay on afterwards (or both!) We can also set you up for a tour of beautiful Bhutan, Nepal, or anywhere else in South or Southeast Asia.
We offer our guests free travel consulting, normally a $300 value.
- Extend your stay to explore more of Nepal, including Chitwan National Park
- Visit beautiful Bhutan, the last Shangri-la: all-inclusive & fully guided (Click here for more info)
- A trip to India to visit the Taj Mahal & beyond
- Anywhere else in South or Southeast Asia that your heart desires!
Your Daily Practice
Each day, retreat participants will have an opportunity to unwind travel tension and explore physical freedom via guided yoga and body rolling sessions. Customized to meet the group’s needs as well as enhance the particulars of our itinerary, one day’s practice may focus on re-energizing tired legs, while another day may emphasize the balance between directing attention inwardly or outwardly.
Physical Requirements: In order to enjoy all this trip has to offer, participants should have the stamina to attend a 2-hour yoga and body rolling session that includes seated, standing & reclining poses, core strengthening, and using upper body strength to roll the lower limbs. All participants are encouraged to attend at least one 2-hour body rolling workshop with Nancy before your spot can be reserved so she can ascertain your level of fitness. If you are not located in the Tampa Bay area and cannot attend one of Nancy’s live workshops, she will reach out to you to discuss your practice before your registration for this trip is finalized. *If you are attending with a loved one and don’t plan on participating in yoga and body rolling, you are still most welcome to attend. If you need ideas for filling the time during yoga class, we can help!
Required Props: Each participant must bring a yoga mat, a yoga strap, and the 3 balls we’ll be using in our daily practice: a tennis ball for the feet; a pair of black “calf” balls, and the “pearl” ball. These last two can be ordered online from https://bodyrollingdianneglass.com/shop.
We like to recommend these folding travel mats from Khataland, as they are much easier to pack inside a suitcase (although many participants use other roll-up travel mats and attach them to their carry-ons). If you use this link, or the code “MATT” at checkout, you can save 5% on your chosen mat! Make sure to think of your knees when purchasing a travel mat, and how much cushioning your joints will require.
Price & Inclusions
This all-inclusive journey is $3199 per person (double occupancy). This fee does not include your international flight, although we are more than happy to help you find a flight that suits your needs.
If you prefer to have your own room, the single supplement is $600 and will be added to your last payment. (Click here to understand why this single supplement is necessary). Please note that we cannot guarantee you a roommate for this trip, and if you room alone, you will be responsible for the single supplement.
An $800 deposit holds your space. The second installment of $1500 is due by November 26, 2017 (120 days before start of trip) and the balance is due by January 25, 2018 (60 days before start of trip). Single supplement ($600) is due along with the last installment.
- Daily practice with Nancy Zampella
- Airport pick-up and drop-off in Kathmandu
- Ground transportation within Nepal
- Round trip flight between Kathmandu and Pokhara
- All accommodation
- All meals
- All site fees
- 1 guided hike in Pokhara
- Guided tours of Kathmandu valley
Price does not include:
- International airfare (although we can and will be more than happy to help you decide on arrangements)
- Nepal visa fee (you receive the Nepal visa upon arrival at the airport for a fee of $25 USD)
- Travel insurance (required)
- Alcoholic beverages
- Optional activities (see below). You’ll have the opportunity for some optional activities while in Nepal. Some will have to be booked further in advance than others, but here are some options for you to start considering. We can help you book these activities ahead of time.
Optional Activities from Kathmandu
Flight to see Mt. Everest: A few airlines operate these flights from the Kathmandu airport. It is typically a one hour flight–30 minutes out and 30 minutes back. Each seat is a window seat, and half the plane gets a view of the range on the way there, the other half on the way back. Some flights allow passengers into the cockpit one by one for a view from the front. These flights are best taken as early in the day as possible, although there are almost always delays due to fog. (This affects take-off only, not a view of the mountain). Everest is still just a tiny peak in the distance, but you get to lay your eyes on the tallest mountain on the planet. These flights run between $200 and $250 per person. Depending on flight delays, you might be gone from the hotel 4-7 hours and may miss the other activities we have planned.
Optional Activities from Pokhara
- ZipFlyer zipline (website here and TripAdvisor reviews here)
- Paragliding (there are many paragliding outfitters, this is just an example)
- Ultralight flight (sample offers here)
- Another Day Hike in the foothills around Pokhara.
- Boating in Lake Phewa
- There is a minimum of 6 guests that must sign up in order for this trip to take place. We will hold your deposit & payments until the minimum number of guests have signed up. Please do not purchase any airfare until you get the go-ahead from us that we’ve reached our minimum number of participants.
- If the minimum number of guests have not signed up 4 months prior to the departure date, we’ll give you the option to transfer your reservation to another tour or fully refund your money.
Please refer to the Price tab for specific information about price & what is included on your journey.
We accept payments via check (which we prefer!) and credit card (via PayPal). For our international guests, please contact us for the best money transfer options!
- Paying by Check: Checks can be made out to RetreaTours and sent to 8821 NW 14 Street, Pembroke Pines, FL 33024.
- Paying by Credit Card or PayPal balance: You can pay with credit card or PayPal balance through the following the green buttons below. Please click the appropriate amount to be taken to PayPal’s home page to complete your transaction. All PayPal transactions must be in USD. Note that you do not have to pay with your PayPal balance; please click here if you would like further instructions.
Final installment due on January 25, 2018. We’ll provide you the amount and invoice well before the due date.
Registration Questions & Contract
Please click this link or the green box below to complete the registration question for this trip. Your spot is not considered reserved until you have completed these questions and submitted your deposit.
Suggested Packing List & Average Temperatures
Based on historical averages and 2016’s temperatures, the typical temperature in Kathmandu will be 45 to 75° and in Pokhara 50 to 70°. Although rain is not likely, it is possible. It can feel quite hot in the sun and chilly in the shade, so layers are going to be your best friend on this trip.
Although more and more Nepalis are adopting Western wear, modesty is still the name of the game. Please do not wear clothes that are too tight, transparent or show too much skin. This means no tank tops or mid-riff baring tops or shorts/skirts above the knee. Instead, we recommend wearing loose fitting clothing such as long skirts, pants, capri-length pants, and blouses or tunics.
- 8+ pairs undergarments; you can always have them washed or wash them yourself in your bathroom. (Although if you want to bring a pair for every day and not have to worry about laundry, we think that’s a fabulous idea!)
- 3-5 pair pants or long skirts. You may want to bring leggings to wear under your long tunics, skirts or pants on chilly mornings or evenings (again—it’s all about the layers!) Fleece pants might be nice, and good to sleep in (remember, the nights are going to be in the 40’s to 50’s, and although our hotels do not have heating, they have plenty of blankets to keep you warm).
- 4-5 cotton t-shirts, blouses, or long sleeve shirts.
- A sweater or jacket for colder mornings and evenings. A windbreaker or shell might prove useful if your jacket doesn’t protect you from the wind or rain.
- A warm hat and scarf for potentially chilly mornings and evenings.
- 2-3 pairs of socks. Wool (like SmartWool) or tech socks work very well, but whatever socks you have will be just fine.
- Warm sleeping attire
- Comfortable walking shoes. Hiking boots aren’t necessary although you may wish to use them on your Pokhara hike, if you have room in your luggage. Otherwise, regular running or tennis shoes will be just fine, as well as walking sandals like Keens or Tevas.
- A hat with a brim is a very good idea for our daytime adventures.
- Photocopy of your passport and your visa, just in case you need them.
- VERY IMPORTANT! A print out of your RETURN airline ticket itinerary; you’ll need this to enter the airport to get home. You can also have a copy (we recommend a screenshot) on your phone.
- Ear plugs and eye shades to help you sleep better and recover from jet lag more quickly. BJ swears by this—click here to read an article he wrote on the topic.
- Good sunscreen. We prefer mineral-based ones: good for you, good for the environment. How do you know if it’s mineral based? If the active ingredient is either titanium dioxide or zinc oxide—that’s it. MyChelle and Devita make good ones.
- Daypack or camera bag. (If you need a recommendation on a camera, we would be happy to help, depending on what type of photography you like, how much you want to spend, and how much you want to carry around.)
- If you do bring your camera, don’t forget extra batteries or your charging cord. You may want to think about an extra memory card, too.
- Toiletries (including shampoo and conditioner, if required)
- A few packs of travel tissues is a good idea, to keep on you for public restrooms.
- Wet wipes or hand sanitizer.
- Any necessary feminine hygiene products.
- Plug adaptor for electronics: you’ll need a 2 pin adaptor common across Europe. Here’s a nice example of a great universal adapter and here’s one with USB ports, as well.
- A small travel umbrella is a must. It can work for rain OR as a parasol.
- Notebook and pen for journaling purposes
- Enough of any prescription drugs you need, as well as over-the-counter needs. We recommend Imodium (anti-diarrheal), a probiotic (we are big fans of Jarrodophilus EPS), as well as melatonin and Benadryl for jet lag purposes.
- We encourage you to bring your smartphone or tablet, and please don’t forget your chargers! We recommend setting up Skype, FaceTime, WhatsApp, or another wifi-based calling service before leaving home, and familiarizing your loved ones with it before you leave.
FAQs (visa, vaccine, food, hotel info & more!)
- Passport and Visa information
- Health & Vaccines, Altitude, Travel Insurance
- Money & How to Get Local Currency
What do I need to know about the visa?
First and foremost, your passport MUST be valid at least 6 months beyond the end date of the trip, and you’ll need two empty pages in the Visas section of your passport (make sure they are in the Visa section, not the Amendment or Endorsement section).
You will receive the Nepal visa upon arrival at the Kathmandu airport; 15 days for $25, 30 days for $40 (if you are extending your trip). We will provide you the information you will need for your Nepali visa before your trip.
I have special dietary needs—can I be accommodated?
Vegetarians will have no problem anywhere on our travels. Gluten is avoidable by choosing rice over chapatis and other local breads. Celiactravel.com has GREAT printable cards in local language to present to restaurants and hotels about your intolerance of gluten. Click here for the Nepali version.
If you have multiple dietary needs, it may be worth your while to check out these specialty cards, available in 60 different languages. When you register for a trip, you will answer a set of questions, including a question about food allergies. We’ll take a look at your answers and let you know if we have any suggestions or concerns.
Nepali food tends to be very simple and quite healthy, consisting of dal (a lentil stew), rice, vegetables, and greens (a class dish called dal bhat). However, Kathmandu and Pokhara have countless delicious international restaurants, everything from Italian to Japanese. We encourage you to try the national dish of dal bhat (as they say, “Dal bhat power = 24 hour“) but you will have many other restaurant options at your disposal while you are staying in Kathmandu and Pokhara.
Can I drink the water?
In a word, No. Although many cities around the world are getting more advanced public water systems, we don’t recommend it. Not only from a pathogen standpoint, but it’s a different set of bacteria than your body is used to. Why risk an upset stomach if you don’t have to? We recommend drinking only bottled water, and you will want to rinse your toothbrush off in bottled water.
What vaccines do I need?
None are required to enter Nepal, but we suggest you work with your physician or your area’s travel health expert to decide what options are best for you. You can read the CDC’s recommendations here.
What about the altitude?
Although Nepal is the land of the Himalayas, Kathmandu and Pokhara are not very high! Kathmandu rests at about 4,600 feet and Pokhara at 2,715 feet.
What about malaria? What about Zika?
Malaria is not a risk in Kathmandu and Pokhara during the dry season when we will be there, but again, we request that you work with your physician or travel doctor when making these choices. Please see our blog about this topic for more information.
*All of the information here is for reference purposes only and is not intended to substitute for advice from your licensed health care professional. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any health condition or disease. If you are experiencing medical issues, you should contact your medical health care provider.
Do I need travel insurance?
We require that our guests carry travel insurance because it just makes sense. It’s a relatively small expense but affords huge peace of mind! When choosing a travel insurance policy we require that you are covered for emergency medical expenses, medical evacuation, and repatriation. We also highly recommend you take out trip cancellation insurance, as this may cover cancellation penalties in certain circumstances if you have to cancel your trip unexpectedly due to illness, injury or other unforeseen circumstances.
We like World Nomads for our guests under 70, but ultimately you have to choose the company and policy that is right for you. We’ll be asking for confirmation of your travel insurance 60 days before your departure. Please click here to get a quote and to see suggestions for those guests over 70.
How much money should I bring?
That is entirely up to you and how much shopping and extra activities you want to do! All of your meals and transportation are covered, so you just have to gauge how much you want to spend on extras, such as the Everest flight or adventure sports in Pokhara (ziplining, ultralight flight, etc) and massage or alcohol.
How do I get the local currency?
The local currency is Nepali rupees. You cannot legally bring Nepali rupees into or out of the country, so don’t worry about acquiring any rupees before your trip. You can either exchange cash in Nepal or use a local ATM (which we prefer). Just make sure you call your bank and credit card company to let them know you’ll be traveling in Nepal, so they don’t put a hold on your card when they see it being used halfway across the world.
What kind of hotels will we be staying in?
Our guesthouses in Kathmandu and Pokhara are comfortable and simple. Both have wifi, hot water, and cozy blankets (although Nepali beds tend to be a bit firmer than you may be used to!) We will give you contact information for both hotels before the trip. Please remember that the wifi may not be a strong or consistent as you are used to at home.
How can my family get ahold of me in an emergency?
Even if you have an international plan, you may not get excellent coverage in Nepal. Before the trip begins we will give you the contact information for our hotels to pass along to your loved ones; in addition, we will give you our Nepali phone numbers and also the contact information for our Nepal-based travel agent. If you choose to bring your cellphone or tablet, you can use VoIP services such as Skype, WhatsApp, and FaceTime to connect with your loved ones at home, as well.
How fit must I be for this trip?
Generally speaking, this trip is not suitable for guests who require wheelchairs, walkers, or other mobility aids. A good rule of thumb will be the ability to walk 1-2 miles unassisted.
Please be advised that there will be 4 flights of stairs we will have to climb to reach our lovely wood-floored yoga space with a view of Boudhanath stupa.
Our day hike in Pokhara can be tailored to those who may not be up for the full adventure, and some guests can be driven part of the way. Guests can also opt out of day hike altogether, choosing to spend time on the Lakeside in Pokhara.
Travel Insurance (required)
We require that our guests carry travel insurance because it just makes sense. It’s a relatively small expense but affords huge peace of mind for very little cost. When choosing a travel insurance policy we require that you are covered for emergency medical evacuation/repatriation. We also recommend you take out trip cancellation insurance, as this may cover cancellation penalties in certain circumstances if you have to cancel your trip unexpectedly due to illness, injury or unforeseen circumstances. We like World Nomads, but ultimately you have to choose the one that is right for you.
If you’re 70 years old or older, you’ll have to use a different company (please see RetreaTours.com/travel-insurance for ideas.). We’ll be asking for confirmation of your travel insurance before your departure.
Please email [email protected] for any question you may have about this journey (or just to say Hi!)
A yoga educator since 2001, Nancy Zampella, MS, E-RYT, has been helping her students reap yoga’s therapeutic and joyous benefits. She regularly teaches group classes and workshops on topics such as: Holistic Stress Management, Happy Hips, Learn to Love Yoga Props, Growing Younger with Body Rolling, Breathing Freely, etc.
With a master’s degree in holistic nutrition, Nancy teaches an exceptionally therapeutic & joyful blend of yoga styles and techniques that encourage students to break through boundaries and achieve new levels of personal freedom. With this in mind, she named her Sarasota, FL studio Yoga Libre!
Nancy incorporates the lessons learned from training across a wide variety of modalities and yoga styles, led by knowledgeable teachers and healers. She has personally experienced yoga’s power to heal in reversing her own painful carpal tunnel syndrome, torn hamstring attachments, and chondromalacia patella. Today, she delights in helping her students empower themselves to reverse the effects of chronic postural imbalances through correct alignment and a balanced yoga practice.
Nancy was one of the first teachers to recognize the prevalent need for myofascial release which she brings to her yoga students via ball rolling massage and Yin Yoga. This deep-tissue massage “juices” the joints to keep them healthy and ensures continued freedom through the available range of motion.
About BJ and Lauren of RetreaTours
We can’t wait to share one of our favorite places in the world with you! Not only is Nepal one of our favorite places to bring guests, it’s a place we spend a significant portion of our own personal down time. We’re so pleased to partner with Nancy to show you the cultural and natural riches that Nepal has to offer!
BJ & Lauren created RetreaTours in 2010 with one goal in mind: to make world travel accessible, authentic, and astounding. In order to focus fully on this passion, they moved out of the U.S. in January 2013 to reside full-time overseas. Each day is spent exploring new destinations, strengthening local ties & relationships, and creating memorable and transformative retreats and tours (aka, RetreaTours™!)
BJ & Lauren take great pride in the itineraries they plan, as they can personally vouch for every hotel, every restaurant, and every activity that you will experience. They craft each element of the trip with intention, and they understand that it is this careful attention to detail that sets them apart. Fueled by their passion, armed with know-how, and supported by knowledgeable local professionals in all of their destinations, BJ & Lauren set the scene for the vacation of a lifetime.
The dynamic duo are available to answer any and all questions before the trip begins. From giving advice on the best flights and travel insurance to providing a packing list, FAQ, and even a tiny “phrasebook,” BJ & Lauren pride themselves on these ‘nuts & bolts’ of personalized service.
In addition, as a guest, you receive free travel consulting services (normally a $300 value) should you choose to extend your travels. As one of their most ‘frequent fliers’ put it recently, BJ & Lauren make everything easy for you. Once you arrive in your destination city, your trip is all-inclusive—your meals, transportation, lodging, site fees, donations, and tips are all taken care of. The research has been done, the itinerary carefully laid out, the reservations made, the t’s crossed and the i’s dotted. All you have to do is show up and take in all your destination has to show you! So….let’s get going!