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Nestled between China and India, Bhutan is largely isolated from the outside world and has remained virtually unchanged for centuries. Boasting stunning natural scenery and quiet townships, the country is dotted with ancient Buddhist temples, welcoming smiles and crimson-robed monks.
Depart London on your scheduled overnight flight to Kathmandu in Nepal.
On arrival in Kathmandu, you will be met by your guide and transferred to your hotel.
Following breakfast fly to Paro in Bhutan where your guide will welcome you into the fresh Himalayan air. After lunch, commence a short tour of the nearby Rimpung Dzong to learn about the painting of the great Saint Milarepa. Tracing the Pachu River, your group will arrive in the city of Thimphu in the early evening.
Once a rustic village sitting in a low lying broad, Thimphu is the nation's bustling capital and the only city in the world that does not use traffic lights. Today enjoy a full day tour, beginning with the Memorial Chorten where locals gather to spin their prayer wheels and murmur Buddhist mantras. Next visit the 12th century Changangkha temple and Drubthob Nunnery before continuing to the National library to see some of the most ancient Buddhist texts. After lunch a trip to the Painting School reveals where students undergo a six year training course in Bhutan's traditional arts. Before dinner, make a short drive to the large golden Buddha known as Kuensel Phodrang, situated on a hill with views over the capital.
After an early breakfast take a scenic drive to Punakha across the Dochula pass, which on a clear day affords stunning vistas of the snow-capped Himalayan peaks. On arrival in Punakha visit the Punakha Dzong, also known as the Palace of Happiness, the winter headquarters for hundreds of monks who migrate from Thimphu to enjoy its warmer climate.
This morning drive to Yabesa village to begin a gentle yet beautiful hike to Khamsum Vuelley Namgyal Chorten, a monument perched high on a hill of the Punakha Valley built to bring peace, stability and harmony to the world. Later visit Chimi Lhakhang, the temple of the Drukpa Kuenly who famously revolted against orthodox Buddhism in the 14th century.
Departing Punakha after breakfast begin the journey to Paro, stopping en route to visit Simtokha Dzong, the oldest in all the Kingdom. Arriving into Paro, you will have some time to look around the local handicraft shops in the town before dinner.
Today includes one of the highlights of any trip to Bhutan: a horseback ride up to the famed Tiger's Nest Monastery clinging to a granite cliff more than 3,000m above sea level. Local lore claims that it is here that Guru Padmasambaya arrived on the back of a tigress in the 8th century and then proceeded to meditate for three months.
After a morning flight to Kathmandu begin your foray into Nepal's capital city visiting Boudhanath and the ancient religious complex of Swayambhunath. Finally return to Patan to explore the enchanting melange of temples and former royal palaces of Durbar square before concluding your day with a trip in Thamel for a chance to barter for souvenirs.
Transfer to the airport for your flight back to the UK.
Visa Information Nepal
British passport holders do not need to obtain a visa for Nepal prior to departure. A Nepalese visa can be purchased on arrival into Kathmandu; you will need to download a form from the Nepal Embassy website and present this completed form on arrival at immigration together with a passport sized photograph and payment (currently USD $25). When applying for the visa on arrival you will need to ensure you apply for a multiple entry visa. We recommend you check the following website before travelling for all the most up to date advice, requirements and any changes www.nepembassy.org.uk/visa
Visa Information Bhutan
British passport holders do need to obtain a visa for Bhutan prior to travel. We have included this in the cost of your tour and will apply for this on your behalf but for us to do this it is essential that you supply us with a colour photocopy of the photo page of your passport you will be travelling on at least 30 days before you leave the UK. You can either scan or email this to us or put a copy in the post.
You must obtain suitable travel insurance prior to departure. Mercury Holidays is partnered with Holiday Extras which offer insurance at the following prices:
|Age in Years||Up to 64||65 - 74||75 - 85|
|Up to 10 days cover||£37||£72||£104|
If booking more than 10 weeks before departure a deposit of £250pp will need to be paid at the time of booking with the full amount payable at 10 weeks prior to departure. The deposit applies to adults and children. If you are within 10 weeks of travel then the full balance of the holiday will be payable.
Your flight is to Kathmandu International Airport with Jet Airways (9W), departing from London Heathrow Terminal 4 and flying via Delhi. Each passenger is entitled to 23kg of hold luggage and hand luggage of 7kg not exceeding 55 cm x 35 cm x 25 cm in size. Weight restrictions will be finalized on E-ticket receipt. Should you wish to take additional luggage you will need to pay extra at check-in. Check-in should be at least 3 hours before departure. Your return flight from Kathmandu to Paro will either be with Bhutan Airlines or Druk Air. Each passenger is entitled to 20kg of hold luggage and hand luggage of 7kg not exceeding 55cm x 40 cm x 20 cm and a maximum weight of 7kg.
It is your responsibility to check any health and vaccination requirements applicable to your booked arrangements. We can only provide general information about this. Health and hygiene facilities and disease risks vary from country to country. You should take health advice about your own needs as early as possible and in good time before your departure. Sources of information include; www.fco.gov.uk, http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/, www.hpa.org.uk, your General Practitioner or a specialist clinic.
This tour is accessible to most people with a good level of fitness and normal mobility. It involves full days of sightseeing, often on foot and includes some climbing of stairs and getting on and off coaches and boats. This tour is not suitable for anyone with walking difficulties. The tour also includes a full day hike to the Tiger's Nest Monastery in Paro, Bhutan. Whilst a horse ride to the top is included, they can only take you so far and towards the end of the trek, to get to the very top of the Monastery, there are around 800 steps that must be walked on foot. You will also need to descend the entire way from the monastery as horses cannot take passengers down as the path is steep and uneven. It is important that you make us aware of any health issues before you travel. Please note that it may not be recommended for you to participate in the Tiger's Nest Monastery excursion if you are not in good physical health.
The minimum number of travellers in your group will be 3, and the maximum will be 40. If in the unlikely event there are less than 10 people booked on your tour date then you may be asked to change to a different date. A full refund will be made available to you should this alternative not be suitable. From 2017 this tour will operate on a private basis meaning you will journey on the itinerary alone with your own personal tour guide.
This is a fully escorted tour, meaning that you will be met on arrival and will be accompanied by a guide throughout your stay ensuring that you have first-hand knowledge at all times. Please note that you will not be accompanied on the flight from Kathmandu to Paro.
The currency in Nepal is the Nepalese Rupee (NPR) and the currency in Bhutan is the Bhutanese Ngultrum (BTN). The Bhutanese Ngultrum is officially pegged to the Indian Rupee and Indian currency is accepted all over Bhutan. Credit cards have limited acceptability in Bhutan, particularly in local shops and for smaller payments. There are ATMs in Bhutan but they generally only accept local cards, therefore, it is important that you take sufficient cash to exchange with you.
You will need to take money with you to cover any personal purchases such as souvenirs, laundry and extra drinks and snacks. Approximately £300 per person will be sufficient for the durations of the tour, depending on how much of a bargain-hunter you are!
Tipping is customary in both Nepal and Bhutan for your guide and drive and is at your discretion. We recommend you allow around £3 per person per day.
|Depart UK||Arrive UK||Price||Book Now|
|27 Feb 2017||08 Mar 2017||£2315pp||Book Now|
|01 May 2017||10 May 2017||£2445pp||Book Now|
|28 Aug 2017||06 Sep 2017||£2445pp||Book Now|
|25 Sep 2017||04 Oct 2017||£2465pp||Book Now|
|13 Nov 2017||22 Nov 2017||£2435pp||Book Now|
We have a limited number of single places with no supplement on this tour. Once these have been sold, a single supplement will apply for single travellers on this tour. However, if you are happy to share with another passenger of the same gender, then let us know at the time of booking and we will endeavour to find you a travelling partner.
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