Fit & Ready Adventure Travel is pleased to announce the release of its 2017 exclusive Himalayan adventure. This 17 day adventure offers a combination of overland touring from Darjeeling in India’s West Bengal state, in the Himalayan foothills, through to Gangtok, the capital of the mountainous northern Indian state of Sikkim, which offers magnificent views of two Himalayan giants - Kanchenjunga (8586m) and Mt Everest (8848m), and then across to the border at Phuntsholing to Bhutan, a Buddhist kingdom on the Himalaya’s eastern edge, known for its monasteries, dzongs and dramatic landscapes that range from subtropical plains to steep mountains and valleys. Bhutan measures its success in terms of Gross National Happiness – combine this with Bhutan’s extraordinary geography and ancient Buddhist mythology this adventure will be unforgettable.
A highlight of our visit to Bhutan will be a trek to Paro Taktsang monastery (also known as Tiger’s Nest) at 3120m – a great warm up to our five-day Druk Path Trek from the Paro valley (2195m) to the Thimpu valley (2320m), crossing a chain of mountains reaching our highest point at Phume la pass at 4210m that is adorned with beautiful prayer flags and offers magnificent views of the Thimphu city far below.
Join me, Leonie Berger on this adventure of discovery. It will leave you speechless - then turn you into a story teller.
With our thorough preparation you will explore, dream and discover the beauty of this Himalayan triangle. You will experience the magnificent, vibrant cultures of these hidden lands against a backdrop of awe inspiring mountains where prayer flags reach to out to the sky.
Start: Kathmandu, Nepal: 1 October 2017
Finish: Paro, Bhutan: 17 October 2017
Days: 17 days from Kathmandu
Group Size: 6-10 people
Season: Autumn, cool & temperate
Trip Grade: Moderate to strenuous (a high level of fitness is required for the camp trek as altitude reaches 4210m
Price: US$3895 per person twin share – Price Guaranteed - Contact us for more details.
During the overland and camping trek
International flights, visas, insurances, additional accommodation pre or post trip, meals not listed and all refreshments, any optional tours and activities during free time, camera fees, excess baggage charges, showers on trek (if available), tips or gratuities and items of a personal nature.
Visitors to Bhutan must pay a set daily rate for travel on an arranged tour. The tourism tariff for tourists traveling to Bhutan is set by the Royal Government and the Tourism Council of Bhutan. Our visit is in the Peak Season October (peak season is Mar/Apr/May/Sept/Oct/Nov) where the land cost is US$250 per person per night and includes a minimum of 3 star hotel accommodation (camping is also charged at this rate regardless), costs for food, and an experienced guide and transportation (with driver) within the country. Also included in the price is a $65 per day royalty that goes towards free education, free healthcare and poverty alleviation. All of these services will be arranged by Himalayan Hikers Expeditions.
To get the most out of your adventure, it’s important to have a level of fitness prior to your departure that is commensurate with the grading of the trek.
With a tailored fitness program for you to undertake in your own time you will embark on this adventure of a life time comforted by the fact that you are mentally and physically prepared to take on the challenges of this 17 day overland and camping trek through Nepal, India and Bhutan. You can supplement your tailored fitness program with personal training or join any of Life & More’s group training classes at an additional cost.
October offers clear skies and mild days. It is a time of year when the temperature is pleasantly cool and the sky is usually clear offering spectacular views of the Himalayan ranges. Trekking at altitude, nights can be quite cold comparatively, at times dipping to freezing temperatures, and as you gain altitude it will become much cooler with overnight temperatures dropping below zero.
Contact us to find out more about the clothing and equipment you will need for this exclusive Himalayan Kingdoms Overland & Trek Adventure.
Sunday 1 October 2017
Day 1 - Kathmandu (1360m)
Upon arrival in Kathmandu our Himalayan Hikers representative will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel. The drive from the airport to the hotel is around 20 minutes. A briefing will be conducted late this afternoon by our tour leader to discuss the tour program and coordinate any last minute arrangements. The evening is free for you to experience one of Kathmandu’s fine Nepali restaurants.
Monday 2 October 2017
Day 2 - Kathmandu (1360m)
In the morning you will explore Kathmandu on an organised sightseeing tour. You will visit Bodhnath Stupa, one of the biggest Buddhist shrines in the world where you will observe Buddhist monks in prayer in the monasteries surrounding the Stupa. You will also visit Pashupatinath, the most famous Hindu temple in the country located on the banks of the holy Bagmati River. Here you will see Hindu holy men (Sadhus) meditating, pilgrims bathing, and occasionally funeral pyres burning on the Ghats. The rest of your afternoon in Kathmandu is free for further sightseeing and exploration. In the late afternoon your leader will confirm departure information for the next morning. Tonight you will enjoy a wonderful traditional Nepalese banquet with traditional dancing. (B, D)
Tuesday 3 October 2017
Day 3 – Kakarvitta to Darjeeling (2.5hrs drive) (2134m)
Today you leave Kathmandu and commence the next part of your journey with a 45 minute flight to Bhadrapur, in the south-east of Nepal. From here it is a short journey to the Indian border at Kakarvitta, where you will complete immigration formalities. Your journey continues with a drive through the Indian plains for an hour before the road starts to climb through the jungles, tea gardens, small towns, and village settlements that line the route to Darjeeling. On the way you may see the famous Darjeeling Toy Train, winding its way up the hill. Darjeeling was once the summer capital of Bengal during the British Raj and is one of the most beautiful of India's hill stations. Commonly called the Queen of the Hills, her crown is the mighty peak of Kanchenjunga, the world's third highest peak at 8586m, which overlooks the town in a most spectacular manner. (B, D)
Wednesday 4 October 2017
Day 4 - Darjeeling (2134m)
Today brings with it a full day of sightseeing including an exploration of the Botanical Gardens, famous for its unique collection of Himalayan plants, flowers and orchids. You will also visit the Tibetan Refugee Centre, established in 1959 for Tibetans fleeing the Chinese invasion. The handicraft centre here has a selection of hand-woven carpets and other items for sale. The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute is well worth a visit as it has an interesting museum dedicated to the Himalayan climbing fraternity. Next, you will have the opportunity to discover Tibetan monasteries, there is also free time to stroll around the town and mingle with the locals. (B, D)
Thursday 5 October & Friday 6 October 2017
Day 5 & 6 –Darjeeling to Gangtok (4hrs drive) (1600m)
You will rise early today for an excursion to Tiger Hill for sunrise. From here there are magnificent views of Kanchenjunga (8586m) and Everest (8848m), as well as hundreds of other Himalayan giants. On the way back to the hotel you will also view Ghoom Monastery (built in 1875) and stop at Batasia Loop where you will take a short ride on the early morning Darjeeling Toy Train. After breakfast, you will head off for the drive to Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim. Upon arrival, you will have the remainder of the day to spend at your leisure. The following morning you will visit Rumtek Monastery, the largest in Sikkim with an original building that dates back to 1717. In the afternoon, enjoy further sightseeing in Gangtok where you’ll visit the Drodul Chorten, which was built to commemorate the victory of good over evil. Surrounding the chorten are 108 prayer wheels. The Research Institute of Tibetology is renowned worldwide for studies in the Buddhist philosophy and religion. A number of priceless religious paintings (thangkas), statues, and other religious artworks are housed here. You will also visit Enchay Monastery and the orchid sanctuary, which contains over 200 exotic species. (2B, 2D)
Saturday 7 October 2017
Day 7 – Gangtok to Kalimpong (2.5hrs drive) (1250m)
After breakfast you will take a scenic drive to Kalimpong, once a famous centre of the eastern and central Tibetan wool trade. The town is situated below the saddle connecting the Deolo and Rinkingpong (Durbin) Hills. Kalimpong has a temperate climate throughout the year and experiences only a light monsoon, which is ideal for the many flower nurseries in the town. Kalimpong was once the headquarters of the Bhutanese Governor, the word kalim means minister, and pong means stronghold. (B, D)
Sunday 8 October 2017
Day 8 – Kalimpong to Phuntsholing (5-6hrs drive) (293m)
You will start your day by visiting the nearby Zangdopheir Monastery, which is shadowed by the impressive peak of Kanchenjunga (8586m). Descending to the plains enroute to the border of Bhutan at Phuntsholing, you will pass through immigration and check in to your hotel for the night. (B, D)
Monday 9 October 2017
Day 9 – Phuntsholing to Paro (6 hrs drive) (2200m)
After completing visa formalities in Phuntsholing we drive to Paro and check into the hotel. The remainder of the day is free to take a leisurely walk around the town of Paro. (B,L,D)
Tuesday 10 October 2017
Day 10 - Paro Sightseeing (2200m)
Taktsang Lhakhang or ‘The Tiger’s Nest’ is Bhutan’s most iconic landmark and religious site. This magical temple, first built in 1692, clings impossibly to a sheer cliff 900m above the Paro Valley. Legend has it that in the 7th century AD, Guru Rimpoche, a tantric master flew here on the back of a tigress and meditated in the cave in order to subdue evil demons residing within it. A hike to this temple will take up most of our morning. On our way back to the hotel we visit 1200 year old Kyichu Lhakhang Temple to bring us good luck for the rest of our journey. After lunch we will see the rich history of Bhutan exhibited in the 17th century National Museum. The Paro Dzong, a massive fortress built in the 17th century now houses the monastic body. A tour of this beautiful Dzong will introduce us to the unique aspects of Bhutanese Buddhism. A lovely stroll downhill from the Dzong over an old cantilever bridge wraps up an eventful day in this magical kingdom. (B,L,D)
Wednesday 11 October 2017
Day 11 - Begin the Druk Path Trek from Paro (2200m) to Jele Dzong (3570m) 4-5 hrs / 8km
From your hotel in Paro transfer to the trailhead near Ta Dzong museum and commence trekking. As you ascend 1050m it is important to trek slowly for about 4-5 hours which will help with acclimatisation. Camp at 3570m. (B,L,D)
Thursday 12 October 2017
Day 12: Trek from Jele Dzong (3570m) to Jangchulakha (3760m) 4hrs / 10km
Visit Jeli Dzong, which is mostly in ruins, and trek along the ridges with the views of Paro’s side valleys. Our route climbs through thick alpine forests and rhododendrons to reach a saddle at 3,590 where there are stunning views of Chomolhari (7314m) and surrounding mountains. Look out for the beautiful Monal pheasant which can be seen during the day. (B,L,D)
Friday 13 October 2017
Day 13: Trek from Jangchulakha (3760m) to Jimilang Tsho Lake (3870m) 4hrs / 10km
Our trek follows the ridge to a saddle at 4040m, then drops a little and follows the ridge back to Jangchu La pass (4180m). Our camp is near Jimilang Tshjo (Sand Ox Lake), an isolated lake at 3870m. It was named after a bull emerged from the lake and joined the cattle of a family that uses the area as a grazing ground during the summer. This lake is also known for its giant size trout. In clear weather there are good views of Mt Jichu Drake (6989m), the peak representing the protective deity of Paro Valley. (B,L,D)
Saturday 14 October 2017
Day 14 -Trek from Jimilang Tsho Lake (3870m) to Phajoding (3750m) 7-8hrs / 21km
Today is a tough day as you gradually climb up to 4150m and descend to Simkota Tsho, which takes 4 hours. Then gradually trek up hill and climb to Laban La pass at 4210m – our highest point in the trek, after which the trail makes a long and steep descent past Thujidrag to Phajoding. The campsite is near the hermitages and monasteries at 3750m. (B,L,D)
Sunday 15 October 2017
Day 15 – Trek from Phajoding (3750m) to Thimphu (2320m) 3hrs / 5km
After visiting the temples and monasteries in Phajoding, walk downhill to Motithang (2540m) where our private car will transfer you to your hotel in Thimphu. Time permitting in the afternoon you may explore Thimpu. (B,L,D)
Monday 16 October 2017
Day 16 – Thimphu (2320m)Today you will have more time to do sightseeing and explore the Kingdom’s capital Thimphu, that is home to approximately 1000,000 inhabitants including the Royal family. Although Thimphu is Bhutan’s most modern city with restaurants, internet cafes, night clubs and shopping centers, it still retains its cultural identity and values amidst the signs of modernisation. Thimphu is the only capital city in the world that does not use traffic lights; instead, a few major intersections have policemen standing in elaborately decorated booths directing traffic with exaggerated hand motions. (B,L,D)
Tuesday 17 October 2017
Thimphu to Paro (1.15hrs drive) (2200m) Final Departure
Transfer to Paro airport for your departure flight home. Our tour staff will bid you farewell at the airport. (B)
*Fit & Ready Adventure Travel and Himalayan Hikers Expeditions reserve the right to amend or cancel this trek at any time and do not accept any liability for any part of this tour including those provided by the suppliers of this tour.