Highlights of Bhutan & Nepal - 15 Days
From 2020-02-29 to 2021-12-25
14 breakfasts, 8 lunches and 9 dinners including dinner at a Nepali cultural evening.
5 nights 3-4 star hotels and 1 night camping near the banks of scenic Mo Chu River - in Bhutan, 8 nights 4 star hotels - in Nepal.
Airport arrival and departure transfer on day 1 & day 15 (only).
Guided sightseeing of Paro, Thimphu, Punakha and the Punakha Valley, Kathmandu, Patan, Bhaktapur and Pokhara.
Economy class flight from Pokhara to Kathmandu .
Traditional Bhutanese dinner at a farm house, giving you the opportunity to interact with a local family.
Chitwan National Park jeep safari in the buffer zone, jungle activities and park fees.
Rickshaw ride in Kathmandu.
Boating on Lake Phewa in Pokhara.
Escorted by a licensed English-speaking local tour guide.
All relevant transfers and transportation in private A/C vehicles.
Entrance fees for all included sightseeing in Bhutan.
All Bhutan government royalties and taxes.
Bhutan Visa fee and travel Permit (excludes visa admin fee of USD$20 pp, payable upon arrival).
Itinerary / more information
Day 1 - Paro Saturday. Welcome to Bhutan and the start of your holiday! You’ll be met at Paro Airport and transferred to your hotel to enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.
Day 2 - Thimphu Paro - Thimphu. We begin our journey at the 17th-century Ta Dzong watchtower, home to Bhutan's National Museum. After a guided tour, we visit the nearby Rinpung Dzong monastery, which appears in the Hollywood film Little Buddha. Later this afternoon we drive to the capital city of Thimphu and visit the weekend market, where local vendors set up shop and sell their produce every Friday through Sunday.
Day 3 - Thimphu Today we enjoy a guided sightseeing tour of Thimphu. Bhutan’s capital merges its ancient Buddhist customs with a rapidly modernising society, creating a truly different experience. We’ll visit the sacred Memorial Chorten stupa, the vast National Library, the scenic Drubthob Nunnery, the Folk Heritage Museum, and of course the Takin Preserve, home to Bhutan’s goat-like national animal.
Our tour will also introduce us to local arts and cuisine, with stops at various workshops producing a range of lovely handicrafts.
Day 4 - Punakha Thimphu - Punakha. This morning, we drive through lush forest to the 3050m-high Dochu La Pass, stopping briefly before proceeding to the Punakha Valley. We'll trek up to Chimi Lhakhang Temple, dedicated to Drukpa Kunley, a lama known as the 'Divine Mad Monk' for his unorthodox teaching methods. We then continue to the beautiful Punakha Dzong, one of Bhutan's most architecturally striking monasteries, which is located at the confluence of two rivers.
Later this afternoon we head to our campsite on the banks of the Mo Chu River, where we have time to settle. Perhaps try a traditional hot stone bath and local drinks in the early evening before dinner.
Day 5 - Punakha Punakha - Paro. After breakfast, we embark on a scenic hike (2-2.5 hrs) to the Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten, a small but majestic hill temple looking down on the Punakha Valley. We'll also drive to the picturesque villages along the valley ridge. After stopping for a picnic lunch, we visit Sangchen Dorji Lhendrup Nunnery, with fantastic views of the Punakha and Wangdue valleys. Apart from religious training, the nuns are taught skills such as embroidery, tailoring and statue making. After our visit to the nunnery, we drive to back to Paro.
Day 6 - Paro Today we embark on a 4-6 hour hike to the incredible sight of Taktshang Pelphung (Tiger’s Nest), one of Bhutan's most sacred monasteries. Built on the face of a sharp cliff 900m above Paro Valley, Taktshang itself is only accessible on foot, though you can ride a pony for part of the journey (must be arranged in advance).
From the main trail, we take a steep hour-long walk up to a cafeteria for a short break, with views of the monastery. The trail continues uphill for another 45 minutes to a high vantage point, then descends past a dramatic waterfall and hermitage, before a flight of steep steps leading to the monastery.
After exploring the monastery's shrines and temples, we return to the cafeteria for lunch, before trekking back to Paro. This evening we enjoy a traditional Bhutanese dinner at a farm house, giving you the opportunity to interact with a local family and learn about the local cuisine of Bhutan.
Day 7 - Paro Friday. Paro - Kathmandu. Our tour of Bhutan concludes after breakfast today. A departure transfer will take you to Paro airport for your flight to Kathmandu in Nepal.
Note: The flight from Paro to Kathmandu is not included in the cost of the tour. Drukair fly direct. If you provide us with your flight details, we will be there to meet you at Kathmandu airport and transfer you to your hotel.
Day 8 - Kathmandu Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, seamlessly merges ancient tradition with cosmopolitan crowds. In the morning we visit the significant worship site of Bodhnath stupa, home to spinning prayer wheels and prostrating pilgrims. We then travel to the ancient town of Bhaktapur, a World Heritage site famed for its art and architecture, including the vast Bhaktapur Durbar Square. We’ll watch local families make the unique Ju Ju dhau (yoghurt), and try crafting pottery ourselves. Our final stop is the old Newari city of Patan, which has its own Durbar Square. We end the evening with dinner and a traditional Nepali dance performance.
Day 9-10 - Chitwan National Park Kathmandu – Chitwan. On day 9 we travel by road to Chitwan National Park, arriving in time for lunch. Hailed as one of Asia’s finest game parks, Chitwan is home to more than 500 species including the vulnerable one horned rhinoceros, gharial crocodile, Indian elephant, sambar deer, bison, striped hyenas and vultures. This afternoon or tomorrow, we'll take a jeep safari through the buffer zone that adjoins the national park. The remainder of our stay offers free time for you to choose from the various optional activities available in Chitwan National Park. You can opt for additional safaris within the park or buffer zone, take part in a nature walk or journey in a dugout canoe and admire the scenery - if you are lucky you may even see an elusive and endangered Bengal tiger!
Day 11 - Pokhara Chitwan NP - Pokhara. We continue to Pokhara, the lakeside city at the gates of the famous Annapurna Range, consisting of five mountains over 7200m and the 7000m Machhapuchara Mountain, considered so sacred by locals that it is closed off to climbers. Enjoy an afternoon of rest in the city, and perhaps wander round its museums and markets.
Day 12 - Boating on Lake Phewa This morning, watch the sunrise from the Pokhara World Peace Pagoda, which offers impressive views of the Annapurna range from its hilltop location. A two-hour walk through Raniban forest takes us down to Lake Phewa for a short cruise. In the afternoon we visit a Tibetan refugee camp and a local school, before observing daily prayers at Matepani Monastery.
Day 13 - R&R in Pokhara Today is a free day for you to explore Pokhara and participate in optional activities such as paragliding, ultra-light flight, zip line, bungy jump, mountain biking, cycling, boating and horse riding, or if you prefer, simply relax down by the lake.
Day 14 - Kathmandu Pokhara - Kathmandu. This morning, we take a short flight back to Kathmandu. We continue exploring the city in the afternoon, admiring the views from the beautiful Swayambhunath stupa before walking to Kathmandu Durbar Square, home to over 50 incredible temples and shrines. We’ll also traverse the city streets by rickshaw, from Hanuman Dhaka to Thamel, immersing ourselves in Kathmandu’s daily life. We finish the day with an evening walk around the vibrant Thamel Market.
Day 15 - Kathmandu Saturday. Our tour comes to an end today with a transfer to Kathmandu Airport. An optional Everest scenic flight is offered on the morning of day 8 or day 15 (subject to availability) so if you’d like to book this please ensure that your onward flight on day 15 does not depart before midday.
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