Go Beyond...Adventure in Nepal With Leann Coleman of Soul Candy and Chelise Baird of Whole Soul
March 13–25, 2017
Trip at a Glance
- March 13–25, 2017
- Daily practice with Leann Coleman & Chelise Baird
- Explore Kathmandu, once an ancient kingdom and now the capital of Nepal
- Discover the magic of picturesque Pokhara, surrounded by majestic Annapurna Range of the Himalayas
- Spend 4 days and 3 nights enjoying light hiking in the Himalayan foothills
- Limited to 14 guests
- $2799 per person ($299 single supplement)
Founded in Salt Lake City, Utah in 2016, Granogi creates adventures in hiking, camping, yoga, meditation and healthy living around the world, with the purpose of challenging you to go beyond yourself. Learn more at Granogi.com.
Itinerary at a Glance
Itinerary at a Glance
The following itinerary serves as an outline for your intended activities beyond yoga with Leann and Chelise. All activities are optional, as this is *your* retreat and we want you to use your time as you desire. For the sake of clarity, when someone is listed as “optional” in this section, that implies that it is not included in the price of the retreat but is something we can help you pursue independently.
March 13: You’ll arrive at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, Nepal and 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 feel 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 blowing 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 pilgrimage site for Tibetan Buddhists and there are 50 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 and peace and love envelop you.
March 14-15: During the next two days you’ll enjoy guided tours of the Kathmandu valley. Although much of the valley was affected by the earthquake in April 2015, there is still much of ancient Kathmandu to see and appreciate. You can visit a special stupa, Swayambhunath, that is sacred to both Buddhists and Hindus alike. It’s nickname is the “Monkey Temple” for reasons I think you’ll understand right away! Pashupatinath is also a fascinating Hindu temple complex to visit. This temple is devoted to Shiva in his role as the Protector of Animals, so there is an on-site deer park and–you guessed it–monkeys! Pashupatinath is a perfect place to get insight into Kathmandu’s Hindu culture, as this is where the cremations take place, along the 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 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 is elaborate and particularly delicious because this area’s soil is particularly fertile. Top it off with Bhaktapur’s world famous yogurt and this is a meal for the history books! There is plenty around Boudhanath to explore, as well, as the stupa is ringed with local shops that offer beautiful jewelry, clothing, antiques, instruments & more. 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!)
March 16: After yoga and breakfast, you’ll take a private vehicle to the city of Pokhara. You’ll get a meaningful insight into Nepal’s culture and landscape during the 5 to 6 hour drive. Pokhara, Nepal’s second biggest city, has a very relaxed feel. Pokhara is set on gorgeous Lake Phewa, Nepal’s second largest lake. Lakeside is dotted with delicious restaurants and arty shops, but wait—look up! You’re surrounded by the Annapurna Range of the Himalayas! March 17: One of the easiest ways to take in all this gorgeous mountain scenery is actually from the roof of your hotel at sunrise. The early pink light of sunrise will hit the peaks and slowly illuminate the entire mountains range before your eyes! If you’re willing to roll out of bed a little bit earlier, you can be driven to Sarangkot for a true “reach out and touch the mountains” kind of view. This hilltop provides a breathtaking panorama of the 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 today. Our connection in Pokhara can help you arrange the activity that best suits you.
March 18: Now is your opportunity to get closer to those beautiful mountains! For the next 4 days and 3 nights, you’ll spend time connecting with nature and Spirit. This morning you’ll drive 45 minutes from Pokhara to Hyanja to start your trek. Today you’ll walk 4-5 hours to stay overnight at a lodge in Dhampus (at 5,400 feet). From here, your view of Dhaulagiri—the 7th highest mountain in the world—is stunning. Dhaulagiri translates into “beautiful, dazzling white mountain,” and we think you’ll agree. March 19: The next morning you will enjoy a true Himalayan sunrise and the day is yours for yoga, day hikes, and restoration! Dhampus is a perfect place to experience real village life in rural Nepal. This is the perfect time of year to hike through the rhododendron forests in this area; the national flower of Nepal awaits!
March 20: The next day you’ll walk 2-3 hours to another lodge in “Australian Camp.” From here you’ll have an incredible view of Annapurna South, Hiunchuli, Machhapuchhre and Lamjung Himal. Enjoy another afternoon in nature and another night full of brilliant Himalayan stars, as you’ll begin your descent tomorrow after breakfast.
March 21: This morning you’ll enjoy a gorgeous sunrise in the mountains, then take a 2-3 walk through the hills and forest to Kande (5,570 feet altitude). From Kande, you’ll take a scenic one-hour drive back to Pokhara. You can take the rest of the day to relax in Pokhara–perhaps take some time to look for souvenirs or enjoy a massage. Lakeside has some wonderful restaurants, some which might surprise you! Who knew that the Gateway to the Himalayas has amazing Italian food? There is also a wonderful Japanese restaurant very close to your Lakeside hotel, complete with its own vegetable garden. This restaurant/guesthouse also offers a fantastic sauna with advance notice–might be a perfect cap for your hike!
March 22: You have one more full day in Pokhara to spend any way you choose! You can choose to revisit some of the adventure options or spend the day exploring Lakeside. Perhaps today you’ll choose to take a hike (or a taxi, if you’re hiked out!) to the Peace Pagoda on the hill overlooking Lake Phewa. This is a great place to get a view of the city, lake, and the mountains that guard this precious landscape.
March 23: This morning we’ll start the journey back to Kathmandu and our Boudhanath guesthouse. The afternoon will be free for yoga and exploration.
March 24: We have one final day in Kathmandu to explore! Perhaps this morning you want to take a flight to see the mighty Mt. Everest. (Please see more about this option in the FAQs on this page). The days is yours for yoga, reflection, last-minute shopping and exploring.
March 25: Depart from Kathmandu and head home (or to your next destination–perhaps to see the wildlife in Nepal’s national parks or over to India to see the Taj Mahal!)
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
- A trip to India to visit the Taj Mahal & beyond
- Anywhere else in South or Southeast Asia that your heart desires!
Please click the title of the desired tab to open it.
- Your Daily Practice
- Price & Inclusions
- Payment Details
- Registration Questions & Contract
- Suggested Packing List
- Travel Insurance
- Optional Activities in Nepal
- Contact RetreaTours
This 13 day/12 night all-inclusive journey is $2799 per person (double occupancy).
If you prefer to have your own room, the single supplement is $299 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.
Please note: The entirety of the trip payment is due at registration. If we do not reach our trip minimum (8 guests) by December 13, 2016, you will be refunded in full.
- Airport pick-up and drop-off in Kathmandu
- Transportation within Nepal
- Daily practice with Leann Coleman & Chelise Baird
- All accommodation
- All meals
- All site fees
- Guided hike in Pokhara
- Guided tour 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)
- Travel insurance (required)
- Alcoholic beverages
- Optional activities, including but not limited to Mt Everest flight and Pokhara adventure activities
- There is a minimum of 8 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 3 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, we can accept wires, which we find is the most economical solution for everyone; please contact us for wire details.
- Paying by Check: Checks can be made out to Insight Travels, LLC 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 red buttons below. Please click the appropriate amount to be taken to PayPal’s homepage to complete your transaction.All PayPal transactions must be in USD. Note that you do not have to pay with your PayPal balance.
Please contact [email protected] to make your complete payment for this journey.
Your spot is not considered reserved until you have completed these questions and contract on the website.
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!
Packing tips: Coming soon!
Although more and more Nepalis are adopting Western wear, traditional clothing is very prevalent and modesty is the name of the game. Please do not wear clothes that are tight, transparent or show too much skin. This means no tank tops or mid-riff baring tops. We also discourage wearing form-fitting “skinny” jeans and shorts/skirts above the knee. Instead, we recommend wear loose fitting clothing such as long skirts, pants, capri-length pants, and blouses or Indian kurtas.
- 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 or long johns (2 or 3 pair) to wear under your long kurtas, 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)
- 4-5 cotton t-shirts, blouses, or long sleeve shirts.
- A thicker 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 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 trek, if you have room in your luggage.
- A hat with a brim is a very good idea for our daytime adventures.
- 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)
- People tend to think they need to bring toilet paper to India—not true! However, bringing 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.
- An external battery charger, such as this one, may be useful for USB-powered objects. Given the remote location of this retreat, electricity can be finicky, so it is best to have a secondary way to charge your phone or camera.
- 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.
- Photocopy of your passport and your visa, just in case you need them.
- 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.
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 (we can advise you if you like). We’ll be asking for confirmation of your travel insurance before your departure.
- Passport and Visa information
- Health & Vaccines, Altitude, Travel Insurance
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 (that is, September 21, 2017), 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 also avoidable in India 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. The food during your 3 night trek will be traditional Nepali, consisting of legume, vegetables, and grains.
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 and the Scottish NHS 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. During your trek outside Pokhara you’ll briefly get up to 5,570 feet. We don’t expect anyone to have any trouble with altitude on this trip. However, if you’re still interested in how to get you body in best shape for altitude, you can click here to read Lauren’s suggestions to natural therapies to begin before your trip. Lauren is a Board-certified Acupuncture Physician and Doctor of Oriental Medicine with a speciality in the world of dietary supplements.
*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.
What about malaria?
Malaria is not a risk in Kathmandu and Pokhara, 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.
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 unforeseen circumstances.
We like World Nomads, but ultimately you have to choose the company and policy that is right for you. If you’re 70 years old or older, you’ll have to use a different company. We’ll be asking for confirmation of your travel insurance 60 days before your departure. Please click here to get a quote. We love the services of these companies so much that we became affiliates, so we would ask that if you do choose to purchase these policies, you do it through our links.
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 is 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).
How do I get the local currency?
The local currency are 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!) Even your lodging during your Pokhara trek will have hot water (and your Dhampus lodging even has wifi, although the connection may not be strong enough to stream your favorite TV shows 😉 )
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 the contact information for our Nepal-based travel agent, who will always know how to get ahold of you. 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.
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 the view on the range on the way there, 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 peak in the distance, but you still get lay eyes on it. These flights run between $200 and $250 per person. Depending on flight delays, you might be gone from the hotel 4-7 hours.
- ZipFlyer zipline (website here and TripAdvisor reviews here)
- Paragliding (there are many paragliding outfitters, this is just an example)
- Ultralight flight (sample offers here)
About Chelise & Leann
About Chelise & Leann
Leann Coleman grew up on an Island in the Puget Sound of Washington state. She graduated with an undergraduate degree in English Literature from Harvard University, where she also ran for the track and cross country teams. Leann loves reading, writing, good food, friends, art, meditation, yoga, emotional healing, and healthy living. She was a triathlete, runner and extreme obstacle course racer for years, but found that she always came back to yoga, not only for fitness, but as a way to grow mentally and spiritually.
She trained as a yoga instructor at BeHot Yoga in St. George in early 2015 and currently teaches adult and kid’s yoga classes. In addition to her love of yoga, Leann is the owner of Soul Candy, a web-based mentoring and life coaching business (soulcandyhealing.com) that helps overwhelmed mothers find time to love themselves. She has four beautiful children and lives in southern Utah among the red rocks and sunshine.
Chelise experienced her first Yoga class over 15 years ago, but walked away frustrated and disenchanted. Later that year, she went back to heal a running injury and became hooked to the physical practice, but through the years has uncovered the power of the spiritual, mental and emotional aspects of a daily yoga practice. She certified to teach dynamic Hatha Yoga, Power Yoga, and principles of Ashtanga Yoga after traveling to Asia.
Her passion and love for Yoga has grown as she has sought more intuitive body-awareness, self-compassion, and connection to the divine. Her practice on and off the mat has deepened immensely as a wife and mother to 4 children and serving in her community. She feels tremendous gratitude, connection and divinity when she’s adventuring around this beautiful earth, being outdoors, and delights to see the joy, connection and healing that Yoga, God, and Nature bring to others.
BJ Graf and Lauren Rathvon 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!
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