Call us: +44(0)1453 844400Email us: info@mountainkingdoms.com

Worldwide Small Group and Tailor Made Adventure Travel

What’s included

  • Local English-speaking guides in Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet
  • All internal flights and hotel/airport transfers
  • Bhutan visa fee
  • Bhutan departure tax
  • 4-star standard hotel accommodation in Kathmandu, twin share, bed and breakfast basis
  • Best available hotels in Bhutan and Tibet, on a twin share, full board basis
  • All road transport by private vehicles
  • Sightseeing where specified
  • Economy class return air fares from the UK & UK Departure Tax (flight inclusive only)
  • Carbon offset for clients taking our flight-inclusive option
  • A free high-quality Mountain Kingdoms micro fleece
  • The opportunity to attend one of our pre trip meets in the Cotswolds

Cultural Highlights of Bhutan and Tibet Festivals

Tour

Bhutan, Tibet | Tour

Cultural Highlights of Bhutan and Tibet

Duration:  18 days from the UK

Flight inclusive from £4,210,
Land only from £3,415

Book now or call 01453 844400

Three Himalayan capitals, important cultural sites and unforgettable high mountain landscapes, all in one trip

Highlights

  • All the key cultural highlights including Tiger’s Nest Monastery, Potala Palace and Durbar Square
  • Join the festivities in 2018 at the impressive Thimphu or Paro Festival
  • A well-paced itinerary with ample time for sightseeing, optional walks and good acclimatisation
  • Good quality hotel accommodation throughout

Reviews          

An outstandingly well planned tour, clearly based on your detailed experience and excellent local agents in each country.
Mr H, Lanarkshire

Feel lucky to have been to Tibet, I can't praise it enough.
Mr S, Essex

We found Bhutan and Tibet interesting and worthwhile with lots of good walking and sightseeing. Our extension to Chitwan was extremely memorable due to the staff, guides and accommodation, the whole of the planned programmes ran to time. We met interesting people in the villages. The guides in Bhutan and Tibet were first class.
Mr & Mrs H, Gloucestershire

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Now that relations have eased between the United Kingdom and China and made travel to Tibet easier we are delighted to offer this Bhutan/Tibet combination tour.

Bhutan and Tibet are linked by their Buddhist culture but are scenically very different. In Bhutan we visit some of the finest monasteries in the country, including impressive Taktsang Monastery (the Tiger’s Nest) in Paro, and the magnificent riverside dzong at Punakha. We will also attend a colourful Bhutanese festival, a highlight of any visit.

In Tibet we travel to Samye Monastery, Tsedang and the ‘Valley of the Kings’ – the cradle of Tibetan civilisation. We then continue to busy Lhasa where we might join pilgrims on a ‘kora’ around the Potala Palace or join the throng visiting the ancient Jokhang temple. Added to the many treats on this holiday is a fuided tour of the main sights of bustling Kathmandu, Nepal.

Please note that the itinerary for this holiday will vary slightly in 2019. Download the 2019 Detailed Itinerary below for full information.


At a glance

Duration:  18 days from the UK

Max. Altitude: 3,658m/12,000ft in Lhasa

Guaranteed to run for a minimum of 4 clients

Maximum group size: 12

Land only joining city: Kathmandu

Accommodation types: Hotels

Festival:

March departure attends the Paro Tsechu.

September departure attends the Thimphu Tsechu.

Meal arrangements: Bed and breakfast in Kathmandu, all meals elsewhere.

Itinerary overview
Day Activity
1-3
(This is the itinerary for our spring 2018 departure. For other departures please download the relevant Detailed Itinerary below). Fly to Kathmandu, time at leisure.
4-5
Sightseeing in Kathmandu and Bhaktapur.
6
Fly to Paro, Bhutan. Sightseeing.
7
Attend the Paro Tsechu. Sightseeing.
8
Walk to Taktsang Monastery, and Paro Museum.
9
Drive to Punakha. Visit Dzong and Chimi Lakhang.
10-11
Drive to Thimphu. Sightseeing. Return to Paro.
12
Fly back to Kathmandu
13-14
Fly to Lhasa, Tibet. Drive to Tsedang. Visit Samye and the Yarlung Valley.
15-16
Drive to Lhasa. Visit Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple and Sera Monastery.
17-18
Fly to Kathmandu. Fly to London.
Leader: Local leader, Tibet tours
Local leader, Tibet tours

On arrival in Kathmandu you will be met and looked after by our partners there. Then once you arrive in Tibet, you will have an English-speaking Tibetan guide and driver/s. Guides are certified/registered guides, and in their company you will certainly gain an insight into the way of life, traditions and culture of the country you are visiting.

Leader: Local leader, Bhutan
Local leader, Bhutan

Our holidays in Bhutan are led by fully qualified English-speaking guides. Mountain Kingdoms have been taking visitors to Bhutan since 1986, and our guides are some of the best in the Kingdom. They speak fluent English, as this is taught in all Bhutanese schools, and are fully qualified guides. The Tourism Authority of Bhutan maintains that a Bhutanese trek or tour leaders must pass their guiding exams in Thimphu before accompanying groups of foreign visitors. Our guides receive regular ‘top- up’ training and 15 of our regular leaders have completed an extended training course organised by Mountain Kingdoms in Bhutan.


  1. Day 1 - Fly London to Kathmandu.

    Depart the UK to fly to Kathmandu.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Overnight Flight To Kathmandu
  2. Day 2 - Arrive Kathmandu.

    On arrival in Kathmandu you will be met and transferred to the Hotel Shangri La. This is a very comfortable hotel situated to the north of Thamel, the tourist district of Kathmandu. It has a lovely garden with a swimming pool and several excellent restaurants. The bustle of Thamel, with all its restaurants, shops and bars, is a 20 minute walk or 10 minute taxi ride away.

    You could eat in the hotel or head off into Thamel to one of the famous restaurants there, such as Rum Doodle Restaurant, a place frequented by trekkers and climbers alike, with pride of place given to a board with the signatures of many Everest summiteers.

    (Your Tibet permit will be finalised while you are in Kathmandu, so our local agents will ask you for your passport and payment).

    Overnight iconOvernight: Shangri La Hotel, Kathmandu or Similar
  3. Day 3 - Day at leisure in Kathmandu.
    cultural highlights of bhutan and tibet paro dzong n sloman.

    You have a day to relax and recover from your long flight.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Shangri La Hotel, Kathmandu
  4. Day 4 - In Kathmandu, sightseeing tour.

    You will have a morning free to relax. In the afternoon you will have a guided sightseeing tour. Firstly you will go to Swayambhunath, the so called 'Monkey Temple' because of the large numbers of monkeys that live there. This temple is said to be the divine lotus flower floating above the lake that once covered the Kathmandu Valley. This is the most famous image of Nepal - the all seeing stupa with eyes surveying every corner of the valley. You will then continue to Kathmandu Durbar Square, the ancient medieval centre of the city, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here you will see host of wonderful temples and palaces, including the temple of the Kumari, the so called 'living goddess'. You will then continue to Boudhanath with its huge stupa, a centre for Tibetan Buddhist culture. Pilgrims from all over Nepal, Tibet and India walk clockwise around this stupa, turning prayer wheels and chanting prayers.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Shangri La Hotel, Kathmandu
  5. Day 5 - In Kathmandu. Guided tour of Bhaktapur.

    In the morning you will have half a day sightseeing in Bhaktapur. Bhaktapur city, located just 9 kms from Kathmandu, is a real cultural gem. The city was one of three royal cities built by the former Malla kings who ruled the Kathmandu valley in the 15th century and many outstanding examples of the exceptional architecture and craftsmanship of the local Newari ethnic group are found there. Here you will see fine palaces and temples with gilded roofs, open courtyards and elaborate windows carved in wood. The main focus for the town is the central Durbar Square where many of the finest buildings are found - it is a Unesco world heritage site. Here is found the famous palace of 55 windows which shows some of the best examples of elaborately carved windows and doors. The city is still a centre for craftsmanship and is well known for its thangka paintings - Buddhist subjects hand-painted on fabrics such as silk or cotton.

    You will have the afternoon free.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Shangri La Hotel, Kathmandu
  6. Day 6 - Fly to Paro. Sightseeing.

    Transfer to the airport for the short flight up to Paro in Bhutan. On a clear day the panoramic views of the Himalaya are sensational, including Everest, but particularly exciting is the approach through the Bhutanese foothills and the landing, including a few steep turns to land at the tiny airstrip in the Paro Valley. Although you are at the mercy of the Druk air computer, if possible try to sit on the left hand side of the plane for the most spectacular views. In Paro you will be met by your Bhutanese guide and taken to your hotel. There should be time for some sightseeing in Paro with time for initial wander along the streets of the small township, a peek at the Queen Mother's Winter Palace, and walk up to look at the dzong.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Hotel Olathang Or Similar, Paro
  7. Day 7 - Attend Paro Tsechu.

    Today you will join the crowds to visit the final day of Paro Festival. Tsechus are colourful festivals of music and ceremonial dance staged in honour of Guru Rinpoche. They commemorate his great deeds, all believed to have taken place on the tenth day of the month - the meaning of the word, Tsechu. Such festivals are primarily religious but they are also a rare opportunity for the people to come together in all their finery to socialise, celebrate and have fun. The Bhutanese believe that they will achieve merit by attending the festival and by watching the masked dances and the event draws people in from even the remotest villages of the surrounding area. Archery is the Bhutanese national sport and there are often archery contests during festivals. You may be able to attend one. They are great fun, but watch out for flying arrows as contestants sometimes get a little overenthusiastic!

    If there is time you may be able to do a little sightseeing this afternoon.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Hotel Olathang or Similar, Paro
  8. Day 8 - Full day in the Paro Valley including walk to Taktsang Monastery.

    A short drive beyond Paro town takes you to the trail head for the walk up to the famous Tiger's Nest, Taktsang Monastery. The monastery is perched some 600m/2,000ft up on a cliff overlooking the valley and was said to be where the legendary Indian saint, Guru Padma Sambhava, flew from Tibet on the back of a tiger to defeat five demons, who were opposing the spread of Buddhism in Bhutan. It's a steep uphill walk through woods, of about 1½-2hrs, to reach a tea house (an ascent of 340m/1,115ft.) Apart from offering welcome refreshment this tea house is one of the principle viewpoints of Taktsang, and those who prefer not to climb any further can relax here whilst others continue on. If there is a particular religious gathering or VIP visit in progress, you will not be able to enter the monastery but the further half an hour's ascent is well worth it, as it brings you to another viewpoint directly across from Taktsang. If you are able to make a visit, the final section of the walk takes you from here steeply down 100m/330ft into the gorge that separates you from the monastery and then climbs back up again to reach the monastery gate.

    Later, you can explore the Paro valley further. You may drive to the end of the valley to visit the ruined monastery/fortress of Drugyel Dzong. This burnt down at the beginning of the last century when a monk overturned a butter lamp by mistake - however, it may not be coincidence that the destruction of the fortress occurred around the time when the Governor of Paro was opposing the Tongsa Penlop, who eventually became installed as the first hereditary ruler. From here, if the weather is clear you may see Mount Chomolhari to the north. Returning down the valley you may visit the ancient temple of Kyichu Lakhang and there may be time to see the some of the treasures from Bhutan's National Museum. The museum was closed for restoration following the earthquake in 2011 but until renovation is completed many of the artefacts and displays are temporarily housed in a nearby building.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Hotel Olathang or Similar, Paro
  9. Day 9 - Drive to Punakha, 4,199 ft/1,280m - 5 hours. Visit Dzong and Drukpa Kuenley's Temple (Chimi Lakhang).

    After breakfast you'll make the 5 hour drive to Punakha, the old winter capital. You pass the turn off to the capital, Thimphu and start the climb via a series of zigzags to cross the Dochu La Pass, 3,140m/10,302ft. On a clear day panoramic views can be had of the eastern Himalaya, including Bhutan's highest mountain, Gangkar Punsum, 24,770ft/7,550m. The road then drops down through varied forest finally emerging into the highly-cultivated Punakha valley.

    Reaching the valley you will visit Drukpa Kunley's temple built in the centre of the Punakha Valley and called Chimi Lhakhang. It is just a short walk across the paddy field to reach this temple built by the "Divine Madman" to celebrate his victory over the demoness of the Dochu La. It is famous because at this temple you find yourself surrounded by phallic symbols. Infertile women visit this temple to pray for children.

    The Divine Madman" - Drukpa Kunley (1455-1520)
    In Bhutanese mythology, Drukpa Kunley is one of the most beloved and revered sages of Tibetan Buddhism. Many are the legends that surround him and he followed a wandering lifestyle and was both an eccentric and highly regarded saint. He was renowned for his shocking behaviour and his ability to perform miracles. He taught a form of Tantric Buddhism and advocated that sexual freedom was at the centre of Truth. The wooden phalluses that hang from the corners of Bhutanese houses and the paintings of penises that you often see on either side of the front door of houses are a relic of his teachings.

    Later you will visit the spectacular Punakha Dzong (monastery/fortress), which was the power base for the old system of the re-incarnate rulers of the Kingdom. The remains of the original ruler of Bhutan, Nawang Namgyal, are kept in a small room at the top of the highest tower which only the king and the head of the monastic order are allowed to enter. Provided the head of the monastic order and his monks have not migrated from Thimphu it should be possible to view the inner courtyards of Punakha Dzong which has been beautifully renovated after being damaged in floods and which is now a showcase for fine Bhutanese craftsmanship.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Zhingkham Resort or Damchen Resort or Similar, Punakha
  10. Day 10 - Drive to Thimphu, 2,320m/7,612ft. Sightseeing.

    You will drive back over the Dochu La to Thimphu and you will have some sightseeing of the principal places in town. Firstly you could drive up to visit the huge new Buddha statue for views over town.

    Later you could visit the huge Tashichhodzong, part monastery, part administrative centre. Other highlights in Thimphu include the late king's memorial chorten, the textile museum, a visit to the indigenous hospital specialising in herbal medicine, and the school of painting. You can also visit a workshop to see handmade paper being made or the post office for some of Bhutan's fine editions of stamps. The handicrafts emporium Is a good place to buy traditional crafts or traditional dress.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Phuntso Pelri Hotel or Similar, Thimphu
  11. Day 11 - Sightseeing in and around Thimphu. Drive to Paro.

    This morning you will drive up to Sangaygang next to the Bhutan First Broadcasting Service tower, located in the North West of Thimphu. It is only about a mile drive up to the tower so if you feel like you would like to burn a bit more energy you can always walk up instead. From the tower you will have great views over Thimphu Dzong and the Thimphu valley as you start your walk contouring the beautiful hills to visit Wangditse Ghoempa. This walk should take around 1.5 hours. You will have time to visit the Ghoempa before you walk down for another 30 minutes to reach Dechen Phodrang Monastery. This Monastery houses around 450 student monks enrolled in a 8 year course. The monastery is also home to some fantastic UNESCO monitored 12th century paintings. You will then meet your vehicle and be driven back to Thimphu.

    While in Thimphu you might also like to visit the 'zoo'. This is in fact a very large enclosure (several acres) just above the town, containing only Takin, the very rare animal found exclusively in Bhutan and parts of China and possibly one of the most quirky and strangest looking animals you will ever see.

    Later you will drive back to Paro.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Hotel Olathang Or Similar, Paro
  12. Day 12 - Fly to Kathmandu.

    You will be taken to the airport to check in for your flight. Again you have a sensational take-off and scenic Himalayan flight back to Nepal, where you will be transferred to Hotel Shangri La. Depending on the flight schedule you should then have the afternoon free to relax by the pool or do some shopping or sightseeing. (Your Tibet permit will be finalised while you are in Kathmandu, so our agents will need your passport and payment for this).

    Overnight iconOvernight: Shangri La Hotel, Kathmandu
  13. Day 13 - Fly to Lhasa, Tibet. Drive to Tsedang, 3,550m /11,647ft - 2-3 hours.

    Transfer to the airport for the flight to Gonggar in Tibet. This is an exciting flight which goes east along the Himalaya, passes Everest (on the left hand side of the plane) and then cuts through the chain to continue north east towards Lhasa. At Gonggar (the airport for Lhasa) you will meet your Tibetan guide and your driver. You then drive east alongside the mighty Tsangpo River (called the Brahmaputra when it reaches India) to Tsedang at 3,550m/11,647ft. Tsedang, the capital of Shannan prefecture and the second largest city in Tibet after Lhasa, has some Tibetan buildings but as in so much of Tibet, Chinese influence is now predominant. But Tsedang does have an important place in the history of Tibet. It was here, on the nearby hill called Gongpo Ri that, according to legend, the Tibetan race originated, from the union of a monkey and an ogress. Tsetang was said to have been their playground.

    There might be time this afternoon for a little exploration - Tsedang has a Tibetan quarter with traditional houses and several monasteries of interest - but it is probably best to rest and take it easy to help acclimatise to the altitude although you will have already gained some acclimatisation in Bhutan. In the main street outside the Tsedang hotel there are lots of restaurants serving good food - so in the evening you might try locally caught fish served with lots of chillies, or a Chinese hotpot.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Tsedang Hotel or Similar, Tsedang
  14. Day 14 - Samye and the Yarlung Valley.

    Today you will have a full day around Tsedang. Firstly you will visit Samye Monastery. The drive by the newly built road to Samye now takes one hour. Until recently this important monastery could only be reached by taking a ferry across the Tsangpo River. This was an exciting boat ride but with the building of the road the ferry now only runs sporadically if at all.

    Samye was founded 1200 years ago and was the first monastery with monks in Tibet. It was the royal temple up to the end of the Yarlung Dynasty and is built in the shape of a Mandala. It is most closely associated with the Nyingmapa order of Buddhism, which is one of the oldest orders of Tibetan Buddhism and dates back to Padmasambhava, an Indian Buddhist master who is credited with bringing monasticism to Tibet in the eighth century. After your visit inside the monastery you might like to climb nearby Hepori Hill, considered one of the four sacred mountains of Tibet, for fantastic views over Samye. From the summit there are also wonderful views out across the Tsangpo Valley. After the visit to Samye you return to Tsedang.

    The area around Tsedang is considered to be the cradle of Tibetan civilisation. In the nearby Yarlung valley, a short half-hour drive from Tsedang, is the fortress/chapel of Yumbulakhang, a distinctive tapering structure perched on a crag, said to be the oldest building in Tibet and to have been built for the legendary King Nyentri Tsenpo. Its origins may date back more than 2,000 years. If you climb the ridge above Yumbulakhang you will get good views of the Yumbulakhang and the Yarlung Valley and the mountains to the south. The first cultivation in Tibet is thought to have started in this valley. It was also from Yarlung that early Tibetan kings unified Tibet in the 7th century. In nearby Chongye are found the burial mounds of these earliest kings. One of the larger mounds, topped by a monastery, is that of King Songsten Gampo who was the first royal patron of Buddhism in Tibet and in whose reign building of the Jokhang Temple was started. Tandruck Monastery, also situated near Tsedang, is one of the earliest Buddhist monasteries in Tibet, dating to about the same time as the Jokhang in Lhasa and you should have time to visit it on the way to Yarlung.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Tsedang Hotel or Similar, Tsedang
  15. Day 15 - Drive to Lhasa, 3,658m/12,001ft. Visit Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Market.

    After breakfast you will drive to Lhasa with visits to a couple of places on the way. Firstly you drive a short way off the main road to see the old manor house at Namseling. Built in the 14th century this large and ancient building was an aristocratic manor house and is one of the very few remaining non-religious buildings to be found in Tibet. Sadly it was allowed to fall into a state of some disrepair but there has been some restoration work and hopefully this wonderful old building is now saved from dereliction. Until the mid 20th century the house was the centre of a grand estate and was surrounded by farm buildings and thriving orchards and gardens. Some people in the village still remember the old days when the estate was fully functioning. Later, also within living memory, in the 1960's, the building was used as a school. There are lovely views from Namseling over the Tsangpo valley and towards Hepori Hill, which marks the area where Samye monastery is situated. Continuing towards Lhasa it is also worth taking a detour to visit the famous monastery of Mindroling, one of the few monasteries in Tibet belonging to the Nyingmapa sect (this is the sect to which the Sherpas of Nepal belong). You then continue, past the airport, and drive through a tunnel through the mountains and continue to Lhasa alongside the Kyichu River. Lhasa looks a very modern Chinese city and as you drive in you will pass the new railway line coming in from China. But despite this apparent modernity your first view of the Potala Palace will still take your breath away. Your hotel is in the Tibetan section of Lhasa and within walking distance of the Jokhang Temple and Barkhor market.

    After lunch you will visit the Jokhang Temple. This is the most sacred temple in Tibet and the centre of the Tibetan city. Pilgrims from all over Tibet flock to visit it. You will see them circling the Barkhor turning their prayer wheels or making full-length prostrations around the temple. To visit the Jokhang you will join these pilgrims as they shuffle round inside, making their offerings and feeding the thousands of flickering butter lamps. The temple was initially established in the 7th century by King Songtsen Gampo. It takes its name from the sacred image of the Buddha, the Jowo Shakyamuni, the most highly revered image in Tibet, a statue which was brought to Tibet by Songtsen Gampo's Chinese wife and which is now housed in one of the chapels of the Jokhang. The Jokhang itself was however originally designed by Nepalese craftsmen brought to Tibet by Songtsen Gampo's second wife who was from Nepal. Since that time the temple was further enlarged during the reign of the Fifth Dalai Lama. It is worth visiting the roof of the Jokhang for wonderful views of the city and surrounding hills.

    The Barkhor market is the area surrounding the Jokhang and is full of vendors selling all manner of wares; stirrups for dashing nomad horseman, tacky souvenirs for Chinese tourists and all sorts of other ephemera. Shops in the nearby streets display huge slabs of butter which pilgrims purchase to feed the butter lamps in the Jokhang temple. The characteristic rather cheesy smell of such temples is from these butter lamps. Part of the Barkhor market is now housed in a nearby building.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Kyichu Hotel or Shambala Hotel or Similar, Lhasa
  16. Day 16 - Sightseeing in Lhasa including the Potala Palace and Sera Monastery.

    Today you have a full day sightseeing in Lhasa. This will include the Potala Palace and the Norbulingkha, the former summer palace of the Dalai Lama. In the afternoon you will visit the Monastery of Sera.

    In the morning you will visit the Potala Palace. Luckily the Potala remained largely undamaged throughout the years of the Cultural Revolution. Songtsen Gampo was the first Tibetan ruler to establish a palace on this outcrop, the 'Red Hill', but construction of the grand palace that we see today began in 1645 during the reign of the Fifth Dalai Lama. The palace is named after Mount Potala, a sacred mountain in South India, and served as the home of successive Dalai Lamas and their monastic staff. You will start your tour at the top of the building where the view from the roof is stunning. You then work your way down through successive storeys and through a maze of rooms - through the living quarters of the Dalai Lama and down through numerous highly decorated chapels and colourful assembly halls. Walls are decorated with intricate murals and hung with painted thangkas. One of the most awesome rooms in the Potala is the Chapel of the Dalai Lamas' Tombs, which contains the massive golden stupa of the Fifth Dalai Lama and smaller stupas containing the relics of other Dalai Lamas. When you have completed your tour you may like to make a kora (circuit) right around the building, along with many Tibetan pilgrims who will be making the same circuit.

    You might also have time to visit the Norbulingkha; The name means 'Jewel Park' although nowadays it is known as 'People's Park'. The Norbulingkha was formerly the summer palace and recreation gardens of the Dalai Lama and it was from here that the present Dalai Lama escaped in 1959. The nearby Tibet Museum is also well worth a visit. Pass rapidly through the galleries justifying the Chinese occupation and you will find that the galleries on Tibetan Buddhism and Tibetan arts and crafts along with objects of everyday life are well worth the visit. There are many outstanding pieces on display.

    In the afternoon you will drive 40 minutes to Sera Monastery, one of the three great Gelukpa monasteries near Lhasa. This monastery dates back to the 15th century and was formerly a monastic township housing over 5,000 monks. Although many of the outlying buildings have been destroyed the principal buildings were left relatively intact and nowadays the monastic population is again over 300 monks. Sera is particularly famous for its great monastic debates and monks can still be seen debating in the debating courtyard. More prosaic but equally fascinating are the large monastic kitchens where monks prepare industrial quantities of food in huge copper cauldrons. It is quite a sight to see Tibetan tea being blended with a mixer the size of a road drill!

    Overnight iconOvernight: Kyichu Hotel or Shambala Hotel or Similar, Lhasa
  17. Day 17 - Drive to Gongar. Fly to Kathmandu.

    You will have a fairly early start for the hour's drive to Gonggar International Airport and the hour long flight to Kathmandu. The best views of Mount Everest are from the right hand side of the aircraft, although seating is allocated. However if you are on the left hand side you will get wonderful views of Mount Kangchenjunga. The flight to Kathmandu usually arrives by mid morning and you will hopefully be back in the Hotel Shangri La before lunch. This leaves the afternoon free for last minute shopping with time for a last meal in the evening to mark the end of your trip.

    Overnight iconOvernight: Shangri La Hotel, Kathmandu
  18. Day 18 - Transfer to the airport. Fly to London.

    After breakfast you will be taken to the airport for your return flight to the UK.

Map

Map Key

  • AirportAirport
  • General point of interestPoint of interest
  • Mountain RangeMountain Peak
  • TrekDay walk in this area
  • FlightsFlights
  • Internal TransfersInternal Transfers
  • Trek routeTrek

2018

Dates Availability Land Only Flight Inclusive from
Sat 15 Sep - Tue 2 Oct 2018 Available£3495 Book£4320 Book

2019

Dates Availability Land Only Flight Inclusive from
Sat 6 Apr - Tue 23 Apr 2019 Available£3415 Book£4210 Book
Sat 28 Sep - Tue 15 Oct 2019 Available£3415 BookContact us

Hold your place

Not quite ready to book? Why not call us on 0044 (0)1453 844400 to hold a no obligation place while you make up your mind?

 
Optional supplements
  • Single room supplement
    From £645
Insurance
  • Cover starts from £103
No Surcharge Guarantee

No surcharges will be applied to your holiday after you book. Prices on this website are updated regularly. The Flight Inclusive holiday price, or Land Only holiday price, will be confirmed to you at the time you make your booking. There will be no surcharges after your booking has been confirmed.

Flight inclusive holidays

The 'flight inclusive' holiday prices shown on this website are based upon our preferred airlines and the best priced economy class fares we are able to secure at the time of publication.

We will be able to advise on fares with alternative airlines, upgrades to Business Class, and the options for flights from regional UK airports, please contact us for more details.

What’s included

  • Local English-speaking guides in Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet
  • All internal flights and hotel/airport transfers
  • Bhutan visa fee
  • Bhutan departure tax
  • 4-star standard hotel accommodation in Kathmandu, twin share, bed and breakfast basis
  • Best available hotels in Bhutan and Tibet, on a twin share, full board basis
  • All road transport by private vehicles
  • Sightseeing where specified
  • Economy class return air fares from the UK & UK Departure Tax (flight inclusive only)
  • Carbon offset for clients taking our flight-inclusive option
  • A free high-quality Mountain Kingdoms micro fleece
  • The opportunity to attend one of our pre trip meets in the Cotswolds

What’s not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Nepal visa fees and Tibet permit (Bhutanese Visa is included)
  • Lunch and evening meals in Kathmandu
  • Optional trips
  • Tips


Review your holiday

Reviews

Read holiday reviews by Mountain Kingdoms travellers.

Overall score:           (Based on 5 reviews)

Perfect          

Wonderful experience.

Beautiful Bhutan          

Gross National Happiness. The concept of GNH will be one of our lasting memories of Bhutan, quite apart from the spectacular scenery, clean air, beautifully crafted architecture, wonderful people and chilli cheese! The effort, as part of the GNH concept, to retain the cultural heritage of Bhutan, whilst taking modern approaches to equality, education, health care and the environment makes visiting Bhutan such a joy. Seeing the old and young celebrating local festivals in their very finest national costumes, with only a very small minority wearing western clothing, was colourfu beyond measure. GNH gives hope that Bhutan will not rush headlong into becoming just another westernised (if remote) beauty spot.

Cultural Highlights of Bhutan and Tibet          

We found Bhutan and Tibet interesting and worthwhile with lots of good walking and sightseeing. Our extension to Chitwan was extremely memorable due to the staff, guides and accommodation, the whole of the planned programmes ran to time. We met interesting people in the villages. The guides in Bhutan and Tibet were first class.

Well planned          

An outstandingly well planned tour, clearly based on your detailed experience and excellent local agents in each country.

Cultural Highlights of Bhutan & Tibet          

Feel lucky to have been to Tibet, I can't praise it enough.


Extend your holiday

Dwarika’s Hotel & Dwarika’s Dhulikhel

Dwarika’s Hotel & Dwarika’s Dhulikhel
  • 5* Dwarika's heritage hotel in Kathmandu with a pool
  • Stylish Dwarika's Dhulikhel resort with panoramic mountain views
  • Relax in style with Ayruvedic Spa facilities and beautiful pools
  • First rate dining and luxurious rooms

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Extend your stay in Kathmandu at either of Dwarika's indulgent properties: a 5* heritage property offering a tranquil haven in central Kathmandu or a mountain retreat above the pretty town of Dhulikhel.

Both offer wonderfully spacious rooms with many touches of luxury together with Ayurvedic spa facilities and enticing outdoor pools. Dhulikhel's resort also offers a Himalayan salt room, a meditation room and a Chakra sound therapy centre - the ultimate in relaxation.

With produce grown on their own organic farm, Dwarika's has a reputation for serving superb food using the finest, local ingredients. The Krishparnan Restaurant at their hotel is considered one of the finest in Kathmandu and offers a true feast of Newari cuisine.


The Pavilions Himalayas, Nepal
  • Spend two or more tranquil nights in rural Pokhara
  • Sample the organic and locally sourced Nepali cuisine
  • Idyllic setting with mountain views
  • The resorts offers a swimming pool, spa and gym
  • Eco-friendly

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We are delighted to offer this new luxury stay in a rural location just outside Pokhara.  We are sure this is set to become a favourite with our clients.

The Pavilions Himalayas is a luxury resort set in beautiful farmland amid paddy fields in a tranquil rural location approximately 5km outside Pokhara. There are dramatic mountain views from the resort as well as Pokhara’s famous Peace Pagoda seen on top of a nearby ridge.

The beautiful rooms are set in individual villas and are large and comfortable, all having whirlpool baths, separate rain shower cubicles, enormous beds and offering wonderful hand made soaps and shampoos made with herbs from their garden.

All facilities at the resort are top of the range and include a lovely swimming pool and spa.  From the resort it is just a short drive to explore Pokhara or there are pleasant walks from the hotel or you can just chill at the resort, have a massage and enjoy the facilities.


Kathmandu Valley sightseeing, Nepal

Kathmandu Valley sightseeing, Nepal
  • Visit the ancient cities of Bhaktapur, Patan, Kathmandu and Timi with their stunning art and architecture
  • Observe traditional crafts such as pottery, woodcarving and thangka painting
  • Choose from a selection of full and half day guided tours
  • Travel in a private car with a driver and an English-speaking guide

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The Kathmandu Valley has a long and rich history and a vibrant culture and there is much that is worthwhile to see there - crowded bazaars, ancient temples, Buddhist stupas, crumbling shrines and picturesque palaces. The Malla kings who ruled in the valley created three major cities in the valley, Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Patan and each of these cities has buildings that are showpieces for the art and architecture of local Newari craftsmen. We offer a selection of half day trips and full day trips to these sites the valley.


Koshi Tappu, Nepal

Koshi Tappu, Nepal
  • Koshi Tappu is home to over 500 species of birds
  • Look out for exciting wildlife like jungle cats, crocodiles and rare water buffalo
  • Explore the park by foot, raft and jeep
  • Stay in the pleasantly located Koshi Camp

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Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve is one of the finest birdwatching and wildlife areas in all Asia. Located in south-east Nepal, the reserve covers 175 square kilometres with large expanses of open water created by the Koshi barrage, with marshes, lagoons, sandbanks and mudflats offering an outstanding wetland habitat. The reserve is home to over 500 species of birds, with the resident inhabitants being joined by large numbers of migratory species from Siberia and Tibet, which take up residence from November to February. The Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve provides one of the best places in Nepal to view migratory water fowl, waders and shore birds with many species seen here which are not recorded elsewhere in the region.

There is also much wildlife to be seen in Koshi Tappu including blue bull, golden jackal, Bengal fox, fishing cat, jungle cat, mongoose, civet cat, porcupine, Indian flying foxes and rare Gangetic dolphins as well as rare Marsh Mugger crocodiles.  In addition, Koshi Tappu is the last habitat of the endangered Arna, a type of wild water buffalo.

During your visit you will explore the park with bird and animal spotting from a raft trip on the Koshi River, birdwatching walks, jungle walks and jeep trips. You will also have the opportunity to visit a family in one of the very interesting nearby local villages for a taste of rural Nepalese life. The Koshi Camp offers simple but comfortable accommodation and an expert staff of naturalists and birdwatchers to give you a comprehensive introduction to this wonderful area.


Bhutan Hotel Upgrades
  • Upgrade your accommodation for your trip in Bhutan.
  • Choose from boutique and spa hotels in various destinations.
  • Stay in luxurious properties with first rate service and facilities
  • Enjoy fine dining and indulgent rooms

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For our brochure trips to Bhutan we offer good standard tourist hotels and lodges, however, Bhutan also offers some lovely boutique and spa hotels which we are pleased to offer as upgrades on your trip. We offer a range of properties in Paro, Thimphu, Punakha and other towns all of which provide excellent facilities and service as well as attractive locations.


Tiger Mountain Lodge, Pokhara
  • Fly from Kathmandu to Pokhara in the Annapurna range of Nepal
  • The lodge is an ideal base for you to relax in a rural mountain setting
  • Beautiful outdoor swimming pool reflecting view of the Annapurna range
  • Delicious Nepali dishes & continental specialities made from local fresh ingredients, home-grown herbs & garden salads

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Why not extend your adventure in Nepal by visiting the beautiful Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge. Tiger Mountain Pokhara lodge is a lovely place, situated on a ridge half an hour outside Pokhara and enjoying the most stunning mountain views over the Annapurna range of mountains.

The lodge is an ideal base for you to relax in a rural mountain setting, away from the bustle of town. With a central lodge, bar and dining room, the comfortable rooms are arranged in clusters of cottages resembling a Nepali village. All have attached bathrooms, private verandas and Himalayan views. Daily menus feature a range of Nepali dishes as well as continental specialities made from local fresh ingredients and home-grown herbs and garden salads. You may enjoy lovely walks through the forests and villages of the lovely countryside surrounding the lodge, escorted by trained local guides. The beautiful swimming pool reflects the distant white peaks of the Annapurna range. The lodge also offers a range of Ayurvedic and shiatsu therapy and yoga and meditation sessions are also available (at additional cost). You may also venture further afield to visit Pokhara, Nepal’s second city located on a lovely lake and also enjoying spectacular views.


Everest Flight
  • Fly within five nautical miles of Everest
  • As well as Everest, see views of other 8,000m giants; Makalu, Kanchenjunga, Cho Oyu and Lhotse
  • Flights operate in the early morning, when weather conditions are at their best.

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While in Kathmandu, why not experience the spectacular sight of Mount Everest? Instead of trekking into the region to gain a good view of this must-see landmark you could see it in under an hour! We fly with either Buddha Air or Mountain Air who both operate modern Raytheon Beechcraft 1900 aircraft. These hold between 16 and 18 people and as the seating is only two abreast everyone is guaranteed a window seat.


Chitwan National Park
  • Activities include; bird watching, elephant washing, canoe ride, elephant experience, landrover safari and jungle walks
  • Choice of accommodation from budget to luxury
  • Suitable to add to any holiday flying in/out of Kathmandu

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Why not extend your adventure in Nepal by visiting Nepal’s jungle region for a complete contrast to the high mountains and the Kathmandu Valley. Chitwan is home to a rich and varied wildlife. Here are found wild elephant, rhinos, leopard, sambar, chital (spotted) deer, wild boar and
arguably the most magnificent of cats, the Royal Bengal Tiger. You may even see sloth bear, gaur (wild cattle) and crocodiles. Chitwan is also wonderful for birdlife especially in the spring, when the jungle rings day and night to the calls of several kinds of Asian cuckoo.


Shivapuri Heights Cottage extension
  • Escape the crowds and hustle and bustle of Kathmandu
  • Walks available from the cottage - explore the nearby countryside
  • Single and double rooms available, or exclusive hire of the entire cottage
  • Breakfast and dinner included, plus unlimited tea and coffee

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While in Kathmandu, why not experience an exclusive, private, home away from home? Shivapuri Heights Cottage is a “home-stay-style” property that offers a great escape from the hustle and bustle of the City. It is located in 2 acres of land at an altitude of 6,000ft /1,830m on the edge of the protected Shivapuri Reserve, with beautiful views looking down into the Kathmandu Valley.


Bardia National Park - extension

Bardia National Park - extension
  • Jungle activities including an elephant experience, bird watching, rafting and nature walks
  • See wild elephant, rhinoceros, leopard, deer, wild boar and if you are lucky, the famous Royal Bengal Tiger
  • Stay at the delightful Tiger Tops Karnali Lodge situated on the edge of the park

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After your adventurous time in the Himalaya why not add a relaxing Jungle Safari to your trip?
The Royal Bardia National Park is situated in the west of Nepal. We use Tiger Tops Karnali Lodge, which is acknowledged to be the best lodge in the area. Bardia’s remote geographic location and the fact that the lodge has only 12 rooms, lends a degree of exclusivity to the experience, in comparison to other more popular parks. From the lodge you will be able to participate in safaris and have the chance of seeing some of the country’s wonderful wildlife, for instance, wild elephant, rhinoceros, leopard, deer, wild boar and if you are lucky, the famous Royal Bengal Tiger. There is also the possibility of visiting the villages of the Tharu tribal people that surround the lodge. With its abundant wildlife, relaxing lodge and first class service, our Bardia extension is an experience you will savour!


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