EcoTrips for Everyone-Join us for a week-long trek in Nepal to visit red pandas in the wild!

Why Go On An EcoTrip with Red Panda Network?

A wildlife and cultural bonanza
Explore the treasures of the Kathmandu valley, taste one of Nepal’s only organic teas, and search for the elusive red panda, all with the Himalayas and four of the world’s seven tallest mountains in view.

Each trip is customized to meet the needs of our travelers, weather conditions, and available field staff.  Below the proposed itinerary for our next EcoTrip. You can also download a recent EcoTrip itinerary as a sample here. We also offer exciting itineraries in Taplejung district nearer to Mount Kanchenjunga with red panda viewing, spectacular scenery, and light hikes to villages and famous mountaintop pilgrimage shrines.

Typically we offer trips in spring and fall, and more when there is enough interest. Contact us with your date ideas.
We also offer a non-strenuous ‘light’ trip option and alternative itineraries crossing from Nepal into India and back.

Kathmandu Valley

You’ll have the opportunity to explore the treasures of the Kathmandu valley, the cultural heart of Asia.  Before or after our tour, you can explore Patan and Swayambunath temples and more.

Red Panda and Much More

We’ll hike through some of the Eastern Himalayas most pristine red panda habitat in search of one of Asia’s most elusive mammals; red panda. Most of our recent visitors were successful in seeing red panda with us. We’ll also look out for bears, rare clouded leopards, wolves, monkeys/macaques, and other threatened mammals and bird species.

At the same time you experience with us the gentle hospitality of these villages far away from mass tourism, family homestays and tea houses. You see first hand our community conservation work, and how your stay benefits directly our most important conservation partners: the rural communities who need alternatives to forest exploitation.


Sample Itinerary

Day One

Buddha Nath in Kathmandu

Day One-Buddha Nath in Kathmandu

Arrive at Kathmandu airport (1332 m) and be greeted then transferred to accommodation. Guided site seeing, meeting and dinner with RPN team and trip debriefing.

Day Two

45 minute flight to Bhadrapur (96 m), with spectacular views of the Himalayas. Then we travel by road to Ilam (1205 m) and begin our journey north into the mountains, passing tea gardens and Nepali communities. Overnight hotel stay in Ilam, overlooking tea gardens.

Day Three

Guesthouse in Ilam district town

Guesthouse in Ilam district town

Leave Ilam after breakfast, bird watching and then drive higher into red panda habitat. We arrive at Dobate (perched on a mountain ridge-2655 m) in the late afternoon, the village closest to red panda habitat and our base for the next four nights. Light hike in the evening for bird and mammal watching. Overnight homestay at Dobate.

Day Four and Five

We wake up early the next two days to begin red panda tracking in the alpine temperate forests with RPN Forest Guardians. Many viewing opportunities for spotting other mammal and bird species throughout the day. We stop in local homes for lunch and hot refreshments and immerse ourselves in the community with fun tasks in the evenings. 2 nights home stays in Dobate.

Day Six

Red panda photographed  during ecotrip. Photo Credit- Christopher Robert Scharf

Red panda photographed during ecotrip. Photo Credit- Christopher Robert Scharf

Leave Dobate after breakfast and tracking red pandas along the way. Lunch at Kalpokhari (3026 m) on the Nepal and India border with beautiful views of the Mai River Valley. Hike upto the highest peak of the Singhalila range (3636 m), with breathtaking sunsets over Mt Kanchenjunga and Mt Everest. Overnight stay in a hotel in Sandakpur.

Day Seven

Early morning wake up to make our way to vantage points for a sunrise panoramic view of the impressive Himalayas. After breakfast we hike back down to Kalpokhari for lunch and then to the picturesque Hangetham (2191 m) in the mid afternoon. Home stay in Hangetham.

Day Eight

Day 7- Sunrise view from Sandakpur

Day 7- Sunrise view from Sandakpu

Breakfast and bird watching in the early morning before volunteering at the community medicinal and aromatic plants farm. Then leaving for our scenic drive back to Ilam in the afternoon with an overnight stay in an hotel overlooking tea gardens.

Day Nine

Our last day. We leave Ilam after breakfast by road for the return journey back to Kathmandu with our group farewell dinner in the evening.

Trip Details

    • Typically we offer trips in spring and fall, and more when there is enough interest.
    • Group size: Maximum of 9
    • Distance: Varies by activity
    • Partial lodging: Hotels, rustic tea houses
    • Meals: Included (vegetarian and non-vegetarian available)
    • Cost: $2,999 tax deductible donation (includes meals, beverages, lodging, all car/jeep transportation, and guides/porters)
    • Discounts: 10% off if you are an RPCV, 15% for the second person if you sign up two or more people

  • Airfare: International airfare to Nepal and domestic airfare not included, we reserve the internal flights for you (cost is around $360).
  • Please review the liability waiver to be signed by all visitors.
  • Recommended gear for our trips can be found here.

Words From A Recent Eco-Tripper

“The eco-trip experience with the Red Panda Network was a rewarding, unforgettable experience.

The aim was to not only be able to get a rare sighting of the endangered Red Panda, but to also experience first-hand the surrounding landscapes and intact communities that comprise the region. Our group began our trekking tour in the tea-estate town of Ilam in Eastern Nepal and trekked along the Singhalila Ridgeline, camping amidst the rhododendron forests and in Nepali-owned teahouses. Along the way, we visited with forest guardians and communities who were involved with helping the organization work towards preserving the surrounding forests and species. In this spectacular region, we were able to view Mt. Kanchenjunga, Mt. Everest, and the Buddhist and Hindu temples that have stood for centuries. The eco-trip allowed us to view unique places and see rare wildlife. As the CEO and his Nepal team run the tour in a responsible, conscious way, we felt we were benefiting, rather than taking away from, the social and conservation efforts Nepal is working so hard to achieve.”

Mei-Ling is a writer, travel guidebook author, advocacy journalist and international development worker. She contributed to the Bradt Madagascar Travel Guide and is currently writing the Bradt Senegal Travel Guide. Learn more about Mei-Ling and her work

Words In the Travel Media

UK’s Wild Travel Magazine published this in-depth Field Guide To Red Pandas by RPN CEO Dirk Kloss. Click » to download [PDF], or read it on our blog »


Wild Travel Magazine already recommended us earlier as one of “Five Trips to Take Right Now“:

Wild Travel Magazine, UK_2013-01, Red Panda Network-Trip Article (page 9)