Premium Nepal & Bhutan

Trip Code: HNPEC

Why we love it

Experience two incredible Feature Stays – a stylish and elegant resort right on the border of Chitwan National Park, and a traditionally beautiful and eco-conscious resort tucked away in the gorgeous valley of Paro., Get an intimate look at local culture with Exclusive Experiences, including a cooking class with the Seven Women social enterprise, lunch with a Tibetan community in Nepal, and a conversation with a senior monk at a monastery in Bhutan., Witness world-class mountain scenery during a breathtaking Mount Everest flight and a picturesque hike through the inspiring landscapes of Pokhara., Come face to face with rare and fascinating wildlife in the breathtaking Phobjika valley, including a visit to a protection and information centre for black-necked cranes, a Premium Exclusive Experience., Climb to the teetering monastery of Taktsang (the Tiger's Nest) 900 metres above Paro’s valley floor and take in once-in-a-lifetime views.

Is this trip right for me?

Nepali infrastructure is still returning to normal after the 2015 earthquake, so some delays are inevitable. Embracing the slow pace and meditative atmosphere will go a long way toward your enjoyment of this beautiful country.

Prepare for some drives over narrow, winding roads. The drive from Pokhara to Chitwan is on very windy roads as you climb up and down mountains, there will be a lot of corners and don't forget to buckle up. In Bhutan short distances can take much longer due to small, narrow roads and mountain passes. Motion sickness can be an issue on longer driving days on windy roads.

A moderate fitness level is required for the hike in Pokhara and walks in Chitwan National Park. The hike to Tiger’s Nest can also be strenuous. The trek can take up to 5 hours and reach an altitude of 3120 metres.

Due to the high altitude of the places we visit in Bhutan some people can suffer altitude sickness, regardless of age, gender or fitness. It even happened to Sir Edmund Hillary! Please see the ‘Medical and Health Information’ section of the Essential Trip Information for more details.

All meals are included due to the nature of travelling in Bhutan. This means there may be limited choices on some days.

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 applies to all nights of your trip 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 9 and depart on Day 17 to be eligible for a group visa. At time of booking, please provide your booking agent with a clear uncut scanned colour copy of the two pages of the personal details section of your passport.
4. 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.
5. This trip includes domestic and international flights as indicated on the trip map. The luggage allowance for domestic flights is 15kg for check in luggage and 5kg for carry on. The international flight between Nepal and Bhutan has a luggage allowance of 20kg for check in luggage and 5kg for carry on. While in Nepal, you can store excess luggage at the Kathmandu hotel.
6. Travel is always an adventure and, as destinations reopen, there are a few challenges as everyone gets back up to speed and adjusts to the new normal. Our leaders are experts when it comes to dealing with anything unexpected along the journey, so pack your understanding and flexibility, sit back and relax while they take care of the rest.

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. We recommend you pack as lightly as possible, ensuring 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. Help will be on hand in most locations, but there may be times you need to handle your own luggage, for example in airports and train stations.

A lockable suitcase with wheels is ideal for this trip. It is recommended that you keep your main luggage weight around 15kg and certainly no more than 20kg. A small or medium-sized backpack (45-50 litres) is another good option.

You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water, camera, jacket, etc. when you’re exploring during the day.

Below is a link to our ultimate packing list, a guide to get you started:, https://www.intrepidtravel.com/packing-list

Physical rating

3

Joining your group

Everest hotel, Madan Bhandari Road Kasoa, Nepal, Kathmandu, NEPAL

Joining instructions

"If you have booked an arrival transfer with us, please ensure that we have been advised of your correct flight details into Kathmandu no later than 14 days prior to travel. The arrival transfer cannot be organized on the day of arrival.

Your arrival transfer will meet you after you exit customs. There are usually quite a few transfer drivers waiting and ours generally stand on the left hand side. Please look for our representative holding a sign with your name on it. If you have any trouble locating your transfer representative, or if your flight is going to be delayed, please call the following number: +977 980 112 3617 or the local transport service provider +977 9801020375.

Your transfer from the airport to our starting point hotel takes approximately 30-40 minutes depending on traffic.

Alternatively, there is a pre-paid taxi booth inside the terminal, on the side of arrival gate as you exit the baggage claim area. They have fixed rates of NPR 800 to anywhere in the Thamel area from 6am-8pm and NPR 950 from 8pm-6am. Otherwise you will need to bargain hard from the taxi rank outside of the airport - aim for NPR700. Make sure you agree to the price before you set off into town."

Finishing your trip

Tashi Namgay Resort, Opposite to Paro International Airport and on the bank of Paa Chu River http://www.tashinamgayresort.com/, Paro, BHUTAN, Phone: +975 8 272 318

Meals & dietary information

Breakfasts included: 16

Lunches included: 11

Dinners included: 11

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. 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 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.

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 will generally include a selection of western, Chinese, or Indian style dishes, with some local specialties on occasion. Don't forget to try the National dishes of emma datse (chili and cheese) and delicious 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.

Each restaurant typically will cook about 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.

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 our 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/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader 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 number below.

Intrepid’s Local Operator: +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 that the itinerary may need 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. There have been occasions when groups have had to have their itineraries altered. Your local leader will give you the most up to date information regarding delays to flights. 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.


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