Escape to tranquility in the heart of the Himalayas! This custom Nepal and Bhutan trip is the ideal way to discover the famous sights and hidden delights of these mountain kingdoms, and indulge in authentic cultural and gastronomic experiences along your journey. From wildlife experiences to UNESCO World Heritage sites, and verdant valleys to historic monasteries, your trip has it all!
Kathmandu is a Himalayan valley kingdom, cradled within the foothills of mighty peaks.
Durbar Square & Thamel Visit By Rickshaw Explore Durbar Square, a durbar (court) of royalty, history and arts! Explore the house of the living goddess, or learn about the home of a red monkey god at Kal Bhairam Temple, decorated with its hundreds of erotic wood carvings. Kathmandu’s charm is best seen with an evening rickshaw ride that features silhouetted temples as the sun goes down. Embrace the colorful buzzing bazaars and market squares of Thamel that you can further explore by foot and venture into the lively nightlife.
Patan & Bhaktapur Visit Nepal’s capital Kathmandu combines with Patan, the city of fine arts, and Bhaktapur, the city of devotees, to form the historic, artistic and cultural Kathmandu Valley. Explore Patan’s Hindu temples and Buddhist architecture! Considered Nepal’s cultural gem with its well-preserved pagodas, palaces and temples, regal Bhaktapur is surrounded by the mighty mountains of the Himalayas and boasts amazing views. It was also a stopping point for the ancient trade route between India and Tibet.
Visit To Pashupatinath, Swayambhunath & Boudhanath Temples Visit the best of Nepal’s temples during this half day experience! Considered one of the world’s holiest Hindu shrines, witness the gold-plated roof pagoda of Pashupatinath,with its silver doors, woodcarvings and the linga (energetic symbol) of Lord Shiva. In the Buddhist chaitya (shrine) of the Swayambhunath monastery complex, which is dedicated to self-existence, embrace the huge prayer wheels, special butter lamps and Buddhist artwork.The tour finishes with a visit to Boudhanath (Bodnath) Stupa, the holiest Tibetan Buddhist temple outside of Tibet and at the center of Tibetan culture, not to mention the largest stupa in Nepal.
Chitwan: A wholly different experience! Chitwan is home to one of Asia’s finest National parks and one of the most traditional and conservative indigenous people of Nepal – the Chepangs.
Safaris In Chitwan Explore this World Heritage reserve on an adventurous jeep safari. You have the option of taking an elephant ride for spotting wildlife as well; and if you’re particularly adventurous, a canoe ride along the Rapti River may be just the thing for you. Accompanied by your forest guide, enjoy your safari through dense jungles, tall elephant grass and marshland—the perfect territory for the park’s resident population of Big Cats. Chitwan’s very own Big Five include the endangered one-horned rhinoceros, the Royal Bengal tiger, the leopard, the Asian elephant, and the Himalayan sloth bear. The park is home to a huge and varied population of birds and gharials (or crocodiles) too. If you’re lucky, your naturalist guide could also arrange for a safe nature walk through the park.
Dhulikhel: Undiscovered gem Dhulikhel is a scenic and ancient town located east of Kathmandu with panoramic views of the Himalayan range, enchanting temples, exquisite local handicrafts, and friendly and intriguing culture.
Highlights Of Dhulikhel Go on a tour of the traditional Buddhist Tamang villages; enjoy nature walks in the many popular trails; go birding and view some exotic species of birds.
Hidden realm of wonders! The only world capital without traffic lights, Thimphu is a regal yet bustling town amid glorious hills and home to the revered Bhutanese Royal family.
Highlights Of Thimphu Discover the King’s Memorial Chorten, which is continuously circled by people murmuring mantras and spinning prayer wheels. Explore Tashichhoe dzong (fortress of the glorious religion), the administrative center for government and religion. Browse the various government-run handicrafts emporium and local craft shops showcasing Bhutan’s fine traditional arts, including handwoven textiles, thangkha paintings, masks, jewelry, ceramics, slate and wood carvings. Explore Zorig Chusum (the Painting School), Thanka Art School and the Institution of Traditional Medicine. Visit the National Library, housing an extensive collection of priceless Buddhist manuscripts and modern academic books on Himalayan culture and religion. You can also visit a handmade paper factory, the Mini Zoo, and Thimphu’s weekend market. Enjoy scenic treks and nature walks with views of the famous Himalayan range.
Giving Back To The Community Experience the joy of playing a meaningful part in the life of the youth of Bhutan. Visit ‘Simply Bhutan’, which is a living museum and studio run by the local NGO, Youth Development Fund (YDF). The proceeds from your activities and souvenir shopping at this cultural center will go to the development of youth in the area. Get yourself photographed in local Bhutanese costumes and pamper your taste buds with local tea and other delectable nibbles. Marvel at the display of the traditional arts and crafts that helps to differentiate Bhutan. The highlight of your visit will be a religious ceremony (puja) at the local shrine. The funds generated through ‘Simply Bhutan’ are utilized for the many youth development programs aimed at making the lives of vulnerable and disadvantages youth better. Give back a little to the community!
Dinner And Dance At The Taj Spend an enjoyable dining experience at the Taj Tashi, accompanied by traditional Bhutanese dance performances. The dances are performed by accomplished artists in the full traditional regalia of ornate costumes and masks. Each aspect of the dance has a symbolic meaning. All Bhutanese art, dance, and music can trace their roots to Buddhism and Buddhist philosophy. Traditional Bhutanese music includes a spectrum of sub-genres, ranging from folk to religious renditions. The Taj Tashi organizes cultural programs on a daily basis at hotel’s sprawling courtyard.
Mountain rapture An erstwhile capital, it now makes for a magical stay with splendid views of the distant, heavenly Himalayas at Dorchula Pass with a soothing climate and relaxing ambience.
Highlights Of Punakha Take a tranquil, beautiful hike to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten, built to remove negative forces and promote peace, stability and harmony in the changing world. Dominating upper Punakha Valley, the chorten affords commanding views of Mo Chhu and the mountainous peaks of Gasa. Visit Punakha Dzong, strategically built at the confluence of Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu rivers. Damaged by four catastrophic fires and an earthquake, the dzong has been fully restored by the present king. In the afternoon, visit Chimi Lakhang, situated on a hillock and dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kuenley (the Divine Madman). Also known as the temple of fertility, barren couples wishing to have children pray here as it is believed they are usually blessed with a child soon after. Walk across rice fields to the tiny settlement of Pana, meaning field. Visit Limbukha, famous for Bhutan’s infamous medicinal red rice.
Indellible impressions of surprising beauty! One of the most beautiful spots in Bhutan, surprises the unsuspecting visitor with its wide flat valley sans any trees, after a hard climb through dense forests, augmented by an impression of vast space – an extremely rare experience where most of the valley’s are tightly enclosed.
Highlights Of Gangtey Escape to the great 17th century Wangduephodrang Dzongkhag (monastery) of Gangtey, which is revealed on the slopes of the fabulous mountains surrounding the town of Wangdue Phodrang. From the center, you can trek to Phobjikha Valley, where you will find Gangtey Goenpa perched on a small hill that rises from the valley floor. This is one of Bhutan’s most beautiful spots and it’s surrounded by a large village inhabited by the families of 140 gomchens (priests) who care for the monastery. Home to the main seat of the famous saint who founded the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism, this is the biggest Nyingmapa monastery in Bhutan. Breathe in the stunning scenery of Black Mountain National Park.
Bhutanese Cooking Class In Gangtey Take up this unique opportunity of learning how to cook delicious Bhutanese cuisine. Participate in this special cooking session held at local restaurant, where a team of master chefs demonstrate the art of cooking up a storm. Watch them prepare local Bhutanese delicacies, while you try out your own culinary skills as well. Have fun cooking local Bhutanese delicacies like the delectable and fiery ‘Emma Datshi’ made with chilies and local Bhutanese cheese, which also is the national dish of Bhutan!
Mysterious mountain fortress! Comprising four smaller valleys, Bumthang has an individuality that charms its visitors and separates it from other regions.
Highlights Of Bumthang Bumthang, the general name for four valleys – Chumey, Choekhor, Tang and Ura – is home to several prominent Buddhist temples and monasteries. Visit Budhhist temples and monasteries like Tamshing Lhakhang temple, boasting some of the oldest historical Budhhist wall paintings. ‘Jambey Lhaqhang’ is a 7th century temple, whilst ‘Kurje Lhakhang’ is one of the holiest places in Bhutan. Visit the fortress of ‘Jakar Dzong’, the region’s administrative nerve center; and Lhodrakh Kharchhu Monastery, a part of an extensive effort to preserve and revitalize Tibetan culture that houses almost four hundred monks. You can explore the local market too!
Gateway to the Kingdom’s treasures! Known as the ‘Land of the Thunder Dragon,’ the charming town of Paro is home to Mt. Chumolhari and some of the oldest monasteries and temples in the region.
Highlights Of Paro Throw yourself into the city’s cultural gems! Begin at Rinpung Dzong, a 17th century Buddhist monastery and fortress built by Tibetan Buddhist lama Ngawang Namgyal. Visit the National Museum, housed in a former watchtower over several floors and brimming with Bhutanese relics, and the ruins of Drukgyel Dzong, and enjoy scenic valley treks that boast views of Mount Chomolhari and Kyichu Lhakhang, a 7th century sacred shrine. Discover the spectacular cliffside Taktshang Lhakhang Monastery, otherwise known as Tiger’s Nest, where it is believed Guru Rinpoche arrived on the back of a tigress. Stay in Paro more than three nights and you can also visit Kila Goemba, home of Buddhist nuns, Lhakhang Karpo (White Temple), Lhakhang Nagpo (Black Temple) and Rig Sum Goenpa (three giant hills) in Haa Valley.
Farm House Visit Discover the rustic beauty of Bhutan, embellished by a cluster of quaint farm houses. Get an interesting glimpse into the lifestyle of Bhutan’s village folk on this farm visit. Bhutanese farm houses are very colourful and decorative. They are traditionally built with mud and stones, without the use of a single nail! All houses follow the same architectural pattern. Visit a traditional farm house and interact with local farming folk as they go about their daily lives. Enjoy the simple hospitality of your local hosts over a simple, but infinitely warm tea party!