Immerse yourself in the natural beauty and culture of two beautiful Himalayan Kingdoms in one magical LGBT+ tour of Nepal and Bhutan.
Enter the serene and spiritual lands of Nepal and Bhutan, and experience the countries’ rich histories and unique cultural heritages. From the brightly colored fluttering prayer flags of Nepal to the elaborate traditional dress of the Bhutanese, these fascinating countries will delight your inner explorer.
While the natural sights of this incredible region are hard to surpass, this tour does not neglect the local culture and traditions. Learn the ancient arts of traditional healing, meditate with monks in centuries-old monasteries, and shop at markets crowded with local artisans. And you’ll do all this while staying in a premium selection of the region’s finest hotels as Brand g vacations hosts ensure your comfort throughout.
In Nepal, you’ll wander Kathmandu’s old narrow alleys, carved temples and bustling markets, visit Durbar Square, the 5th-century Swayambhunath stupa, explore the medieval city of Bhaktapur and catch a birds-eye-view of Everest with an optional 1-hour mountain flight.
In Bhutan, you’ll discover the impressive 12th-century Changangkha Lhakhang temple, visit the Folk Heritage Museum, the 108 memorial stupas(Druk Wangyal Chortens) and climb to the cliff-side Taktsang monastery (Tiger’s Nest) perched 3,000 ft. above the lush valley.
Hyatt Regency Kathmandu is a 5 star luxury hotel and resort in Kathmandu, Nepal offering internet access to all guests. The hotel is set on 37 acres of landscaped grounds, and created in the traditional Newari style of Nepalese architecture This beautiful hotel and resort is located on the road to the Boudhanath Stupa: the most holy of all Tibetan Buddhist shrines outside of Tibet, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site which is walking distance from the hotel – about five minutes away.
Le Meridien – Thimphu
Located in the heart of the capital city, Thimphu, the Le Méridien Thimphu invites the discerning guest to engage and discover the legendary ‘Land of the Thunder Dragon’, Bhutan. With cosmopolitan surroundings amidst the bustling commercial streets of the city-centre, and a convenient location to many of the city’s myriad attractions.
Dhensa Boutique Resorts sits in the heart of the verdant and lush Punakha Valley. Flanked by thick pine forests, it overlooks the Punakha river and hundreds of paddy fields that stair-step down to the valley floor. It is surrounded by plentiful walking and trekking trails. From Dhensa Punakha, it is just a five-minute trek up the mountain to the magnificent Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang Nunnery, which houses one of the biggest bronze statues of Chenrigzig (Avalokiteshvara) in the country.
Set on 10 acres, Zhiwa Ling has many amenities available to guests. The spa offers all the facilities guests could want; a fitness centre, sauna, steam room as well as a traditional Bhutanese outdoor hot-stone bath. There is a business center, Tea House, a Meditation House and the hotel has it’s own greenhouse. The two restaurants specialize in contemporary international cuisine and classic Bhutanese dishes. Gathering at the Mad Monk Bar for a pre-dinner drink or after-hours fun is a highlight for guests. Honoring the spiritual heritage of this ancient Buddhist kingdom, a temple has been built into the second floor of the hotel, made with 450-year-old timbers from the famous Gangtey Monastery, the crowning glory of this new cultural landmark.
Mount Everest Mountain Flight – March 13
$325 per person
This optional excursion is all about the view of the various mountains in Nepal from Langtang Range to Kanchanjunga range, but the main focus is to view Mount Everest. Each guest has a window seat to ensure unobstructed views. It will be an early morning excursion, with pick up at the hotel at 5:30am. The actual flight begins at 6:30 and lasts one hour.
Momo Cooking Lesson and Gyakok Dinner – March 14
$45 per person
Momo is one of the most popular dishes in Nepal. These are steamed dumplings made with spiced meat fillings, and served with one or more kinds of chutney. Following the cooking lesson enjoy a traditional Tibetan Gyakok dinner. Gyakok is Nepal’s take on the Chinese, Korean and other East Asian nations’ familial stew that comes simmering in a copper pot with a chimney-like opening on top, and a burner at the bottom for a constant flame.
- Visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Pashupatinath and Kathmandu Durbar Square
- Explore Boudhanath, the largest Buddhist stupa in Asia
- Visits to Bhaktapur and Patan, the oldest settlements in the valley
- Swayambhunath the “Monkey Temple”
- 1-hour mountain flight, focus on Mt. Everest (Optional at an additional cost)
- Experience Thimphu, the capital of the Kingdom of Bhutan and the nation’s largest city
- Stroll the Thimphus Farmers Weekend Market
- Tour the Motithang Takin Preserve, a wildlife reserve area for Takin, the national animal of Bhutan
- Visit the fortresses Punakha Dzong and Rinpung Dzong
- Hike to the striking monastic retreat of Paro Taktsang, the “Tiger’s Nest”
- Includes program internal flight from Kathmandu to Paro
- Includes 10 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches and 9 Dinners
Arrive at the Kathmandui airport, where you will be greeted by a Brand g representative, who will transfer you to the Hotel Hyatt Regency for check-in. Kathmandu, is the capital of the Nepal, and one of the world’s oldest cities. Meet your fellow guests at a welcome reception at approximately 5:30pm today.
Dinner is include tonight at the hotel.
This morning sightseeing tour of Patan City, the oldest settlement in the valley. This venerable city of artists began to be built around 299 AD and located on the southern bank of the Bagmati River five kilometers south-east of Kathmandu City, perhaps has more Buddhist and Hindu temples than Kathmandu itself. Two-thirds of the people here are Buddhists. Local claim that the bronze and wooden gateways and windows, statues of deities, wood carving and metal works demonstrate Patan’s superiority in craftsmanship and stone architecture. This could be true when one visits the small but exquisite Golden Temple tucked away in a small by-way and the Krishna Temple in the Patan Durbar Square.
Following lunch at a local restaurant, we proceed to visit Bhaktpur, literally meaning “City of Devotees”, calling it the “living Museum” is more apt. Founded in 889 AD, with the Khasa Khusung and Hanumante Rivers on either side, Bhaktapur boasts of an immense palace complex in the center surrounded by numerous other temples which reflects the supreme craftsmanship of the city’s artisans. In the middle of the Durbar Square stands the magnificent “pachpan jhyaley mahal” (Palace of 55 Windows), residence of the former kings. Other “must see’s are the Big Bell, the stunningly exquisite Golden Gate, the five-tiered Nyatapola Temple, the Bhairab Temple and the wood carving and metal work museums in Dattaraya Square.
Following breakfast, visit the Kathmandu Durbar Square, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where one sees the old residence of Nepalese royalty, Hanuman Dhoka (The Monkey God’s Gate) Palace which also houses a museum. Hanuman Dhoka is surrounded by a plethora of temples dedicated to Shiva the Destroyer, Vishnu the Preserver, Kali the Avenging Consort of Shiva, Indra the God of Rain and the magnificent four-storied Temple of Goddess Taleju, Protectors of the Valley, which is opened to the public only on one day of the year during Nepal’s most important festival, Dashain. Here also one finds the temple of the Kumari, the Virgin Living Goddess who, several times a day will gracefully deign to come to her ornate first floor window to give audience to visitors.
Thereafter we visit Swayambhunath, situated at a hill overlooking Kathmandu city, said to be over two thousand years old, is one the oldest Buddhist stupa in the world. Beneath the high spire and gilt copper pinnacle and on all four sides, the all-seeing eyes of the Buddha gaze out at the world. The temple also represents the hybrid religion of Buddhism-Hinduism practiced by many inhabitants of the valley. Inside and outside the Temple area are many superbly crafted images of the Buddha and other entities loosely linked to Buddhism. Visitors have dubbed Swayambhunath the “Monkey Temple” as a large group of monkeys resides in the vicinity.
Optional 1-hr Mountain Flight (subject to weather conditions):
Mountain flight is all about the view of various mountains in Nepal from Langtang Range to Kanchanjunga range but the main focus is to view MOUNT EVEREST. 5:30 am pick-up from the hotel. Mountain Flight will depart at 6:30 am. Every guest has a window seat to ensure maximum visibility. The duration of flight will be one hour. (Additional cost of $325 per person)
This morning, enjoy a sightseeing tour of Pasupatinath, Nepal’s most sacred Hindu temple and pilgrimage destination. Afternoon is at leisure.
Optional – cooking lesson of a momo followed by Tibetan Gyakok dinner. (Additional cost $45 per person)
Late morning transfer to airport for flight to Paro.
On arrival at Paro airport drive to Thimphu (approx 1-hr), the capital of the Kingdom of Bhutan and the nation’s largest city. Check into Le Meridien hotel. The remainder of the day is free to relax before dinner tonight at the hotel.
Today sightseeing includes the major sites of the city. In the morning visit an Arts and Crafts School, the Folk Heritage Museum, a traditional house that showcases rural life. Exhibits and cultural shows are held in the museum compound; and the Changangkha Lhakhang: constructed in the 15th century, is one of the oldest temples in the Thimphu Valley, and is dedicated to Avalokiteshvara, the Buddhist emanation of compassion. The temple affords wonderful views over the entire valley.
After lunch in a local restaurant, visit Memorial Chorten (from outside), which dominates the skyline of Thimphu. It was built in 1974 to honor the 3rd King of Bhutan. This prominent landmark in the city has golden spires and bells; the Motithang Takin Preserve, a wildlife reserve area for Takin, the national animal of Bhutan. Native to Bhutan, India, and China, the Takin are docile creatures whose unique appearance attract special attention. Local legends attribute the creation of these animals in Bhutan by a 15th century saint name Drukpa Kunley, popularly known as the Divine Madman; the giant Statue of Sakyamuni Buddha, sitting on top of Kuensel Phodrang hill is a 51.5m bronze statue of the founder of Buddhism. The site also offers unobstructed views over the Thimphu Valley (especially stunning at sunset), and the Takin Preservation Center.
Breakfast at the hotel. Later drive to Punakha (approx. 3 hrs) crossing over the Dochu-La Pass. Punakha was the capital of Bhutan until the 1960’s, and still retains the serene atmosphere of a place with a regal past. Weather permitting enjoy the beautiful views of the mountains from the pass. Visit the 108 memorial stupas known as Druk Wangyal Chortens that were built by Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuk, the eldest Queen Mother. We descend into Punakha Valley and visit the ChimiLakhang, the fertility temple dedicated to famous Buddhist Lama Drukpa Kunley.
Following lunch in a local restaurant we check into our hotel, the Dhensa Resort.
In the afternoon, visit the Punakha Dzong (fortress) majestically standing on an island between the confluence of the Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu rivers, the city’s dzong is one of the most photogenic of all Bhutan’s ancient fortresses. The dzong is joined to the mainland by an arched wooden bridge, and contains many precious relics from the days when successive kings reigned the kingdom from this valley. The dzong serves as the winter home of the monastic body.
Today, we visit Nezigang, which is the starting point for a hike through cultivated fields and small villages, with a gradual climb to the Khamsum Yuley Namgay Chorten, a shrine recently built by the royal family. It is an amazingly elaborate structure with a rainbow of Guru Rimpoche images and superb views of the Punakha Valley. Hike back down and follow ancient riverside trails and see the longest suspension bridge.
Following lunch in a local restaurant, we drive to Nobgang village. On the way we visit the Shechen Lhendup Dorji Lakhang (nunnery) and visit the Nobgang village (walk around the village and visit a farmhouse.
Following breakfast, we drive to Paro (approx 4-hrs). Upon arrival we’ll have lunch at a local restaurant and check into the Zhiwaling hotel.
Paro is a historic town with many sacred sites and historical buildings scattered through the area. The Paro Valley is wide and verdant and is recognized a one of the most beautiful in all Bhutan.
This afternoon we’ll visit the National Museum (Ta dzong), which has a fascinating collection of arts relics, religious Thangkha paintings and a national history collection; and the Paro Dzong Rinpung Dzong, the “fortress of the heap of Jewels”, which was built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal on a hill above the township. Walk over the old Cantilever bridge and enjoy some free time in Paro town.
Following breakfast, enjoy a hike to the striking monastic retreat of Paro Taktsang, the “Tiger’s Nest” (3120m), built into a sheer cliff face above the forested Paro Valley. This is the most famous temple in Bhutan and one of the venerated pilgrim sites of the Himalayan world. Padmasambhava, the great 8th century Buddhist saint and teacher, is thought to have landed at this spot after flying over the mountains from Tibet on the back of a tigress, thus bringing the teachings of Buddhism to Bhutan. The primary temple was built around Padmasambhava’s meditation cave in 1684. Enjoy lunch at a teahouse midway with fantastic views of the monastery.
After breakfast at the hotel, you are transferred to the airport for your journey home on onward to a new destination.
Or, you may choose to join our Splendors of India program. Contact us for details.
11-day Land Program
$7,499 | $6,999
Himalayan adventure including the Kingdoms of Nepal and Bhutan.
Pricing is based on double occupancy. A supplement of $2,000 applies to single bookings. A deposit of $850 per person is required to secure a reservation. Pre-paid gratuities of $205 per person are additional.
Early booking rate available until May 31, 2020.