Delve into a magical journey that provides the best of Nepal and Bhutan at a relaxed, comfortable pace with our 11-day Himalayan Kingdoms Trek. Explore Kathmandu’s sacred sites while enjoying jaw-dropping views of Mt. Everest with your own personal charter plane flight. In Bhutan, guests experience enigmatic country known as the ‘last Shangri La.’ Witness beautiful monasteries clinging to the mountainside and ancient fortresses framed by forests in every shade of green.
Experience both Nepalese and Bhutanese culture first-hand. Let us guide you on this once in a lifetime Himalayan adventure today.
TRIP TYPE: Trek
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Moderate/Strenuous
TRIP LENGTH: 11 days/10 nights
SPACES AVAILABLE: 14
TRIP COST: From $6,300/person/double occupancy
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
TREK TIPS: NEPAL
- After breakfast, enjoy a guided Thimpu 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, thangko paintings, masks, jewelry, etc.
- Overnight: Hotel Kisa or comparable
- Meals included: B/L/D
- Today we will take a three-hour scenic drive from Thimphu to Punakha, we will drive through Dochula Pass and then stop to visit Wangdue Phodrang Dzong
- During the drive, you will be able to enjoy views of the Himalayan peaks Masagang, Tsendagang, Terigang, Jejegangphugang, Kangphugang, Zongphugang, and Gangkar Puensum (highest peak in Bhutan at 24,596′)
- When we arrive in Punakha, you will have the option to visit Punakha Dzong
- Overnight: Hotel Vara or equivalent
- Meals included: B/L/D
- After breakfast, we will drive to Paro, stopping along the way to visit Simtokha Dzong, the oldest fortress in Bhutan
- Legend has it that this fortress was built to subdue an evil spirit
- 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
- This morning, we will take a drive to the ruins of Drukgyel Dzong and then visit a traditional Bhutanese farmhouse
- We will then take a five hour round-trip hike to Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest)
- Overnight: Bhutan Metta Resort & Spa
- Meals included: B/L/D
- Take an early flight to Kathmandu and then enjoy lunch on your own and free time to explore and shop
- We will hold a farewell celebration dinner this evening
- Overnight: Hyatt Regency Kathmandu
- Meals included: B/D
- International departures from Kathmandu Airport (KTM)
- 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
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.
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 email@example.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, VISA, AND 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Nepal: 27.8 million | Bhutan: 753,947
Nepal: UTC+5:45 | Bhutan: UTC+6:00
Kathmandu, Nepal | Thimphu, Bhutan
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.
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.
The official currency in Nepal is the Nepalese Rupee Introduced in 1932, the Rupee is abbreviated Rs. Check online for current conversion rates.