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Nepal & Bhutan Essence

SA08: 11 Days Kathmandu Pokhara Kathmandu Paro - Thimphu - Punakha - Paro
  • Itinerary
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Day 1 Arrival in Kathmandu
Airport pick-up & airport-hotel transfer. Swayambhunath Stupa and Kathmandu Durbar Square.
Welcome to Nepal! When you land at the Kathmandu Airport, our guide and driver will pick you up and drive you to the hotel. After a short break, your private Nepal Bhutan tour starts with a visit to the Swayambhunath Stupa. It is one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Nepal with a far-reaching history of over 2,500 years. At the top of the stupa, there is an awesome panoramic view of the whole Kathmandu City. Afterwards, we will take you to Durbar Square, the most popular site both for locals and tourists. You can wander leisurely to explore the historical monuments clustered around the square, including old royal palaces and temples. When you are finished, you will be escorted back to your hotel.

Meals: No meals, advice freely available
Accommodation: Hotel Himalaya
Day 2 Kathmandu - Bhaktapur - Patan - Kathmandu
Pashupatinath Temple, Boudhanath Stupa, Bhaktapur City (Bhaktapur Durbar Square & Dattatreya Temple), Patan Durbar Square, Golden Temple. (B+L)
Kathmandu Durbar Square
Kathmandu Durbar Square
Today's exploration begins with the Pashupatinath Temple, the largest Hindu Temple in Nepal, where you will witness the special cremation tradition of locals. Afterwards, our guide will take you to the iconic structure of Nepal, the Boudhanath Stupa with its enormous white dome. After that, we will go to Bhaktapur where we will roam around its Durbar Square. Here you can explore the old royal palaces and temples and admire the exquisite carvings inside the Dattatreya Temple, a Hindu temple built in 1427.

Next, we will head to Patan Durbar Square to see the historical monuments and visit the splendid Golden Temple with its lion sculptures and delicate mural paintings. At the end of the tour, you will be transferred back to the hotel.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: Hotel Himalaya
Day 3 Kathmandu - Chandragiri Hill - Kathmandu
Chandragiri Hill with cable car, afternoon is free at leisure, dance show with Nepalese dinner. (B+D)
After breakfast, we will drive you to Chandragiri Hill with an elevation of 2,551 meters where you can take a cable car ride to the mountaintop. From the top, you can see the amazing Kathmandu Valley and have a great view of the Himalayan range from Annapurna to Everest. The afternoon is free for your own arrangements. In the evening, you will experience an authentic Nepalese dinner with a fabulous dance show.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodation: Hotel Himalaya
Day 4 Kathmandu - Pokhara
Fly to Pokhara & transfer to hotel, enjoy a boat trip on Phewa Lake, Barahi Temple. (B+L+D)
Today, you will take a morning flight to Pokhara. Upon arrival, you will be warmly greeted and transferred to the hotel. After you have settled in, we will take a dreamy boat cruise to view the serene and picturesque lake view of Phewa, which is regarded as a fascinating gem of Pokhara. After that, we will visit the tranquil Barahi Temple on an island of the lake and gaze at the snow covered mountains.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Swiss International Hotel Sarowar
Day 5 Pokhara
Enjoy sunrise at Sarangkot, Bindabasini Temple, World Peace Pagoda, Devi's Fall, Mahadev Cave, Pokhara Mountain Musuem, Lake Beganas. (B+L+D)
After viewing the spectacular sunrise of Machapuchare at Sarangkot, we will take you to the Bindabasini Temple to catch the special livestock slaughtering rituals. Then we will proceed to the World Peace Pagoda with its awesome bird's eye view of Pokhara cityscape and Phewa Lake. Descending, you will reach the mighty Devi's Fall and be humbled by the cascading rapids.

Afterwards, we will go to the Mahadev Cave to marvel at tens of thousands of Shiva statues enshrined inside, and then drop by the Pokhara Mountain Museum where you can get a better understanding of how the Himalayas were formed. Finally, you will be rewarded with a delightful sightseeing at the Lake Beganas, where you can become totally immersed in its breathtaking serenity.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Swiss International Hotel Sarowar
 Friendly Tips

If you wish to add an easy hiking experience, we can arrange a 1-2 hour hike down from the World Peace Stupa to the Phewa Lake. You can decide in advance or discuss this with your guide at the time based on your physical condition. There is no additional cost for this activity.
Day 6 Pokhara - Kathmandu
Seti River and Kalika Suspension Bridge, fly back to Kathmandu & transfer to hotel. (B+L)
The Seti River is a must-see site in Pokhara. It looks like a milky way flowing through the narrow valleys because of the unique limestone topography. You can take a delightful stroll at the Kalika Suspension Bridge to absorb the charming river views. After that, you will board a flight back to Kathmandu and return to the hotel for a good rest.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: Hotel Himalaya
Day 7 Kathmandu - Paro - Thimphu
Fly to Paro, Bhutan & drive 1 hour to Thimphu, pass by Tamchog Lhakhang Iron Bridge, National Memorial Chorten, Buddha Dordenma Statue, Motithang Takin Preserve & Thimphu Dzong (Tashichho Dzong). (B+L+D)
Local people in Nepal
Local people in Nepal
Today your Nepal Bhutan tour continues with a morning flight to Paro. Upon arrival, you will be picked up by our driver, and escorted to Thimphu about a one-hour ride. On the way, we will pass by the graceful Tamchog Lhakhang Iron Bridge, and then see the National Memorial Chorten built in 1974 and dedicated to world peace. Our guide will then show you the 50-meter-high majestic Buddha Dordenma Statue. Afterwards, we will proceed to the Motithang Takin Preserve to meet the lovely Takin, the national animal of Bhutan. Finally, we will wonder at the Thimphu Dzong (Tashichho Dzong), an elegant palace for the king to handle the political affairs. Then you will be escorted to the hotel.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Hotel Tashi Yoedling or similar
Day 8 Thimphu - Punakha
General Post Office, Hand Made Paper Factory, Drive 3 hours to Punakha, stopover at Dochula Pass, Punakha Dzong (Fortress), Wooden Suspension Bridge. (B+L+D)
This morning we will explore the General Post Office and stand in awe of the most exquisite and precious stamps of Bhutan. Next, we will drop by a Hand Made Paper Factory to learn how paper is processed. Then we will drive for 3 hours to Punakha, with a stopover at Dochula Pass to view the fascinating Himalayas. After arrival in Punakha, your guide will take you to see Punakha Dzong, one of the most spectacular fortresses of Bhutan, housing an array of mural paintings, religious scriptures, and portraits of religious celebrities. Finally, our guide will take you for a leisurely walk on the Wooden Suspension Bridge to conclude the wonderful day.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Lobesa Lodge or similar
Day 9 Punakha - Paro
Rinchengang village, Punakha Nunnery, hike to Fertility Temple, Drive around 4 hours to Paro, explore Paro Dzong, National Museum, Kichu Lhakhang (Temple), a local farm house. (B+L+D)
A village in Thimphu
A village in Thimphu
Today, we will head for Rinchengang Village which features a cluster of old traditional mud-houses built on a terraced hilltop and drop by the Punakha Nunnery towering on a ridge overlooking Toebesa, Punakha and Wangduephodrang valleys. Then we will take a trek to the Buddhist Fertility Temple and learn about the legendary tales behind the monastery.

A four-hour drive will take you back to Paro to visit the splendid Paro Dzong and explore the abundant collection of Bhutanese art, relics and religious Thankas in the National Museum. Then we will visit Kichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan, and stop by a farm house to get insights into the daily lives of the local people.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Tashi Namgay Resort or similar
Day 10 Paro
Trekking to the famous Tiger's Nest (Paro Taktsang), the ruins of the Drukgyel Dzong, Paro Town. (B+L+D)
This morning we will go to the renowned Tiger's Nest clinging to a vertical cliff about 900 meters (2,950 feet) above the ground. As the most sacred temple for all Bhutanese worshippers, it offers an amazing panoramic view of the entire Paro Valley. After that we will visit the ruins of the Drukgyel Dzong to see the damaged fort. Then we will drive to Paro Town and take a relaxing stroll to discover the local people and customs.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Tashi Namgay Resort or similar
Day 11 Departure from Paro
Hotel-airport transfer & see you off. A nice journey home! (B)
Your impressive Nepal and Bhutan tour itinerary draws to a close today. After checking out, you will be escorted to the Paro Airport for your homebound flight. Our guide will say goodbye to you at the airport. We wish you a nice journey home!

Meals: Breakfast
B-- Breakfast L-- Lunch D-- Dinner
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