Selected departures available from March to November 2020
People say it’s a life-changing experience. And there’s no doubt that when you make the incredible journey to Nepal and Bhutan, you’ll return with a new outlook on life and endless extraordinary memories. Fascinating and intriguing, this is a world that’s far removed from our western way of living.
Nepal is rich in some of the world’s most astonishing natural beauty. You’ll take a once-in-alifetime flight to the Himalayas, seeing the staggering white peaks of Mount Everest; visit the captivating medieval city of Kathmandu; seek out rhinos and bears on a jeep safari through the jungle, and share the peace and tranquillity of Buddhist monks at prayer.
Can you picture yourself on the summit of Mount Everest? Probably not! Few people will ever get as close as you will when you take a flight on our private plane, soaring high above the clouds to the vast scale of the immense Himalayas. It’s incredible to think here you are at the highest point on the planet, something you probably have never contemplated you could ever experience. You can take photographs of this amazing panoramic view from the cockpit.
Chitwan National Park is the finest in Nepal and brings you close to one of the world’s finest natural wonders. Hills, raging rivers, flood plains, tropical forests, grassland and lush vegetation, the park is home to migratory birds, rhinos, leopards, elephants, bears and of course the elusive and endangered Bengal tiger.
On the next part of our journey, we fly over the Himalayas to the fascinating Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan. There is so much that makes Bhutan unique. With its traditional architecture, focus on peacefulness and lush forests which cover over 70% of the country. The colourful landscapes of Bhutan are truly something to behold. Nestled between India and China, Bhutan is a hidden gem among the Himalayan foothills. Largely isolated until the 1970s, being in Bhutan is to step back in time to a world largely untouched by crowds and combustion engines, to a pocket of peace and verdant tranquillity where national happiness is valued more than financial wealth.
We first head to the charming capital city of Thimphu, with its lively markets and interesting Buddhist architecture. Seize the chance to take in the tranquil Buddhist lifestyle in Punakha where you will see the famous ‘Dzong,’ immaculate rows of rice terraces and blissful monks in scenic surroundings.
The Bhutanese take great pride in their culture, a fact which is made immediately obvious by the local people, the majority of whom wear traditional dress. With much time and care spent in preserving and protecting temples and monasteries, Bhutan offers visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves in the spirit of Buddhism.
On this awe-inspiring tour you'll be amazed and rewarded every day by the most dazzling and colourful array of unexpected sights, heady aromas, and a true culture shock of astonishing contrasts.
You should arrive at the airport to take your overnight flight to Kathmandu, via Istanbul.
Set in a bowl-shaped Himalayan valley 4,500 feet above sea level, this captivating city and Nepal’s cultural heart is surrounded by breathtaking snow-capped mountains and with Buddhist temples reminiscent of the Far East much in evidence.
This afternoon you explore the fascinating sights of Kathmandu and visit Patan's Durbar Square, one of the most glorious examples of traditional Nepalese architecture, full of centuries-old temples and palaces.
You stay one night at the four-star superior Aloft Hotel in the centre of the city.
Today you experience something most people never will, a flight to the Himalayas to see majestic Mount Everest. Twice the size of the Alps, their sheer immensity is mind-blowing. Carrying just 16 passengers, our aircraft flies over peaks and clouds bathed in an early morning golden glow. The 45-minute flight offers an incredible panorama and you can take a photograph of the world’s highest mountain from the cockpit.
Later this morning we’ll take the scenic drive to Chitwan National Park, Nepal’s most famous wildlife reserve and one of the finest in Asia. Overlooking the lush forested valley and the nearby Rapti River, the three-star Tigerland Safari Lodge, where we stay for two nights with full-board, is a real opportunity to experience and savour these peaceful surroundings.
After dinner, a slide show brings the huge variety of flora and fauna of the reserve to life.
Viewing wildlife in its natural habitat is often a life-changing experience. Rising early, as the sun breaks and accompanied by a unique ‘dawn chorus’, we cross into the reserve in small jeeps and your naturalist guide should help you spot rhino, wild boar and if you’re very lucky, sloth bears. We return to the hotel for breakfast. After lunch, we have the option of a trip by dugout canoe to a crocodile farm, returning on foot along the riverbank. This evening we enjoy a BBQ dinner at the lodge.
We drive north towards the small town of Pokhara in central Nepal. Inhale the clean air, taking time to fully comprehend the staggering beauty of an area surrounded by some of the world’s highest mountains.
This afternoon, we take a boat ride across Lake Phewa for unbeatable views of the Annapurna mountain range. Watch reflections of their dazzling white peaks sparkle in the mirror-like water and listen to the soothing sound of silence. This is probably one of the finest mountain panoramas in the world.
We stay for two nights at the four-star Pokhara Grande Hotel with breakfast.
Wake up early today and catch the sun rise over the Annapurna range, a truly magical experience. Watch the mountain peaks turn from soft pink to shimmering gold as the sun climbs higher in the clear blue sky. There are twelve peaks in the world higher than 25,000 feet, eight of them are in Nepal and from this spot, on clear days, you can see three of them. Truly staggering!
Later in the morning we’ll visit the charming small Gurkha museum and the Devil’s waterfall.
The rest of the day is free to relax and potter about this charming lakeside town, with plenty of opportunities to bargain for local handicrafts, try out some of the many restaurants and take in the amazing views.
Today we fly back to Kathmandu and visit the famous 14th century Boudhanath Stupa, Tibetan in origin and one of the holiest of Buddhist sites. The gentle sound of chanting and praying fills the air, while traders sell lamps, cloth and all sorts of fascinating goods in an enchanting kaleidoscope of colour and noise.
We stay again at the Aloft Hotel.
Hopefully we’ll have another chance to see the Himalayas from above on our flight from Kathmandu to Paro in Bhutan.
On arrival, and after an included lunch, we drive to Bhutan’s small capital, Thimphu, staying three nights at the centrally-located five-star Le Meridien hotel with breakfast.
We explore this charming city, enjoying the panoramic views from Buddha Point, visiting the charming Folk Heritage museum and walking through the bustling local markets, full of locals in their colourful national dress. After our included lunch, we’ll visit the King’s Memorial Stupa, also known as Thimphu Chorten, the impressive landmark is hard to miss, with an ornate structure and regal, gold spires. Many locals come here to pray on a daily basis, walking round the Stupa in a clockwise direction and turning the huge, multi-coloured prayer wheels. Afterwards we have the opportunity to watch the Bhutanese practicing their national sport, Archery.
This morning we’ll drive over the Dochu-La Pass to the small town of Punakha to see the most famous ‘Dzong’ (monastery-fortress) in Bhutan. It’s a vast edifice, bordered by two rivers and still very much an active monastery with lots of saffron-robed monks going about their daily duties.
After a picnic lunch, we’ll also enjoy a scenic walk through the nearby rice terraces to a local fertility temple, before we return to our hotel in Thimphu.
On the way to Paro we visit the Bhutan National Museum, beautifully housed within a traditional Dzong monastery.
After our included lunch, we’ll visit a local Bhutanese home just outside Paro and enjoy some free time in the compact town centre.
Our hotel for two nights is the five-star Le Meridien Hotel, with breakfast, in a quiet location about 15 minutes’ drive from Paro and overlooking the Paro River.
Today we visit everyone’s highlight of Bhutan: the stunning Tiger’s Nest Monastery. It’s important to be aware that the monastery is located at 3,100m (10,240ft) and built on the side of a cliff – it’s a truly spectacular setting but the only way to get there is to hike up a rough mountain path for around two and half hours.
Although there is a stop about halfway at a small café for some refreshment, you will nevertheless need to be in good physical condition to do this walk (and walk back down again!). If you don’t want to go up to the highest viewpoint, you will still be able to see the monastery from the café, as long as it’s clear weather of course.
Lunch is included at the café today.
Fly back to Kathmandu for our last night at the Aloft Hotel.
Depart for our flight home, via Istanbul, arriving later the same day.
The price of this holiday is per person based on two people sharing a twin room. Single rooms are subject to availability at the relevant supplement. The price includes:
Nepalese visas can be obtained in the UK, by post or in person at the Embassy of Nepal:
Embassy of Nepal
12A Kensington Palace Gardens,
A 15 day visa is £20 per person and can take up to two weeks to process.
A visa is requried for Bhutan and the cost of this is $40 per person, however, this cost is covered within the price of your holiday and will be arranged by Riviera Travel.
Whilst care has been taken to ensure that the information provided relating to visa requirements is true and correct at the time of publication, changes in requirements after this time of publication may impact on the accuracy of this information. therefore, whilst we strive to provide the most up-to-date information, we strongly suggest that you re-confirm requirements with the relevant embassy prior to travel.
Flight over Everest
Whilst there are three opportunities to take the Everest flight during the tour, should weather conditions make flying unsafe (this is rare), the sterling equivalent of the fare will be refunded on your return to the UK.
Flights with Turkish Airlines to Kathmandu connect via Istanbul on both the outbound and inbound flights.
Please contact us if you would like timings and/or further information on the connecting flights. All flight details will be listed in your booking confirmation.
Whilst the travelling schedule shall pose no problems for people of any age in normal physical health, we would point out that in visiting a number of historical sites, paths may be uneven and uphill and we often enjoy walking tours of the main sights. Therefore, this holiday may not be suitable for clients of greatly impaired mobility. In the tropics temperatures and humidity levels will also be quite high for most of the year. Please consult your GP regarding the appropriate inoculations required for India at least a month before departure.
We want to ensure you make the correct choice before you book your holiday with us. If you have any concerns regarding the suitability of the holiday due to reduced mobility we would encourage you to call us to discuss these concerns. General information on mobility in connection with our tours can be found here.
All transfer times listed here are approximate, and dependent on traffic. If you have a question regarding transfer times please don't hesitate to contact us.
|Arrival airport||First hotel location||Transfer time||Final hotel location||Departure airport||Transfer time|
|Kathmandu - Tribhuvan International Airport||Kathmandu||30 mins||Kathmandu||Kathmandu - Tribhuvan International Airport||30 mins|