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18 Day Himalayan Kingdoms: Nepal & Bhutan - Wednesday Departure

18 Day Himalayan Kingdoms: Nepal & Bhutan - Wednesday Departure


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Overview

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*Please Note: This vacation includes an internal air component which will not be discounted from the listed price below.
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Itinerary

Countries Visited

Bhutan , China , India , Nepal

Tour Itinerary

DAY 1, Wednesday - Depart for Nepal
Depart for Nepal

DAY 2, Thursday - Arrival in Kathmandu
Welcome to Nepal! Late morning arrival in Kathmandu, the "Roof of the World," in the shadow of the Himalayas -- you'll be warmly greeted with a traditional flower garland. At your hotel, time to rest, relax and acclimate to your new time zone
Overnight: Kathmandu

DAY 3, Friday - Swayambhunath, Cooking Demonstration, Boudhanath
Rise early this morning to join the one hour optional flightseeing of Mt. Everest, the highest mountain in the world. Back at the hotel, join your fellow travelers and Tour Manager at an orientation meeting outlining the extraordinary journey that lies ahead. Then, on to 1st-century Swayambhunath, crowning a hill overlooking the Kathmandu Valley with its golden spire adorned with colorful prayer flags fluttering in the breeze. This World Heritage Site is one of the most recognizable symbols of Nepal; the painted eyes of Buddha follow all who ascend the worn stone steps. Crowds of pilgrims and red-clad monks circle the complex, spinning the prayer wheels while scores of monkeys prance about in irreverent groups. Continue to Durbar Square, an amazing cluster of ancient temples and palaces that symbolize the country's religious and cultural life, including sprawling Hanuman Dhoka, ancient palace of Nepalese Royalty and the Temple of Kumari. See the stone carved statue of ferocious KalBhairav, a colorful memorial to the Hindu God of Destruction and the Temple of the Goddess Taleju. A change of pace as you arrive at a popular restaurant for lunch and a specially arranged cooking demonstration of MoMo, one of Nepal's national dishes. Afternoon visit to Boudhanath, the largest stupa of its kind in the world. Participate in a prayer ceremony and receive blessings from the Holy Lama at this extraordinary Buddhist monument. After an outstanding day, return to the hotel. Tonight, enjoy a Welcome Dinner at a Nepalese restaurant. Afterward, we suggest a Rickshaw ride to see the city's astonishing night lit temples and palaces
Optional: Mount Everest Flightseeing (AM)
Overnight: Kathmandu
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 4, Saturday - Bhaktapur, Pashupatinath, Mt. Everest Mountaineer
An excursion takes you this morning to the medieval city of Bhaktapur, called the "City of Devotees," a UNESCO World Heritage Site, lined with palaces, temples, statues and squares connected by a maze of pedestrianized streets. The 14th century Dattatreya Temple and the world famous Peacock Window at Tachapal keep visitors spellbound. Marvel at the intricately carved deities of the richly molded Golden Gate and enter the Palace of Fifty-Five Windows with its exquisite wood carvings. See the Lion's Gate with its guarding statues, Nyatapola, the five-storied temple in Taumadhi Square and the astonishing Bhairab Temple, dedicated to Lord Buddha. Then, you visit the Pottery Center where you watch a demonstration of this fine craft by skilled potters. After a village inspired lunch, you embark upon a journey to the World Heritage Site of Pashupatinath, one of the most sacred Hindu shrines in the world. On the banks of the holy Bagmati River, this temple is renowned for its beautiful architecture along with its cremation platforms spread along the river. You'll see throngs of devotees meditating and praying on the steps throughout this sacred temple. At dinner tonight, an evening lecture and one-to-one conversation with a Nepalese woman mountaineer who has climbed Mt Everest -- you'll be inspired by her determination and courage
Overnight: Kathmandu
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 5, Sunday - Chitwan National Park, Jungle Resort
Flight this morning to the village of Bharatpur, with its ochre-colored thatched roof houses. Continue past small villages and terraced rice fields to the Tharu villages of Chitwan. Arrive at Temple Tiger Green Jungle Resort, nestled on the banks of the Narayani River and Chitwan National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Meet your naturalist guide for a refreshing Welcome Drink and briefing about the park and the many different activities available during your stay. The resort, within its own surrounding forest, is designed to adjust to the natural harmony. No doubt you'll enjoy this memorable experience in the midst of one of the world's most beautiful nature centers. Time to settle in and savor a leisurely lunch before this afternoon's very special adventure. Begin with an exciting Jungle Safari that penetrates the dense grasslands to view wildlife in their natural habitat. Tonight, a slide presentation on the local wildlife by a senior naturalist is followed by dinner at the resort's Round House. Share stories of today's adventure with your fellow travelers
Overnight: Chitwan
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 6, Monday - Chitwan National Park, Jungle Resort
Your day is filled with wonderful adventures starting with a morning Jeep Safari. Afterward, you can choose to board a boat or paddle a canoe down the Narayani River. There'll be plenty of opportunities to view the Gharial or Mugger crocodiles as well as a variety of water birds. Then, travel a short distance by jeep inside the park stopping for a picnic lunch in this lush natural oasis. A nature walk with a trained naturalist introduces you to some of the wildlife and the huge species of birds. You'll learn more about Chitwan and its conservation efforts during your discussion with the guides. Later, an ox-cart ride to an authentic Tharu Village where you visit the museum and the homes of some of the indigenous people. In the evening, a delicious barbecue dinner accompanied by a performance by the local Tharu dance group
Overnight: Chitwan
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 7, Tuesday - Pokhara's Natural Wonders
Depart the National Park and transfer to the Bharatpur Airport for your flight to Pokhara, the second largest city of Nepal. Arrive in scenic Pokhara, home to three of the highest mountains in the world. Lunch at the hotel. Afternoon tour of some of the Pokhara Valley's natural wonders including cascading Devi's Falls, (Hell's Falls) which drops out of sight and is hidden in an underground gorge and the Seti Gandaki River, that flows throughout the city. Visit Gorkha Memorial Museum before continuing to the diverse Old Bazaar with its ethnic traders and stalls selling everything from edibles to gold -- it's definitely an interesting place to stroll. Here you also see the white domed Bindhyabasini Mandir, one of Pokhara's most important shrines, dedicated to the Goddess Bhagwati. The rest of the day is at leisure in Pokhara. Dinner is on your own
Overnight: Pokhara
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 8, Wednesday - Pokhara and the Annapurna Mountains
Early morning hike to the viewpoint at the Peace Pagoda; see the unforgettable sunrise over the mountain peaks. The Annapurna mountain range dominates your northern view while the sweeping expanse of the Pokhara Valley looms over the south and east. This is a not-to-be-missed experience! Return to the hotel for breakfast, followed by a visit to the International Mountain Museum. View the many exhibits focused on technique, equipment, and materials for hiking, of great interest in a country that is dominated by hikers and trekkers. The museum is in a perfect location, surrounded by the stunning Annapurna mountain range -- a favorite place for adventurers. Afterward, lunch together at a local restaurant in Pokhara. This evening, you're invited to a local family's home for dinner. There will be lots of opportunities to share great stories, local legends and delicious home cooked food
Overnight: Pokhara
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 9 Thursday - Return to Kathmandu, Ancient Patan, Farewell to Nepal
Return flight to Kathmandu for an excursion to the ancient city of Patan, known as the "City of Fine Arts." Your tour begins at the main square, filled with breathtaking Hindu temples and striking Buddhist monuments. See the old Royal Palace, dominating all others in grace and grandeur and the 16th century stone Krishna Mandir, with its 21 pinnacles dedicated to Lord Krishna. Other landmarks include the Golden Temple, and the terra-cotta temple of Mahabouddha. While in Patan, attend a lecture on Patan's restoration process. Afterwards, time to rest and freshen up before tonight's festivities. A very special home hosted dinner has been arranged just for you -- a perfect conclusion to your wonderful journey through Nepal. The friends and family of the host and hostess will join you as you bid farewell to your Tour Manager and to Nepal
Overnight: Kathmandu
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 10, Friday - Kingdom of Bhutan
A traditional "khada" ceremony this morning as a symbolic scarf is wrapped around you, with blessings for a serene and safe journey. Travel by flight to Paro in the spiritual mountain kingdom of Bhutan with its striking monasteries and magnificent mountain scenery. Here, you'll also see traditional dzongs dotting the landscape, a distinctive type of fortress architecture with towering exterior walls surrounding complexes of courtyards, temples, and monks' accommodations. Tucked away between China and India in the heart of the Himalayas, Bhutan remains a uniquely distinct country. Upon arrival in historic Paro, drive to the capital city of Thimphu, a fabulous blend of old and new. Visit the indigenous Medical Hospital, and the Painting School where students learn thirteen different Bhutanese crafts over the six-year course including paper making, masonry, painting, sculpture, embroidery and much more. At the National Library you view the largest book in the world before checking into your hotel. Tonight, an orientation meeting with your new Tour Manager about the adventure that awaits you in Bhutan, followed by a Welcome Dinner together at the hotel
Overnight: Thimphu
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 11, Saturday - Discover Thimphu
In Thimphu, you observe monks strolling serenely in their crimson robes and workers wearing traditional ghos and kiras. Your day begins with a visit to the Royal Textile museum, view unique displays of textile designs and watch a multimedia presentation before proceeding to the Folk Heritage Museum to tour the medieval home used by Bhutan's Queen mothers. Here, you enjoy a lunch of traditional Bhutanese cuisine served in the impressive and historic courtyard. Return for dinner at the hotel and an evening at leisure
Overnight: Thimphu
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 12, Sunday - Memorial Chorten, Big Buddha Hill, School of Astrology, Takin Zoo
This morning, you join Buddhists performing their daily ritual of turning the giant red prayer wheels at the whitewashed National Memorial Chorten with its shining golden finial, dedicated to the third king of Bhutan. Next, drive to the Big Buddha Hill. Here, stop at the Big Buddha Temple for a visit, or for an independent meditation. Afterward, begin a moderate hike around the temple. The area, offers great views of the Thimphu Valley below. End the hike at Kuensel Phodrang Park where a picnic lunch will be provided. Afternoon drive to Pangri Zampa and visit the School of Astrology, where you learn more about this very popular study followed by many families and young monks. Afterwards, drive to the Takin Zoo where you'll finally meet a Takin, the rare national animal of Bhutan. The rest of the day is yours. Perhaps shop in one of the many handicraft stores to bring some treasures back home. At dinner this evening, High School students in traditional dress will join you and bring costumes for you to try. Opportunity to dress as a Bhutanese! It will be a great photo opportunity!
Overnight: Thimphu
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 13, Monday - Lobesa, Punakha Dzong, Punakha
An early start this morning as you drive through the scenic terrain of the Himalayas to Punakha, the ancient capital of Bhutan, pausing at Dochhula Pass to view the astounding snow-clad peaks of Bhutan (on a clear day.) You pass over one hundred monuments and see many colorful prayer flags along your route on your way to the Royal Botanical gardens. After lunch in the village of Lobesa, continue to Punakha Dzong, center of power until 1907, considered the most beautiful dzong in the country with its towering whitewashed walls accented by elaborately painted gold, red and black wood. By tradition, all of the Kings of Bhutan are crowned here in the 100-pillar Coronation Hall, decorated with massive gold statues and murals depicting the life of Buddha. Before dinner at the hotel, you gather to learn how to create a Mandala out of colorful rice, a spiritual and ritual symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism that represents the Universe
Overnight: Punakha
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 14, Tuesday - Chimi Lhakhang Monastery, Sisina Farm House, Tachogang Lhakhang, Paro
Visit Chimi Lhakhang, a monastery and fertility temple dedicated to a famous monk also known as "the divine madman." Famous for being unorthodox and trying to make Buddhism more relaxed, he is considered a hero in Bhutan. The monastery is also a fertility temple and couples often come here who want to have children. Later, you experience the soothing sounds of chants and spiritual music as you enter a nearby nunnery or temple. After, you continue to Paro, stopping along the way at the legendary Wang Sisina Farm House for a delicious traditional Bhutanese meal served in original earthenware by the hostess. An interesting tour of the vast courtyards of this 300 year-old-home will also be arranged. After, you drive to Tachogang Lhakhang near Chuzom, one of the temples founded by a Tibetan saint who also designed and erected many iron suspension bridges in the early 15th century, making parts of Bhutan accessible for the very first time. At an incense making shop you learn more about this craft, and how this has become a popular small industry in this area. Arrive in the town of Paro for an orientation walk before heading to your hotel for dinner and overnight
Overnight: Paro
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 15, Wednesday - National Museum, Rinpung Dzong, Temple of Kyichu
Morning tour of Paro's National Museum, housed in an old hilltop watchtower resembling the shape of a conch shell. You're guided here by a local historian/writer who interprets for you the museum's valuable collection of antique paintings, festival masks, religious statues and stone carvings. Next, on to Rinpung Dzong, one of the most impressive dzongs in Bhutan, a masterpiece of Bhutanese architecture. Don't miss the unique painting of Milarelpa, considered the master of meditation by the Buddhists. Walk down to the cantilevered wooden covered bridge that spans the Paro Chhu, a reconstruction of the original bridge washed away in 1969. You will have lunch at the Gangtey Palace Hotel in Paro with an interesting cultural show. Gangtey Palace featured in the National Geographic 1914, "Castles in the Air", Experiences and Journeys in Unknown Bhutan, by John Claude White. The palace offers a bird's eye view of the beautiful Paro valley on all three sides adorned with lush green paddy fields. An expert architect of the time, Zow Gendey was called to build his palace. He is also believed to have influenced major Bhutanese architectural designs in Bhutan. After lunch, continue on to the 7th century Temple of Kyichu; tour the ruins of the Drukgyal Dzong, built as a symbol of victory when the Mongolian and Tibetan invaders from the north were defeated. Later tea will be arranged with views of the Tiger's Nest Monastery. Dinner at the hotel
Overnight: Paro
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 16, Thursday - Ascend to "Tigers Nest"
If you're adventurous and physically fit, get ready for a memorable hike to world-famous "Tiger's Nest" or Taktsang Palphug Monastery. Located on the face of a sheer cliff above the floor of the Paro Valley, this not to be missed site is accessible by hiking. It is a strenuous uphill climb including over 700 steps. This sacred pilgrimage site is where the great tantric mystic, Padmasambhava flew on the back of the tiger and brought the teachings of the Buddhist Dharma to Bhutan (mythical belief). The Monastery clings to a cliff soaring 3,000 feet above the valley floor at an altitude of 10,000 feet. Along the way, you can hang prayer flags for world peace, or for people who are hungry, ill or in pain (in Buddhism, a prayer flag is considered a blessing). Stop for lunch and admire the breathtaking views from the cafeteria before slowly descending. Tonight, bid a fond farewell at dinner to your newfound friends and Tour Manager with whom you shared this extraordinary journey in Bhutan
Overnight: Paro
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 17, Friday - Depart Bhutan, Arrive in Nepal
Early this morning, depart from the airport in Paro on a flight that takes you back to Kathmandu, Nepal. The remainder of the day is at leisure for individual pursuits
Overnight: Kathmandu
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 18, Saturday - Depart Nepal
Morning is at leisure to prepare for your departure. In the late afternoon you head to the airport for the flight back home later this evening
Meals: Breakfast

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Inclusions

Package Includes

  • Small groups of maximum 22 travelers guaranteed
  • Round trip flights New York-Kathmandu, Kathmandu-New York
    Other departure cities available.
  • Airline taxes & fuel surcharges
  • All intra-flights: Kathmandu-Chitwan, Chitwan-Pokhara, Pokhara-Kathmandu, Kathmandu-Paro & Paro-Kathmandu
  • 16 nights accommodations
  • 5 nights Kathmandu
  • 2 nights Chitwan National Park
  • 2 nights Pokhara
  • 3 nights Thimphu
  • 1 night Punakha
  • 3 nights Paro
  • Hotel taxes, fees & service charges
  • Hotel porterage
  • All transfers included only with airfare purchase on package arrival & departure dates†
  • 41 meals: 16 breakfasts, 12 lunches, 13 dinners (including 2 home hosted dinners, and welcome & farewell dinners)
  • Coffee and tea with all meals
  • Sightseeing per itinerary in modern air-conditioned vehicles
  • Services of English-speaking tour managers throughout
  • Comprehensive, guided sightseeing and entrance fees per itinerary
  • Active itinerary with unique cultural features
  • Bhutan Visa
  • This itinerary requires a high level of physical fitness. The Tiger's Nest visit takes approximately 5 hours and requires a strenuous uphill climb including over 700 steps to reach the temple. All passengers must be able to hike unassisted.

    Tour Highlights

  • Thanks to our small group size, we can get to the heart of our destination, visit places that other tours miss, and get to know the locals.
  • Visit Durbar Square, the ancient palace of Hanuman Dhoka and the Temple of Kumari in Kathmandu
  • Marvel at the Buddhist Stupa of Swayambhunath, designated a World Heritage Site
  • Travel to medieval Bhaktapur, known as the "City of Devotees," dating back to the 13th century
  • Spiritual journey to the World Heritage Site of Pashupatinath, a world-famous Hindu shrine
  • Spend three days at a Jungle Resort in Chitwan National Park, adjacent to the Indian Tiger Reserve
  • Tour the Pokhara Valley with its natural wonders including cascading Devi's Falls
  • In ancient Patan, "city of fine arts," tour the square filled with Hindu Temples and Buddhist monuments
  • Travel to the spiritual mountain kingdom of Bhutan with its extraordinary scenery and striking monasteries
  • In Thimphu, a blend of old and new, observe monks serenely strolling in their crimson robes
  • Join Buddhists performing their daily rituals at the whitewashed National Memorial Chorten
  • Drive to Punakha, ancient capital of Bhutan, pausing to view the astounding snow-clad peaks of Bhutan
  • Visit Punakha Dzong, the most beautiful dzong in Bhutan with its towering whitewashed walls
  • Choose to hike to the world-famous "Tiger's Nest" on the face of a sheer cliff above the Paro Valley
  • †Transfers are available for purchase for land only or on alternative flight dates

    *Not Included:
    Prices do not include optional tours, and gratuities.


    Additional Information:
    Land only price does not include arrival/departure transfers, but does include flights Kathmandu-Chitwan, Chitwan-Pokhara, Pokhara-Kathmandu, Kathmandu-Paro & Paro-Kathmandu.

    A visa is required for entry into Bhutan and is obtained on your behalf by us Travel. This visa is required in addition to and separately from an India and/or Nepal visa.


    Accommodation Details:
    Triple Rooms cannot be accommodated on this program.

    OR Call Us For a Free Quote 1-800-935-2620

    Accommodations

    Hotel Yak & Yeti
    This first class hotel is centrally located in Kathmandu.

    Temple Tiger Green Jungle Resort
    This superior tourist class hotel has magnificent views of Chitwan National Park.

    Temple Tree Resort & Spa
    This superior tourist class hotel is located nearby Fewa Lake.

    Hotel Yak & Yeti
    This first class hotel is centrally located in Kathmandu.

    Ariya Hotel
    This first class hotel is a ten minute drive away from the city center of Thimphu.

    RKPO Green Resort
    This first class hotel has beautiful views of rice fields and Chimi Lhakhang.

    Naksel Boutique Hotel & Spa
    This first class hotel has magnificent views of Mount Jumolhari.

    Hotel Yak & Yeti
    This first class hotel is centrally located in Kathmandu.

    OR Call Us For a Free Quote 1-800-935-2620

    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.

    Discovery By Gate1 Tours Customer Reviews

    Overall Rating
    4.3
    Accommodations
    4.2
    Itinerary
    4.4
    Professional Staff
    4.6
    Repeat with Operator
    4.3
    Value for Money
    4.2

    Ratings based off 270 reviews about Discovery By Gate1 Tours - currently showing 15 reviews with comments only

    This was a fantastic trip with varied activities and a superb tour guide.

    Exalent trip we are so pleased with the service we will call you to plan the next trip

    Well thought and executed trip

    The Gate1 tour guide/managers were very knowledgeable, courteous, professional and entertaining.

    Gate 1's tour operators are very good. It is organized and follows the published itinerary. The hotels are nice and as described.

    Trip was great experience. Enjoyed the itinerary and tour manager.

    Great experience. Our personal guide very experienced and personal. First class hotels and great excursions.

    Our accommodations were excellent. The tour was fabulous. The logistics for booking and traveling were clear and easy.

    Everyone from our agent (Trena) to our our guide (Fred) were awesome. Would highly recommend gate 1 to any and all. Went above and beyond our expectations..JOB WELL DONE!!! Thanks for a great vacation..

    This was a great tour. All the places we visited were worth seeing, and the combination of activities was very good.

    The rooms, the meals, the bus, and the tour guide were superior. The tour was more than expected. All our questions and needs were met. The whole operation was well managed and smooth.

    The itinerary, scenic country, food, tour guide and accommodations were all wonderful. We had an amazing time and enjoyed it very much.

    The tour was very well organized, the tour director was very knowledgeable and courteous. Hotels were very nice and were conveniently located near City centers.

    Fabulous scenery everywhere; WONDERFULLY helpful and knowledgeable tour guide and bus driver!! Loved tbis itinerary!


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