Nepal Trek and Bhutan Cultural Tour let you experience the best of Nepal trekking and Bhutan cultural tour. Trek in Nepal and head to Poon Hill, the most popular Himalayan viewpoint in the Annapurna. Discover the cultural treasures of Kathmandu valley, which are protected UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Fly to the ‘Land of the Thunder Dragon’, Bhutan and explore the cultural treasures of this idyllic mountain kingdom.
Your Nepal Trek and Bhutan Cultural Tour begin from Kathmandu from where you take an incredible flight to Pokhara for your short Nepal trek to Poon Hill. Walk past lush rhododendron forests, paddy fields, and traditional Gurung and Magar villages to reach Poon Hill from where you enjoy a magical Himalayan sunrise. Also, experience indigenous Gurung culture while stopping at mountain villages en route. In Kathmandu, explore the famed UNESCO World Heritage sites and medieval cities.
Your Bhutan Cultural Tour begins with a spectacular mountain flight. Enjoy jaw-dropping views of the world’s highest peaks. Explore this green paradise and immerse yourself in Bhutanese culture by visiting 3 Bhutanese cities – Paro, Punakha, and Thimphu. The highlight of your Nepal Trek and Bhutan Cultural Tour is your hike to the cliff-top Tiger’s Nest or Taktsang Monastery. Some other multi-country trips that might interest you - Nepal and Bhutan Trek - 14 days, Nepal and Bhutan Tour - 9 days, Nepal and Bhutan Buddhist Pilgrimage Tour - 12 days, and Bhutan Nepal Tibet Tour - 14 days.
|Day 1||Arrival in Kathmandu (1,400m/4,593ft)|
|Day 2||Fly to Pokhara (800m/2,625ft), drive to Tikhedhunga (1,570m/5,170ft) and trek to Ulleri (1,970m/6,463ft)|
|Day 3||Trek to Ghorepani (2,874m/9,429ft)|
|Day 4||Visit Poon Hill (3,210m/10529ft) and trek to Tadapani (2,600m/8,530ft)|
|Day 5||Trek to Kimchi (1,640m/5,380ft) and drive to Pokhara|
|Day 6||Fly to Kathmandu and sightseeing in Kathmandu|
|Day 7||Fly to Paro, sightseeing in Paro and drive to Thimphu|
|Day 8||Drive to Punakha via Dochula Pass|
|Day 9||Drive to Paro|
|Day 10||Hike to Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest) in Paro|
|Day 11||Fly to Kathmandu and explore Bhaktapur|
|Day 12||Depart Kathmandu|
It’s a real treat to arrive in Kathmandu during the daytime as you get to see some amazing views of the Himalayan peaks and rolling mountains. Once you are outside the airport terminal, you will be met by our representative. He will have a placard with your name or Third Rock Adventures written on it.
You will be driven to your hotel, and our representative will help you check in. After getting refreshed and a bit of rest, attend a trip briefing either at your hotel’s lobby or at our office. You will meet your guide, who will brief you about your upcoming trek. If you have any queries, you can clear your doubts. Later you can relax at your hotel or explore Thamel, the city’s tourist district.
Overnight in Kathmandu.
You take an early flight to Pokhara. The views are amazing, and you get to view some of the highest peaks in the world. It is a short flight, and you will reach Pokhara in about half an hour. Once your plane lands, you will be met by the rest of the crew- porters and assistant guide. You board a vehicle and head towards Tikhedhunga via Nayapul.
The ride is pleasant, filled with delightful views of rustic settlements, green hills, and paddy fields. The trailhead begins at Tikhedhunga, and once you arrive at Tikhedhunga, you carry your daypack and start walking. Follow your guide up the steps to Ulleri.
This first day of your trek is tough as you need to climb more than 3000 steps. The stone steps are well laid, and the trail winds along a green and verdant mountainside. You can take your time and climb at your own pace enjoying the views. Once you arrive at Ulleri, you make your way to a teahouse and rest your tired feet.
Overnight in Ulleri.
Leave Ulleri behind and walk towards Ghorepani. The trail goes past a lush rhododendron jungle. If you make this trek during Spring, you will be walking under canopies of blooming red and pink rhododendron trees. A heavenly experience, which the trekkers’ call “a walk through paradise”. The trail to Ghorepani lies along an ancient salt trade route, In the bygone days traders from India, Nepal and Tibet used this trail to make their way to Tibet. Though the caravans of traders no longer ply on this route, this route is still lifeline of mountain communities living in the Annapurna Region.
After walking for around 4 to 5 hours you reach the busy village of Ghorepani. This used to the watering hole of caravans in the bygone days, so the name Ghorepani (Horse Water). Make your way to your teahouse where rooms have been booked for you, You can enjoy the majestic view of the mountains from your teahouse or lodge.
Overnight in Ghorepani.
Wake up before dawn and make your up a hill that lies right above the village. You climb up a series of steps to reach the top of the hill. Known as Poon Hill, this is the most popular viewpoint in the Annapurna Region.
From here you get to enjoy panoramic views of Annapurna Range (including Annapurna I, 10th highest peak in the world), Machapuchhre (Fishtail Peak), Dhaulagiri (7th highest peak in the world), Manaslu (8th highest peak in the world), Gangapurna and a host of other peaks. As the sun rises slowly, you are mesmerized to view the glorious spectacle of the warm golden sun lighting up the white frozen peaks in pink, red, purple, golden, and yellow colors. It is a magical experience one that will cherish forever. Take pictures and selfies and later walk down to your teahouse. Gather your belongings and proceed onwards to Tadapani.
En route, you pass the Magar village of Banthanti and Deurali Dandi, another picturesque lookout point. The typical Nepalese landscape of terraced fields, hilltop villages, rolling green hills and towering snowcapped Himalayas will steal your heart. Your overnight stop is Tadapani, a quaint Gurung village with wonderful views of Mardi Himal,
Overnight in Tadapani.
This is the final leg of your Annapurna Trek. Make your way down to one of the best known villages on the Annapurna trail, Ghandruk, Ghandruk is a Gurung Heritage Village. Filled with whitewashed stone houses and neat alles, this village is home to brave Gurkha soldiers serving in the British Army. After stopping briefly at this village, you continue your descent down to Kimchi. On reaching Kimchi, board a vehicle and drive to Pokhara.
Overnight in Pokhara.
A short flight from Pokhara brings you back to Kathmandu. Your sightseeing tour begins after you land in the city. You will be met at the airport by your guide who will escort you to your first sightseeing spot the Pashupatinath Temple. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the temple is one of the holiest Hindu shrines in the world. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, one of the three major gods in the Hindu pantheon. As only Hindus are allowed inside the temple you will get to view the temple from the eastern bank of the Bagmati River that flows right beside the temple. ‘Arya Ghat’, the Hindu cremation site is located right below the temple and you can view funeral pyres and people performing the last cremation rites of their dead relatives. Later head to Boudha and visit another UNESCO World Heritage site, Boudhanath Stupa.
The grand and iconic Boudhanath Stupa is Nepal’s largest Buddhist stupa. An important center of Tibetan Buddhism, this ancient stupa lies on the old Tibet trade route. Adorned with colorful prayer flags and a golden turret with the all-seeing eyes of the Buddha painted on it, the stupa is believed to hold the remains of Kasyapa Buddha (the earlier incarnation of Lord Buddha). The impressive white dome rests on a giant plinth designed as a mandala (the Buddhist representation of the cosmos). This, like other historical sites in Kathmandu, is an active spiritual site and there is a constant flow of devotees, pilgrims, and monks around the stupa. After spending an hour or two at this site, make your way towards Patan.
Patan or Lalitpur is known as the ‘City of Artisans’. One of the three medieval kingdoms, the Patan Durbar Square is the old city’s crowning glory. The durbar square or palace complex, built by the Malla Kings, is filled with temples and structures with intricate ornamentation. The highly advanced craftsmanship of the local artisans is displayed in the filigreed woodwork, stone carving, and metal sculptures. The Patan Palace Museum, Krishna Temple, Golden Temple and scores of other shrines are the main attractions of this medieval palace complex. Later, drive to your hotel and have a well-deserved rest.
Overnight in Kathmandu.
You take an early flight to Paro. Filled with mesmerizing vistas of soaring Himalayan peaks, including four 8000 meter peaks (Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga, Cho Oyu, Lhotse, and Makalu). Once you arrive in Paro, you will be greeted by your Bhutanese guide. After lunch or refreshment, your sightseeing tour begins.
You will be driven to Ta Dzong, an ancient Bhutanese watchtower that dates back to the 17th century. This grand structure is now the National Museum and home to several ancient artifacts and relics. Later head to Rinpung or Paro Dzong. This dzong or fortress was built by the founder of Bhutan, Zabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. Paro’s most important festival, Paro Tsechhu is held here. A monastery and some government offices are housed inside this impressive dzong.
After your sightseeing tour you take a 1-hour drive to Thimphu. Once you arrive at the capital city you head to your hotel, check-in, and take a well-deserved rest.
Overnight in Thimphu.
Your Thimphu tour begins with a visit to the beautiful King’s Memorial Chorten at the center of the city. The chorten is dedicated to the third Bhutanese king Jigme Dorje Wangchuk. Later you drive up to a hill and explore the gigantic statue of Buddha Dordenma. This large statue of Lord Buddha watches over Thimphu city. Standing tall at 169 feet, the statue holds 1,25,0000 small Buddha statues inside its bronze body.
Next you head to Tashichho Dzong, a magnificent traditional fortress that houses the King’s throne and the seat of the Royal Bhutan Government. Later you take the road to Punakha via the Dochula Pass. There will be a stopover at the pass from where you can enjoy picturesque views of the Bhutanese mountains and pristine forests.
The pass is decorated with 108 chortens or memorials dedicated to martyred soldiers. After savouring the panoramic views and taking pictures you continue your drive towards Punakha. Upon reaching Punakha you head to your hotel and call it a day.
Overnight in Punakha.
After breakfast commence your sightseeing tour. The beautiful city of Punakha, the capital of Bhutan till the 1950s. You visit to Punakha’s iconic landmark the Punakha Dzong. Located between the Po Chu and Mo Chu rivers, this ancient castle is the winter residence of Bhutan’s Chief Abbot (Je Khenpo). You cross a traditional cantilever bridge to reach this magnificent castle. The dzong houses historical artifacts and Buddhist religious relics as well as the mortal remains of Zabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the founder of Bhutan.
Afterwards head to Chimmi Lakhang or the Fertility Temple. To reach the temple you need to take a short walk through paddy fields and local farms. It is a great opportunity to observe rural Bhutanese lifestyle. The Chimmi Lakahang Temple is dedicated to Bhutan’s patron saint Drukpa Kuenley. Women who have fertility issues and couples wishing to have kids visit this sacred temple. It is believed that Drukpa Kuenley, also known as the Divine Madman, blesses those who seek his blessings with fertility. The monks use a wooden or metal ‘phallus’ to bless the devotees. Later take a picturesque drive to Paro.
Overnight in Paro.
Wake up early and prepare for the most memorable hike you will ever take, the Tiger’s Nest or Taktsang Monastery Hike. After breakfast, you will be driven towards the base of the hill where the monastery is situated. This magnificent monastery lies high above the hill, hugging an overhanging cliff. A man-made marvel, this monastery is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the most sacred Buddhist pilgrimage site in Bhutan, The monastery is said to have been the meditation cave of Guru Rinpoche or Padmasambhava (also known as the Second Buddha) who is believed to have flown there from Tibet on the back of a flying tigress( thus the name Tiger’s Nest).
On reaching the trailhead you take the upward path to the monastery. It is an uphill ascent all the way. The gravel path winding along a lush pine forest is easy to walk and no technical climbing is involved. If you find it too strenuous to make the hike up to the top, you can hire (to be paid by yourself) a pony to ride up halfway to the top. There is a café before reaching the monastery and you can stop there for refreshment.
The monastery looks amazing from this point and you can take pictures from here. You need to walk through a series of stone steps cut on the side of a precipitous gorge before you reach the monastery. Visit the sacred monastery and interact with the monks living there. Later retrace your steps and head down to the highway. Get on the vehicle and return to your hotel.
Overnight in Paro.
Bid goodbye to Bhutan and return to Kathmandu. The flight is a memorable filled with enticing views of Himalayan peaks. Once you arrive in Kathmandu you will be driven to Bhaktapur, one of the valley’s three medieval cities. Visit the old city, one of the best preserved UNESCO World Heritage Site in the city.
The Bhaktapur Durbar Square is divided into three squares- Durbar Square, Taumadhi Square and Dattareya Square. Temples and palaces, which are the finest specimen of traditional Nepalese architecture, adorn these squares. The nine-tiered pagoda roofed Nyatapole Temple, Palace of 55 Windows, Golden Gate, Pujari Math, Bhairavnath Temple are some of the historic and artistic gems that decorate the Bhaktapur Durbar Square.
You can take a leisurely walk with your guide around the old city and watch the local potters at the Pottery Square going about their work – moulding terracotta pots and figurines, drying out their wares in the open courtyard or firing up their kiln. Visiting the square will take you to another time and place.
Later you will be escorted to your hotel. Check-in and take a well-deserved rest. In the evening celebrate the completion of your memorable trip with a farewell dinner with one of our representative.
Overnight in Bhaktapur.
Our representative will drop you off at the airport 3 hours prior to your scheduled departure. If you wish to explore more of Nepal or other Himalayan destinations do let us know. We have a wide range of itineraries you can choose from.