Journey through India Nepal and Bhutan hero 1

A Geological & Cultural Tour through The Spiritual Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan
11 to 25 September 2024 Special Interest

Bhutan

A small Group tour led by Dr Danny Clark-Lowes Geologist Special Interest

Bhutan provides an escape from our hectic way of life; it’s a world that is enchanting, engaging and highly spiritual. Whether in matters practical or spiritual there is a calm quietude about the people and the places we visit that is infectious.

Nestled in the heart of the Himalaya, this remote kingdom, which was virtually cut off for centuries, fiercely guards its ancient traditions. These include archery and age-old crafts, dishes of home-made cheese, breathtaking treks through epic landscapes and restorative hot-stone baths.  The country is governed by monks practicing Buddhism and living in a host of spectacular and beautiful temples and Dzongs (fortified monasteries). The daily lives of the people are determined to a great extent by religious practices and customs as we are reminded by the abundant prayer flags strung across gorges and fluttering on
every hillside.

In our journey through Bhutan we will see dramatic landscapes, from soaring peaks to lush valleys. We will visit temples and learn about Buddhism and the customs of the people. Also, on this cultural tour, with its added geological dimension, we will come to understand not only what the landscapes and the rocks about us reveal about the geological history of the country but also how the mountains came into existence in the first place.

Dr Danny Clark-Lowes

Dr Danny Clark-Lowes will lead this tour to Bhutan. He is a geologist, educated at Cambridge and London universities. As well as publishing scientific papers and books on geology, he is a  mountaineer who has climbed in the Swiss Alps and in the Himalaya. His latest book, ‘A Geological Field Guide to the Himalaya in India, Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet’ was published in 2022 following numerous visits to the Himalaya leading trips and studying the geology. During his career he has given industry training courses on geology at locations throughout the world. He has led geological tours for Indus Experiences for some six years now.

15 days from £4,958.00 per person
London – Kathmandu – Paro – Thimphu – Punakha – Gangtey – Punakha – Gasa – Thimphu – Paro – Kathmandu – London

Contact a
specialist consultant

020 8901 7320 Enquiry
bhutan hero 4
Itinerary View Map
Soaring above the clouds a view from the airplane window

Day 1 : Depart from London for Kathmandu

Wednesday 11 September

Depart from London Heathrow for Kathmandu, taking an overnight flight with Emirates Airlines or Qatar Airways.

Regional Departure also available, please contact us for details.

Nepal

Day 2 : Kathmandu

Thursday 12 September

Meeting assistance on arrival at Kathmandu and transfer to Hotel Tibet International. Afternoon sightseeing in Kathmandu. Overnight in Hotel Tibet International D

Paro_Valley_c

Day 3 : To Paro

Friday 13 September

Transfer to Kathmandu Airport for your Flight to Bhutan. A very warm welcome awaits you in Paro. You will be met on arrival by a local representative and escorted in an air-conditioned vehicle to transfer to Thimphu.

On the journey from Paro we are introduced to the schists and gneisses that are characteristic of much of Bhutan. These are rocks that have been metamorphosed, that is buried to depths where pressure and heat transform the rock. These metamorphic rocks belong to the so called ‘Greater Himalayan Series’. They display
a range of beautiful minerals, including garnets, that are used to determine the metamorphic grade (the degree of heating and ressure that they have endured as a result of burial within the mountain chain).

Two nights stay in Thimphu – Hotel Kisa (Deluxe rooms). B, L, D

Bhutan-8

Day 4 : Thimpu

Saturday 14 September

Drive northwards through a charming well vegetated valley to visit the Cheri Goemba (small temple). This is accessed by taking a short trek up a winding path. The wildlife and flora of this valley are renowned. A variety of metamorphic rocks are seen in the road cuttings and streams. We return to Thimphu in time to visit the Dzong. Here a local garnet gneiss is utilized as building stone for the massive monastery.

Overnight in Thimphu – Hotel Kisa (Deluxe rooms) B, L, D

aaron-santelices-Bhutan

Day 5 : To Gangtey

Sunday 15 September

Today we travel to Gangtey. Views of the high Himalaya including the Masang Khan (7,200m) to the north are stunning, seen from the Dochu La, a pass at 3,140m elevation. Further east, just short of the Pele La (3,420m), we leave the main east-west route of central Bhutan and head south to our hotel in the wildlife reserve at Gangtey in the Phobjikha valley, the winter roosting ground of the migratory and rare black-necked cranes. On our journey we see large and dramatic exposures of white leucogranites, intruded into gneisses of the local formation, the Chekha Formation. leucogranites (white granites) display large dark-coloured tourmaline crystals.

Overnight in Gangtey – Dewachen Hotel (Deluxe rooms). B, L, D

Bhutan – Land of the Thunder Dragon Day 4

Day 6 : Gangtey Festival

Monday 16 September

This colourful and lively festival is held at Gangtey Dzong, a prominent religious institution in the valley. The festival, which is known as the Gangtey Tsech, is an annual event that takes place in mid-September. It is a vibrant showcase of Bhutanese traditions, featuring traditional mask dances, religious ceremonies and community gatherings and is a good way to experience the cultural and spiritual richness of Bhutan. When not attending the festival you may enjoy the comfort of the hotel and the serenity of the game reserve. The route to the Dzong will bring rewards in the form of varied birdlife and evidence in the rock exposures that the South Tibetan Detachment Zone, a major fault zone, cuts through this Pele La area. The marsh area that attracts the black-necked cranes was created by glacial moraines damming the valley’s river.

Overnight in Gangtey – Dewachen Hotel (Deluxe rooms) B, L, D

darpan-dodiya-Bhutan

Day 7 : To Punakha

Tuesday 17 September

Drive to Punakha, until 1955 the capital of Bhutan, and visit the beautiful Dzong, famed for its architecture and located at the confluence of Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu, rivers that flow around its border. Visit the sights of Punakha which include gaily-painted house facades.

Overnight in Punakha – Khuru Resort (Deluxe rooms) B, L, D

Bhutan – Land of the Thunder Dragon Day 13

Day 8 : To Gasa

Wednesday 18 September

Drive to Gasa, north of Punakha, via Tashitang and continuing upstream along the great Mo Chhu river. We will witness subtropical vegetation and a fertile valley with wild orchards and banana trees. Geologically we will see deformed granites of Cambrian age and whitish marbles. The road continues through gorges, meadows and rice terraces, during which we pass some picturesque villages and houses.

Night in well-appointed camp. B, L, D

Bhutan_chillies drying c

Day 9 : Gasa

Thursday 19 September

Gasa is the northernmost district of Bhutan. The settlement of Gasa lies at 2,860m elevation. Here we visit the Dzong, believed to be built in the 1640s as one of the key defence fortresses of the country. It is known for its unique circular shape with three Ta Dzongs (watchtowers). The central one of these is constructed above a cave where a Tibetan saint was believed to meditate back in the 13th century. We look around the picturesque town, visiting the archery ground, teashop and small bazaar, and enjoy the views of the mountains surrounding the town. We get even better views by driving north of Gasa and taking a short trek. If time allows we visit a newly restored water mill at Chhogley Chiwog and see the traditional way of grinding cereal.

Night in well-appointed camp. B, L, D

Textiles Arts and Crafts of Bhutan day 8

Day 10 : To Punakha

Friday 20 September

After breakfast we walk down an ancient mule track to the thermal springs that rise to the surface here. The area is famed for these hot springs which are warm and carbonated and reputed to have strong healing properties. Deep faulting in the region allows waters heated at depth to rise to the surface. There will be time for those who wish to bathe and take advantage of the reputed properties of these waters. Drive back to Punakha.

Overnight in Punakha – Khuru Resort (Deluxe rooms) B, L, D

bhutan hero 3

Day 11 : To Paro

Saturday 21 September

Drive to Paro via Thimphu, where we will have a break. We will stay in Paro at the Village Lodge, a delightful traditional hotel, for 3 nights as there is much to see here and in the surrounding area.

Overnight in Paro – Village Lodge (Deluxe rooms). B, L, D

Journey through India Nepal and Bhutan Day 16

Day 12 : At Paro, visit Haa

Sunday 22 September

Today we take the road over the Chele La pass to Haa. The Chele La is at an elevation of 3,810m and is our highest point on this trip. It is home to the Bhutanese blue poppy. We will take a short hike around this area and view the Killey Goemba monastery which is perched on the mountain side overlooking the valley. At Haa we visit the Wangchulo Dzong and take a walk up to the Shelkar Drak temple. Return to Paro.

Overnight in Paro – Village Lodge (Deluxe rooms). B, L, D

bhutan hero 5

Day 13 : At Paro, visit Tigers nest monastery

Monday 23 September

Today we visit the famous Tiger’s Nest Monastery (Taktshang Goemba), Bhutan’s most venerated religious site and certainly the monastery with the most spectacular setting. A steep walk through pine forests brings us to this cliff-top monastery. Mule rides are available for those who wish. The monastery is an outstanding example of Bhutanese architecture, much rebuilt after various fires. Back in Paro there may be an opportunity to see an archery competition. Archery is the national sport of Bhutan and involves a number of rituals with dancing and singing. For our final night we will have a bonfire and celebratory dinner with a cultural troupe performing masked and ethnic dances.

Overnight in Paro – Village Lodge (Deluxe rooms). B, L, D

Monkey-Temple,-Nepal-

Day 14 : To Kathmandu

Tuesday 24 September

Transfer to Paro Airport for your flight to Kathmandu. Meeting assistance on arrival in Kathmandu Airport and transfer to Hotel Tibet International for your overnight stay.

airplane-window-clouds-cropped

Day 15 : To London

Wednesday 25 September

Transfer to Kathmandu Airport for your flight to London with Emirates or Qatar Airways. B, L

Itinerary map

Dates & Prices

Dates Price per person (Double/Twin share) Single room supplement
11-25 Sep 2024 £4,958.00 £980.00
Cost includes:
  • International flights in economy class on scheduled Emirates Airlines / Qatar Airways flight or similar.
  • International flights from Kathmandu to Paro and back with Druk air in economy class.
  • Accommodation with private facilities as mentioned in the itinerary. Comfortable Camping in Gasa.
  • Meal Plan: Stay in Kathmandu is on breakfast basis. All Meals are included in Bhutan.
  • All transfers and sightseeing arrangements by a private comfortable minibus.
  • Entry fee for monuments and places of interest.
  • Bhutan visa fee and Tourism Development fee.
  • Services of a local English speaking guide.
  • Services of Dr Danny Clark-Lowes –Himalayan Geologist as Trip Leader
  • Full ATOL & ABTA bonding.
Cost does not include:
  • Visa fee for Nepal. Available on arrival at Kathmandu Airport.
  • Any expenses of a personal nature
  • Tips and gratuities.
  • Travel Insurance*

Every effort is made to follow the itinerary as detailed below to maximise your enjoyment on this Tour.  Sometimes however, local conditions and restrictions as well as unpredictable weather may cause changes to be made on the spot at the sole discretion of the Tour Leader. We will make every effort to substitute suitable alternatives.


Comfortable Camping in Gasa, located near the Gasa Hot springs. Note that the camping facility standard package includes:
- Sleeping Tent (02 person tent) with carpeted floor, air mattress pillow and room light
- Dining Tent with dining set, table, chair and light with adjacent kitchen tent
- Toilet Tent and Shower Tent
- Hot water supply
- For guests without their own sleeping bags these may be hired for $15 per person


*Travel Insurance

It is essential to have adequate insurance in place before your departure. This should be appropriate for your age, health and destination you are visiting.

• Make sure it includes comprehensive medical and repatriation cover.
• Make sure it provides cover for your whole trip (whether one day or over a year).
• Make sure it covers you for all activities.
• Disclose pre-existing medical conditions.
• Take your policy number and the 24-hour emergency contact numbers with you.

If you have any doubts about your cover, check with your insurer. Please note Covid-19 cover is now available.
For a competitive quotation please visit https://www.indusexperiences.co.uk/insurance/

020 8901 7320
ripped-beach-bg-cropped@large

What our clients say

I write to say what a brilliant holiday we had in India through Indus Tours and Travel. The hotels were excellent, we never had to wait at any time for our representative, transport or guide, Everything went like clockwork !! Well done. Even my wife says 100%!! Thank you for such wonderful service. We'll certainly recommend Indus to our friends.

G Ashworth - India Holiday