The Great Himalayan Journey

- A Secret Retreats journey -
13 nights/14 days
from 4,460 USD net per person (part 1)

(Valid for travel before 30 November 2019)

ITINERARY BOOK

Secret Retreats Journeys
The Great Himalayan Journey

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This journey has been personally designed by Muslin Naqash,
native from Kashmir and designer of this journey

“An imaginative and remarkable journey that leads through Kashmir, Ladakh, Nepal, Darjeeling and the Dragon Kingdom’ of Bhutan(as extension) which will appeal to the Himalayan enthusiasts keen to explore beyond the cultural highlights.”

This journey is an incredible and unique opportunity to traverse the entire Himalaya from Kashmir, Ladakh, Nepal, Darjeeling to Bhutan(as extension). Share a lifetime of experiences with the local people. Appreciate the rich cultural history as we explore the markets and the back lanes of Leh, Kathmandu, Pokhara, Darjeeling and Thimphu (extension). Combine exhilarating walks with impromptu celebrations. Savour the rich and varied landscapes from the alpine valley of Kashmir to the stark, arid mountains of Ladakh to glimpsing the High Himalaya from the rim of the Kathmandu Valley to taking in the awesome backdrop of Kanchenjunga out of Darjeeling to savoring the snow-clad peaks that form the borderlands of Bhutan and Tibet.

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Your Journey Day by Day

13 nights/14 days ext 18 nights/19 days
from 4,460 USD net per person (part 1)
+4,250 USD net per person (extension Bhutan)

based on 2 persons traveling together (not including airfares)
(Valid for travel before 30 November 2019)

BOOK

Secret Retreats Journeys
The Great Himalayan Journey

First Name*:
Last Name*:

Email*:

Country of Residence*:

Check In Date*:

Number of person(s)*:

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Day 1
Delhi-Srinagar (- / - / D)
We take the flight from Delhi to Srinagar in the morning. Srinagar (1,600 m) is the summer capital of Kashmir. Welcome at the airport upon arrival, then we drive past the crocus fields and fruit orchards to the shores of the Dal Lake where you stay 2 nights in the eco luxury houseboat Sukoon. Your smiling hosts at the Houseboat Sukoon, a slice of paradise on a Himalayan lake will welcome you and show you the room and facilities. In the evening, you can enjoy a gentle shikara (Kashmiri canoe) ride through wetlands in the heart of the lake to see people farming on the manmade islands cultivating flowers and vegetables. Sukoon enjoys an incomparable position moored on the shores of Dal Lake with glorious views across the lake to snow covered peaks of Pir Panjal, old fort and hilltop temple. Dinner on board.
HOTEL: Sukoon Houseboat
Day 2
Srinagar – Dal Lake (B/ - / D)
Inhale the morning air as you tuck into a hearty breakfast on the sundeck of Sukoon, aptly named Fizaa (ambience). This morning is a fascinating walk through the by-lanes of the old city with our most informative local guide, observing the markets, heritage buildings and day to day life, as well as having an understanding of Sufism that reflects the Kashmiri way of life.
The walk begins at Zaina Kadal (bridge). Across the bridge is a living breathing museum of Islamic architecture, where as far as the eye can see are located homes, more than a century old. Tramp through the old quarters of Srinagar city into narrow streets, past structures and buildings, relics from an earlier period, trying to retain their dignity in the fast changing world so alien to them. Perambulating through the narrow lanes and by lanes you come out at the grand mosque of Jami Masjid and later at the Shah Hamadan mosque (one of the oldest mosques in Srinagar), beside the Jhelum River - noted for the papier-mâché work on its walls and ceilings. No nails or screws were used in the construction of this all-wooden mosque. Originally built in 1395 it has been destroyed by fire in 1479 and again in 1731.
The last stop today on our itinerary is the Zaina Kadal Market to soak up the atmosphere so typical of a local market like the bazaar of Ali Baba. After a traditional Kashmiri lunch in a local restaurant, drive up to the Shankaracharya temple. The car will take you to the foot of the flight of stairs, leading to the temple point and no further. The rest of way you have to climb but the effort is rewarding because the bird eye views of the valley from the temple precincts are truly breathtaking around sunset.
HOTEL: Sukoon Houseboat
Day 3
Srinagar- Leh (B/ - / D)
After breakfast, we leave Dal Lake and Srinagar for a short scenic flight over high Himalayan range of Zanskar with close views of towering Nun Kun mountain peaks (NB: This flight operates just few days in a week)

Leh is the capital of the ancient Buddhist Kingdom. Upon landing, transfer to Nimmu village about 45 minutes from the airport, where you will get full day relax to acclimatize to the high altitude at your comfortable rural heritage accommodation Nimmu House. In the evening enjoy indoor activities at Nimmu House like a library with books on Ladakhi & Tibetan culture. Nimmu House- a three storey house located in picturesque Nimmu village close to the confluence of Indus and Zanskar rivers, is one of the few remaining examples of traditional Ladakhi architecture. The house was built in the early 20th century by Rinchen Namgyal Zildar, a cousin of the then Ladakhi king. The house is a unique place with 30 rooms, including two Buddhist temples, stables, an orchard of 5000 sq meters with hundreds of apricot, apple and walnut trees. Dinner and night at Nimmu House
HOTEL: Nimmu House
Day 4
Nimmu (B/ - / D)
Late morning after a nice breakfast guided gentle slow paced walking, through the village about 2 hrs with its monastery, old caravan serai, its gardens and orchards. In the village you will come across the local people working in their fields and you will have a chance to mingle and interact with them. Back to Nimmu House, afternoon excursion to Alchi gompa with guide. Alchi Choskar "Religious Enclave" is a group of temples which is1000 years old, was built by the great Tibetan translator & scholar Lotsava Richen Zangpo. These group of temples are famous for its rare frescoes, wood carvings and stucco art. Back to Nimmu House for dinner.
HOTEL: Nimmu House
Day 5
Nimmu – Stok ( B / - /D)
After breakfast, we driver 1h30 to Leh and start a circular walk covering Leh Palace, Old town, Sankar village & the impressive monastery, Gompa village, Gyamtsa pasture land and Shanti Stupa (Japanese Pagoda) which offers fine panoramic view of Leh town and surrounding mountains including Stok Kangri (6,153m). Most of the trail is through the off beaten track through the villages and some parts of the walk through the road. Later explore the local Ladakhi & Tibetan market to collect some nice souvenirs, books and maps.
The Royal Leh Palace "Lehchen Spakhar" is located in the heart of the historic town of Leh. The impressive nine-storey palace was built by the ambitious King Singge Namgyal in 17th century. In fact this is the only tallest building in entire Ladakh. It is a miniature replica of Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. The ruins of Leh palace overlooks the entire city of Leh and the Indus valley and signifies Ladakhs rich heritage. The palace is presently undertaken by Archaeological Survey of India and take care of its maintenance. The palace houses a museum and old prayer room Walk down from Leh Palace through the back streets with small old mud houses down into colorful Leh main bazaar.
We check-in to hotel Heritage Stok Palace. Stok is home to a royal Palace and a small museum which contains religious artifacts and ceremonial clothing belonging to the royal family. In the evening visiting the palace and museum and dinner.
HOTEL: Stok Palace
Day 6
Stok - Indus Valley (B / -/D)
Morning after leisurely breakfast visit Hemis Gompa. It was built in the 17th century by King Singge Namgyal and ever since has enjoyed the patronage of the royal family. The monastery has quite a few gold statues and stupas decorated with precious stones. It has superb collection of thankhas, including one which is supposed to be the largest in existence and is exhibited only once every 12 years.
Our next stop will be our hot lunch near Thiksey Gompa - this monastery resembles Potala Palace of Lhasa and has the most imposing structure providing a panoramic view of the green Indus Valley from its vantage point atop a hill. It has chambers full of statues, stupas and sacred thankhas. There are 60 resident lamas and the library is one of the biggest in Ladakh.
Conclude our day’s sightseeing of our Indus valley excursion is Shey Palace- ranking as the summer palace of the erstwhile Raja of Leh. Set upon a hill, and housing the largest golden topped victory stupa, the monastery has a two-storey statues of the sitting Buddha wrought with copper and gold of stupendous grandeur. Many chortens can be seen in front of the building with the biggest and most important monastery in Ladakh –Back to Stok Palace for overnight stay with dinner.
HOTEL: Stok Palace
Day 7
Leh- Kathmandu (via Delhi and transfer to Dhulikhel) (B / - D)
Transfer to Leh airport for a flight to Delhi, with a few hours transit time in Delhi airport before boarding our flight to Kathmandu, where our driver will meet you and driver you to Dhulikhel.
Leaving behind hussle and bussle of the Kathmandu Valley. Dhulikhel is a naturally and culturally rich destination straddling on a ridge with breathtaking views of the eastern Himalaya. Historically, Dhulikhel is a Newar settlement. The Newars are an ethnic group of Nepal who originally inhabited the Kathmandu Valley. They are renowned for their outstanding craftsmanship and woodcarving skills which is evident in all the traditional homes. We will wander around the old town where you can lose yourself to time in the tangle of cobbled laneways, discover ancient houses with sagging wooden frame works, intricate carvings, hidden temples and thriving market squares.
HOTEL: Dwarika’s Dhulikhel
Day 8
Dulikhel (B / -/D)
Today we will arrange a walk for about 4-5 hours to visit villages and appreciate the surrounding landscapes. There will be further opportunities to view the Himalaya, and interact with the local people.
Afternoon at leisure
Dinner at the hotel
HOTEL: Dwarika’s Dhulikhel
Day 9
Dhulikhel - Pokhara (B / -/D)
After breakfast, drive to Kathmandu airport on time for a 25mn short flight to Pokhara. Upon arrival in Pokhara, airport, you will be met by our local guide and dropped at Tiger Mountain Lodge. No activities are planned for the day.
Pokhara is an enchanting Himalayan valley. If Kathmandu is the cultural hub of Nepal then Pokhara is its centre of adventure. Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge is the perfect location to explore the diverse villages around the valley or to head down to Phewa Lake for a walk along the bustling Lakeside area with its cafes. Take a boat on the lake and perhaps visit the Tal Barahi island temple. The guides at Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge will be happy to take you to explore.
HOTEL: Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge
Day 10
Pokhara (B / -/D)
In the morning, we go for a full day hike from Tiger Mountain to explore local villages, farmland and forest heading over to the Thuloswara, a Gurung Village from which recruits join the famed Gurkha regiments of the British, Indian and Nepal armies (6 hours).
Back to the hotel in the afternoon for some rest and to enjoy the evening at leisure.
HOTEL: Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge
Day 11
Pokhara - Kathmandu - Bhadrapur – Darjeeling (B /L/D)
Early transfer to the airport for our flight to Bhadrapur via Kathmandu. On arrival we will meet our Indian guide and then transfer to Darjeeling by car, until we reach Glenburn Tea Estate. As the road climbs up to Darjeeling we gain impressive views back down to the Indian plains. On arrival in Darjeeling we savour the cool mountain air, a cup of tea and our first glimpse of the snow-capped Himalayas.
In the evening a pre-trip briefing will be given, drinks and dinner at the Estate.
HOTEL: Glenburn Tea Estate
Day 12
Glenburn Tea Estate (B / L / D)
Morning after breakfast, visit of the tea factory and listen to the history of Glenburn, and brief overview of how tea is grown, manufactured and tasted. You will be given a comprehensive guided tour of how the tea bush is grown and looked after. You will also get to know the most important technique of how to pluck the “two leaves and a bud” – that is later manufactured into a tealeaf. The session will also include tasting teas from other parts of India and the world with different flavours.
HOTEL: Glenburn Tea Estate
Day 13
Glenburn Tea Estate (B / L / D)
Morning after breakfast, hike along the River Rungjeet and Manjitar Village in Sikkim, after an hour’s walk leading you to the old royal kingdom of Sikkim. The bridge was built by the British in 1902, after the original cane bridge was washed away by the floods of 1899. The bridge is about 200 feet wide and about 100 feet above the river and crossing it is an adventure in itself. The original photo of the cane bridge can be seen on the Glenburn front verandah,
Afternoon and dinner at the Estate

Hotel: Glenburn Tea Estate

Day 14
Darjeeling - Bagdogra – Delhi ( B /- /-)
After breakfast, we drive back to Bagdogra to catch your flight back to Delhi or other destination.

***
End of our services –or extension to Bhutan
- Extension Bhutan -
Day 14
Darjeeling - Phuentsholing (B / L / D)
We drive back down to the Indian Plains and the Indian-Bhutan border. After clearing Indian immigration and customs we drive to an impressive archway that marks the formal entry to the Kingdom of Bhutan (7 hours drive in total). Here you will be met by our guide who will accompany you to the nearby hotel in Phuentsholing for your briefing and overnight stay.
HOTEL: Druk Hotel Phuentsholing
Day 15
Phuentsholing - Thimphu (B / L / D)
The drive to Thimphu winds up from the Indian plains to the Thimphu Valley – 6 hours. Thimphu has been the capital since 1960. This afternoon we will pay a visit to the main Secretariat building - the Tashichho Dzong is the most prominent building consisting of the main Secretariat, the National Assembly Hall, the Office of the King and the Throne Room. Its remarkable construction is in traditional Bhutanese style without the use of nails or metal of any kind. We also visit the large Stupa dedicated to the late King HM. Jimge Dorji Wangchuk, regarded as the founder of modern day Bhutan.
HOTEL: Taj Tashi Thimphu
Day 16
Thimphu (B / L / D)
This is morning we visit AHF supported work - RENEW. A grass roots not for profit organization established by Her Majesty Gyalyum Sangay Choden Wangchuck, Queen Mother of Bhutan. RENEW is dedicated to the development of women and children in Bhutan and supports girls education in the remotest communities in Bhutan. We have the opportunity to meet the Director of RENEW for morning tea. In the afternoon, an optional chance to enjoy 2 hour walk in the valley outside of Thimphu. We drive approx 1 hour to the small village of Doedena, where we walk through the wilderness Cheri mountain area to the Tango Monastery. If you would prefer to stay in town and explore Thimphu on your own you could visit the Textile Museum and or the traditional medicine hospital.
HOTEL: Taj Tashi Thimphu
Day 17
Thimphu - Paro (B / L / D)
We spend the morning enjoying the charm of Thimpu. The town is by no means large and easily explored on foot. There are some interesting markets and bazaars, and the Handicraft Emporium with famous weaving, woodcarvings and paintings and the Post Office sells Bhutan’s world renowned stamps. After lunch we drive to Paro and visit some local sights which include visits to the Paro Dzong and the even older Ta Dzong that now houses the National Museum of Bhutan. While we are not permitted inside the monastery at the Dzong we can take a look around inside this impressive building which is the monastic and administrative centre for South-West Bhutan. Ta Dzong is the original fort and has been carefully transformed into a museum with excellent displays of all facets of Bhutan’s rich cultural history. Old costumes and battle dress, together with priceless jeweler and specimens of the kingdoms unique flora and fauna are included within the museum.
HOTEL: Naksel Paro
Day 18
Paro (B / L / D)
We drive to the foot of the Taktsang Monastery - the famous Tigers Nest Monastery said to have been one of the divine resting places of the Guru Ringpoche. However, although much of the building was once destroyed by fire it is now restored and it is still worthwhile to ascend the walking trail to appreciate the monasteries breathtaking location on a cliff edge about 800 metres above the valley floor. The rest of the day is free to complete sightseeing and purchases before our early morning departure the following day.

Hotel: Naksel Paro

Day 19
Paro – Departure flight (B / - /-)
This morning we transfer from the hotel to Paro Airport for the flight to your destination If you fly to Delhi, the flight can be spectacular with the greatest peaks on earth from Kanchenjunga to Everest to the northern side of the aircraft as we fly along the Himalaya.

THE HOTELS


The Great Himalayan Journey

13 nights/14 days ext 18 nights/19 days
from 4,460 USD net per person (part 1)
+4,250 USD net per person (extension Bhutan)

based on 2 persons traveling together (not including airfares)
(Valid for travel before 30 November 2019)

BOOK

Secret Retreats Journeys
The Great Himalayan Journey

First Name*:
Last Name*:

Email*:

Country of Residence*:

Check In Date*:

Number of person(s)*:

Comment


The total price includes:
Accommodation for 13 nights (or 18 nights if extension to Bhutan)
All meals as mentioned in the program
All airport transfers and drive between destinations as indicated
All excursions and activities as indicated
All transfers and transport included as per stated in the itinerary and activities
An English speaking local guide to assist you whilst on tour
Entrance fee to monuments and monasteries as per itinerary.
All Taxes
Assistance to book all flights and hotels before/after the journey.
For the extension to Bhutan: visa and permit fees included

The total price does no include:
International and Domestic flights
Extra activities you may require and not mentioned in the program
Meals not specified in the program
Alcoholic beverage, laundry
Travel insurance
Visa (India, Nepal)