India, Bhutan, and Nepal are located in the south of Asia. Because of their geographic proximity, they are usually visited together in one trip.
These three countries have many things in common such as being full of Hindu and Buddhist relics, but still are distinct to provide you a colorful travel feast of three courses.
- Incredible India: diversity of religions, caste system influence, unique heritage sites like the Taj Mahal, wildlife, a museum of royal palaces...
- Adventurous Nepal: religious Kathmandu Valley, wonderful mountain trekking/biking routes, great views of Mt. Everest...
- Holy Bhutan: incredible religious sites, seclusion — even without traffic lights, prioritizing Gross National Happiness instead of GDP, charming trekking paths...
Take your time on a private journey to uncover the secrets of the Indian subcontinent.
1. How to organize an itinerary to India, Bhutan, and Nepal?
How Many Days to Stay: 2–3 Weeks
To get the essence of each destination without wearing yourself out, usually it takes 7–10 days in India, 4–7 days in Nepal, and 4–7 days in Bhutan.
A classic itinerary covering the main areas lasts around 2 weeks. A longer holiday time usually leads to a more leisurely travel pace and a deeper exploration.
For a holiday around 10–12 days, just India-Nepal or India-Bhutan are suggested.
Important note: To promote travel of "High Value Low Volume", independent travel or semi-independent travel is not permitted in Bhutan. All tours and activities must be organized by a travel agency.
A Typical South Asia Tour Itinerary: 14 Days
- Day 1 - 6: Arrive in Delhi, explore Delhi, Agra ((Taj Mahal)) and Jaipur (Pink City)
- Day 7 - 8: Flight from Delhi to Kathmandu, explore Kathmandu Valley
- Day 9 - 13: Flight from Kathmandu to Paro, explore Thimphu, Punakha and Paro
- Day 14: Depart Bhutan from Paro International Airport
Where to Start the Tour: Usually from Delhi in India
Out of the three countries, India is easily the most well-connected to North America, Europe, and other parts of the world, and it is the most convenient to fly to.
It is usually more convenient and affordable to start your journey from Delhi in India. There are direct flights to Delhi from New York, Chicago, and San Francisco in the U.S., from London and Paris in Europe, and from Sydney in Australia. Flights from the U.S. will take around 14 to 17 hours and flights from Europe will take around 8. Contact us for advice on the best possible flight route from your city.
From Delhi, it takes about 1½ hours to reach Kathmandu in Nepal. Tribhuvan International Airport (IATA: KTM) in Kathmandu is the only international airport in Nepal.
From Kathmandu, it takes less than 1½ hours to reach Paro in Bhutan. Paro International Airport (IATA: PBH) is the only international airport in Bhutan. This air route is only operated by Drukair (Royal Bhutan Airlines) and Bhutan Airlines.
After finishing your travel in Bhutan, you can exit via Paro International Airport. From Paro there are flights to Bangkok, Singapore, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, etc.
Flying from India to Bhutan and then finishing the tour in Kathmandu in Nepal is also reasonable or better. Kathmandu provides more international flights connections than Paro.
Possible Nepal extension: Kathmandu borders Tibet in China. You could extend your trip by 4–8 days by land or by flight to discover Tibet's culture and landscapes if you have a long holiday.
98.8% positive customer reviews among 10,000+
I have never hear of this company…
I have never hear of this company before , and after reading all these reviews ,I decided to give it a try . The professionalism and communicative skill received by one of the agent , Sharon of Asia Highlights , convince me that She was the right travel agent for my trip in Asia . Very quickly she communicated with me and got all the detail of my desire vacation . Sharon made me a great itinerary with great experiences that I am dreaming to experience and I am looking forward to it . Thanks Sharon for been so great and crafting me a dream vacation with great suggestions.More
orge alvarez, May 2023
Coco Yang worked tirelessly to…
From the moment I landed in Bangkok, Ms Noi Ying was there to welcome me and get me settled into my hotel. We enjoyed several days together touring Bangkok and Kanchanaburi. In Chiang Mai, Mr Ekachai took my son snd I on an amazing trip to the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary and to visit a community Lanna home, gardens and a hands-on cooking class preparing an authentic Thai meal. Lisa arranged a last-minute speedboat tour of 5 breathtaking islands in Phuket. From start to finish, the guides exceeded my expectations!! Thank you, Asia Highlight!! Debbie WoodsMore
Debbie Woods, May 2023
Sharon from Asia highlights has been…
Sharon from Asia highlights has been amazing. She offered her amazing ideas to other tours I wanted. We have planned the perfect 9 day itinerary to Thailand. She worked in my budget and was very flexible when I had to change my flights. Thank you sharon. Can’t wait for the trip.More
Heather Stern Wilensky, Apr 2023
Ms. Ning first review 4-2023
Ms. Albee Ning has been doing a great job accommodating my requests and itinerary changes. Remember the first itinerary is a rough draft and you may modify it to suit your tastes. Remember you can not do it all and see everything in 3 weeks. If the flight wasn't so long I would visit Southeast Asia more often. I will update my review in a few months. We don't leave for 9 more months. Asia Highlights is working well for me so far!More
Chiefray, Apr 2023
Perfect Trip To Thailand…
We had so much fun in Bangkok with Tanni and Tom as they kept laughing at all of our silly jokes. Paul, our guide and Chiang Mai was really thoughtful, fun and full of great information about the temples and sights. Thanks so much! Brian and MichelleMore
Scott Orchard, Mar 2023
I highly recommend Asia Highlights
I highly recommend Asia Highlights. I worked with Alisa and she is fantastic! I was planning my honeymoon trip, and I changed the destination multiple times. Each time, Alisa provided me an updated itinerary with activities that matched my interests. Whether I had a small change to an activity, a question about one of the arrangements, or a change or destination, Alisa was helpful, thoughtful, and knowledgeable, providing me with updated options in an extremely timely manner. In the end, despite the fact that I changed my mind on location multiple times, I ended up booking a 17 day trip to Thailand for this upcoming November. I am extremely excited to experience everything that Alisa planned for us. I recommend Asia Highlights to everyone and look forward to using them again on any other trips to Asia in the future. Thank you Alisa and Asia Highlights!More
Britt Rosen, Mar 2023
Three weeks encompassing Vietnam
A special shoutout to our last guide in Bangkok - Ms. Ka-Noon who spoiled us with her kindness and then got us through check in and security for our flight home in record time at that huge Bangkok airport.More
Deby, Feb 2023
Over the last 5 years we've used Asia…
Over the last 5 years we've used Asia highlights twice. And both times we've had fantastic vacations. Would not want to do it any different when we travel to Asia from now on. Sharon was fantastic. She was a wonderful agent who helped us nail down our trip and make everything go as smooth as possible.More
Todd Atwell, Feb 2023
Family Trip to Thailand
Our trip to Thailand comprised three generations of the family , ten people and an age range of 4 to 70 so a potentially difficult brief.Our itinerary over two weeks involved four locations, and a number of different trips and tours.From out arrival at an extremely busy Bangkok airport Asia Highlights were terrific.In each location we were met by a smiling , knowledgeable and professional guide who simply made everything easy and stress free for everyone.Our transportation was clean and comfortable . Transport was always ready for us at the agreed time and the drivers were excellent.There were so many highlights enjoyed by all the age groups. The floating houses , railway market and elephant sanctuary were particular favourites.We had one minor glitch with the accommodation in Phuket which was immediately dealt with by Tip. I think we would have struggled to resolve the problem by ourselves. So, thank you Asia Highlights , Cathy, Tip and tour guides Tanny, Sam and Lisa. It was a memorable holiday and we will be back.More
Roger Pyle, Feb 2023
Trip of a lifetime from Asia Highlights!
I recommend highly Asia Highlights as a travel company. Our travel consultant Albee took the time to connect with us during the planning process to make sure we were comfortable with our itinerary. When we arrived, we were met by our guide and all the details were attended to. They picked great hotels and tours. I often describe our trip as the trip of a lifetime! Would definitely use them again when we come back to AsiaMore
Nancy Parker, Feb 2023
Asia Highlights and Albee - highly recommended
Asia Highlights is very reliable agency and Albee is an amazing representative of the company. From the moment when we contacted her until our departure, the whole support we received was 6* level. She prepared our trip offer within few hours and afterwards she was extremely flexible to adjust as per our needs. In the period between the offer and the trip, Albee was always available for all our questions and supported us on the best possible way. During the trip she was again flexible to add new activities/transfers and this went on the smoothest possible way. Thank you, Albee and Asia Highlights. Definitely we will approach you again for our next Asian tripMore
AZ, Feb 2023
5 STAR CUSTOMER SERVICE BY MONICA
Monica is a very sweet young lady who speaks excellent English via email/WhatsApp, and knows the importance of excellent customer service.More
Trent, Jan 2023
We had an awesome experience with Asia Highlights
We started our trip in Bangkok, where Mr. Prassert our tour guide, met us. He was on time and the van was clean and well-maintained. Mr. Prassert was our guide for the 4 days we spent in Bangkok. He was helpful, kind, and willing to accommodate our pee and coffee breaks. The driver was safe and punctual. Next, we went to Chiang Mai.Gemma exceeded every expectation we had for our tour of Chiang Mai! She had a great attitude that made exploring the city fun and exciting, as well as an abundance of knowledge and experience. She was always spot on with figuring out logistics and coming up with unique ideas that suited our interests and schedules. Gemma was incredibly generous with her time and even walked us to security at the airport to make sure we could carry all of our luggage. That’s just one example of how far out of her way she went to make our trip easier and more enjoyable. Gemma was sincerely interested in making every minute of our trip count. We’re very grateful to have met her and feel like we have found a friend in Gemma! Our driver in Chiang Mai was also great and very accommodating to our changes in schedules.More
Lois Paskow, Dec 2022
Thailand & Cambodia 2022
Albee went above and beyond to make our trip perfect. She rearranged flights due to a mistake of mine. She made sure we were still picked up and escorted to the airport. I felt comfortable and safe with all our reps. She did an excellent job and I highly recommend her booking your next trip. Thank you, Albee.More
Karen Brooks, Dec 2022
Perfect vacation thanks to Albee we…
I can’t say enough about how much we appreciate all the efforts, attention to details and immediate responses to all questions that Albee and her team provided. The Asia Highlights team deserves more stars than the maximum allowed because of continually going above and beyond all expectations. Thanks Albee for making our vacation through south east Asia absolutely perfect!!!More
Michael Sharp, Dec 2022
2023 Chiang Mai CAD Yipeng Festival
We got early bird ticket and Bella was assisting us through whatsapp. Easy, competitive price, front row tickets. Thanks Bella, for being patient explaining everything to me. Highly recommended.More
lily hartati, Dec 2022
Bella has been an outstanding customer service rep
Bella has been an outstanding customer service rep. She was responsive and knowledgeable. Buying tickets from their website was super easy and the whole process was straightforward. Highly recommended.More
Khai, Nov 2022
I was ever so grateful to have a point…
I was ever so grateful to have a point of contact while in a foreign country for the first time, alone, that helped me through the Ins and outs of getting to and from my destination. Albee was readily available which brought me much comfort and feeling of safety. If in this part of the world again, I will not hesitate to use your services..More
Omega, Nov 2022
I booked tickets to the Chiang Mai Yi Peng Lantern Festival in Nov 2022. Bella was extremely responsive and helpful!!More
Bowen, Nov 2022
It is the attention to detail and what we specifically wanted to see that made the reservation experience so exciting.More
Peter Bongiovanni, Nov 2022
2. How much does an India, Nepal, and Bhutan tour cost?
A typical private 14-Day India, Nepal, and Bhutan Tour costs around US$4,500–4,900 per person based on 4-star hotels for a group of 2 people.
Special arrangements or experiences will make the price higher. For example, a special romantic dinner in a heritage palace hotel, a memorable overnight cruise in the backwaters of south India, an amazing helicopter journey over Mount Everest in Nepal, etc.
Tailor-make your unique South Asia trip with our 1:1 consultant.
Suggessted read: 7-Day Off the Beaten Path South India Tour >>>
Tour Costs in India and Nepal
Traveling in India and Nepal costs a little less than in other Asian countries. For example, a classic private 11-day India and Nepal Tour costs around US$2,400 (around US$220 per day) per person based on 4-star accommodation, including domestic flights and flights between India and Nepal.
Tour Costs in Bhutan
The costs for domestic travel in Bhutan are determined by Tourism Council of Bhutan instead of by travel agencies. The costs differ according to hotel ratings, group sizes, and peak/off season. For example, it costs US$230–280 per person per day based on 3-star hotels for a group of 2 people. The meals, the hotels, the entrance fees, the driver, and the guide are compulsory inclusions in the package.
The flight costs to and from Bhutan are usually higher than for most air routes in Asia because of limited airline competition (only Drukair and Bhutan Airlines). For example, it costs around US$350 each way per person between Delhi (India) and Paro (Bhutan) or between Kathmandu (Nepal) and Paro (Bhutan), US$100–200 higher than a comparable flight between Thailand and Vietnam.
3. What is the best time to visit India, Bhutan, and Nepal?
Through all these three countries:
- Best months for weather (cool/warm and dry), but most expensive: March, September to November
- Good months for weather (dry and hot) with better deals: April, May
- Rainy season (not good for trekking), but with good prices: June to August
- Cold weather (not good for trekking) but good for ordinary visiting: December to February
Generally, India, Bhutan and Nepal can be visited year-round. But if you're keen on trekking, for which Bhutan, Nepal, and north India are paradises, it is better avoid the rainy season (June to August) and the snowy season (December to February).
|Delhi - Average Temperature by Month|
|January||8°C (47°F)||20°C (68°F)|
|February||12°C (53°F)||23°C (74°F)|
|March||16°C (62°F)||29°C (85°F)|
|April||22°C (72°F)||35°C (96°F)|
|May||26°C (80°F)||39°C (102°F)|
|June||28°C (83°F)||38°C (101°F)|
|July||27°C (82°F)||35°C (95°F)|
|August||26°C (80°F)||33°C (92°F)|
|September||25°C (77°F)||33°C (92°F)|
|Octomer||19°C (67°F)||31°C (89°F)|
|November||13°C (56°F)||27°C (81°F)|
|December||9°C (48°F)||21°C (71°F)|
October to February is when temperatures in India are the most comfortable.
It is still possible to visit India in the spring from March to May, although it is the hot season. During the hot season, temperatures can reach up to 40°C (104°F), but the heat can be avoided by arranging tours in the early morning or evening.
India's monsoon season is from June to August. The northmost areas of the country like the Golden Triangle (Delhi, Agra and Jaipur) and Himalayan regions don't get as much rain as the center and south, but the rains can disrupt flights and delay travel plans. >>>Best (and Worst) Times to Visit India, Best Places to Go in Each Month
|Kathmandu - Average Temperature by Month|
|February||5°C (42°F)||20 (69°F)|
|March||9°C (48°F)||24 (76°F)|
|April||12°C (55°F)||27 (81°F)|
|May||16°C (62°F)||28 (83°F)|
|June||20°C (68°F)||28 (83°F)|
|July||20°C (69°F)||27 (82°F)|
|August||20°C (68°F)||27 (82°F)|
|September||18°C (66°F)||27 (82°F)|
|Octomer||13°C (57°F)||26 (79°F)|
|November||8°C (47°F)||22 (73°F)|
|December||4°C (40°F)||19 (67°F)|
The spring (from late February to April) and the autumn (from September to November) have the best and driest weather in the country.
It is also possible to visit Nepal in the winter (December to February), although temperatures are too cold for trekking.
It's best to avoid June to August if trekking is one of your big interests because of monsoon rains.
|Thimphu - Average Temperature by Month|
|January||-2°C (28°F)||15°C (59°F)|
|February||0°C (33°F)||17°C (62°F)|
|March||4°C (39°F)||19°C (67°F)|
|April||8°C (46°F)||22°C (72°F)|
|May||12°C (53°F)||25°C (77°F)|
|June||15°C (60°F)||27°C (80°F)|
|July||16°C (62°F)||27°C (81°F)|
|August||16°C (61°F)||27°C (81°F)|
|September||15°C (58°F)||26°C (79°F)|
|Octomer||9°C (48°F)||24°C (75°F)|
|November||3°C (38°F)||20°C (67°F)|
|December||-1°C (31°F)||17°C (62°F)|
The climate in Bhutan is similar to that in Nepal.
The country experiences its best weather from March to May and from September to November.
Bhutan experiences its monsoon season from June to August.
With Asia Highlights, you enjoy 100% refund of any payments made to China Highlights prior to 3 weeks before departure (detail⇒).
4. What are the top places to visit in India, Bhutan, and Nepal?
Travel Highlights in India
- Delhi: the first impression of India, see a world of difference between Old Delhi and New Delhi
- Agra: The Taj Mahal
- Jaipur: The Pink City, various magnificent palaces
For the first-time visitors, the golden triangle route (Delhi-Agra-Jaipur) cannot be missed.
You can land in India's grand capital of Delhi for a representative first impression of India by visiting India's largest mosque and taking a rickshaw ride through the narrow lanes of Old Delhi's bustling bazaar.
After Delhi, journey to the Mughal city of Agra, which is home to the magnificent Taj Mahal. Admiring this love-inspired monument at sunrise time before large tourist groups flood in is marvelous.
Basking in the fascinating colors of the 'Pink City' of Jaipur and staying overnight in a graceful heritage palace hotel will never disappoint you.
For a deeper exploration, extending your tour by 2 days to Varanasi (the spiritual capital of India) or 5–7 days in Rajasthan (for magnificent palaces and striking desert scenery) is worthy of your time.
Suggested read: 14-Day Classic Rajasthan Tour >>>
Travel Highlights in Bhutan
- Paro: Taktshang Goemba Hike (also called Tiger's Nest Monastery)
- Thimphu: a secret place hidden in the Himalayas, it holds the offices of the royals
- Punakha: former capital of Bhutan, getaway for most mountain hiking routes
Most people visiting Bhutan will explore Thimphu, Punakha, and Paro.
Paro, where the famous Tiger's Nest Monastery is located, is a small and quaint city full of sacred sites and historical buildings. Taking a 5-hour trek to Tiger's Nest Monastery is rewarding for its holy atmosphere and breathtaking panoramic views. It is visited by all Bhutanese at least once in their lifetime.
Thimphu, the capital, is the largest city in Bhutan. It is famous as it has both modern technology and ancient customs. Thimphu is a great starting point when visiting Bhutan as there you can access an ATM to stock up on currency and also explore some of the city's religious and cultural sites.
Punakha, the former capital of Bhutan, will provide you with incredible views of the Himalayas and an abundance of religious sites.
Travel Highlights in Nepal
- Kathmandu Valley: Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Patan, Nepal's cultural center
- Nagarkot: a panoramic Himalayan view including Mount Everest
- Pokhara: adventure (trekking, boating, mountain biking, etc.)
In Nepal, the best place to visit is Kathmandu Valley, which mainly covers three areas, Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, and Patan. They are around 30 minutes' driving from each other.
Kathmandu Valley is Nepal's heart. It holds the best of Nepali cultural treasures — splendid temple architecture, magnificent royal palaces, and holy pilgrimage sites. Kathmandu has some of Nepal's most beautiful temples including Swayambhunath and Pashupatinath.
Kathmandu is also the starting point for the famous 1-hour Mount Everest Flight for admiring the south side of Mountain Everest and other peaks like Shisha Pangma. Definitely a flight of a lifetime opportunity!
To enjoy a panoramic Himalayan view including Mount Everest when the sun rises, an overnight stay in Nagarkot should be on your list. The best time for a breathtaking view is the dry season — from mid-October to early April. It is about 1 hour by car from Kathmandu.
If you're keen on adventure (trekking, boating, mountain biking, etc.), Pokhara, located near the Annapurna mountain chain, could be an ideal place for you. It is around 30 minutes by flight or 5½ hours by car from Kathmandu.
5. Do I need visas to enter India, Nepal and Bhutan?
Travelers from most countries require a visa to explore the beauty of these three nations.
If you're from Europe, America or Oceania, the most convenient ways are:
- India: e-tourist visa
- Nepal: tourist visa on arrival
- Bhutan: visas are only available through a travel agency
India Tourist E-Visas
Visa applications must be made online at the government's official website, no less than four days and no more than 30 days before the date of travel (for a one-month double entry visa).
The e-visa application process has five main steps:
- Fill out the e-Visa application form online, upload your passport photo, and a PDF of your passport ID page.
- Use a credit card or debit card (both charge 2.5% of the e-Visa fee), or pay via PayPal (charges 3.5% of the applicable e-Visa fee), to pay the e-Visa processing fee online. The cost is around US$25, US$40 or US$80, depending your nationality, plus a bank fee.
- Receive an Application ID and Electronic Travel Authorization via e-mail within 3 to 5 working days.
- Use your Application ID and passport number to check your visa status. Make sure it shows "Granted" before your travel.
- Print your Electronic Travel Authorization before flying to India and present it at the Immigration Check Post to receive an e-Visa stamp on your passport.
Suggested read: How to Apply for a Visa for India >>>
Nepal's Tourist Visa on Arrival
It is offered at the Kathmandu airport.
There are three steps to get the visa:
- Fill in an arrival card at the airport. You can also fill out a short form online to make your visa processing at the airport even faster. Filling out the form online, you must enter within 15 days from the date the receipt is issued.
- Make the payment: The cost is around US$30, US$50, or US$125 for a duration of 15 days, 30 days, or 90 days respectively. Cash is the only payment method accepted and USD is preferred. ATMs and a currency exchange facility are available nearby if your currency is not accepted.
- Get your visa: provide all the documents including the arrival card, passport-sized photo, passport, and payment receipt. You will get your visa shortly afterward.
Suggested read: How to apply for a Visa for Nepal >>>
Unlike most countries in the world, a Bhutan visa is not granted by consulates or embassies. It is issued by the immigration department in Thimphu.
Tell your 1:1 travel advisor all of your Bhutan ideas/needs, confirm your booking, and leave all the rest, including visas, to be taken care of by us.
A Bhutan visa usually costs US$40 per person and is not refundable.
Your travel advisor will email you a visa clearance letter issued by the Tourism Council of Bhutan, which must be presented at the immigration desk upon arrival at the airport. The official visa is then stamped on your passport.
Suggested read: Guide to applying for a Bhutan Visa >>>
6. Is it safe to visit India, Nepal, and Bhutan?
Traveling in South Asia, especially with a guide in a private car, is quite safe. However, make sure to pay attention to the following safety measures while you are traveling to make sure that your trip goes as smoothly as possible.
The biggest complaint that travelers have in India is being stared at. This may be uncomfortable for you but often happens out of sheer curiosity. To minimize staring, you're suggested dressing conservatively especially when visiting crowded areas or famous monuments.
Poverty and beggars are both common in India. You might need to be prepared to see more poverty than you're used to. It is not recommended to give money to beggars as begging has become a lucrative industry in India and it is best not to encourage it.
Nepal is an extremely poor country and often struggles with basic necessities. It is normal for the country to experience power outages and you might encounter this when visiting there. Along with this, Nepal also has spotty and slow internet access.
It is extremely important to be careful when trekking in Nepal. Only go trekking with a knowledgeable guide, who knows the signs of altitude sickness well. Tell your guide if you are feeling dizzy or short of breath.
Smoking tobacco is prohibited in Bhutan and cigarettes are often not allowed in public places. If you are a smoker, you will need to ask your guide where you can legally smoke on your tour.
For any other information not mentioned above, feel free to contact us to ask about it.
Why Travel with Asia Highlights (98.8% positive customer reviews among 10,000+)
- Unique experiences tailored to your interests: Enjoy a premium trip that goes beyond the typical tourist attractions.
- Hassle-free travel and peace of mind: Every aspect of your trip will be carefully planned and organized by your 1:1 travel consultant.
- Experienced and knowledgeable guides: Your guides will be local and love to work for travelers' smiles.
Get Inspired with Our Sample Itineraries
At Asia Highlights, we create your kind of journey — your dates, your destinations, at your pace. You can have any trip tailor made for your travel.