NEPAL & BHUTAN

Kathmandu, Patan, Bhaktapur, Nagarkot, Paro, Thimphu & Punakha

Overview

TOUR CODE: PJKTBN

Trip Type: Independent Journey

This ten days journey covers two of Himalaya’s 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, the calm and unpolluted atmosphere, and the natural beauty will enchant you.

What’s Included

Standard Hotels:

  • 4 nights in a Deluxe room at Aloft Hotel in Kathmandu
  • 2 nights in a Standard room at Ariya Hotel in Thimpu
  • 1 night in a Standard room at Green Resort in Punakha
  • 2 nights in a Standard room at Naksel Hotel in Paro
  • 23 Meals: 9 breakfast, 5 lunches, and 9 dinners
  • Transfers and sightseeing tours as specified in the itinerary
  • Hotel taxes and service charge

Upgrade Hotels:

  • 4 nights in a Heritage Deluxe room at Dwarika’s Hotel in Kathmandu
  • 2 in a D-light room at dusitD2 Yarkay Hotel in Thimpu
  • 1 night in a Suite room at Dhensa Boutique Resort in Punakha
  • 2 nights in a Classic room at Le Meridien  Hotel in Paro
  • 23 Meals: 9 breakfast, 5 lunches, and 9 dinners
  • Transfers and sightseeing tours as specified in the itinerary
  • Hotel taxes and service charge

Itinerary

DAY 01

ARRIVE KATHMANDU (D)

We arrive in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. Meet your guide at the airport for your transfer to the hotel. The rest of the day is free at leisure.

 

Kathmandu is the capital and the largest city of the mountainous nation of Nepal. The city was once known as ‘Kantipur’ (City of Glory), nestled about 4,594 feet above sea level and surrounded by four major mountains: Shivapuri, Phulchoki Nagarjun, and Chandragiri. Kathmandu has the densest UNESCO-listed World Heritage Sites among the capitals of the world. People in Nepal do not greet each other with a handshake, and they touch their palms and bow, saying ‘Namaste,’ which means ‘I salute the God in you.’

DAY 02

DURBAR SQUARE/SWAYAMBHUNATH/PATAN (B/D)

After breakfast, visit Durbar Square with its old temples and beautifully carved exteriors. Later, visit Kumari Temple, home to the world’s only living Goddess. Then venture outside of the city to see the hilltop Swayambhunath stupa. Its lofty white dome and glittering golden spire are visible for miles away and from all sides of the valley. On each of the four sides of the main stupa, there are a pair of big eyes. These eyes are symbolic of God’s all-seeing perspective. There is no nose between the eyes but rather a representation of the number one in the Nepali alphabet, signifying that the single way to enlightenment is through the Buddhist path. 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 hub of Buddhist and Hindu culture, 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.

 

The Patan Museum is the restored palace of the 17th century Malla Kings and houses bronze statues and religious objects, some dating back to the 11th century. The gilded doors and windows open to the Krishna Mandir Temple built by King Siddhi Narasigh Malla in 1637 and is still in use. The temple has three floors and 21 golden pinnacles. The first floor enshrines Krishna, the second is Shiva, and the third is Lokeshwor. Late afternoon we return to our hotel.

DAY 03

BHAKTAPUR/CHANGU/NAGARKOT (B/D)

A morning excursion takes us to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Bhaktapur, 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 the Durbar Square – the palace complex. Continue to the hilltop temple of Changu Narayan, the oldest Vishnu shrine in Kathmandu Valley. The two-story temple has many intricate carvings of the ten incarnations of Vishnu and different multi-armed tantric goddesses. Changu Narayan’s true gems are the Lichhavai period (4th to 9th centuries), stone, wood, and metal carvings in the courtyard surrounding the main temple. The Changu Narayan Temple is 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.

DAY 04

PASHUPATINATH/BODHANATH (B/D)

Located on the banks of the Bagmati River, the sacred Pashupatinath Temple is a manifestation of Shiva and means ‘The Lord of Animal.’ This temple has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979. The temple premise consists of temples, ashrams, idols, and inscriptions added over centuries. The temple is the ultimate destination for devotees during the Maha Shivaratri Festival, where a crowd of thousands gathers to pay homage to Lord Shiva. The main temple within the complex is of pagoda shape with golden roof and silver doors on all four sides of the temple. Inside the temple is a Shiva linga with four faces of Shiva, with four different names and significances. Pashupatinath area is one of the most important places of pilgrimages for Hindus.  Thousands of devotees from all around the world come to Pashupatinath every day. The temple permits only Hindus, but you can get a good view of the temple from the river’s opposite bank. Every evening aarti (light offering) to Lord Shiva is performed, observed from across the river. The view of Arya Ghat (cremation ground only for Hindu) is also possible from the spot. Continue to Boudhanath, the largest stupa in Kathmandu Valley at about 131 feet high and one of the most important Buddhist stupas. The all-seeing red, white and blue eyes of Buddha are painted on all four sides of the stupa and surrounded by hundreds of fluttering prayer flags, prayer wheels, and small images of Buddha.

DAY 05

KATHMANDU/PARO/THIMPHU (B/L/D)

Transfer to the airport to board a scenic flight to Paro, a historic town located 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.

DAY 06

THIMPHU (B/L/D)

Today we enjoy a full day of sightseeing, including stops at the Memorial Chorten – a beautiful stupa built in the 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.

DAY 07

THIMPHU/PUNAKHA (B/L/D)

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, 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.

DAY 08

PUNAKHA/PARO (B/L/D)

Rise early for a hike 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.

DAY 09

PARO (B/L/D)

In the morning, take a 20-minute drive to the base camp of Taktsang Monastery, known as Tiger’s Nest, located on the cliffside of the upper Paro valley. We take a 1.5-hour hike to the viewpoint, where we enjoy a spectacular view of the monastery clinging to the side of the cliff. Continue our walk one hour further up to the monastery. It is said that Guru Rinpoche, the founding father of the Bhutanese form of Mahayana Buddhism, arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at this monastery. The main structure of the monastery was damaged by fire in 1998. After many years of painstaking restoration work, the complex has been fully restored to its former glory. Later on, take an evening stroll along the main street or enjoy refreshments at a local café or bar.

DAY 10

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

Contact us at (800) 988-4833 or Email us to Book this Trip NOW!

Dates & Prices

Per person, based on double occupancy

    Departure DatesLand OnlySolo Traveler Supplement
    Standard Hotels
    2022
    May 01 - 31$3,299$999
    Jun 01 - Aug 21$2,899$999
    Aug 22 - Nov 30$3,299
    Upgrade Hotels
    2022
    Mar 01 - May 31$4,499$1,999
    Jun 01 - Aug 21$3,999$1,699
    Aug 22 - Nov 30$4,499$1,999
    Prices listed are per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. This is a land-only package without international and internal airfares. Rate is not valid during the Thimphu festival from Oct 04-09, 2022. Tour prices include hotel taxes and service charges. (LO100621/C10)
    Click on Terms & Conditions for important information.
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