THE KINGDOMS OF NEPAL AND BHUTAN
An 11 Day Tour
KATHMANDU – THIMPHU – PUNAKHA – PARO – KATHMANDU
Combine the ancient Kingdoms of Nepal and Bhutan on an encompassing tour taking in iconic monasteries and historic temples; captivating cultures and unparalleled countryside views. Discover the magic of the Kathmandu Valley before flying to Bhutan for a 6-night exploration of the best of the country.
- Explore the captivating historic durbars of the Kathmandu Valley
- Visit the medieval districts of Bhaktapur and Patan
- Hike to Bhutan’s most iconic site- the Taktshang Monastery
- Try your hand at Bhutan’s national sport – Archery
Arrive in Kathmandu and transfer to your centrally located hotel. Nepal’s capital is an intoxicating city with a fascinating cultural and artistic heritage. After settling into your hotel, take a walking tour to familiarise yourself with Kathmandu’s historic centre – Durbar Square. This is the sacred heart of Kathmandu and there are around 50 temples dotted around its labyrinth of narrow streets, whilst a myriad of vendors sell colourful vegetables and handcrafted souvenirs in a market place atmosphere. Near to the square you will find the UNESCO world heritage site of Swayambhunath, the most sacred Buddhist pilgrimage site in Nepal.
Finish the day with an exhilarating rickshaw ride to Thamel, a bustling district with traditional Nepali architecture and a great variety of characterful restaurants and shops.
Today is spent in the Kathmandu Valley in the medieval districts of Bhaktapur and Patan. Both will unveil different aspects of Nepalese historic and spiritual culture. Start in Bhaktapur’s own Durbar Square which showcases some of the finest architecture in Nepal. Visit the Royal Palace and the Golden Gate before heading to the Nyatapola Temple, the highest temple in the Kathmandu Valley offering splendid views of the landscape.
In the afternoon, stroll through Patan’s Durbar Square where pagoda style buildings create a serene and spiritual ambience. Visit the temples of Taleju and Sati before observing Patan’s bustling streets and bazaars through the hand-carved windows of Mahabouddha.
This evening dine with a local family before heading back to Kathmandu.
Approximately 8km outside of Kathmandu you will find the Pasupatinath Temple on the banks of the sacred River Baghmati. The oldest Hindu temple in the country, this is an important pilgrimage site and thousands of Hindus come to pay homage to Lord Shiva every year in the richly-ornamented complex of pagoda structures.
About a 20-minute drive from Pasupatinath, visit the world’s largest Buddhist Stupa – Bouddhanath. Observe and engage with the Tibetan monks who meander through the scared complex.
Take a morning flight to Paro before transferring to Bhutan’s capital Thimphu. The rest of the day is at a leisurely pace but a short-walking tour of the man street and markets are included to introduce you to the gentle way of Bhutanese life.
This evening enjoy a hot stone bath historically believed to have medicinal benefits in healing joint pain, hypertension, arthritis, and stomach disorders.
|Day 5||Today explore the absolute best of the Bhutan’s historic capital and the surrounding valley. Buddha Point is the perfect place to start to see the largest Buddha idol in the country and enjoy the exceptional views of Thimphu and the verdant valley. Continue to the King’s Memorial Chorten before heading to Simply Bhutan, a local enterprise employing young people and job seekers to help preserve and showcase Bhutanese culture through several imaginative mediums. See the ancient manuscripts at the National Library before ending your full-day tour at Thimphu’s most iconic site – the Tashicho Dzong Fortress, which was built in traditional Bhutanese style without nails or even set architectural plans.||Thimphu||Hotel Druk|
Travel through the scenic pass of Dochula Pass to Punakha. At over 3,000 metre high the views are spectacular and a stop can be made to admire the many chortens and prayer flags which are dotted around the highest point. A stop at Chimi Lhakhang can also be made en-route and the temple is known as the fertility temple thought to bless couples wanting children. A local village near the temple will give insight into local life and a nearby farmhouse is a perfect place for authentic lunch.
Reach Punakha in the early evening.
|Punakha||Meri Puensum Resort|
The Punakha Valley which beautifully surrounds the town offers itself to wonderful countryside walks. After breakfast, take a gentle hike to the Khamsum Yuelley Namgel Chorten through scenic pine forests. Arguably the finest example of Bhutanese architecture can also be found in the Punakha Valley at the Punakha Dzong. Located on the confluence of the Phochu and Mochu rivers, the Dzong is also one of the largest in the country at six-stories high and with a labyrinth of mesmerizing courtyards and interior corridors.
In the afternoon, visit the Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang (nunnery) where maginificant structures gleam against the countryside surroundings.
|Punakha||Meri Puensum Resort|
This morning drive to Paro following the route alongside the Wang Chhu and Paro Chhu river valleys. Before reaching Paro, make a brief stop at one of the oldest fortresses in Bhutan – Simtokha Dzong which now houses a school for the study of the Dzongkha language.
Reach Paro in the early afternoon and after checking-in to your hotel, proceed to visit Ta Dzong. Originally built as Watchtower, it now houses the National Museum with an extensive collection of antique thangka paintings, textiles, weapons & armour. Then walk down the trail to visit Rinpung Dzong, meaning (“fortress of the heap of jewels”), which has a long and fascinating history.
Try your hand at Bhutan’s national sport this evening – with a practical archery demonstration.
|Paro||The Village Lodge|
This morning trek to Bhutan’s most iconic sites – the Taktshang Monastery which dramatically clings to the cliff edge over the Paro valley Floor. It is said that Guru Rinpoche arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at this monastery and hence it is known as the ‘Tiger’s Nest’. Getting here requires a long hike although several vantage spots unveil it’s sacred beauty.
On the way back to Paro visit the 7th century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples built in the Himalayas by Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo.
|Paro||The Village Lodge|
|Day 10||Morning flight back to Kathmandu where the rest of the day is free to enjoy your last night of the holiday.||Kathmandu||Hyatt Regency|
|Day 11||Transfer to the airport for your flight home.|
Prices start from £2525.00 per person and do not include international flights.