Premium Nepal & Bhutan
from $9185
Duration: 17 Days
Explore the Himalayan kingdoms of Nepal and Bhutan on a 17-day Premium adventure. Be blown away by the majestic snow peaks of the Himalaya mountains, explore the wild lands of Chitwan National Park, learn about black-necked Cranes in Phobjikha, uncover the sacred religions and devoted beliefs of the pilgrims, and find the secret to happiness in Bhutan. Discover spectacular landscapes, rich cultures and magnificent wildlife with experienced local leaders by your side on a journey to remember.
  • Experience two incredible feature stays – a stylish and elegant resort right on the border of Chitwan National Park, and a traditionally beautiful and eco-conscious resort tucked away in the gorgeous valley of Paro.
  • Get an intimate look at Nepali culture and cuisine during an unforgettable cooking class with the Seven Women, a social enterprise helping disadvantaged women in Nepal.
  • Witness world-class mountain scenery during a breathtaking Mount Everest flight and a picturesque hike through the inspiring landscapes of Pokhara.
  • Visit the important monastery of Gangte Goemba where you’ll speak to a senior resident monk about two subjects at heart of Bhutanese culture – Buddhism and happiness.
  • Climb to the teetering monastery of Taktsang (the Tiger's Nest) 900 metres above Paro’s valley floor and take in once-in-a-lifetime views.
  • Kathmandu - Welcome dinner
  • Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
  • Kathmandu - Everest Scenic Flight
  • Kathmandu - Pashupatinath Temple
  • Kathmandu - Durbar Square
  • Kathmandu - Bodhnath Stupa
  • Bhaktapur - Leader-led walking tour
  • Bhaktapur - Changu Narayan Temple
  • Nagarkot - Sunset cocktail at Club Himalaya (one drink included)
  • Kathmandu - Cooking class at Seven Women
  • Pokhara - Phewa Tal Lake boat trip
  • Pokhara - Peace Pagoda
  • Pokhara - Kalikasthan half day hike
  • Pokhara - Tibetan community visit with momo lunch
  • Chitwan NP - Village tour
  • Chitwan - Afternoon safari
  • Chitwan - Canoe safari, bird watching walk or jeep safari
  • Chitwan - Sunset champagne by Rapti River
  • Chitwan - Private bush dinner (on hotel grounds)
  • Chitwan - Canoe on Rapti River
  • Day 1 Location: Kathmadu
    Welcome to Nepal! Your adventure begins in Kathmandu, the country’s exhilarating capital. On arrival, you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. Join an important welcome meeting with your leader and small group at 6pm. If you arrive with time to spare, perhaps take a walk around the Garden of Dreams, a neo-classical oasis in the heart of the city, or check out the futuristic Taragaon Museum, showcasing the intriguing history of Kathmandu’s architecture. After your meeting, head out into the hustle and bustle of the Thamel and Jyatha neighbourhoods for an included dinner with your leader and group. Eating in Nepal is never boring, and upon arrival at the authentic Nepali restaurant, you’ll discover a deliciously diverse array of dishes. Have a taste of some Woh, a pancake made from freshly ground black lentils, or Kukhurako Masu, chicken cooked Nepali style.
    Day 2 Location: Kathmandu
    In the early morning, make an attempt at the Mount Everest scenic flight. This unbelievable experience will take you over Sagamartha National Park, through a crescendo of the highest peaks in the world, climaxing by getting up close to Mount Everest. Later in the morning, explore Kathmandu on a sightseeing tour with your leader. Head to the lively Durbar square, the once glorious centre of Nepal’s royal power. Visit Bodhnath Stupa, one of the biggest Buddhist shrines in the world, where you can observe Buddhist monks in prayer in the surrounding monasteries. Stop by a Thangka painting studio and gain inside knowledge on this sacred and traditional form of Buddhist art and the training that goes into being a Thangka artist. Visit Pashupatinath, the most famous Hindu temple in the country, where you will see Hindu holy men meditating, pilgrims bathing, and occasionally funeral pyres burning on the ghats. The rest of your afternoon is free for further explorations.
    Day 3 Location: Nagarkot
    This morning, set off for a truly special experience that is sure to be one of your enduring memories of Nepal. Visit the headquarters of Seven Women, a social enterprise that works to improve the lives of disadvantaged women in Nepal. Meet the local women and hear how the enterprise has changed their lives. Tour their greenhouse and learn about Nepali vegetables, then learn some traditional recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation. Master the local methods of cooking and put together some classic dishes, then sit down to lunch with your new friends. After lunch, begin the journey to Nagarkot. Along the way, stop off at Bhaktapur, a beautifully preserved ancient city and host to a wondrous range of temples and statues. Then wander to the ancient temple of Changu Narayan – ask your leader about the legends associated with this site. Upon arrival to Nagarkot, prepare for an overnight stay at Club Himalaya, renowned for its unrestricted view of Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, Changu Narayan and the surrounding areas. End the day with a toast to your fabulous view over sunset cocktails.
    Day 4 Location: Pokhara
    Wake up and witness an early morning 180-degree sunrise view before travelling to Kathmandu airport by chartered coach. From here, you will fly to Pokhara – if you’re lucky you might catch a glimpse of the spectacular Himalayan mountain chain to the north. On arrival, take a boat ride across the lake of Phewa Tal, the second largest lake in Nepal. The visit to the Peace Pagoda afterwards grants excellent views of the mountains including the Annapurnas, the famous fishtail peak of Machhapuchhare and a glimpse back across to Pokhara. In the afternoon, perhaps take some time to enjoy Pokhara’s mellow atmosphere and wander its colourful streets, or take a stroll along the scenic lake and see the brightly painted paddle boats bobbing in the water. Pokhara has no shortage of restaurants to tempt your taste buds so be sure to ask your leader for some great local recommendations.
    Day 5 Location: Pokhara
    Start the day with a visit to the International Mountain Museum, which is full of fascinating tales and exploits from climbing expeditions of the past – some ending in triumph and others in tragedy. Then begin the Kalikasthan hike with your leader, walking first to Thulakot and Kaukhola, where you’ll take in unforgettable views of the Himalayas and the Pokhara valley. Your leader will be on hand to answer any questions about the inspiring landscape. Continue on to a small and serene village where various Hindu and Buddhist ethnic groups live harmoniously. Stop in at a restaurant for a chat with the locals and a cup of traditional tea. After your hike, make a visit to the Tibetan refugee camp. Hear harrowing and heartbreaking stories of their journey from Tibet to Nepal and see how they make delicious momos (steamed dumplings) which you will eat together for lunch. Enjoy a free evening in Pokhara.
    Day 6 Location: Chitwan National Park
    Make the morning drive to Chitwan and arrive at your feature stay accommodation for the next two nights, the heavenly Kasara resort. Perfectly placed on the border of Chitwan National Park, this modern and elegant resort offers total tranquillity in one of the world’s wildest settings. Enjoy palatial rooms, first-class service and naturally warm Nepali hospitality. After settling in, meet the camp staff and resident naturalists who will provide firsthand information and local insight into the park’s habitat conservation program. There’s some flexibility with activities in this area, which may vary depending on the time of year and known wildlife movements and locations. A late afternoon safari is an experience like none other, showing the varied and exciting flora and fauna of the park. Then journey to the Rapti River and enjoy a cool class of champagne on the banks while you watch the sun set and the birds return home. Back at the resort, you’re in for a real treat. Head to a secluded spot on the property for a creative range of dishes served under a canopy of stars. Feel a world away from it all as the only sounds you’ll hear are the chirping of crickets and the swapping of stories.
    Day 7 Location: Chitwan National Park
    After breakfast, leave the lodge for an early morning dugout canoe adventure on the Rapti River. Your tour leader will help you spot marsh mugger crocodiles along with the various birds that inhabit the riverbanks. Tiger sightings are rare these days, but the magnificent creatures inhabit the park so it’s not to be ruled out. Upon your return to dry land, an organised program will help fill the rest of the day and may include further excursions by jeep. In the evening, enjoy dinner with your group and relax at your accommodation’s fabulous bar while discussing the day’s sightings or listening to the song of the jungle.
    Day 8 Location: Kathmandu
    Enjoy a peaceful breakfast at the resort before catching a flight back to Kathmandu. The afternoon is yours to enjoy, so perhaps engage in some shopping or learn more of Nepal’s cultural heritage during a visit to the Nepali Folk Musical Instrument Museum, home to more than 650 unique instruments. This evening, you may wish to join your leader and group for a farewell dinner at a fantastic local restaurant, leaving you with a final memory of Nepal’s beautiful and traditional food.
    Day 9 Location: Paro - Thimphu
    Leave Nepal behind today with a transfer to the airport and a flight to Bhutan. Depending on the clarity of the weather and your flight path into Paro (2,280m), you may be met with an awe-inspiring view of the massive eastern Himalayan peaks on your way in. Please note that you will be unescorted on this flight, but you will be met at Paro airport and transferred to Thimphu (2,736m), the capital of Bhutan. After settling in, a meeting will take place with your new tour leader to welcome any new travellers joining you for the next part of your adventure. If time permits, join your leader for an orientation walk to get acquainted with Thimphu’s main street, and visit the National Memorial Chorten, a stupa built in honour of Bhutan’s third king, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. This evening, join your group and leader for an included welcome dinner at a wonderful restaurant that’s a favourite with the locals. Learn about the rich history of Bhutanese cuisine as you tuck into a traditional feast, including seasonal vegetables and the country’s signature dish – red rice with a tasty chili cheese. You may like to try some Bhutanese peach wine or perhaps some Ara, the national spirit, served neat and hot.
    Day 10 Location: Thimphu
    After breakfast you will venture out to explore Thimphu. Stop off at Buddha point, named after its giant gilded Buddha statue, and take in panoramic views of the city. Take a short hike through pine trees where your leader will help you spot takin, the national animal of Bhutan, a unique goat-antelope creature. Carry on to the Zilukha Nunnery then pass by the fortress and monastery of Tashichho Dzong, sitting on the banks of the Thimphu Chhu river. After lunch, your leader will weave together the fascinating cultural heritage of Bhutan during visits to the National Textile Museum, Folk Heritage Museum, and the Voluntary Artists School in Thimphu, an institution where young people receive formal education in the art of traditional painting, sculpture, and woodcarving. Thimphu has an excellent range of handicrafts, most notably woven cloth, wooden masks, thangkas, silverware, jewellery, and bamboo crafts that come from all over Bhutan.
    Day 11 Location: Punakha
    This morning, travel out to the castle-monastery of Simtokha Dzong, built to guard against a demon that is said to have escaped into the nearby rock. Next, drive the winding Dochula pass (3100 m), marked by more than a hundred chortens built in memory of Bhutanese soldiers killed fighting Indian insurgents in 2003. Then continue to Punakha and before arrival, stop at a local village and take a short walk to the Chimi Lhakhang – The Temple of Fertility. Your leader will explain how people from all corners of the country visit the Lhakhang to seek a blessing from Drukpa Kuenley, also known as the ‘Divine Madman’. A revered womaniser and drinker, this wandering preacher taught that sexual freedom was at the centre of Truth. On the walk through the village of Sopsokha to the temple you will notice the phallic symbols painted on walls, a symbol of fertility and protection from evil. Arrive at your resort in Punakha and enjoy fabulous views of the valley.
    Day 12 Location: Punakha
    Begin the day with a short drive to the base of a hill where a ridge-top monastery sits. In this almost sub-tropical valley, begin a hike at a suspension bridge that crosses the Mo Chu river and pass through paddy fields before starting to climb a moderately inclined trail to the Kahmsum Yulley temple. Built by the Queen Mother, the temple is a classic example of Bhutan’s fine architectural and artistic traditions. From the top you can take in sweeping views across the valley. After a lunch by the side of the Mo Chu River, you’ll visit the white-walled, red-roofed Punakha Dzong, the administrative and religious centre and winter retreat of His Holiness, Je Khenpo – the chief abbot of Bhutan. The Dzong boasts intricately carved woodwork, prayer halls and beautiful religious paintings on walls and doorways. End the day at the Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Temple and nunnery, where you’ll arrive in time for evening prayers.
    Day 13 Location: Phobjikha
    This morning, pass through lush forests and luxuriant vegetation as you make the scenic drive to Phobjikha. Here you’ll find a spectacular valley rich with wildlife – keep an eye out for serows, a mystical goat-like animal, and muntjacs, also known as barking deer. Make an afternoon visit to Gangte Goemba, an expansive monastery with magnificent views of the valley. This hilltop complex is one of Bhutan’s two main centres of the Nyingmapa school of Buddhism. Meet with a senior resident monk who will speak with your and provide local perspective on the subjects of Buddhism and happiness – the two most important pillars of Bhutanese culture. With happiness at front-of-mind, the Bhutanese government employ a Gross National Happiness index to measure the wellbeing of its people and to convey the importance of non-economic factors such as sustainability, culture and community vitality.
    Day 14 Location: Phobjikha
    Start the day with a visit to the centre of the Royal Society for Protection of Nature (RSPN) where you will learn about the vulnerable black-necked cranes who fly to Bhutan each winter. The Phobjika valley receives more of these lovely visitors than any other part of the country, and the RSPN have taken special measures to protect them, as well as 13 other vulnerable species. Read informative displays on the cranes’ habitat and behaviour, and use the centre’s spotting-scopes to search for cranes in the valley. Wild cranes will only be visible during the winter months, but if you visit outside of this period you may still have the chance to see black-necked cranes that are being rehabilitated in the centre. In the afternoon, join your leader on a gentle two hour hike around the valley and learn about the flora and fauna that call this majestic preserve home. Start off from a hilltop overlooking Gangte Goemba, wander down through flower meadows and beautiful forests, passing by a chorten, the village of Semchubara and the Khewa Lhakhang temple.
    Day 15 Location: Paro
    This morning, begin the journey to Paro. Stop off along the way at the ruins of Drukgyal Dzong, an ancient fortress and monastery. Build in the 17th century by the great Ngawang Namgyal, the Dzong burned down in an accidental fire in the 1950s, and today stands as a reminder of the victories it was built to commemorate. On arrival to Paro, visit the impressive Ta Dzong, a 17th century watchtower that now houses the National Museum. Enjoy some free time to wander in the Paro town before making your way to your feature stay accommodation, a resort in the heart of the Paro valley that beautifully blends into its mountainous backdrop. An eco-friendly property, the resort features solar lighting, mud-brick walls, wooden roofs and rooms built in a traditionally Bhutanese style with modern comforts in mind. This evening, immerse yourself in traditional Bhutanese culture as you visit a farmhouse for a home-cooked dinner. Perhaps try your hand at Bhutan’s national sport with an archery lesson.
    Day 16 Location: Paro
    Miraculously balanced 900 metres above the valley floor sits Taktsang, or the Tiger’s Nest, a beautiful monastery and Bhutan’s most recognised building. After breakfast, begin a hike through plentiful pine forests, passing beneath thousands of brightly coloured prayer flags. Your leader will guide you up into the mountains for a closer view of the temple, sharing the legend of its history along the way. Reach a small teahouse and stop for lunch and refreshments while taking in truly unforgettable views. For those interested, it’s possible to get a closer look at the Tiger’s Nest by hiking another hour each way to reach the temple. Anyone not interested in hiking further can relax at the teahouse and soak it all in. Back in Paro, join your group and leader for a farewell dinner at a local restaurant – perhaps raise a final glass of Ara as a toast to the end of an adventure.
    Day 17 Location: Paro
    After breakfast your driver will transfer you to the airport for your onward flight. Please check with your tour leader about the exact departure time from the hotel. Please note that your tour leader may not be with you as the group may leave on different flights.
    Dates
    Prices
    Availability
    Departure Date:
    20MAR2022
    Return Date:
    05APR2022
    9185NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    10APR2022
    Return Date:
    26APR2022
    9550NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    17APR2022
    Return Date:
    03MAY2022
    9550NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    08MAY2022
    Return Date:
    24MAY2022
    9185NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    25SEP2022
    Return Date:
    11OCT2022
    9185NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    16OCT2022
    Return Date:
    01NOV2022
    9550NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    30OCT2022
    Return Date:
    15NOV2022
    9185NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    19MAR2023
    Return Date:
    04APR2023
    9645NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    09APR2023
    Return Date:
    25APR2023
    10025NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    16APR2023
    Return Date:
    02MAY2023
    10025NZD
    available
    Last modified (date)

    08 Sep 2021

    Trip title

    Premium Nepal & Bhutan

    Trip code

    HNPEC

    Validity

    Validity: 01 Jan 2022 to 31 Dec 2022

    Introduction

    Explore the Himalayan kingdoms of Nepal and Bhutan on a 17-day Premium adventure. Be blown away by the majestic snow peaks of the Himalaya mountains, explore the wild lands of Chitwan National Park, learn about black-necked Cranes in Phobjikha, uncover the sacred religions and devoted beliefs of the pilgrims, and find the secret to happiness in Bhutan. Discover spectacular landscapes, rich cultures and magnificent wildlife with experienced local leaders by your side on a journey to remember.

    Style

    Premium

    Themes

    Explorer

    Transport

    Private vehicle,Plane,Jeep,Canoe

    Physical Rating

    3

    Joining point

    Shangri La Hotel

    Lazimpat Road

    Lazimpat

    Kathmandu

    44600

    NEPAL

    Phone: +977 14412999

    Joining point description

    Shangri~La Hotel is located in the heart of Kathmandu yet away from the hustle and bustle of Thamel district. The hotel features a lush green garden called Shambala, an outdoor swimming pool and sauna facilities. Each room is fully equipped with TV, safe, mini fridge, hair dryer, a seating area, free toiletries with en-suite bathroom. The onsite restaurant and bar will serve a variety of food including India, Continental and Chinese with a variety of drinks from red wine to cocktails.

    Joining point instructions

    If you have booked an arrival transfer with us, please ensure that we have been advised of your correct flight details into Kathmandu by either yourself or your travel agent no later than 14 day prior to your travel. The arrival transfer cannot be organized on the day of arrival. Your arrival transfer will meet you after you exit customs. There are usually quite a few transfer drivers waiting and ours generally stand on the left hand side. Please look for our representative holding a sign with your name on it. If you have any trouble locating your transfer rep, or if your flight is going to be delayed, please call the following numbers: +977 980 112 3617 Your transfer from the airport to our starting point hotel takes approx 30-40 mins depending on traffic. Alternatively, there are two pre-paid taxi booths inside the terminal, one on each side as you exit the baggage claim area. They have fixed rates of NPR600 to anywhere in the Thamel area from 6am-8pm and NPR800 from 8pm-6am. Otherwise you will need to bargain hard from the taxi rank outside of the airport - aim for NPR500. Make sure you agree to the price before you set off into town.

    Finish point

    Tashi Namgay Resort

    Opposite to Paro International Airport and on the bank of Paa Chu River http://www.tashinamgayresort.com/

    Paro

    BHUTAN

    Phone: +975 8 272 318

    Important information

    1. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement applies to all nights of your trip and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information. 2. Complimentary airport arrival and departure transfers are included. You must provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel. 3. Entry to Bhutan is very strict and travellers can only enter Bhutan on a group visa as part of a tour. All travellers must arrive on Day 9 and depart on Day 17 to be eligible for a group visa. At time of booking, please provide your booking agent with a clear uncut scanned colour copy of the two pages of the personal details section of your passport. Bhutan Immigration is extremely strict. If one passport scan fails to meet their requirements the whole group’s visa will be rejected, thus delaying the process significantly. 4. Please be aware that Bhutan's airlines are renowned for last minute changes to flight timetables into and out of Bhutan. Please allow a minimum of 24 hours transit time before and after your flights into and out of Bhutan. Timetables are available on the Druk Airlines and Air Bhutan websites. 5. This trip includes domestic and international flights as indicated on the trip map. The luggage allowance for domestic flights is 15kg for check in luggage and 5kg for carry on. The international flight between Nepal and Bhutan has a luggage allowance of 20kg for check in luggage and 5kg for carry on. While in Nepal, you can store excess luggage at the Kathmandu hotel.

    Group leader

    All group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Premium leaders are Intrepid’s most experienced, with in-depth knowledge and extensive local networks to make it a trip of a lifetime. Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious, and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. When not already included in your trip, your leader will be able to recommend a local guide service who can share more detailed or specialised information at specific sites should you be interested in delving deeper.

    Safety

    Most national governments provide regularly updated foreign travel advice on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all destinations and activities on your trip. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trips here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/travel-alerts We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, flight tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however, during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests or relax and take it easy. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Intrepid's operational safety policies can be viewed on our website at the link below. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how safety is being managed on our trips.

    https://www.intrepidtravel.com/safety-guidelines

    STRIKES: Demonstrations and protests are common in Nepal, with strikes regularly occurring that may result in curfews or roadblocks being enforced at short notice. At these times, businesses may close and vehicles may not be allowed on the roads. You should avoid any demonstrations or political gatherings and follow local advice, including that of your leader in the event of any disruptions. PETTY THEFT & CRIME: Pickpocketing and other petty theft is common, especially in places where tourists or foreigners frequent. Take care when walking around at night. Avoid walking on your own and don’t carry large sums of cash. Keep valuables in a hotel safe if possible. Bars and restaurants now close at midnight as part of a government crackdown on illegal activities. Foreigners remaining in bars and clubs after hours have been detained by the police. Police have increased their presence in Thamel and Durbar Marg, popular tourist districts in Kathmandu, in an effort to reduce crime in these areas. You should seek out police if you have been robbed or affected by any crime. ALTITUDE: Altitude sickness is a risk, including on the Annapurna, Langtang and Everest Base Camp treks. Please make sure you familiarise yourself with signs and symptoms before you depart and monitor your own health during your trek. INSURANCE: Make sure your insurance covers you for your intended activities, including travel and trekking above 3000m if this is included on your itinerary, mountain rescue services and helicopter evacuation costs. FESTIVALS: Travelling in Nepal during Holi Festival (28-29 March 2021, 27-28 March 2022), can at times be dangerous due to revellers consuming intoxicating substances. The day is often associated with physical violence and danger. Your leader will advise you and your group on what places to avoid on this day and it may even be necessary for us to alter your itinerary for the day to avoid putting you or your group leader in a high-risk situation. Travelling during the Hindu festival Diwali (4 November 2021, 24 November 2022) can also be dangerous. During this time there are many displays of fireworks in the streets. It can be very noisy for several days and there is also a lot of pollution caused by the fireworks. As there are no restrictions on buying fireworks there are often injuries caused by people exploding them inappropriately. During this festival, your leader may be required to alter your itinerary to avoid any dangerous areas to avoid putting the group at risk. INTERNAL FLIGHTS: There have been a number of air accidents in Nepal. We only use airlines that have passed strict safety audits for included internal flights in Nepal, including Buddha Air, Yeti Air & Tara Air.

    PETTY CRIME: The crime rate in Bhutan is low, but there are occasional thefts and petty crime, such as pick-pocketing and purse snatching in areas frequented by tourists.

    Communications

    BHUTAN: Internet access is generally fast and very good in both Thimpu and Paro. There may be limited internet access in smaller towns and villages. WiFi is generally free in the lobby and restaurant section of a hotel but charges may apply for internet use within your room.

    Visas

    PASSPORT You will need a valid passport to travel internationally. As a general rule, most countries require that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets exactly and contact us immediately if there are any errors. We recommend taking copies of the main passport pages and other important documents with you as well as leave copies at home with family or friends. VISAS Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time. It is important that you check your government's foreign travel advisories along with the consular website of the country or countries you are travelling to for the most up to date information specific to your nationality and circumstances. Please be aware that not all visa information found online from other sources may be valid while COVID-19 restrictions are in place. Visas can take several weeks to process, so make sure you research the requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for obtaining any necessary documents as well as the application and processing time. Your booking consultant can advise on a visa processing service or you can apply yourself directly through a consulate. COVID-19 Entry and Exit Requirements Below you will find general visa advice about the destinations on your trip. Due to constantly evolving COVID-19 requirements and restrictions, please refer to your government's foreign travel advice for the most up to date information.You may also refer to our travel alert page for more info https://www.intrepidtravel.com/en/travel-alerts Make sure you are familiar with the current border measures and entry requirements as these are quite complex and changing frequently without notice. Please also ensure you have a travel insurance policy that covers your travels as well as medical or COVID-19 related expenses within the country. RETURN TRAVEL Please ensure you stay up to date with any current testing or quarantine requirements for returning to your home country or transiting through other destinations after the completion of your tour. We are able to help facilitate taking a COVID-19 test while on trip. Please ensure you have funds available to cover the cost of this test which will be payable directly to the testing site. Your Intrepid Tour Leader will provide more details at the group meeting as well as assist with booking appointments for all travellers who need to be tested. NEPAL: All foreign nationals (except Indian passport holders) require a visa to enter Nepal. Visas are obtainable from embassies abroad, land borders (including borders with India & Tibet), and on arrival at Kathmandu's Tribhuvan Airport. Getting a visa at the airport or land borders can sometimes take time due to long queues. There have been instances when travellers are asked to show proof of exit from the country, ie flight tickets. You may also need to provide two passport photos and the following fees in US dollars (subject to change, cash only). Other currencies are also accepted although rates may differ. The following costs were correct at time of writing: - Multi entry visa valid for 15 days - US$30 - Multi entry visa valid for 30 days - US$50 - Multi entry visa valid for 90 days - US$125 Your visa application form may require you to state the dates on which you enter and exit that country. Please note we suggest you list your date of entry a few days before, and date of exit a few days after your intended dates in case you encounter any delays or problems en route. To help calculate the exact dates of these crossings we have found the website www.timeanddate.com to be very useful. BHUTAN All nationalities require a visa for Bhutan. Travellers can only enter Bhutan on a group visa as part of a tour. Independent visas are not issued. The cost of the visa is included in your tour. Please provide your booking agent with the following at time of booking in order for us to apply for your group visa: - a clear uncut scanned colour copy of the two pages of the personal details section of your passport - email address you will access while travelling - arrival and departure flight details Due to the controlled nature of travel in Bhutan the group visa can only be submitted once we have the above details from ALL travellers in the group. Failure to advise any of the information as above can slow the visa issuing process, and delay the visa for the whole group. Generally visas are issued within 5 days of departure and as close as 48 hours prior to travel into the country. We will send your group visa to your travelling email address. Please print this group visa as you must show it at check-in for your flight to Bhutan and on arrival at immigration in Bhutan, where you will have an entry stamp placed in your passport. Please note that the visa is issued by the Royal Government of Bhutan and will contain the nationality and passport number of every member of the group who is travelling on the same departure.

    Why we love it

    Experience two incredible feature stays – a stylish and elegant resort right on the border of Chitwan National Park, and a traditionally beautiful and eco-conscious resort tucked away in the gorgeous valley of Paro.

    Get an intimate look at Nepali culture and cuisine during an unforgettable cooking class with the Seven Women, a social enterprise helping disadvantaged women in Nepal.

    Witness world-class mountain scenery during a breathtaking Mount Everest flight and a picturesque hike through the inspiring landscapes of Pokhara.

    Visit the important monastery of Gangte Goemba where you’ll speak to a senior resident monk about two subjects at heart of Bhutanese culture – Buddhism and happiness.

    Climb to the teetering monastery of Taktsang (the Tiger's Nest) 900 metres above Paro’s valley floor and take in once-in-a-lifetime views.

    Is this trip right for you

    Nepali infrastructure is still returning to normal after the 2015 earthquake, so some delays are inevitable. Embracing the slow pace and meditative atmosphere will go a long way toward your enjoyment of this beautiful country. Prepare for some drives over narrow, winding roads. The drive from Pokhara to Chitwan is on very windy roads as you climb up and down mountains, there will be a lot of corners and don't forget to buckle up. In Bhutan short distances can take much longer due to small, narrow roads and mountain passes. Motion sickness can be an issue on longer driving days on windy roads. A moderate fitness level is required for the hike in Pokhara and walks in Chitwan National Park. The hike to Tiger’s Nest can also be strenuous. The trek can take up to 5 hours and reach an altitude of 3120 metres. Due to the high altitude of the places we visit in Bhutan some people can suffer altitude sickness, regardless of age, gender or fitness. It even happened to Sir Edmund Hillary! Please see the ‘Medical and Health Information’ section of the Essential Trip Information for more details. All meals are included due to the nature of travelling in Bhutan. This means there may be limited choices on some days.

    Health

    GENERAL HEALTH All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to manage and enjoy our style of travel. Please note that if in the opinion of our group leader or local guide any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, we reserve the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund. You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements as they may not easily be obtained while travelling. COVID-19 The safety and wellbeing of our travellers, leaders, crew, staff, and suppliers continues to remain our highest priority as we travel. You can read more about how we will keep you safe on our trips, including our COVID-19 Health & Safety Guidelines here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/safe-travels HEALTH SCREENING If you are unwell prior to travelling, please stay at home and contact us to make alternative arrangements. At the group meeting, you will be asked to complete a self-screening health form and report any COVID-19 symptoms as well as any close contact with someone who has suspected or confirmed COVID-19. If you are displaying any symptoms or have any health concerns at this time, we will follow the advice of local health authorities to determine whether medical assistance, isolation or further action is required. We ask all travellers to continue to monitor their health throughout their travels and report any relevant symptoms to their tour leader. TESTING & VACCINATION POLICY From 1st May 2021 we introduced new safety measures that apply on all of our trips, except for tours in Australia and New Zealand. On trips departing before 1st September 2021, you will need to show one of the below to your leader at the Group Meeting on Day 1 of your trip: - Proof of COVID-19 vaccination, or - Proof of negative COVID-19 test conducted no more than 72 hours before day 1 of your trip, or - Proof of recovery documentation In addition, if you’re aged 70+ or have an existing health condition that puts you at a higher risk of serious COVID-19 disease, you are also required to provide proof of vaccination before you can join a trip. MANDATORY VACCINATION POLICY From 1st of September 2021 we have introduced enhanced safety measures that apply on all of our trips, except for tours in Australia, New Zealand, and the Cook Islands. You will need to show your leader at the Group Meeting on Day 1 of your trip: - Proof of COVID-19 vaccination This policy is in addition to any specific testing or vaccination requirements for entry or exit to a destination or required by your airline. For more information, including a detailed FAQ about this policy, please visit https://www.intrepidtravel.com/covid19 AIR POLLUTION: Air quality in Nepal can be poor, especially in winter. Some towns, including Kathmandu, experience very high levels of seasonal smog and heavy particulate pollution. Seek medical advice if you're concerned about the effects of air pollution. ALTITUDE SICKNESS: Travellers to altitudes higher than 2,500m are at risk of altitude sickness, also known as acute mountain sickness (AMS). This can be life-threatening and affect anyone, even people who are very physically fit. There is a higher risk for those who have had altitude sickness before, who exercise or drink alcohol before adjusting to the altitude, or who have health problems that affect breathing. If your tour travels to high altitude, see your doctor for advice specific to you and your situation before you depart. It is important to be aware of the normal altitude symptoms that you may encounter BUT NOT worry about: - Periods of sleeplessness - Occasional loss of appetite - Vivid, wild dreams at around 2500-3800m in altitude - Unexpected momentary shortness of breath, day and night - Periodic breathing that wakes you occasionally - Blocked nose - Dry cough - Mild headache If you are feeling nauseous, dizzy, or experience other symptoms, please be sure to let your group leader know immediately so that we can monitor your condition. Please be aware that should your group leader deem it unsafe for you to continue trekking at any time, they will arrange for you to descend to a lower altitude. Please read the following document carefully and, during your trip, utilise the table on the back daily to record your own perspective of your general health and any symptoms you may experience: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/altitude-sickness On some days this trip may ascend faster than commonly published recommended ascent rates at altitude. However, based upon an assessment by our external safety and medical advisors, and in conjunction with our own risk assessments, we consider that the ascent rate is acceptable due to the additional safety measures that are in place for our customers. If you have concerns about this, please speak to your booking representative. All our leaders in the Himalayas are trained in the use of a PAC bag (Portable Altitude Chamber) and this is carried on all trips which go above 4,200m. The PAC bag is used in an emergency only to treat altitude sickness in the mountains. A First Aid kit is carried with the group and all our leaders are First Aid trained. Please ensure that your travel insurance policy does cover you up to the maximum altitude on this trip, and includes helicopter evacuation. Please take proof of this with you on the trip, as you will need to show it to the leader. MOSQUITO-BORNE ILLNESSES: Malaria is a risk in some areas of Nepal including Chitwan National Park. Dengue fever and Japanese encephalitis also occur, including on occasion in Kathmandu. Protect yourself against insect bites by wearing adequate protection, including repellent. MEDICAL FACILITIES AND TREATMENT: Medical facilities in Nepal are very limited, particularly outside Kathmandu. In Kathmandu, treatment at international-standard clinics is expensive and up-front payment for services is generally required. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment, including evacuation by helicopter. ALTITUDE SICKNESS: Much of Bhutan is at elevations of over 2,500m and travellers can be affected by altitude sickness. Altitude sickness can be life threatening and can affect anyone, even the physically fit. Those more at risk include people who have had altitude sickness before, who exercise or drink alcohol before adjusting to the altitude, or who have health problems that affect breathing. See your doctor prior to travelling to Bhutan to get advice specific to you and your situation. Monitor your health and well-being during the trip and report immediately to your leader if you feel unwell. Ensure your travel insurance covers you for altitude sickness and medical evacuation. MOSQUITO-BORNE ILLNESSES: Outbreaks of dengue fever and malaria have been known to occur in Bhutan. Protect yourself against mosquito-borne illnesses by taking measures to avoid insect bites, including using insect repellent and wearing long, loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing.

    Food and dietary requirements

    While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. If you have dietary requirements and/or food allergies, please let your booking agent know prior to departure. FOOD IN NEPAL: In Kathmandu and Pokhara there are plenty of restaurants and cafes for all tastes and budgets. For a glimpse at what traditional Nepali cuisine entails, check out our guide here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/guide-to-nepali-cuisine/ Nepal caters very well towards vegetarians and vegans with almost all restaurants having a veg section of the menu. Your tour leader will be able to direct you towards restaurants that are known to have better hygiene, especially in tourist areas where they are travelling with our groups regularly. BHUTAN FOOD: All meals are included with the cost of your trip to Bhutan. Generally, meals will be buffet style and taken in your hotel or guesthouse. Lunches and dinners will generally include a selection of western, Chinese, or Indian style dishes, with some local specialties on occasion. Don't forget to try the National dishes of emma datse (chili and cheese) and delicious red rice. Rice and vegetable dishes are always present for every meal. Vegetarians are well catered for and meat is the exception rather than the rule with most meals. Bottled and alcoholic drinks are not included with meals and are paid for separately. Each restaurant typically will cook about three or four dishes per group to share. Choices are limited and feedback has suggested that the food isn't the main reason to visit Bhutan. Meals may become a little monotonous with similar offerings at most restaurants.  Please don't be offended that your leader and driver do not eat with you. This is the custom in Bhutan and leaders and drivers generally eat together in another section of the restaurant.  

    Money matters

    TIPPING Tips are included on all Intrepid Premium trips, covering hotel staff, local guides and the people who will take care of you during your travels. This amount does not include a tip for your leader, so you may wish to set aside some funds for this. It is customary to tip your leader for outstanding service provided during your trip. You are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length and involvement of your leader on your trip. Tips are greatly appreciated as a gesture of thanks for their professionalism and leadership during your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however, as a guideline, US$3-6 per person (in a currency relevant for your destination), per day can be used. SPENDING MONEY When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget an appropriate amount for things like optional meals, drinks, shopping, optional activities, and laundry. Make sure you have read the itinerary and inclusions thoroughly so you know what is included in the trip price and what you may need to pay for while travelling. CONTINGENCY FUNDS We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. We reserve the right to change an itinerary after departure due to local circumstances or a Force Majeure Event. In such emergency circumstances, the additional cost of any necessary itinerary alterations will be covered by you. Please note we are not responsible for any incidental expenses that may be incurred as a result of the change of itineraries including but not limited to visas, vaccinations or non-refundable flights. Make sure you have access to an extra US$500 for emergencies (e.g. severe weather, natural disasters, civil unrest) or other events that result in unavoidable changes to the itinerary (e.g. transport strikes or cancellations, airport closures). Sometimes these things necessitate last-minute changes to enable our trips to continue to run, and as a result, there may be some extra costs involved. The recommended amount is listed in USD for the relatability of universal travellers, however, local currency may be needed once in the country to cover these costs. NEPAL: The official currency of Nepal is the Nepali rupee (NPR). Its symbol is often displayed as Rs. USD is also widely accepted in Nepal. ATMs can only be found in Kathmandu, Pokhara, and Bhaktapur. Make sure you carry sufficient cash to cover your needs when travelling outside of these cities. Money exchange facilities are available in Kathmandu, Namche, Pokhara, Chitwan (only outside the park), and Bhaktapur. Credit cards are not widely accepted. The Government of Nepal has banned the import, export, and use of 500 and 1000 Indian rupee notes in Nepal. You should ensure you are not carrying these notes on arrival in Nepal as they will be confiscated and you may be fined. Please note that most establishments in Asia will not accept foreign currency notes that are old, torn, or faded and they can be very difficult to exchange or extra fees added when exchanging at banks. Please ensure that you have new, clean notes. Before departing on a trek, make sure you have enough Nepalese currency to purchase meals and drinks, in the smaller denominations where possible, as there are no ATMs and larger notes (such as 1000R) can be difficult to change. BHUTAN The official currency of Bhutan is the Bhutanese Ngultrum (BTN). The Indian Rupee is also accepted as legal tender in Bhutan, but Indian currency in large denominations may not be accepted. You can exchange all major currencies at the airport on arrival. Ensure you have new, clean and undamaged notes. Also, note that there are variable rates for bigger foreign currency notes and currency notes of smaller denominations. Higher denominations get you a better exchange rate. ATMs are common in towns. EFTPOS services are available nationwide, including at most hotels. Credit cards are not widely accepted, but can be used at reputable hotels. It is not possible to exchange BTN outside of Bhutan so ensure you keep any exchange receipts in order to convert any remaining currency back before you leave. BHUTAN: All meals are included on your Bhutan trip. You will only need extra spending money for souvenirs, drinks and tips. Best to bring cash, as it is easily exchanged into local currency. ATMs are available only in Thimphu and Paro. Credit cards are accepted only in larger tourist shops for large purchases.

    What to take

    What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. We recommend you pack as lightly as possible, ensuring that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage and walk with it for short distances or up or down a flight of stairs. Help will be on hand in most locations, but there may be times you need to handle your own luggage, for example in airports and train stations. A lockable suitcase with wheels is ideal for this trip. It is recommended that you keep your main luggage weight around 15kg and certainly no more than 20kg. A small or medium-sized backpack (45-50 litres) is another good option. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water, camera, jacket, etc. when you’re exploring during the day. Below is a link to our ultimate packing list, a guide to get you started:

    https://www.intrepidtravel.com/packing-list

    Climate and seasonal

    SEASONAL INFORMATION: Nepal's climate varies greatly depending on the season: JUN - SEP: the monsoon rains (mostly at night) bring landslides in regional areas. Cloud cover often obscures mountain views with rain, mud, and leeches deterring most trekkers at this time of year. Treks running in September can be hot and very humid at lower altitudes. See what it's like to trek during monsoon here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/nepal-during-monsoon-season/ MAR-APR: Spring brings warm weather and spectacular rhododendron blooms. A popular time to visit and one of the peak times to trek. OCT - NOV: Clear skies and warm days make autumn the peak season. DEC - FEB: Winter brings cold temperatures and snow to the mountains. Good trekking, but remember to rug up. WEATHER IN BHUTAN Bhutan can be divided into three areas. In the south, you’ll find the lowlands fronting the Indian border, which enjoy a subtropical climate. This region sees monsoonal rains from June to mid-October and mild winters through December, January and February. Travel north and the climate becomes progressively colder as the Himalaya rise. The central belt of the country, in the lower foothills of the Himalaya, features cold, dry winters and warm summers with monsoonal rains on the southern sides, while the valleys experience less rainfall thanks to the mountains’ protection. In the northern regions, as the Himalaya rise above 2500 metres (8202 feet), the winters are cold and while the summer can be warm, the valleys are generally protected against monsoonal rain.

    A couple of rules

    Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden. Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption. The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips. By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. You must at all times comply with the laws, customs, foreign exchange and drug regulations of all countries visited, and you also agree to travel in accordance with our Responsible Travel Guidelines. The decision of the group leader is final on all matters likely to affect the safety or well-being of any traveller or staff member participating in the trip. If you fail to comply with a decision made by a group leader, or interfere with the well-being or mobility of the group, the group leader may direct you to leave the trip immediately, with no right of refund. We may also elect not to carry you on any future trips booked. If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information. For additional Conditions of Carriage regarding COVID-19, see here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/conditions-carriage

    Feedback

    Can’t stop thinking about your adventure? Tell us all about it! We read each piece of feedback carefully and use it to make improvements for travellers like you. Share your experience with us at: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback/

    Emergency contact

    While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip. We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager. You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. Please do be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is completed, so informing us while still travelling will give us the opportunity to resolve the issue in real-time. For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/ In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local office on the number below: Intrepid’s Local Operator: +977 980 112 3617

    Responsible travel

    Our Responsible Travel Policy outlines our commitment to preserving the environment, supporting local communities, protecting the vulnerable, and giving back to the places we travel. All our trip leaders, suppliers, and staff are trained on these principles and are core to us delivering sustainable, experience-rich travel. Explore the different parts of our Responsible Travel Policy by visiting: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/responsible-travel ELEPHANT PERFORMANCES & ELEPHANT RIDING: While we respect each individual’s decisions while travelling, Intrepid does not include elephant rides or unnatural performance activities on any itinerary, and we recommend you bypass these activities should they be offered to you during your stay. Professional wildlife conservation and animal welfare organisations, including World Animal Protection, advise that contrary to common belief, captive elephants remain wild animals and despite good intentions, unfortunately, many venues are unable to provide the appropriate living conditions elephants require and this ultimately impacts their well-being. While there is some merit in the argument that the money you pay for the activity goes towards keeping the elephants and their mahouts employed, we know that it also fuels demand for elephants to be captured in the wild or captive-bred. We thank you for your support in improving the welfare of these majestic creatures. Further information is available on the below link: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/elephants-welfare NEPAL Dress codes are quite relaxed in tourist areas of Kathmandu and Pokhara, but much more conservative in other parts of the country. Remove shoes before entering certain temples and holy places and be aware that non-Hindus may not be permitted at some religious sites. Dress modestly, take care not to offend, and ask your leader if you are unsure if something is appropriate. BHUTAN LOCAL DRESS: Bhutan is a conservative country in standards of dress and behavior. Dress modestly and respectfully when visiting temples or other religious sites. Long trousers are most appropriate for men and longer length skirts or trousers are most appropriate for women.

    The Intrepid Foundation

    Help us change thousands of lives by creating meaningful work and supporting skills training in communities around the world. The Intrepid Foundation is the not-for-profit for Intrepid Group. We work with local organisations around the world to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable individuals and communities through sustainable travel experiences. With our travellers’ help, we’ve contributed more than AU $6 million to over 100 community organisations since 2002. Did you know that tourism is one of the biggest contributors to the global economy, making up 1 out of every 10 jobs? That’s why we support local projects that create meaningful jobs and give people the skills they need to work in the destinations we take you to. And it’s why we exist – to make it easy for travellers to give back to the communities and places they’ve been in an effective and meaningful way. Intrepid Group covers all administration costs, every cent goes directly to the projects. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information about the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or visit our website: http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/ Organisations and projects currently supported by The Intrepid Foundation in Nepal include: *Forget Me Not Forget Me Not is dedicated to protecting vulnerable children, keeping families together, and stopping child trafficking in Nepal, Uganda, and India. https://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/forget-me-not *Seven Women works to economically and socially empower marginalised women in Nepal through literacy programs, skills training, and income generation. https://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/seven-women https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/meet-kathmandus-hidden-artisans-the-extraordinary-seven-women/ *Kathmandu Environmental Education Project (KEEP) KEEP provides training and education to porters to help protect their rights and ensure they can work safely on the mountain https://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/kathmandu-environmental-education-project

    Accommodation notes

    The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline only and may change. On some occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our preferred accommodation. In these cases, we will use a similar standard of accommodation. Throughout the trip, we request that our properties prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However, this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination or on some trips, have use of shared day rooms until all rooms are available.

    Transport notes

    MONSOON: The monsoon season is from June to September and weather conditions can disrupt travel during this time due to flooding and landslides. Disruption of air travel and airport closures are also possible. Be prepared that the itinerary may need to change at short notice. ROAD TRAVEL: Roadworks and infrastructure projects can cause significant delays on major roads within cities and highways between destinations. Road travel can also be disrupted due to demonstrations and bandhs (strikes) without warning. Major roadworks are currently ongoing in and around Kathmandu and the roads to Chitwan National Park. Delays, heavy traffic, poor road conditions, and dust are a reality of road travel in Nepal. AIR TRAVEL: Nepal's only international airport, Tribhuvan International Airport, has a single runway that services both domestic and international flights. Cancellations and delays are frequent, especially during peak tourist seasons or in poor weather. There have been occasions when groups have had to have their itineraries altered. Your local leader will give you the most up to date information regarding delays to flights. Travellers have on occasion missed international connections as a result of this. Ensure you have adequate travel insurance and contact numbers for your airlines before departure. BHUTAN: Whilst there are approx 8000km of roads in Bhutan, the quality varies greatly depending on proximity to the major towns of Thimpu and Paro. As such, even short distances can take longer than expected. Bhutan is currently upgrading a lot of its road network and delays are common. Roads are narrow and speeds are slow. Landslides are common, particularly after rain and occasionally trips are diverted due to debris blocking roads. Thimpu is also famous as the worlds only capital city without a traffic light.

    Travel insurance

    Travel insurance is compulsory on all our trips for those travelling internationally. We require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. If you are travelling within your home country or region please confirm before travel that you are entitled to access the public medical system easily should an accident occur. We strongly recommend all travellers have a policy that also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage or personal effects. For international trips, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24-hour emergency contact number has been sighted by your leader. If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number, and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and your credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country. Travellers who reside within the European Union or Switzerland receive basic international health insurance, so travel insurance is not mandatory under European Union Law. However, as this does not cover situations such as emergency rescues, private health care, or repatriation to their home country, comprehensive travel insurance is strongly recommended. European Union or Swiss travellers who decline travel insurance when travelling outside of their home region must sign a Travel Insurance Waiver Form at the Group Meeting. For assistance with travel insurance or other services, please visit the link below: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/booking-resources/our-services

    Your fellow travellers

    As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons, we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. SOLO TRAVELLERS This is the beauty of our style of travel: many of our travellers join because they are travelling solo and want to meet and share experiences with like-minded people. We pair up solo travellers with another traveller of the same gender as per your passport or the information we have in our booking system, so if you identify differently from the gender marker on your passport, please let us know in advance. We also have a Single Supplement available on most trips for travellers who prefer to have their own room. Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour. Pre-trip and post-trip accommodation booked through us will on a single room basis. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on an open gender, multi-share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Essential Trip Information.

    Itinerary disclaimer

    ITINERARY CHANGES Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you review this information prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays, or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in-country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any such changes once on tour. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and maybe on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested in the Group Meeting and they can assist. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high-risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

    Accommodation

    Hotel (12 nights),Chitwan Feature Stay (2 nights),Paro Feature Stay (2 nights)

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