Monday, September 29, 2014

11 Night Amankora Journey - Bhutan

Tour Summary:

The tiny Buddhist Kingdom of Bhutan awaits, Nestled high in the Himalayas it’s isolation from the world has cultivated a culture rich in traditions, religion, and a benevolent monarchy. The dramatic landscapes, from snow capped peaks and deeply forested slopes to raging, boulder strewn ricers, sit largely undisturbed as the endeared environmental initiatives and religious beliefs leave the Kingdom pristine and a jewel of nature. The Amankora program takes you into this ancient Kingdom for an adventure into the hearts and lands of charming farmers, fascinating weavers, enchanting monks and charismatic leaders.

Tour Highlights & Inclusives:


Day 1: Arrival

From the flight in, weaving through the valley, arrival in Bhutan is like no other. The transfer to Thimphu is approximately 1 1/2 hours and upon arrival and following lunch, you will have the choice of the National Memorial Chorten, National Textile Museum, Folk Heritage Museum, and National Library to visit, and perhaps time to stroll main street for some interesting Himalayan artefacts of textiles.(overnight: Amankora in Thimphu)

Day 2: Tour of Thimphu

This morning you will head to the north end of the valley to view Trashi Chhoe Dzong, the seat of Bhutan’s government and Royal offices, and pay a visit to pangri Zampa, two 16th century buildings that now house a monastic training school for astrologers. At the head of the valley, should you wish to stretch your legs, a short hike will take you to Cheri Goemba, the monastery where the first monastic body was established in the Kingdom. Back in town you should be able to visit a few of the capital’s cottage industries ranging from traditional paper making to hand rolled incense. (overnight: Amankora Thimphu)

Day 3: From Thimphu to Gangtey

An early departure for a dramatic drive over the high mountain pass of Fochu La and on to Phobjika Valley. Sights on the way include on of Bhutan’s first fortress monasteries, the 17th century Simtokha Dzong, and ancient wall paintings at the Hongtsho Goemba monastery. The journey continues over the 3,050m mountain pass where on a clear day, towering Himalayan peaks are clearly visible. The descent down through the Punakha Valley along the Kingdom’s only east-west highway, continues on through the scenic village of Wangdi. Carrying on the highway follows the scenic Dang Chhu before climbing through forests of bamboo and oak, and just before crossing the Pele La pass, a small side road splinters off to the hidden Phobjika valley. On arrival you will have time to visit the striking Gangtey Goemba, sitting at the head of the valley, and perhaps strolling through the quaint gangtey village. (overnight: Amankora in Gangtey)

Day 4: Exploring Phojika Valley

This morning will start with a visit to the Black Neck Crane Center and dependent on the season, time spent in the Center’s nearby hide is a must to view the breeding cranes. Various walks or a mountain bike ride through this magnificent valley can be arranged. Soaking up the beauty of the valley from the Lodge or returning to the revered Goemba for an audience with the Tulkul may be attractive, relaxing alternatives for the day. (overnight: Amankora)

Day 5: Phojika to Bumthang

Today’s journey onward to Kakar (Bumthang) is perhaps long, but certainly memorable with dramatic landscapes of terraced farmland, deep river valleys and precariously perched farmhouses viewed from the only east west highway that has been ingeniously carved out of the mountain faces. Following a brief stop at Chendebji chorten, which according to belief was built to cover the remains of a demon spirit, you will carry on to what was the original home of the royal family. Upon reaching Trongsa you may take time to stroll this quaint village and official business permitting, perhaps visit the Trongsa Dzong, ancestral home to Bhutan’s monarch where you will often Find novice monks reciting mantras or practicing on sacred horns, flutes or drums. The drive onward to Bumthang takes you over the picturesque Yotong La Yatra weaving. Here you will have a chance to browse the traditional textiles and perhaps see the weavers create their intricate handiwork. (overnight: Amankora Bumthang).

Day 6: Explore Bumthang Valley

This morning you will explore our neighboring palace, Wangdichhoeling, home to the 2nd King, and the auspicious prayer wheels next door. Heading up valley, you will take in the grand Kurjey Lhakhang, considered one of the Bhutan’s most auspicious monuments, that was once the resting place of Guru Rimpoche, and Jambay Lhakhang, home to the early winter festivals that draw thousands of Bhutanese for their annual blessings. Heading back into town and across the Bumthang Chhu, you will enjoy a visit to the sin alleviating Tamshing Monastery followed by quick visits to the valleys unique cottage industries – Red Panda Brewery, Bumthang Cheese/Dairy Facitily and the Bumthang Distillery, home to numerous distinctive spirits. (overnight: Amankora Bumthang).

Day 7: Explore Tang Valley – Bumthang District

Today you will explore further in bumthang district with an excursion the stunningly beautiful Tang Valley. This seldom visited valley offers a treat in revealing some of the beaten track Ihakhangs and monasteries, and the amazing museum at Ugen Chhoeling Palace. A short hike takes you up to this well maintained Palace and it’s cultural treasures inside. Along the way you will stop for a traditional picnic with breathtaking views of the pristine surroundings. (overnight: Amankora Bumthang).

Day 8: Bumthang to Punakha

Today you will start with an early departure for the lengthy drive to Punakha. Upon entering the Punakha Valley you may stop to stretch your legs for a short walk through the valley floor to the Chimi Lhakhang, the auspicious fertility monastery built by the “Divine Madman” in 1499. (overnight Amankora Punakha).

Day 9: Explore Punakha Valley

Your day in Punakha Valley begins with a hike up through fields of chilies, cabbages and rice along the banks of the Mo Chhu to the upper end of the valley to the Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten, a stunning monument recently built by the queens and consecrated in 1999. Returning down through the valley you will have plenty of time to take in impressive Punakha Dzong, home to the remains of Bhutan’s first ruler, Shabdrung of the monastic order’s leader and his entourage of monks. Later a picnic lunch will be served on the banks of the Pinak Chhu at a vantage point of the stunning Dzong and confluence of the Mo Chhu and Pho Chhu. Following lunch a quick drive will take you to the village of Talo where you will stop to walk the stunning, quiet grounds of the village temple and perhaps visit the home village of the Kingdom’s four Queens. Further hikes or valley excursions can be organized. (overnight: Amankora Punakha)

Day 10: From Punakha to Paro

After Descending back down from Dochu La, you will follow your way back up the dramatic Wang chu and Paro Chu river Valleys, before crossing through Paro Town towards the north end of the valley. Here, set in a pine forest, you will find the Amankora lodge and it’s spa. In the afternoon, there is an opportunity for a quick stroll to the nearby ruins, a visit to some of the valley’s oldest and holiest religious monuments or a ramble down Paro’s main street. Evenings at Amankora may include informative lectures on the history, religion, flora and fauna of the region or a intriguing movie on the Himalayas. (overnight: Amankora Paro).

Day 11: Paro Valley Exploration

The day starts with a visit to the National Museum, housed in the Ta Dzong (watchtower). Here, an intriguing collection of artefacts provide a wonderful introduction to the rich culture and heritage of the Kingdom. Just a short walk downhill lies the dominating Paro Dzong, fine example of Bhutanese historic architecture. From the Dzong, the tour crosses Nyamai Zampa, a traditional farmhouse to lunch with the family. In the afternoon, hike up to view one of Bhutan’s most revered monuments, the Taktshang Goemba, more commonly referred to as the “Tiger’s Nest”. The four-hour trek offers spectacular views of this sacred monastery perched on a cliff face 900m above the valley floor. (overnight: Amankora Paro).

Day12: Departure Day

Early morning transfer to airport.

11 Night Amankora Journey - Bhutan

13 Days Charming Dahabeya

Tour Summary:

Roundtrip airfare, 4 nights accommodation in Cairo, 7 Nights 5 star Dahabeya Nile Cruise. Visits to the Great Pyramids, Khan El Khalili Bazaar, Abu Simbel, Valley of the Kings in Luxor Philae Temple in Aswan, Edfu Temple, Kom Ombo Temple, Karnak Temple, Luxor Temple, El Kab, Djebel Silsilehm, Temple of Hormoheb, & the Ptolemaic Temple.

Tour Highlights & Inclusives:


  • Roundtrip International airfare JFK/Cairo/JFK 

  • Other departure gates from USA are available upon request

  • 11 nights accommodation at deluxe hotel in Cairo and Dahabeya cruise

  • 4 nights accommodation at Four Seasons First Residence (deluxe room)

  • 7 nights accommodation aboard Dahabeya Nile cruise

  • 28 Meals: 11 Buffet Breakfasts, 9 Lunches and 8 Dinners 

  • All sightseeing in Egypt guided by a licensed Egyptologist 

  • Domestic airfare within Egypt 

  • All transfers and luggage handling within Egypt 

  • All transportation provided by deluxe air-conditioned private vehicle 

  • All hotel taxes and service charge


  • Airport taxes

  • Visa upon arrival

  • Optional tours

  • Tips & personal items 


Day 1 Wed – Departure from USA
Board your international flight to Cairo and begin your journey back in time to this charming, ancient land.

Day 2 Thu- Cairo
Arrival in the Land of the Pharaohs. At Cairo International Airport you will be welcomed and assisted through immigration and customs by our representative, then escorted to your hotel.

Day 3 Fri – Cairo
Morning visit to the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities, which includes the world’s largest collection of Pharaonic artifacts and the treasures of Tutankhamen’s tomb. Then drive to Old Cairo to visit Al Moallaka Church (Hanging Church) and Ben Ezra Synagogue. After lunch drive to the Citadel of Saladin and visit Mohamed Ali Alabaster Mosque. Enjoy a walking tour of the largest 13th century covered oriental market Khan El Khalili Bazaar. Overnight in Cairo.
Breakfast – Lunch

Day 4 Sat – Cairo, Luxor (Optional Sound & Light show)
After breakfast, transfer to Cairo airport for your flight to Luxor. Upon arrival transfer to your Dahabeya your sailing home on the Nile for the next 7 nights. Relaxing in the privacy of your inviting boat and enjoying modern amenities, discover Upper Egypts exceptional sites at the rhythm of the wind. While sailing and mooring at secluded island and Nile shores, you may have the opportunity to walk through fields, encounter Egyptian farmers, or have a meal in a pastoral landscape. On your first day, visit the necropolis of the West Bank including Valley of Kings, Valley of Queens, the Temple of Medinet Habu and the Colossi of Memnon. (Evening: optional Sound & Light show at Karnak Temple). Your Dahabeya will be moored overnight on the Nile banks of Luxor
Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner

Day 5 Sun – Luxor
After breakfast, on the East Bank where the sun rises, visit the Temple of Karnak & the Temple of Luxor. This afternoon your Dahabeya sails to Esna. At ease on the deck, you will watch a panorama that has hardly changed from the time of Ancient Egyptians and where, now, rural Egyptians still live. Anchor overnight in Esna.
Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner

Day 6 Mon – Esna (Optional visit to Temple of Esna)
Enjoy a day at leisure or go on an optional visit to the Temple of Khnum, the ram-headed god. Your Dahabeya will be moored overnight in Esna.
Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner

Day 7 Tue – El Kab, Edfu
Departure for El Kab and visit the necropolis (and for those who can walk for about 2km, optional visit to the temple consecrated to Nekhbet). Your Dahabeya will then sail to Edfu where you will visit the Temple of Horus, the falcon-god, considered the best-preserved temple in Ancient Egypt and the second largest after the Temple of Karnak. Overnight beside a Nile island
Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner

Day 8 Wed – Djebel Silsileh, Kom Ombo
Departure for Djebel Silsileh where the Nile flows between two mountains. Here you will be among the very few, as the larger vessel can only pass in the distance. Visit the Temple of Hormoheb. Back on board, sail to Kom Ombo where you will visit the Ptolemaic Temple of Sobek & Haroeries. Your Dahabeya will moor overnight alongside a Nile island
Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner

Day 9 Thu – Aswan
A leisurely day sailing to Aswan mesmerized by enchanting and contrasting sceneries with the desert reaching the edges of the western shores while palms and vast spreads of greenery cover the East bank; All the while taking pleasure in the Jacuzzi on deck, sipping cocktails or retreating to the tranquil indoor library. The Dahabeya will moor overnight in Aswan.

Day 10 Fri – Aswan
Today in this city embraced by the Aga Khan and where Lord Kitcheners created his fertile and exotic botanical garden, you will visit the Aswan High Dam, the Old Dam, and the Temple of Philae. Overnight in Aswan
Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner

Day 11 Sat – Aswan
After breakfast, disembarkation, and transfer to Aswan airport for your flight to Cairo. Relax at your hotel in Cairo and enjoy the facilities of your hotel

Day 12 Sun – Cairo
After breakfast, a scenic drive will take you to the Pyramids & Sphinx of Giza, which have stood for the last 5000 years, your visit will include entrance to the inside of the Great Pyramids and Camel Ride. Complete your visit at Giza with a tour of the Solar Boat Museum. Lunch at the Mena House hotel then continue to the ancient city of Memphis, the first capital of United Upper and Lower Egypt then visit Sakkara, site of the Step Pyramid of Zoser. Evening, dinner with entertainment on board a Nile cruising restaurant
Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner

Day 13 Mon – Departure
After breakfast, transfer to Cairo airport for your flight back to USA
Meals: Breakfast

13 Days Charming Dahabeya

Great Hotels in D.C.!

Located in Washington DC’s prestigious Georgetown district, the Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC, has distinguished itself as the area’s premier luxury hotel. With its modern renovations, top of the line spa facilities and highly praised dining experiences, the Four Seasons earns its title as the only 5-diamond 5-star rated hotel in Washington DC.

The Four Seasons Hotel Washington ,DC, offers 222 elegant and spacious guest rooms including 59 suites – with views including Georgetown and the historic Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. The mid-rise brick hotel is separated into an East and West Wing separated by a glass enclosed walk way. The East Wing features a chic, contemporary Parisian-style design by Pierre-Yves Rochon while the west wing offers contemporary furnishings and décor that accent modern artwork. Staying true to Four Seasons signature the touches, French limestone and marble bathrooms have been tastefully incorporated in the design. It is apparent that comfort and luxury were the primary focus when designing the bathrooms. Most bathrooms include a deep soaking tub, a glass-enclosed shower, and a WC with telephone.

Bourbon Steak, a recent culinary edition to the Four Seasons DC, has been described as a blend between comfort food and luxury dining. Created by Michael Mina, one of America’s top chefs, the restaurant features his butter-poached meats and poultries, classic seafood dishes and signature salads for lunch and dinner. “World-renowned architect David Rockwell matched the innovative cuisine with a contemporary setting for the DC restaurant and its adjacent lounge.” With perfect pairing it is no wonder that the Four Seasons remains Washington’s spot for power breakfasts and Sunday brunch.

Stepping into the Spa at Four Seasons one is met with an array of calming scents and an excellent staff. This facility feature treatment rooms that are spas in microcosm with private steam shower and whirlpool. The Spa at Four Seasons doubles as a day-spa and hotel spa. With an air of tranquility and calm refuge, the Spa at Four Seasons offers a true getaway experience for its guests.
The Four Seasons is prepared for every event with venue choices including intimate, private dining rooms, a sun-filled conservatory, private terraces and a ballroom with grand chandeliers. Count on award-winning event cuisine and flawless service from catering experts trained in custom menu creation, décor design and event coordination. Catering by Michael Mina is available.

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Toll Free: 888-898-3628

$555 Air Credit from Sandals Resorts!

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Toll Free: 888-898-3628

The Radisson Aruba Resort

The Radisson Aruba Resort, Casino & Spa is celebrating the completion of a $30 million renovation with an all new, All Inclusive Meal Plan. Guests of the AAA four-diamond resort will experience the best of drinks and dining at six diverse onsite restaurants and bars, as well as select local restaurants, with the convenience of one nightly price for room and meals. As a standout feature of this plan, Sunset Grille offers some high cost, high-end entrees not typically found in an all-inclusive environment, such as lamb T-bone and Caribbean lobster, for a nominal surcharge.

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Elite Travel Consulting Inc.
Toll Free: 888-898-3628