ANNAPURNA MASSIF & BHUTAN TREK

Encounter the perfect combination of outdoor adventure and cultural experience on our 15-day Annapurna Massif and Bhutan Trek. Enjoy a relaxed pace with this expedition spread over four days that brings guests to Poon Hill: a point that provides one of the greatest vantage points in all of the Himalayas with a 360-degree view of the Annapurna Massif peaks including Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, and Fish Tail. Fly down from Poon Hill via scenic helicopter flight to begin the tail end of this trip. The Bhutan portion offers a variety of adventures ranging from gentle river rafting, visiting the oldest fortress in Bhutan, and hiking to the “Tiger’s Nest” Paro Taktsang Monastery.

Stand in awe at the enchanting sight of the Annapurna Massif peaks while experiencing the rich culture of both Nepal and Bhutan.  Let us guide you on this once in a lifetime experience today.

SUMMARY

TRIP TYPE: Trek

ACTIVITY LEVEL: Strenuous

TRIP LENGTH: 15 days/14 nights

SPACES AVAILABLE: 16

TRIP COST: Contact us for pricing

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Explore the Annapurna Range in all its majesty
  • Experience the vibrant culture of the local Nepalese and Bhutanese people
  • Travel to ‘the Last Shangri La’ that is Bhutan and visit the “Tiger’s Nest” monastery

MEDIA

TEASER VIDEO

TREK TIPS: NEPAL

ITINERARY

Day 1: Welcome to Kathmandu (4,600')

  • Guests will purchase visa, advance through customs, and transfer to hotel
  • Optional afternoon walking tour to Durbar Square, a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kathmandu Valley
  • Welcome reception, dinner, and folk dancing show
  • Overnight: Yak & Yeti Hotel
  • Meals included: D

Day 2 : Kathmandu Cultural Tour

  • Morning orientation and briefing
  • Kathmandu Cultural Tour of parts of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kathmandu Valley, including: Swayambhunath (“Monkey Temple”) & Bagmati River
  • Return to hotel for gear check Overnight: Yak & Yeti Hotel Meals Included B/L/D
  • Overnight: Yak & Yeti Hotel
  • Meals included: B/L/D

Day 3: Pokhara (2,713') to Hille | 5.5 miles | 5-6 hours

  • Regional flight to Pokhara Airport (2,713’)
  • Drive from Pokhara to Nayapul (3,317’)
  • Trek from Nayapul to Hille through the Modi Khola River Valley
  • Overnight: Teahouse
  • Meals included B/L/D

Day 4: Trek From Hille to Ulleri (6,430') | ~6.5 miles | 7-8 hours

  • Trek up pastures and cultivated fields beside a cascading river from Hille to Ulleri
  • View Annapurna South (23,684’) in the distance, peaking over the horizon
  • Overnight: Teahouse
  • Meals included: B/L/D

Day 5: Trek from Ulleri to Ghorepani (9,429') | 4 miles | 4-5 hours

  • Trek from Ulleri to Ghorepani
  • Overnight: Teahouse
  • Meals included: B/L/D

Day 6: Explore Poon Hill (10,433') & Helicopter Flight | ~1 mile | 1-2 hours

  • Early morning walk up Poon Hill
  • Enjoy unobstructed 360-degree views of the High Himalayas & Annapurna Massif – Annapurna (26,545’), Dhaulagiri (26,795’), Fish Tail (22,943’)
  • Scenic helicopter flight of the Annapurna range
  • Return to Pokhara
  • Afternoon options at Phewa Tal – 2nd largest lake in Nepal: walking, cycling, boat rental* (additional charge)
  • Overnight: Fish Tail Lodge
  • Meals included: B/L/D

Day 7: Pokhara Cultural Tour

  • Enjoy the lively culture in Pokhara on a full-day Cultural Tour, including:
    • Tal Barahi Temple
    • The Old Bazaar
    • International Mountain Museum
  • Dinner with evening Cultural Show Overnight: Fish Tail Lodge
  • Meals included B/L/D

Day 8: Fly from Pokhara to Kathmandu (4,600')

  • Return flight from Pokhara to Kathmandu | 30 minute flight
  • Afternoon tour of Boudhanath Stupa, the largest stupa in Nepal and the holiest Tibetan Buddhist temple outside Tibet, also a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kathmandu Valley
  • Relaxing evening at hotel
  • Overnight: Hotel Yak & Yeti
  • Meals Included: B/L/D

Day 9: Fly from Kathmandu, Nepal to Paro, Bhutan | Drive from Paro to Thimphu (7,612')

  • Fly from Kathmandu to Paro, Bhutan (7,200’)
  • Transfer via vehicle to Thimphu, the modern capital town of Bhutan (7,612’)
  • Afternoon visit to Tashichho Dzong, a Buddhist monastery and fortress on the northern edge of the city
  • Visit to Buddha Park – Great Buddha Dordenma, a large statue that was built to bestow blessings, peace, and happiness on the whole world
  • Enjoy Bhutanese dining this evening
  • Overnight: Namgay Heritage Hotel
  • Meals included: B/L/D

Day 10: Thimphu Tour | Punakha (4,284')

  • Morning tour of Thimphu, including:
    • Late King’s Memorial Chorten
    • National Library
    • Drubthob Nunnery
    • Folk Heritage Museum
    • Handmade Paper Factory
    • School of Arts and Crafts
    • Gold and Silversmiths
    • Handicraft Emporium
  • Scenic drive to Punakha
  • Brief stop at Dochula Pass (10,334’), to enjoy views of peaks such as: Masagang, Tsendagang, Terigang, Kangphugang, Zongphugang, Gangkhar Puensum, the highest peak in Bhutan at Trongsa (24,836’)
  • Enjoy relaxing in the town of Punakha for the evening
  • Overnight: Vara Hotel
  • Meals included: B/L/D

Day 11: Hike Khamsum Yulley Namgyal | River Raft Mo Chhu River

  • Hike in the morning to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten, built to promote world peace, stability and harmony
  • Scenic, gentle raft trip down Mo Chhu River (class II rapids) to Punakha Dzong
  • Visit Punakkha Dzong, built strategically at the junction of Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu Rivers to serve as religious and administrative center of the region
  • Overnight: Vara Hotel
  • Meals included: B/L/D

Day 12: Drive from Punakha to Paro

  • Scenic drive from Punakha to Paro
  • Visit Simtokha Dzong, the oldest fortress in Bhutan, built in 1627, now housing the religious studies school
  • Afternoon visit to Ta Dzong, the National Museum of the Kingdom
  • Walk down a hillside trail to Rinpung Dzong, built in 1646 by the first spiritual and temporal leader of Bhutan
  • Overnight: Metta Spa or comparable
  • Meals included: B/L/D

Day 13: Paro Taktsang Monastery | 5.2 miles | 5 hours

  • Morning transfer to ruins of Drukgyel Dzong
  • Visit traditional Bhutanese farmhouse
  • Transfer to beginning of hike to Paro Taktsang Monastery, “Tiger’s Nest”, the most famous monastery in all of Bhutan
  • Overnight: Metta Spa or comparable
  • Meals included: B/L/D

Day 14: Fly from Paro, Bhutan to Kathmandu, Nepal

  • Fly from Paro to Kathmandu and enjoy afternoon free time for shopping or relaxation
  • Farewell Celebration Dinner
  • Overnight: Hyatt Regency – Kathmandu
  • Meals included: B/D

Day 15: Departure Day

  • International departures home
  • Meals included: B

HUMAN OUTREACH PROJECT IN NEPAL

One of World Wide Trekking’s founding principles is giving back to the places we travel. Through our sister non-profit, Human Outreach Project, we are making a difference in lives around the globe, and connecting trekkers with voluntourism opportunities in local communities. We have a number of diverse projects in Nepal that WWTrek guests can get involved with.

The Human Outreach Project started with the decision to support Ang Pasang’s children after his tragic death. Our projects in Nepal have grown to include trekking dental supplies in to the remote Namche Dental Clinic, supporting the Himalayan Rescue Association by rebuilding the Manang medical clinic, and improving the conditions at Juving Secondary School by adding a solar powered computer center and an industrial water filter. We have also supported many other projects, including emergency earthquake relief and cataract surgeries; find out more at HumanOutreachProject.org

TRAVEL NOTES

Best time of year to visit:

  • Spring: March through May
  • Fall: September through November

This prime trekking weather is due in part because Nepal experiences two main seasons: wet and dry. You might end up drenched during the monsoonal period from June through September.

Arrivals & Departures:

This trip begins and ends in Kathmandu, Nepal. You will fly into and out of Tribhuvan International airport (KTM). The domestic flights between Kathmandu, Nepal and Paro, Bhutan are included.

*Many guests prefer to arrive before, or leave after, the scheduled itinerary. We can help you make arrangements. Additional charges for early arrival, transportation, lodging, meals, and activities will apply.

Recommended Flights:

International airfares are not included in program pricing. WWTrek has an expert travel agent that can help you with all of your travel arrangements. Danny Genung at Harr Travel is more than happy to review the many flight options from the U.S. to Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport (KTM). You can reach him at danny@harrtravel.com or 909.266.0117.

The benefit of using a travel agent is in the event of itinerary changes, the travel agent will find the best flight connections, and land arrangements, for you. Though third-party travel websites are convenient, we do not recommend using them due to instability in the itineraries. We also recommend that you protect your flight with travel insurance and a refundable ticket.

Customs, Visas, & Immigration:

You will need a Nepal Entry Visa. Upon clearing customs in Nepal, you will be required to purchase a 30-day entry visa. The visa costs $40, so make sure to bring cash with you. It helps to have exact change. In addition, remember to bring two passport photos for the visa. Waiting and trying to have these taken in the Kathmandu airport will not only cause you undue delays, but it also tends to be exceedingly expensive.

Accommodations:

Upon arrival in Nepal, you can expect the finest accommodations while staying in the Yak and Yeti or comparable hotel in Kathmandu. Enjoy stays in other hotels including the Fish Tail Lodge, Namgay Heritage Hotel, and Vara Hotel to name a few. Sleep in modest teahouses while on the mountain trekking to Everest base Camp. Visit our blog for more information about Nepalese teahouses.

Our Team:

World Wide Trekking boasts an extensive support crew for all of our groups ranging from 8 to 12 people. At headquarters in Salt Lake City, our staff is dedicated to helping you every step of the way. If you’re planning your trip and have a question about which boots to buy, our adventure specialist is just a phone call away.

We provide medically certified, English-speaking Western guides for all of our adventures. Additionally, you have access to a local operations manager and a plethora of local professionals to aid the group on the mountain including porters, a tent crew, chefs, servers, dishwashers, separate toilet attendants, and anything else you can think of.

Gratuities:

As in many parts of the world, gratuities are a symbol of a job well done. In addition to recognizing service people such as taxi drivers, restaurant, and hotel personnel, we also acknowledge our staff with a gratuity.

You should plan to tip any service person that helps you, 10% for taxi drivers and restaurant staff is the norm. Check to see that a gratuity is not already included in the bill. Remember, if tipping in US dollars, when calculating the exchange rate; be careful not to tip too much. As you know, tipping is your option and a reflection of the quality of service you receive.

Trekking Staff: At the trails-end, you will have the opportunity to contribute to a group tipping pool presented as we say our goodbyes.

Currency Exchange:

You can easily exchange money in Kathmandu after you arrive. We will allot a specific time for all of our guests to exchange money during our Kathmandu Cultural Tour on day 2. Local currency is best on the trek. Spending varies depending on the person. We always recommend bringing $500 cash with you on your trip for incidentals, sodas, snacks, or souvenirs.

GENERAL INFORMATION

Country:

A landlocked sovereign nation, Nepal encompasses an area of 56,827 square miles (147,181 sq km) and has a population of approximately 30 million. The rugged, mountainous terrain has proven to be key in both the preservation of the nation’s deep cultural heritage as well as a hindrance to its worldly development.

Bhutan is a landlocked country and the smallest state in Asia to be located entirely within the Himalaya mountain range. Located in the Eastern Himalayas, it is bordered by China in the north and India in the south. In South Asia, Bhutan ranks first in economic freedom, ease of doing business and peace; second in per capita income and is the least corrupt country, as of 2016. However, Bhutan continues to be a least developed country.

Population:

Nepal: 27.8 million  |  Bhutan: 753,947

Time Zone:

Nepal: UTC+5:45  |  Bhutan: UTC+6:00

Capital City:

Kathmandu, Nepal  |  Thimphu, Bhutan

People:

Sherpas: The people of the Khumbu

The Sherpas are an eastern, indigenous people living in the eastern regions of Nepal. The word Sherpa is a combination of two Tibetan words, “Shyar,” meaning east, and “Pa,” or people. They are indeed easterners both in origin and present location of settlement, as they migrated from Eastern Tibet and now live in Eastern Nepal. While traditionally Sherpas were farmers and traders, today many work in mountaineering, trekking, or portering. The Sherpa people are known for their strength and relationship to the mountains. Therefore, the Khumbu region is well known as “Sherpa Land.”

Bhutanese people primarily consist of the Ngalops and Sharchops, called the Western Bhutanese and Eastern Bhutanese respectively. The Lhotshampa, meaning “southerner Bhutanese”, are a heterogeneous group of mostly Nepal ancestry. The Ngalops primarily consist of Bhutanese living in the western part of the country. Their culture is closely related to that of Tibet. Much the same could be said of the Sharchops the dominant group, who traditionally follow the Nyingmapa rather than the official Drukpa Kagyu form of Tibetan Buddhism. In modern times, with improved transportation infrastructure, there has been much intermarriage between these groups.

Language:

There are over one hundred different languages spoken in Nepal by the various ethnic groups. The main language spoken throughout the regions of Nepal, is Nepali. Our trek will take us through the Khumbu Valley where the villagers speak Sherpa, a Tibetan dialect, as well as Nepali.

The national language is Bhutanese (Dzongkha), one of 53 languages in the Tibetan language family. The script, here called Chhokey (“Dharma language”), is identical to classical Tibetan. In schools, English is the medium of instruction and Dzongkha is taught as the national language. Ethnologue lists 24 languages currently spoken in Bhutan, all of them in the Tibeto-Burman family, except Nepali, an Indo-Aryan language.

Culture & Religion:

The people of Nepal are as diverse as the land that sustains them. Inhabiting different altitudes, various ethnic, tribal, and social groups have maintained their unique heritage for centuries. Since the 1950’s, many Tibetan refugees now call Nepal home and contribute to the country’s vast array of culture.

Eighty percent of the population practice Hinduism, the world’s third largest religion as well as the oldest. Originating in India, Hinduism’s eclectic religious, philosophical, and cultural roots are characterized by their belief in reincarnation. The belied that one absolute being or soul is reborn multiple times in various manifestations until they achieve enlightenment. Ten Percent of the population practice Buddhism while the remaining 10% are either Muslim, Christian or Kirant (an indigenous religion). Both participants of Hinduism and Buddhism share many of the temples throughout Nepal, as their beliefs are similar. Often times, religious and cultural practices are difficult to distinguish as many individuals often employ dual faith practices.

Bhutan has a rich and unique cultural heritage that has largely remained intact because of its isolation from the rest of the world until the mid-20th century. One of the main attractions for tourists is the country’s culture and traditions. Bhutanese tradition is deeply steeped in its Buddhist heritage. Hinduism is the second most dominant religion in Bhutan, being most prevalent in the southern regions. The government is increasingly making efforts to preserve and sustain the current culture and traditions of the country. Because of its largely unspoiled natural environment and cultural heritage, Bhutan has been referred to as The Last Shangri-la.

Money:

The official currency in Nepal is the Nepalese Rupee Introduced in 1932, the Rupee is abbreviated Rs. Check online for current conversion rates.