HIMALAYAN SANCTUARIES

$100 off per person when booked before July 31, 2017 (*on select dates)

Cultural tour of India, Sikkim, Bhutan & Nepal

Combining the highlights of West Bengal and Sikkim in India, exploring the Kingdom of Bhutan and a visit to the Kathmandu Valley in Nepal - this is an experience of the majestic and serene Himalayas. The region is a popular destination for tourists who wish to enjoy culture and nature, as you not will only see the magnificent Himalayas, but also experience the ancient Buddhist heritage of the area. This 15-day journey covers the best of the sanctuaries in the Himalayas.

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Tour Information
Tour Duration : 15 days
Min. Tour Size : 02 persons
Max. Tour Size : 12 persons
Includes international air
Tour Price (from) : US$
Day 01: Arrive Kolkata (INDIA)
Day 02: Kolkata
(B)
Day 03: Kolkata/Bagdogra (Flight) /Darjeeling (Drive)
(B, D)
Day 04: Darjeeling
(B, D)
Day 05: Darjeeling/Gangtok (Drive) (SIKKIM)
(B, D)
Day 06: Gangtok
(B, D)
Day 07: Gangtok/Kalimpong (Drive) (INDIA)
(B, D)
Day 08: Kalimpong/Phuentsholing (Drive) (BHUTAN)
(B, L, D)
Day 09: Phuentsholing/Thimphu (Drive)
(B, L, D)
Day 10: Thimphu
(B, L, D)
Day 11: Thimphu/Paro (Drive)
(B, L, D)
Day 12: Paro
(B, L, D)
Day 13: Paro/Kathmandu (Flight) (NEPAL)
(B, D)
Day 14: Kathmandu
(B, D)
Day 15: Depart Kathmandu
(B)
Optional extension to Tibet, see TIBET ENCOUNTER where Day 1 is Day 15
 
B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner

Day 01: Arrive Kolkata (Flight) (INDIA)

Arrival. Namaste! We are warmly welcomed the traditional Indian way with hands clapped together at the airport and transferred to our hotel. The remainder of the day is free to relax.
Overnight: Hotel in Kolkata (2 Nights)

Day 02: Kolkata

Our day starts with an early morning visit to the famous Malik Ghat flower market beneath the Howarh Bridge. This is the place where the cities floral retailers buy their fresh merchandise. Next we visit Howrah Bridge, iconic symbol of modern Kolkata. We return to our hotel for breakfast. There after we visit Belur Math, the headquarters of Ramkrishna Mission founded by Swami Vivekanand. The temple is notable for its architecture that features Hindu, Christian and Islamic motifs as a symbol of unity of all religions. Next we visit Dakshineswar Kali Temple, is a Hindu temple dedicated to the Hindu Goddess Kali. Our afternoon concentrates on British Calcutta, visiting St. John's Church, St. Paul's Cathedral and the Victoria Memorial, with its formal gardens and water courses, conceived by Lord Curzon to commemorate the British Empire at its peak. In the evening we enjoy a diner featuring typical Bengali cuisine at Oh! Calcutta. (B, D)

Day 03: Kolkata/Bagdogra (Flight) /Darjeeling (Drive)

Today we fly to Bagdogra. On arrival in Bagdogra, we are driven through lush tea gardens, pine and fir forests to Darjeeling, one of India’s most scenic hill towns. Upon arrival we check into our hotel.
Overnight: Hotel in Darjeeling (2 Nights) (B, D)

Day 04: Darjeeling

Before sunrise, we travel in 4x4 vehicles to Tiger Hill to view the sun rising over the lofty mountain peaks of the Himalayas. On a clear day we can even view Mount Everest and Mount Kangchenjunga. After breakfast we enjoy a ride on the historical Darjeeling Himalayan Railway*. This Toy Train was the first, and is still the most outstanding, example of a hill passenger railway. Opened in 1881, its design applies bold and ingenious engineering solutions to the problem of establishing an effective rail link across a mountainous terrain of great beauty. Afterwards we visit Ghoom Monastery, built in 1875, which houses one of the largest statues of the Maitreya Buddha. Next we visit the Himalayan Zoo, home to Red Pandas, Black Bears, Yaks and Tigers in their natural habitat. We end our day with a visit to the Natural History Museum, which has a fine collection of preserved butterflies, birds, reptiles and insects of the Himalayas. (B, D)

Day 05: Darjeeling/Gangtok (Drive) (SIKKIM)

After breakfast we drive to Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim through semi tropical forest, cardamom plantations and small villages. Sikkim is a landlocked state of India and was the last to give up its monarchy and fully integrate into India, in 1975. We check into our hotel. Afterwards we visit the famous Rumtek Monastery, also known as Dharma Chakra Centre. This monastery is one of the most important seats of the Kagyu lineage outside Tibet. The remainder of the afternoon is free to rest or explore the town.
Overnight: Hotel in Gangtok (2 Nights) (B, D)

Day 06: Gangtok

After breakfast we visit Enchey Monastery, an important seat of the Nyingrna order. The Dodrul Chorten here is one of the largest stupas in Sikkim. Later we visit the Sikkim Research Institute of Tibetology, an institute established to promote research on the language and traditions of Tibet as well as the Mahayana sect of Buddhism. The museum of the Institute houses a rare collection of antique statues, coins and thangkas. There are also about 30,000 volumes of translations of the original teachings of the Buddha and treatises by Distinguished Buddhist scholars from different parts of the world. The afternoon is free for personal activities. (B, D)

Day 07: Gangtok/Kalimpong (Drive) (INDIA)

Today we drive to Kalimpong, passing though small villages and upon arrival check into our hotel. Kalimpong is famous for its immense variety of orchids and we get to see many of them if they are in bloom. In the afternoon we visit Durpin Darea to get breathtaking views of the Himalayas, including the whole Chola range, the Kanchenjunga range and the Teesta Valley.
Overnight: Hotel in Kalimpong (2 Nights) (B, D)

Day 08: Kalimpong/Phuentsholing (Drive) (BHUTAN)

After breakfast drive to Phuentsholing, BHUTAN. On the way we stop at Jai Gaon, a border town between India and Bhutan and complete the immigration and customs formalities. Afterwards we are transferred to our hotel.
Overnight: Hotel in Phuentsholing (1 Night) (B, L, D)

Day 09: Phuentsholing/Thimphu (Drive)

After an early breakfast, we drive to Thimphu through an amazing variety of landscapes. We arrive at lunchtime and check in to our hotel. In the afternoon we visit the Memorial Chorten; the National Library, where ancient manuscripts are preserved and the Handicrafts Emporium where we can purchase traditional textiles, arts and crafts.
Overnight: Hotel in Thimpu (2 Nights) (B, L, D)

Day 10: Thimphu

We explore Thimphu, visiting the Institute for Traditional Medicine; the School of Traditional Arts and Crafts, where young Bhutanese students are taught the art of traditional method of painting Thankhas; the gold and silver bazaar and Simtokha Dzong. Simtokha Dzong was built in 1629 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, who unified Bhutan. It is the first of its kind built in Bhutan. An important historical monument and former Buddhist monastery, today it houses one of the premier Dzongkha language learning institutes. It recently underwent renovation. Afterwards we return to our hotel. (B, L, D)

Day 11: Thimphu/Paro (Drive)

In the morning we drive to the Satasam Chorten in Paro and hike to the Taktsang Palphug Monastery, popularly known as the Tiger's Nest. This elegant structure is Bhutan’s most iconic landmark. A prominent Himalayan Buddhist sacred site and temple complex, it is located on the cliffside of the Upper Paro valley and was first built in 1692, around the Taktsang Senge Samdup Cave, where Guru Padmasambhava is said to have meditated for three months in the 8th century. Padmasambhava is credited with introducing Buddhism to Bhutan and is the tutelary deity of the country. The round trip hike takes about 4 hours, including a picnic lunch at the Taktsang Cafeteria overlooking beautiful scenery.
Overnight: Hotel in Paro (2 Nights) (B, L, D)

Day 12: Paro

We visit the National Museum of Bhutan, housed in Ta Dzong, an ancient watchtower; Rinpung Dzong, a fortress-monastery overlooking the Paro valley; Utse, a tower built in 1645 and a typical Bhutanese farm house. In the evening we stroll through the narrow lanes of Paro, meeting local folks and chatting over tea. (B, L, D)

Day 13: Paro/Kathmandu (Flight) (NEPAL)

A scenic mountain flight gets us from Paro to Kathmandu, NEPAL where we are met and transferred to our hotel. Afterwards we explore the city of Kathmandu*, which is home to some 50 temples in the old city. We will visit the 17th Century Durbar complex, Hanuman Dhoka, the Paravati Temple, the Great Bell and Drum, Bhairav, the Taleju Temple and the array of temples grouped around it, as well as the temple/home of the Living Goddess, the Kumari.  We then head to the stupa of Swayambhunath*, located on a green hillock west of Kathmandu. The site marks the point where the legendary patriarch Manjushree discovered the lotus of the ancient Valley Lake and is over 2,500 years old. The huge stupa is one of the holiest Buddhists sites in Nepal and its establishment is linked to the creation of the Kathmandu. We conclude our exploration in Patan*, the oldest city in the Kathmandu Valley. It is said to have been founded by Emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BC. Patan is also the cradle of arts and architecture of the valley, a great center of the Newari traditional arts and crafts featuring 136 elaborate courtyards and 55 major temples. The evening is free to explore the bazaars and get an opportunity meeting the many different ethnic groups who call Kathmandu home.
Overnight: Hotel in Kathmandu (2 Nights) (B, D)

Day 14: Kathmandu

Today we visit Bhaktapur*, also known as Bhadgaon and home to exquisite of medieval art and architecture. A city of farmers, Bhaktapur is also known for its pottery and weaving. It is the best preserved of the Kathmandu Valley’s three cities. We then head to Pashupatinath*, considered one of the holiest shrines of all the Hindu temples in Nepal. The temple of Lord Shiva in Pashupatinath, features a tiered golden roof and silver doors and is famous for its superb architecture. We will only be able to view it from the eastern bank of Bagmati River overlooking the cremation grounds, as it is open to believers of the Hindu faith only. We then explore Boudhanath*, also known as `Little Tibet’ because of its unique atmosphere resembling old Barkhor marketplace in Lhasa, Tibet. It features the biggest stupa in Nepal and is located on flat land and encircled by houses & monasteries. In the evening we enjoy our farewell dinner, featuring Nepali dishes. (B, D)

Day 15: Depart Kathmandu

We bid farewell to Kathmandu and the Himalayas, as we are transferred to the airport for our departure flight back home. (B)

Optional extension to Tibet, see TIBET ENCOUNTER where Day 1 is Day 15

B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner

Departure Dates
English Speaking Departures (Please contact us for information on French, German, Italian and Spanish speaking departures).

2017

Jan 09; Feb 06; Mar 06; Apr 03; May 08; Jun 05; Jul 03; Aug 07; Sep 04; Oct 09; Nov 06*; Dec 04

(*) what's this?

Tour Price

We accept payment in US $ (US Dollars), CA $ (Canadian Dollars) or equivalent EURO (for clients outside North America). Bestway Tours & Safaris offers conversion rate protection. Once full payment has been received, and no modification has been made to the tour itinerary, we will honour that rate. For complete payment procedures, please click here

Hotel Category Per Person on Twin Sharing Single Room Supplement
VALIDITY (March, April & May, 2017)
Option 1 US$ 5095 US$ 1930
Option 2 US$ 5650 US$ 2330
VALIDITY (Jan, Feb, Jun, Jul & Aug, 2017 except between Dec 22 to Jan 01)
Option 1 US$ 4850 US$ 1775
Option 2 US$ 5925 US$ 1895
VALIDITY (Sept, Oct, Nov & Dec, 2017)
Option 1 US$ 6095 US$ 2025
Option 2 US$ 6695 US$ 2430
Supplements for Domestic Airfare in Special Economy Class (Subject to change till not ticketed)
Sector: Kolkata - Bagdogra & Paro - Kathmandu US$ 460 -

Hotels below or similar for Option 1 & Option 2

City Option 1 Option 2
Kolkata
(2 Nights)
The Oberoi Grand (5 Star Deluxe)
Deluxe Room
The Oberoi Grand (5 Star Deluxe)
Deluxe Room
Darjeeling
(2 Nights)
Mayfair Hotel (Heritage)
Deluxe Room
Windermere Hotel (Heritage)
Preferred Room
Gangtok
(2 Nights)
Mayfair Spa Resort & Casino (5 Star)
Deluxe Room
Mayfair Spa Resort & Casino (5 Star)
Deluxe Room
Kalimpong
(1 Night)
Sinclair Retreat
Premier Room
Sinclair Retreat
Premier Room
Phuentsholing
(1 Night)
Hotel Druk/ Hotel Lakhi (3 Star)
Standard Room
Hotel Druk/ Hotel Lakhi (3 Star)
Standard Room
Thimphu
(2 Nights)
Le Meridien (5 Star)
Classic Room
Taj Tashi (5 Star Deluxe)
Deluxe Room
Paro
(2 Nights)
Le Meridien (5 Star)
Classic Room
Uma by COMO
Classic Room
Kathmandu
(2 Nights)
Soaltee Crowne Plaza (5 Star)
Deluxe Room
Hotel Dwarikas (Heritage)
Deluxe Room

Notes

N/A



Inclusions


Tour Price Includes
  • Accommodation as mentioned or similar, including hotel taxes
  • 32 Meals as mentioned (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
  • All sightseeing and transfers by private transportation
  • Services of local English speaking guides cum drivers
  • Entrance fees to museums and sites included in the itinerary
  • Toy Train in Darjeeling
  • Bhutan Visa Fee
Not Included
  • Any airfares
  • Insurance/visas
  • Tips/gratuities

Estimated International Airfare (International airfare is NOT included in this tour)

CANADA(West Coast)
US$ 1600

USA(West Coast)
US$ 1400

CANADA(East Coast)
US$ 1200

USA(East Coast)
US$ 1000

Participants

This tour operates on a minimum of 02 and a maximum of 12 participants

Customised Itinerary

If you would like to have a tour on dates other than the above ones or with a customised itinerary, please contact us and we will be happy to work out an exclusive program for you.

Contact Info
You may e-mail us at bestway@bestway.com or call 1-604-264-7378. Residents of U.S.A./Canada may call us toll free at 1-800-663-0844.