Nepal & Bhutan Expedition 2024

Nepal & Bhutan Expedition 2024

DURATION

15 DAYS

PRICE

$ 11985.00

WHEN

Jan 24, 2024

DESTINATION

Bhutan & Nepal

TYPE

SMALL GROUP

Nepal & Bhutan Expedition 2024

Nepal is home to the tallest mountains in the world and lowland jungle plains. As we start our adventure, Nepal will open to us, revealing its intriguing fauna prowling around its subtropical forests, surrounded by the majestic Himalayas. Sloth bears, leopards, and rhinos call this beautiful land home, and we will share the woods with them in breathtaking encounters.

No NPE trip is complete without getting to know the people there and learning about their culture. Bhutan will provide us with incredible encounters with locals while showing us the heritage of the Buddhists and its importance in this tiny nation, known for the happiness of its people and unique temples.

We are proud to offer this new expedition to these great countries. Using more than 25 years of experience crafting small group travels, we can ensure that this Nepal-Bhutan expedition is the most complete and unique in the market.

WHAT MAKES THIS TRIP EXTRAORDINARY

  • Arrive in Kathmandu and visit their most impressive «stupas»
  • Explore the medieval city of Bhaktapur, stopping by the Pottery Square to admire their unique handicrafts and visit the UNESCO Boudhanath Stupa.
  • Take a sightseeing flight over the majestic Himalayas and enjoy their breathtaking views.
  • Enjoy a full day of Safari in Nepal’s most important National Park, Chitwan, in search of the royal Bengal Tiger.
  • Fly to Paro, drive to Thimpu and visit the fascinating Buddha statues around the city.
  • Enjoy the panoramic views of the Dochu La pass on your way to the outstanding Phobjikha valley.
  • Hike to the Kumbu village through bamboo forests and get in touch with locals.
  • Visit Tigers Nest, built on a sheer cliff face at 2950 m (9678 ft.). Undoubtedly the most impressive and beautiful Buddhist temple in the world.

«Heaven is a myth, Nepal is real»

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QUESTIONS?


If you have any questions, please let us know. We are here to help you!

Itinerary in Brief

Day 1 
Arrive in Kathmandu

Upon arrival in Kathmandu, an NPE representative will pick you up, transfer you to your hotel, and assist you with the check-in. Lunch will be served at the hotel.

In the afternoon, head towards Kathmandu Durbar Square, the heart of Kathmandu’s old city. Explore the historic temples, royal squares, little alleys, and architectural wonders while taking in the locals’ libations and prayers to various gods and goddesses. Take a stroll around Ason’s spice market and historic commercial center.

Afterward, drive to Swayambhunath, one of the world’s most famed Buddhist stupas. The temple, commonly referred to as the monkey temple after the tribe of monkeys inhabiting the
highlands, is majestically perched on a hill overlooking the Kathmandu Valley. You can better comprehend why Kathmandu is a meeting place for old religions and cultures by looking at the all-seeing, symbolic eyes of the Buddha depicted in 17th-century murals.

Overnight at Dwarika’s Hotel. (L & D).

Day 2
Drive to medieval Bhaktapur and full exploration of the town

After breakfast, drive to Bhaktapur to learn more about this gorgeous city’s vibrant culture and rich history.

Bhaktapur is an architectural marvel and the most meticulously maintained medieval town in the Kathmandu Valley. As you go past historic homes and courtyards, Hindu and Buddhist idols can be seen everywhere. Before lunch, stop by Pottery Square to see local artists at work and try your hand at making some authentic regional pottery. Stop in Boudhanath or Bhaktapur for lunch.

In the Afternoon, visit Boudhanath Stupa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the spiritual center for the Tibetan people living in exile in Nepal. Located on the old trade route leading to Lhasa, this enormous, ancient Buddhist stupa is one of the largest in the world. In addition to its religious significance, the area around the stupa is colorful, distinctive, and lively, and it boasts an extensive collection of Tibetan artifacts, brocades, and jewelry.

We will visit the monasteries close to the stupa and the marvelous Pashupatinath, the holiest and oldest
Hindu temple in Nepal, the home of Shiva. On the banks of the revered Bagmati River is this beautiful Hindu temple devoted to Lord Shiva’s worship. The river is vital to Nepalese culture because ceremonies revolve around this sacred river that empties into the Ganges. Tourists can take in the views and sounds of the temple from the eastern bank of the river even though only Hindus are permitted inside the temple
and its courtyard.

Observe the magnificent Arati, an elaborate Hindu lighting ceremony done each evening by a Hindu priest. By holding oil lamps and rotating them in a circle while performing the Aarati, the priests honor the Divine. This ceremony fosters the unity of God and the followers by allowing everyone to participate in it.

Overnight at Dwarika’s Hotel (B, L, D)

Day 3
To Pokhara

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for a domestic flight to Pokhara (25 mins flight).

Upon arrival, start your sightseeing tour of Pokhara Valley, including 1-hour boating on Phewa Lake.

Afterward, drive (45 minutes) to Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge for lunch.

In the afternoon, take an optional short walk to a village next to the lodge or stay in leisure for the rest of
the day.

Overnight at Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge (B, L, D).

Day 4 
Through Pokhara communities

On this day, you will walk through communities of varied groups and castes. This walk is known as the Bhimirepani Walk. It takes you to a remote and rustic Sundar Gaun (above Khaste Tal), then through thick local forests to Naraspur and through Bhimirepani before returning to the lodge.

Overnight at Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge. (B, L, D)

Day 5
To Chitwan

On this day, you will be transferred to the airport for a domestic flight to the wild and beautiful Chitwan (20-minute flight).

Upon arrival, transfer for approximately an hour to your lodge. Once we arrive at the lodge, we will have a briefing about the activities in Chitwan, followed by lunch.

In the afternoon, participate in the Jungle activities in the lodge’s surroundings.

Overnight at Barahi Jungle Lodge. (B, L, D)

Day 6
Wildlife Viewing & Tharu show

After breakfast, enjoy a full day of Safari in the renowned Chitwan National Park. Safari activities at the park include wildlife viewing with Jeep Safari, Jungle walks, bird watching, river safaris, wildlife viewing, and photographing with highly experienced naturalists. A journey into the habitat of the greater one-horned Rhinoceros spotted Deer, Hog Deer, Sambar deer, and barking deer and an abundance of flora and fauna. Get prepared for the rare sightings of a leopard, sloth bear, or even the Royal Bengal Tiger.

In the evening, enjoy 1 hour of Tharu Local Dance.

(All activities may vary as per season and local conditions).

Overnight at Barahi Jungle Lodge. (B, L, D)

Day 7
Back to Kathmandu

Transfer to the domestic airport for your flight back to Kathmandu after breakfast. Transfer to your hotel after arrival.

Drive to Patan in the evening and explore the square’s nooks and crannies, as well as the beautiful Patan museum, which is housed in one of the Malla era’s rebuilt royal palaces. Enjoy Patan’s exquisite array of carved temples, palace courtyards, water spouts, public baths, traditional neighborhoods, and complex wood, stone, and metal carvings.

Afterward, we will have all evening free to rest and recharge or to explore the city if wanted.

Overnight at Dwarika’s Hotel. (B).

Day 8
To Paro and transfer to majestic Thimpu

After breakfast, we will be transferred to Kathmandu’s airport for our scheduled flight to Paro.

The flight into Bhutan takes you close to the great Himalayas, offering dazzling scenic views of some of the world’s highest glacial peaks. As you approach the Paro valley, you will pass forested hills with the silvery Pa Chu (Paro River) glistening below and the Paro Dzong (fortress) and Ta Dzong (watch tower) on a hill above the town.

Upon arrival in Paro, your local guide will meet you and transport you to your hotel in Thimphu (1-hour drive).

Visit the Tamchog Lhakhang en route. It was built by Thangtong Gyalpo, a trailblazing engineer who popularized the building of suspension bridges in Tibet and Bhutan. Only two of the more than 58 bridges erected nationwide are still standing. At the foot of the Tamchog Lhakhang, one of these bridges is still in good condition.

Continue your drive to your hotel in Thimphu to check in and relax.

Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan’s Himalayan kingdom, is a center for traditional Bhutanese art, architecture, and culture. Over 100,000 people live there, including the nation’s royal family, at 2,320 meters (7656 feet). Here you can observe contemporary Bhutan blended with more traditional life features—a crucible for urbanization. Fun fact: The only national capital city in the world without traffic
signals is Thimphu!

You will go to the National Memorial Chorten later in the day. This well-known monument in Thimphu was constructed in 1974 in honor of Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, the third King and sometimes referred to as the “Father of Modern Bhutan.” This four-storey structure was built to be seen as the most visible religious landmark in the Dragon Kingdom. Both citizens of Thimphu and followers from other parts of the nation use it as a significant venue of worship. Mandalas, statues, and religious teachings are all carved inside.

After that, continue driving to Buddha Dordenma. Over 100,000 tiny Buddha sculptures, each like the Buddha Dordenma itself, each fashioned of bronze and coated in gold, fill this enormous Shakyamuni Buddha statue. It is one of the highest Buddha statues in the world, with a height of 51.5 m (169 ft). The figure fulfills a prophecy that dates back to the eighth century and was found by Terton Pema Lingpa, who was known as the Discoverer of Religious Treasures at the time.

Next, visit the Royal Takin Preserve, located ten minutes from Thimphu. The Takin is Bhutan’s emblematic animal. According to legend, Drupa Kunley, also known as “the Divine Madman,” was a great Buddhist yogi who created the animal. Only Bhutan and the western section of Arunachal Pradesh are home to this particular takin species. The fourth monarch chose to dissolve the former zoo since it went against Bhutan’s religious and environmental values to keep animals in cages. The animals were released into the wild, but the takins were too domesticated to make it and roamed the streets of Thimphu. As a result, The Royal Takin Preserve was created. The creatures are now housed in a sizable enclosure where guests can watch them.

Overnight at Zhiwaling Ascent, Thimphu. (B, L, D)

Day 9
To Phobjikha (Gangtey)

After an early breakfast this morning, we will be chauffeured to Phobjikha (approx. 4–5 hour drive). The road climbs steeply through a scenic pine forest and cedar trees to Dochu La pass (10,334 feet/3,150 meters). The pass offers panoramic views of the Himalayan mountain ranges.

Stop en route at Dochu La to see the 108 stupas erected in memory of the slain Bhutanese soldiers during military operations for the kingdom.

After passing through Wangdue, the road gradually ascends to Lawa La pass, from which you can see Mount Jhomolhari (24,035 feet/7,326 meters) and Mount Jichu Drake (21,856 feet/6,662 meters) in all their glory. As we travel, the landscape abruptly changes, going from mountain forest to high-altitude dwarf bamboo forest.

Check into the hotel when you get to Phobjikha. Relax while taking in the stunning views of the Gangtey valley.

The Phobjikha valley is a glacial valley with a U-shape. A group of critically endangered black-necked cranes that migrate from the Tibetan plateau each winter use it as their winter home. This crucible of  beauty is on the western slopes of the Black Mountains, bordering the Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park. Some people refer to the entire region as Gangtey, well-known for its magnificent nature trails.

Later in the afternoon, we will be escorted to the Gangtey Goemba (monastery), perched on a forested hill overlooking the green expanse of the whole Phobjikha valley. In 1613, the grandson and reincarnation of Pema Lingpa, Pema Thinley, founded the Nyingma temple here, which has grown into today’s Gangtey Goemba. It serves as the seat of the ninth reincarnation of the body of the Terton (treasure discoverer) Pema Lingpa.

Following that, you’ll stroll along the Gangtey Nature Trail, one of the best hiking trails in Bhutan. Emerging from trees, the path opens up to a fabulous view of the valley and marshy conservation area below. The trail will end in the village of Khewang as you cross the Nake Chu.

Altitude descent: 224 m (734 ft). Distance: 4.6 km (2.9 mi). Hiking time: 2 hours.

Overnight at RKPO, Phobjikha. (B, L, D)

Day 10
Hike to Kumbu Village

The morning begins with a 30-minute drive from Gangtey to your hike’s starting point near Longteng village on the east-west highway. Start by walking downwards, following the path to the right of the road.

The path leads through bush bamboo towards a small cluster of village houses. The last part of the trail through the forest is steeper until you reach the pass at 3,586 meters (11,766 ft) with impressive views of the Gangtey Goemba, the Shedra, and the valley below. After passing the pass, you continue down towards the idyllic Kumbu village.


It is possible to get picked up from here, or you may continue down to the Shedra. The whole hike will take about four hours, and you will be back at your hotel by lunchtime.

Altitude gain: 431 meters (1414 ft). Distance: 7 km (4.4 mi). Hiking time: 4 hours.

Return to the hotel for lunch. The afternoon is at leisure.


Optional – Visit the Black-necked Crane Education Centre. A visit to this center is a great way to learn about the endangered black-necked crane and the folklore surrounding them. These splendid birds occupy an exceptional place in Bhutanese culture. The center is equipped with spotting scopes installed to improve your experience and watch the cranes as they fly around. They are only seen from November to February, but an enclosure is where rescued cranes are rehabilitated.

Overnight at RKPO, Phobjikha. (B,L,D)

Day 11
To Punakha

After breakfast, we will be transferred to Punakha (3 hours drive).

Before reaching Punakha, stop en route and hike to Chimi Lhakhang (a 30-minute hike) Perched on a hill in the valley’s center, Chimi Lhakhang is a temple dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kuenley. He was also known as the “Divine Madman.” He used humor, song, and dramatic reenactment to disperse his teachings in the 15th century. Chimi Lhakhang is widely known as the temple of fertility; locals come here to receive blessings from the lama to be blessed with a child. Locals also bring their newborns to be named there.

Afterward, we will be driven to your hotel for check-in and rest.

Later in the afternoon, drive to visit the Punakha Dzong.

Constructed in 1637, this was the second dzong built in Bhutan and served as its seat of government for many years. Widely referred to as the most beautiful dzong in the country, the towering white walls form a lovely contrast to the surrounding greens and blues. It is the central monastic body’s winter residence and holds a very important relic over which many wars were fought with the Tibetans. Bhutan’s kings are crowned here before taking their throne in Thimphu.

Overnight at Dhensa, Punakha. (B, L, D)

Day 12
Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten Hike and full exploration of Punaka
Early this morning, you will begin your hike to the Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten.

You will be driven to the suspension bridge and hike for about 45 minutes. This three-storey Lhakhang is a recent addition to Bhutan’s string of architecturally splendid buildings. Built by Her Majesty the Queen Ashi Tshering Yangdon, it houses representations of the tantric forms of Buddhist deities that subjugate enemies and ward off harmful influences on the people of Bhutan. Built to protect the country and the King, Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten also offers impressive views of the valley below.

Post the hike, drive back to your hotel, and rest of the morning.

Later in the afternoon, you will drive to visit the Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang Nunnery.

Perched on a ridge amongst the pine trees gleams the magnificent structure of the Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang. This temple houses a 14 ft (4.2 m) bronze statue of Avalokiteshvara, made by local Bhutanese artisans. Other statutes include The Buddha, Guru Rinpoche, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, Tsela Namsum, and the 21 Taras. The temple complex also houses a permanent school of higher learning and a meditation center for nuns. Apart from religious training, it provides vocational training such as tailoring, embroidery, statue making, and thangka painting.

Overnight at Dhensa, Punakha. (B, L, D)

Day 13
Back to Paro
After breakfast, we will be driven to Paro (4 hours drive).
On entering Paro town, drive directly to your hotel for Check-in and a short rest.
Paro is a historic town situated at 2250 m (7382 ft) with many sacred sites and historical buildings scattered throughout the area. It is home to many of Bhutan’s oldest temples and monasteries, the National Museum, and the country’s only airport.
Mt Jhomolhari (7326 m /24035 ft) reigns in its white glory at the valley’s northern end. Its roaring glacial water plunges through deep gorges to form the Pa Chu (Paro River). Paro is one of the most fertile valleys in the Kingdom, producing a bulk of the locally famous red rice from its terraced fields.
Post lunch, visit the Ta Dzong, a watch tower built to defend Rinpung Dzong during the inter-valley wars of the 17th century. Since 1967, the Ta Dzong has been serving as the country’s National Museum. It holds a fascinating collection of art, relics, religious thangka paintings, natural history, and Bhutan’s exquisite postage stamps. The building’s circular shape comes from its defensive origin.
Afterward, visit a Farmhouse. Clusters of old-fashion farmhouses embellish the beauty of Paro valley. Bhutanese farmhouses are very colorful, decorative, and traditionally built without the use of a single nail. All houses follow the same architectural pattern. A visit to a traditional farmhouse is educational and offers a glimpse into the lifestyle of a farmer.
Overnight at Le Meridien, Paro. (B, L, D)
Day 14
Discovering historic Paro
Early this morning, take a short drive to Ramthankha and start your hike to the Taktsang monastery (Tiger’s Nest).
This four-hour trek offers spectacular views, built on a sheer cliff face at 2950 m (9678 ft.). The trail climbs through a beautiful pine forest, many of the trees festooned with Spanish moss and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags. Legend has it that Guru Rinpoche, the founder of Buddhism in Bhutan, flew from eastern Bhutan on a tigress,
bringing Buddhist teachings and meditation here on this cliff. Taktsang is one of the most revered and sacred of all Buddhist sights around the world.
This hike takes about five hours with a 900 m (2952 ft) gain in altitude.
Take the rest of the afternoon to relax or explore Paro town to shop for souvenirs.
Overnight at Le Meridien, Paro. (B, L, D)
Day 15
Fly back home:
This morning, you will be transferred to the Paro airport to board your onward flight.

Lodgings

Dwarika Hotel

Born out of Mr. Dwarika Das Shrestha’s quest to preserve the Kathmandu Valley’s heritage, Dwarika’s Hotel is a sanctuary for the architectural grandeur of the Newari civilization. The intricately carved wooden treasures, with each artifact being an original, are the soul of the Dwarika’s. Titled as an oasis in the middle of a bustling city, the peaceful courtyards display the grand architectural wooden masterpieces while being overlooked by the meticulously decorated spacious rooms, offering a sumptuous lifestyle deep-rooted in Nepalese culture.

Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge

Perched 1,000 feet above the Pokhara Valley with a spectacular Himalayan backdrop, Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge provides a perfect haven, the essence of tranquillity. Ideal for guests pre- and post-trek, or for those wishing to take day walks exploring local communities, bird-watching, gentle exercise, or just to relax in a typical Nepalese rural setting.

Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge is a member of Secret Retreats, Rare, Earthchangers, and Kiwano, select groups of some of the world’s most special regenerative tourism experiences.

Barahi Jungle Lodge

Barahi Jungle Lodge with its selective location on the banks of Rapti is set in the small village of Tharus. The lodge adjoining the forest from two sides offers a breathtaking view of the National Park from its river-facing stand-alone cottages. The ambiance and the style of the interior of our wildlife resort in Chitwan give a stunning insight into the aboriginal Tharu culture of Nepal interlaced with the wilderness of Chitwan.

Zhiwaling Ascent

While specific elements of Bhutanese dzong and farmhouse architecture have been incorporated into the design, Zhiwa Ling Ascent consciously exemplifies the goals of minimalism.

The result is a contemporary style with simple, minimal overtones.

The hotel is modest in size with an emphasis on a personal connection, created by the many open spaces throughout the building. These spaces provide both spiritual sanctuary and respite for weary travelers.

RKPO

Nestled in the heart of the Punakha Valley, RKPO is the perfect starting point to explore this fantastic valley. This cozy hotel is just a few minutes away from Punakha Dzong, the Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang Nunnery, the Chimi Lhakhang Temple, and the Tachog Lhakhang (Iron Chain) Bridge. It has everything you need to relax, plus a great view of the valley, making it the perfect spot for photographers. This excellent hotel will be perfect for a good night’s rest after a long day exploring the wonders of Bhutan.

Dhensa

Dhensa sits in the heart of the tranquil 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. We invite you to relax, revive your senses, and experience the simple beauty of our surroundings.

COMO UMA

Located just 10 minutes from Paro’s airport, this small 29-room resort offers Bhutan’s most exclusive private villas. COMO Uma Paro enjoys an outstanding location in the Paro Valley while providing exceptional views of the fantastic Paro Valley. This is, undoubtedly, the best hotel option in Bhutan.

 

Departure Dates & Rates

DEPARTURE
24 Jan 2024
PRICE
$11985
Single Supplement

$3670

STATUS
OPEN
MORE INFO
RESERVATION

Recommended Expeditions

Mongolia Overland journey to the Gobi

Mongolia Overland journey to the Gobi

DURATION

12 DAYS

WHEN

June to August

DESTINATION

Mongolia

TYPE

PRIVATE

Mongolia Expedition

You will find a beauty that can only be found in the most remote areas of the planet in the terrain of Mongolia, with its rough mountains, immense lush steppe, and otherworldly Gobi Desert.

It’s possible that Mongolia’s isolation from the outside world for the majority of the 20th century contributed to the preservation of these dynamic landscapes. The more significant factor is that around a third of the population is made up of herders who live a nomadic lifestyle, frequently traveling throughout the beautiful countryside to honor the land as they have done since the time of Chinggis Khan.

As you paddle the «dark blue pearl» of the immaculate Lake Hovsgol or observe the falconry of the Kazakh golden eagle hunters who once relied on their birds to capture prey during the winter in the Altai Mountains, we offer the chance to explore this land of astounding marvels in rich detail seamlessly.

You will learn about more than just a location by staying in tastefully furnished traditional gers and visiting local families of Mongolia’s extraordinarily hospitable nomadic people.

WHAT MAKES THIS TRIP EXTRAORDINARY

  • Explore the modern Ulaanbataar

  • Visit the Mongols empire capital, Karakorum, and Erdene Zuu, the largest monastery in Mongolia.

  • Visit the stunning Ongi Monastery, known as «the pearl of the great desert.

  • Stay two nights in the depths of the Gobi desert.

  • Spend the night in Ger’s like a real nomad

  • Look for real dinosaur fossils and fall in love with the beautiful landscapes of the Flamingo Cliffs.

 

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together

QUESTIONS?


If you have any questions, please let us know. We are here to help you!

Itinerary in Brief

Day 1 
Arrive in Ulaanbaatar Int Airport and Private transfer:

Upon your arrival at Ulaanbaatar international airport, you will be greeted by an NPE representative. Afterward, we will transfer you to the Shangri-La Hotel located within walking distance of numerous attractions and shops. The contrast between ancient customs and a democratic society in the twenty-first century is most evident in Ulaanbaatar, where traditional gers and Buddhist monasteries coexist with modern high-rises.

Overnight at Shangri-La Hotel. No Meals

Day 2
Ulaanbaatar

Following breakfast, we’ll visit Gandan Monastery, Mongolia’s seat of Buddhism. Mongolia’s nomadic culture is woven with a rich Tibetan-Buddhist history, including remnants of old Shamanist rituals. Hundreds of Buddhist temples were demolished during Stalin’s 1930s purges. Gandan, on the other hand, was spared destruction and continued to serve as a «showpiece» for government officials.

Visit Mongolia’s National History Museum in the afternoon for an excellent introduction to Mongolia’s history and culture. The newly renovated museum features Stone and Bronze Age antiquities, historical clothing of Mongolia’s minority tribes, important religious relics, and farming, fishing, and hunting equipment.

Visit the Zanabazar Fine Arts Museum after lunch. The museum, which bears Zanabazar’s name, houses one of the finest collections of Buddhist art and artifacts worldwide, including many of Zanabazar’s original creations. Zanabazar was a well-known politician and artist who lived in the 17th century and was also the first Buddhist leader of Mongolia.

Finally, we’ll have a welcome dinner and stay the night at the Shangri-La Hotel.

Overnight at Shangri-La Hotel (B, L, D). 

Day 3 
Drive to Karakroum

After breakfast, travel (5–6 hours) to the Karakorum, the location of the Mongol Empire’s capital during the 13th century. The scale of the empire built by Chinggis Khan and his offspring, the most extensive land empire in recorded history, has never been surpassed. Travelers in the 13th century were astounded by Karakorum’s beauty and its internationalism and openness, where businessmen, thinkers, and clergy could practice their religion freely.

Visit a local nomadic family in the late afternoon to gain a deeper understanding of their customary way of life.

Overnight at Local Ger Camp (B, L, D.)

Day 4
Karakorum

Visit Erdene Zuu, the largest monastery in Mongolia, in the morning. It is said that Erdene Zuu was constructed in the 16th century from its ruins.

Erdene Zuu, which is encircled by 108 stupas, has long been a hub of Buddhist activity. Wander the grounds of the monastery and see the monks as they conduct their daily rituals and prayers in temples adorned with stunning Buddhist art.

Continue to the Karakorum Museum for an intriguing look at what formerly housed the world’s arts, politics, trades, and religions. The museum is divided into two sections: one is dedicated to the permanent exhibits, while the other showcases the results of recent or current scientific investigations in the region.

After lunch, ride horses for 3–4 hours through a large river valley where nomadic families spend summertime in the Orkhon River valley. As we get to the river’s edge, hundreds of animals will be grazing on fertile pasture. 

Return to your Ger to spend the night and recharge for your next day of adventure.

Overnight at Local Ger Camp (B, L, D).

Day 5
Ongii Monastery

After breakfast, travel (4-5 hours) to Ongiin Hiid to visit the temple’s ruins, located in a stunning mountainous area dating back to the 17th century. Ongiin Hiid still referred to as the «Pearl of the Great Desert,» was one of Mongolia’s biggest monasteries until it was destroyed in 1939 as part of a communist crackdown.

Overnight at Local Ger Camp (B, L, D).

Day 6
Three Camel Lodge/ Horse Riding to Havtagait Valley

After breakfast, continue traveling overland overnight to the semi-desert province in the southernmost part of Mongolia (3-4 hours). The Gobi is a fascinating and diverse location, in contrast to the monotony that the word «desert» conveys, and it is home to some of the most significant paleontological finds of the 20th century. 

Explore the breathtaking Gobi landscapes over the following four days. This area is home to numerous indigenous animals, including Bactrian camels, Argali mountain sheep, goitered gazelles, Golden Eagles, Saker Falcons, and jerboas, which resemble kangaroo rats. The dhole, snow leopard, wild camel, and Gobi bear are just a few of the rarest and most elusive mammals that may be found in the Gobi.

Settling into a Mongolian ger with traditional decor after arrival.
After lunch, mount your horses and ride the two hours to Havtsgait Valley, where ancient rock carvings made by early Gobi dwellers dating back between 8,000 and 2,000 years ago can be found. On the mountaintop, boulders strewn with petroglyphs are decorated in their thousands.

Finally, return to your Ger to relax and recover for the next day.

Overnight at Three Camel Lodge (B, L, D).

Day 7
Yol Valley National Park /Moltsog Els Sand Dunes

Drive for one hour to Yol Valley National Park, nestled in the Altai Mountains’ foothills, after breakfast. An old river carved this unexpectedly lush valley, and the remaining streams produce ice formations that may last until the end of July. One can visit the homes of local animals such as the vulture-like Lammergeiers, Altai snowcocks, ibex, yaks, and Argali mountain sheep by taking a trip through the valley. Visit the neighborhood natural history museum to summarize the local flora and wildlife after exploring the valley. After lunch, go back to Three Camel Lodge.

Drive to the dunes near Moltsog els in the late afternoon (1 hour). Although the Gobi Desert is the second largest in the world, only 3% of it is covered in sand. The 60-mile-long Moltsog Els Sand Dunes run from northwest to southeast. Those interested will have the chance to see a camel-herding family and ride a Bactrian camel around the area.

Afterward, return to your lodge to spend the night. 

Overnight at Three Camel Lodge (B, L, D).

Day 8 
Tugrugyn shiree/ Alag teeg/ Flaming Cliffs

Start your day by welcoming a renowned paleontologist from the Paleontology Institute of Mongolia before traveling to Tugrugyn Shiree, the location of the famed «Fighting Dinosaurs» fossil, which shows a Protoceratops and Velociraptor locked in conflict. Discover the neighboring dunes and stunning white sandstone escarpment.

Continue to Alag Teeg, a location that was formerly home to the armored dinosaur ankylosaurs and is now considered one of the Gobi Desert’s hidden gems. After lunch, go back to Three Camel Lodge.

Due to the orange light of its rock at dawn and night, Bayan Zag (30 min) is also known as the Flaming Cliffs in the late afternoon. The first nest of dinosaur eggs was discovered here in 1923 by Dr. Roy Chapman Andrews and his expedition team from the American Museum of Natural History. The Flaming Cliffs are abundant with dinosaur fossils and have been the location of significant paleontological discoveries, despite not being immediately apparent to the untrained eye.

 

Overnight at Three Camel Lodge (B, L, D)

Day 9
Fly to Ulaanbaatar

Transfer to the nearby airport in the morning for the 1,5-hour trip to Ulaanbaatar. Visit the Paleontology Institute of Mongolia when you get there to find out more about the dinosaurs that have been discovered there.

Leading paleontologists who are in charge of the laboratory’s cleaning and assembly will be introduced to us. Enjoy a traditional Mongolian performance in the evening, followed by a goodbye meal at a top neighborhood restaurant.

Overnight at Shangri-La Hotel (B, L, D)

Day 10
Flight back home

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for departure for your homeward flight.

Meals: Breakfast  

Lodgings

Shangri-La Hotel

Located in the heart of modern Ulaanbataar, the Shari-La Hotel is the ideal base to start your journey in Mongolia. Its wonderful suites plus their friendly staff will make you feel at home. The hotel is located 40 minutes away from the airport, and it is near to the famous Government House, Great Chinggis Khaan Square, and main offices and embassies. Shari-La has a three-concept restaurant where you will be able to try authentic Mongolian cuisine.

Three Camel Lodge

This experiential hotel is located in the midst of Mongolia’s Gobi Desert and is manned by Mongolians who provide traditional hospitality to tourists. You will stay in a «Ger,» which is the nomadic herders of Mongolia’s traditional tent. They are heated by a wood stove and are surrounded by exquisitely painted wooden latticework. Your opulent Ger is equipped with a king-sized bed, a basin, a toilet, and conventional beauty supplies.

When to go

The summer, which lasts from the middle of June until the last week of August, is the most incredible time to visit Mongolia. The best and safest time to visit the nation is when the weather is ideal for expeditions, and there is enough rain and sunshine to cover the entire country. Every location you visit on your trip is lush and verdant.

In Mongolia, the summer months of June through September are particularly lovely. September’s autumnal weather is pleasant and restores color to the landscape. Neither it’s too hot nor too cold outside. The abundance of dairy products available to the nomads, who make up the majority of this nation, is another benefit of this time of year. They can be seen working diligently to process milk and make winter-related preparations.

The autumn season makes Mongolia’s gorgeous countryside settings even more picturesque and photogenic.

QUESTIONS?


If you have any questions, please let us know. We are here to help you!

START YOUR ADVENTURE HERE:

Recommended Expeditions

Central India Tigers and Culture

Central India Tigers and Culture

DURATION

14 DAYS

PRICING

$ 9645

WHEN

January 24, 2023

DESTINATION

India

TYPE

SMALL GROUP

Central India Tigers & The Golden Triangle

India is a must-visit destination for every natural-born traveler. Its cultural history and prolific wildlife make India one of the best and most complete destinations globally.

On this amazing journey, you will explore its depths, visiting the most important national parks, Kanha National Park & Bandhavgarh National park, in search of the most impressive views of tigers.

We will also explore its holy sites at Khajuraho, Jaipur, and Agara, stopping for a fantastic sunrise visit to the breathtaking Taj Mahal.

This expedition has been crafted by us using our 25 years of experience, making it one of our new highlights for future NPE travelers.

WHAT MAKES THIS TRIP EXTRAORDINARY

  • Visit Kanha National Park & Bandhavgarh National Park is a quest in search of Tigers.
  • Explore Khajuraho’s ancient temples and UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.
  • Sunrise visit to Taj Mahal
  • The best accommodation at top-class hotels
  • Jaipur also known as the «pink city» the most important destination in Rajasthan
  • Visit to Old and New Delhi
India has two million gods and worships them all. In Religion, all countries are paupers; India is the only millionaire

-Mark Twain 

QUESTIONS?


If you have any questions, please let us know. We are here to help you!

A 14 DAY EXPEDITION TO MEET THE MOST ICONIC ATTRACTIONS OF INDIA, AND MUCH MORE FROM US$ 9645.00 EXCLUDING FLIGHTS

Itinerary in Brief

Day 1 
Arrive in Delhi:

Upon your arrival at the Dehli airport, our tour representative will welcome you at the airport arrival lounge & transfer you to your hotel.

Overnight at the Radisson Blu Plaza (Meals Aloft)

Day 2

Delhi – Raipur – Kanha

After breakfast, we will drive to the Delhi airport to fly to Raipur.

After landing at Raipur airport, we will drive four hours to Kanha.

Our drive takes us through the rural countryside, colorful towns, villages, and a stop in the sleepy town of Mandla (a sacred city for the Gond Indian tribes), where the Narmada River, the second holiest to the Ganges, is the center of activity. En route we will enjoy a picnic lunch.

Once we arrive at our lodge at Kanha, and after enjoying some time to freshen up, we will take the opportunity to stretch our legs and walk down to the Banjar River with our naturalists to identify the local flora and fauna and make you familiar with the surroundings. Termite mounds, flying squirrels, and butterflies, among many other species, will fascinate you. By the way, it is here that Rudyard Kipling got his inspiration to write The Jungle Book!

In the evening, we will receive a complete talk about the national park. We will look at some maps to understand the areas where we will be doing our safaris. We will also meet our local naturalists, who will answer all your questions to help you prepare for the experiences ahead.

Overnight at Kanha Jungle Lodge (B, L, D)

Day 3 & 4

Kanha National Park Safaris

We will enjoy two 4×4 safaris each day in the magnificent Kanha National Park.

We are staying with the family whose heritage dates back three generations of tiger conservation. Kailash Sankhala, was the founder-director of Project Tiger, under which the inception of the Project Tiger Reserves in India took place. Their grandchildren run and manage Kanha Jungle Lodge. We will have the first-hand opportunity to interact with them and spend one of the evenings watching the award-winning documentary Tigerland. Produced by the Discovery Channel and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, it focuses on two passionate people trying to save the Tiger. One of them is Kailash Sankhala.

Overnight at Kanha Jungle Lodge (B, L, D)

Day 5

From Kanha National Park to Bandhavgarh National Park

After one last morning jungle safari in Kanha, we will depart on a five-to-six-hour scenic drive to Bandhavgarh. Along the way, we will enjoy an excellent picnic lunch. Upon arrival, we will enjoy free time to freshen up before a short talk before dinner.

Bandhavgarh is home to more than 25 animal species, more than 250 bird species, over 80 butterfly species, and many reptiles. Apart from tigers, the Bandhavgarh is home to panthers, wolves, hyenas, wild dogs, gaur, cheetal, sambhar, barking deer, sloth bears, and many more species. Bandhavgarh has long been a fantastic tiger habitat, with the greatest tiger density in the world. “In other parks, you have to be lucky to see a tiger,” wildlife enthusiasts in India joke, “but in Bandhavgarh, you have to be unlucky not to see a tiger.”

Overnight at Bandhavgarh Jungle Lodge. B, L, D

Day 6 & 7
Bandhavgarh National Park

Early morning wake-up calls with tea and coffee will begin the days.

You’ll wake up to foggy mornings and the sounds of birds singing, making for an exciting start to the day. Leave for your jungle safari as soon as the sun rises, followed by a resident naturalist and forest park guides in 4×4 Jeeps. Every day, our guides and trackers visit the park to keep track of Tiger movements by inspecting their feces and hearing for other species’ alarm sounds. A knowledgeable guide familiar with the wildlife in the region will greatly boost your chances of spotting a tiger, and NPE has recruited the best. During the safari, you will have a picnic breakfast in the jungle.

Each day we will return to our lodge in time for lunch. After some rest, we will depart on an afternoon safari that will have us back at our lodge in time to freshen up, enjoy a small talk with our guides, and dine.

Overnight at Bandhavgarh Jungle Lodge. B, L, D

Day 8

Bandhavgarh National Park, and to Khajuraho

After another morning safari at Bandhavgarh National Park, we will depart, with picnic lunches, on a five-hour drive to Khajuraho.

We’ll get to our hotel with plenty of time to freshen up and enjoy a great dinner.

Khajuraho is known for its ancient temples, which have some of the world’s best art. The Chandela Dynasty built these temples between 950 and 1050 AD, depicting different forms such as meditation, spiritual teachings, kinfolk, wrestling, royalty, and, most importantly, sensual art. The temples are one of India’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites, with breathtaking exhibits of excellent sculptures and great architectural ability. The temples are divided into three groups based on their geographical location: eastern, western, and southern. The sculptures of the Khajuraho temples are stunning, detailed, and expressive, and will leave you speechless.

Overnight at Radisson Jass. B, L, D

Day 9
Khajuraho – Agra

After breakfast, we will check-out of the hotel and then visit the Jain and Hindu temples with their elaborate stone carvings. Images of gods and goddesses, heavenly maidens and dancers, animals and musicians, all frozen in stone, many in the act of wooing, may be seen in the erotic temples.

Khajuraho was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site to preserve this collective celebration of life, love, and joy and symbolize the Chandela period’s spirit of creativity and human interactions (9th & 10th century CE).

The Parasvanath Temple, the only Jain Temple surviving at Khajuraho with excellent sculptures on the outer walls of the Sanctum, the Javeri Temple dedicated to Vishnu, and other temples dedicated to Brahma, the Goddess Kali, the Visha Temple of Shiva, and the Bharatji Temple with a lovely image of 11 headed Vishnu are all part of the Eastern group of temples.

After the visit, transfer to Khajuraho airport for a flight to Agra. (Air India flight 1310 from Khajuraho to Agra arrives at 1355 hours)

Upon arrival, we will drive to our hotel.

We will dine at Peshawri (located in our hotel), which brings the romance of India’s rough northwest frontier to life in this authentic, award-winning restaurant, making it a must-visit dining spot in Agra.

Overnight at ITC Mughal. B, L, D

Day 10
Taj Mahal at sunrise – From Agra to Jaipur – The Royal Heritage Haveli

Rise early for morning coffee and prepare for a truly spectacular sight, the legendary Taj Mahal at daybreak. It is often said that Taj Mahal changes its colors by every minute depending upon the angle of sun rays and it is best seen either by sunset or sunrise. Sunrise however is the best timing for taking pictures of this monument under mild sunlight.

In 1475 AD, Badal Singh founded the city of Taj in Agra. In the Mahabharat, Agra is referred to as Agraban. Sikandar Lodi established Agra as his capital, but Babur conquered the Lodis, capturing Agra and the Mughal Empire. Agra saw a feverish building activity in the mid-16th century and early 17th century AD, and it was during this period, the Taj Mahal, the emblem of love, was erected.

Always the main reason for a journey to Agra, the Taj Mahal is a white marble tribute to Shah Jahan’s lovely wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Ustad Isa, a Persian architect, planned and built this monument, which took 22 years to finish. The Taj Mahal is known for its exquisite domes, delicately carved screens, some of the most extraordinary inlay work ever seen, and its remarkable architectural balance and perfect symmetry.

After this amazing experience, we will return to the hotel for breakfast and Checkout. While returning to Jaipur, visit to Agra Fort. After visiting the fort, we will drive back to Jaipur. (240Kms/ 4-5 hrs). Lunch will be served at a local restaurant

Upon arrival, check in at hotel. You will have the afternoon free to enjoy this superb hotel. A true master piece of historic first-class hotels.

Overnight at Royal Heritage Haveli. B, L, D

Day 11
Jaipur

After breakfast, we will visit the magnificent Amber Fort, the most iconic monument in Jaipur. The fort houses many palaces, halls, gardens, and temples, including Sheesh Mahal, an elaborate mirror palace that adds to the grandeur of this historical site.

After visiting the fort, we will enjoy a memorable private guided tour of the City Palace, the residence of the Royal family, who have opened their gates to visitors and converted a part of their palace into a museum. The Jaipur palace is full of brilliant architecture and intricately carved walls and pillars. We will visit the beautiful Chandra Mahal or Chandra Niwas, the most commanding building in the City Palace complex.

We will then continue for a unique cultural and culinary experience with Mr. Durga Singh Ji of Dera Mandawa, who will receive us in his home for lunch. While we are there, you may try your hand at Indian cooking if you wish.

Thakur Durga Singh was educated at the renowned Mayo College in Ajmer. He takes great pride in his history, cultural traditions, folk traditions, and eastern religions, and he likes to present Rajasthan and India to interested travelers. He is the current custodian of Dera Mandawa, and is an exceptional host.

After lunch, we will proceed to walk through the bazaars of Jaipur, which offer the opportunity to immerse in the riches of traditional India. Since its foundation in 1727, the royal family and nobles of Jaipur have been patronizing various craftsmen and artisans in the Pink City.

After lunch, we will return to our hotel to relax.

At 7:30 PM, we will take you to a fine dining experience at 1135 AD restaurant. 1135 AD name comes from the year when the Kacchawaha clan founded the dynasty. The current chef takes notes from the original royal cooks and brings forth the true culinary valor of the ‘Rajput Kingdom’.

This private dinner will be a Surya Thali experience that will last forever in your memory.

Overnight at the Royal Heritage Haveli. B, L, D

Day 12
To Delhi – The Claridges

After breakfast, we will depart on a five-hour drive to Delhi. We will enjoy lunch at a local restaurant along the way.

Upon arrival, the rest of the afternoon and evening will be free to enjoy our excellent five-star hotel, The Claridges.

We have left this evening’s dinner on your own so that you can choose to enjoy any of the superb restaurants in the hotel or travel to the city to taste different flavors. Your expedition leader will assist you with your selection and help you with the reservations. He will also inform you of his plans for dinner so that you can join him if you wish.

Overnight at The Claridges. B, L.

Day 13
Old & New Delhi

After breakfast, we’ll tour Old Delhi to learn about the Mughal Empire’s splendor and ultimate devastation. The tour includes visiting Jama Masjid, India’s biggest mosque, and a drive through the Red Fort, the Mughal Empire’s most luxurious fort and palace. We’ll stroll around the streets and markets of this imperial capital city from the seventeenth century. You’ll be dazzled by the glitter of India’s largest jewelry market and relish the smells of one of Asia’s largest spice markets. You’ll find hidden jewels while exploring the tiny lanes and 350-year-old markets of the city established during the pinnacle of the Mughal Empire, India’s most spectacular empire, with a mix of strolling and rickshaw riding.

Lunch will be at a local restaurant.

The afternoon will be dedicated to New Delhi, founded by the British imperial government in 1911, to move their capital from Calcutta. The tour of New Delhi includes a visit to Humayun’s Tomb, a drive along the ceremonial avenue – Rajpath, passing the imposing India Gate, the Parliament House, and the President’s Residence and will finish with a drive through the Diplomatic Enclave.

We will enjoy time to freshen up at our hotel before our farewell dinner.

Overnight at The Claridges. B, L, D.

Day 14
Fly back home or continue to the extension

After breakfast, you will be transferred to the Delhi airport to take your flight back home, or to continue exploring other areas of India with NPE (Please contact us about our multiple extensions available)

Varanasi Extension

Day 14
To Varanasi-Ganga Aarti Ceremony:

After breakfast, we will be transferred to Delhi’s airport to board our flight to Varanasi. Once we arrive in Varanasi, the NPE representative will transfer us to our hotel.

After time to rest and lunch, we will visit the Ganges for the beautiful Aarti (prayer) ceremony. Varanasi’s Ganga aarti is a brilliant beacon of devotion and bliss. There hasn’t been a day in a long time when the holy Ganga River hasn’t been revered.

We will enjoy unique ceremonies, and, as the sun sets, we will take a boat and float upriver from the Assi Ghat.

Overnight at Guleria Kothi Deluxe Room. B, L, D.

Day 15

The complete Varanasi Experience

Get up early, and at the crack of dawn, we will depart on an unforgettable boat excursion that will allow us to admire, and
photograph, the living traditions of one of the oldest religions during the golden light hours of the day. You will be amazed by the color palette surrounding you, including the red and golden color of the water of the Ganges, the temples, ‘ashrams,’ and pavilions.

After sunrise, we will venture again down the Ghats (banks of the river), which will be much less crowded than the evening before. Once we are back at Assi Ghat, we will witness the morning Aarti (prayer), and because there are fewer people, we will be able to get up close to the priests. It is also possible to hear music students chanting hymns while the priests perform the morning rituals.

Overnight at Guleria Kothi Deluxe Room. B, L, D.

Day 16

Yoga and Back to Dehli

It is the Ganga Ghats of Varanasi that complement the concept of divinity.

We will enjoy an optional but included early morning yoga session at the Ghats by a Varanasi yoga master.

We will then enjoy free time to explore the town before lunch. (Lunch today is on your own at Varanasi).

Our flight to Delhi is scheduled for 3:30 pm.

Upon arrival, we will transfer to the Radisson Blu Hotel, where we will rest until it is time to return to the airport to fly back home.

Overnight at the Radisson Blu. B.

Day 17

Fly back home

Transfer to the airport and fly back home.

Breakfast this morning is included.

Lodgings

Radisson Blu Plaza

Radisson Blu Plaza Delhi Airport, a five-star hotel providing smiles and hospitality par excellence for the past two decades, stands tall and proud on the National Highway -8, just 5 minutes from Indira Gandhi International Airport. The hotel is well connected to New Delhi’s south and central areas on one hand and Gurgaon’s commercial center on the other. The world-class shopping complexes are both within walking distance. The Radisson Blu Plaza Delhi Airport is certified with ISO 22000:2005, which guarantees the safety and hygiene of its guests.

Kanha Jungle Lodge

Kanha Jungle Lodge, located in the heart of the rich Sal Forest and near the famed Kanha National Park, provides a natural setting for guests to enjoy the enormous expanse of wildlife in the area. Its outstanding location near the Mukki gate of Kanha National Park and its amenities will provide the perfect balance of luxury and relaxation before and after long days of game viewing. 

Bandhavgarh Jungle Lodge

The lodge was built on the theme of an Indian hamlet and is located within walking distance of Bandhavgarh National Park’s main gate. This excellent hotel offers a wide range of activities for guests to unwind and connect with nature. Its naturalist crew is one of the most valuable safari companions you can have. The lodge’s Jeeps are equipped with Bird Books, Binoculars, and, most importantly, a trained naturalist whose wealth of experience in these jungles will make each safari fascinating and leave you wanting more.

Radisson Jass

The Radisson Jass strives to deliver a well-balanced travel experience with comfort, style, and genuine hospitality. The Radisson Jass Hotel, surrounded by lush gardens and adjacent to Khajuraho’s famous temples, is the best spot to stay in this temple town. The hotel offers elegantly designed rooms and food and beverage, recreational, and heartfelt service to ensure that you and your family have a wonderful stay.

ITC Mughal

ITC Mughal, a Luxury Resort & Spa in Agra, is a fitting monument to the great Mughal builders of the past, sprawled over 23 acres of exquisite gardens near the Taj Mahal. The only Indian hotel that received the renowned Aga Khan Award for its outstanding Mughal architecture portrayal. This Agra luxury hotel has 233 sumptuous rooms and suites, evoking the Mughal Dynasty’s beauty and perfection.

Royal Heritage Haveli

The Royal Heritage Haveli, built initially as a hunting lodge in the 18th century by His Highness Madho Singh Ji of Jaipur, now serves as a boutique hotel after 200 years. The Royal Heritage Haveli is now run by Maharaj Jai Singh of Jaipur’s niece Angelique and her spouse Pradip. They are known for their gracious hospitality, providing each guest with a unique and authentic flavor of the Maharaja’s way of life. The Royal Heritage Haveli, which spans 100,000 square feet and features expansive lawns, tranquil courtyards, sumptuous furnishings, and grand living areas, is a wealthy destination.

The Claridges

The Claridges is a top-notch Indian hotel renowned for several international awards and its finest cuisine. This hotel provides the best experience in Delhi, with a fantastic combination of classic architecture and modern amenities. Its location will let you uniquely experience Delhi, and its amenities will provide the best relaxation experience before returning home.

Departure Dates & Rates

DEPARTURE

Jan 24, 2023

PRICE

$ 9645.00

Single Supplement

$ 2185

DOMESTIC FLIGHTS

$ 620

COMPLETE DETAILS
RESERVATION

Note: All prices are in US$, per person, and based on double occupancy.
*Domestic Air prices are estimated and may change due to cost variation by the airlines.
** Some special conditions apply, please check the single supplement section of the expedition booklet by downloading the complete details.

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Mekong River Cruise

You can learn about all the mysteries and wonders we have uncovered while exploring the Mekong River, Tonle Sap Lake, and the various civilizations coexisting nearby by joining our full 7-night Mekong Expedition Cruise.

From December through August, our itinerary spends a lot more time on the Mekong River in Cambodia and along the Tonle Sap River, two less-visited rural and gorgeous regions of the country. You will have many opportunities to explore, including daily bike alternatives (10 to 15 km), kayaking, and leisurely excursions on covered tuk-tuks where you may get a real sense of the locals’ everyday lives.

From August to November, passengers who travel with us experience the complete history of Mekong life while also meeting Khmer farmers, Buddhist monks, and our business partners in Vietnam’s wet marketplaces. Visit the Tonle Sap Lake, a stunning freshwater lake home to more than three million people who live on its shore, as you leisurely journey through this fabled environment.

WHAT MAKES THIS TRIP EXTRAORDINARY

  • Tonle Sap: Home to the UNESCO-listed Angkor Wat temple complex at Siem Reap, Cambodia is a treasure trove of cultural relics from the Khmer empire. 
  • Culture: Peace and prosperity in the life-giving cradle of the Mekong basin has led to a distinctive culture and many art forms that continue to flourish today.
  • Active Excursions: The Aqua Mekong offers excursion and activity options that run concurrently, so guests get to choose between an active outing or a more laid-back option according to their preferences.
  • Expert Guides and Crew: Our full-time, English-speaking guides grew up along the Mekong river and know its stories by heart. They’ve also built a solid rapport with local communities, which makes excursions pleasant, seamless and immensely insightful.
  • Luxury: As the premier river cruise line sailing the Mekong river, Aqua Expeditions is committed to delivering best-in-class personalized luxury hospitality on the 20-suite Aqua Mekong.

“If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine, it’s lethal” ~ Paul Coelho

QUESTIONS?


If you have any questions, please let us know. We are here to help you!

Itinerary in Brief

Day 1 

Mekong River My Tho Ho Chi Minh Vietnam

We will collect you at the Ho Chi Minh meeting point and transfer you by air-conditioned coach to My Tho dock where we will welcome you aboard the Aqua Mekong. Settle into your floating retreat, with its window wall unveiling an endlessly captivating panorama.

Day 2

Mekong River Binh Thanh/ Sa Dec My An Hung Vietnam

Begin the day at Binh Thanh mat weaving village or opt to visit Sa Dec where we will peruse the vibrant market and see the famous house of Marguerite Duras’ legendary lover, Mr. Huynh Thuy Le. In the afternoon, visit a typical Mekong Delta village called My An Hung where we will walk through verdant plantations. We will be invited to a local’s home to taste local fruits while hearing traditional folk songs performed by villagers followed by a unique unicorn dance. A 17-kilometer biking option is also available.

Day 3

Mekong River Chau Doc Vinh Xuong – Ka’Om Samnor Border

Travel by skiff along Bassac Canal to Chau Doc floating market then head off by van to Long Son Pagoda atop Sam Mountain. Ask the monks about their age-old Buddhist practices. Return via the bustling morning market. Optional 18-kilometers bike ride on Long Khanh Island or take a rickshaw ride to visit Tan Chau Market with our chef. After lunch, relax by the pool, try a traditional Khmer massage or learn to cook Mekong-inspired dishes while we cross the border.

Day 4

Mekong River Koh Okhna Tey Preah Prosop Cambodia

On this river of time we admire dexterous Khmer artisans dyeing and weaving kroma, the ubiquitous fabric no Khmer lives without. Explore the riverbank on two wheels if you wish, past Buddhist temples and thatch houses perched on spindly wooden stilts while white oxen wade just offshore. After lunch, we board our marine- grade aluminum skiffs and head towards the tamarind trees of Preah Prosop, a remote village little changed over several lifetimes.

Day 5

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

We show off the Cambodian capital to our passengers by motorized tuk-tuk, the Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda, and the National Museum of Cambodia, home to the world’s largest collection of Khmer art. For those who wish, we visit the Tuol Sleng Museum of Genocide and the Killing Field or shopping at Russian Market. We bid farewell to 4-night guests who are disembarking in Phnom Penh.

Return to welcome our 3-night passengers over custom sundowners like the Salted Watermelon Crush with Thai basil. Together we celebrate the onward journey towards the heart of this mighty river with a Khmer Apsara performance, an indigenous tradition memorialized on the temple walls at Angkor Wat.

Day 6

Tonle Sap RiverKoh ChenKampongChhnangCambodia

We travel to Koh Chen this morning, a silversmithing community renowned for its skillful work. Watch out for their renowned silver bowls, which the monarch of Cambodia frequently chooses to present to visiting dignitaries. In the late afternoon, we resume our study of Khmer river life in Kampong Chhnang, also known as the «Port of Pottery» because of its 6th-century archaeological discoveries. There is the option of a bike.

Day 7

Mouth of the Tonle Sap Lake–Chhnok Tru–Moat Khla Cambodia

Keep exploring the isolated settlements near Tonle Sap Lake, named a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1997.

In Chhnok Tru, we «slide» into an ice factory and talk to locals about what it’s like to live in a place where the police station, the karaoke bar, and even the churches and pagodas float.

After lunch, we travel by boat to the floating town of Moat Khla, where we see a Buddhist blessing ceremony.

Day 8

Tonle Sap LakePrek ToalSiem ReapCambodia

Get on a boat and travel to the 22,000-hectare Prek Toal Core Bird Reserve, one of Asia’s largest freshwater areas and the last remaining haven for giant waterbirds like the spot-billed pelican, milky stork, black-headed ibis, and the enigmatic masked finfoot. Disembarkation

The Ship

Aqua Mekong

Embark on a cultural odyssey through Cambodia and Vietnam aboard the finest of river cruise ships in Asia

Aqua Mekong guarantees utmost safety, comfort, and exclusivity for off-shore excursions, as Aqua Expeditions owns and operates the only private fleet of launch boats on the Mekong river. The four ergonomically designed launch boats bring guests on highly personalized day trips to explore the Mekong delta. Cruise your Mekong riverboat to landmarks, temples, and villages where tradition, spirituality, and craftsmanship reside.

Departure Dates & Rates

DEPARTURE

Dec – Aug

Aug – Nov 

PRICE FROM

$9625

Single Supplement

Request a quote

STATUS

OPEN

MORE INFO
RESERVATION

START YOUR ADVENTURE HERE:

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THIS ITINERARY

Let us know your travel requirements below and one of our specialists will be in touch with you as soon as possible.

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Mekong River Cruise

Throughout history, magnificent rivers have fostered the growth of culture and civilization, and the Mekong is no different. The Mekong river cruise is one of Asia’s most epic and worthwhile ocean voyages because it offers the chance to discover the rich heritage and cultures enriched by 2,000 years of human history.

Travelers who are cruising the Mekong are closely pursuing a glorious past and recreating outstanding achievements in human history and cultural peaks. This is one of the few cultural locations on Earth that is best visited on a river cruise, from the thriving Khmer kingdom from the 9th to the 15th century to the prominence of Theravada Buddhism in modern Cambodia and Vietnam.

Mekong’s 7-night itineraries depart from Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam) and, depending on the month of the year, from Phnom Penh (Cambodia) and Siem Reap (Cambodia).

WHAT MAKES THIS TRIP EXTRAORDINARY

  • Tonle Sap: Cambodia is a treasure trove of Khmer cultural artifacts and is home to the Angkor Wat temple complex in Siem Reap, inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
  • Culture: Explore the Mekong basin, home of a distinctive culture and several art forms that are still in full bloom today.
  • Active Excursions: Our cruise offers a wide variety of activities that can be selected by each customer.
  • Expert English speaking guides and crew 24/7 
  • Luxury: Mekong Cruise is dedicated to providing best-in-class personalized luxury hospitality on the 20-suite cruise as the leading river cruise on the Mekong river.

“Live with no excuses and travel with no regrets” ~ Oscar Wilde

QUESTIONS?


If you have any questions, please let us know. We are here to help you!

Itinerary in Brief

Day 1 

Mekong River My Tho Ho Chi Minh Vietnam

An NPE representative will pick you up at the Ho Chi Minh meeting point and transfer you by air-conditioned coach to My Tho dock where we will welcome you aboard the Aqua Mekong. Settle into your floating retreat, with its window wall unveiling an endlessly captivating panorama. Enjoy these private Mekong moments on your California King bed, terrace or daybed.

Day 2

Mekong River Binh Thanh/ Sa Dec My An Hung Vietnam

Begin the day at Binh Thanh mat weaving village or opt to visit Sa Dec where we will peruse the vibrant market and see the famous house of Marguerite Duras’ legendary lover, Mr. Huynh Thuy Le. In the afternoon, visit a typical Mekong Delta village called My An Hung where we will walk through verdant plantations. We will be invited to a local’s home to taste local fruits while hearing traditional folk songs performed by villagers followed by a unique unicorn dance. A 17-kilometer biking option is also available.

Day 3

Mekong River Chau Doc Vinh Xuong – Ka’Om Samnor Border

Travel by skiff along Bassac Canal to Chau Doc floating market then head off by van to Long Son Pagoda atop Sam Mountain. Ask the monks about their age-old Buddhist practices. Return via the bustling morning market. Optional 18-kilometers bike ride on Long Khanh Island or take a rickshaw ride to visit Tan Chau Market with our chef. After lunch, relax by the pool, try a traditional Khmer massage or learn to cook Mekong-inspired dishes while we cross the border.

Day 4

Mekong River Koh Okhna Tey Preah Prosop Cambodia

On this river of time we admire dexterous Khmer artisans dyeing and weaving kroma, the ubiquitous fabric no Khmer lives without. Explore the riverbank on two wheels if you wish, past Buddhist temples and thatch houses perched on spindly wooden stilts while white oxen wade just offshore. After lunch, we board our marine- grade aluminum skiffs and head towards the tamarind trees of Preah Prosop, a remote village little changed over several lifetimes.

Day 5

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

We show off the Cambodian capital to our passengers by motorized tuk-tuk, the Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda, and the National Museum of Cambodia, home to the world’s largest collection of Khmer art. For those who wish, we visit the Tuol Sleng Museum of Genocide and the Killing Field or shopping at Russian Market. We bid farewell to 4-night guests who are disembarking in Phnom Penh.

Return to welcome our 3-night passengers over custom sundowners like the Salted Watermelon Crush with Thai basil. Together we celebrate the onward journey towards the heart of this mighty river with a Khmer Apsara performance, an indigenous tradition memorialized on the temple walls at Angkor Wat.

Day 6

Tonle Sap River Koh Chen Kampong Chhnang Cambodia

This morning, we visit Koh Chen, a silversmith village known for its fine craftsmanship. Keep an eye out for their famous silver bowls, regularly chosen by Cambodia’s king as gifts for visiting dignitaries. In the afternoon, we continue learning about Khmer riverside life in Kampong Chhnang, the ‘Port of Pottery’ so called because archaeological findings here date to the 6th century. Bike option is available.

Day 7

Mouth of the Tonle Sap Lake Chhnok Tru Moat Khla Cambodia

Continue exploring the remote communities around the Tonle Sap Lake, designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1997. In Chhnok Tru, we “slide” into an ice factory and learn from locals what it’s like to live in a town where schools, churches, pagodas, and even the karaoke bar and police station all float. After lunch, we visit the floating village of Moat Khla, accessible only by water, and attend a Buddhist blessing ceremony.

Day 8

Friday: Tonle Sap Lake Prek Toal Siem Reap Cambodia

Set off by skiff into the 22,000-hectare Prek Toal Core Bird Reserve, one of the largest freshwater bodies in Asia and the last refuge in Southeast Asia for large waterbirds like the spot-billed pelicans, milky stork, black-headed ibis, and the elusive masked finfoot. Disembarkation.

The Ship

Aqua Mekong

In the 2015 Asia Hotel Design Awards’ Architecture/New Build category, Aqua Mekong also won the Gold Award. Aqua Mekong continues to be the industry leader in luxury cruises to Cambodia and Vietnam, thanks to its dedication to safety and comfort.

With a dining experience designed by Michelin-starred consulting chef David Thompson, passengers on board the Aqua Mekong embark on a fantastic tour of local delicacies as it makes a luxury trip through Cambodia and Vietnam. A similar locally-focused attitude is reflected in the ship’s bar menu, devised by renowned spirit specialists and cocktail creators Proof & Co.

As the only privately-owned fleet of launch boats on the Mekong river, Aqua Mekong promises the utmost in safety, comfort, and exclusivity for off-shore adventures. The Mekong delta can be explored on fully customized day outings with the help of the four ergonomically constructed launch boats.

Departure Dates & Rates

DEPARTURE

Sep – Dec 2022

PRICE

$9625

Single Supplement

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STATUS

OPEN

MORE INFO
RESERVATION

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