Ancient Kingdoms of the Himalayas – Bhutan & Nepal

3-Week Himalayan Itinerary to Bhutan & Nepal

Prices from £2,985 pp

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Duration15 days / 14 nights (flexible)

DepartureDaily

ItineraryKathmandu - Patan - Bhaktapur - Thimphu - Punakha - Chimi Lhakhang - Gangtey - Haa Valley - Paro - Chitwan - Kathmandu

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Overview

Discover a mixture of lively cities, gleaming white Dzongs, devout monks, elephants and rhinos during this itinerary from Nepal to Bhutan. You’ll begin your trip amongst the bustling streets of Kathmandu and visit the ancient medieval towns. Then it’s a flight into the Land of the Thunder Dragon, Bhutan, as you hike to Tiger’s Nest Monastery and visit the world’s largest monastic fortress. Discover the life of a local Bhutanese family then go in search of the elusive black-necked crane. Explore the traditional charm of the Haa Valley before completing your adventure back in Nepal at Chitwan National Park.

What's included

Nepal

  • Accommodation – price based on 2 people sharing
  • Breakfast
  • Chitwan safaris (canoe and jungle walk) transport between Kathmandu and Chitwan
  • English-speaking guide in Kathmandu, Paro and Bhaktapur, National Park permit.

 

Bhutan

  • Accommodation – price based on 2 people sharing
  • Transport with private driver and English-speaking guide
  • Druk Air flights
  • Visa
  • Excursions as described
  • Entrance fees
  • All meals
  • Local drinks (e.g. tea)

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Location map

Your day-by-day itinerary

Nepal: Kings & Gods of the Valley

Wander between cobbled streets and scattered temples in the atmospheric medieval cities of the Kathmandu Valley, feeling utterly lost in a timeless daydream. Combine the enchanting chaos of Kathmandu with nearby Bhaktapur and Patan and get straight to the heart of mystical valley culture. Weave between fluttering prayer flags, watch monkeys scamper through temple complexes and kids play                                                                   with paper kites in the cobbled streets.

View Durbar Square

Bhutan: A Taste of Thimphu

Today you’ll travel to your comfortable hotel in Thimphu. Your hotel is in the heart of the city, walking distance from souvenir shops, bars and cafes. Thimphu is a city which encapsulates Bhutan’s juxtapositions of old and new and reputedly the only capital without traffic lights. In the evening, head out to a local restaurant to enjoy a traditional dinner.

Thimphu Dzong courtyard, Bhutan

Bhutan: Warm Welcomes & the Mighty Dzong

It’s time for a glimpse of life in the countryside. After crossing the prayer-flag laden pass of Dochula you’ll arrive amongst the lush greenery of the Punakha Valley where you’ll stay in a small hotel just outside the town. The next day you’ll walk through rice fields and visit one of the most beautiful monasteries in Bhutan, the Punakha Dzong, before spending the night at a local homestay.

Dzong by the river

The colourful towers and white walls of this characteristic building form a striking contrast to the emerald green scenery and turquoise rivers. Next you’ll travel by car into Bhutan’s countryside, arriving at a local bed & breakfast late in the afternoon. This is where you’ll spend the night. The accommodation is simple and functional and you’ll have your own private room. This is a real opportunity to get a glimpse of Bhutanese village life.

Bhutan: Swooping Cranes in Sweeping Valleys

Visit one of the most beautiful valleys in the whole of the Himalayas, home to the black-necked crane. These celestial birds settle here between November to February. You’ll stay in a charming mid-range hotel on the edge of the valley. As the morning mist slowly rolls away and the rising sun sparkles off the morning droplets of dew, you’ll get                                                                                the feeling of being somewhere truly special.

Black-necked cranes in colourful Phobjika Valley in Central Bhutan

Bhutan: Haa! A Hidden Shangri-La

Your journey to the untouched Haa Valley will take you through the Chelila Pass and past the Kila nunnery. You’ll see remnants of a time when this was the main trade route between Tibet and Bhutan. The area is so peaceful and beautiful we would recommend a walk along the banks of the river, with Tibet’s majestic peaks as your backdrop, or a hike up one of the high passes in search of blue poppies.

Bhutan: Haa! A Hidden Shangri-La

Bhutan: Winding Trails to Tiger's Nest

On arrival in the charming town of Paro you’ll be taken to your typical Bhutanese hotel. You’ll have plenty of time to explore the town with your guide, visit the famous (and most impressive) Paro Dzong and try your hand at a spot of archery, Bhutanese national sport. After your first night, you’ll hike up to the spectacular Tiger’s Nest Monastery perched on the side of a 3000m cliff overlooking Paro Valley. In the afternoon, treat yourself to a hot stone bath made with fresh herbs, an authentic Bhutanese spa experience you won’t try anywhere else on earth!

three people in bhutan smiling with tigers nest in the background

Nepal: Monks of Neydo Monastery

This is a truly unique experience and opportunity to witness everyday life in a Tibetan monastery in Nepal. You’ll be staying in a guesthouse at the Neydo Monastery, nestled in the Kathmandu Valley. Watch the monks praying, chanting and offering sacrifices. You’ll have an early start as the bells ring to wake the monks at 5am and you’ll witness                                                                                     them having debates, praying for world peace and learning to write                                                                                   and read Tibetan.

Nepal: Monks of Neydo Monastery

Nepal: Chitwan Elephants & Rhinos

Set off on an adventure in search of the one-horned rhino. Glide along twisting rivers in a canoe at dawn, watching golden light flood the plains, and watch elephants gather at the shores in the early morning haze. The lush subtropical lowlands of Chitwan National Park are bursting with wildlife and adventure, so get your binoculars at the ready. Take a walking safari, sleep in a scenic bungalow and sail past crocodiles sunning themselves on the riverbank. It’s a rustic outdoor experience that will bolt your eyes wide open.

Nepal: Chitwan Elephants & Rhinos
David on a rickshaw

Speak to our Bhutan specialist, David

“Bhutan felt like a fairy-tale to me; a land where the locals wear traditional dress and archery is practiced against a backdrop of green valleys and blue skies. Visit this country, and you’ll soon believe in legends.”


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