Mountains to Dzongs: Nepal & Bhutan – 15 Days

Nepal is the land of beautiful temples, majestic mountains and pristine lakes. Nepal boasts eight of the world’s tallest mountains and the world’s oldest Hindu and Buddhist sites. Nepal is also known as the Land of ‘Mount Everest’. It offers unparalleled adventure options with abundance in flora & fauna and some of the best walking trails on the Earth. Bhutan or the “Land of the Peaceful Dragon” is a country of sprawling forests, venerated monasteries, overpowering fortresses; lush green valley’s fed by bountiful rivers and age-old practices.

This itinerary allows you to let out your adventurous side through the thrills of river rafting at the Trishuli River and elephant safari in Nepal; also get your hiking shoes ready to ascent to the famous Taktsang Monastery and Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten in Bhutan.

Skeleton Itinerary

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Kathmandu

The group will be met at the airport by our representative and transferred to the hotel. You will be briefed about the program. Evening will be at leisure.

Overnight at Hotel [-/-/-]

Day 2: In Kathmandu

Mountain Flight (Optional)

Early morning transfer to the domestic airport for an hour’s scenic mountain flight.
The Himalayas has always been a great source of mysticism. The Mountain Flight offers this rare, fascinating opportunity to embrace the legendary Himalayas and discover the ineffable beauty that is guaranteed to be one of the most mesmerizing experiences ever.

Return back to the hotel. Breakfast will be served at the hotel.
After breakfast start your day with a visit to Kathmandu, the largest city of Nepal which is also the political as well as the cultural capital of the country. Through the hustle and bustle of the city, we visit Kathmandu Durbar Square, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where the Kumari Devi, the living goddess resides.

Later drive to Swayambhunath Stupa, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. This ancient stupa is the most sacred Buddhist shrine of Nepal and is also known as a Self-Created stupa.

Transfer back to the hotel.

Overnight at Hotel [B/-/-]

Day 3: In Kathmandu

Breakfast will be served at the hotel after which we drive to Chagunarayan which is about 19 km via the Arniko highway. From there we hike to Nagarkot that takes about 3.5 hours. On reaching the hills of Nagarkot stop for lunch with the scenic beauty of the mountains in the backdrop.

Drive back to Kathmandu; on the way visit the extraordinary Bhaktapur or Bhadgaon, translated as the ‘City of Devotees’. The extraordinary Bhaktapur Durbar Square has monuments that reflect the glory days of the Malla Dynasty when art and architecture thrived in the three cities of the Kathmandu valley.

Later in the evening we will visit Patan also known as Lalitpur, the city of artisans and a paradise of fine arts. It is a home to Kathmandu valley’s finest craftsmen who have preserved such ancient techniques and lost wax process used to produce exquisite sculptures.

Transfer back to the hotel.

Overnight at Hotel [B/-/-]

Day 4: Drive to Pokhara en route rafting

Distance: 200kms/ 124 miles
Drive Time: 6 hours approx.
Altitude: 827 m / 2,713 ft – 1,740 m / 5,710 ft

After breakfast at the hotel, drive for around two hours to Big Fig, the starting point for rafting. Rafting along Trishuli River is a good mixture of continuous rapids and calm water to encourage the picturesque scenery along the way. After a few hours of rafting, further drive to the scenic route leading to Pokhara.

Pokhara, its pristine air, spectacular backdrop of snowy peaks, serene lakes and surrounding greenery make it ‘the jewel in the Himalaya’, a place of remarkable natural beauty. With the magnificent Annapurna range forming the backdrop – Pokhara is the ultimate destination for relaxation.
Once arriving in Pokhara city, transfer to the hotel. Rest of the day will be at leisure.

Overnight at Hotel [B/L/D]

Day 5: 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, from Dhaulagiri in the far west and Pokhara city in the south with the Phewa lake on the north-western outskirts of the city. Visit the Bindabasini temple on the way towards the hotel, one of the oldest temples in Pokhara.
Breakfast will be served at the hotel.
Visit 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.
Visit an 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. Visit Tibetan Refugee Camp, in the vicinity of Pokhara – Tashiling and Tashi Palkhel.

Overnight at Hotel [B/L/D]

Day 6: Drive to Chitwan

Distance: 139 kms/ 86 miles
Drive Time: 5 hours approx.
Altitude: 415 m/ 1,362 ft

After breakfast at the hotel, drive to Chitwan.
Chitwan literally means “Heart of the jungle”. The Chitwan National Park is located in the lush valley of the Chitwan District, 75 miles south west of Kathmandu, in the foothills of the Churia Ranges. It was enlisted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site (Natural) in 1984.

Upon arrival at the hotel, check into your rooms. During lunch, you will be briefed about the evening activities.

Overnight at Hotel [B/L/D]

Day 7: In Chitwan

Jungle activities – such as elephant safari, canoeing, tharu Village visit, jungle walk etc.

Overnight at Hotel [B/L/D]

Day 8: Fly to Kathmandu

After morning activities, transfer to Bharatpur and fly back to Kathmandu.
Rest of the day will be at leisure.

Overnight at Hotel [B/-/-]

Day 9: Fly to Paro & 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

At the Paro International airport, one of our representatives will receive you and escort you to the hotel in Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan.

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 the 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/L/D]

Day 10: 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 the Institute of Traditional Medicine, Memorial Chorten and national library of Bhutan in Thimphu.
Also visit Simtokha Dzong, which is believed to be the first dzong, built in Bhutan.

Overnight at Hotel [B/L/D]

Day 11: Drive to Gangtey

Distance: 147kms/ 91 miles
Drive Time: 6 hours approx.
Altitude: 3,000 m / 9,842 ft

After an early breakfast, drive to Gangtey, a beautiful place situated at an altitude of 3000m. From Gangtey, one can closely view the picturesque black mountain ranges.

Visit Dochula pass  on the way.
On the way to Punakha from Thimphu, the Dochula pass offers a 360-degree of beautiful panoramic view of the Himalayan mountain range, especially on clear winter days.

Upon reaching Gangtey transfer to the hotel as booked. Rest of the day will be at leisure.

Overnight at Hotel [B/L/D]

Day 12: Drive to Punakha

Distance: 78kms/ 48 miles
Drive Time: 3 hours approx.
Altitude: 1,300 m / 4,265 ft

After breakfast we will hike for about an hour to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten which is a fine example of Bhutanese architecture and artistic traditions. Built out on a beautiful ridge above the Punakha valley, this 4-storey temple has been dedicated for the well-being of the kingdom, its people and all sentient beings. The Chorten was built to remove the negative forces and promote peace, stability and harmony in the ever changing world.

Overnight at Hotel [B/L/D]

Day 13: Drive back to Paro

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

Visit the National Museum and Paro Dzong.
The National museum of Bhutan is a unique circular building also known as Ta-dzong which is an ancient watchtower above the Paro Dzong. Paro Dzong, also known as Ringpung Dzong means ‘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.

Overnight at Hotel [B/L/D]

Day 14: 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 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.

Overnight at Hotel [B/L/D]

Day 15: Final departure

Transfer to the airport for your final departure.

—End of Program—-

Destination Nepal & Bhutan
Trip Duration 15 Days
Arrival In Kathmandu
Departure From Bhutan
Meals BB basis in Kathmandu / Full Board basis in Bhutan (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Best Season February – May/ September – November
Activity Tour
Grade N/A
Nepal Portion •    Arrival/departure transfers
•    Meet assistance at the airport and transfer to the hotel
•    4 nights’ hotel accommodation in Kathmandu in a twin sharing room on bed and breakfast basis
•    2 nights’ hotel accommodation in Pokhara, in a twin sharing room on full board basis
•    2 nights’ hotel accommodation in Chitwan, in a twin sharing room on full board basis
•    All the sightseeing tours with English speaking guide, entrance fees and transfers as per above
•    Rafting at Trishuli River
•    All the entrance and monuments fees as indicated in the program
Bhutan Portion •    Arrival/departure transfers
•    Meet assistance at the airport
•    2 nights’ hotel accommodation in Thimphu in a twin sharing room on full board basis
•    1 night accommodation at hotel in Gangtey in a twin sharing room on full board basis
•    1 night accommodation at hotel in Punakha in a twin sharing room on full board basis
•    2 nights’ accommodation at hotel in Paro in a twin sharing room on full board basis
•    All the sightseeing tour and transfers as per the itinerary with English speaking guide
•    Bhutan Visa fee
•    Tourism development fund & Entrance fee in Bhutan
Excludes •    Nepal  visa fee
•    International airfare & airport tax
•    Airfare Bharatpur – Kathmandu [Will be quoted separately]
•    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 such as bar bills, communication charges, laundry, tips etc. And any other expenses not mentioned in the above cost
•    Personal trekking equipment
•    Tipping
•    Meals not mentioned in the itinerary