Admire natural and cultural charms of Nepal and Bhutan through cultural tours and a short hike to Bhutan's Taktsang Monastery
Our Nepal and Bhutan Tour is a cultural extravaganza in two beautiful South-Asian nations. On our 9-day journey we get a glimpse of Nepal while spending most of our time in the Land of the Thunder Dragon, Bhutan. The trip begins in Kathmandu, which was voted number 23 out of top 25 Destinations in the World 2015 by Trip Advisor
. In Kathmandu, we visit several UNESCO World Heritage Sites before flying to Paro, Bhutan. In Bhutan, we travel to many townships and tour several dzongs (fortresses), temples, and other cultural and historical landmarks. While in Bhutan, we also pass through the high Dochu La pass and hike to the enchanting Taktsang(Tiger’s Nest) Monastery. However, our Nepal and Bhutan Tour does not end here. We fly back to Kathmandu and visit Patan and Bhaktapur cities that have charmed millions of tourists over the years with its historical architecture and rich cultural heritage. Then we drive to Nagarkot, a village renowned for its sunrise and sunset views of the Himalayas and enjoy spectacular sunset views amidst the tall and mighty peaks.
Day to Day Itinerary
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.
Your safety is of paramount concern while traveling with Himalayan Glacier. Please note that your leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Every effort will be made to keep to the above itinerary; however, since this adventure entails travelling in remote mountainous regions, we cannot guarantee that we will not deviate from it. Weather conditions, health condition of a group member, unexpected natural disasters, etc., can all contribute to changes in the itinerary. The leader will try to ensure that the trip runs according to plan, but please be prepared to be flexible if required.
Included in the Cost
- All airport pick-ups and drops
- All ground transportation by comfortable private vehicles
- All meals in Nepal and Bhutan
- Twin-shared hotel accommodation in Nepal and Bhutan
- Sightseeing in Nepal and Bhutan by an experienced English speaking local tour guide
- Permits and sightseeing entrance fees for museums and monuments as per the itinerary
- Company services and all required government taxes
- Bhutanese visa fee
Not Included in the Cost
- All international flights
- Nepalese visa fee (easily available after arriving at the Tribhuwan International Airport in Kathmandu)
- All personal expenses (personal gear, telephone calls, beverages, internet, laundry etc.)
- Other services not mentioned in the 'What Is Included' section
- Travel insurance
- Tips for guides and drivers
It is a condition upon joining any of Himalayan Glacier's trips that all clients be insured for comprehensive expenses that might incur due to medical issues or accidents (this includes air ambulance, helicopter rescue, and treatment costs). Please note that we don't arrange or sell insurance.
Accommodations on this trip are on twin-shared basis. Single supplement is available with an additional fee of USD 550
Bhutan: Hotels in Bhutan are approved and classified by the government as grade A, B and C. The government approved hotels are equivalent to 3-4 star hotels elsewhere. Based on availability at the time of our booking, our company serves A grade hotels in Paro and Thimphu and B grade hotel in Punakha. We use Hotel Tashi Namgay Resort in Paro, Hotel Migmar in Thimphu and Meri Puensum Resort in Punakha.
We will be accommodated in 3-star deluxe hotel, Hotel Yatri Suites & Spa
in Kathmandu and Hotel Country Villa in Nagarkot.
A variety of meals are available in most hotels the most popular being Indian, Chinese, Nepalese, Bhutanese, Tibetan and the more common continental food. Vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes are also available in every restaurant and hotel. We will be served both breakfast, Lunch and Dinner throughout the trip.
Pre Trip Meeting
Prior to all our tours, we host a Pre-Trip meeting here in Kathmandu on the 2nd day of your itinerary starts in the morning during the breakfast and provide an opportunity for individuals to ask questions about the your tour and to introduce you to other team members.
Best Time to Travel
Spring (April and May) and autumn (September to November) are the best seasons for Nepal and Bhutan tour. We can also equally enjoy this trip during winter months but it may get a bit cold.
Equipments & Packing List
The packing list has been created with the objective of getting maximum comfort with the minimum possible weight. Please remember to bring only what is necessary, as this will be helpful to you and also to the field staff.
Luggage Weight Restrictions
Druk Air has a 44 pound (20 kg) weight limit for checked luggage and another 11 pound weight limit for carry-on luggage on their flights. Your carry-on bags are restricted to one piece, and the size should not exceed 17" x 13" x 8". Next, your gear and clothing items are divided into "trek" and "non-trek" with non-trekitems left at the staff office in a locked room.
Packing List for Cultural Tours
- Passport with minimum validity of 6 months
- Copy of the first page of your passport
- Airline tickets
- Visa approval for Bhutan (to be brought with you)
Optional field Gears
- Pairs of lightweight long pants
- Pairs of dress pants / dresses for evening outings
- Pairs of shorts
- Short-sleeved shirts/blouses
- Long-sleeved shirt for sun protection (while visiting dzongs, temples and Monasteries)
- Warm jackets (if trip falls in Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec, Jan and Feb)
- Sweater or light weight jacket
- Pair of comfortable walking shoes
- Pair of sandals
- Pair of dress shoes
- Personal toiletries
- Insect repellent
- Spare nylon duffel for purchases
- Sunscreen rated 20 SPF or higher
- Lip Balm
- Prescription glasses
- Visor/sun hat
- Daypack/Fanny pack for day trips
- Beach Towel
- First-Aid kit with pain medications, antiseptic/anesthetic for sunburn, and prescription medications.
Things to Remember
- Camera, memory cards and spare batteries
- Electronics/battery charger
- Spare contact lenses or glasses
- Reading and writing materials
- Passport pouch or money pouch
- Motion sickness medication
Essentials: Always check that your pack contains essential items such as your passport, money, eyewear, a change of clothing, hiking boots and medications in your carry-on baggage.
Gifts: Please don't bring extra gifts which might burden you. If you wish to show your appreciation to the staff, the best gift would be a sincere ‘thank you’ or tips where appropriate.
Cultural Sensitivity: It`s better for women to wear pants (or Capri length pants) and/or a skirt (mid-calf or longer). Tights, hiking shorts and sports tops are not advisable. For men, pants are best. Men may wear longer hiking shorts that come to the knees. Never go shirtless.
Health tips for women: Women are advised to bring their necessary health/sanitary supplies with them as such items might not be available in Bhutan.
Boots: Wear boots that are broken-in. To minimize the risk of blisters, wearing thin liner socks under regular hiking socks may help.
Clothing: Cotton is recommended in warm weather. Once wet, cotton also drains body heat. Better to bring wool or synthetics such as Capilene, MTS and Thermax.
Layers: Always test your layers before a trip. See if the outer layer fits easily over the inside ones.
Toiletry Kit: For trekking and sightseeing, bring your own toiletry kit and a small bottle of hand sanitizer. Always remember to discard the toilet tissue in a waste basket and not along a trail or in the toilet.
In Bhutan, portable electric heaters are generally provided for heating in rooms. Blankets are also provided. Bring an extra set of long underwear for extra warmth.
Our website contains as much information as possible about this trip. However, if you wish to discuss any aspect of this trip or your suitability for it please contact us by email
. If you want to talk to us directly feel free to call us at: 00977-98510-55684