The Nepal and Bhutan Luxury Tour introduces you to the cultural highlights of Nepal and Bhutan. Once known as the hidden kingdoms, these two destinations continue to fascinate travelers from the world over. Nestled deep in the Himalayan valleys, the culture, architecture, and landscape of both of these countries are extraordinary and awe-inspiring.
Discover the cultural treasures of the medieval kingdoms in Kathmandu Valley and enjoy an immersive experience at the Newari heritage villages. Explore the three major cities in Bhutan and learn more about their Gross Happiness Index and Buddhist heritage.
You will begin your Nepal and Bhutan Luxury Tour from Nepal's capital city, Kathmandu. The city is home to seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and you will get to visit each one of them. From the medieval durbar squares of Patan, Bhaktapur, and Kathmandu to the hilltop shrines of Swayambhunath and Changunarayan, our guide will give you an insightful tour of the valley's cultural landmarks. You will also get the time to explore the Newari heritage settlements of Bungamati, Khokana, Panauti, and Kirtipur which are living museums of Newari art and culture.
The trip's price depends on the type of services chosen by our clients and the group size. The cost of each trip we organize is different because we see travelers as individuals having their own particular needs and preferences.
Get ready for an incredible journey tailored to your interests and preferences, whether you're looking for a budget-friendly adventure or a luxurious getaway. Leave the planning to us as we take care of all the details, ensuring your dream trip becomes a reality. You can relax and focus on creating unforgettable memories that will stay with you forever.
|Arrive in Kathmandu (1,400 m/4,592 ft) and transfer to the hotel
|Visit Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Changu Narayan Temple, and Panauti
|Visit Patan Durbar Square, Bungamati, Khokhana, and Kirtipur
|Fly from Kathmandu to Paro, Drive to Thimphu, and Sightseeing Tour - 1 hour flight and 1:30 hour (55km) drive
|Drive to Punakha and Punakha Sightseeing - 2 to 3 hours (85km) drive
|Drive to Paro and Paro Sightseeing - 3 to 4 hours (115km) drive
|Hike to Tiger's Nest and visit Kyichu Lakhang – 5 to 6 hours hike
|Fly to Kathmandu from Paro, Kathmandu Sightseeing Tour, and Final Departure - 1 hour flight
The Bhutan leg of your journey begins with a spectacular flight across the Himalayan Range. Covered by unending stretches of green forests, Bhutan is like a green paradise. The abundant nature and captivating Himalayan scenery will soothe your senses and wipe away your stress. This sure is an ideal destination to slow down and take a break from the chaos of the modern world
In Bhutan, you will take a road trip across its three major cities: Thimphu, Punakha, and Paro. Enjoy hikes to a cliffside monastery and ancient lakhangs. Learn more about the unique Bhutanese customs and traditions, and take back with you not only cherished memories of your trip but also some valuable life lessons on sustainability, simplicity and contentment.
This tour is highly recommended for retired couples, couples on honeymoon, and people who seek the ultimate comfort while traveling. Throughout your tour, you will be accommodated at premium luxury resorts and hotels that have set a benchmark in the hospitality industry.
Please do note the hike to Taktsang Monastery is strenuous and requires a high level of physical fitness and endurance power. You can skip the hikes and visit some other sites if you don't feel inclined to exhaust yourself.
Upon your arrival at the Tribhuvan International Airport you move to the immigration area and complete the entry process. You can obtain a visa on arrival or get it in advance from the Nepalese consulate or embassy located in your country.
Our guide will be waiting for you outside the airport's terminal, holding a placard with your name printed on it or our company's name (Third Rock Adventures). After a warm welcome, you will bedriven to your hotel.
You will spend your first night in Kathmandu at Dwarika's, a charming luxury heritage hotel filled with fascinating works of art and craft created by local Newari artisans of the valley. The décor and design of the hotel offer you an authentic experience of Nepalese culture and architecture.
Overnight in Kathmandu
Accommodation: The Dwarika's Hotel
After a sumptuous breakfast at the hotel, you will begin your sightseeing tour. You will start by taking a drive towards the eastern corner of the valley to the old kingdom of Bhaktapur.
During the medieval period, the valley of Kathmandu was divided into three different kingdoms: Kathmandu, Patan, and Bhaktapur. Each of these kingdoms were ruled separately. The palaces of the kings were built in the center of the cities and are now known as Durbar Squares. Each kingdom had its own Durbar Square. The Durbar Square in Bhaktapur is where you will head to.
Bhaktapur is also known as the land of the devotees. The old city was designed in the shape of aconch. In Hinduism, the conch is an auspicious symbol and an emblem of Lord Vishnu. The Bhaktapur Durbar Square is the largest and best preserved among the three Durbar squares. The Royal Square is divided into Dattatreya Square, Taumadhi Square, Durbar Square, and Pottery Square.
Exquisite palaces and pagoda temples with finely carved wooden doors, windows, and roof struts dot the square. There are stone statues of mythical creatures and Hindu gods, and gilded metal gates with repousse work. The Palace of 55 Windows, Nyatapol Temple, Simhadwaka Lyaku Palace, or the National Art Gallery, Pujari Math, the Golden Gate, and the many royal conduits and temples that dot the square are the gems of Bhaktapur Durbar Square. You can also spend some time at Pottery Square and watch the potters create terracotta pots and decorative items.
Later, head to the ancient temple of Changunarayan, located on the out skirts of Bhaktapur. This hilltop temple is one of the oldest Hindu temples in the world. Dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu, who is regarded as the 'Preserver of the Universe', the temple showcases statues and carvings of Lord Vishnu's multiple avatars that are more than a thousand years old. Inside the courtyard of the temple is a stone tablet with the oldest inscription discovered in Nepal. The inscription is in Sanskrit and dates back to 464 AD.
After an insightful visit, it's time to drive to the medieval town of Panauti, a Newari heritage town. Established in the thirteenth century, this quaint town, filled with traditional brick and wooden houses, is a living museum. Attractions in Panauti include the Indreshwar Temple, Panauti Durbar Square, and the temples situated on the banks of the Rosi and Punyamati rivers. In the olden days, this town was a part of the Tibet Salt Trade Route and was a busy trading hub. Now, surrounded by lush paddy fields, this once-busy town has been transformed into a sleepy and tranquil settlement with very few crowds and pollution.
After exploring Panauti, you will be driven back to your hotel in Kathmandu. Enjoy a restful evening in your room or the hotel's peaceful courtyard.
Overnight in Kathmandu.
Accommodation: The Dwarika's Hotel
Today you will visit Patan, or Lalitpur, the 'City of Artisans'. Situated at the southern end of the capital, Patan is a former Malla kingdom in habited by Newari artisans (silversmiths, goldsmiths, woodcarvers, sculptors, musicians, etc.). The city was initially designed in the shape of the Dharma Chakra, or Buddhist Dharma wheel. Emperor Asoka is said to have visited this city and built four stupas at the four corners of the city to commemorate his visit. Known as 'Ashoka Stupas', these stupas are still in existence.
You will start your tour by exploring the Patan Durbar Square. Krishna Temple, Patan Palace Museum, Golden Temple, Hiranyavarna Mahavihar, Chyasin Dewal, etc. are the chief highlights of the square.
Later, you will explore the Newari heritage villages of Bungamati and Khokana. These peaceful villages sit on the out skirts of the city. Here, you can stroll around the narrow alleys and observe the villagers busy at work. Your visit to Khokana and Bungamati will offer you a taste of the Newari village lifestyle. Visit the traditional oil mills, workshops of artisans working with wood and stone, and the village shrines.
You will wrap up your tour with a drive to the hillside Newari settlement of Kirtipur. Located on the rim of Kathmandu Valley, Kirtipur is home to the oldest university in the country (Tribhuvan University) and several pagoda-roofed temples and ancient stupas.
Kirtipur occupies a very important place in the history of Kathmandu. The inhabitants of Kirtipurput up a fierce fight when Prithvi Narayan Shah and his army from Gorkha attacked the Kathmandu Valley during the eighteenth century. Unfortunately, they were no match for the large and experienced Gorkha army, and in the end, they were defeated. As a punishment for their fierce resistance, the Gorkha king ordered his men to chop off the noses of all the inhabitants. Some of the weapons used during this war are show cased at the Bagh Bhairab Temple.
Many tour groups skip Kirtipur, and you will find very few tourists here. Uma Maheswar Temple, Chilancho Stupa, Bagh Bhairab Temple, Nagar Mandap Shri Kirti Vihar, etc. are some of the attractions in Kirtipur.
Overnight in Kathmandu.
Accommodation:The Dwarika’s Hotel
Wake up early in the morning to catch your flight to Paro, Bhutan. Our driver will drop you off at the airport. The flight to Paro is filled with mesmerizing views of the Himalayan mountains. You can enjoy aerial views of Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga, Makalu, Lhotse, Dhaulagiri, and Annapurna, which are among the highest mountains in the world.
After an exciting landing amidst the green hills of Paro, you will meet your Bhutanese guide and driver at the airport. They will welcome you and drive you to Thimphu. The highway connecting Paro with Thimphu is filled with scenic views of pine forests, terraced farms, paddy fields, monasteries, and traditional houses. Enjoy the idyllic views of the countryside. In less than two hours, you will be in Thimphu.
After reaching Thimphu, check into your hotel and have a welcome drink. Later, after getting refreshed, your guide will take you to explore some of the major cultural sites in the city. Walk around the National Memorial Chorten, a massive white stupa that lies in the center of the city.
The Memorial Chorten was built in memory of the third king of Bhutan, Jigme Dorje Wangchuck, who ushered in modern changes in the country. The interior of the stupa has three floors decorated with shrines dedicated to the late king and protective Buddhist deities. thankas (scroll paintings), statues, and Buddhist relics are housed inside the Chorten.
Next, your guide will take you to the grand Tashichho Dzong, a majestic castle fortress built in the traditional style that is also the residence of the current royal family. Later, take a drive to the out skirts of the city and visit Changangkha Lakhang. This is an ancient Buddhist shrine dedicated to Ap Tamdrin, the protective deity of newly born babies. Established in the twelfth century, this is one of the oldest shrines in Bhutan. All new parents from Thimphu bring their babies here to seek blessings from diety. The chief attraction inside the temple is the thousand-armed statue of Avalokiteshwara.
You will end your tour with a visit to Kuensel Phodrang Hill, where the majestic statue of Sakyamuni Buddha sits. Known as Buddha Dordenma, the massive brass statue rises to a height of 54 meters and is one of the tallest ‘sitting Buddha’ statues in the world. At the base of the statue is a large prayer hall. Inside the statue are placed 125,000 smaller statues of Lord Buddha. This statue was built to usher in world peace and prosperity. From the site, one can enjoy a bird's-eye view of the entire Thimphu city. If you are not too tired, you can explore the local market and shop for souvenirs. The local markets are lively places, buzzing with activity. You can observe the locals and find out more about the indigenous products. Later, head back to your resort and enjoy a comfortable stay.
Your address in Thimphu is the Terma Linca Resort, a luxury property located on the side of the Wangchuk River. The resort lies close to the city but away from the city's noise. The rooms are spacious and furnished with comfortable beds and modern amenities. The resort has traditional Bhutanese attire( male and female) for guests to try out and take pictures in. The resort's staff helps the guests put on the dress and take pictures.
Overnight in Thimphu.
Accommodation: Terma Linca Resort
After breakfast, you leave for Punakha, a charming city that was Bhutan's former capital. More than seventy percent of Bhutan's land area is covered with forests, and your ride to Punakha takes you past a scenic countryside enclosed by swathes of lush green forests. On the way, you will stop at Dochula Pass, from where you can enjoy a 360-degree panorama of the Himalayan mountains and the surrounding valleys. The pass is adorned with 108 chortens dedicated to the soldiers who lost their lives on active duty.
After reaching Punakha, you will either check into your hotel first or head there later, after the sightseeing tour. You can visit the Chimi Lakhang Temple or the Fertility Temple, Punakha Dzong, and Khamsum Yuley Namgyal Chorten.
The Chimi Lakhang, or Fertility Temple, lies close to the village of Sopsokha, surrounded by paddy fields. The temple was built in the fifteenth century and is dedicated to Drukpa Kuenley, or the Divine Madman. Married women and childless couples especially visit this temple to seek blessings from the guardian deity. The lama blesses the visitors with a silver phallus. The phallus is regarded as an auspicious symbol as the Bhutanese believe it wards off negative energies and evil spirits.That is why the village homes around Sopsokha are painted with giant phalluses. The souvenir shops outside the temple also sell a variety of wooden phalluses.
Your next stop is the Punakha Dzong. Situated at the confluence of the Po Chhu (male river) and the Mo Chhu(female river), the Punakha Dzong is one of the iconic landmarks of Bhutan. This ancientdzong, or fortress, can be reached by crossing a wooden cantilever bridge. Inside this massivedzong are government offices, monasteries, and Buddhist shrines
You will end your tour with an amazing hike to Khamsum Yuley Lakhang, a beautiful three-storychorten built to ward off the evil forces of from Bhutan as well as the whole world. To reach the temple, you will have to cross the river via a suspension bridge and hike up a small hill for about half an houror more. The temple is located at the top of the hill, offering amazing views of the surrounding farms and hills. After spending some time at the temple, head back to the main road and drive towards your hotel.
Your stay in Punakha is booked at the Dhensa Boutique Resort. The resort lies in a serene location surrounded by pine forests and sublime views of the Punakha River, paddy fields, and green rolling hills. The rooms are wide and spacious and have private balconies from where the guests can enjoy inspiring views of the Punakha Valley.
Overnight in Punakha.
Accommodation: Dhensa Boutique Resort
Leaving Punakha, you will return to Paro. Soak in the incredible views of the mountains and forests during your journey. On reaching Paro, your Bhutanese guide will take you on a sightseeing tour.
Visit the famous Paro Dzong and Taa Dzong. Paro Dzong, also known as Rinpung Dzong, is built on the side of a hill over looking Paro Valley. The dzong was constructed in the seventeenth century on the grounds of a monastery built by Padmasambhava. The fort was used to defend the city from rival armies who came from the Tibetan highlands the Indian plains.The dzong now houses chapels and government offices.
The Taa Dzong is a circular watchtower located above Paro Dzong. The dzong was built in the seventeenth century to serve as a watchtower for Ringpung or Paro Dzong. It now houses the National Museum. The artifacts showcased at the museum include items that are more than a thousand years old. Ancient weapons and armor used by the Bhutanese warriors in the olden days are included in the exhibit.
After exploring the dzong, head to the main city and explore the market area. You can shop for souvenirs and gifts while walking down the streets. Later, head back to your hotel and enjoy a goodrest.
Your stay is booked at Naksel Boutique Hotel and Spa, a premium luxury property located in the midst of a verdant forest. This hotel is built in the traditional style, using a lot of wood. The floors are heated, and the rooms are large and luxurious. One can enjoy amazing views of the Tiger's NestMonastery, Mount Chomolhari, and the Tsendona Valley from the room's balcony.
Overnight in Paro.
Accommodation: Naksel Boutique Hotel
You have an adventurous day ahead of you. After an early breakfast, you will be driven about ten kilometers to the north of Paro to the trailhead of the Tiger's Nest Hike.
One cannot leave Paro without hiking to Taktsang Monastery or Tiger's Nest. It is a must-do activity if you are visiting Paro or Bhutan, for that matter. This famous monastery is perched almost mid-airon a cliff nine hundred meters above the valley floor. Standing at 3,200 meters above sea level, it is among the highest hiking locations in Paro.
The monastery is one of the most hallowed places of worship for followers of Vajrayana Buddhism. Padmasambhava, who is also known as the Second Buddha, flew to this spot on the back of a flying tigress, as per Buddhist lore. He found a cave deep inside the cliff and meditated there for three years, three months, and three days. There are small streams close to the monastery that locals believe have been blessed by Guru Rinpoche and thus have healing properties.
You will begin your hike from the base of the hill, where there's a parking lot and a counter to buy the entrance ticket for the hike. From here, you will take a gradual ascent up the hill. The trail passes through a wooded area with tall cypress, fir, and pine trees. The prayer flags' vivid hues of red, blue, white, yellow, and green enliven the trail. There are regular rest spots along the well-maintained hiking track. If you wish to avoid the strenuous climb up the hill, you can hire ponies (tobe paid by yourself) up to the midway point.
There's a restaurant at the halfway point where you will stop for lunch. You can enjoy impressive views of Paro Valley and the monastery from here. A lookout point above the monastery also offers spectacular views of Taktsang Monastery, the Paro Valley, and the Himalayan peaks. This is a popular photography spot, and hikers who are too tired to walk further to the monastery turn backfrom here.
If you are still charged up to carry on, you can continue hiking up the hill and reach the staircase that leads you to the monastery. The staircase is built on the side of a cliff with a sheer drop-off.
To reach the monastery, you must climb about 750 steps. Bags, mobile phones, and cameras are not allowed inside. You can leave your bag in a locker at the monastery's entry way.
When you step inside the monastery, you will find a shrine and a chapel honoring Guru Rinpoche. The living quarters of monks and the cave where Guru Rinpoche meditated are also inside the monastery. You can spend some time meditating, offer prayers to the Buddhist gods, and light a butter lamp before walking back down the same way.
After you reach the base of the hill, hop on the vehicle and drive to Kyichu Lakhang, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan. The temple was established by the Tibetan emperor Songsten Gampo to subdue demons. Dating back to the seventh century, this temple is one of the sacred Buddhist sites in Bhutan. The main temple holds the statue of Jowo Buddha, which is believed to be as old as the temple itself. Vibrant murals and exquisite wooden carvings adorn the temple. Later return to your hotel and relax.
Overnight in Paro.
Accommodation: Naksel Boutique Hotel
Our representative will drop you off at Paro International Airport. You will be boarding one of the early flights to Kathmandu. After landing in Kathmandu, explore more of the city's cultural attractions with a tour guide. The guide will take you to visit the Pashupatinath Temple, Boudhanath Stupa, Swoyambhunath Stupa, and Kathmandu Durbar Square.
Pashupatinath Temple is regarded as the holiest Hindu temple in Nepal. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, one of the three chief gods in Hinduism. This ancient temple dates back to the fifth century and is a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site. Non-Hindus are not allowed to enter the main temple. However, if you are a non-Hindu, you can walk around the temple's complex. You can get a good view of the temple from the eastern bank of the Bagmati River. You can also observe the Hindu cremation rites at Arya Ghat, located on the bank of the Bagmati River. It is aunique experience to see dead bodies being burned according to Hindu rituals.
Later, visit Boudhanath Stupa, the largest Buddhist stupa in Nepal. The stupa is a sparkling white dome topped by a golden turret where the compassionate eyes of Lord Buddha are painted on all four sides. As per Buddhist lore, one of Lord Buddha's reincarnations, Kasyapa Buddha, is believed to be buried under the stupa. Boudhanath is an ancient place of worship and dates back to the seventh century.
The stupa is perched a top a massive mandala that symbolizes the universe. A steady flow of Tibetan pilgrims, residents, cafes, and tourists makes the area fairly lively. A monastery, museum, art galleries, and shops lie within the perimeter of the stupa. After performing a kora (circumambulation) around the stupa, you can light a butter lamp and send a small prayer. The next stop is Swoyambhunath Stupa. This majestic stupa sits on top of a hill overlooking the city and is a hallowed place for both Hindus and Buddhists. Because of the vast population of monkeys on the hills and premises of the temple, Swoyambhunath is also known as the Monkey Temple.
The stupa is believed to be as old as Kathmandu Valley(more than two thousand years old). According to local legend, the valley was once a lake, and this hill was a divine lotus. When Manjushri, a Boddhisattva, meditated on a hill in Nagarjun, he saw this divine lotus in his mind. To reach the lotus, he used his sword to make an opening at Chobar to drain the lake's water. After the water drained, the lotus turned into a stupa. Since it was self-created, this sacred stupa was named 'Swoyambhunath', meaning 'the self-created one'.
The beautiful white-domed stupa is topped with a gilded turret, from which the eyes of the compassionate Buddha look out in four directions and bless the world. The stupa is surrounded by several Hindu temples, a monastery, and several small stone 'chaityas'. You will find shops selling paintings and souvenir items close to the stupa. Enjoy a spectacular view of the city from the top of the hill. Later, head down the stone staircase, and then take a drive to Kathmandu Durbar Square.
Kathmandu Durbar Square is a wide palazzo dotted with palaces, temples, and the House of the Living Goddess. Built by the Malla rulers who ruled over Kathmandu, the Kathmandu Durbar Square was the power center of the Malla kings of the Kathmandu valley and later of the Shah kings of the Gorkha dynasty. The main attractions of the square are the Hanuman dhoka Palace Museum, Gaddi Baithak, Taleju Bhawani Temple, Kumari Bahal, or the House of the Living Goddess (wherethe Living Goddess of Kathmandu, a small Newari girl, resides), and Kasthamandap Temple.
The square was one of the World Heritage Sites in Kathmandu impacted by the 2015 earthquake. Most of the ancient structures were damaged or razed to the ground during the earthquake. However, expert restorers and artisans have worked hard to restore almost 80 percent of the structures around the square.
Afterwards, you can explore the oldest market in Kathmandu, the Ason Bazaar. You can take a rickshaw ride or walk on foot to the bazaar. The stretch between Indra Chowk and Ason Bazaar is filled with shops selling spices, tea, traditional clothes, incense, Himalayan herbs, jewelry, brass utensils, and other knickknacks.
After exploring the market, bid goodbye to Kathmandu as your Nepal and Bhutan Luxury Tour finally comes to an end. Our driver will drop you off at the international airport to catch your flight. If you wish to visit other destinations in Kathmandu, please let us know. Our travel consultant will help you plan another amazing itinerary with stays at some of the best luxury resorts.