The abrupt rise of the Himalayan Mountains from less than 500 meters to more than 8,000 meters results in a diversity of ecosystems that range, in only a couple of hundred kilometres, from alluvial grasslands and subtropical broadleaf forests along the foothills to temperate broadleaf forests in the mid-hills, mixed conifer and conifer forests in the higher hills, and alpine meadows above the treeline.
The Great Himalayas and the Tethys Himalayas are inhabited by Tibetans and peoples speaking other Tibeto-Burman languages, while the Lesser Himalayas are the home of Indo-European language speakers.
Nepal features some of the most awe-inspiring scenery in the world, and the sheer scale of the high-altitude valleys, mountains and lakes in which human habitation is but a speck on the landscape is humbling. Bhutan, also known locally as Drukyul (Land of Thunder Dragon), is the last surviving Mahayana Buddhist Kingdom, with a breathtaking Himalayan landscape as a backdrop. The country was never colonized, and thus survived the influences of accelerated and thoughtless modernization; which makes it one of the rarest and most unique of travel destinations.
Weather-wise, when is the best time to travel to the Himalayas?
The climate in Nepal, Sikkim and Bhutan varies with altitude, from subtropical in the south to temperate in the highlands and polar-type climate, with year-round snow in the north. Nepal experiences five distinct seasons: summer, monsoon, autumn, winter and spring. The best time to visit is from late September to late November.
What to consider when planning your journey to Nepal, Sikkim and Bhutan?
Travelling through the countries of the Himalayas immerses you in a vast diversity of cultures, as you enjoy everything from the food and customs to the entertainment and landmarks of truly different countries. Exploring the Himalayas on your own is always an option, but at times even experienced world travellers prefer an organized tour when it comes to travelling to more than one country since it offers several advantages.
A guided tour company handles all the organization and prep work for visiting landmarks in the region. You save time and energy that you would normally put into planning the details of visiting a given destination. An organized tour company also makes the most efficient use of time, considering the visiting hours and stops on the itinerary so you don’t have to spend hours researching the information for each place you want to visit. Transportation is handled for you, so you won’t have to worry about getting lost, dealing with different writing systems, confusing public transportation, or taxi drivers who might not speak the same language in each country that you visit.
An organized tour also gives you a sense of comfort and safety, since the accompanying tour guide understands the culture, knows areas of town tourists don’t normally go to, and can help you avoid potentially dangerous areas. The tour may also allow you to uncover some hidden gems within the city that you wouldn’t otherwise know about.
With a tour, the planning is handled for you, whether you are traveling alone or joining a small group tour. Someone else puts together the itinerary, so you don’t have to worry about what to see or how much time to spend in any one place. Having someone else make the planning decisions can make things simpler and allow you to sit back and enjoy your vacation.
Joining a small group tour adds a social aspect to a guided tour, especially if you aren’t traveling with people you already know. Experiencing a new place with others allows you to share your reactions and connect with fellow group members. If you are traveling alone, small group tours are a great way to meet other travelers, so you won’t feel completely on your own the whole time, and you might even make a new friend out of it. Also, if you are a new traveler, or new to solo travel, a small group tour might help you ease into traveling and you won’t get overwhelmed with all the details of planning the trip.
Customize your trip
You can also get an itinerary specially customized for you. Perhaps you find a scheduled itinerary appealing, but the dates don’t work for you, or the tour operator doesn’t include a site that you would like to see, or you simply prefer to travel on your own tailor-made itinerary. There are some reputable tour operators that offer custom-designed independent travel. These companies feature years of experience and in-depth knowledge of a given destination. Using their services might end up saving you time, money and above all hassle.