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Himalayan Kingdoms

16 days from £4820 per person

The Himalayan landscape becomes more exotic the further east you travel and this unusual tour provides the opportunity to explore this rich diversity. Journey through jungle-covered foothills up into rhododendron forest and within sight of some of the world's highest peaks. Himalayan cultures feature strongly too, with the marvellous Newar architecture and carved wood of the Kathmandu Valley contrasting with the colourful Tibetan Buddhist-style monasteries of Sikkim and Bhutan.

Route: Kathmandu – Darjeeling – Pelling – Gangtok – Phuentsholing – Thimphu – Paro – Kathmandu

Itinerary Highlights

Kathmandu is the gateway to Nepal and the nation’s capital city. With its temples, palaces, squares, markets and bazaars it is the perfect introduction to the country.

Once a major stop on the Lhasa to Kolkata trade route, Gangtok sits atop a lofty Himalayan range and is a popular pilgrimage site due to the Buddhist Enchey monastery.

Famous Taktsang Monastery is perilously perched high on a sheer rock face at the head of the Paro valley. Reached by a steep climb, the mountain views are spectacular.

Itinerary: Himalayan Kingdoms

Fly with Oman Air via Muscat to Kathmandu. (N)
Arrive into Kathmandu in the afternoon. (N)
Accommodation in Kathmandu: Yak & Yeti Hotel (or similar)
Upgrade option: Dwarikas Hotel (or similar)

Early this morning take the Everest Mountain flight (optional), a once in a lifetime experience. This morning take a guided walking tour of Durbar Square in the old city of Kathmandu. See the temples, shrines and palaces of Durbar Square. One of the most famous temples is that of the Kumari, or the Living Goddess. This goddess is selected from the Buddhist caste at the age of 3 and once she reaches puberty another Kumari replaces her. Then visit the 2500 year old Swayambhunath Stupa where the all–seeing eyes of Buddha stare down on the valley. In the afternoon visit Bhaktapur capital of the Kathmandu Valley between the 14th and 16th centuries. Bhaktapur’s Durbar Square features an array of shrines, courtyards, and memorial pillars with copper–gilt statues of kings and the famous Golden Gate made of pure gold. However, it is the delicate woodcarvings that adorn virtually all the buildings for which this city is noted. The sculptures guarding the Nayatpola Temple, the tallest shrine in the Kathmandu Valley, are impressive. This temple is considered to be the finest example of pagoda architecture in Nepal. (B)
Accommodation in Kathmandu: Yak & Yeti Hotel (or similar)
Upgrade option: Dwarikas Hotel (or similar)
This morning visit Pashupatinath and Bodhnath. Pashupatinath, most sacred of all Nepalese Shiva shrines lies just 5kms east of Kathmandu. Built in 1696, the Temple of Pashupatinath, with its large gilded triple roof is only open to Hindus. A bird’s eye view of life in the temple complex is available, however, from the hillside across the Bagmati River. Continue to nearby Bodhnath, one of the world’s oldest Lamaist shrines and a focus for Tibetan pilgrimage. Here too the all–seeing eyes of Buddha look out over the long rows of multi coloured prayer flags, which encircle the brilliant white dome. In the afternoon visit the ancient city of Patan, capital of the Malla Kings. Durbar Square contains a striking array of temples fountains, royal palaces covered with exquisite carvings and adorned with beautiful bronzes. (B)
Accommodation in Kathmandu: Yak & Yeti Hotel (or similar)
Upgrade option: Dwarikas Hotel (or similar)
This morning transfer back to Kathmandu Airport for the flight east to Bhadrapur. On your arrival you will be met and transferred across the border into India and to the old Raj hill station of Darjeeling. Surrounded by tea plantations, Darjeeling is a fascinating town with a distinctive mix of Buddhist and colonial architecture. (B/D)
Accommodation in Darjeeling: Mayfair Hotel (or similar)
Before sunrise visit Tiger Hill from where the views extend across an incredible assortment of peaks. Later visit the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, the Himalayan Zoo and the Tibetan Self–Help Centre. Also take a ride on the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway to visit the Yiga Choling Monastery at Ghoom. (B/D)
Accommodation in Darjeeling: Mayfair Hotel (or similar)
This morning leave by car for West Sikkim via tea gardens, following the route of the rivers Rungeet and Teesta. Stop at Gyalsing, the capital of West Sikkim, to visit Pemayangtse Monastery to view the exceptional murals and sacred works of art. Continue on to nearby Pelling where you will stay overnight. (B/L/D)
Accommodation in Pelling: Chumbi Mountain Retreat Resort & Spa (or similar)
Leave Pelling and drive up to Tashiding from where it is a steep walk up the hill to enjoy views of this famous monastery. From Tashiding the road climbs initially to Ravangla, offering panoramic views of Mt Kabru and Mt Marsing. Descend to the Teesta River passing through paddy fields and small villages before arriving in Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim. (B/D)
Accommodation in Gangtok: Mayfair Spa Resort (or similar)
Drive out to the Rumtek Monastery which is noted for its beautiful murals. From Rumtek it is a scenic walk across terraced fields to the Lingdum Monastery from where it is a short drive back to Gangtok. (B/D)
Accommodation in Gangtok: Mayfair Spa Resort (or similar)
This morning leave Gangtok and continue east and cross into Bhutan to the small border town of Phuentsholing. The main overland entrance to Bhutan, Phuentsholing is a fast developing town at the base of the Himalayan foothills. (B/D)
Accommodation in Phuentsholing: Hotel Druk (or similar)
Today leave Phuentsholing and begin the six hour journey to the Bhutanese capital Thimphu – a drive that will introduce you not only to the country but also to its vastly differing vegetation. As you pass the mountains you will cross through dense tropical teak and bamboo forest, characteristic of these lower altitudes, before ascending higher towards Thimphu and its more Spartan alpine vegetation. (B/L/D)
Accommodation in Thimphu: Hotel Druk Thimphu (or similar)
Begin your day of sightseeing at the Tibetan inspired National Memorial Chorten. Other places of interest include the National Library and the National Institute for Zorig Chusum – a painting school that teaches Bhutan’s traditional arts to students throughout the country. (B/L/D)
Accommodation in Thimphu: Hotel Druk Thimphu (or similar)
This morning leave Thimphu and drive to Paro the gateway of Bhutan. Later make your way to Drukgyel Dzong. Built in 1649 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, Drukgyel Dzong was originally constructed to reaffirm Bhutanese control over the important land route into Tibet. There are far–reaching views from Drukgyel back down the valley and on a clear day Mount Jhomolhari, standing at 7,314 metres, looms close on the horizon. Later visit Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan and the National Museum, housed in a building completed in 1656 and famous for its collection of ancient thangkas before ending your day at Paro Dzong, over 400 years old, and located just below the museum on the hillside. (B/L/D)
Accommodation in Paro: Gangtey Palace (or similar)
This morning drive through the Paro Valley to the base of the climb that leads to the famous Taktsang Monastery. A major pilgrimage site for the Bhutanese since Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal visited the monastery in 1646, Taktsang – or ‘Tiger's Nest’ – is spectacularly located 900 meters above the valley floor perched on the edge of a cliff. The views throughout the walk, and in particular into the distance once you are at Taktsang, are not only panoramic but also spectacular. Although the path, in general, is in good condition the climb to the monastery is a fairly strenuous challenge – also due in part to the high altitude. (B/L/D)
Accommodation in Paro: Gangtey Palace (or similar)
Leave your hotel and transfer back to Paro Airport in good time to catch your flight to Kathmandu. On your arrival you will be met and transferred to your accommodation. (B/L/D)
Accommodation in Kathmandu: Yak & Yeti Hotel (or similar)
Upgrade option: Dwarikas Hotel (or similar)
Return to Kathmandu Airport for your Oman Air flight, via Muscat, back to London Heathrow. (B)
**KEY: N = No meals, B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner

What To Do Next?

We design unique, tailor-made holiday itineraries to suit you, by combining your ideas with our knowledge and experience. Once you have an idea of what you’re looking for, or if you require some advice, please call us or complete the enquiry form online for a quotation.

What's included

  • International flights from the UK
  • Domestic flights
  • Private car and driver
  • Sightseeing with local English speaking guides
  • Sightseeing with an accompanying English speaking guide
  • Hotel accommodation and taxes

What's not included

  • Cost of visas
  • Travel Insurance
  • Expenses of a personal nature

Guide to Price

The above price is based on two people travelling together and sharing accommodation in low season. The price is only a guide and can vary according to selected airlines, hotels and date of travel. If you wish to travel with your family, friends or on your own we will be very happy to assist you with your arrangements.

China, Mongolia, South Korea, Central Asia, Nepal and Bhutan Holiday Review

I was lucky enough to be given a three month career break and wanted to do some extensive travelling in Asia. I emailed a number of travel companies with a request to prepare a tailor made tour across certain specific dates. Pettitts were the first to reply and from that moment on provided a superb service. Initially there were a number of changes requested to the itinerary, but they were able to accommodate all changes and flex the programme according to our needs. The countries visited were China, Mongolia, South Korea, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Nepal and Bhutan. Pettitts have clearly identified high quality international partners given that we were impressed with all travel guides in each country.

Pettitts assisted with all questions we had during the planning of the trip and were very quick to get in touch with us on the one occasion they needed to during the trip. Pettitts were excellent and I cannot recommend them highly enough. Their service was first class and I would be more than happy to use their services again.

SG - China, Mongolia, South Korea, Central Asia, Nepal and Bhutan - July 2018

Experts in Tailor-Made Holidays

For over 30 years, Pettitts Travel have led the way in creating authentic, tailor-made holidays. Our knowledgeable team have first-hand knowledge of our destinations and no two itineraries we prepare are the same.

Please call us for more information or complete the online enquiry form to request a quotation.

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