Nepal and Bhutan Tour is a considerate fusion created to explore the cultural and natural riches of two South Asian Himalayan Kingdoms. Visiting these countries' historical heritages is an opportunity to have an enriching insight into Nepalese and Bhutanese lifestyle. One week's special package also incorporates two-day hikes, one in each country, which further allows you to immerse in the scenery. In Nepal, the itinerary intends to do sightseeing of UNESCO world heritage sites in Kathmandu valley along with a day hike from Nagarkot. Later, the Bhutan tour continues with a visit to various ancient assets in three cities; Paro, Thimphu and Punakha added with a day hike to Taktsang Monastery in Paro.
|Day 1||Arrive in Kathmandu and Kathmandu Sightseeing|
|Day 2||Sightseeing in Patan and Bhaktapur and drive to Nagarkot|
|Day 3||Hike from Nagarkot to Banepa or Changu Narayan Temple and drive to Kathmandu|
|Day 4||Fly from Kathmandu to Paro (Bhutan), drive to Thimphu (55km/1hr 30mins) and Thimphu Sightseeing|
|Day 5||Drive to Punakha (85km/2-3hrs), Visit Dochula Pass (3,100m/10,200ft) en route, Punakha Sightseeing|
|Day 6||Drive to Paro (125km/3-4hrs), Hike to Taktsang Monastery (3180m/10433ft/5-6hrs)|
|Day 7||Final Departure|
One week tour with day hikes perfectly addresses the time constraint issue to offer you Nepal and Bhutan's renowned historical wonders. In the package, you will spend three nights in Nepal and three nights in Bhutan. Moreover, we have also incorporated a day hike in each country to provide a touch of scenic beauty along with cultural insight.
Nepal and Bhutan fall among the top destinations in the world for a multi-country cultural tour. The enthralling culture and tradition of these two nations have never failed to impress the tourists. Both countries sharing similar geographical features assert much value in regards to their culture. Nepalese and Bhutanese are famous for their dedication to preserving their ancient heritages.
The tour begins with a visit to Swayambhunath Stupa- the monkey temple, a monument worshipped by Hindus and Buddhists. In the foreground of Swayambhunath, there lies a Harati Mata temple and several other small stupas and pagodas. The symbolic representations of the elements in Swayambhunath are interesting. For example, the pair of eyes looking in all four directions signifies wisdom and compassion.
Later, visit Pashupatinath temple- the oldest temple of Nepal dating back to the 5th century. The foreigners are not allowed to enter the main temple. So, you have the chance to walk around the periphery and appreciate the exquisiteness of the surroundings. Visit Boudhanath Stupa and splurge in the soothing Tibetan music playing all around.
Observe the antique architectures in Patan Durbar Square and Bhaktapur Durbar Square formed during the Malla dynasty reign. The squares are a composition of sculptures, museums, wood carvings, ponds, and open courts around Nepal's former royal palaces. One Durbar Square alone has many temples with historical significance. It seems the Malla rulers of three kingdoms of the valley were in an art contest while building these squares to stand out the best one.
Stopover for a night in Nagarkot, a hill station situated to Kathmandu Valley’s northeast side. Nagarkot offers a glorious sunset and sunrise view along with several Himalayan ranges, including the Mount Everest. Moreover, the hill also provides a full-fledged outlook of Kathmandu valley and Shivapuri National Park. The next day, hike from Nagarkot along a panoramic village trail.
On 4th day you fly to Paro, Bhutan from Kathmandu and watch a magnificent mountain ranges view. The guided Bhutan tour then continues in three cities; Paro, Thimphu and Punakha. The main attractions of Bhutan are Dzongs (fortresses) from where Bhutanese emperors dealt with foreign invasions. Dzongs are such massive strategic architectures with distinct elements like temples, tall exterior walls guarding a complex of courtyards, administrative offices and Buddhist monk housings.
Discover about the Lakhangs (temples) and Gompas (monasteries) of Bhutan. History records that these religious sites are older than the Dzongs, some formed during the 7th century. Such sacred sites reside in almost all villages and mountain tops of Bhutan, so the count of temples there is more than 2000.
Bhutanese temples are used for religious purposes and for carrying out cultural rituals and social ceremonies like marriages, purifications, and funerals. Bhutanese people are highly sensitive when it comes to performing rituals, so it greatly influences their lifestyle. Therefore, observing the social events in temples can be an insight into Bhutanese culture.
In Paro or Punakha, you may go for a rejuvenating hot stone bath that locals believe to be of several health benefits. Bhutanese have practiced this traditional hot stone bath as a therapeutic process for ages. It combines water heated with hot stones, the minerals of those stones and medicinal herbs.
Hike to Taktsang Monastery (Tiger's Nest), one of the most iconic Bhutanese sites. For sure, Bhutan Tour would not feel complete without experiencing this extraordinary place.. Completing the hike, visit Paro Dzong (Rinpung Dzong), a 15th-century fort with 14 shrines and chapels.
Finally, your one-week tour ends as you depart back to your destination from Paro Airport on the seventh day.
A representative from Third Rock Adventures will welcome you at the airport and transfer you to the hotel. After a quick freshening up, the sightseeing activity in Kathmandu starts.
Firstly you visit Swayambhunath- the monkey temple situated in Kathmandu’s west hill. You then head towards Pashupatinath- the Lord Shiva shrine. You may see a few dead body cremations going on according to Hindu ritual at the bank of Bagmati River.
At last, you visit Boudhanath-the Buddhist Stupa with a large sphere, prayer wheels around the dome and the golden spire above the white base. This stupa once served as a famous spot for doing Tibetan prayers. One of the exciting activities to do in Boudhanath is to taste the food. The area offers various cuisines with Tibetan influence that you may not find at other places in Kathmandu. Moreover, an evening view from the restaurant window while you have your dinner is magical.
If we become unable to visit all planned sites due to your late arrival in Nepal, we can manage it the next day. Overnight in Kathmandu.
Your first sightseeing is at Patan Durbar Square- a medieval royal plaza dating back to the 12th century. Red tile bricks pave the square floor along with many architectural temples with artistic idols adorning the heritage. Later you head 12.4 km away from Patan to reach Bhaktapur Durbar Square via a 30 mins ride.
Bhaktapur Durbar Square is the largest of all three royal squares of Katmandu valley. And by contrast, it is located in Bhaktapur (Bhadgaon), the smallest district of the valley. The main square again consists of four other mini squares, namely Taumadhi Square, Dattatreya Square, Durbar (Basantapur) Square and Pottery Square.
Today's last stopover is Nagarkot that lies 12.5 km away from Bhaktapur Durbar square and arrives via a 35 minutes road ride. Nagarkot is a famous hill station that once used to be Kathmandu’s fort to monitor over the periphery invasion activities. From Nagarkot view tower, rejoice a beautiful sunset along with 8 Himalayan ranges including Mountain Everest. Overnight in Nagarkot.
Early in the morning, have a short hike up or drive to the Nagarkot view tower to watch the golden sunrise lightening up the sky. Then you again gear up for the day hike after breakfast. There are many hiking options available from the trail. You may either trek to Changu Narayan- a UNESCO world heritage site or Banepa.
Banepa is a Newari town, situated 17.3 km away from Nagarkot. You will need to hike for about 4-5 hrs to reach there. 8 Ganesh temples adjacent to a pond nearby and a Phalchaa surround Banepa. However, many Phalchha (a spot for shelter and different kinds of social events) do not exist at present.
Changu Narayan is the oldest temple of Nepal, its foundation dating back to the 4th century. The temple does not receive many visitors as compared to other heritage sites due to its afar location from Kathmandu but is one of a kind. The 10 km route passing through Brahmin and Tamang villages requires about 3-4 hrs walk to reach this heritage. Weather permitted, the trail following terraced farms offers a scenic view of the Himalayas and valley hills.
After the hike ends, you drive back to the hotel in Kathmandu and may stroll around nearby markets in the evening if you want. Overnight in Kathmandu.
Flight to Bhutan offers you a birds-eye view of the elegant Himalayas from the plane window. Our Bhutanese guide will welcome and explain to you about your Bhutan Tour itinerary. Drive to the capital, Thimphu and start your tour from Memorial Chorten, a temple built in the remembrance of the third king of Bhutan.
Then visit an ancient 12th-century temple Changangkha Lakhang situated on a ridge top. Tibetan Lama Phajo Drukgom Shigpo traveled Bhutan to spread Drukpa Kagyu teachings of Buddhism and chose this temple location. Changangkha is visited by new parents to receive auspicious names for their newly born babies from the monks inhabiting the temple.
Later visit the Buddha Dordenma, a 51 m (169 ft) tall metal statue that offers a 360 degree of Thimphu valley. Then head to the 12th-century fortress, Tashichho Dzong sheltering a monastery and government offices. Inside the artistic fort, there are thirty chapels, temples and shrines. Overnight in Thimphu.
While driving to Punakha, the former capital city of Bhutan, you visit Dochula mountain pass. 108 memorial Druk Wangyal Chortens and a monastery called Druk Wangyal Lhakhang decorates Dochula. Enjoy picturesque views of mountains and forests. In the open yard, the Royal Bhutan Army celebrates the Druk Wangyel Festival every year on 13th December to honor the soldiers who lost their lives during duty.
Walk 20 mins through agricultural fields of mustards and rice to reach Chimi Lakhang Temple. Because locals believe this temple bless fertility to women, it is also called Fertility Temple. Visit another pagoda style stupa, Khamsum Yulley Namgyal monastery. The mandalas with four stories of deities’ images adorn the monastery.
Continue your tour sightseeing Punakha Dzong, one of the most ancient Bhutanese forts. The fort stands in a strategic location at the junction of two rivers; Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu. The wooden bridge at its entrance is a typical representation of Bhutanese architecture. Overnight in Punakha.
Drive from Punakha to the trailhead leading to iconic Taktsang Monastery (Tiger's Nest). The monastery hangs on the side of a rocky cliff 900 m above the Paro valley. From the trailhead, ascending walk through the steep path takes you to the top.
Observe the overwhelming views of the surrounding mountains and Paro valley from the peak point. Be amazed at the possessions like history, architecture and paintings inside the monastery. Bhutanese history believes that Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) flew on a tiger to meditate in the cave for three months.
Later, visit Rinpung Dzong, also known as 'Fortress of the Heap of Jewels'. The fort was used to keep an eye on Tibet’s invasion activities. Another round watchtower named Ta Dzong above Rinpung now serves as a National Museum with several elements related to Bhutanese cultural heritage.
In the evening, you may self explore the Paro town, talk with some locals and do some shopping to add to your souvenir collection. Overnight in Paro.
Our Bhutanese guide will transfer you to Paro airport from the hotel as per your departure flight schedule. Then, you return to your destination with all the memories engraved in your heart.
If you want, Third Rock Adventures is always ready for tour extension in Bhutan and also in other neighboring countries; Nepal, Tibet and India.
Besides, if the given itinerary doesn’t suit your need, please go through our other longer Bhutan Tour packages from Kathmandu.