Nepal and Bhutan, Cultural Discovery

Start with sightseeing in Kathmandu, the busy capital of Nepal, followed by a scenic flight, passing Mount Everest, on route to Paro in Bhutan.  Visit monasteries, walk through agricultural landscapes and end with a walk up to the Tiger’s Nest Monastery.  The best times for this itinerary are mid-March to May and October & November.  There is an OPTION to extend the trip with a trek or more sightseeing and wildlife in Nepal

BOOK NOW

Day 1

Arrive at Kathmandu airport (1400m), pass through immigration and meet up with your vehicle to take you to your hotel in the tourist area of Thamel, close to shops, money changers and plenty of restaurants.  Check in to the hotel and enjoy the rest of the day to relax.  Optional visit to The Garden of Dreams, near the Royal Palace

Day 2

Sightseeing in Kathmandu with your private guide and transport.  Visit Swoyambhunath a.k.a. Monkey Temple – the Buddhist temple on top of a hill, over looking the city with many monkeys running around.  Access is up steps, with colourful pray flags flapping overhead.  Drive the short distance to Kathmandu Durbar Square and see the many historical buildings, some of which were sadly damaged in the 2015 earthquake.  See various temples and chowks - if you are very lucky you might see the Kumari Goddess in her house – The Kumari Bahal.  Return to your hotel to relax for the remainder of the day

Day 3 

Sightseeing with your guide and private transport.  Visit Pashupatinath to see the cremation ghats, the Hindu temple which is the most important in Nepal for Hindus and the Holy men – Sadhus, before going to Bodhnath Stupa – the largest in Nepal and one of the biggest in the world.  Walk around the stupa, in a clockwise direction and visit one of the Gompas with their paintings and prayer wheels.  Return to your hotel to relax for the remainder of the day

Day 4

Sightseeing in Bhaktapur with your guide and transport.  The 3rd major town in the valley, about 1 hour east of Kathmandu.  Visit the squares, see the temples, 5 story buildings and walk in the narrow streets soaking up the atmosphere of this interesting area.  Return to your hotel

Day 5

Fly to Paro (1 hour flight) with great views of the Himalayan range, arriving at the airport which is in a beautiful valley.  Pass through immigration and meet up with your driver, guide and private transport.  Drive to the capital city of Thimpu (54kms/ 1.5hr approx), following the river and seeing scenic landscapes along the way.  Check in to your hotel and acclimatise at 2250m for a 3-night stay

Days 6 & 7

Two full days of sightseeing in the Thimphu valley including the National Memorial Chorten, National Library, Institute for Zorig Chusum (Painting & Craft School), the tiny zoo which is home to the national animal of Bhutan – the Takin, (a cross between a goat and a cow), the Giant Golden Buddha statue, Tashichhodzong (Fortress), the nunnery and enjoy a walk at Sangaygane - a hill top adorned with lots of colourful prayer flags with fantastic views in to the valley.  On returning to the city, visit the local vegetable market (Saturday and Sunday) and the craft market for souvenirs

Day 8

Drive to Phobjikha, via the Dochula pass (3,050 m) - mountain views are spectacular from this vantage point, weather permitting.  Continue the drive towards Wangdue Phodrang (3.5hrs approx), located south of Punakha. The higher reaches of the Wangdue Phodrang Valley provide rich pastoral land for cattle. The district is famous for its fine bamboo work, stone carvings and slate, which is mined further up a valley.  Resume the drive towards Gangte Region, a.k.a. Phobjikha, (2.5hrs approx). Broad yak pastures, rhododendron and pine forests and the winding narrow road leads to a serene bowl-shaped valley. Flanked by the enigmatic yet untouched Black Mountains and the winter abode (Oct-Mar) to the migratory Black Necked Cranes, the Phobjikha Valley (2900m) has an unassuming charm about it.  Check in to your guest house 

Day 9

Visit the black-necked crane information centre and watch an interesting short film about the birds and the valley before enjoying a walk along the trail through the valley, woodland and up on to the ridge – about 2 hours – before arriving at the site of the 450-year-old Gangte Monastery which houses one of the largest prayer halls in Bhutan and gives shelter to about 100 resident monks.  Take the same route back to Wangdue Phodrang, this time heading north to Punaka, the capital of Bhutan until 1955.  Punakha, at 1500m, is the winter seat of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot).  Blessed with a temperate climate and fed by the Pho Chu (male) and Mo Chu (female) rivers, Punakha is the most fertile valley in the country.  Walk to the temple of the Divine Madman (Chimi Lhakhang) through the farmland and past the farmhouses to a hill with great views of the river valley below.  Check in to your hotel for a 2-night stay

Day 10

Drive to Yambesa (7kms from Punakha) and park by the Mo Chhu River.  Walk up through beautiful agricultural terraces to Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten (40mins approx) – an impressive 30m tall chorten, dedicated to protector deities, perched high on the hill with a bird’s eye view of the valley below.  After lunch visit Punakha Dzong which is strategically placed at the junction of the Pho Chu and Mo Chu rivers.  The dzong was built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to serve as the religious and administrative center for the region.  Damaged over the centuries by four catastrophic fires and an earthquake, the dzong has been fully restored in recent years by the present monarch.  Return to your hotel. 

Day 11

Return to Paro, (4-5 hours’ drive) via the Dochula pass, stopping for a break before continuing your journey. On the way, visit Tachogang Lhakhang bridge and temple before arriving in Paro.  The lovely valley in which Paro is nestled encapsulates a rich culture, scenic beauty and hundreds of myths and legends. It is home to many of Bhutan’s oldest temples and monasteries and the National Museum. Mt. Chomolhari (7,314m) dominates the northern end of the valley; its glacial waters plunging through deep gorges to form the Pa Chu (Paro river). The Paro valley is one of the kingdom’s most fertile, producing the bulk of Bhutan’s famous red rice from its terraced fields.  In the afternoon, visit the museum and fortress (which is lit up at night).  Return to your hotel for a 2-night stay – 2250m

Day 12

At about 8am, hike up to the famous Taktsang Monastery (Tiger's nest – 3000m), an iconic Bhutanese landmark set half way up a vertical cliff face. The upward climb through woodland, on an occasionally stony path, steep and rough in places, will take around 2 hours.  Take your time and enjoy the stunning views and stop at the halfway point for a refreshing cup of tea.  Local lore claims that it is here that Guru Padmasambhava landed on the back of a Tiger in the 8th century, and then proceeded to meditate for three months. In 1684 a monastery was built on the site to commemorate the event.  Return to Paro, stopping on the way to have lunch at a traditional farmhouse and to visit Kyichu Ikakhang temple where the wooden floor has worn away with so many pilgrims visiting.  There will be time for any last-minute souvenir shopping in the town before going back to your hotel

Day 13

Transfer to the airport and fly back to Kathmandu. Free day – optional sightseeing available or relax

Day 14 

Tour ends, return home or extend your trip with more sightseeing, wildlife or trekking in Nepal – please ask for more details

Write a review

Note: HTML is not translated!
    Bad           Good


Like this page
I already liked it
Like it

Trips to Nepal

Trips to Nepal

One of the smallest land-locked countries in the world, famous for its high mountain peaks, including Mount Everest, the highest in the world, and a further 7 of the top 10 worlds highest peaks, superb trekking, adventure, culture and scenery.

View all Trips to Nepal

Trips to India

Trips to India

India has everything to offer from excellent National Parks and mountains and desert landscapes to the sea – India is a photographer's, wildlife enthusiast's and traveler's dream destination!

View all Trips to India

Trips to Sri Lanka

Trips to Sri Lanka

A small country in the Indian Ocean, packed with so much to see and do. From the rain-forests to the mountains, beaches to National Parks,

View all Trips to Sri Lanka