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.

Journey Highlights

Capital of Nepal and gateway to the country, Kathmandu consists of three distinct districts and contains a wealth of unique temples, palaces, squares and bazaars.

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.

Taktsang Monastery or Tiger’s Nest is perched impossibly on a vertical cliff face overlooking the Upper Paro valley. The walk up is strenuous but ultimately very rewarding.

Day 1 London Heathrow to Kathmandu
via Muscat

Fly with Oman Air via Muscat to Kathmandu. (N)

Day 2 Arrive Kathmandu

Arrive into Kathmandu in the afternoon where you will be met and transferred by car to the Yak & Yeti Hotel, or upgrade to the Dwarikas Hotel, where you will stay for the next three nights. (N)

Day 3 Kathmandu

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)

Day 4 Kathmandu

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)

Day 5 Kathmandu to Bhadrapur – by air
Bhadrapur to Darjeeling

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. Stay two nights in Darjeeling at the Mayfair Hotel. (B/D)

Day 6 Darjeeling

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)

Day 7 Darjeeling to Pelling

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 to stay overnight at the Chumbi Mountain Retreat Resort & Spa. (B/L/D)

Day 8 Pelling to Gangtok

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. Stay two nights at the Mayfair Spa Resort. (B/D)

Day 9 Gangtok

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).

Day 10 Gangtok to Phuentsholing

This morning leave Gangtok and continue east and cross into Bhutan to the small border town of Phuentsholing. Stay overnight here at the Druk Hotel. The main overland entrance to Bhutan, Phuentsholing is a fast developing town at the base of the Himalayan foothills. (B/D)

Day 11 Phuentsholing to Thimphu

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. On your arrival in Thimphu continue onto the Druk Hotel where you will stay for the next two nights. (B/L/D)

Day 12 Thimphu

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)

Day 13 Thimphu to Paro

This morning leave Thimphu and drive to Paro the gateway of Bhutan where you will stay at the Gangtey Palace Hotel for the next two nights. 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)

Day 14 Paro

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)

Day 15 Paro to Kathmandu – by air

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 the Yak & Yeti Hotel, or upgrade to the Dwarikas Hotel, for an overnight stay. (B/L/D)

Day 16 Kathmandu to London Heathrow
via Muscat

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'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 price above is a guide and can vary according to selected airlines, hotels and season. If you wish to travel alone we will be very happy to assist you with your arrangements and will provide a proposal on request

What To Do Next?

We can design a unique journey to suit you as our tours are totally tailor made. By combining your own ideas with our knowledge and experience we can help you to create your own unique journey tailored exactly to your requirements Once you have formulated your ideas, or if you require some advice, please call us or simply request a quotation

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Experts in Private Guided Journeys

For over 27 years Pettitts has led the field in arranging unique tailor-made journeys. Our expert well-travelled 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 our enquiry form to request a quotation.

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