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Ancient Lands of the Himalayas - A Journey to Nepal + Bhutan

Ancient Lands of the Himalayas - A Journey to Nepal + Bhutan


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Overview

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Itinerary

Countries Visited

Bhutan , Nepal

Cities Visited

Kathmandu, Paro, Punakha, Thimphu

Tour Itinerary

Day 1 - Day 1 - General Tours VIP Welcome Service to Kathmandu, Nepal

You’ll be greeted on arrival with General Tours VIP Welcome Services, which include assistance through immigration procedures and baggage claim. Then we’ll take you to the enchanting Dwarika’s Hotel. Built by the finest Nepalese craftsmen, General Tours unique heritage hotel features fine organic linens and traditional handmade furnishings. The rest of this day is yours to relax and enjoy as you wish.

Day 2 - Day 2 - History + Traditions of Nepal

This morning, we’ll take you off-the-beaten-path to explore two villages where the rhythms of life seem untouched by the 21st century. In Bungamati, founded in the 6th century, you’ll discover ancient landmarks including an important temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed Hindu deity. A bit farther south of Kathmandu city, you’ll visit Khokana where generations-old farming traditions still endure, including their unique technique for harvesting mustard oil.

In Patan , an ancient royal city that traces its origins to the 3rd century BC, you’ll discover a fine collection of impressive palace buildings, courtyards and graceful pagodas. Back in Kathmandu, you’ll stroll with your guide through the lively Asan district - a wonderful place to encounter the daily rhythms of Kathmandu and its residents. Then explore Durbar Square and Hanuman Dhoka, the ancient royal quarter of the city, where you’ll find a complex of centuries-old palaces, temples and courtyards. End your sightseeing with a rickshaw ride to Thamel, a lively district filled with inviting shops and colorful merchant stalls. This evening, one of the few adventurers who have ascended Mt. Everest will share experiences and stories with A+R guests.   Meals B

Day 3 - Day 3 - Into the Timeless Kathmandu Valley

After breakfast, you’ll journey into the Kathmandu Valley to explore ancient Bhaktapur , one of three ancient kingdoms of medieval Nepal. In the town’s main square, you’ll see architectural treasures like the Lion Gate and the Palace of 55 Windows. With its 5-tiered roof and carved statues of Goddesses, animals and mythical beasts, Nyatapola Temple is the tallest in all of Nepal. Bhaktapur is also famed for its pottery artisans and we’ve arranged for a hands-on lesson with a master potter.

Return to Kathmandu where we’ve made special arrangements for General Tours guests to meet a High Lama for a private audience and blessing. Then visit Boudhanath . Built some time around the 14th century and still one of the largest stupas in the world, it is venerated by both Tibetan and Nepalese Buddhists. Next up, see Pashupatinath Temple , dedicated to Lord Shiva, and then descend to the Bagmati River for Aarti, an ancient Hindu ceremony of light and devotion. Tonight, you’ll enjoy the organic farm-to-table cuisine of Krishnarpan. Meals B+D

Day 4 - Day 4 - Fly to Bhutan

After breakfast, you’ll be escorted to the airport for your included international flight to Bhutan. Soar high above the towering Himalayan peaks to Paro and continue overland through picturesque valley landscapes to the deluxe Taj Tashi Hotel in Thimphu. Begin your touring of the Bhutanese capital at the King’s Memorial Chorten, a revered landmark with golden spires and tinkling bells; built in 1974, it is continuously circumambulated by devout Buddhist pilgrims chanting mantras and spinning their prayer wheels. You’ll also visit the 17th-century Tashichho Dzong Fortress; with its impressive 3-story towers and triple-tiered red and gold roofs, this imposing landmark has been the seat of government since 1952.  Meals B+L+D

Day 5 - Day 5 - Art, Culture + Life in Bhutan

Your immersion in the fascinating culture of Bhutan begins this morning at the National Institute of Zorig Chusum, you’ll see young students who are learning and preserving Bhutan’s 13 traditional arts including painting, calligraphy, embroidery, and woodcarving. Continue your foray into Bhutan’s enduring traditions at Dechen Phodrang, a monastic school that hums with the Buddhist recitations of its young students. After lunch, we’ll take you to a lively local market; mingling with residents out to do their weekly or daily shopping offers a genuine experience of Bhutanese life. End today’s touring at Kuensel Phodrang to see the immense seated-Buddha statue. Towering more than 160 feet, this bonze monument is filled with 125,000 smaller statues of Buddha.   Meals B+L+D

Day 6 - Day 6 - Onward to Punakha

After breakfast and check out, you’ll visit the impressive Simtokha Dzong. Built in 1629, this is one of Bhutan’s oldest fortresses and features beautiful murals and an elaborately carved and painted ceiling. Then continue over the 10,300-foot Dochula Pass; on a clear day, you’ll have breathtaking 360° views over the Himalayas. The lone monastery situated near the mountain pass is distinguished by its 108 Buddhist shrines; stopping here to take in the views, you can also light a traditional butter lamp – a Buddhist act of wisdom. Then descend into the Punakha Valley through captivating landscapes of farming terraces, pristine rivers and fluttering prayer flags to visit the historic Punakha Dzong. Built in 1637 along the banks of a rushing river, this imposing fortress is considered by many to be the most beautiful in the country. Enjoy a tranquil overnight at the Uma by COMO - Punakha, General Tours enchanting luxury lodge set on a forested hillside overlooking the Mo Chu River.  Meals B+L+D

Day 7 - Day 7 - A Scenic Journey to Paro

Delight in the mountain scenery and commanding views as you travel to Paro Dzong. Founded in the 15th century and revered as one of the country’s finest examples of traditional Bhutanese architecture, this landmark also houses a monastic school with nearly 200 resident monks. After crossing the Paro River via Nyamai Zam, a lovely wooden bridge, you’ll spend time with a local archery team. Thrill to their expertise and learn the history and traditions of this celebrated national sport. After a bit of expert instruction, you’ll have a chance to pick up the traditionally-made bow and arrows - and try to hit the target yourself!
 
Continue to the Uma by Como - Paro, General Tours delightful resort here in the beautiful Paro Valley. The rest of this day is yours to enjoy and explore as you wish. This is a wonderful opportunity to stroll in the town of Paro - visiting the small shops, engaging with local residents, and immersing in the tranquil and timeless pace of life.  Meals B+L+D

Day 8 - Day 8 - The Magnificent Tiger's Nest Monastery

Today’s adventure begins with a scenic drive to Ramthanka, the base for one of the world’s most unforgettable adventures. As you make your way up the forested trail on horseback and by foot, you’ll have breathtaking glimpses of Taktsang Lhakhang, popularly known as the Tiger’s Nest Monastery, perched on the side of a granite cliff some 3,000 feet above the valley. About 90 minutes into your privately guided ascent, you’ll reach an inviting café – the perfect place to recharge and take in the fresh mountain air. As you continue up the path, you can stop to hoist your own prayer flag – a traditional ceremony to bring happiness, health and good luck. About an hour later, you’ll reach the sacred monastery. On your way back down stop for lunch at the café and then continue your descent to Ramthanka.
 
Before returning to your hotel, you’ll also enjoy a guided tour of Kyichu Lhakhang. Dating back to the 7th century, it was expanded in the early 1800’s with additional buildings and a spectacular golden roof. Today it is considered to be one of the oldest and most beautiful temples in the Himalayas. Your evening at leisure offers a final opportunity to stroll in town and maybe shop for gifts and mementos.  Meals B+L+D

Day 9 - Day 9 - Depart Paro

After breakfast and check out, you’ll be escorted to the airport for your homeward journey.  Meals B

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Inclusions

Hygiene and Safety Protocols for Alexander Roberts Tours

Committed to Your Well Being While You’re With Alexander Roberts

  • All Alexander Roberts' staff will maintain appropriate physical distancing at all times, so expect a warm and genuine greeting but not a handshake or a hug!
  • All high-touch surfaces in coaches and private cars – like door handles, railings, arm rests, and window controls – will be sanitized each morning and regularly throughout the day.
  • Alexander Roberts' expert guides and drivers will don face masks whenever in proximity to guests.
  • Alexander Roberts staff have been trained on Extra Care procedures – and how to respond to issues that may arise as you travel.
  • Complimentary face masks and hand sanitizer will be available in all vehicles while touring.
More Space + Extra Care While Touring
  • Larger luxury motorcoaches so each traveler will have two seats to themselves while touring.
  • Private airport transfers with a spacious luxury vehicle when you come and go for every tour
  • Regular and frequent sanitizing of all high-touch vehicle surfaces.
  • Prearranged entry for all sightseeing minimizes standing in line with other travelers.
  • Whisper Headsets for groups of 5 or more allow for proper physical distancing while sightseeing, except for certain nature activities in remote areas like the Amazon.
More Space + Extra Care While Dining
  • Alexander Roberts carefully selects restaurants to avoid crowded high-capacity venues; Alexander Roberts emphasizes fine farm-to-table dining with attentive and efficient service – and the choice to dine al fresco whenever available.
  • No large-group dining; enjoy more spacious dining settings and smaller, well-spaced tables for included meals.
  • Restaurant staff will follow the guidance of local health authorities and WHO protocols which may include facial coverings.
Extra Care at Luxury Hotels
  • Alexander Roberts' hotels are always selected for their outstanding locations, evocative ambiance, impeccable service – and cleanliness.
  • OAlexander Roberts' partners include the most respected luxury brands – like Belmond, Four Seasons, Park Hyatt, Kempinski and JW Marriott; they are now leading the industry with their sophisticated hygiene standards and protocols to ensure the well being of all their guests.
  • Hotels will be continuously and rigorously vetted to ensure that they are following established WHO guidelines including social distancing and sanitizing procedures of guestrooms and public spaces.
  • Hotel breakfasts will usually feature à la carte service and group seating will be replaced by smaller, appropriately distanced tables.
And Always... Alexander Roberts' Distinctive Style

In a Small Group of Never More than 16 Guests or on a Privately Guided Tour for just your traveling party, their experienced guides have the flexibility to adjust your sightseeing based upon local conditions – to avoid times of heaviest traffic and crowding, for example. Alexander Roberts can dine in smaller authentic restaurants, minimize the time waiting in lines, and leave a lighter footprint. You’ll learn the history and stories behind the world’s most iconic landmarks, immerse more deeply in the wonders of the natural world, and delight in genuine cultural engagement not possible in a larger group. It’s travel without a crowd.

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Questions & Answers

Question: How many suitcases can I take with me on my trip?

Each person is allowed one "check-in," and one "carry-on." Remember to take all valuables with you as "carry-on", because electronic equipment, cameras, laptops, jewelry, business documents and money are not covered by the airlines' liability, so always carry them aboard with you.

Question: Is Airfare Included in the Price?

Airfare from your point of origin to and from the trip is not included in the land price.

Alexander Roberts Tours Customer Reviews

Overall Rating
4
Accommodations
4
Itinerary
4.2
Professional Staff
4.4
Repeat with Operator
3.8
Value for Money
3.8

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Ratings based off 94 reviews about Alexander Roberts Tours - currently showing 1 reviews with comments only

Our tour guide was the best! He was knowledgeable about the country, always early, courteous and made us feel welcome in his country. Our tour had a side trip that was incredible due to our guide's particular experiences, The pick of our guide for our trip was absolutely perfect. Thank you for making our trip so wonderful.


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