HELI-HIKING: NEPAL & BHUTAN TOUR

Embark on 10-day journey across the countries of Nepal and Bhutan for an adventure rich in cultural history with our Heli-Hiking: Nepal and Bhutan Tour. Trek village to village on a fascinating expedition that combines hiking and incredible sightseeing using a helicopter to access remote areas of the backcountry. Witness the summit of Mt. Everest on our private, scenic helicopter flight through the upper Khumbu Valley. Tour cities full of intriguing landmarks and stunning countryside while traveling through Bhutan.

Let us help you create remarkable, lasting memories today with this once in a lifetime excursion.

SUMMARY

TRIP TYPE: Trek

ACTIVITY LEVEL: Moderate/Strenuous

TRIP LENGTH: 10 days/9 nights up to 15 days/14 nights

SPACES AVAILABLE: 16

TRIP COST: Contact us for pricing

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Explore the majestic Khumbu Valley
  • Experience the vibrant culture of the local Nepalese and Bhutanese people
  • Travel to ‘the Last Shangri La’ that is Bhutan

MEDIA

TEASER VIDEO

TREK TIPS: NEPAL

ITINERARY

Everest View & Heli-Hiking

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

  • A WWTrek representative will meet you at the airport and transport you to your hotel
  • Optional afternoon tour of Durbar Square (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
  • Overnight: Yak & Yeti Hotel
  • Meals included: D

Day 2: Cultural Tour of Kathmandu

Day 3: Visit Kopan Monastery & Thangka Painting School

Day 4 : Fly from Nagarkot (7,000') to Phakding (8,600')

  • This morning we will fly from Nagarkot to Phakding via private helicopter
  • Enjoy free time to explore the village of Phakding
  • Overnight: Yeti Mountain Home Phakding
  • Meals included: B/L/D
  • Domestic flight included

Day 5 : Trek from Phakding (8,600') to Monjo (9,300')

  • We will rise early to begin our trek to Monjo
  • Along the way, we will see the rushing Dudh Khosi River, with splendid views of snow-capped peaks
  • Overnight: Monjo teahouse
  • Meals included: B/L/D

Day 6: Trek from Monjo (9,300') to Namche (11,500')

  • Today we will enter Sagarmatha National Park and cross several suspension bridges as we trek through forests, rocks, and streams on our way to Namche
  • Overnight: Namche Hotel
  • Meals included: B/L/D

Day 7: Namche Acclimatization Day

  • Today we will enjoy the village and choose from various activities such as day hikes and enjoying the local shops
  • Overnight: Namche Hotel
  • Meals included: B/L/D

Days 8-9: Everest View Day / Weather Day

  • If the weather is fine, we will spend an additional day exploring Namche and the surrounding area
  • If the weather looks like it will turn foul, we will fly up the Khumbu Valley in private helicopters to enjoy breathtaking views of Mt. Everest and the surrounding peaks of the High Himalayas
  • After the Everest view flight, we will continue on to Lukla for our overnight stay
  • Overnight: Yeti Mountain Home Lukla
  • Meals included: B/L/D
  • Domestic flight included

Day 10: Fly from Lukla (9,000') to Kathmandu (4,600')

  • After breakfast, we will take a domestic flight from Lukla to Kathmandu, where we will check into the Hyatt Regency Hotel
  • There will be an optional tour of Boudhanath Stupa (UNESCO World Heritage Site), and time to explore Kathmandu
  • Overnight: Hyatt Regency Kathmandu
  • Meals included: B/L/D
  • Domestic flight included

ITINERARY

Bhutan Extension

Day 11: Fly from Kathmandu, Nepal (4,600') to Paro, Bhutan (7,200')

  • After breakfast, we will enjoy a scenic flight from Kathmandu to Paro, Bhutan
  • Overnight: Bhutan Metta Resort & Spa
  • Meals included: B/L/D
  • Domestic flight included

Day 12: Hike to Taktsang Monastery & Explore Paro

  • This morning, we will take a five hour round-trip hike to Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest)
  • Afterwards, we will drive to the ruins of Drukgyal Dzong and then visit a traditional Bhutanese farmhouse
  • Overnight: Bhutan Metta Resort & Spa
  • Meals included: B/L/D

Day 13: Drive from Paro (7,200') to Thimphu (7,500')

  • Today we will drive to Bhutan’s modern capital
  • Enjoy a guided Thimphu tour including the late King’s memorial chorten, the National Library, Drubthob Nunnery, Folk Heritage Museum, the handmade paper factory, the school of Zo Rig Chusum – (the thirteen crafts), gold and silver smith’s workshops, Zangtopelri Lhakhang, the Handicraft Emporium, and the local handicraft centers to see weavers, varieties of textiles, thangka paintings, masks, jewelry, etc.
  • Overnight: Hotel Kisa or equivalent
  • Meals included: B/L/D

Day 14: Return from Thimphu to Paro

  • Once we are back in Paro, we will visit the National Museum of the Kingdom, Rinpung Dzong, which houses the district Monastic Body and government administrative offices
  • Overnight: Bhutan Metta Resort & Spa
  • Meals included: B/L/D

Day 15: Fly from Paro to Kathmandu

  • After breakfast, we will take a scenic domestic flight from Paro back to Kathmandu, where we will check into the Hyatt Regency Hotel
  • That evening we will gather for a celebration dinner
  • Overnight: Hyatt Regency Kathmandu
  • Meals included: B/L/D
  • Domestic flight included

TRAVEL NOTES

Best time of year to visit:

  • Spring: March through May
  • Autumn: 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 the 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.

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