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  • India and Nepal by Rail with Mystical Bhutan

India and Nepal by Rail with Mystical Bhutan

15 Day Escorted Rail Journey With 5 Day Extension

India, Indian Subcontinent
Challenging Pace

Become one of the privileged few to say they have experienced this beautiful kingdom in this relatively untouched corner of the Himalayas.

2022 Dossier

2023 Dossier

Tour Highlights

  • Explore the capital Thimphu
  • See the Tiger's Nest Monastery
  • Witness the marbled domes of the Taj Mahal
  • City tours of Delhi, Lucknow, Kathmandu and Chitwan
  • Enjoy 3 scenic train rides through India
  • The Buddhist stupa of Swayanbhunath and ancient temples of Patan in Kathmandu
  • The Red and Agra Forts
  • Sunrise boat ride along the Ganges River
Number of nights

This map is for the main tour only


Day 1
UK to Delhi

Depart London on your scheduled, overnight flight to Delhi via Dubai.

Day 2

Lunch & Dinner

On arrival in Delhi, you will be met by your local guide and transferred to your hotel. Embark on a short tour of New Delhi, Driving past the India Gate, President's House, Parliament Building and visit the Birla Temple.

Day 3

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Discover Old Delhi and New Delhi on a rickshaw tour. Travel past the Red Fort and to the Humayun's Tomb. Journey to the Gandhi Memorial and to Qutab Minar.

Day 4
Delhi to Agra

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Board your morning train to Agra. On arrival, make your way to the Taj Mahal. Continue on to the Agra Fort and explore this vast red sandstone complex.

Day 5
Agra to Lucknow

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Today's scenic train ride takes you from Agra to Lucknow. On arrival, check into the hotel and spend the afternoon at leisure, free to relax or explore.

Day 6

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

After breakfast, visit the Hazratganj Market and the 1857 Memorial Museum. Also Juma Masjid mosque, Sikander Bagh, and Chota Imambara. Pass the gateway of Rumi Darwaza, Taluqdar Hall, Husainabad Clock Tower and Kaiserbagh Palace. Enjoy Begum Hazrat Mahal Park, Aminabad bazaar and the facade of Chattar Manzil before returning to your hotel.

Day 7
Lucknow to Varanasi

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Take a train from Lucknow to Varanasi and after check-in at your hotel in Varanasi, an evening tour leads to the banks of the sacred Ganges River and Witness the captivating Ganga Aarti ceremony.

Day 8
Varanasi to Kathmandu, via Delhi

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Enjoy a morning boat trip on the Ganges, and disembark for a walking tour through old town. Transfer to the airport for your flight to Kathmandu, via Delhi. On arrival, transfer to your hotel.

Day 9

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

After Breakfast, see the stupa of Swayanbhunath. Travel to Kathmandu Valley, and see Patan and Krishna Temple. Return to Kathmandu for your overnight stay.

Day 10
Kathmandu to Chitwan

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Today starts with a visit to Pashupatinath temple, a sacred Hindu temple. Depart Kathmandu and drive to Chitwan, arriving in time for an afternoon visit to Tharu village. Return to your hotel for dinner and an entertaining Tharu dance program.

Day 11

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Explore Chitwan National Park and enjoy a canoe ride up the Rapti River and then visit a elephant breeding centre.

Day 12
Chitwan to Bandipur

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Depart Chitwan on a scenic journey to Bandipur, stopping en route for lunch. On arrival, check into your hotel and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.

Day 13

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

A full-day tour of Bandipur exploring its network of winding lanes, traditional Newari architecture and buzzing bazaar, flanked by pagoda-style temples. From your lofty vantage point, take in the sunset and sunrise over the Manaslu mountain range and enjoy spectacular mountain views.

Day 14
Bandipur to Kathmandu

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Following breakfast, make your way to Kathmandu for your overnight stay.

Day 15
Kathmandu to the UK


After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your return flights to London, via Dubai.

Day 16
Kathmandu and Paro

Breakfast & Dinner

Depart Kathmandu in the morning for your flight to Paro in Bhutan, offering incredible views of the entire Himalayan region. Your guide will meet you on arrival and accompany you to Thimphu, stopping en-route to admire the joining of the Thimphu and Paro Rivers at Chuzom before arriving at your hotel with some time to relax. In the afternoon visit the impressive fortress of Trashichoedzong, then 'Buddha Point' where locals chant prayers to the largest Buddha statue in Bhutan. In the evening explore Thimphu's main market area and browse through paintings, hand-woven textiles and jewellery.

Day 17
Thimpu and Paro

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Explore the Thimphu valley with a trip to the National Library and the King's Memorial Chorten - a monument constructed to represent world peace and prosperity. Taking the scenic highway back to Paro appreciate the dramatic river valleys before arriving at your hotel late morning. Next visit Ta Dzong, originally built as a watchtower during the 1864 Duar War and now home to the National Museum focussing on royal memorabilia and Buddhist art.

Day 18

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Visit the breath-taking Taktshang Monastery perched on the side of a cliff, a place of worship recognised as one of Bhutan's most famous monasteries. In the afternoon drive to the ruins of Drukgyel built back in 1649 as a control point along the route to Tibet.

Day 19
Paro and Kathmandu


Depart Paro after breakfast for your return flight to Kathmandu, with the rest of the day at leisure.

Day 20
Kathmandu to the UK


Transfer to Kathmandu airport for your flight to the UK.

View Full Itinerary

Dates & Prices

Price (per person)
Dates available
February 2023
from £3,848
1 Date
2nd Feb - 20th Feb
March 2023
from £3,678
1 Date
9th Mar - 27th Mar
May 2023
from £3,778
1 Date
4th May - 22nd May
September 2023
from £3,578
1 Date
28th Sep - 16th Oct
October 2023
from £3,888
1 Date
26th Oct - 13th Nov


The hotels listed below are provided for guidance only and final confirmation of your accommodation will be sent to you approximately 90 days before you travel
Gakyil Hotel
1 nights
Bhutan, Nepal
More details
Tashi Phuntshok Hotel
2 nights
Paro, Nepal
More details
View More

Important Information

A visa is required for entry into India. British Citizen Passport Holders will need to obtain an e-Tourist Visa (eTV) for travel to India. We work closely with The Travel Visa Company who will be able to arrange your visa on your behalf. Please call them on 01270 250 590 and quote 'Mercury Holidays'. The cost of the visa is approximately £114 per person. The Travel Visa Company can only apply for this 30 days before your proposed travel date and takes around 10 working days to issue. It is only valid for a 30-day single entry stay from the date of arrival. When calling the Travel Visa Company they will advise you of any changes to the fees or the procedure, they will also advise you of all information they will require in order to apply for the visa. British Passport Holders do not need to obtain a visa for Nepal prior to departure, a Nepalese visa can be purchased on arrival in Kathmandu. This will cost around USD $25, so please have this ready in USD cash together with three passport size photos. We recommend that you check the following website before travelling for all the most up to date advice and requirements for entry into Nepal http://www.nepembassy.org.uk/visa.php

You must obtain suitable travel insurance prior to departure. Mercury Direct is partnered with Holiday Extras which offer insurance at the following prices:<br /><br /> <table class="basic" cellspacing="0"><thead><tr><th><b>Age in Years</b></th><th><b>Up to 64</b></th><th><b>65 - 74</b></th><th><b>75 - 85</b></th></tr></thead><tbody><tr><td>Up to 17 days cover</td><td>£39</td><td>£75</td><td>£129</td></tr></tbody></table> For all persons 86 years and over, please contact us for insurance prices. Please ensure you provide us with the name of your insurer, policy number and their 24 hour emergency contact number as soon as possible. Mercury Direct will not be liable for any costs incurred by you due to your failure to take out suitable travel insurance from the date of booking.

If booking more than 10 weeks before departure a deposit of £250pp will need to be paid at the time of booking with the full amount payable at 10 weeks prior to departure. The deposit applies to adults and children. If you are within 10 weeks of travel then the full balance of the holiday will be payable.

Your flight is to Nepal is with Jet Airways (9W), departing from London Heathrow Terminal 4. Each passenger is entitled to 23kg of hold luggage & hand luggage of 5kg not exceeding 55cm x 35cm x 25cm in size, in addition to one small personal item on-board the aircraft. Weight restrictions will be finalized on E-ticket receipt. Should you wish to take additional luggage you will need to pay extra at check-in. Check-in should be at least 3 hours before departure.

It is your responsibility to check any health and vaccination requirements applicable to your booked arrangements. We can only provide general information about this. Health and hygiene facilities and disease risks vary from country to country. You should take health advice about your own needs as early as possible and in good time before your departure. Sources of information include; www.fco.gov.uk, http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/, www.hpa.org.uk, your General Practitioner or a specialist clinic.

This tour is accessible to most people with a good level of fitness & normal mobility. It involves climbing steep stairs and getting on and off coaches and boats. This tour is not suitable for anyone with walking difficulties.

There is no minimum number of travellers for this extension however the main tour passenger numbers will apply for the main part of the tour. If in the unlikely event there are less than the required number of people booked on your main tour date then you may be asked to change to a different date. A full refund will be made available to you should this alternative not be suitable.

This is a fully escorted tour, meaning that you will be met on arrival by your national guide who will remain with you for the duration of your trip ensuring that you have first-hand knowledge at all times.

The currency in Nepal is the Nepalese Rupee or NPR, divided into 100 paisa. US dollars and UK sterling are both also often accepted should you wish to keep an alternative currency on you. The currency in Bhutan is Bhutanese Ngultrum and is officially pegged to the Indian Rupee. Also Indian Rupee is acceptable all over Bhutan. There are ATMs in Bhutan but currently they only operate with their respective Bhutanese banks. Since these ATMs currently do not function with outside banks, so ATM facility can't be used by visitors. Traveller's checks / cash are the best option so please ensure you have enough currency with you when you travel.

You will need to take some extra money with you to cover any personal purchases, such as souvenirs, laundry and extra drinks and snacks. Approximately £100 - £200 will be sufficient for the duration of the tour, depending on how much of a bargain-hunter you are!