Searching for Nepal Bhutan tour? Read further to find out about the places to travel in Nepal and Bhutan and interesting adventure activities to do in Nepal and Bhutan. Get to know about the places which you must not miss while traveling to these amazing Himalayan countries Nepal and Bhutan. Also, these countries have the potential of adventure activities, so learn about the activities which you can do in a short span of time and make most of your time in Bhutan and Nepal. You can look at the breathtaking pictures of both the countries online which urge you to pack your bag and leave for Nepal and Bhutan. So before leaving learn about the places and adventure activities like jungle safari, hiking, rafting, bungee, and others.
Nepal is a backpacker’s paradise while Bhutan opts for High-Value Low Impact tourists. You will get to experience two countries with a rich tradition and culture. You will find the impact of Buddhism in both the countries but don’t expect the similar practice of Buddhism instead get ready to find differences. A good plan will let you witness the amazing festival of Bhutan too.
Nepal and Bhutan both are perched between two big nations India and China. Regardless, Nepal and Bhutan have maintained their individuality and have their own unique culture, traditions, and heritages. Cultural diversity and religious harmony prevail in Nepal, unlike any other place. Bhutan is the country which introduced a unique concept like the Gross National Happiness.
Both the Himalayan countries give opportunities for trekking and mountaineering, but that’s not all. Bhutan and Nepal have a rich culture and tradition to boast with interesting tales attached. If you want to add some excitement to your trip then add some adventure activities like rafting and bungee.
If you think you need to trek for long hours for many days then allow us to break the myth! You can do a short trek in Nepal and Bhutan while enjoying the views of picturesque mountains and verdant hills. If you want to stay away from adventure and rejuvenate yourself then that’s also available.
You want to explore the amazing countries of Nepal and Bhutan but are wondering how to make most of the Nepal Bhutan tour in less then 12 days then check out our recommended places and activities in each country!
Nepal is known as a Himalayan country and out of 14 highest mountains in the world 8 are located here. The highest mountain in the world Everest is Nepal’s pride. The country gives various mountaineering and trekking opportunities but if it’s not your cup of tea then there are ancient temples, charming villages, jungle wildlife, and adventure activities.
There are 10 UNESCO World Heritage sites in Nepal and 7 of them are situated in Kathmandu Valley. If you want to add a bit of thrill then indulge in adventure activities like rafting and bungee jumping. Watch sunrises from popular vantage point over astounding Himalayas. Flora and fauna attracts you then enjoy the wildlife of Nepal by doing a jungle safari!
Let’s read on to find more about the must-visit places in Nepal!
Kathmandu valley is home to 7 UNESCO world heritage sites of Nepal and is filled with architectural marvels!
The three durbar squares of Kathmandu valley Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Patan Durbar Square, and Kathmandu Durbar Square were the capitals of the three medieval kingdoms of Nepal. These three durbar squares listed among UNESCO World Heritage sites are the pride of the nation.
Wandering in Bhaktapur makes you feel as if you are in a different era. The architecture of temples, palaces, beautiful woodcarvings and stone carvings of elephants, lions, and others are fine specimen craftsmanship of the Nepalese artisans. Also, enjoy potters creating different items out of clay in Potter’s Square.
Patan Durbar Square exhibits a high density of stunning Newari architecture in the form of temples, statues, and monuments dating back to the 14th century. You can see a variety of craftsmanship from wood carvings, metal works to stone works.
Kathmandu Durbar Square is filled with ancient Newari architecture. It’s the most active and alive durbar square where people worshipping, selling goods, shopping, feeding pigeons, or simply walking is a common sight.
The hill-top stupa of Swayambhunath is one of the oldest and important Buddhist shrines in Nepal thus forms a vital part of Buddhist pilgrimage tour in Nepal. Swayambhu means self-created and according to a legend it was born out of lotus flower bloomed in the center of a lake, which once filled the entire Kathmandu valley. Boddhisattva Manjushri drained the water from the valley to build Swayambhunath.
The 13-tiered golden spire representing 13 steps to enlightenment stands on a whitewashed hemisphere dome. The stupa with four eyes of Buddha facing the cardinal direction of the valley survived the devastating earthquake of 2015 with superficial damage.
Get ready to witness religious harmony like nowhere else. A Hindu and a Buddhist worshiping in the same complex is a normal phenomenon. But beware of the notorious monkeys that live here from where it gets it’s another name, Monkey Temple.
UNESCO listed world heritage site of Nepal Boudhanath Stupa is Asia's largest stupa. It is the sacred stupa for the Tibetan Buddhists of Nepal. Legends say that the remains of an incarnation of Lord Buddha, Kasyapa Buddha lies under the stupa. Immerse yourself in the spiritual vibe of Boudha and join the devotees circumambulating the huge stupa. Regardless of being near a busy road, its peaceful ambiance is striking! You will find eateries and restaurant serving Tibetan food, shops selling Thankas and other handicrafts. It's an indispensable site of Buddhist pilgrimage tour in Nepal.
One of the holiest Hindu temple Pashupatinath dates back to the 5th century. Lord Shiva and Parvati disguised as antelopes were frolicking in the jungles here. Gods searching for them caught one of Lord Shiva’s horns that forced him to resume his form. The lost and buried broken horn was discovered centuries later by a herdsman. As he dug further he found the divine linga of Pashupatinath.
Also, those who are cremated on the ghat of Pashupatinath are believed to reborn as humans regardless of their bad karma reducing their chances. Only Hindus are permitted inside Pashupatinath located on the bank of holy River Bagmati. Non-Hindus can only visit other temples of this huge complex. Witnessing a cremation as per Hindu traditions on the bank of the River Bagmati will be a new experience.
The oldest market place in Kathmandu, Asan Bazaar gelled well with modern times and didn’t see any dramatic changes over centuries. The bazaar remains alive with a crowd of people from dawn to dusk and it becomes more vibrant during festivals. Like other ancient towns of the valley, you will find many temples here too. The fragrance of dried fish, spices and others as you walk is as captivating as the bazaar itself.
Thamel , the touristic hub, is a go-to place for anything and everything. It offers the best array of shops ranging from Kashmiri carpets or shawls to jewels to paintings to trekking gears to restaurants, bakeries, cafes, and bars. Lounging over a cup of coffee and reading a book or sipping beer in a bar is your call here! It's always fun to find temples, monasteries, and monuments while exploring or navigating through lanes of Thamel. The only city in Kathmandu, Thamel dedicated primarily to the tourism industry.
Nagarkot is a scenic hilly village popular for its sunrises and sunsets. It lies 32 km east of Kathmandu and takes one or one and a half hour drive to reach there. Tourists and even the locals come to find solitude away from the hustle and bustle of the city. It's mesmerizing to see the first ray of the sun touching mountains and changing colors of the sky over a beautiful Himalayan range. Climb the view tower and enjoy the panoramic views of Himalayan ranges including Annapurna, Langtang, Manaslu, Ganesh Himal, and sometimes a glimpse of Mount Everest on a clear day!
You can combine Nagarkot sunrise with Changu Narayan Hike. Take an easy hike down to Changu Narayan temple- one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites after watching sunrise from Nagarkot. It will be a hike of 3 to 4 hours. You will be passing through terraced fields, local villages of Newars and Tamang and lush forest to reach this 4th-century temple. It's the best way to get an idea about the Nepali villages in a very short span of time.
Changu Narayan is a hilltop temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It is historically significant as it is one of the oldest temples of Nepal. The two-story temple is beautifully built and boasts many intricate carvings showing the artistic talents of ancient times.
Newars are the native of Kathmandu valley. Besides their brilliant craftsmanship, their mouthwatering Newari cuisine garners many praises. Newars are also famous for their festivals and jatras where food plays a major role.
Try out Chatamari – a rice batter pizza with savory toppings, Yomari, a delicacy of steam rice molds with a variety of fillings and bara a pancake made from lentil. For meat lovers, you will get a wide variety of options to choose from. Newari food is a paradise for meat lovers. They have mastered the art of cooking buffalo meat using different techniques for a different cut of meat. If you want to try out a variety of dishes then you get an assortment too.
Your bungee jump location is 100km away from Kathmandu and lies near the Tibetan border of Nepal. The take the plunge from a suspension bridge over the raging Bhote Koshi River. Worry not! The bridge is built by a Swiss specialist with a carrying capacity of 4 to 5 tons with a load factor of 250 kg/running meter. You will be jumping amidst a scenic backdrop under the supervision of professional crew members. The thrill of jumping from airborne suspension bridge 160 meters high is better experienced than described!
A day of river rafting in River Trishuli is an effective way to enjoy wonderful scenery and the rural life of Nepal. Narrow gorge and steep walls accelerate the river creating frequent and ferocious rapids. It's not much challenging but enjoyable and perfect for beginners.
Fuel your adrenaline rush with river rafting in River Bhote Koshi. It is one of the steepest rivers in Nepal suitable for rafting with a gradient of 15m/km. Both novice and experienced rafters enjoy rafting in this river with many rapids. You can extend your one-day rafting trip to this river for two days.
Multiday rafting in River Karnali is best for those who wish to witness the diversity of Nepal. On your Karnali white water rafting amidst natural beauty, you will get to enjoy everything. On your first part, you will get to enjoy the thrill of rapids. And on your second portion of the river journey, you will get to experience a gentler and relaxing ride. The river journey features traversing through dramatic canyons, electrifying rapids and finally rafting on the calm waters.
Pokhara is one of the best places to paraglide in the world. Stable thermals of Pokhara make it a haven for paragliding enthusiasts. Take off from Sarangkot and soar high in the sky of Pokhara which features snow-capped mountains, beautiful lakes, and quaint hillside villages. Being nervous is natural but once you settle down you will enjoy the mesmerizing scenery in front of you!
The slow-pace of life in Pokhara attracts those eager to escape the chaos of Kathmandu, adventurers, newly-weds, and others. Pokhara is the starting point of many trekking routes in Nepal. Regardless of where your interest lies Pokhara has something to offer; from sightseeing to relaxing to hiking in nearby hills and others.
Boating in this lake surrounded by verdant hills and the Annapurna range is overwhelming. Enjoy the calm and cool water of Phewa Lake on a rented boat! The island temple of Barahiis located in the middle of this beautiful lake.
The Nepali name of Devi’s fall or Davi’s fall is Patale Chahango. The waterfall vanishes underground and forms an underground tunnel in Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave. The walls will be dripping with water as you tread into the Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave. The string of light isn’t enough to light the cave so carrying torch is recommended. The statue of Lord Shiva will mark the end of the first phase. You need to walk through a sketchier path and before seeing the end of Devi's fall you will hear the roar of the waterfall.
Visit Peace Pagoda or Shanti stupa residing on a hilltop. It is a popular tourist spot that overlooks the stunning views of Pokhara including that of Lake Phewa and Annapurna range. The pagoda-style white Peace Pagoda was built by monks from the Nipponzan Myohoji group in order to spread the word of peace among all races and creeds.
Mountain lovers shouldn’t miss a visit to the International Mountain Museum in Pokhara. The museum celebrates the achievements of climbers who stepped on top of the world’s toughest mountains. It also preserves and registers every major and minor records and evidence of Himalayan expeditions. In the museum, you will get to see original mountaineering gear used to make the first Himalayan ascent.
If you fancy, climb the model of Mount Manaslu which is 31 feet high. Most of the visitors climb the model mountain which is a fun activity to do out here.
About an hour’s drive from Pokhara lies Sarangkot. Sarangkot Hike to Naudanda (Best Day Hikes Near Pokhara) is filled with picturesque mountain vistas. Enjoying the spectacular views of Phewa Lake and Pokhara city from the incredible vantage point is the highlight of this trek. Sarangkot boasts a stunning view of sunrise and sunset over high snow-capped mountains and verdant hills. It will take you around 6 to 7 hours to complete the hike.
Take an easy trek to Ghorepani Poon hill which is one of the popular short treks of Nepal. Also, it is a famous vantage point to watch the sunrise over the snow-capped mountains while trekking in Annapurna region. A moderately fit person can do this hike within 4 to 5 days. You will be trekking as high as 3210 meters while trekking through rhododendron forest, beautiful waterfalls, Gurung and Magar villages, and suspension bridges.
Trekking in Bhutan and Nepal is a delight for any trekker. If you wish to get the experience of two different types of trekking in Nepal and Bhutan, then a combination trek can be completed in 12 days. Go trekking in the popular Poon Hill trek of Annapurna region and Druk Path Trail of Bhutan. In Nepal, you will be doing a tea house trek while in Bhutan you will be camping in a tent at night. You will get the opportunity to experience two contrasting treks in a single vacation!
Chitwan National Park is home to deer, monkeys, Royal Bengal tigers, one-horn rhinoceros, sloth bear, leopard, elephants, and hundreds of species of birds. It is considered one of the best parks in Asia to observe wild-life. Watching endangered animals like Royal Bengal tiger and one-horned rhinoceros in their natural habitat is the highlight.
Bhutan is the country which treasures its Buddhist culture while gradually adapting to global developments. It is a unique country which introduced the concept of Gross National Happiness and practices low volume and high-value tourism for sustainable tourism.
The Buddhist Kingdom with a mystical charm will keep you amused. The skilled craftsmanship of Bhutanese artisan is on display at the dzongs, chortens and traditional houses. These are the architectural marvels of the country. Visiting the country will show how deeply Buddhism is deeply rooted! Even a simple drive in Bhutan alongside a meandering river with a backdrop of lush green hills is scenic as well as thrilling. Bhutan tour from Kathmandu involves a scenic flight amidst the high mountains in the world including Mount Everest.
Eager to know about the places to visit in Bhutan? Keep on reading!
The city lying on the banks of Paro (or Pa) Chhu is one of the best towns of Bhutan to explore on foot. It is one of the widest valleys of the kingdom with a flowing river, fertile rice fields, and traditional style houses. The central plaza is filled with large prayer wheel and events are held throughout the years. An hour or two strolling in the town at the end of day sightseeing will be fun!
Your Bhutan travel won’t be complete if you don’t visit Tiger’s Nest. Tiger Nest is also known as taktsang monastery or paro taktsang. It is an iconic monastery perched on a cliff and is one of the holiest sites of Bhutan. Legends state that Guru Rimpoche flew on a tigress's back to meditate on the cave back in the 7th century. A hike of a few hours on the trail lined with pine forest and spectacular views will take you to the monastery. The hike will be tiring but equally rewarding!
If a day hike of Tiger’s Nest isn’t enough for you then this short overnight Bhutan trek is highly recommended. This Bhutan adventure won’t be an easy stroll and you need to be moderately fit to enjoy this trek. The trek features a gorgeous view of the sunset over Haa Mountain, less-visited chapels above Taktsang Goemba and beautiful Taktsang monastery. The true essence of trekking, as well as landmarks, is better experienced than explained!
Ta Dzong is an unusual and unique round building in a conch-shell shape. It is a watchtower built in the 17th century to protect Paro Dzong. The dzong got renovated in the 1960s and was converted into National Museum. The museum exhibits handicrafts, pieces of jewelry, textiles, stuffed animals, butterflies and others from different parts of Bhutan.
Paro Dzong is the fine display of Bhutanese architecture and its interiors, as well as exteriors, are magnificent. Once a National Assembly hall, today it functions as both government offices and monastic body. Although most chapels are restricted for tourists it's worth a visit to bask in its grandeur. The dzong hosts the annual festival, Paro Tshechu with folk dance, music and other live performances which shouldn’t be missed if you are visiting Bhutan from March to April. The festival falls in spring which happens to be among the best time to visit Bhutan; so you can plan accordingly.
Sacred Jewel of Bhutan, Kyichu Lakhang is a 7th-century temple. The beautiful and iconic temple attracts a lot of tourists and is significant for historians and art connoisseurs. It comprises a 5-meter high statue of Guru Rinpoche and another Red Tara or Kurukulla. The inner hall is dedicated to Jowo Lhakhang which veils the greatest treasure – an original stature of 7th-century Jowo Sakyamuri. Elderly pilgrims spinning prayer wheels are a common sight here.
Visiting an archery field is highly recommended during your stay in Bhutan. Archery is the national sports of Bhutan. In this country, In Bhutan archery is a way of socializing and developing relations between people. It is popular among men, women, and children. Two types of archery competitions are held- traditional one with bamboo bows and the other one of space-age carbon fiber bows. The target is distant and tiny but is hit frequently.
The capital city of Bhutan Thimpu is one of the most interesting destinations. Thimpu is a largest city of bhutan as well as. The distance of about 50km from paro International airport takes around 1hr excluding the stops. It is a challenge to honor the country’s natural conservatism while adapting to changes as demanded by modern times. This charming city is a fascinating combination of people in traditional dresses, crimson-robed monks and camera-equipped tourist.
National Memorial chorten (Bhutan’s dedication to World Peace) is an iconic monument of Thimpu, National Memorial Chorten is dedicated to late Jigme Dorji Wangchuck- the Third Durk Gyalpo. A golden spire on a large white dome is a fine display of Buddhist architecture and craftsmanship. The interior part of the chorten features statues, mandalas, richly carved annexes, a shrine dedicated to the third king and a complex for the teaching of Vajrakilya too. Buddhist pilgrims circumambulating the Chorten dedicated to world peace is a common sight throughout the day.
Dochula Pass, one of the most beautiful mountain passes in bhutan was built in the memory of Bhutanese soldiers martyred in the war of 2003 against insurgents from India. The high mountain pass located near Thimpu offers a spell-binding panoramic view of the Himalayan range. On a clear day, you can see a mesmerizing view of snow-capped mountains and 108 chortens. The location not only attracts foreign tourists but locals too.
One of the largest statues of Buddha in the world, Buddha Dordenma is 51.5 meters and situated at the southern entrance of Thimpu. The gold gilded statue features 12-inch Buddha statues (25,000) and 8-inch Buddha statues (100,000). An interesting fact is that the statue was made in China, cut into pieces, shipped and transported in trucks. If you want to see its best view then visit early in the morning or evening when the sunlight cast its natural glow on the golden statue.
The impressive large Trashi Chho Dzong lies near Thimphu on the banks of River Wang Chhu. The architecture of Trashi Chho Dzong is alluring and the peace of the dzong is only altered by footsteps, pigeons or spinning prayer wheels. It functions as a government office and features the ministry of home affairs, finance, and other departments. Moreover, the popular and colorful Thimphu Tshechu is held in Trashi Chho Dzong.
A Tshechu is a Buddhist festival commemorating Guru Rimpoche. The 3 days long festival of Thimphu Tshechu is one of the biggest festivals of Bhutan. The festival is celebrated according to Bhutanese calendar and usually falls on September or October. Since it falls during one of the best times to visit Bhutan you can incorporate this in your itinerary easily. During this grand celebration, trained monks, as well as laymen, perform traditional dances adorning masks and costumes.
A series of traditional Bhutanese bamboo huts spread over about half a kilometer exhibits a wide range of authentic arts and crafts. You will also find items improvised to meet market demands too. Textiles, Thankas or scroll paintings, traditional fabric, and papers, gold and silver ornaments are displayed among others. It is one of the best markets for souvenir shopping in Bhutan.
National Textile Museum promotes the rich and colorful culture of Bhutan. It is the best place in Thimphu to learn about the art of Bhutanese weaving. The ground floor of the museum showcases royal ghos while upper floor displays the type of textiles, style of local dress and major weaving techniques. It’s wonderful to see a small group of weavers at work. A museum shop comprises of fine textiles and books. You won’t be able to capture anything out here as photography is prohibited!
One of the most distinctive elements while traveling to Bhutan is seeing locals dressed in traditional attire. Men wear Gho which is basically a knee-length robe which is tied at the waist with a belt called Kera. Traditional dress of women is called Kira, which is an ankle-length dress. Kira is accompanied with an outer jacket called Tego and an inner layer is worn called Wonju. Taking pride in their culture seems a way of preserving and promoting their tradition and culture.
Punakha Dzong means the palace of great happiness or bliss in the local language. It is the second-largest and second oldest dzong built in the 17th century on the convergence of two rivers Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu. It was the capital city of Bhutan from 1637 to 1907. The aesthetic and artistic beauty of the dzong leaves its admirers overwhelmed.
Chimi Lakhang is renowned throughout Bhutan and alos known as the Fertility temple. Thousands of tourists visit this temple to see the phallus themed monastery. Don't be shocked to see phallus adorning the walls and doors which are believed to ward off evil spirits. Wooden phalluses are even sold by locals; can Bhutan tour get more quirky than this?
The 15th-century monastery is dedicated to Drukpa Kunley, known as the “Divine Madman.” He practiced an unconventional way of preaching Buddhism with song, comedy and shocking sexual connotations. Many pilgrims visit the temple with the hopes of being blessed with a child. Also, the couples with new babies visit the temple to receive a blessing from a local lama.
Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten, displaying a magnificent artistic vision of Bhutanese. Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten is the crowning jewel of Punakha. The four-story chorten is a beautiful amalgamation of artistic vision and architecture. It’s special, because principals delineated in the Holy Scriptures were used instead of modern engineering manuals while building this chorten. Bhutanese painters, sculptures and carpenters gave 9 long years to build it.
You will be hiking for an hour through paddy fields, pine and rhododendron trees to reach this hilltop Chorten. A golden statue of Sakyamuni Buddha in a classic pose will welcome you and enjoy the scenic view of Punakha valley and neighboring mountains. The thought of creating the chorten to ward-off negativity and spread peace and harmony for all living being makes it even more special.
One of the ancient names given to Bhutan is ‘Menjung’ which means ‘The Land of Medicinal Herbs.’ The pharmacopeia of Bhutan and traditional medicine practices are centuries old and even borrows practices from Tibet and Indian Ayurved. The hot stone baths are cures for stomach disorder, arthritis, joint pains, stomach disorders, backaches, and others. The heat of water when combined with local medicinal herbs and mineral rocks are believed to produce medicinal benefits. Usually, this kind of bath is available in many hotels and resorts as a spa. The popular places of Bhutan like Thimphu, Paro, Punakha, and Bumthang provide opportunities to take a hot stone bath.
A bowl-shaped glacial valley, Phobjika is located on the western slopes of the Black Mountains near Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park. It is a nesting site of black-necked cranes in winters migrating from Tibet. These birds are a symbol of longevity. According to legends, black-necked cranes circle Gagntey monastery three times before landing on the marshes of Phobjika valley.
The annual Black-Necked crane festival marks the arrival of the majestic and endangered black-necked crane from Tibet. During winter months these endangered birds become an integral part of local landscape. The festival is celebrated to spread awareness about the endangered bird. Cultural programs, mask dances, crane dances, and environment conservation-themed dramas along with songs by school children are performed as part of the celebration.
Bhutan believes in ‘ High Value Low Impact Tourism.’ It’s a step forward in protecting its image as a remote and well-protected natural environment and cultural heritage. Independent travelling isn’t allowed in Bhutan and booking your tour with a government registered tour operating company is compulsory for foreigners. Due to the Bhutanese government policy, you need to do Nepal Bhutan trip via a government registered travel agency.
Experience the unique culture and tradition by booking your Nepal and trip to Bhutan with the travel specialists Third Rock Adventures. They have created some interesting itineraries- Nepal Bhutan Buddhist pilgrimage tour package of 12 days and Jewels of Nepal and Bhutan of 9 days. If you want to personalize your trip then get your trip customized with our travel expert!
Visit these two nations Nepal and Bhutan which are connected by the thread of Buddhism and the Himalayas. Experience a new culture, interact with the friendly locals and gain an insight into the Himalayan way of life.