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Ancient Lands of the Himalayas - A Journey to Nepal + Bhutan

9 days

Never more than 16 guests OR Travel Privately

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based on 1 Review

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Our Distinctive A+R Style

+ At a monastery in Kathmandu, we’ve arranged for a private audience with a High Lama so you can receive sage words of advice and a blessing.
+ Along the banks of the Bagmati River in Kathmandu, you’ll witness an ancient Hindu ceremony of light and devotion.
+ One of the daring few who have ascended Mt. Everest will share thrilling personal stories of grit and adventure.
+ Ascend to Tiger’s Nest Monastery, perched on the side of a sheer granite cliff in the beautiful Paro Valley.
+ Spend time with a Bhutanese archery team to learn about this national pastime; these skilled athletes will even offer you a lesson.
+ Experience genuine Bhutanese traditions at the Dochula Monastery as you light a traditional butter lamp – a Buddhist act of wisdom.
+ With 8 nights in luxury hotels and lodges; 19 meals with wine at lunch and dinner; comprehensive sightseeing; all transfers; flight from Kathmandu to Paro; and all gratuities except Trip Leader.

Visit 5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

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Day
1

Our VIP Welcome Service to Kathmandu, Nepal

Dwarikas Hotel - Kathmandu, Nepal

You’ll be greeted on arrival with our VIP Welcome Services, which include assistance through immigration procedures and baggage claim. Then we’ll take you to the enchanting Dwarika’s Hotel. Built by the finest Nepalese craftsmen, our unique heritage hotel features fine organic linens and traditional handmade furnishings. The rest of this day is yours to relax and enjoy as you wish.

Day
2

History + Traditions of Nepal

Dwarikas Hotel - Kathmandu, Nepal

This morning, we’ll take you off-the-beaten-path to explore two villages where the rhythms of life seem untouched by the 21st century. In Bungamati, founded in the 6th century, you’ll discover ancient landmarks including an important temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed Hindu deity. A bit farther south of Kathmandu city, you’ll visit Khokana where generations-old farming traditions still endure, including their unique technique for harvesting mustard oil.

In Patan c, an ancient royal city that traces its origins to the 3rd century BC, you’ll discover a fine collection of impressive palace buildings, courtyards and graceful pagodas. Back in Kathmandu, you’ll stroll with your guide through the lively Asan district - a wonderful place to encounter the daily rhythms of Kathmandu and its residents. Then explore Durbar Square c and Hanuman Dhoka, the ancient royal quarter of the city, where you’ll find a complex of centuries-old palaces, temples and courtyards. End your sightseeing with a rickshaw ride to Thamel, a lively district filled with inviting shops and colorful merchant stalls. This evening, one of the few adventurers who have ascended Mt. Everest will share experiences and stories with A+R guests.   Meals B

Day
3

Into the Timeless Kathmandu Valley

Dwarikas Hotel - Kathmandu, Nepal

After breakfast, you’ll journey into the Kathmandu Valley to explore ancient Bhaktapur c, one of three ancient kingdoms of medieval Nepal. In the town’s main square, you’ll see architectural treasures like the Lion Gate and the Palace of 55 Windows. With its 5-tiered roof and carved statues of Goddesses, animals and mythical beasts, Nyatapola Temple is the tallest in all of Nepal. Bhaktapur is also famed for its pottery artisans and we’ve arranged for a hands-on lesson with a master potter.

Return to Kathmandu where we’ve made special arrangements for our guests to meet a High Lama for a private audience and blessing. Then visit Boudhanath c. Built some time around the 14th century and still one of the largest stupas in the world, it is venerated by both Tibetan and Nepalese Buddhists. Next up, see Pashupatinath Temple c, dedicated to Lord Shiva, and then descend to the Bagmati River for Aarti, an ancient Hindu ceremony of light and devotion. Tonight, you’ll enjoy the organic farm-to-table cuisine of Krishnarpan. Meals B+D

After breakfast, you’ll be escorted to the airport for your included international flight to Bhutan. Soar high above the towering Himalayan peaks to Paro and continue overland through picturesque valley landscapes to the deluxe Taj Tashi Hotel in Thimphu. Begin your touring of the Bhutanese capital at the King’s Memorial Chorten, a revered landmark with golden spires and tinkling bells; built in 1974, it is continuously circumambulated by devout Buddhist pilgrims chanting mantras and spinning their prayer wheels. You’ll also visit the 17th-century Tashichho Dzong Fortress; with its impressive 3-story towers and triple-tiered red and gold roofs, this imposing landmark has been the seat of government since 1952.  Meals B+L+D

Day
5

Art, Culture + Life in Bhutan

Taj Tashi - Thimphu, Bhutan

Your immersion in the fascinating culture of Bhutan begins this morning at the National Institute of Zorig Chusum, you’ll see young students who are learning and preserving Bhutan’s 13 traditional arts including painting, calligraphy, embroidery, and woodcarving. Continue your foray into Bhutan’s enduring traditions at Dechen Phodrang, a monastic school that hums with the Buddhist recitations of its young students. After lunch, we’ll take you to a lively local market; mingling with residents out to do their weekly or daily shopping offers a genuine experience of Bhutanese life. End today’s touring at Kuensel Phodrang to see the immense seated-Buddha statue. Towering more than 160 feet, this bonze monument is filled with 125,000 smaller statues of Buddha.   Meals B+L+D

After breakfast and check out, you’ll visit the impressive Simtokha Dzong. Built in 1629, this is one of Bhutan’s oldest fortresses and features beautiful murals and an elaborately carved and painted ceiling. Then continue over the 10,300-foot Dochula Pass; on a clear day, you’ll have breathtaking 360° views over the Himalayas. The lone monastery situated near the mountain pass is distinguished by its 108 Buddhist shrines; stopping here to take in the views, you can also light a traditional butter lamp – a Buddhist act of wisdom. Then descend into the Punakha Valley through captivating landscapes of farming terraces, pristine rivers and fluttering prayer flags to visit the historic Punakha Dzong. Built in 1637 along the banks of a rushing river, this imposing fortress is considered by many to be the most beautiful in the country. Enjoy a tranquil overnight at the Uma by COMO - Punakha, our enchanting luxury lodge set on a forested hillside overlooking the Mo Chu River.  Meals B+L+D

Day
7

A Scenic Journey to Paro

Como Uma Paro - Paro, Bhutan

Delight in the mountain scenery and commanding views as you travel to Paro Dzong. Founded in the 15th century and revered as one of the country’s finest examples of traditional Bhutanese architecture, this landmark also houses a monastic school with nearly 200 resident monks. After crossing the Paro River via Nyamai Zam, a lovely wooden bridge, you’ll spend time with a local archery team. Thrill to their expertise and learn the history and traditions of this celebrated national sport. After a bit of expert instruction, you’ll have a chance to pick up the traditionally-made bow and arrows - and try to hit the target yourself!
 
Continue to the Uma by Como - Paro, our delightful resort here in the beautiful Paro Valley. The rest of this day is yours to enjoy and explore as you wish. This is a wonderful opportunity to stroll in the town of Paro - visiting the small shops, engaging with local residents, and immersing in the tranquil and timeless pace of life.  Meals B+L+D

Day
8

The Magnificent Tiger’s Nest Monastery

Como Uma Paro - Paro, Bhutan

Today’s adventure begins with a scenic drive to Ramthanka, the base for one of the world’s most unforgettable adventures. As you make your way up the forested trail on horseback and by foot, you’ll have breathtaking glimpses of Taktsang Lhakhang, popularly known as the Tiger’s Nest Monastery, perched on the side of a granite cliff some 3,000 feet above the valley. About 90 minutes into your privately guided ascent, you’ll reach an inviting café – the perfect place to recharge and take in the fresh mountain air. As you continue up the path, you can stop to hoist your own prayer flag – a traditional ceremony to bring happiness, health and good luck. About an hour later, you’ll reach the sacred monastery. On your way back down stop for lunch at the café and then continue your descent to Ramthanka.
 
Before returning to your hotel, you’ll also enjoy a guided tour of Kyichu Lhakhang. Dating back to the 7th century, it was expanded in the early 1800’s with additional buildings and a spectacular golden roof. Today it is considered to be one of the oldest and most beautiful temples in the Himalayas. Your evening at leisure offers a final opportunity to stroll in town and maybe shop for gifts and mementos.  Meals B+L+D

Day
9

Depart Paro

After breakfast and check out, you’ll be escorted to the airport for your homeward journey.  Meals B

Extend Your Trip

Discover Delhi & the Taj Mahal after!

4-Day Post-Tour Extension from $999

Here’s a great complement to your trip! We include your flight from Nepal to India, a deluxe hotel in Delhi, full-day city tour, and full-day rail excursion to Agra with visits to the Agra Fort and Taj Mahal.

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Day
1

From Kathmandu to Delhi

Transfer to the Kathmandu airport for your included flight to Delhi, where you’ll be warmly greeted and escorted by private car to the deluxe ITC Maurya Hotel.  Meals B

Day
2

Discover Delhi… Old and New

Your comprehensive privately guided sightseeing tour explores the best of Old and New Delhi. Visit Raj Ghat, the memorial site of Mahatma Gandhi, and Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India. Explore the bustling Chandni Chowk market and drive past the imposing walls of the magnificent Red Fort. Enjoy a rickshaw tour through Old Delhi and then ride the efficient Metro to New Delhi. Drive along the elegant Rajpath and past the imposing India Gate and Parliament House to visit Humayun’s Tomb and Qutab Minar. Meals B 

Day
3

Full day excursion to Fatehpur Sikri and the Taj Mahal

Early this morning, you will board the speedy Shatabdi Express Train and travel through the colorful countryside to Agra. Enjoy breakfast and then an excursion to the perfectly-preserved, red sandstone ‘ghost town’ of Fatehpur Sikri. Built in the 16th century, the ‘ruins’ of this abandoned city are still in pristine condition, making it easy to imagine the opulence of long-ago court life.

In the afternoon, you’ll tour the incomparable Taj Mahal, built in the 17th century by Emperor Shah Jahan as an everlasting tribute to his beloved wife. Continue through the bustling city streets to visit the impressive Agra Fort, a hilltop citadel with fabulous courtyards, pavilions and fountains.

Return to the train station and board the evening Shatabdi Express Train back to Delhi where you’ll be escorted to your hotel. Meals B

Day
4

Depart Delhi

You’ll be escorted by private car to the airport for you onward journey.  Meals B

Add Lhasa, Tibet - Before Your Tour

4 Days from $2,399

Experience the majesty, history and culture of this exotic and friendly city. We include a luxury hotel, all meals, in-depth sightseeing, unique cultural engagement, all on-tour transportation, and your flight to Kathmandu.

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Day
1

Welcome to Lhasa, Tibet

We’ll be at the airport to greet you and to begin your guided exploration of Lhasa. Spending time with a family in their home is a wonderful introduction to the life, traditions and warmth of the Tibetan people. Then check in to the sophisticated, 5-star Shangri-La Hotel where you’ll have time to refresh before dinner.  Meals D

Day
2

Tibetan History + Culture

Your guided tour of this fascinating city begins after breakfast at Norbulingka, the summer palace of the Dalai Lamas. Built in the 18th century, this expansive palace complex encompasses tranquil wooded areas, landscaped garden grounds and lovely pavilions. You’ll also visit Jokhang Temple. Originally founded in the 7th century, this 4-story timber structure topped with gold remains an important pilgrimage site for Tibetan Buddhists. Nearby, you’ll have a chance to explore Barkhor Street with its lively and colorful markets. Then spend some time with a master Tangka painter in his studio, learning about the history and techniques of this unique and spiritual art form.  Meals B+L+D

Day
3

Experience Kora + Tour the Potala Palace

This morning, you’ll join local residents as they perform Kora. Observing and even participating in this ancient Buddhist rite of walking and prayer will give you an authentic experience of Tibet’s enduring spiritual traditions. Then tour the magnificent Potala Palace c. Built on a mountain ridge in the heart of the Lhasa Valley, this was the winter palace of the Dalai Lama for more than 1,000 years. Continue with a visit to the Sera Monastery, founded in the 15th century at the foot of Tatipu Hill. This evening’s dinner features traditional Tibetan cuisine.  Meals B+L+D
 

Day
4

Fly to Kathmandu, Nepal

After breakfast, you’ll be escorted to the airport for your included flight to Nepal. Enjoy our VIP Welcome Services on arrival in Kathmandu and transfer to the charming Dwarika’s Hotel for the start of your 9-day Ancient Lands of the Himalayas tour.

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More Personal Space
+ Our Extra Care
 

  • Proper physical distancing with two seats to yourself on our large, luxury touring coaches
  • High-touch surfaces on coaches and private vehicles sanitized frequently throughout the day
  • Whisper Headsets when there are 5 or more guests
  • Dine at small, properly distanced tables, avoiding crowded large-capacity restaurants
  • Guides and staff will wear face masks when in close proximity to guests
  • Face coverings and sanitizer always available complimentary for our guests
>> Click Here to read all that we are doing so you can travel with More Space + Extra Care

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Family + Friends

Travel is one of  life's most rewarding experiences, perhaps even more so when it's shared with those you love! Combine our limited-time pay-in-full discount with our Family & Friends offers and save even more:
  • Save $50 more per person when 3 guests go
  • Save $100 more per person with 4 people
  • Save $150 more per person with 5 people
  • Save $200 more per person with 6 or more people!

Pay-In-Full

Save $1,000 per couple + $500 solo on all of our Small Group, Small Ship and Private Journeys when you pay-in-full at time of booking.

Exploring These Mountain Kingdoms

These videos, articles and podcasts will illuminate the enthralling experiences that await you on our Original Journey to Nepal and Bhutan. Drawn from respected independent sources, we’ve curated this multi-media collection to ignite your imagination. Inspiring as they are now on your screen, the things you see, read and hear will truly come to life when you travel with our experienced Nepalese and Bhutanese guides.


Our A+R Library

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