Festivals of Nepal and Bhutan – 12 Days

In Nepal, due to its rich cultural diversity and many legendary traditions you can be assured to come across some festivals or the other almost every month. You can blend in with the locals who will make you feel at home in revelling in their auspicious rituals and feasts.

Bhutan festivals occur during March-April in Paro and during September-October in Thimphu every year. People rejoice and celebrate these two main festivals with religious dances, dramas and masked shows. The enormous traditional Thangka is unveiled before dawn for people to be mesmerized and admire the beauty of the painting. Don’t forget to savor the appealing delicacies and take back with you some Bhutanese souvenirs.

Skeleton Itinerary

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Kathmandu

Once you arrive at the airport, you will be met by our airport representative and transferred to the hotel.  You will be briefed about your trip.

Overnight at Hotel [-/-/-]

Day 2: In Kathmandu

Visit old Kathmandu city and around.
Kathmandu city is the political as well as the cultural capital of the country.  Kathmandu is adorned with ornate palaces, superbly crafted pagodas and monumental stupas.

Perched on a hilltop, Swayambhunath Stupa is an ancient sacred Buddhist shrine that holds utmost importance in the Buddhist community. It is  perhaps the most enigmatic of all holy shrines in Kathmandu.

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Boudhanath Stupa is a massive three level mandala style platform and is the largest in the world. Thousands of pilgrims circle the stupa in a clockwise direction each day spinning the prayer wheels. It is said that each spin of a prayer wheel is the equivalent of reciting the mantra.

Also visit the magnificent Pashupatinath temple with its astonishing architectural beauty situated on the bank of the sacred Bagmati River. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Pashupatinath is also Nepal’s most renowned Hindu cremation site.

Overnight at Hotel [B/-/-]

Day 3: Fly to Pokhara

Flight Duration (Domestic Flight): 25 minutes approx.

Breakfast will be served at the hotel. After breakfast transfer to the domestic airport and fly to Pokhara. Once in Pokhara, transfer to the hotel and freshen up.

Visit the Davis Fall, a lovely waterfall that marks the point where a stream from Phewa lake vanishes underground through a natural tunnel.

Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave, across the Davis Fall, is one of the longest caves in Nepal.

Visit Pokhara’s traditional old bazaar and the International Mountain museum, which displays the history, culture, geology, flora and fauna of the Himalayas. The museum is dedicated to the mountains of Nepal and the mountaineers who have climbed them.

Enjoy boating at the Phewa Taal, the second largest lake in Nepal. The lake is stream fed but a dam regulates the water reserve, therefore, it is classified as semi-natural freshwater lake.  Visit Barahi temple – the island temple situated in a small island in the Phewa lake surrounded by marvelous views. Transfer back to the hotel.

Overnight at Hotel [B/-/-]

Day 4: In Pokhara

Early in the morning drive to Sarankot, a beautiful village located on a mountainside ridge at an altitude of 1600 m with panoramic Himalayan views.

Visit the Bindabasini temple on the way towards the hotel, one of the oldest temples in Pokhara. Breakfast will be served at the hotel.

After breakfast, visit World Peace Pagoda a Buddhist stupa built by the Buddhist monks of the Japanese Nipponzan Fujii organization at a narrow ridge above the Phewa Taal.

Also visit the Tibetan Refugee Camp, in the vicinity of Pokhara – Tashiling and Tashi Palkhel. The Tibetan people living in these villages keep themselves busy by producing and trading in woollen carpets and other handicraft items.

Overnight at Hotel [B/-/-]

Day 5: Fly to Kathmandu

Early morning drive to the airport and fly back to Kathmandu. Upon arrival, our representative will escort you to the hotel.

Later visit Patan city, Bungamati & Khokana.

Patan also known as Lalitpur, the city of artisans is a paradise of fine arts. Located 5 miles southeast from the Kathmandu city, Patan is best known for its rich cultural heritage. A tour through the village of Bungamati gives a clear picture of the primitive lifestyle of the Newari community. Khokana is a small Newari village that was established in the 7th century by the mighty Licchhavi rulers of Nepal. Warding off modern civilization Khokana has managed to retain its own culture and tradition.

Overnight at Hotel [B/-/-]

Day 6: In Kathmandu

After breakfast at the hotel, set out to explore Bhaktapur city, Changu Narayan Temple and Nagarkot. Bhaktapur or Bhadgaon, literally the ‘City of Devotees’ is a major tourist destination that takes visitors back in time. Bhaktapur is still untouched by rapid urbanization and has managed to retain its brick paved roads, charming red brick houses and a way of life that goes back to medieval times. Visit the temple of Changu Narayan, universally acknowledged as the most imposing example of Pagoda style in Nepal and is a great example of Nepalese architecture.

Drive to Nagarkot after the sightseeing. Nagarkot is a renowned international tourist destination with spectacular views of the whole Langtang range, sunrise over the mountains and sunset views. It is located at an altitude of 2229m above sea level, 35 km northeast of the Kathmandu city.

Overnight at Hotel [B/-/-]

Day 7: Fly to Paro and drive to Thimphu

Flight Duration (International Flight): 1 hour approx.
Distance: 53kms/ 32 miles
Drive Time: 1 hour approx.
Altitude: 2,350 m / 7,709 ft.

Today we fly parallel to the Himalayas with breathtaking views of the eastern Himalayas. Upon reaching, our airport representative will receive and transfer you to the hotel in Thimphu. En route to Thimphu, visit Tashichho Dzong. This dzong is an impressive building also known as ‘the fortress of the Dharma Raja’. It has traditionally been the seat of the Druk Desi, the head of Bhutan’s civil government. The dzong was damaged in an earthquake in 1897 and was rebuilt in 1902 without using any nails or written plans.

Note: Tashichho Dzong is open during weekdays after office hours (5pm onwards) and from 9am to 5pm on weekends.

Overnight at Hotel [B/-/-]

Day 8: In Thimphu, later drive to Punakha

Distance: 76kms/ 47 miles
Drive Time: 3 hours approx
Altitude: 1,300 m / 4,265 ft.

Breakfast will be served at the hotel. Today we set out to explore different sites in Thimphu.

In Thimphu, visit the Folk Heritage Museum, the first structure to incorporate both monastic and administrative facilities. Its students are both monks and ordinary people. Visit Changakha Lakhang the temple with its wonderful city’s view & The Takin Sanctuary near the Lakhang will provide you the opportunity to spot Takin, the national animal of Bhutan.

Also visit the National Library of Bhutan, with its magnificent collection of Buddhist traditional text, the school of Art and Handicraft, where we can see the famous Thanka paintings and the mud statue. Visit the Institute of Traditional Medicine & Memorial Chorten. Later drive to Punakha.

Overnight at Hotel [B/-/-]

Day 9: Sightseeing Punakha & drive to Paro

Distance: 143kms/ 88 miles
Drive Time: 4.5 – 5 hours approx.
Altitude: 2,250 m / 7,382 ft.

In Punakha we will visit the majestic Punakha Dzong also known as ‘the palace of great happiness or bliss’, the second largest dzong in Bhutan. Also visit Chimi Lhakhang, flanked with hundreds of prayer flags, that sits on a round hillock near Punakha. The monastery, built in 1499 is dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kinley, also known as ‘the Divine Madman’ or the ‘Mad Saint”.

Later drive to Paro.

Overnight at Hotel [B/-/-]

Day 10: Taktsang Hike in Paro

Hike Duration: 4.5 hours approx. (round trip)

Hike to Taktsang Monastery and later visit Kyichu Lakhang. Perched on the side of a vertical cliff at 3000 m altitude north of Paro, hike for about an hour to the beautiful Taktsang monastery also known as the ‘Tiger’s Nest’, the most famous and an unofficial symbol of Bhutan.

Located close to the Paro Airport, the Kyichu Lhakhang is an important Himalayan Buddhist temple. Built in the 7th century, this is one of Bhutan’s oldest religious sites in Bhutan. Transfer back to your hotel.

Overnight at Hotel [B/-/-]

Day 11: In Paro

After breakfast, we will attend the Paro Tsechu Festival at Paro Dzong also known as Ringpung Dzong meaning ‘Fortress on a heap of jewels’. This impressive dzong is the finest example of Bhutanese architecture and is one of the most popular and well known dzongs in Bhutan. We will also visit The National museum of Bhutan, a unique circular building also known as Ta-dzong which is an ancient watchtower above the Paro Dzong.

Overnight at Hotel [B/-/-]

Day 12: Final Departure

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your onward journey. [B]
Trip Ends

Destination Nepal & Bhutan
Trip Duration 12 Days
Arrival In Kathmandu, Nepal
Departure From Paro, Bhutan
Meals BB basis in Kathmandu & Full Board basis in Bhutan (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Best Season February – April/ September – October
Activity Tour/ Festivals
Grade N/A
Nepal Portion •    Meet and assistance at the airport by our representative
•    Necessary arrival and departure transfers
•    4 nights’ hotel accommodation in Kathmandu in a twin sharing room on bed and breakfast basis
•    2 nights’ accommodation in Pokhara in a twin sharing room on bed and breakfast basis
•    All the transfers and sightseeing tours in Nepal as per the itinerary by private vehicle with local English speaking guide
•    Entrance Fees at the monuments as indicated in the program
•    Necessary surface transfers by private vehicle as mentioned in the itinerary
Bhutan Portion •    Meet and assistance at the airport by our representative
•    Necessary arrival and departure transfers
•    3 nights’ hotel accommodation in Paro in a twin sharing room on full board basis
•    1 night hotel accommodation in Thimphu in a twin sharing room on full board basis
•    1 night accommodation in Punakha in a twin sharing room on full board basis
•    All the transfers and sightseeing tours in Bhutan will be provided as per the program with local English speaking guide by private vehicle
•    Transfers by private vehicle
•    Bhutan Visa Fee
•    Tourism Development Fee
•    Entrance Fees at the monuments as indicated in the program
•    Lunch and dinner will be served in local restaurants
Excludes •    Nepal Visa Fee
•    International & domestic airfare
•    Refreshments, bottled drinks
•    Tipping
•    Insurance and rescue of any form
•    Cost arising out of flight cancellation/road blockades/landslides/riots and events beyond our control
•    Expenses of personal nature and any other expenses not mentioned in the above cost
•    Photography charges in the monasteries and monuments
•    Meals and other services not mentioned in the itinerary