Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu
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 Nepalese food culture. Overnight in Kathmandu.
Day 02: Fly to paro from Kathmandu, sightseeing in Paro (2,250m/7,382ft)
As our flight nears Bhutan, we can enjoy amazing views of the Himalayas including the sacred Jumolhari and Jichu Drake peaks. At the airport, we will be greeted by a representative from Himalayan Glacier who will take us to our hotel. Today, we will visit Rinpung Dzong which was built in 1646 and now houses the district Monastic Body and government administrative offices of Paro Dzongkhag. We will also visit Kichu Lhakhang, the oldest temple in the country and Drugyal Dzong, built in 1646 to commemorate Bhutan's victory over Tibetan invaders during the 1600s. Overnight in Paro.
Day 03: 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 04: 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 a leveled trail with a 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 05: 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 a 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 the 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 06: 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 07: Paro to Kathmandu (1,300m/4,264ft): Sightseeing in Kathmandu
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 tourists 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 Bouddhanath Stupa is one of the largest stupas in South Asia which is built on the ancient trade route to Tibet.
Day 08: Drive from Kathmandu to Chitwan (815 m/2,674 ft):175km, 4-5 hours
After breakfast we drive to Chitwan located 175 kilometers from Kathmandu. We descend down along the winding road on the banks of the Trishuli River. After checking in to the hotel, there will be a briefing on the activities we will be engaged in during our stay in Chitwan. We then walk on the banks of the Rapti River to enjoy the sunset in the sub-tropical jungles of Chitwan. In the evening, we enjoy dinner along with a brief cultural program showcasing the tribal dances unique to the Chitwan region of Nepal.
Day 09: Chitwan National Park
Early in the morning, we will be mounted on elephants for a jungle safari through dense grasslands to witness wildlife in their natural habitat. After breakfast, we visit the elephant stables and even enjoy bathing the elephants. During the afternoon we can drive through the jungles followed by a canoe ride down the Rapti River. While canoeing, we may get a close look at the Gharial and Mugger crocodiles along with fresh water dolphins, otters and varieties of water birds. Or, we may even go for bird watching or nature walks and come closer to a variety of wild flora and fauna found in the park. Overnight in Chitwan.
Day 10: Drive to Pokhara (910m/2986ft): 200km, 5 - 6 hours
After breakfast, we leave Chitwan for Pokhara, also known as The Lake City owing to the large number of lakes in the city. The road first passes through the subtropical jungles and fertile vegetation in Chitwan. As we leave Chitwan, the landscape changes. We see hills, small settlements and terraced farms. Upon our arrival in Pokhara, the beautiful lake city, we are rewarded with magnificent views of the Himalayas including Dhaulagiri (8,167m), Manaslu (8,156m), Machhapuchhre (6,993m), the five peaks of Annapurna and others. We check in to our hotel and take a rest. We may also stroll in the streets of Pokhara and just enjoy being in one of the most beautiful cities of Nepal. Overnight in Pokhara.
Day 11: Sunrise views from Sarangkot Hill, fly to Kathmandu
Early in the morning we leave for Sarangkot, a hill in the north-west region of Pokhara that overlooks the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges in the north and the main city in the south. We start our hike from Naudanda and get to Sarangkot. We stop at a tea-house in Sarangkot and enjoy amazing views of the sun as it rises in the mighty Himalayas. From here, we also get a view of the Pokhara city below and the abundant Fewa Lake. We later fly to Kathmandu for an overnight stay.
Day 12: Fly from Kathmandu to Lhasa (3,650m/11,972ft): 1 hour
We take an hour-long Trans-Himalayan flight to Lhasa, Tibet early in the morning. The flight takes us over Everest (8,848m), Kanchenjunga (8,536m) and other Himalayan peaks and glaciers. Upon our arrival in Lhasa, a representative from Himalayan Glacier will pick us up from the airport for about an hour’s drive to our designated hotel in Lhasa. We are advised to take plenty of rest for the remainder of the day in order to minimize altitude sickness. Overnight in Lhasa.
Day 13: Sightseeing in Lhasa: Potala Palace, Norbulingka Palace and Tibet Traditional Hospital: 5 - 6 hours
We begin sightseeing in Lhasa after breakfast. Today we visit the beautiful Potala and Norbulingka Palaces. Built in the 17th century, Potala Palace provides amazing views of the entire city and houses the private quarters of the Dalai Lama, numerous grand state rooms and chapels. Norbulingka Palace is the summer palace of the Dalai Lama and houses what is considered to be the largest man-made garden in Tibet. Next, we visit the Tibet Traditional Hospital which is the center for the treatment, training, research and production of Tibetan medicine. Overnight in Lhasa.
Day 14: Ganden Monastery and Drayerpa Cave: 5 - 6 hours
In the morning, we drive to Ganden Monastery, located at the top of Wangbur Mountain (3,800m) in the Lhatse County, 57km east of Lhasa. It is the oldest and one of the ‘great three’ of the six Gelug Sect monasteries in Tibet. Ganden Monastery has extremely delicate and fine murals and sculptures. It also keeps a suit of armor decorated with gems, which was worn by Emperor Qianlong and was bestowed to the monastery as an offering to Tsong Khapa, founder of the Gelug Sect. During the afternoon, we drive to Drayerpa Cave located in a beautiful valley with a stunning landscape. There are more than 30 caves for Lamas who wish to meditate in a silent environment. In the evening, we drive back to Lhasa and spend the night.
Day 15: Lhasa Sightseeing: Sera Monastery, Drepung Monastery, Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Bazaar: 5 - 6 hours
After breakfast we visit Drepung Monastery, Sera Monastery, Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Bazaar. Drepung Monastery, which was built in the 14th century, is believed to have sheltered around 10,000 monks in the past but as of now there has been quite a declination resulting in only a few hundred. The history, culture, and religious beliefs of the Tibetan people are strongly concentrated and centered in this marvelous monastery. Sera Monastery is a preserved monastery of white-washed walls and golden roofs. Jokhang Temple is another important sacred site which unravels more deep-seated mysteries of Tibetan Buddhism. We further stroll through Barkhor Bazaar (market). With its open air stalls, shops and crowd of pilgrims, it is the nerve centre of Lhasa. Overnight in Lhasa.
Day 16: Final departure
Our Himalayan adventure in Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet comes to an end today! A Himalayan Glacier representative will escort us to the airport approximately 3 hours before our scheduled flight. On our way home, we have plenty of time to plan our next adventure.