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Expedition At A Glance

9 days, 8 nights

Difficulty Level: 1

Price (US$): From $2,350.00

Months Available: October through May

OVERVIEW


Essence of Nepal and Bhutan

Scarcely an hour apart from each other via one of the most beautiful flights in the world, Nepal and Bhutan seem to share so much from above… the Himalayas, a rich culture, borders with China and India and warm, wonderful people. Travelers to these two countries delight in the stark differences and how richly they complement each other. The ancient town of Kathmandu has many UNESCO protected sights and historical offerings and has plenty to offer a short term visitor. Arriving in Bhutan, visitors find a much slower pace and peaceful environment. Gross National Happiness is practiced in this largely Buddhist country and applied to all governmental decisions. Though small and technically a part of the third world, many would argue that Bhutan is among the most progressive countries in the world. Join these two countries together in one fantastic itinerary for an unforgettable adventure!

Highlights

  • Explore the ancient UNESCO sites of Kathmandu and Bhutan
  • Hike to the cliff hanging Tiger’s Nest in Paro
  • Watch a Hindu cremation along the ghats of Bagmati in Kathmandu
  • Compare the different Himalayan Buddhist style of Nepal and Bhutan

DETAILED ITINERARY


Day 01 - Kathmandu Arrival in Kathmandu. Transfer to hotel. Cultural Nepali dinner in the evening. Overnight Hotel Shambala or similar (4 star). (No meals) Day 02 - Kathmandu Full day sightseeing of Kathmandu. Visit Pashupatinath, the holiest Hindu temple in Nepal. Witness a Hindu cremation along the Ghats of the Bagmati river. Circumambulate the Bodnath Stupa along with hundreds of Nepali and Tibetan Buddhists. Marvel at the exquisite architecture of the temples and palaces at Patan Durbar Square and Bhaktapur Durbar Square. Climb the 365 steps of the Monkey Temple (Swayambhunath Stupa) to erase the sins of a life-time. (Breakfast and Lunch) Day 03 - Kathmandu Full day sightseeing of Kathmandu. Visit Pashupatinath, the holiest Hindu temple in Nepal. Witness a Hindu cremation along the Ghats of the Bagmati river. (Breakfast and Lunch) Day 04 - Kathmandu to Paro. Drive to Thimpu. Fly Kathmandu to Paro. As you fly into Bhutan, you will admire the enormity of the Eastern Himalayas including Mt. Everest and Mt. Kanchendzonga (the tallest and the third tallest mountains in the world respectively). You will be met upon arrival in Paro. Drive to Thimphu (one-hour drive). Thimphu, the Bhutanese capital (7,609 feet), is situated in a valley surrounded by terraced rice fields. The main street in Thimphu, Norzim Lam, is lined with shops. Overnight Namgay Heritage. (All meals) Day 05 -  Thimpu. Visit Memorial Chorten, built in memory of the third King, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. Drive to Drubthop Lhakhang, the nunnery temple. Learn more about the culture through visits to the Bhutanese Indigenous Hospital and Traditional Painting School. Visit Tashicho Dzong, the administrative headquarters of Bhutan. Overnight Namgay Heritage. (All meals) Day 06 - Thimpu to Punakha Drive to Punakha after breakfast at the hotel. The road climbs steeply through a scenic forest of pine and cedar trees, to Dochula pass (10,000 feet). The pass offers panoramic views of the Himalayan mountain ranges, on the descent to the fertile valley of Punakha (4,430 feet).

Before proceeding further to the town of Punakha, hike about 30 minutes to the Chimi Lhakhang (temple) on a small hilltop. The temple was dedicated to the great Yogi in the 14th century, known as Drukpa Kuenley, as well as the “Divine madman.” He dramatized Buddhist teachings using songs and outrageous sexual humor. Bold phallus symbols and paintings on the houses and temples are a result of his influence. It is believed that this temple blesses women who seek fertility.

After lunch, continue to Punakha Dzong (fortress) situated between the two rivers, Pho Chu and Mochu (male and female river). The fortress is now used as the winter seat of Je Khenpo (the spiritual head of Bhutan). The Dzong served as the capital seat of the Kingdom for more than 300 years. The intricate Buddhist paintings inside the monastery are spectacular. Overnight Meri Puensum. (All meals)

Day 07 - Punakha to Paro Return drive to. Overnight local lodge. (All meals)

Day 08 - Paro (Tiger's Nest hike) Begin the day with breakfast before a short drive to Taktshang Monastery. The trail to the monastery climbs through pine trees festooned with Spanish moss and occasional fluttering prayer flags. Hike at your own pace for about two to four hours.

Built in 1600s, the monastery clings to the edge of a sheer-rock cliff that plunges 2,952 feet into the valley below. It is believed that, in the 8th century, Guru Rimpoche, the tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan, landed here on the back of a flying tigress to subdue a demon. Guru Rimpoche is believed to have meditated here for three months. Packed lunch will be served.

Drive further up the valley to Drukgyel Dzong, the fortress of the victorious Drukpas. From Drukgyel Dzong, the Tibet border is only a two-day hike away. Overnight at Hotel. (All meals)

Day 09 - Departure Final departure. You can fly either to Kathmandu, Bangkok or Delhi for you flight back home. (B)

PHOTO AND VIDEO GALLERY


COST AND INCLUSIONS


Per person price (valid till December 31, 2015) 1 person: $  2,800 USD per person (includes single supplement) 2 persons: $ 2,650 USD 3 or more persons: $ 2,350 USD per person Single Supplement: $ 500 USD EXTRA: Kathmandu (Nepal) to Paro (Bhutan) round trip airfare - approximately US$650 per person Kathmandu (Nepal) to Paro (Bhutan) to Bangkok airfare - approximately US$750 to US$850 per person Price includes:
  • Expert pre-trip advice and detailed information
  • Meeting and assistance at airport and transfers to hotels
  • All in-country transportation and sightseeing (entrance fees included)
  • Hotel accommodations on twin sharing basis
  • Meals as indicated on itinerary
  • Tours and excursions outlined on itinerary
  • Bhutan Visa and Tourism Development Fee
Price does not include:
  • Your international airfare
  • Nepal visa
  • Meals not indicated in the itinerary
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Travel insurance (recommended)
  • Other expenses of a personal nature (soft drinks, alcoholic beverages, mineral water, laundry, phone calls, internet, battery charging, comfort food etc.)
  • Meals not indicated in the itinerary
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Travel insurance (Required)
  • Other expenses of a personal nature (soft drinks, alcoholic beverages, mineral water, laundry, phone calls, internet, battery charging, comfort food etc.)

DATES AND AVAILABILITY


Daily departures available for one or more participants.

BOOK THIS TRIP


Step 1: Contact Us We like to talk to our customers! Call us at 1-888-586-7750 for a free phone consultation and receive $25 off the cost of your journey when you book. Or if you prefer, send us an email to confirm availability for your preferred travel dates, and get started planning your dream trip today!

Step 2: Send Deposit and Registration Information Make a copy of the photo page of your passport. If your trip involves a trek in Nepal, email or send us a passport-sized color photo. Mail a check for $500 per person for Nepal Treks or $1,000 for other journeys (non-refundable deposit), passport copy, photo and completed reservation form.

Our mailing address is: Grand Asian Journeys PO Box 608 Indianola, WA 98342 USA

Once we receive your payment and documents we will send you additional details of your trip including travel details, VISA information, packing list, specific trip information and insurance options.

If you are traveling to Bhutan, we are required to purchase your airfare. When you are booking your trip with us we will let you know the current cost of the Druk Air flights into Bhutan from your chosen port. We will need to collect payment for those flights in addition to the trip deposit at the time of booking.

Cancelation Policy

If you cancel:
  • More than 60 days prior to departure; deposit is forfeited, the remainder is refunded
  • 60 to 30 days prior to departure, 50% of tour cost subject to refund
  • No refunds will be provided for any unused services or cancellations made within 30 days prior to departure

“I wanted to go to Nepal to help rebuild, and it was a challenge for me on many levels. The incredible part is that our guide Sune, and all the porters not to mention the family were there to help us accomplish our goal of doing what we could to help them. To receive the patience, physical assistance, guidance (and the incredible food!) touched me deeply. And as it turned out we did help! A lot of rocks got moved. Wire was woven. Progress was made in deconstructing a house. Plus we had fun! I am still integrating all that I experienced. There is something very intense about being in the vicinity of the Himalayas, the stunning beauty, the vastness, the challenges that reduce the ego and enlarge the heart. I’m glad I answered the call to participate in this adventure.”

-Linda McElroy, Napal, CA, Rebuilding Nepal: Singla, October 2015

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