TOUR CODE: PJKTBN
Trip Type: Independent Journey
This ten-day Nepal & Bhutan journey covers two of the Himalayas’ most beautiful nations – Nepal and Bhutan. Our adventure begins from Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, nestled in the mighty Himalayan ranges and is home to the tallest peak in the world, the towering Mount Everest. We will explore Nepal’s authentic art and culture in the UNESCO-listed heritage sites in Kathmandu and admire the blend of mountains and lush landscape from a popular hill station – Nagarkot. From Kathmandu, we board a scenic mountain flight to the pristine country of Bhutan. The lush landscape, magnificent ancient temples, vibrant culture, calm and unpolluted atmosphere, and natural beauty will enchant you.
ARRIVE KATHMANDU (D)
We arrive in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. Meet your guide at the airport for your transfer to the hotel. After check-in, the rest of the day is at leisure.
Located in the northern part of the country, Nepal is a mountainous nation with Kathmandu as its capital and largest city. It was once known as ‘Kantipur’ (City of Glory), nestled 4,594 feet above sea level and surrounded by four major mountains: Shivapuri, Phulchoki Nagarjun, and Chandragiri. Kathmandu has the most UNESCO-listed World Heritage Sites among the world’s capitals. In Nepal, people do not shake hands; they touch palms and bow, saying ‘Namaste,’ which means ‘I salute the God within you.’
DURBAR SQUARE/SWAYAMBHUNATH/PATAN (B/D)
Visit Durbar Square and its ancient temples with beautifully carved exteriors. Embark on a rickshaw ride through narrow alleys and observe local life from close range. Then, visit the temple of the Living Goddess, Kumari, wherein a girl is chosen through an ancient and mystical selection to become the human incarnation of the Hindu Goddess, Taleju. Learn fascinating stories about worshipping the Kumari from your local experts. We will have the opportunity to meet with an ex-Kumari – The custom of worshipping a pre-pubescent girl, who is not a born goddess, as the source of supreme power is an old Hindu-Buddhist tradition that continues to this day in Nepal. Next, visit Swayambhunath stupa on a hill outside the city. In all directions, its golden spire and lofty white dome can be seen from miles away. From its hilltop setting, you can get a panoramic view of Kathmandu valley on a clear day. We travel through Kathmandu Valley to Patan, a Buddhist and Hindu culture hub full of religious art, temples, and monasteries. Stroll through Patan Durbar Square, which holds the greatest concentration of Newari architecture anywhere in the valley. In the fascinating narrow streets surrounding the square, there are more than 600 stupas.
Take a morning excursion to Bhaktapur’s UNESCO World Heritage site, known as the town of the Devotees in the Kathmandu Valley, with an altitude of 4,596 feet. This ancient city exhibits Newari art and architecture from the Malla period (13th – 18th century). Its main attraction is Durbar Square – the palace complex. Continue to the hilltop temple of Changu Narayan, one of seven structures cited by UNESCO as demonstrating the historic and artistic achievements that make the Kathmandu Valley a World Heritage Site. Continue travel to Nagarkot, noted for its striking views of the Himalayas, including Mount Everest to the northeast. Among all the places for mountain viewing in the Kathmandu Valley, Nagarkot is considered the best. On a clear day, you can see Mt. Everest (Sagarmatha) from Nagarkot.
PASHUPATINATH TEMPLE/BODHANATH (B/D)
Visit the sacred Pashupatinath Temple, an extensive collection of temples, ashrams, images, and inscriptions raised over the centuries along the banks of the sacred Bagmati river. It is one of seven monument groups in UNESCO’s designation of Kathmandu Valley and one of the most important places of pilgrimages for Hindus. The temple is open to Hindus only, but you can get a good view of the temple from the river’s opposite bank. Continue to Boudhanath sits at about 131 feet high and is one of Kathmandu Valley’s most important Buddhist stupas.
Transfer to the airport to board a scenic flight to Paro, a historic town in the Paro Valley of Bhutan. Upon arrival in the Dragon Kingdom, we travel to Thimphu, the Bhutanese capital. In the afternoon, visit the Folk Heritage Museum and the Takin Preserve, where you can spot Bhutan’s national animal.
Today we enjoy a full day of sightseeing, including stops at the Memorial Chorten – a beautiful stupa built in memory of Bhutan’s third king. Next, tour the Institute for Zorig Chusum, commonly known as the painting school, which operates four to six-year courses that provide instruction in Bhutan’s 13 traditional arts and crafts. Stop at the Handicrafts Emporium, a government-run enterprise that displays a wide range of beautifully hand-woven textiles and craft products. The National Library holds a vast collection of ancient Buddhist texts, manuscripts, and modern academic books. It also carries a small group of books on Bhutan, Buddhism, and Himalayan culture. We continue to Tashichho Dzong, the “fortress of the glorious religion” initially erected in 1641 and rebuilt by King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in the 1960s. Tashichhö Dzong has been the seat of Bhutan’s government since 1968, housing the throne room and offices of the king, the cabinet secretariat, and the ministries of home affairs and finance. In the evening, take a stroll along the town’s main street.
Set out for Punakha, climbing up through oak, pine, and rhododendron forest to reach Dochu La Pass at 10,300 feet. Stop for a break and enjoy the panoramic views of the majestic Himalayas Mountains. Continue to the spectacular Punakha Valley, and visit Chimi Lhakhang, a 15th-century fertility Shrine. Then see the impressive Punakha Dzong, a massive structure built at the confluence of the Pho Chu and Mo Chu rivers and an exemplary masterpiece of Bhutanese architecture.
Rise early for a hike of approximately 2.5 hours up through rice fields and along the banks of the Mo Chu river to the Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten, a stunning temple located on a hill with spectacular views of the valley below. We explore the area and drive to the picturesque villages scattered along a ridge above the Punakha Valley. We stop for a picnic lunch in the afternoon before visiting Sangchen Dorji Lhendrup Nunnery, perched on a cliff with spectacular views of the Punakha and Wangdue valleys. Apart from religious training, the nuns also learn the skills such as embroidery, tailoring, and statue making. Afterward, we continued our drive to Paro.
In the morning, visit the Taktsang Monastery, known as Tiger’s Nest, on the cliffside of the upper Paro valley. We take a 2.5-hour hike to the monastery. We stop at the Viewpoint, where we enjoy a spectacular view of the monastery clinging to the side of the cliff. A fire damaged the main structure of the monastery in 1998. After many years of painstaking restoration work, the complex has been fully restored to its former glory. Take an evening stroll along the main street or enjoy refreshments at a local café or bar.
PARO DEPARTURE (B)
Our tour concludes today after breakfast. A departure transfer will take you to Paro airport for your onward travel.
Meals: B= Breakfast L=Lunch D=Dinner
Per person, based on double occupancy
|Start Date||End Date||Standard Hotels||Solo Traveler Supplement||Upgrade Hotels||Solo Traveler Supplement|
|Mar 14||Mar 23||$4,399||$1,399||$5,399||$2,299|
|Apr 11||Apr 20||$4,399||$1,399||$5,399||$2,299|
|May 09||May 18||$4,399||$1,399||$5,399||$2,299|
|Jun 20||Jun 29||$4,299||$1,199||$4,999||$1,899|
|Jul 11||Jul 20||$4,299||$1,199||$4,999||$1,899|
|Aug 08||Aug 17||$4,299||$1,199||$4,999||$1,899|
|Sep 19||Sep 28||$4,399||$1,399||$5,399||$2,299|
|Oct 10||Oct 19||$4,399||$1,399||$5,399||$2,299|
|Nov 07||Nov 16||$4,399||$1,399||$5,399||$2,299|