Nepal and Bhutan
Nepal is a land of snow peaks and stupas, monasteries and mantras. Explore Kathmandu’s temples and the villages of Patan and Bhaktapur. Marvel at views of the Annapurna massif from Pokhara Valley. In Bhutan discover holy Buddhist shrines and witness the Domkhar Tsechu Festival in the remote Bumthang Valley. Visit Taktsang, the sacred Tiger’s Nest monastery which hangs 2,000 feet above Paro Valley. Meet a Bhutanese family in their farmhouse and a senior monk in a monastery.
Arrive in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, home of the great Himalayan Mountains. With 50 peaks over 25,000 feet high, these legendary mountains provide a spectacular sight. After time to relax, gather for our welcome dinner. Tibet International Hotel (D)
Visit Kathmandu’s Durbar Square and the residence of Kumari Devi, Nepal’s living goddess. Explore Swayambunath, known as the “monkey temple”, and a sacred pilgrimage site for Hindus. Meet a local Nepalese family in their home. This afternoon visit Kopan Hill, which rises out of the terraced fields of the Kathmandu Valley and is visible for miles. Dominated by a magnificent bodhi tree, it is the home of 360 monks, teachers and workers. Meet with people at Shechen Clinic and Hospice, a humanitarian project that provides sustainable medical services to local residents. Tonight visit the Boudhnath stupa and walk around the circular stupa market. Tibet International Hotel (B, L)
Fly to Pokhara and explore Pokhara Valley. Visit Seti River Gorge, the Mahendra Pool, and Bindabasini Temple, dedicated to the Hindu goddess Durga, Pokhara’s guardian deity. This evening take a boat ride on Lake Phewa enjoying spectacular views of the Annapurnas. Temple Tree Resort (B,D)
Take a guided hike and witness panoramic views of the Annapurnas 22,000 to 26,000 high peaks just 30 miles away. Enjoy some free time to explore Pokhara Valley. Temple Tree Resort (B,D)
Fly back to Kathmandu. This afternoon we visit Bhaktapur, one of three royal cities in Nepal, the most interesting and picturesque ancient town around Kathmandu Valley. Radisson Hotel (B, L)
Fly to Paro, Bhutan and take a scenic drive to Thimphu. The capital of Bhutan is a bustling, growing town of over 100,000 inhabitants, lying in a valley just over 7,600 feet. Druk Hotel (B,L,D)
Visit the Tashicho Dzong (fortress temple) built in 1641, and reconstructed in 1961 in the traditional Bhutanese style, without nails or architectural plans. Tour the National Library, a treasury of priceless Buddhist manuscripts. Visit the Memorial Chorten, built in honor of late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. Experience a papermaking workshop and attend a Bhutanese cultural performance. Druk Hotel (B,L,D)
This morning we drive to Punakha crossing the Dochu-La pass (10,000ft) offering spectacular views into the Punakha Valley. En route visit Chimi Lhakhang, also known as the temple of fertility. This afternoon we visit Punakha Dzong. Dhensa Boutique Resort (B,L,D)
Today we begin our scenic drive to Phobjika, stopping en route in the market town of Wangdue Phodrang. The Phobjikha Valley is a designated conservation area and is home of The Black-Necked Crane Visitors Centre. This afternoon discover Gangtey Gompa, an important monastery of the Nyingmapa school of Buddhism. Dewachen Hotel (B,L,D)
Today on our drive to the Bumthang region we climb over the Pele-la pass (11,220ft). The scenery in Bumthang is stunning. Visit the Trongsa Dzong before arriving in Bumthang, the religious and cultural heartland of Central Bhutan. Yu Gharling Resort (B,L,D)
Today, witness the Domkhar festival in Chumey Valley. Watch performances of the sacred Black Hat Dance, the three Ging and the masked dance of the drummers of Drametse. On return we will visit Jakar Dzong, founded by great grandfather of the first Shabdrung which is now used as administrative centre for Bumthang valley, and houses the regional monk body. We will also visit Kurje Lakhang, one of the most sacred sites where Guru Rimpoche meditated in a cave and left an imprint of his body on the rock. Yu Gharling Resort (B,L,D)
Wake up very early in the morning and drive to Chumey Valley to witness the ceremony where a Thongdrel (a large ceremonial tapestry) is unfurled, representing the future Buddha Maitreya (Jampa). This event signifies the final day of the annual festival. Later today, witness the Ura Yakchoe festival in Ura Valley. Masked dances are performed during the festival and a sacred and important relic is put on display for people to receive blessings from it. Yu Gharling Resort (B,L,D)
Fly to Paro this morning. Paro (7,480ft) is home to many of Bhutan’s oldest temples and its first airport. Visit the Paro Dzong and the Ta Dzong National museum, filled with antique thangkas, textiles, weapons, household objects and a rich assortment of natural and historic artifacts. Zhiwa Ling Hotel (B,L,D)
Journey to the foothills of Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest). From here one can enjoy views of the monastery, approximately 2,300 feet above the Paro Valley. Take a challenging and rewarding uphill hike to the monastery (approximately 3 hours) or simply enjoy views from below. Later visit the Drukgyel Dzong. We also meet a Bhutanese family and visit their farmhouse to get firsthand experience of rural Bhutan. Tonight enjoy a festive farewell dinner together. Zhiwa Ling Hotel (B,L,D)
Fly from Paro to Kathmandu this morning. As most flights to the U.S. depart in the very late evening, we take the opportunity to explore the royal city of Patan. Filled with wood and stone carvings, metal statues, ornate architecture, and including dozens of Buddhist and Hindu temples, Patan is known for its rich tradition of arts and handicrafts. We’ll reserve a few rooms available at an airport hotel to freshen up and repack, before heading to the airport for flights home. (B)
Cost and Details
$6,990 per person (based on double occupancy)
Single Room Supplement: $1,695
Coach class internal flights: Kathmandu/Pokhara/Kathmandu/Paro and Bumthang/Paro/Kathmandu; Hotels: 14 nights at the mentioned or similar hotels as per itinerary inclusive of any applicable taxes and service charges; Meals: are included as indicated by the symbols: (B) Breakfast, (L) Lunch and (D) Dinner; Transfers: Transfers from airport to hotel and vice versa by private air-conditioned car/van/jeep with driver. (Air-conditioning non required in Bhutan); Baggage: handling of one piece checked bag per person at airports. Please remember domestic airlines allow only 33lb per person; Sightseeing: tours, excursions and overland drives as per itinerary by private air-conditioned motor coach with driver and accompanying English speaking tour escort/guide; Tips and Gratuities: Tips/gratuities to drivers, guides, hotel staff, porterage in Nepal and Bhutan.
Round trip international flights to Kathmandu; passport and visa fees; airport taxes; travel insurance; meals except those indicated; gratuity to the guide/tour director who accompanies from beginning to end (suggested $10 per person per day); laundry charges, beverages, massages/spa treatments, telephone calls, faxes or any other charges of personal nature.
Participants must be in good health and cleared by their physician for travel in higher altitudes. Average altitudes on this trip are from 4,000 feet to 10,000 feet. This program involves walking 1-3 miles on most days, with opportunities for additional walking. Streets and walkways may be uneven. Visiting temples involves walking many stairs without handrails. We will be driving on curvy mountainous roads at times.
Terms and Conditions
A $1,500 deposit, along with the completed Trip Registration Form is required to reserve your space. Final payment is due 120 days prior to departure.
If you must cancel your trip, your deposit and all payments will be refunded, less a cancellation fee. Cancellations must be in writing, and the following penalties would apply:
Cancel 121 days or more prior to departure, $750 per person
Cancel 120 days to 90 Days prior 50% penalty
89 days till departure 100% penalty
Trip no-shows will not receive any refund. Trip cancellation/interruption insurance is highly recommended.
We strongly recommend that you purchase trip cancellation insurance. In the event that you must cancel your participation in a travel program, trip cancellation insurance may be the only source of reimbursement. Information will be sent upon registration and can be viewed Travel Insurance Services website.
We require membership to the Commonwealth Club to travel with us. To learn about membership types and to purchase a membership, visit commonwealthclub.org/membership or call (415) 597-6720.
Responsibility – An Important Notice
The Commonwealth Club, Worldview Tours and cooperating agencies act only in the capacity of agent for the participation in all matters relating to transportation and/or all other related travel services and assume no responsibility for injury, loss or damage to person or property in connection with any service, including but not limited to that resulting directly or indirectly from: acts of God, detention, annoyance, delays and expenses arising from quarantine, strikes, thefts, pilferage, failure of any means of conveyance to arrive or depart as scheduled, civil disturbances, government restrictions or regulation, discrepancies or change in transit over which it has no control. Tour plan, program details, tour leadership, costs sequence of cities visited or even number of nights in each city as advertised can change due to change in logistics at the time of travel. Prices are subject to change without notice. We reserve the right to provide alternate hotels if mentioned hotels become not available for any reason. If for any reason beyond our control, scheduled flights or airfares are changed, any increase in airfare will be collected from tour members, and any decrease will be refunded. The airlines used are not to be held responsible for any act, omission or event during the time passengers are not on board the aircraft. Neither The Commonwealth Club /Worldview Tours nor its agents/associates accepts liability for any airline cancellation penalty incurred by the purchase of a nonrefundable domestic or international ticket to the tour departure cities and return. Baggage and personal effects are the sole responsibility of the owners at all times. The Commonwealth Club /Worldview Tours recommends that travelers strongly consider the purchase of trip cancellation/interruption insurance, baggage, medical expense, medical evacuation, accidental death coverage, and emergency assistance insurance. Information will be sent to you upon registration.
Release and Assumption of Risk
The undersigned has read carefully the schedule of activities for this tour, as well as the conditions of application and participation as set forth in the tour brochure, and recognizes and accepts any risks thereof and the conditions set forth therein, including the refund policy. The undersigned also understands and hereby agrees for and on behalf of himself/herself, his/her dependents, heirs, executors, administrators, and assigns to abide by the conditions set forth under RESPONSIBILITY, above, as well as in the brochure, and to release and hold harmless The Commonwealth Club Worldview Tours and any of their officers, agents, licensees or representatives from any and all liability for delays, injuries or death, or for the loss of or damage to, his/her property however occurring during any portion of, or in relation to, the tour referred to in the brochure and in other related documents received by the undersigned, such as Tour Bulletins, relating to the program and potential risks.
Any controversy or claim arising out of or relating to this agreement or the performance there under, including without limitation any claim related to bodily injury, property damage or death, shall be settled by binding arbitration in Santa Ana, California, in accordance with the rules of the American Arbitration Association then existing.
CST#2002060-10 – Worldview Tours
CST#2096889-40 – The Commonwealth Club of California