Small Group Travel
A rejuvenating escape in Nepal
Henrietta Loyd invites you to join her on a revitalising and spiritual journey. The trip will include walking, visiting remote monasteries, camping in the wilderness and enjoying amazing meditation, yoga and other wellness experiences, many of which originate in Nepal.
A captivating blend of Hinduism and Buddhism, this Himalayan kingdom is a wonderfully spiritual place, teeming with palaces, temples and medieval towns. It is also one of the most beautiful lands in Asia, home to rivers and mountains – including eight of the world’s 10 highest peaks – offering incredible trekking, as well as national parks that harbour the greater one-horned rhinoceros and the Bengal tiger.
Your host, Henrietta Loyd, has meticulously crafted this itinerary for a small group of like-minded individuals looking to get away on a fascinating and restorative journey in a beautiful country. The trip focuses on wellness, spirituality and escapism – all things Henrietta loves and resonates with. This is slow travel at its best; you will spend longer in each place to get under its skin and engage with its people, and have time to really relax and rejuvenate on your holiday.
For five nights, we have booked out exclusively The Happy House, a charming haven in the eastern Himalayas. Afterwards, you will spend your final two nights at Dwarika’s Resort Dhulikhel, a retreat that is all about happiness, health and wellbeing. Private helicopter charters will provide an amazing way to travel between each place.
It is through our unrivalled knowledge and relationships on the ground that we have been able to create such incredible experiences in Nepal. These include sleeping under the stars in a spectacular spot in the Himalayan wilderness, waking up to views of Everest, and visiting the most beautiful local monastery to join the monks for morning prayer and lunch.
Overall, we promise you a truly extraordinary trip in this beguiling destination that will ensure you return feeling rewarded, restored and rejuvenated.
*To fully enjoy this trip, guests will require adequate mobility and agility.
What Makes this Trip Spectacular
Staying at The Happy House hosted by Ang Tshering Lama
We have booked out this beautiful wooden lodge exclusively for our group. Staying here, nestled in the mountains of the Lower Solukhumbu region, is an incredible experience – not only for its stunning location in a Beyul (‘sacred hidden valley’) in the Himalayas but also the privilege of being hosted by the owner, Ang Tshering Lama, in his amazing family home. Spending time with Ang is undoubtedly a highlight in itself. He is a local Sherpa legend and will take you to nearby villages, and monasteries built by his great-great-grandfather, to introduce you to the people who live there. He will give you an unrivalled insight into Tibetan Buddhism and Sherpa culture.
Hiking + sleeping under the stars in the Lower Solukhumbu region
This is Himalayan majesty at its best. You will be embarking on some wonderful walks encircled by this spectacular mountain scenery, including to the Chiwong Monastery and the Ratnange Ridge, where you will camp for one memorable night.
Rejuvenating yourself on a wonderful wellness escape
Focusing on wellness, spirituality and escapism, the itinerary has been carefully designed to be as revitalising as possible. You will enjoy a whole week of spiritual and cultural experiences, including sound healing and yoga with incredible teachers, Ramesh Sapkota and Rupesh Shrestha, monk-led meditation, singing bowl therapy sessions, massages and soaking up the local way of life accompanied by Ang Tshering Lama who is a local treasure. Dwarika’s Kathmandu, The Happy House and Dwarika’s Resort Dhulikhel all have wonderfully rejuvenating experiences on offer.
Support the Sir Edmund Hillary Hospital, Phaplu
Visit the Sir Edmund Hillary Hospital with Ang, the place where he was born. The Happy House works very closely with the hospital, regularly helping with the health camps and other medical initiatives. It is extremely inspiring to speak to the nurses and doctors and learn about the vital work they do here in Phaplu and all over Nepal. The price of this trip includes a £250 donation per person to the maternity ward here – the only one of its kind in the region – and where your contribution will go a very long way.
Our Last Trip
The world has transformed dramatically since cazenove+loyd was founded in 1993. On every trip we take, we wonder how that destination will look in another 30 years. We are passionate about our destinations and understand that it has become more important than ever to conserve their wildlife, habitats and communities for future generations.
Fly overnight to Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport.
Welcome to Kathmandu
You will be met at the airport and driven by private vehicle to Dwarika’s Hotel, a lovely heritage hotel in Kathmandu. After check-in, you can explore the Nepalese capital on foot with a specialist guide, soaking up the atmosphere and visiting one of the very few living cultural heritage sites in the world: the Pashupatinath Temple. The oldest temple here dates back to the 5th Century and is dedicated to Pashupati, a reincarnation of Lord Shiva (the lord of destruction). The complex is a combination of religion, art, culture and way of life of Nepal. Otherwise, we can book you a treatment of your choice in the incredible spa or you can just unwind and recover from your journey by the pool or in the stunning courtyard until a special welcome dinner.
Travel to The Happy House
After breakfast, you will be taken to Kathmandu’s domestic airport for your 40-minute helicopter charter flight to Phaplu, a village in eastern Nepal. This is a mesmerising journey, delivering splendid panoramic views over the Kathmandu Valley and east towards the Lower Solukhumbu region. On arrival, you will be met by the most wonderful team who will take your luggage ahead and guide you along a short walk through the village from the helipad to The Happy House, your idyllic home for the next five days, hosted by the wonderful Ang Tshering Lama.
The Happy House
At an altitude of 2,500m above sea level, The Happy House is surrounded by pine trees, wild rhododendron forests and the ancient yak trade routes. Named the 'Best Remote Retreat' in the Tatler Travel Awards 2021, and belonging to Ang Tshering Lama and his family, the house includes 10 suites, a large living room with several fireplaces, an outstanding library filled with the most enlightening books, a meditation and yoga room, and a beautiful traditional kitchen. There is also an exquisite treatment room and a sauna, as well as an in-house yoga teacher and two massage therapists who will be available throughout your stay. The Everest climber Sir Edmund Hillary, who frequently stayed here during his annual visits to Nepal between 1974 and 2001, referred to it as his ‘happy place’, hence its name: The Happy House. However, it was built and decorated under the patronage of another explorer: Count Guido Monzino from Lake Como, Italy. Monzino led the most extravagant Everest expedition to date, with up to 6,000 porters carrying leather sofas, gambling tables, fine wines and enough pasta to wrap around Everest. Most of the furniture that made it to Everest Basecamp is now at The Happy House.
Hike to Chiwong Monastery
After breakfast, you will set off on a hike to Chiwong Monastery with Ang as your guide. The team at The Happy House is large, so we can cater to all levels of fitness and ability. Built in 1918 by Sange Lama, this Buddhist monastery lies on a cliff overlooking the entire Phaplu Valley and beyond. It hosts the annual Mani Rimdu festival, one of the oldest and most important festivals of Tibet. There are around 40 monks residing here, including young students who start their monastic studies at an early age. It is a fascinating place to visit.
A simple lunch will be served at the monastery and afterwards you will participate in afternoon prayers, taking time to meditate with the monks, which is a truly uplifting experience. You will have the choice as to whether to walk, cycle or be driven back to The Happy House, where you can enjoy some downtime – either having a private yoga lesson in the yoga room, an Ayurvedic treatment or just sitting back with a book in the library or by the roaring fire and enjoying the stunning views until dinner.
Visit the Thupten Chöling Monastery + the village of Junbesi
After breakfast, you will be taken on a scenic drive to Thupten Chöling Monastery, which is regarded as one of the most sacred and important monastaries of Tibetan Buddhism outside of Tibet. It was the seat of the late Trulshik Rinpoche, the 31st reincarnated master of the oldest Buddhist school of Tibet. Trulshik Rinpoche was one of the teachers of the Dalai Lama. The monastery once served as the largest monastery in Nepal, housing some 900 monks and nuns, and at one point, it was also the largest Tibetan resettlement camp in Nepal for Tibetans fleeing the Chinese occupation of Tibet. Ang knows the monks here well and will introduce you to them. He has arranged access to the main prayer hall and those interested can take part in the daily prayers and morning meditation session with the monks. Others can enjoy the amazing architecture and artworks all around the monastery.
Ang will then accompany you on foot to the village of Junbesi. According to Buddhist texts, the village is known as ‘Moon Valley’, where the moon, impressed by its beauty, came down to kiss the Earth. It is also considered to be the cradle of Sherpa culture. When the first Tibetans migrated from over the Himalayas, in the 1600s, to escape the Mongol invasion of their homeland, they settled in this village and made it their home. In Junbesi, you will also find Nepal’s first Sherpa monastery, built in 1635 and completely restored after the earthquake.
After lunch, you can either walk, mountain-bike or be driven back to The Happy House for a relaxing evening. We recommend mountain-biking, as it is a fantastic way to see the verdant valleys and you can go as slowly or fast as you like.
Trek to Ratnange Ridge + camp in the wilderness
You will begin your day with a guided meditation and yoga class, followed by breakfast in the lovely garden. Afterwards, for those who wish, Ang can take you on a walk around the local village, stopping by the Sangey Lama house, which was the first house in Phaplu, built in 1920. Afterwards, you will continue to Sir Edmund Hillary Hospital, built by Sir Edmund Hillary in the early seventies, with which The Happy House works very closely. It is extremely inspiring to talk to the doctors and nurses and learn more about their amazing health services here in Phaplu and all over Nepal. The trip price includes a £250 donation per person to the hospital’s maternity ward – the only one of its kind in the region – and where your contribution will make a big difference. Next, you will go to the only English school in Phaplu, which provides free education to the children of the village.
Following a revitalising lunch in The Happy House’s garden, you will begin your walk with Ang to Ratnange Ridge (3,200m), passing through Chinakpu (‘the Magic Forest’). This is a spine-tingling experience in itself, as you really feel its energy as you walk. Once you reach the top, you will be awestruck by the majestic vistas of the eastern Himalayas, including Mount Everest, bathed in the golden light of dusk. On arrival, you will be provided with a basin of warm water, hot towels and biodegradable body wipes to wash. Afterwards, sip a glass of red wine and enjoy a delicious dinner in a traditional Mongolian ger, put up just for you, followed by an evening around an open fire under Hermès cashmere blankets (made in Nepal). You will sleep under the stars in cosy expedition tents fully equipped with mattresses and hot-water bottles. Camping in this remote spot, on completely private land, is an incredibly memorable experience and undoubtedly a highlight of the trip.
Enjoy a village walk to Chyalsa
You will wake up to the sounds of nature and watch the sun rise over the eastern Himalayas, an experience that will stay with you forever. A delicious cooked breakfast of omelette, toast, yogurt – the works – will be served on a beautifully laid table under the gaze of Everest. The views from Ratnange Ridge are truly breathtaking. After breakfast, you will walk along the Ratnange Ridge to the village of Chyalsa and explore the monastery there with Ang. He will also show you the once-buzzing Tibetan resettlement camp and handicraft centres, an intriguing experience.
Lunch will be a delicious picnic in the village, after which you will return to The Happy House on foot, which takes about two-and-a-half hours, or by car if you prefer. The rest of the afternoon will be spent at the house, so you can have a massage, do some yoga, use the sauna or just put your feet up and enjoy your awe-inspiring surroundings. In the evening, everyone will come together for a special farewell dinner in an intricately hand-painted room lit by gently flickering butter lamps.
Fly by helicopter up to Everest
This morning, you will be free to enjoy a tranquil morning and delicious lunch before your helicopter transfer to Dhulikel. Or for those who are interested, and depending on the weather, we can arrange for an extra private helicopter charter to fly you up to a very special spot near the Basecamp, with jaw-dropping views of Everest and its surrounding mountains, before breakfast at Yeti Mountain Home at Kongde or the slightly lower Everest View Hotel. Afterwards, you will touch down at The Happy House to load your luggage into the helicopter and then fly onwards to Dwarika’s Resort Dhulikhel, where you will spend your next two days relaxing in the hills and enjoying the numerous fantastic wellness experiences on offer here.
Dwarika’s Resort Dhulikhel
Set on more than 20 acres and offering panoramic views of the Himalayas, this owner-run hotel is designed in the spirit of a traditional Nepali village, with trails, glades and terraced farms interspersed within verdant woodland. Its spa treatments and meditation rooms help maintain harmony between the body, mind, spirit and earth.
Relax + rejuvenate at Dwarika’s
For those who wish, we can arrange a morning at Bhaktapur, the Dhulikhel region’s most medieval city, as well as local hikes, but we suggest making the most of this idyllic mountain retreat’s fantastic wellness offering. This wonderful place is all about health, happiness and wellbeing. Here, you can spend your time relaxing by the gorgeous infinity pool or enjoying chakra sound therapy, crystal healing, daily yoga and meditation sessions, private ayurvedic consultations or massage treatments. We also love the pottery and art classes here, which are as fun as they are therapeutic.
On your last evening, we have arranged a very special six-course dinner at Mako’s Zen, the hotel’s ‘Japanese Zen Buddhist’ restaurant, taken exclusively for us. The dishes here are creative, light, delicious and nutritious, based on the diet originally followed by monks in training. They play on the five tastes (hot, sour, sweet, bitter and salty), five colours (red, white, black, green and yellow) and five ways of cooking (raw, boiling, roasting, steaming and frying).
Fly to Kathmandu + travel home
Today, you will travel in a private vehicle to Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport in time for your onward flight home.
Travel with Experts
Meet Your Guides
Ang Tshering Lama, your excellent local guide, comes from the Lower Solukhumbu region and was born in the Edmund Hillary Hospital, Phaplu. After growing up between Kathmandu and the mountains, he moved to the United States in his late teens and studied finance in New York. After graduating, he worked as a budget analyst for a year until he felt the mountains calling him home. Since returning to Nepal, he has put his heart and soul into restoring The Happy House to what it is today – a beautifully crafted home. He knows the surrounding area and its people like the back of his hand, and spends his time mountain-biking, doing yoga, reading and anything else that positively balances the mind and body.
Henrietta Loyd, the Co-Owner + Founder of cazenove+loyd, will personally host this trip. Henrietta has wanted to visit Nepal for years and was enthralled by the feedback from a recent trip made by one of the team. She has assiduously honed every detail of this fabulous itinerary, which is all about wellness, spirituality and escapism – all things she loves and resonates with. She believes nothing should be compromised. This means having The Happy House all to yourselves, sleeping under the stars in a stunning spot in the Himalayan wilderness or getting private access to a fascinating monastery and meditating with monks.
THE BENEFITS OF SMALL GROUP TRAVEL
Our hand-picked specialists, guides and leaders ensure unrivalled insider access that you wouldn't normally be able to achieve unless you were travelling as a group, allowing guests to experience the destination in a very special way.
Small group travel gives you an amazing opportunity to spend time with true experts in their field. Each trip is accompanied by an owner – either Christopher Wilmot-Sitwell or Henrietta Loyd – as well as top specialists, guides and leaders.
Our small trips often form the beginning of life-long friendships. Much of the journey is spent as a group, but there is plenty of time to relax and enjoy your own space too. Henrietta and Christopher are brilliant at reading their guests and being proactive and reactive to the flow of the trip.
From £5,995 / US$8,635 per person sharing
Single supplement: £1,200 / US$1,725
+ Accommodation and breakfast, lunch + dinner, as specified, for eight nights with the group
+ All drinks at the Happy House
+ Helicopter transfers
+ Specialist guiding and private access, as specified, with the group
+ Tips to cover all involved in Nepal
+ £250 / US$360 donation to the maternity ward at Sir Edmund Hillary Hospital, Phaplu
+ Return international flights
+ Alcohol at Dwarika’s Kathmandu and Dwarika’s Resort Dhulikel
+ Spa + massage treatments
+ Optional Everest helicopter fly-by – £1,495 / US$2,150 per person based on three sharing
+ Travel insurance
Our small group trips are in some of the most ecologically and culturally sensitive parts of the world. With that in mind, most of our itineraries include an inbuilt donation to a local initiative that you are likely to visit on the trip.
The price of all of our small group trips includes domestic flights but excludes international flights. We suggest flights for our clients that work well with the itinerary and are happy to book and manage these flights. However, guests can also book their own international flights if they would prefer.
We have a fantastic VIP service in place to help you navigate the airport and make your journey as smooth and easy as possible. We can collect you from your home, take you to the airport and escort you through check-in and immigration to avoid any queues, straight through to the airport lounge before boarding your flight. The same service can be put in place on your return journey.
We understand that one of the most important factors to our clients is flexibility in order to give you as much assurance as possible when booking your next trip. We are on hand to discuss with you the latest updates on flexibility on any one of our small group trips.
We have excellent relationships with a handful of insurance companies who provide various forms of cover. Each one offers a different policy with varying terms and conditions, so we strongly recommend getting a series of quotes and discussing your personal requirements in detail with them in order to find the best one for you.
Booking and travelling with an accredited tour operator is more important than ever. cazenove+loyd is a bonded tour operator and is ATOL protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). Our ATOL number is 3208. This means that the UK government guarantees all funds paid out to a bonded operator and is bound to pay in full if the bond holder is unable to deliver as contracted. This gives our clients peace of mind and full financial protection. Please see our booking conditions for further information.
We have put the relevant measures in place on every one of our small group trips, so that we are ready to welcome you safely. Sanitation and hygiene in our vehicles and the properties in which we will be staying are extensive, with cleaning protocols rigidly followed as well as other necessary safety requirements.
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