Nepal & Bhutan Journey

Trip Code: HNKBC

Why we love it

Take a jeep safari with a local guide in Chitwan National Park – a beauty brimming with exotic wildlife – and you may be lucky enough to spot rhinos or elusive leopards and tigers., Visit a Tibetan refugee camp and get to know the community before taking on a cooking demonstration to learn how to create traditional momos (steamed dumplings)., Hike to Taktsang, commonly known as the Tiger's Nest, the small monastery clinging to a rocky cliff 900 metres above the valley floor, and soak in its magnificence., Discover the 15th-century fertility temple of Chimi Lhakhang, and visit the magnificent Punakha Dzong, an ancient fortress and religious centre that sits at the confluence of two rivers., Experience Bhutanese hospitality in the Paro Valley when you enjoy a homecooked meal at a rustic farmhouse and opt to take a soak in a traditional hot stone bath., By travelling on this trip, you'll directly support our Intrepid Foundation partner, Forget Me Not. Donations help them provide job training, work experience and employment opportunities for young people who've grown up in institutionalised Nepalese orphanages.

Is this trip right for me?

While on a map we aren't travelling particularly far, the reality of road travel in Nepal and Bhutan is that things always take longer than you expect. Some roads will be bumpy, dusty, or even unexpectedly blocked requiring reroutes and plenty of patience. We fly the farthest distances to make the most of our time together.

Bhutan is a high-altitude destination, so taking it easy for a day or two makes for a much more comfortable trip. Drinking tea and water and avoiding strenuous exercise will help you acclimatise after arriving.

The trek to Tiger's Nest is quite vigorous but well worth the climb. Please ensure you bring sturdy walking shoes and comfortable clothes. To make the most of this hike, it's best if you have at least a moderate level of fitness.

Hotels in some destinations may vary in standard and facilities, and on occasion, hot water may be limited. There will be times when the location of our accommodation will mean it is practical to eat at the hotel restaurant rather than heading out for meals.

You will see tour operators offering elephant riding activities and many tourists taking part in them during your time in Chitwan. Intrepid Travel has a strong elephant welfare policy and as such we discourage travellers from riding elephants in Nepal or anywhere around the world. Please refer to the ‘Responsible Travel’ section of the Essential Trip Information for more details.

Important information

1. Complimentary airport arrival and departure transfers are included. You must provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel.
2. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement excludes Days 5,6,9 (Guesthouse) and Days 7,8 (Lodge) where you will be in shared accommodation and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
3. Entry to Bhutan is very strict and travellers can only enter Bhutan on a group visa as part of a tour. All travellers must arrive on Day 12 and depart on Day 18 to be eligible for a group visa. At time of booking, please provide your booking agent with a scanned colour copy of your passport, a scanned colour passport photo, proof of travel insurance that includes your name on the certificate.
4. Please provide your full name exactly as per passport at the time of booking (including any middle names listed on your passport). Fees may apply for adding or amending details within 60 days of departure, and in some cases you will be required to cover the cost of issuing new tickets.
5. Bhutan's airlines are renowned for last minute changes to flight timetables into and out of Bhutan. Please allow a minimum of 24 hours transit time before and after your flights into and out of Bhutan. Timetables are available on the Druk Airlines and Air Bhutan websites.
6. This trip includes international flights as indicated on the trip map. This flight has a luggage allowance of 20kg for check in luggage and 5kg for carry on.
7. The Sustainable Development Fee, charged by the government of Bhutan, is included in your trip price. It only applies to the days you will spend in Bhutan.

What to bring/pack

What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage and walk with it for short distances or up or down a flight of stairs. Our travellers usually find the smaller their luggage is, the more they enjoy the trip not having to worry about carrying heavy bags! Aim to keep your main luggage under 15kg.

Many travellers carry their luggage in a compact smaller suitcase or backpack with wheels. We recommend your bag has carry straps or handles so it is easy to lift and carry for the times you are unable to wheel it (ie. on rough surfaces or up steps).

If you are taking overnight trains, or primarily using public transport then the smaller your luggage the easier it will be to store under or above bunks. Large suitcases may not be able to be taken on board. A lockable bag or small padlock for your bag will be useful especially when travelling on public transportation as well.

You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water, camera, swimming suit, waterproof pouch/bag for phone, hiking shoes and jacket etc. when you’re exploring during the day.

Below we have listed the essentials for this trip:, https://www.intrepidtravel.com/packing-list, WATER BOTTLE
Please bring your own water bottle to refill along the way. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please use the water dispensers which are provided on some of our vehicles and at some of our accommodation. Your group leader or local representative will advise whether tap water is safe to drink in your destination and if it is you can simply refill with tap water. When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day. If you are walking or trekking as part of your trip you will need to carry at least 2L of water with you.

Physical rating

 
2

BHUTAN:
A reasonable level of fitness is required to enjoy this trip. Many monasteries in Bhutan are reached by long flights of steps. The hike to Tiger Nest Monastery is approx 5 hours return via many uneven steps. You will be at altitudes of over 2500m, which can affect even the fittest traveller, so be prepared to be a little breathless and speak to your doctor prior to travel if you have any health concerns.

Joining your group

Hotel Ambassador, Lazimpat, Kathmandu, NEPAL, Phone: +977 14442726

Hotel Ambassador is located in one the most vibrant areas of Kathmandu (Lazimpat), within walking distance of the buzzing Thamel and Durbar Marg. Rooms have Wi-Fi, air conditioning, mini bar, TV, and safety deposit box.

Alternate Joining Point


Joining instructions

Intrepid offer a pre-arranged transfer service option.
Inquire with your agent and advise your flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to your trip departure. For your confirmed arrival transfer, you’ll be met outside Kathmandu airport by a transfer representative holding an Intrepid sign. If you have any trouble locating your transfer rep, or if your flight is going to be delayed, please call: +977 980 112 3617

Alternatively, there are two pre-paid taxi booths inside the terminal, one on each side as you exit the baggage claim area. They have fixed rates of NPR800 to anywhere in the Thamel area from 6am-8pm and NPR1000 from 8pm-6am. Otherwise you will need to bargain hard from the taxi rank outside of the airport - aim for NPR600. The drive into Thamel takes 30 to 40mins dependent on the traffic.

Please be aware that there may be porters outside the terminal offering their services for a fee. If you do not wish to use their services, be ready to kindly but firmly let them know.

Normal check in time at the hotel is after 12:00.

Finishing your trip

Bhutan Mandala Resort, Wangchang, Paro Bhutan, Paro, BHUTAN, Phone: +91 84477 47674

Alternate Finish Point

For trips departing on the following dates
use this finish point.
08 Apr 2024 (HNKBC240408)
06 Sep 2024 (HNKBC240906)
16 Sep 2024 (HNKBC240916)
07 Oct 2024 (HNKBC241007)
14 Oct 2024 (HNKBC241014)
21 Oct 2024 (HNKBC241021)
28 Oct 2024 (HNKBC241028)
04 Nov 2024 (HNKBC241104)
Tenzinling Resort
Lango
Paro
BHUTAN
Phone: +975 8272773
Fax: +975 8272503

A complimentary airport departure transfer is included. You must provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel. Your leader will advise your pick up time the day before your trip ends.

Meals & dietary information

Breakfasts included: 17

Lunches included: 9

Dinners included: 8

While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader or local representative will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. 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. If you have dietary requirements and/or food allergies, please let your booking agent know prior to departure.

FOOD IN NEPAL:
In Kathmandu and Pokhara there are plenty of restaurants and cafes for all tastes and budgets. For a glimpse at what traditional Nepali cuisine entails, check out our guide here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/guide-to-nepali-cuisine/

Nepal caters very well towards vegetarians and vegans with almost all restaurants having a veg section of the menu. Your group leader or local representative 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.

BHUTAN FOOD:
All meals are included with the cost of your trip to Bhutan. Generally, meals will be buffet style and taken in your hotel or guesthouse. Lunches and dinners normally include a selection of western, Chinese, or Indian style dishes, with some local specialties on occasion. Don't forget to try emma datse (chili and cheese) and red rice. Rice and vegetable dishes are always present for every meal. Vegetarians are well catered for and meat is the exception rather than the rule with most meals. Bottled and alcoholic drinks are not included with meals and are paid for separately.

Restaurants will cook three or four dishes per group to share. Choices are limited and feedback has suggested that the food isn't the main reason to visit Bhutan. Meals may become a little monotonous with similar offerings at most restaurants. 

Please don't be offended that your leader and driver do not eat with you. This is the custom in Bhutan and leaders and drivers generally eat together in another section of the restaurant.  

Climate & seasonal information

SEASONAL INFORMATION:
Nepal's climate varies greatly depending on the season:

JUN - SEP: 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. See what it's like to trek during monsoon here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/nepal-during-monsoon-season/

MAR-APR: Spring brings warm weather and spectacular rhododendron blooms. A popular time to visit and one of the peak times to trek.

OCT - NOV: Clear skies and warm days make autumn the peak season.

DEC - FEB: Winter brings cold temperatures and snow to the mountains. Good trekking, but remember to rug up.

Some towns, including Kathmandu, experience very high levels of seasonal smog which can lead to decreased scenic visibility.

WEATHER IN BHUTAN
Bhutan can be divided into three areas. In the south, you’ll find the lowlands fronting the Indian border, which enjoy a subtropical climate. This region sees monsoonal rains from June to mid-October and mild winters through December, January and February.

Travel north and the climate becomes progressively colder as the Himalaya rise. The central belt of the country, in the lower foothills of the Himalaya, features cold, dry winters and warm summers with monsoonal rains on the southern sides, while the valleys experience less rainfall thanks to the mountains’ protection.

In the northern regions, as the Himalaya rise above 2500 metres (8202 feet), the winters are cold and while the summer can be warm, the valleys are generally protected against monsoonal rain.

In case of emergency

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

We recognise that there may be times when your group leader or local representative may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the group leader or local representative to speak to their direct manager.

You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. Please do be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is completed, so informing us while still travelling will give us the opportunity to resolve the issue in real-time.

For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/

In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local office on the numbers below:

Intrepid local operator : Available for phone call on +30 697 800 6335 

Available for phone call or WhatsApp call on +977 980 112 3617

Accommodations

The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline only and may change. On some occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our preferred accommodation. In these cases, we will use a similar standard of accommodation.

Throughout the trip, we request that our properties prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However, this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination or on some trips, have use of shared day rooms until all rooms are available.

Transportation

MONSOON:
The monsoon season is from June to September and weather conditions can disrupt travel during this time due to flooding and landslides. Disruption of air travel and airport closures are also possible. Be prepared for your itinerary needing to change at short notice.

ROAD TRAVEL:
Roadworks and infrastructure projects can cause significant delays on major roads within cities and highways between destinations. Road travel can also be disrupted due to demonstrations and bandhs (strikes) without warning. Major roadworks are currently ongoing in and around Kathmandu and the roads to Chitwan National Park. Delays, heavy traffic, poor road conditions, and dust are a reality of road travel in Nepal.

AIR TRAVEL:
Nepal's only international airport, Tribhuvan International Airport, has a single runway that services both domestic and international flights. Cancellations and delays are frequent, especially during peak tourist seasons or in poor weather. Travellers have on occasion missed international connections as a result of this. Ensure you have adequate travel insurance and contact numbers for your airlines before departure.

BHUTAN:
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 its road network and delays are common. Roads are narrow and speeds are slow. Landslides are common, particularly after rain and occasionally trips are diverted due to debris blocking roads. Thimpu is also famous as the worlds only capital city without a traffic light.