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Find your very own inspiring adventure with Explore.
Our dedicated adventure travel experts continue to innovate and create exciting and pioneering adventures. Relaxed or active - the choice is endless.
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Our Explore family adventure holidays are designed for families looking for a fun and memorable holiday, allowing you to explore exotic and unique destinations, with all of the logistics taken care of.
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Packed with adventure, these tours offer inspiring destinations and authentic travel experiences at a reasonable price. Using all kinds of transport and accommodation, we’ll take you off the beaten track to discover the true heart of the people and places you visit.
Travelling in small groups is more flexible and allows us to be less conspicuous: we travel and eat with the local people, stay in smaller, family-run hotels and visit places inaccessible to larger groups.
These fast paced tours move on quickly from place to place and with lots of early starts and long busy days, they’re packed with experiences.
The information below is intended to assist you as you consider your travel options with Explore. In addition to the detailed itinerary each trip has been supported with some useful information to provide you with an overview of your accommodation & meals, all things money, passports, visas, vaccinations, insurance, clothing, personal equipment and much more to help you with your travel preparations.
Each departure date has it's own dedicated trip note, detailing all you need to know about that trip. Whether you've already booked, or weighing up your options, please choose carefully the relevant itinerary for you.
We have the following different versions of the Inside the Hidden Kingdoms trip available at present.
Please select a date:
Accommodation and Meals Expand
Please refer to the tour notes where the single room option availability is detailed on a night by night basis for this tour, and the price for the available nights is detailed on the dates & prices tab by departure date.
For Self-Guided trips the Single Room supplement offers the option of a single room each and is charged per person. The Single Room supplement also applies to the third person in a party of three that will be accommodated in a single room.
Food in Bhutan whilst delicious can be a little on the repetitive side. Most meals consist of fresh vegetables, locally grown red rice and often a meat dish. Vegetarians will eat well as many Bhutanese are totally vegetarian in accordance with their Buddhist faith. Every meal comes with Bhutan's national dish, chilli's with cheese! It might sound a little odd, and perhaps concerning for those not comfortable with spices but it's very tasty and a great accompaniment to a meal. The chillis vary in heat and are smothered in a cheese sauce made from nak cheese. It is usually served as a side dish so you can be as brave as you like!
Budgeting for your trip Expand
You will need some extra money to cover meals and drinks not included in the trip price, any optional sightseeing, souvenirs and items of a personal nature such as laundry.
The costs for meals may vary depending upon location, type of restaurant and number of courses eaten and so the prices given are an average guide.Local restaurants located off the beaten track may be less expensive, whereas an upmarket restaurant located in the centre of a major city may charge more.
Lunch £: 7.00
Dinner £: 10.00
Lunch £: 6.00
Dinner £: 8.00
Lunch £: 7.00
Dinner £: 10.00
The prices for drinks can vary greatly depending upon location and the prices detailed below are an average guide. In general you would expect that drinks purchased in a supermarket or local bar to be less expensive, whilst drinks in an upmarket bar or restaurant may be more expensive.
Bottle of Beer £: 3.00
Water £: 0.30
Area Text: Nepal embraces the sky with a jagged procession of more than 240 peaks, including Mount Everest, the world's highest mountain at 8848m. In the south of the country, near the border with India, the region of Terai comprises plains and foothills - a lush, lowland tropical jungle fed by winding rivers. In the north, the land quickly ascends to rolling hills, a land of verdant valleys, vertiginous ridges, canyons, gorges, and craggy summits, gradually unfolding to ever higher, sparsely inhabited reaches. At its highest zone, where the air is thin and clean, the mountains of Nepal are dominated by snow-fall and slow-moving glaciers, otherworldly arctic vistas of ice, rock, and swirling white clouds. In Nepal, land, sky, and spirit are inseparable. The nation's ethereal landscapes have long drawn adventurers and outdoors enthusiasts, from expert climbers keen to dominate Everest to kayakers and rafters seeking white-water thrills. Wildlife observation is also popular with the Royal Bengal tiger, the one-horned Indian rhino, and the Indian elephant among Nepal's native species. 'Tea-House Trekking' refers to the popular practise of trekking between mountain lodges. Nepal has enough national parks, protected territory, and well-worn trekking routes to keep things as remote or connected as you like and accommodation runs the gamut from tents to rustic huts to five-star eco-lodges. Nepal, like its neighbours India, China and Tibet, is a deeply spiritual place visited by yogis and wandering ascetics - a tradition immortalised some 2500 years ago when Prince Siddharta Gautama renounced his claim to royal power, devoted himself to meditation and attained enlightenment as Buddha. Today, Buddhists are concentrated in the isolated reaches of the north, close to Tibet, where the landscape conceals scores of sacred shines. Elsewhere, Hinduism remains the most practised religion in the country, although in effect, most Nepalese temples serve both Buddhist and Hindu worshippers. If anything, Nepal is culturally diverse. Known collectively as Janajati, scores of distinct indigenous cultures, castes, and ethnic groups survive undisturbed in the remote highlands. Their world remains steeped in vibrant myths and colourful folklore, their collective histories complimented by traditions of evocative dance, music, art, and intriguing festivals. By contrast, Nepalese cities, mostly located in the lowlands of the south, are engines of modernity and social change. Politically, Nepal is undergoing profound transformations, having quelled its war with rebel Maoists and shifted from a monarchy to a democratic republic in 2008. There has never been a more interesting time to visit Nepal.
Bottle of Beer £: 1.40
Water £: 0.50
Area Text: India strikes its visitor with a sensory, intellectual, spiritual and philosophical assault that's unmatched by any other place on earth, all set in an awesome physical environment teeming with a resilient, indefatigable 1.2 billion-strong population. Every expectation - be it of beauty, mysticism, poverty, bigotry or bureaucracy - will be outdone by what hits you on the ground. When VS Naipaul wrote 'there is little subtlety to India', it was itself an understatement: whether measured in passion for cricket, film, faith or politics, India revels in the extreme and rejects all apathy, minimalism and restraint. The subcontinent's sheer diversity is staggering: India ranges from tropical beach paradises to primary forests of teak and jackfruit trees where elephants roam and macaques leap, desert tundras broken by fairytale forts ruled by haughty princes with Rajput moustaches, chilly foothills clad in tea plantations and dotted with British clubhouses, opening onto vistas of the world's highest mountain peaks, through outsized metropoles whose infrastructure buckles under the weight of the unceasing movement of their vast human populations, right down to atavistic village life of tapping toddy, ploughing seed, tilling soil. Delhi, India's capital city is brash, chaotic, dynamic and a perfect introduction to the country. In Agra, the Taj Mahal still astonishes in its power and beauty, while Amritsar's Golden Temple is another jaw-dropping destination that combines spirituality with the warmest of welcomes. Rajasthan is littered with evocative forts and palaces, but also has varied landscapes that shelter rare wildlife, including tigers. Despite the fact that India is embracing modernity with open arms, it has shunned secularism. Most of Indian society remains fiercely religious, a religiosity which remains a source of both social harmony and sporadic tension. The north holds hushed Tibetan Buddhist monasteries of frugal understatement, hewn into jagged Himalaya cliff faces, their air thick with incense and lit with ghee lamps, where prayer wheels turn and flags flutter in the high-altitude granite desert. The south answers with riotous candy-pop Hindu confections, crammed with gaudy gods, flanked by painted festival elephants and bugle-playing Brahmins. In between lie Muslim mosques of vast proportions, sprawling Sikh temple complexes and the tombs of Sufi mystics visited by pilgrims of every denomination.
Bottle of Beer £: 2.00
Water £: 1.00
Area Text: Known by the Bhutanese as Druk Yul, 'Land of the Thunder Dragon', Bhutan is an ethereal Himalayan Kingdom steeped in ancient mysticism and remote mountain vistas. Vajrayana is the state religion, also known as Tantric Buddhism, an ancient science of consciousness brought to Bhutan by the wandering guru, Rinpoche. Today, mist-swathed temples, monasteries, stupas, and colourful prayer flags punctuate the Bhutanese landscape, echoing its neighbour, Tibet. Bhutan remains largely unexplored due to the high cost of visas and daily tariffs, an estimated US$250 per day. Historically, until the 17th century, Bhutan was a feudal society, largely fragmented across the disparate mountains and valleys. A Lama and military leader, Ngawang Namgyal, brought unity to the kingdom whilst fleeing the Gelugpa sect led by the Dalai Lama in Lhasa. His legacies include a network of elaborate fortresses called dzong, which are still used for religious and administrative purposes today. Elsewhere, life continues to revolve around agrarian pursuits, especially animal husbandry. Traditional dress continues to be widely worn, including knee-length robes called gho for men, and ankle-length dresses called kira for women. Festivals tied to the moon, the monsoon season, or the whims of deities continue to play a major role in cultural life. Traditions and conservatism tend to dominate life in Bhutan, but it is also a famously progressive state. The sale of cigarettes has been banned entirely, whilst the concept of Gross National Happiness - an idea formulated by King Jigme Singye Wangchuck - is an attempt to quantify well-being that goes beyond the mundane western formula of material prosperity equals happiness. Seeking a more holistic approach to development, the Bhutanese hope their alternative economic model will be adopted all over the world. Bhutan is bordered to the north by the Tibet Autonomous Region and by various Indian states to the south and west. In the lowlands close to the Indian border, the land is dominated by hills and subtropical plains which rise to the rugged Black Mountains with their deep gorges and valleys all swathed in conifer and broadleaf forests, and criss-crossed by a network of fast-flowing rivers. In the north, wiry meadows and desolate scrubland sprawl beneath a harsh line of glaciated peaks, including Gangkhar Puensum at 7570m, said to be the highest unclimbed mountain in the world. As one of the most biodiverse places on earth, Bhutan is home more than 770 species of birds and a formidable array of large mammals, including tigers, rhinos, bear, langurs, pandas, water buffalos, and takins. More than a third of the national territory is protected by the national park system with numerous options for trekking. The country's far-flung peaks, caves, lakes, rivers, and forests are still deemed sacred by many Bhutanese, who have sanctified the landscape with shrines.
Accordingly, you should allow for 70USD for tipping. This tip will need to be provided to the tour leader in USD rather than GBP.
Major Language: Nepali
ATM Availability: Although you may occasionally find cash machines these are very unreliable – do not rely on plastic!
Credit Card Acceptance: Credit cards are not generally accepted except in larger establishments in Kathmandu.
Travellers Cheques: Travellers cheques are not accepted as a valid mode of payment in Nepal.
Local Currency: Nepali Rupee.
Recommended Currency for Exchange: US$ or GBP.
Where to Exchange: In major cities and towns
Major Language: Hindi and English.
ATM Availability: ATMs are available in most large cities in India but they are very limited elsewhere so please do not rely on this.
Credit Card Acceptance: Very rarely, only in the larger outlets.
Travellers Cheques: Opportunities to exchange are limited.
Local Currency: Indian Rupee
Recommended Currency for Exchange: GBP/US$ are the best currency to change into local currency.
Where to Exchange: The Indian rupee is a restricted currency and it is best not to obtain in the UK as rates are very poor. You can either change money at the airport on arrival or in major towns during the tour. Your Tour Leader will advise you on the best places in each town.
Major Language: Dzongkha, plus various Nepalese and Tibetan dialects.
ATM Availability: You may occasionally find cash machines but they are very unreliable – do not rely on plastic!
Credit Card Acceptance: Very limited. There is a 5% surcharge for using them at places where the facility is available.
Travellers Cheques: Very limited opportunities to exchange.
Local Currency: Ngultrum
Recommended Currency for Exchange: USD and GBP
Where to Exchange: Your Tour leader will advise you.
Joining your trip Expand
You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.
Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found on our website at www.explore.co.uk, in the tour specific dates and prices section.
You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer. For more information please refer to https://www.explore.co.uk/transfers.
Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will now receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The transfers will be from the Explore designated airport or train station to the joining point of your tour, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.
Free transfers are not available for Self-Guided, Tailormade or Tours for Churches customers.
If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.
For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer please refer to https://www.explore.co.uk/transfers.
We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.
On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.
Important Information Expand
It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Under 18 immigration guidance
Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.
You must be arriving into one of 16 selected entry points, however, you can exit from any of the authorised immigration check posts in India. Entry points are - Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Goa, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Thiruvananthapuram, Jaipur, Amritsar, Gaya, Lucknow, Trichy, Varanasi and Ahmedabad.
Passports must have at least 6 months validity from the date of arrival in India and at least two blank pages for stamping.
The visa application will take approximately 4 days to process.
It is only valid for 30 days and is only allowed for a maximum of two visits in a calendar year.
The visa costs $60.
Biometric data will be collected on arrival in India.
If you are not eligible for the e-Tourist Visa, please refer to VFS Global to apply for your Indian visa - http://in.vfsglobal.co.uk/how_to_apply.html.
All visa information is subject to change. You should confirm all visa related questions with the relevant Embassy prior to departure.
Sikkim: Please do not apply for a Sikkim permit, this will be organised locally for you by our local agent.
Bhutan: A visa for Bhutan will be arranged locally. In order to do this please forward a scanned colour copy of your passport to Explore at least 8 weeks before your departure. You will pay for your Bhutan visa on arrival - allow approximately US$ 40 cash.
Nepal: An entry visa is required by UK, New Zealand, Australian, USA & Canadian citizens and can be obtained on arrival at Kathmandu Airport and various international border crossings between Nepal and its neighbouring countries. This currently costs 25USD for a 15 day visa, and 40USD for a 30 day visa. All visas are issued as multiple entry visas and are valid from the date they are issued. A passport-sized photograph for immigration is required. Payment must be made in cash, UK sterling and US dollars are both accepted.
All visa information is subject to change. You should confirm all visa related questions with the relevant Embassy prior to departure
Vaccinations & Protection
Nothing compulsory, but we recommend protection against malaria, infectious hepatitis, typhoid, tetanus, polio and Japanese encephalitis. Consult your travel clinic for latest advice on different prophylaxis available against malaria. Although not compulsory, travellers may wish to take immunisation against meningococcal meningitis.
Nothing compulsory, but we recommend protection against Tetanus, Infectious Hepatitis, Typhoid and Polio. Consult your travel clinic for latest advice on different prophylaxis available against malaria (eg. Paludrine, Chloroquine, Mefloquine etc.). The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at http://www.explore.co.uk/Travelhealth and from your local healthcare provider.
Nothing compulsory, but we recommend protection against malaria, tetanus, infectious hepatitis, typhoid and polio. Consult your travel clinic for latest advice on different prophylaxis available against malaria (eg. Paludrine, Chloroquine, Mefloquine etc.) The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at http://www.explore.co.uk/Travelhealth/ and from your local healthcare provider.
Preparing for your trip Expand
Temperatures in the lower altitude regions are extremely pleasant. At Pokhara variations in temperature are very limited: from the coldest recorded of 8°C (46°F) to the highest of 31°C (88°F). The mountains are best admired, with greater air clarity, from October to March. Monsoon rains are strongest in June, July and August. The coldest months are December and January.
There is considerable variation between the different regions of India but, in general, the climate is tropical. Summer temperatures on the plains are very hot, but cooled by the South-West Monsoon, which lasts from June- September. During these months it can be very wet and therefore very humid. At altitude, temperatures can become quite cool at night even in the summer and may drop below freezing between December and February so warm clothing is necessary. In the winter, northern and mid India can be very cool, with cold evenings, so warm clothing, including plenty of layers, are essential. The south of India remains warm and sunny during the winter months.
The best weather lasts from September (after the monsoon) through to Jun and the mountains are best admired, with greater air clarity in the autumn. Spring (mid Mar-May) is cool & often stormy. Autumn is from Oct to mid Nov with clear skies, warm days & cool (sometimes cold) nights. As in any high mountain area it can rain, hail or snow at any time of year.
General Information Expand
Electric Supply & Plugs
2 Pin Round
3 Pin Round
2 Pin Round
Why choose Explore Expand
We’ve been creating award-winning pioneering adventure holidays for over 30 years, earning the trust of thousands of delighted customers, who feel safe in our hands. Our tour leaders have expert local knowledge and our tours are designed to take you off the beaten track to see the most exotic, inspiring and dramatic places in the world.
- With over 30 years' experience, we are passionate about what we do.
- Pioneering small group adventures, self-guided, private journeys & tailormade holidays.
- Award winning tour leaders who you can trust.
- Responsible travel is and always has been one the driving principles of Explore.
Our adventure holidays are full of exciting things to see and do, exploring in small groups travelling by bus, boat, plane, rickshaw, camel, or any number of unusual forms of transport . Often you will stay in family run hotels and village houses and enjoy authentic local cuisine. In this way, it’s easy to discover the true heart of the people and the place you travel to – and make some new friends along the way. Each tour is uniquely different, so please feel free to browse through our tours to see what may whet your appetite.
When you travel with Explore, you are directly contributing to local economies and helping empower the people you meet. We currently support a range of charities and good causes, including: Toilet Twinning (helping to flush away poverty), Lone Buffalo Foundation (a community project based in Laos providing creative skills for young people), Dekamer ( a turtle rescue centre in Turkey) and Kids Saving the Rainforest (a wildlife rescue centre in Costa Rica supported through the LATA foundation). We also care passionately about the world’s wildlife. We are patrons of the Born Free Organisation and Friends of Conservation.
- The Travel Foundation
Explore are active members and supporters of the Travel Foundation which has established a variety of sustainable tourism projects in destinations and works with industry to improve practice. Visit their website www.thetravelfoundation.org.uk
- Tourism Concern
Explore support the work of Tourism Concern who campaign for fairly and ethically traded tourism, and are part of its Ethical Tour Operator Group www.tourismconcern.org.uk
- For further information on responsible travel go to www.explore.co.uk/ResponsibleTourism/
Know before you go
We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office Advice follow the link at www.explore.co.uk/travel-safety
Booking your holiday Expand
You can book your Explore holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected. Explore is a fully bonded tour operator licensed by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and by ABTOT.
The air holiday packages (Tours including flights) that we advertise are ATOL protected, since we hold an Air Travel Organiser's LicenceÂ granted by the Civil Aviation Authority.Â Our ATOL number is ATOL 2595. In addition, As a member of the Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust Limited (ABTOT), Explore has provided a bond to meet the requirements of the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992. Please note that packages booked outside the UK are only protected when purchased directly with Explore.
To reserve your place on this tour you will need to check availability on the Explore website or through our dedicated call centre based in the UK where you can. Our tours can fill up quickly so you are advised to book as early as possible. If your chosen date is ‘Available’ or ‘Guaranteed’ we will be able to provisionally hold you a space for up to 48 hours.
For Self-Guided holidays and Private Journeys simply choose your date of travel and let us know so we can confirm all ground services.
The easiest way to confirm your booking is through our website. When you are ready to book, we normally require a 10% non-refundable deposit, but for some holidays this may be more to cover such items as permit fees, internal flights or other non-refundable services. If your travel starts within 60 days of booking, full payment will be required at the time of booking
The price paid for our holidays is no longer subject to change. Once booked and confirmed we will guarantee the price you pay will not increase, whatever the circumstances. You will not be approached to pay fuel surcharges unlike the vast majority of other adventure tour operators. The price guarantee applies to all new bookings departing between 1st January 2016 and 31st December 2017.
Have you tried?
Explore Worldwide Ltd is a limited company registered in England and Wales. Registered number: 01577018. Registered office: Nelson House, 55 Victoria Road, Farnborough, Hampshire, GU14 7PA