Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu (1,300m/4,264ft)
Upon our arrival in Kathmandu, a Himalayan Glacier representative will pick us up from the airport. We will then be transferred to our hotel. We can either visit Himalayan Glacier’s office in Thamel or take a rest at our hotel room during the late afternoon. In the evening, there will be a welcome dinner hosted by Himalayan Glacier. For dinner, you will be served excellent authentic Nepalese cuisine which will introduce you to the Nepalese food culture. Overnight in Kathmandu.
Day 02: Sightseeing in Kathmandu: Kathmandu Durbar Square, Pashupatinath Temple, Swayambhunath and Bauddhanath
After breakfast, we begin our sightseeing tour by visiting UNESCO World Heritage Sites within Kathmandu. Kathmandu Durbar Square showcases Nepalese art and architecture at its best. The architecture is typical of the Malla dynasty who ruled over Nepal from the 12th to the 18th century. Swayambhunath Temple is popular among the foreigners as the Monkey Temple owing to the large monkey population residing in the area. Pashupatinath Temple is situated on the banks of river Bagmati and is one of the principal temples of Lord Shiva. The Bauddhanath Stupa is one of the largest stupas in South Asia which is built on the ancient trade route to Tibet.
Day 03: Fly to Paro (2,250m/7,382ft): 1 hour flight, city sightseeing
As our flight nears Bhutan we can enjoy amazing views of the Himalayas including the sacred Chomolhari and Jichu Drake peaks. At the airport, we will be greeted by a representative from Himalayan Glacier who will take us to our hotel. After lunch, we visit Rinpung Dzong, meaning ‘fortress of the heap of jewels’. Next, visit Kichu Lhakhang, the oldest temple in the country. From here we will be taken to the Drugyal Dzong (Bhutan Victory Fort), which was built in 1646 to commemorate Bhutan's victory over Tibetan invaders during the 1600s. On a clear day we can see Mount Chomolhari, Bhutan's second-highest mountain, at 7,314meters. Overnight in Paro.
Day 04: Paro to Thimphu (2,320m/7,610ft): 54 km, 1 hour drive: Hike to Taktsang Monastery
After breakfast, we hike for around 4 -5 hours to Taktsang (Tiger's Nest) Monastery, which is Bhutan's most famous monastery situated at 3,180 meters. Guru Rinpoche (spiritual master) is said to have flown on the back of a tigress to meditate in a cave where Taktsang Monastery now stands. Lunch will be served in the Cafeteria Restaurant, located about halfway up on the mountain. The monastery is perched on the edge of a steep cliff, about 900 meters above Paro Valley. After having explored the monastery, we hike down to the valley floor and leave for Thimphu. Overnight in Thimphu.
Day 05: Hike to Wangditse Gompa followed by sightseeing in Thimphu
In the morning, we drive to BBS Tower and then hike for 1 hour to Wangditse Gompa on leveled trail with great view of Tashichho Dzong. From here, we also get an amazing view of the Samtenling Palace, home to the fourth King and Dorje Drak meditation retreat on the hillside above. After touring the Gompa, we return to Thimphu. On the way, visit the mini Zoo to see the Takin, national animal of Bhutan. After lunch, we visit the King's Memorial Chorten (built in memory of the third King of Bhutan who reigned from 1952-1972), the nunnery temple, the National Library (which houses ancient manuscripts) and the National Institute of Traditional Medicine. We may also visit the Textile Museum, the Handicraft Emporium, the traditional paper factory and the majestic Tashichho Dzong. In the evening, we enjoy strolling in the streets of Thimphu and observe the local lifestyle. Overnight in Thimphu.
Day 06: Thimphu to Punakha (1,250m/4,100ft): 76 km, 2 - 3 hours drive: Hike to Lungchutse Monastery
After breakfast, we drive to Dochula pass (3,100 meters), where on a clear day we can get spectacular views of the Himalayas. We will begin 2 hours hike to Lungchutse Monastery from 108 chortens. The trail passes through rhododendron forests. Walking along the high ridges dotted with colorful Buddhist prayer flags offers us stunning views of Himalayas, plus incredible vistas into the valleys below the pass. Hike back to Dochu La Pass. After lunch, drive downhill through the rhododendron, fir and hemlock forests. On the way, we stop at Metshina Village and take a 20-minute walk through the rice fields to Chimi Lhakhang, which is a fertility temple dedicated to the Divine Madman or Lama Drukpa Kuenley. Overnight in Punakha.
Day 07: Punakha to Paro: 130 km, 4 hours drive: Hike to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten
At dawn, we drive 12 km north of Punakha and begin our 2-hour hike to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten. It is located on a beautiful hillock called Ngezergang and contains elaborate paintings dedicated to the old sect of Buddhism. We hike further towards Punakha. On the way back, we visit the Punakha Dzong which was built in 1637. It is also the second oldest and the second largest Dzong in Bhutan. In the afternoon, we drive to Paro and spend the night there.
Day 08: Fly to Kathmandu, sightseeing in Patan and Bhaktapur and sunset views from Nagarkot (2195m/7,201ft), 35 mins drive from Bhaktapur
Upon our arrival in Kathmandu, a Himalayan Glacier representative will pick us up from the airport. We will then be transferred to our hotel. After freshening up we begin our sightseeing tour of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Patan Durbar Square is rich in ancient arts and architecture while Bhakatpur is an irresistible city with an authentic local lifestyle preserved over centuries of isolation from the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu. While in the city square of Bhaktapur, we get to admire the Nyata-Pola Temple, the Golden Gate, water spouts and the 55 Window Palace which merge together to provide an ambiance of a magical outdoor theater to its visitors. We also immerse ourselves in the authentic delicacy of the locals in Bhaktapur. Then we drive to Nagarkot, a village renowned for its sunrise and sunset views of the Himalayas and enjoy spectacular sunset views amidst the Himalayas. Overnight in Nagarkot.
Day 09: Final departure
Our Nepal and Bhutan tour comes to an end today. There is nothing else to do but shop for souvenirs or just take a rest. A representative from Himalayan Glacier will take us to the airport an hour before the scheduled flight.