NATRAJ TREKKING     Since 1967
One of the leading trekking agency for Nepal, Bhutan & Tibet tour
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Bhutan Cultural Tour – 08 Days

Bhutan Cultural Tour

8-days Bhutan Cultural Tour - one of the most exotic places on earth in the midst of the Himalaya mountains and Buddhist tradition. Enjoy Bhutan's mesmerizing and unspoiled cultural and natural grandeur - a country full of curiosities. This introductory package gives you cultural and natural exposure to Bhutan's rugged terrain and steep mountain valleys. Visit the monasteries, dzongs, temples, chortens and museums. A predominantly Buddhist country, Bhutan fiercely guards its traditional mode of life from outside influence. Bhutan retains the religious tradition of Tantric Mahayana Buddhism, the only country in the world following that variety of Tibetan Buddhism. Besides the unique Bhutanese culture, you will also experience breathtaking views various Himalaya Mountains.

Enjoy strolling through the traditional market place on the open air to see the variety of food of the country, including basket upon basket of fiery chilies, fresh cheese, and other seasonal fruits and vegetable. In addition, many stalls contain Bhutanese handicrafts and household items. Discover the religious festivals that are unique to each district. And also have firsthand experience on how proud Bhutanse people are for their own way of life - from their relationship with nature to religion, language and even clothing.

Our tour starts at the Paro Valley. Visit Thimphu, the capital city and then drive on to the central Bhutan across picturesque Valley. We also visit Punakha with unique Bhutanese culture and lifestyle. An excursion into the Gangtey Valley will pass through dense forests of fir, hemlock, oak trees and rhododendrons. Moreover, enjoy the hike to Taktsang (Tiger's Nest) Monastery - Bhutan's most famous monastery situated at a height of above 3120 m/ 10200 ft.


Outline Itinerary

Day Program Places Attitude Walking / driving duration
01 Arrive Kathmandu and transfer to the hotel Kathmandu    
02 Fly to Pokhara (25 min)  and trek from Phedi to Dhampus
Dhampus 1650 m 3 hrs walking
03 Trek from Dhampus to Landruk Landruk 1620 m 6 hrs walking
04 Trek from Landruk to Chhomrong Chhomrong 2210 m 6 hrs walking
05 Trek from Chhomrong to Dovan Dovan 2600 m 7 hrs walking
06 Trek from Dovan to Macchappuchare Base Camp MBC 3700 m 7 hrs walking
07 Trek from MBC to Annapurna Base Camp ABC 4130 m 2 ½  hrs walking
08 Trek from Annapurna Base Camp to Bamboo Bamboo 2400 m 6 hrs walking
09 Trek from Bamboo to Jhinu Danda Jhinu Danda 1760 m 6 hrs walking
10 Trek from Jhinu Danda to Naya Pul & drive to Pokhara Pokhara 825 m 6 hrs walking
11 Pokhara to Kathmandu by drive Kathmandu 1356 m 7 hrs driving
12 Depart Kathmandu      

Detail Itinerary

Day 01

Arrive Paro (2250m)

Crossing over the Himalaya Mountains, the flight to Paro offers spectacular views of the awesome peaks, including the sacred Jumolhari and Jichu Drake peaks in Bhutan. On arrival you will be greeted by the guide at the airport and transferred to the hotel. After lunch, visit the Ta Dzong, once a fortified lookout tower that is now the National Museum. Then walk down the trail to visit the Rinpung Dzong meaning "fortress of the heap of jewels". Next visit Kichu Lhakhang, the oldest temple in the country. Our next visit would be the Drugyal Dzong (Bhutan Victory Fort), which was built in 1646 to commemorate Bhutan's victory over Tibetan invaders during the 1600s. On a clear day you can see Mount Jumolhari, Bhutan's second-highest mountain at 7,314 meters.

Dinner and overnight hotel in Paro.

Meals included: Lunch and dinner

Day 02

Paro-Thimphu (2320m): 1 hr/54 km

After breakfast, we drive to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. The road leads through the Paro Valley to the confluence of Paro and Thimphu rivers at Chunzom (confluence). Three different styles of Chortens adorn the confluence. A short way beyond, on the left is the Tachogang Lhakhang built in 15th century by Thangthong Gyelpo, a trader who first introduced Iron Bridges in Bhutan. Check into your hotel on arrival. In the afternoon, sightseeing in Thimphu includes, Memorial Chorten (built in memory of the third King of Bhutan who reigned from 1952-1972), Changangkha Monastery, Takin Reserve, School of Arts and Crafts (also known as the painting school) and Nunnery Temple. After a relaxing lunch, we visit Folk Heritage Museum, traditional paper factory and majestic Tashichhodzong and giant Buddha statue on a hill overlooking Thimphu which is reputed to be the largest Buddha Shakymuni in the world.

Dinner and overnight hotel in Thimphu.

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 03

Thimphu

In the morning, we visit the busy Weekend Market at the bank of Thimphu River where people from nearby villages come to sell their farm products. Stroll through the market to see the variety of food of the country, including basket upon basket of fiery chilies, fresh cheese, and mangoes. In addition, many stalls contain Bhutanese handicrafts and household items. It's fun to wander the aisle, taking in the bustling atmosphere of the market. Perhaps this market scene offers wonderful opportunity for photographs and to mingle with local people. A few minutes' walk towards south of Weekend Market is the Changlingmethang Archery Range. Perhaps you will come across people playing archery. Afternoon will be spent visiting different handicraft shops and shopping. In the evening, you can stroll through Thimphu town and absorb the lifestyle of the people.

Dinner and overnight hotel in Thimphu.

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 04

Thimphu- Punakha (1300m)-76km/3hrs

After breakfast this morning, enjoy the scenic drive to Punakha with a stop for tea at Dochu La (3,100 meters), where on a clear day you can get spectacular views of the Himalayas. From the pass, drive downhill through the forests of rhododendron, fir and hemlock. We arrive at Punakha after traversing through rice field and along the bank of Punakha River. After lunch, visit the Punakha Dzong, which is stunningly situated in between the male and female rivers like an anchored ship.

Dinner and overnight hotel in Punakha.

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 05

Excursion to Gangtey (2900m) - 170km/5 hrs)-R/T

After breakfast, we drive to Gangtey. En route visit the Wangdue Dzong perched on a ridge at the bend of a river. Continuing on to Gangtey, you will pass through dense forests of fir, hemlock, oak trees and rhododendrons. On taking the diversion from the high-way, and crossing a small pass blanketed with dwarf bamboos, you will arrive at Gangtey. From Gangtey, you can see the picturesque Black Mountain range as well as Phobjikha Valley, the winter habitat of the black-necked cranes. You will visit Gangtey Goenpa, the only Nyingmapa Monastery in western Bhutan; RSPN Education Center and crane roosting places. Later in the day, you will drive back to Punakha.

Dinner and overnight hotel in Punakha.

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 06

Punakha-Paro: 4 hr/140 km

Today, we return to Paro. On the way, stop at Metshina Village and take a 20-minute walk through the rice fields to Chimi Lhakhang, which is a fertility temple dedicated to the Devine Madman or Lama Drukpa Kuenley. If you wish, receive the blessing from the Lama's wooden phallus! Continue driving to Paro. On reaching Dochula, visit the new Druk Wangyal Monastery, which is the only of its kind in the country with elaborate paintings depicting the lineage of the present monarchy and their visionary works. You will stop in Thimphu for lunch. Later in the afternoon, you will drive to Paro.

Dinner and overnight hotel in Paro.

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 07

Hike to Tiger's Nest Monastery (54Km/1 hr):

Today you will hike to Taktsang (Tiger's Nest) Monastery, which is Bhutan's most famous monastery. It is absolutely breathtaking, situated at 10,400 feet and perched on the edge of a steep cliff about 3,000 feet above the Paro Valley. Guru Rinpoche (the great Buddhist spiritual master) is said to have flown on the back of a tigress to meditate in a cave where Taktsang Monastery now stands. Lunch is served in the Cafeteria Restaurant, located about halfway up on the mountain. Explore the monastery and hike back to the valley floor.

Dinner and overnight hotel in Paro.

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 08

Depart Paro

Drive to airport for departure. Today we bid farewell to the tiny Himalayan Kingdom and her friendly people. Druk Air generally departs in the early morning to avoid adverse weather conditions. Therefore, after taking breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport in the morning depending on the flight schedule and your destination. Our representative will bid you farewell.

Cost Details

Cost Include

Transport, Entrance Fee, Guide, etc

  • Welcome with flower garland by our representative upon arrival
  • Airports pick up and drop by private vehicle in Kathmandu transfers
  • One half day tour with an English speaking guide by a private vehicle in Kathmandu
  • Pokhara/Kathmandu by tourist deluxe bus including lunch
  • Monument entrance fees as mentioned in the itinerary
  • Free Natraj Trekking Kit Bag

Accommodations

  • 02 nights accommodation with breakfast in Kathmandu (as per the choice of package)
  • 01 night accommodation with breakfast in Pokhara(as per the choice of package)
  • 24.3% VAT and Service Charge

Airfare

  • Airfare Kathmandu/ Lukla/Kathmandu

Trekking Portion

  • 08 nights accommodation at local lodge (Teahouse) during the trek
  • All tours and transfers to and from trekking point by a private vehicle
  • All meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) during the entire trek
  • Services of an experienced trekking guide and one porter to every two trekkers during the trek
  • TIMS CARD FEE
  • Annapurna Area Conservation Fee (ACAP)
  • Insurance for trek guide and porters

Cost Exclude

  • International Airfare
  • Nepal Visa Fee
  • Personal expenses (Tips, beverage, laundry, telephone call, etc)
  • Travel Insurance/ Emergency Evacuation Cost
  • Lunch and dinner in Kathmandu and Pokhara

The above rates are valid till December 31, 2013

Note: The price does not include: undue escalation in fuel prices, new taxes levies on hotels and transportation services or any hikes in entrance fees. Any large tax hikes and new levies shall be payable extra and shall be billed accordingly with prior notice.

Dates & Prices

DEPARTURE DATES

We will easily organize this trip on the dates requested by you. Please contact us for your customized departure date Please send us an e-mail at info@natrajtours.com.np for the package cost

PRICE

Standard Hotels Option (3 star) Superior  Hotels Option (4 star) Deluxe  Hotels Option (5 star)
Group Size Cost in USD
Per Person
Group Size Cost in USD
Per Person
Group Size Cost in USD
Per Person
01 Person US$ 1220 01 Person US$1330 01 Person US$1420
02 Person US$855 02 Person US$930 02 Person US$970
03-05 Person US$825 03-05 Person US$895 03-05 Person US$940
06-09 Person US$745 06-09 Person US$820 06-09 Person US$860
10-14 Person US$700 10-14 Person US$775 10-14 Person US$815
15 & above Person US$675 15 & above Person US$750 15 & above Person US$790
Single supplement US$80 Single supplement US$120 Single supplement US$170

Standard Hotel Option (3 Star)

Places Name of the Hotel Website
Kathmandu  Hotel Manaslu or similar www.hotelmanaslu.com
Pokhara Base Camp Resort or similar www.basecampresort.com

Superior Hotel Option (4 Star)

Places Name of the Hotel Website
Kathmandu  The Shanker Hotel or similar www.shankerhotel.com.np
Pokhara Temple Tree Resort & Spa or similar www.templetreenepal.com

Deluxe Hotel Option (5 Star)

Places Name of the Hotel Website
Kathmandu  Hotel Yak & Yeti or similar wwww.yakandyeti.com

Practical information

Equipment Check List for Annapurna Base Camp Trek

You are advised to consider the following equipments as essentials while packing for the Annapurna Base Camp Trek. Please use this list as a guideline. Adjustments to the list can be done according to your needs, interests, duration of your trip, season of your trip, etc. You can find variety of these gears to hire or buy in Kathmandu.

Please remember that at the start of the trek, apart from your day pack, your luggage that will be carried by porters should have weight limitation of approximately 12 kg.

Head:

  • Sun hat or scarf
  • Light balaclava or warm fleece hat
  • Sunglasses with UV protection

Upper Body:

  • T-shirts
  • Light and expedition weight thermal tops
  • Fleece jacket or pullover
  • Fleece Wind-Stopper jacket (optional)
  • Waterproof (preferably breathable fabric) shell jacket
  • Down vest and/or jacket

Hands

  • Lightweight gloves
  • Heavyweight gloves or mittens with a waterproof shell outer (seasonal)

Lower Body:

  • Under Garments
  • Hiking shorts
  • Lightweight cotton long pants
  • Light and expedition weight thermal bottoms
  • Fleece or wool pants (seasonal)
  • Waterproof (preferably breathable fabric) shell pants

Feet:

  • Hiking boots with spare laces
  • Thin, lightweight inner socks
  • Thick, warm wool hiking socks
  • Camp shoes (sneakers and/or sandals) Gaiters for hiking in winter to the base camp

Accessories

  • Sleeping bag rated to -15 Degree Celsius degrees
  • Headlamp with spare bulbs and batteries
  • Basic First Aid Kit (Personal medicine)
  • Large plastic bags - for keeping items dry inside trek bag
  • Daypack (approximately 2500 to 3000 cubic inches)
  • Trekking Poles /Water bottles
  • Toiletries (Small wash towel, Toilet papers etc)
  • Ear Plug

Toiletries

  • 1 medium sized quick drying towel
  • Tooth brush/paste (preferably biodegradable)
  • Multipurpose soap (preferably biodegradable)
  • Deodorants
  • Nail clippers
  • Face and body moisturizer
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Small mirror

Personal Hygiene

  • Wet wipes (baby wipes)
  • Tissue /toilet roll
  • Anti bacterial hands wash

Extras/Luxuries

  • Binoculars/ Reading book/Trail Map/Guide book
  • Pencils and small notebooks
Walking Grades and Fitness

Annapurna Base Camp Trek is graded as Moderate Trek and suitable for all walkers who have the capability to walk at least 6-7 hours a day with a light day pack. Some days, you may even need to walk more than above. Walking in higher altitude is physically demanding than walking in the lower altitudes; however, if you are in a good health with average physical fitness and have positive attitude, self confidence and strong determination, you can achieve the 12-day Annapurna Base Camp Trek successfully. Exercising and jogging regularly for some weeks prior of the trip is a good idea to improve your strength and stability. Past hiking experience would be an advantage but no technical skill is required for this trip. It is vital that you consult with your doctor before you decide and set up for the Annapurna Sanctuary Trek. Participants with pre-existing medical conditions such as heart, lung, and blood disease should inform Natraj Trekking before booking the trek.

Lodges/teahouses in trekking

Our accommodation whilst on trek on twin room sharing basis in a simple locally run lodges, known as teahouses and it's a great pleasure to support these small local businesses. Rooms are simply furnished with just a bed and occasionally a small table. You will need to bring a sleeping bag. Please note, normally washing and toilet facilities are shared and may be in a separate part of the teahouse or outside. It's great to enjoy the company of your fellow travellers and share a tale with other trekkers in the evening in the dining area.

If you are a solo traveler, you will share a room with someone else of same sex of your group. If you prefer a single room, you may indicate your preference and get single rooms on request by paying extra as indicated on cost section. But, you need to understand that in teahouses/lodges of higher elevation area single room is not always possible. We guarantee single room in Kathmandu & Pokhara only. During your trek single room is not possible

Meals & drinking water

On this trek we provide standard breakfast, lunch and dinner, tea or coffee will also be included with each meal. Your guide will help with menu selection and ensure that you get the best value meals possible. Although the food is usually plentiful and delicious, you should be aware that the menu is not normally extensive. Most teahouses offer a variety of rice and noodle dishes, as well as soup and seasonal vegetables. You can buy packaged water (bottled mineral water) from local lodge and shop en route or you can also ask your guide to fill your water bottle with boiled water (extra cost to be paid) and treat with water purification pills.

Luggage while trekking

During the trek, your main luggage will be carried by porter. Please keep your luggage as light as possible around 12 kg. You simply carry a day pack with water bottle, camera, sun-screen, spare jacket etc. You can leave your valuable items at your hotel while trekking. Many hotels have a locker system and provide a deposit slip for the valuables kept under the hotel's safekeeping. You may also leave your extra things at your hotel which is not required for your trek in your main luggage. Please note that we will provide complimentary kit bag for you before your trek starts so that you can pack all your necessary things.

Trekking crew

On tea house trek you will be accompanied by a team of local crew whose aim is to make the trek as comfortable and enjoyable as much possible. The crew consists of a trek guide/leader and a team of porters to carry all your gear. On average, there will be a ratio of one porter to every two trekkers.

The most important thing that makes your Trek successful, enjoyable and memorable is the skilled, experienced, courteous and helpful trek guide and the crew members with ability of operating your days in the mountain smoothly. Your trip will be led by experienced trek guide. All of our trekking guides/leaders are carefully selected on the basis of their appropriate experience, leadership skills and personal aptitude.

Typical day on trek

Each morning after packing our bags and having a good breakfast, we set off on the day's walk. After walking for 3-4 hours we stop for lunch at around midday. The afternoon's walk is generally shorter and we usually arrive at our destination in time for afternoon tea. The remainder of the afternoon can be spent exploring the village, doing a bit of washing or simply relaxing with a good book. On some days we will arrive at our destination by lunchtime and the entire afternoon will be free. After dinner, the evening will often be spent playing cards and reliving the day's adventures, before heading off to bed for a well-earned sleep.

Personal expenses

On this trek breakfast, lunch and dinner will be provided during your trek. You only need money for table drinks (alcoholic/non alcoholic beverages), snacks while walking (a few smaller shops are available along the trail in some areas) tips, souvenirs, hot shower (available in some places).

Meeting and greeting in Kathmandu

You need to pass on your International flight details to us for a 'meeting and greeting' service at the Kathmandu Airport. You just pass through the Customs and come out of the Arrival Terminal Hall after collecting your baggage where you will see our representative /guide standing with a placard that states Natraj Trekking' with your own name.

Climate & best time to go

Autumn (mid Sept to mid Dec) and Spring (March to May) are the best seasons for the Annapurna Base Camp Trek. The weather is sunny and warm, with outstanding views but the nights are cold and can fall to freezing. Winter (Dec, Jan, Feb) is also good for Annapurna Sanctuary Trek, only colder (obviously). The trekking routes are crowded during spring and autumn but during winter the routes are not packed and you could enjoy rather best of nature. However, please note, there may be snowfall / avalanches during the winter.

Itinerary changes

Depending on the prevailing situation, itinerary can be modified to some extent after consulting with your trek guide. However, the date of trek completion should always coincide with the original itinerary. You should keep in mind that this is an adventure trip into the remotest region, where many unforeseen events may contribute to the need for a change in itinerary. In such cases, we or your guide will suggest the best alternative similar to your original.

Nepal Visa

All visitors except the Indian nationals must hold passport and valid visa. Visa can be obtained at the Nepalese diplomatic missions and consulates abroad. Visa is also issued at the entry points. It can be extended at the Department of Immigration, Bhrikutimandap, Kathmandu. Children under 10 years need not pay any visa fee. People willing to get entry Visa at the air port or any of the land entry points are required to fill a visa form with passport photograph.

If you are obtaining Nepal Visa upon arrival (please note that some of nationalities cannot get visa upon arrival), please be noted that Nepal Visa Application Form can be received through us by e-mail. Two passport size photo graphs are required and following visa fee to be paid at the airport as per your stay in Nepal

Visa Facility			Duration 		Fee
Multiple Entry  		15 Days 		US$ 25 or equivalent convertible currency
Multiple Entry  		30 Days 		US$ 40 or equivalent convertible currency
Multiple Entry  		90 Days			US$ 100 or equivalent convertible currency
Note: Please note that visa fees and rules are subject to change.
Rescue/evacuations

In case of a serious sickness or a casualty, which we hope will not happen; you shall be rescued by a helicopter. Since you are entirely liable for all the expenses incurred in evacuation please make sure that it is covered by your insurance before assigning for it or be prepared to pay on your own after getting back in Kathmandu.

Insurance

It is recommended of joining any of Natraj Trekking trips that be protected against comprehensive expenses potential to incur due to medical issues or accidents (to include air ambulance, helicopter rescue, and treatment costs). Please be noted that we do not arrange or sell insurance. Altitude 4130m to be covered by Insurance Company

Why with Natraj Trekking

Natraj Trekking is the one of the leading and oldest trekking agency in Nepal since 1967. We organize Tibet, Bhutan & India tour as well. We excel in this field because we genuinely love what we do and are committed to providing you with the best services as we commit you.

Responsible travel

The beautiful environment of the Himalayas is also an extremely fragile one. At Natraj Trekking, we are extremely conscious about the environment and aim to minimize the detrimental impact on the environment as much as possible.

Care for porters and staffs

We make sure that all porters and all other staff climbing in high altitude conditions are provided with adequate clothing and equipment. We also ensure that the porters we hire are insured. We run the trek according to the guidelines of the International Porter Protection group (IPPG- www.ippg.net).

Know before you go

We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs, including advice re: the legality of and local attitudes towards same-sex relationships.

Tipping

Tipping is the accepted way of saying 'thank you' for good service. Tips do not form part of the wages of your guides, porters and trek crew but they are very much appreciated. It is important to remember that tipping is voluntary and should be dependent on good service. Normally the tips are given at the end of the trek and this is best done as a group. Most groups will give the tips with a bit of ceremony (or sometimes a party) on the last evening, to mark the end of the trip. The amount depends on your budget and appreciation of their work.


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Trip Facts

  • Trip Duration: 08 Days (Paro to Paro)
  • Trip Grade: Easy ( No trekking)
  • Activities: Cultural Tours
  • Best Seasons: Whole year around
  • Accommodations: 7 nights accommodation in Bhutan
  • Meals: As mentioned in the itinerary
  • Trip Starts/Ends: Paro
  • Transportation: Private vehicle
  • Group Size: Any

Client Reviews

QuoteHi Anil
MANY, MANY, MANY thanks for organising our tour itinerary while in Nepal. We had an ABSOLUTELY fantastic time in Chitwan, Pokhara and Dhampus. We shall never forget it, and so enjoyed the experience, the wonderful and friendly people, the culture, the food, the country, the mountain trekking, jungle walks, bird watching, wildlife, elephant rides, canoeing, village walks, photography, and other general "tourist stuff".

Howard Adam
President & CEO

Client Reviews

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