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Nepal & Bhutan Journey

From US$ 6,190 US$ 5,881
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highlights
  • Beginning in Kathmandu, there's more than enough time to discover the Nepali capital's staggeringly rich cultural and artistic heritage
  • Whether it's flying, hiking, driving or canoeing, this trip will let you experience Nepal's stunning natural beauty from all angles
  • Witness world-class mountain scenery from heavenly viewpoint, with a breathtaking Everest flight
  • Take a jeep safari and jungle walk with an expert resident naturalist Chitwan National Park, a beauty brimming with exotic bird life and game
The Nepal & Bhutan Journey tour starts in Kathmandu and ends in Paro. The Nepal & Bhutan Journey is an Explorer tour that takes 18 days taking you from Kathmandu to Paro and through other destinations in Asia.

Journey into the heart of Nepal and experience the colourful sights and culture of this enchanting region. Mingle with local villagers and craftspeople, visit tranquil temples and sacred Buddhist sites, travel the cobbled streets of tiny mountain towns and search for unique wildlife. From the whirlwind of Kathmandu to the lush jungle of Chitwan National Park - with plenty of delightful hidden gems in between - take an unforgettable tour of Nepal, brimming with culture, history and natural beauty. Bhutan is the little secret of Asia. Overshadowed and nestled between China and India, it is a relatively new travel spot, with many undiscovered secrets in its natural scenery and quiet townships. The land is dotted with red-clothed monks, ancient Buddhist temples and friendly smiles. It is one calm country, where gross national happiness is more important than money, where chillies are used as a vegetable rather than for spice, and the thunder dragon, Druk, is emblazoned on the national flag, symbolising the people of Bhutan: loyal, patriotic and living with a total sense of belonging within the kingdom.
Welcome to Nepal. On arrival in Kathmandu, you’ll be met at the airport by our representative and transferred to your hotel. After you settle in there will be a group briefing with your tour leader in the late afternoon. They’ll discuss the trip details and co-ordinate any last minute arrangements. The evening is free to explore the streets of Kathmandu, whose mixture of ancient architecture and modern development, and rich artistic and cultural heritage, means it remains the legendary destination it has been for decades. Crowded markets and bazaars are the centre of Nepali life and the narrow streets are home to holy men, monks, bicycles, incense, goats and sacred cows. Your leader will usually organise an optional dinner at one of Kathmandu’s fine Nepali restaurants.
Accommodation
  • Hotel
Optional Activities
  • Kathmandu - Rickshaw Night Explorer Urban Adventure - USD 68
  • Kathmandu - In Focus: Cook in Kathmandu Urban Adventure - USD 93
  • Kathmandu - Kathmandu by Bike Urban Adventure - USD 100
  • Kathmandu - Kathmandu Living Urban Adventure - USD 66
Whether permitting, take a Mount Everest scenic flight this morning. This amazing experience will take you over Sagamartha National Park, through a crescendo of the highest peaks in the world, climaxing by getting up close to Mount Everest. Later in the morning you will explore Kathmandu on an organised sightseeing tour. You will visit Bodhnath Stupa, one of the biggest Buddhist shrines in the world, where you can observe Buddhist monks in prayer in the monasteries surrounding the stupa. You will also visit Pashupatinath, the most famous Hindu temple in the country, located on the banks of the holy Bagmati River. Here you will see Hindu holy men (sadhus) meditating, pilgrims bathing, and occasionally funeral pyres burning on the ghats. The rest of your afternoon in Kathmandu is free for further sightseeing and exploration. Perhaps head out into Durbar Square, in front of the old royal palace and home to numerous beautiful temples, and browse the stalls of merchant's wares.
Accommodation
  • Hotel
Today you will have an early departure from the hotel for your transfer to the domestic terminal at Kathmandu's Tribhuvan Airport. From here you will fly to Pokhara, with a flight time of about 30 minutes. There are often spectacular views of the main Himalayan chain to the north on this flight. On arrival you will take a boat ride across the lake (Phewa Tal), which is the second largest in Nepal. Visit the Peace Pagoda, where spectacular views of the mountains await. You can see the Annapurnas from here, and the famous fishtail peak, Machhapuchhare, and back across to Pokhara. You will also visit the fascinating International Mountain Museum to learn some amazing tales of past climbing expeditions – some ending in triumph, some ending in tragedy.
Accommodation
  • Hotel
Enjoy a free day for further exploration in the peaceful surroundings of Pokhara. Your leader can advise you of sightseeing opportunities. It is worth taking a boat for a row out on the lake, especially if the weather's fine. The lakeside area has great shopping opportunities and internet cafes. Pokhara has an interesting old area as well as an elaborate Hindu temple and a Buddhist monastery.
Accommodation
  • Hotel
In the morning you will drive to beautiful Bandipur (approximately 2 hours). You will fully explore this incredible settlement and take the many opportunities to immerse yourself in the culture of Nepal as it once was. Enjoy the spectacular views, the incredibly maintained architecture and nice walking trails. This traditional Nepalese settlement is a natural treasure and one of the country's true hidden gems.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse
Enjoy a day of free time to further explore Bandipur. The surrounding hills are ideal for hiking along trails that will take you through tribal villages, verdant forests, 'power places', and hilltop shrines that once doubled as fortresses. As you explore the area you may feel as though you're stepping back in time; though development increases, the aura of this place has been beautifully preserved. As tourism in Nepal developed along the main roads and airports, for over 30 years there simply was no road linking Bandipur to the main infrastructure, leaving it almost untouched by touristic influence. The village is saddled on a high ridge above Dumre, 700 metres beyond the Marsyangdi River Valley, making for an exceptional view of the Himalayan panorama.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse
After breakfast you will be picked up and driven to Chitwan National Park (approximately 4 hours). After arriving and settling in, you will be introduced to the camp staff and resident naturalists who will discuss the program. There is some flexibility, and activities may vary depending on the time of the year, and on wildlife movements. A late-afternoon safari will take you through forests and across grasslands to observe the varied and exciting wildlife in the park. In the early evening the local Tharu dance troupe may perform a cultural program. You will then enjoy dinner and afterwards you will be free to relax in the bar and discuss the day’s sightings or listen to the exotic sounds of the jungle at night.
Accommodation
  • Lodge
Embark on an early-morning excursion. This could include either another safari to different parts of the park (in search of the great Indian rhino, deer, and exotic bird life) or joining one of the other activities available in the park. Tiger sightings are rare these days, but these magnificent animals do inhabit the park. After breakfast you will leave the lodge and go on a dugout canoe adventure on the Rapti River. This is an exciting trip with chances to view marsh mugger crocodiles and various birds that inhabit the riverbanks. A program will be organised for the rest of the day, and may include further excursions by jeep or a visit to one of the nearby villages.
Accommodation
  • Lodge
If you are an avid wildlife lover, there is an optional early-morning birdwatching safari available today – a worthwhile addition to your trip. After breakfast fly to Kathmandu and drive to Bhaktapur - once the capital of Nepal and the Great Malla Kingdom during the 15th century. Its rich heritage, inspiring temples and artisanal history played a big part in Bhaktapur being named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Enjoy an evening of exploration on your own, soak up the lovely atmosphere in one of the local cafes, or simply relax in your hotel.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse
Spend the day exploring Bhaktapur’s famous temples, starting at Durbar Square, which is reputed to be the most beautiful piece of art in Nepal. Durbar Square is home to the majestic Lion Gate and Golden Gate. You will also visit the Pashupati Temple, a replica of the Bagmati River in Kathmandu. This will be an enlightening morning of discovery and enrichment, as you delve into all Bhaktapur has to offer. In the afternoon, drive to Kathmandu (approximately 2 hours). The evening will then be free, however the group leader will usually organise an optional evening meal at another of Kathmandu’s great restaurants.
Accommodation
  • Hotel
Your trip officially comes to an end after breakfast today. Your tour leader will be on hand to advise and assist with your onward travel arrangements.
Optional Activities
  • Kathmandu - In Focus: Handmade Kathmandu
This morning board the short flight to Bhutan. Ask to sit on the left hand side of the plane for the best views of the Himalayas. After arrival at Paro airport and sailing through immigration and custom formalities, you will be greeted by your guide and driver and warmly welcomed to the enchanting Land of the Thunder Dragon. Drive for two hours alongside mountains, rivers, and fields of red rice to Thimphu, Bhutan's capital city. After lunchl visit Nado, Bhutan’s famous traditional incense maker and the colorful Gagyel Lhendup weaving center. Later in the evening, you may wander and explore the fascinating streets of Thimphu, the world’s only capital city without a traffic light!
Accommodation
  • Hotel
Today begins with a pleasant rural walk that meanders gently up the valley through paddy fields, pristine woodlands and a Tibetan village. We’ll walk along a trail to Pangri Zampa Gompa. Spot Bhutanese chortens on the riverside route and pass through the villages of Choku and Begana.
Cross a cantilevered bridge, and climb uphill for around an hour uphill to the monastery. Cheri Dorji Dhen was built in 1620 by Shabdrung, the first ruler of Bhutan, who also established the first order of monks here. At the bottom of the hill, a picnic lunch will be waiting for us along the riverside. Drive back to Thimphu for an afternoon of sightseeing. There is much to see! We will visit the Memorial Chorten, a shrine built in the memory of the 3rd King, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. Many Thimphu residents consider this to be the heart and soul of Thimphu and gather here every day to pray and walk clockwise around the chorten. Afterwards, visit Dubthob nunnery, and then the School of Arts and Crafts where students follow an eight-year program in traditional arts, such as drawing, painting, woodcarving, and sculpture. No tour of Thimphu is complete without a visit to the incredible Textile Museum. Some shopping time if you wish is available at the Thimphu Handicraft Emporium which offers high quality traditional goods, and a small family-run enterprise which manufactures paper and paper products using traditional methods.
Accommodation
  • Hotel
Leave Thimpu this morning and drive to Punakha (approx. 4 hours) the ancient winter capital of Bhutan. En-route stop at Dochu-La pass (10,000ft/3,048m) for a breathtaking view the eastern Himalayas, including Bhutan's highest mountain, the majestic Gangkar Punsum (24,770ft/7,550m.) The road descends through varied and ever-changing forest, emerging into the highly cultivated Punakha valley. Take a short walk to visit Chimi Lhakhang, a fertility temple built in 1499 by lama Drukpa Kunley (charmingly known as “The Divine Madman.”) On this site, The Divine Madman subdued the Demoness of the Dochu-La using his “magic thunderbolt of wisdom,” (also known as “his phallus.”) A wooden effigy of the Lama’s “thunderbolt” is preserved in the Lhakhang. Traditionally, childless women have visited this temple to receive a wang (blessing) from the saint. Our trail leads across rice fields to the tiny settlement of Pana. There are few young monks at the temple, which is surrounded by a row of prayer wheels and some very beautiful slate carvings.
In Punakha, we’ll visit the impressive Punakha Dzong. With its three towers, and wonderful location at the confluence of two rivers, it is considered by many to be the most beautiful of Bhutan’s 21 Dzongs.
Accommodation
  • Hotel
Optional Activities
  • Punakha - Punakha Dzong - Free
After breakfast, explore this small town with your leader on an orientation walk. Head down to the convergence of the Pho Chu and Mo Chu Rivers, two of the main rivers of Bhutan. There are lovely views of the majestic Punakha Dzong. This fine Dzong was constructed around 1639 and due to its location the Dzong has flooded several times in its history and also partially destroyed by fire in the 1980's. Be sure to keep an eye out for the cantilever brdige spanning the river. After lunch undertake an optional hike (approx. 1 hour) to visit the Khamsum Yulley Monastery. Its an uphill climb but the views from the top make it worthwhile. As with many monasteries in Bhutan, our leader will need to hunt around for the caretaker with the keys to have a look inside.
Accommodation
  • Hotel
This morning head back over the Dochu-La and continue to Thimphu. (approx. 4 hrs) This is a good chance to relax and refresh. The roads in Bhutan are narrow and whilst the distances are not great, due to the nature of the roads and the many valleys they pass through travelling can take some time. After lunch in Thimpu, continue by vehicle into the Paro Valley. Its a long day of driving. This evening experience a local homestay in Paro with home cooked meals and a friendly local atmosphere.
Accommodation
  • Homestay
After an early breakfast we drive up to the starting point and prepare for our hike to the legendary Taktsang (Tiger's Nest) - a magnificent monastery, clinging on a rock cliff 900 meters above the valley floor. The legend dating back to 747 AD has it that the Great Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhawa) flew here from northeast Bhutan on the back of a tigress to subdue the demons of Paro Valley. The guru then meditated in the holy cave that is the site of the Pelphug Lhakhang today. According to Tantric Buddhist mythology, the vanquished local deities became the protectors of the dharma and one of them, Singey Samdrup, is recognised today as the guardian deity of Taktsang. Guru Rinpoche is also believed to have concealed among the rocks of Taktsang various forms of Dharma treasures known as Ters, which were destined to be discovered later by Tertons (treasure discoverers) for the propagation of Dharma. Taktsang was severely damaged by fire on Sunday 19th April 1998. The king commanded its immediate restoration soon after the fire. The royal command dictated that the original aura, authenticity and architectural splendor must be preserved at all costs. This project has been widely seen as an act of devotion involving all sections of Bhutanese society and as homage to the nation's cultural heritage. It also proved to be an opportunity for Bhutan's traditional artists and craftsmen to hone the skills inherited from their forefathers down the ages. In order to facilitate the restoration work, a road was built to the base of the mountain facing the temple. We drive to the end of this road and begin our hike up the mountain for a closer view of the temple. After approximately an hour walking uphill, we reach a small teahouse that has a wonderful panoramic view of the temple. Its the ideal place to enjoy lunch. For those interested, it is possible to get a closer view by hiking another 45 minutes to an hour (each direction) to reach the small chorten directly across from the temple. Anyone not interested in hiking any further can relax at the teahouse and enjoy the view. It total it will about 5 to 6 hours to get back to the car including all stops if you choose to walk the full way.
Accommodation
  • Hotel
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast at your hotel before a departure transfer to Paro airport for your flight out of Bhutan. Due to group visa requirements, all travellers are required to leave Bhutan on the same day.
what’s included
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (3 nights), Hotel (11 nights), Lodge (2 nights)
Meals
  • 16 Breakfast, 6 Lunch, 6 Dinner
Transport
  • Boat , Minibus , Plane , Private Bus
Included Activities
  • Kathmandu - Everest Scenic Flight
  • Kathmandu - Pashupatinath Temple
  • Kathmandu - Bodhnath Stupa
  • Pokhara - Phewa Tal Lake boat trip
  • Pokhara - Peace Pagoda
  • Pokhara - International Mountain Museum
  • Chitwan - Canoe safari, Bird Watching walk or Jeep safari
  • Chitwan - Canoe safari, Bird Watching walk or Jeep safari
  • Bhaktapur - Guided walk
  • Thimpu - Traditional Arts School
  • Thimpu - National Library
  • Thimpu - Folk & Heritage Museum
  • Thimpu - National Chorten
  • Thimpu - Takin Reserve
  • Punakha - Chimmi Lhakhang
  • Punakha - Dzong tour
  • Paro - Tadzong Museum & Trongsa Dzong
  • Paro - Tiger's Nest Monastery
what’s excluded
  • International Flights
  • Any international flights to Kathmandu and from Paro are not included in this price. We always recommend that you arrive 1 day prior to your tour starting date.
  • Travel Insurance
  • Travel insurance is not included in this Nepal & Bhutan Journey tour. Travel insurance is mandatory to buy. We recommend purchasing it from World Nomads.
Tour details
Booking Type Instant Booking  
Duration 18 days
Tour Type Group Tour - Max 12 participants
guiding method Live guide/instructor
Guide Language English
Starts/Ends Kathmandu/Paro
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Get a PDF file with detailed trip information: Download Trip Notes for Nepal & Bhutan Journey
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Good to know Payment

A deposit of 400 USD is required to confirm this tour. For any departures within 16 June 2018 full payment is required.

Travel Insurance

The Nepal & Bhutan Journey tour requires that you have adequate and valid travel insurance covering medical and personal accidents, including repatriation costs and emergency evacuation. We recommend using World Nomads' travel insurance.

Visa

For this Nepal & Bhutan Journey tour getting the required visa(s) is the responsibility for each individual traveller, as visa requirements vary depending on your nationality. We recommend to check with your local embassies representing the countries that you are travelling to, as part of this itinerary.

CancellationNo additional cancellation fees apply for this Nepal & Bhutan Journey tour. You can cancel the tour up to 58 days prior departure and avoid paying the full amount, but your deposit paid is non-refundable. No refund applies for cancellations within 57 days of departure.
Trip Details
  • Last modified (date)

    17 Apr 2018

  • Trip title

    Nepal & Bhutan Journey

  • Trip code

    HNKBC

  • Validity

    Validity: 01 Jan 2018 to 01 Dec 2018

  • Introduction

    Journey into the heart of Nepal and experience the colourful sights and culture of this enchanting region. Mingle with local villagers and craftspeople, visit tranquil temples and sacred Buddhist sites, travel the cobbled streets of tiny mountain towns and search for unique wildlife. From the whirlwind of Kathmandu to the lush jungle of Chitwan National Park - with plenty of delightful hidden gems in between - take an unforgettable tour of Nepal, brimming with culture, history and natural beauty. Bhutan is the little secret of Asia. Overshadowed and nestled between China and India, it is a relatively new travel spot, with many undiscovered secrets in its natural scenery and quiet townships. The land is dotted with red-clothed monks, ancient Buddhist temples and friendly smiles. It is one calm country, where gross national happiness is more important than money, where chillies are used as a vegetable rather than for spice, and the thunder dragon, Druk, is emblazoned on the national flag, symbolising the people of Bhutan: loyal, patriotic and living with a total sense of belonging within the kingdom.

  • Style

    Comfort

  • Transport

    Boat,Minibus,Plane,Private Bus

  • Physical Rating

    2

  • Group leader

    All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.

    Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.

  • Communications

    Hotels in Kathmandu generally have excellent wi-fi connections. Most hotels offer free wi-fi in public areas, with some also offering in room wi-fi.
    While trekking wi-fi may be available in tea houses and lodges and is usually chargeable for a small fee. The higher you go the more the use of wi-fi and internet costs. Your tour leader will offer you the best advice on communications in remote areas of the country. Please note that most teahouses do not have electrical outlets in rooms but are shared in the main dining area (for a fee)

    Internet access is generally very good in the major towns and villages. There may be limited internet access when rafting.

  • Is this trip right for you

    Delays are inevitable. Embracing the slow pace and meditative atmosphere will go a long way toward your enjoyment of this beautiful country

    The hotel in Bhaktapur is very centrally located, though not quite of the same standard as the other accommodation on this trip

    Exploring Chitwan National Park's beautiful trails on foot requires a reasonable level fitness

    Whilst only a small country, there are long travel days in Bhutan, most roads are single lane and travel by vehicle is slow and tiring

    The trek to Tigers nest is quite vigorous, but its well worth the climb

    Bhutan is at high altitude, a day or two taking it easy makes for a much more comfortable trip. Drink tea and lots of water on arrival and avoid strenuous exercise while acclimatising

  • Health

    All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid Travel reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.

    You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.

    HEALTH - NEPAL:
    Medical treatment is expensive at western travellers’ clinics in Nepal. Healthcare is poor in most places outside the Kathmandu Valley and Pokhara. It may be difficult to get rapid helicopter evacuation if you fall ill or suffer a serious accident in a remote area of the country. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad, repatriation and evacuation by helicopter.

    There have been some cases of avian influenza (bird flu) among birds and poultry in parts of the country. The risk to humans is believed to be very low, but as a precaution you should avoid visiting live animal markets, poultry farms and other places where you may come into close contact with birds, and make sure poultry and egg dishes are thoroughly cooked.

  • Food and dietary requirements

    While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.

    Generally you can eat very cheaply in Nepal. There is a great choice of restaurants and street stalls serving traditional and local food. In bigger restaurants in areas frequented by more tourists there is a choice between Nepalese, Indian, Chinese and Western style food.

    Nepal caters very well towards vegetarians and vegans with almost all restaurants having a veg section of the menu. If in doubt please check with your tour leader.

    Your tour leader will be able to direct you towards restaurants that are known to have better hygiene, especially in tourist areas where they are travelling with our groups regularly 

    Some tips that will help you stay well when eating in Nepal include.

    - Stick to restaurants and street stalls busy with locals - local families eating there are a good bet.
    - Wash your hands before eating (most restaurants will have a hand basin or bathroom)  or use a sanitising hand gel
    - give yourself a few days to get used to local food, especially spicy food.
    - if in doubt,  stick to the veg meal
    - avoid salads and peel fruit to avoid eating skin that may be washed in local water
    - steer clear of ice unless in higher end restaurants
    - drink more chai, eat more mo-mo's

    All group meals are included in Bhutan.
    Generally meals will be buffet style and taken in your hotel or guesthouse. Lunches and dinners will generally be a mix of Continental, Chinese and Indian dishes. Rice and vegetarian options are always included.
    When camping, meals will be hearty and tasty but may have little variation. Please let us know if you have specific dietary requirements.
    Bottled water and alcoholic drinks are paid for locally.

  • Money matters

    ATMs can only be found in Kathmandu, Pokhara, and Bhaktapur. Money exchange facilities are available in Kathmandu, Namche, Pokhara, Chitwan (only outside the park) and Bhaktapur.

    The Government of Nepal has banned the import, export and use of 500 and 1000 Indian rupee notes in Nepal. You should ensure you are not carrying these notes on arrival in Nepal as they will be confiscated and you may be fined.

    Please note that most establishments in Asia will not accept foreign currency notes that are old, torn or faded and they can be very difficult to exchange or extra fees added when exchanging at banks. Please ensure that you have new, clean notes.

    The official currency of Nepal is the Nepali rupee (NPR). Its symbol is often displayed as Rs.

    Most international departure taxes should be included in your flight ticket - your leader can advise you on the current situation. If in doubt please speak to your travel agent or airline.

    Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.

    SPENDING MONEY:
    When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document).

    Don´t rely on credit and ATM card usage in Bhutan. There are very few ATMs in Bhutan outside of Paro and Thimpu, so it is best to bring either USD cash or Indian Rupees (INR) to Bhutan. Indian Rupees are accepted currency in Bhutan if you've travelled in Indian prior to your trip.

    The Bhutan Ngultrum (BTN) is pegged to the Indian Rupee and is valueless outside of Bhutan so make sure that you change back all excess Bhutanese currency before you leave.

    For personal expenses, please take USD / Euro / GBP / Indian Rupees in cash, which in turn can be changed into the local currency, Nu, on arrival at the airport and in hotels. Don't forget to take the receipt if you´re exchanging the money at the airport. Without the receipt, it can be difficult to change remaining Bhutanese Nu back to foreign currency. Also note that there are variable rates for bigger foreign currency notes and currency notes of smaller denominations. Higher denominations get you better exchange rate.

    Credit cards can be used in hotels and bigger shops in Paro and thimpu, but again don't rely on your card as your sole source of currency.

    Please note that most establishments in Asia will not accept foreign currency notes that are old, torn or faded and they can be very difficult to exchange or extra fees added when exchanging at banks. Please ensure that you have new, clean notes.

    The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:

    Hotels / Restaurants: USD 0.50 - 1 for porters and restaurant staff

    Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group however a base of US$ 1-2 per person, per day is generally appropriate.

    Local transport: For a city tour we suggest US$ 1 per person, per day.

    Your Group Leader: You may also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline US$ 2-3 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

    CONTINGENCY FUNDS:
    We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you have access to an extra US$500 for emergencies (e.g. severe weather, natural disasters, civil unrest) or other events that result in unavoidable changes to the itinerary (e.g. transport strikes or cancellations, airport closures). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to enable our trips to continue to run, and as a result there may be some extra costs involved.

    DEPARTURE TAX
    All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.

  • Climate and seasonal

    Nepal

    June to September
    The monsoon rains (mostly at night) bring landslides in regional areas. Cloud cover often obscures mountain views with rain, mud and leeches deterring most trekkers at this time of year.
    Treks running in September can be hot and very humid at lower altitudes

    March to April
    Spring brings warm weather and spectacular rhododendron blooms. A popular time to visit and one of the peak times to trek.

    October - November
    Clear skies and warm days make autumn the peak season.

    December - Feb
    Winter brings cold temperatures and snow to the mountains. Good trekking, but remember to rug up.

    FLIGHTS
    intrepid can assist you with your flights into Bhutan. Please speak to your travel agent or reservations advisor. Alternatively both Druk Air and Air Bhutan take bookings directly on their websites. Please ensure that Peregrine has a copy of ALL your international flight details to assist with your booking and for your visa application.

    Flights into and out of Paro Airport are restricted to daylight hours and are weather dependent. Travellers are advised to allow at least 24 hours' transit time for connecting flights to and from Paro Airport and to travel on non-restricted air tickets so that they can be rebooked on the first available airline if a connecting flight is missed.

    Passengers transiting through India will need a transit visa if they intend to leave the airport or spend a night in India.

    Please ensure you have hard copies of your flights into and out of Bhutan printed before you travel.

  • A couple of rules

    Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.

    Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure on their trip. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment at Intrepid, either between passengers or involving our leaders, local operators or locals.

    Sexual relationships (consensual or otherwise) between a leader and a passenger are unacceptable. If you ever feel another person is behaving inappropriately please inform us immediately by contacting the emergency contact number detailed in these trip notes.

  • Accommodation notes

    Please note that accommodation in Bhutan can be very simple and infrastructure is not what it is in other parts of Asia, such as electricity and water being very sporadic.

  • Transport notes

    Whilst there are approx 8000km of roads in Bhutan, the quality varies greatly depending on proximity to the major towns of Thimpu and Paro. As such, even short distances can take longer than expected. Bhutan is currently upgrading a lot of their road network and delays are common. Roads are narrow and speeds are slow. Landslides are common and occasionally trips are diverted due to debris blocking roads.

  • Your fellow travellers

    As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.

    SINGLE TRAVELLERS:
    Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.

  • Itinerary disclaimer

    Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Essential Trip Information a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff. We are here to help you! Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time.

    OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:
    A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

  • Accommodation

    Guesthouse (3 nights),Hotel (11 nights),Lodge (2 nights)

  • Physical preparation

    None of the activities featured in this trip require special training or skills, just a reasonable level of fitness and a willingness to participate. If you are in any doubt contact your doctor for advice.

    None of the activities featured in this trip require special training or skills, just a reasonable level of fitness and a willingness to participate. Many monasteries in Bhutanm are reached by long flights of steps. The hike to Tiger Nest Monastry is approx 5 hours return many uneven steps.  If you are in any doubt contact your doctor for advice.

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