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Bhutan and Nepal Tour – Myths, Culture and Nature

Bhutan Bhutan

Trekking Map

On this tour you will truly be led into a colorful world full of original traditions, religion, nature and culture. This trip takes you to the heart of Himalaya, through Bhutan and Nepal.
You will have the time to explore the important religious and cultural sites in both countries, marvel at the myths, come into contact with the locals and be impressed by the panoramas of the world’s most beautiful mountains.

The journey starts in Nepal in the lively capital Kathmandu. Afterwards you will travel for eight days to the land of the thunder dragon Bhutan and admire its sights and the festivals in Paro, Thimphu, Haa and Punakha. The Bhutanese culture and literature, the ceremonies, handicrafts and religious myths will take you into a unique world. Depending on your travel dates, you will be able to take part in one of the colorful and lively tshechu (religious festivals). As a grand finale, you visit the UNESCO world cultural and former royal city of Bhaktapur in Nepal and end your trip with many impressions in your luggage.

Day 1: Arrival in Kathmandu – Introduction and welcome dinner
Arrival in Kathmandu. You will be picked up at the airport and driven to your hotel. In the late afternoon we will explain the details of the trip with you, and in the evening you are invited to a welcome dinner. Overnight in Hotel Tibet or similar category (D).

Day 2: Kathmandu Sightseeing – Swayambunath / Pashupatinath / Boudhanath
Today you will explore Kathmandu with a local guide. The most popular places are the Buddhist / Hindu temple Swayambhunath, which is also called the monkey temple, is reached by a long staircase and offers great views of Kathmandu. Other important sights are the Hindu temple complex of Pashupatinath located on the banks of the Bagmati River, with cremation sites, and the holy Buddhist Boudhanath Stupa which is decorated with colourful prayer flags. This stupa has been an attraction for Buddhist pilgrims for many centuries, who repeatedly circled the structure, turning prayer wheels, praying and mumbling mantras (kora). Overnight in Hotel Tibet or similar category, (B).

Day 3: Transfer to the airport for the flight to Paro, drive to Thimphu
We fly to Paro early in the morning. If the weather is clear we should have fantastic views (from the left side of the cockpit) of much of the eastern half of the Himalayas, including the 8000m peaks of Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse, Makalu and Kanchenjunga. After landing and completing the visa formalities in Paro, we drive to Thimphu, the capital of the country at 2,300 meters. There we will check into our hotel and take a break. In the evening we can listen to Bhutanese chants and walk around the stupa monument (Memorial Chorten) there. Overnight in the hotel, (B|L|D).

Day 4: Sightseeing in Thimphu – Astrology School, Mini Zoo, Buddha Point
We are going to the north of Thimphu. The first stop brings us to the astrology school. Then we continue north to Dodena to visit the mini zoo and observe the national animal “Takine”. We return to Thimphu for lunch. Then we undertake an easy hike (about 1.5 hours) through a pine forest to the Wanduetse temple. From here you have a wonderful view of the Thimphu Valley. Another beautiful view awaits you from Buddha-Point / Kuenselphodrang (2,600 m). The 52 meter high Buddha statue has become a landmark of Thimphu city in recent years. Overnight in the hotel, (B|L|D).

Day 5: Thimphu to Punakha (71 km, approx. 3 hours drive) – Dochula Pass and visit to the Mad Man`s Temple
Today we drive to the Punakha Valley (1,240m) after breakfast. Punakha was the capital of Bhutan until 1955 and is now the winter residence of the central monks’ association. On the way we will stop at Do Chula Pass at 3,150 meters to look at the 108 chortens built on three levels. With a little luck and in good weather conditions, we will be able to see the main Himalayan ridge from there, including the Gangkar Puensum (7,570m), the world’s highest unclimbed mountain, should the visibility be good.

In Messina we will stop for lunch. Afterwards a visit to the Mad Man‘s Temple (Chimi Lhakang) is on the agenda. The temple, built in 1499, stands in the middle of the valley on a small hill. It was dedicated to the Lama Drukpa Kunley (1455-1529) – also known as “Divine Madman” – who was known for his humor, his songs and his outrageous behavior. Childless couples who pray at this temple are said to find happiness afterwards.
In Punakha we will first check into our hotel and have the afternoon at leisure. There are various activities such as archery, learning to cook Bhutanese and / or taking a hot stone bath (typical type of steam bath). Overnight at the hotel in Punakha, (B|L|D).

Day 6: Sightseeing Punakha Dzong and drive to Gangtey (Phobjikha Valley); Afternoon hike – 80km, approx. 3 hours
After breakfast we will drive along the Pho Chu River in Punakha and cross a suspension bridge. After a short and gentle walk we reach the historic monastery fortress “Punakha Dzong” from the 17th century. This inspiring palace was built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1637, houses many sacred relics and was the seat of government. Afterwards we leave the main road and drive up to the Lawala Pass and into the wonderful Gangtey Valley. If possible, we can visit the ruins of Wangdue Dzong along the way. After lunch there will be enough time to explore one of the most beautiful valleys in Bhutan. This U-shaped glacial valley, which is often also called Phobjikha valley, is wide, has hardly any trees and gives the impression of a huge space. The valley is home to some of the most biodiverse wetlands in Bhutan. Keep an eye out for barking deer, sambar deer and wild boar. Himalayan black bears have been spotted in the valley and bird life is abundant. The graceful black-necked cranes from Tibet also come here during the winter season. The cranes usually arrive around the end of October and circle the monastery three times when they arrive! They spend the winter in the valley and in the spring they fly around the monastery three times again before returning to Tibet on a dangerous flight for the summer. We can also visit the Black Crane Information Center and Gangteng Monastery. Today’s trip is about 84 km long and takes 2.5 to 3 hours, although different road conditions can mean that we will be on the road longer. Overnight in the hotel in the Hotel Dewachen, (B|L|D).

Day 7: Gangtey to Paro (130 km, approx. 4 hours drive)
After breakfast we take a stroll through the village and can talk to the believers in the village monastery. If you feel like it, you can put your hand on a traditional bow yourself in order to come into even closer contact with the villagers. In the afternoon we drive back to Paro. Overnight at the hotel in Paro, (B|L|D).

Day 8: Paro to Tiger’s Nest
Today we hike up to the Tiger’s Nest (Tiger’s Nest). The most famous monastery in Bhutan was recently registered as one of the most sacred places in the world. This monastery is also the holiest in Bhutan. It towers 900 meters above the Paro valley and is known as the tiger’s nest because Guru Rimpoche allegedly came to this place on the back of a tigress in the 8th century. On the five-hour intensive but rewarding mountain tour to the monastery, on which more than 900 meters of altitude are conquered, body and soul are equally cleansed, and the sight of the monastery up close is also worth the effort. We recommend taking trekking shoes, trekking poles and plenty of water with you. Please note that there is about 100 steps up and down. Overnight at the hotel in Paro, (B|L|D).

Day 9: Flight back to Kathmandu and drive to Bhaktapur
It’s time to say goodbye to Bhutan! Today you say goodbye to your guide and driver and you will be driven to the airport in Paro to fly to Nepal / Kathmandu. You will be picked up from Kathmandu Airport and driven to your hotel in Bhaktapur. The rest of the day can be used as free time. Overnight in Hotel Bhaktapur Heritage House or similar, (B).

Day 10: Sightseeing in Bhaktapur and Changu Narayan (1,500m) and afternoon hike to Nagarkot (2,040m) – approx. 4 hours hike
Early in the morning we drive to Bhaktapur, an ancient Newari city that lies on the eastern edge of the Kathmandu valley and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its rich culture, its temples and its wood, metal and stone works of art. The city is located at 1,401 m, approx. 14 km east of Kathmandu. Bhaktapur – “City of the Pious” -, the old royal city, with its unique architectural heritage, has still retained its medieval charm and visitors to this city are surprised by countless buildings of cultural and artistic excellence. The past glory of the Malla dynasty seems to continue in the palace courtyard (Durbar Square). Pottery and weaving are the two traditional crafts. Bhaktapur is also famous for its wood carvings and the Bhadgaolen hat or the Bhadgaolen cap (the old name of Bhaktapur is Bhadgaolen).
Continue to Changu Narayan Temple, another World Heritage Site located in the north of Bhaktapur. “Changu Narayan” is the name of the temple dedicated to the god Vishnu, which is located at the end of a long mountain ridge that slopes down into the valley. It is said that Changu Narayan was built by King Hari Dutta around 323 AD and is the oldest temple in the valley there. Since 1979 it has been included in the UNESCO list as a World Heritage Site.
After visiting the temple, we begin a wonderful hike along a wooded mountain ridge with views of terraced fields that reach down to the valley floor and a wonderfully hilly landscape. After the Telkot Forest Reserve, the path joins the road to Nagarkot. If the weather is nice and clear, we will be able to enjoy a magnificent view of the Himalayas. Overnight at Hotel The Fort Resort or similar category, (B).

Day 11: Hike to Nala village (1,600m) – approx. 3 hours and drive to Kathmandu – approx. 1 ½ hours
Nagarkot is a popular tourist spot in Nepal. Located 32 km east of Kathmandu at an altitude of 2,175 m, the whole panorama of the most important peaks of the eastern Himalayas including Sagarmatha (Mt. Evererst) can be seen from here. Nagarkot is famous for its spectacular and unforgettable sunrises and sunsets, so get up early this morning.
After breakfast we hike along many terraced fields to the village of Nala before we drive back to Kathmandu. This region is one of the largest suppliers of green vegetables and potatoes for the capital Kathmandu. A religious place for Hindus and Buddhists alike, Nala is famous for Rato Machhindraa (Karuna Mai), Bhagwati Temple, Manakamana Temple, Siddhartha Gumba and some churches. Ugrachandi Temple is unique in that it has four floors in the pagoda style. Then we drive back to Kathmandu. Overnight in Hotel Tibet or Hotel Manaslu (B).

Day 12: Flight back home
Farewell and transfer to Kathmandu Airport. End of the journey, (B).

We reserve the right to make program changes due to special events, force majeure or weather reasons.

B = Breakfast | L = Lunch | D = Dinner

German guided tour
English guided tour

Bhutan Festival overview: Download file for 2022 here… 

This tour can also be booked for your individual group at an additional cost at dates other than shown here.

Duration: 12 days
Costs:
2.990€ per Person
Group size: min. 3 Persons (all the tour dates are guaranteed with a minimum group size of only three persons)
€ 490 for single room supplement

What’s included:

  • Airport transfers in Bhutan and Nepal
  • Flight from Kathmandu to Paro – Paro to Kathmandu
  • All relevant surface transfer
  • All hotel accommodation with breakfast in Nepal
  • All meals in Bhutan. (|B|L|D)
  • Sightseeing with entrance fees, guide and vehicle
  • Permit, National Park Entrance/Conservation Fees
  • Guide & Driver
  • Visa Bhutan
  • US$ 250 tourist fee per day and person, in Bhutan
  • Quality service

Not Included:

  • International Flights
  • Additional tours and meals that are not mentioned
  • Beverages
  • Personal bills
  • Visa Nepal (approx. US$ 40)
  • Excess baggage charge (beyond 20 Kg each)
  • Insurance (for cancellation, accident, health, emergency evacuation and loss, theft of or damage to baggage and personal effects)
  • Tips

Visa
Visa fees for Bhutan are included in the price. We will provide the visa applications. Visa fees for Nepal are not included in the price and will be paid in the airport at arrival in Kathmandu (around US$ 50). Two passport size photographs must be provided for the visa. At the time of the trip your passport must be valid for at least a further six months and have at least two blank pages.
These visa and passport regulations apply to EU countries, Switzerland and the USA. Other nationals should check with the relevant consular authorities.

Vaccinations
There are no vaccinations required for traveling to Bhutan at this time. However, you should be vaccinated against tetanus, hepatitis A and diphtheria. We recommend you consult your GP (general practitioner) in good time, about three months before your trip.

Insurance
We highly recommend the conclusion of travel cancellation insurance. In the case of bargain price flights in particular, changes or cancellations generally can’t be made free of charge.
We have requested ERGO (Reiseversicherung) to create various service packages for you. You can book travel cancellation insurance at www.reiseversicherung.de

Please note: ERGO insurance can be booked by residents of Germany and Austria. Those living in other countries are requested to book their travel insurance through an insurance provider in their own country.

It should be noted that geoDiscovery Tours advises its customers to book their travel insurance via ERGO as a recommendation only, and accepts no responsibility for the contractual content between the customer and the travel insurance provider. Customers can book their travel insurance via ERGO or another provider at their own discretion.

Flying in Bhutan and Nepal
The flights booked by us, between Nepal and Bhutan are with Bhutan Air or Druk Air. The domestic flights in Nepal booked by us are with Tara Air, Yeti Air or Buddha.

The hotels and lodges booked by us
In Nepal and Bhutan the hotels we book are good and correspond to medium-level Western standards. Sanitary facilities are clean and functional; the hotel cuisine is adapted to Western eating habits and the food is safe to enjoy. In Nepal, there may sometimes be power cuts or no hot water available for a while. The hotel staff is generally very friendly and looks after the welfare of guests. The hotels booked by us are as follows:

In Bhutan
Thimphu: Hotel Phuntsho Pelri
Phobikha: Hotel Dewachen
Bumthang: Hotel Ugyen Ling
Punakha: Meri Puensum Resort
Paro: Tashi Namgay Resort

In Nepal
Kathmandu: Hotel Tibet/Manaslu ***+
Pokhara: Mount Kailash Resort, Lake side retreat ***
Lumbini: Hotel New Crystal ***
Chitwan: Jungle Villa Resort
Nagarkot: Nagarkot Farmhouse

Tour program
The travel program for all of our recommended tours is carefully planned. It can happen, however, that roads are closed without advance notice or are impassable, that there are waiting times of several hours because of traffic congestion or fuel shortages and that specific tourist attractions are closed for various reasons. Other restrictions such as flight delays or even cancellations due to bad weather, strikes or the health of participants may also make the implementation of the travel program more difficult or at worst make it impossible. However, our local guides are prepared for such situations and will make every effort to achieve every aspect of the program to your satisfaction. As a result the inconvenience can normally be kept to a reasonable level. Nevertheless, it must be pointed out at this juncture that for the above reasons program changes are possible at any time and cannot be influenced by the organizers. The resulting costs are borne by the traveler. We ask for your understanding.

Road Situation
Despite high mountains, steep slopes, and the deepest of valleys Bhutan has a relatively well developed network of roads. It is difficult to find a length of either straight or flat road. In some stretches one can encounter 6 to 7 bends per kilometer! Steep ascents and descents are characteristic of road travel in Bhutan and this can make traveling much slower than one may be used to. The average driving speed is 40 km per hour. Travelers need to be adaptable, however.


Trip Details

  • Duration: 12 days
  • Holiday Type: Hotel Accommodation
  • Best trekking period: Oct/Nov/Dec/Feb/Mar/Apr/May
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Max Altitude: Tiger's Nest, 3.070m
  • Group size: Min. 3 persons (all the tour dates are guaranteed with a minimum group size of only three persons)
  • Tour guide: English speaking, trained Bhutanese guide
  • Difficulty:
  • Fitness:
  • Price: 2.990,00 
  • Single room supplement: 490,00 €