|Fitness Level||: Gentle||Max-Altitude||: 5250m / 17224.20ft|
|Country||: Bhutan,Tibet,Nepal||Group Size||: 2-12 people|
|Trip Start||: Paro, Bhutan||Trip Finish||: Kathmandu, Nepal|
|Meals||: Breakfasts at all location and full board in Bhutan|
|Accommodation||: Superior hotels at all locations|
The Himalayan nations of Bhutan, Nepal and Tibet are shrouded in mystery making every traveller’s desire to unravel it for a culturally enriching sojourn. This bespoke journey features some of our favorite spots in the former Himalayan Kingdom of Nepal, Tibet: the Roof of the World and Bhutan: the Land of the Thunder Dragon. Begin your adventure in Bhutan and experience the vibrant culture, natural landscape, exquisite heritage and exotic cities this mystical kingdom has to offer. Explore the major Bhutanese townships of Paro, Thimphu and Punakha, hike the incredible Tiger’s Nest monastery and pay your respect to some of the ancient temples and dzongs while in here.
Your next jaunt in Nepal takes you to Kathmandu city brimming with temples, stupas, and shrines of various shapes and sizes scattered throughout the squares and the fascinating backstreets in and outside the city. Whereas Bhaktapur is dotted with pagodas and religious shrines showcasing rich history and vibrant culture in every nook and cranny, making it a living heritage. Behold the Himalayan panorama unfold right before your eyes in Nagarkot as you enjoy a picturesque sunshine amidst the verdant hills in the morning- feel invigorated!Finally your adventure takes you to Tibet: a mythical paradise. From remote retreats to pilgrim paths, magnificent monasteries, raw high-altitude valleys, lake and mountains, Tibet is shrouded in myths, mystery and mysticism. Enjoy this visual journey as we take you through the cultural centers of Tibet like Lhasa, Gyantse and Xigatse. In Lhasa, you explore the heritage sites, ancient monasteries, old traditional quarter of the city including some of the popular Tibetan landmarks like Potala and Norbulingka Palaces, Drepung and Jokhang Temple to name a few.
|Trip Start Date||Trip End Date||Availability||Price|
Your flight to Bhutan offers you the most spectacular view of Himalayan range which includes the sacred Jomolhari and Jichu Drake peaks as your flight descends to Paro. Once in Paro, you will be greeted by a representative from Wind Horse Adventures and transfer you to your hotel. As soon as you are settled, your adventure in this mystical land begins. Our representative will then take you to Rinpung Dzong which was built in 1646 and now houses the District Monastic Body and government administrative offices of Paro Dzongkhag. Today you will also visit the oldest temple of Bhutan, Kichu Lhakhang and Drugyal Dzong which was built in 1646 to commemorate Bhutan’s victory over Tibetan invaders during the 1600’s. Overnight in Paro.
Start your day with 4-5 hours hike to Taktsang monastery which is commonly known as Tiger’s Nest. Standing tall at 3,180 meters, the monastery is precariously perched atop a cliff face which gives it a surreal look. History has it that Guru Rinpoche (spiritual master) flew on the back of a tigress to meditate in a cave where Taktsang Monastery now stands and served as the divine resting place of the Guru. Surrounded by breathtaking panoramas, you can feel peace and tranquility surrounding you as you ascend the glorious monastery. You will have your lunch in Cafeteria Restaurant, located about halfway up the mountain and then descend down to the valley floor. You will then drive to Thimphu in the afternoon and spend the night. Overnight in Thimphu.
After breakfast, you visit the King’s Memorial Chorten which was built in the memory of third King of Bhutan who reigned from 1952-1972. Then embark on the nunnery temple and the mini zoo to see ‘Takin’, the national animal of Bhutan. You may also ascend the radio tower for a great view of the Thimphu Valley and the Thimphu Dzong. Next up is the National Institute of Traditional Medicine, Bhutanese traditional painting school and the traditional paper factory. Today you will also be visiting the folk heritage museum and the ancient Tashichho Dzong. If it’s a weekend, you might as well explore the weekend market while in Thimphu as some of the attractions and landmarks are closed on Saturdays and Sundays. Just get overwhelmed with what this day has to offer- wonderful memories! Overnight in Punakha.
You start your day with scenic drive to Punakha via Dochu La Pass (3100m), where on a clear day you get spectacular views of the Himalayas. The road to Punakha descends from the pass through the magnificent pine and rhododendron forests and wanders through some of Bhutan's most spectacular countryside with beautiful rice fields along the river banks on your way. Upon reaching Punakha, you have your lunch and later visit Punakha Dzong. Punakha Dzong symbolizes Bhutanese architecture where dzongs were built without iron nails. Built in between 1637-1638, it is the second oldest and second largest dzong in Bhutan constructed strategically to serve as the religious and administrative centre of the region. This tour is a relish to cherish- so a visit to Punakha is a must-see trip not to be missed. Overnight in Punakha.
After breakfast, you drive to Paro. You will visit Chimi Lhakhang, a fertility temple dedicated to Divine Madman or Lama Drukpa Kunley en route. It’s a pleasant 20-minute walk across fields from the road at Sopsokha to the temple. Make a small offering and you will be rewarded with a blessing from the lama’s wooden and bone phalluses and his iron archery set. Mothers-to-be pray to a fertility goddess and then select their future baby’s name from a collection of bamboo slips. Once you are done touring the temple, continue your drive. Once in Paro, you can explore the street life and markets around Paro and even purchase souvenir for your friends and family. Overnight in Paro.
As you bid goodbye to Bhutan and get on board for an hour long flight to Kathmandu, you will be rewarded with sensational views of the Himalaya, but particularly exciting is the approach of unnerving Everest. Once in Kathmandu, you jumpstart with sightseeing in Bhaktapur which is filled with monuments, carved wooden columns, palaces and temples with elaborate carvings, gilded roofs and open courtyards. The city is dotted with pagodas and religious shrines showcasing rich history and vibrant culture in every nook and cranny, making it a living heritage. A short drive of about 30 minutes will take you to Nagarkot, the premier hill station of Nepal.
The popular hilltops of Nagarkot are often crammed with early-morning sun seekers. Wake up to the spectacular sunrise over the hills and enjoy lush green valleys, authentic villages and breathtaking Himalayan panorama with others. From any clear point on the ridge, you can take in spectacular view of the Himalayas, from Dhaulagiri in the west to Mt. Everest and Kanchenjunga in the east. This is sure to enliven and refresh you. Overnight in Nagarkot.
Today we have a lot of Kathmandu sightseeing in store for you. Kathmandu, the nerve-center of Nepal flaunts rich history and vibrant culture in every possible nook and cranny. Kathmandu Durbar Square is rich with ancient palaces with spectacular art and architecture whereas Pashupatinath Temple is one of the holiest places for Hindus. You then make your way to the largest stupa in the world: Boudhanath Stupa followed by Swayambhunath Temple. Swayambhunath meaning the "the self-existent" is popular among foreigners owing to the large monkey population residing in the area. No wonder why it’s called “Monkey Temple”. Make sure you keep an eye out for these notorious creatures. Take a leisurely walk through the local shops and streets of the city in the evening. Overnight in Kathmandu.
A direct flight from Kathmandu will take you to Gonggar Airport in Lhasa whereby you are entitled to an hour-long trans-Himalayan flight which is considered to be one of the most mesmerizing air routes in the world that takes you over Everest (8,848m), Kanchenjunga (8,536m) allowing you to savor the breathtaking panoramic view of the Himalayan range. A cheerful Wind Horse Adventures representative will pick you up either from the airport upon your arrival and drive you to your designated hotel. Overnight in Lhasa.
Begin your sightseeing right away after breakfast with Potala Palace. The majestic white and red building complex, set against grey/green mountains and blue sky, is an iconic image of the Roof of the World. The magnificent Potala Palace, once the seat of the Tibetan government and the winter residence of the Dalai Lamas, is Lhasa's cardinal landmark. It is a huge treasure house of Tibetan history, religion, culture, and art. The palace is widely known for precious sculptures, Buddha statues, murals, antiques, and religious jewelry housed within. It is the must-see attraction which is included on almost all Tibet tour itineraries. Up next is Drepung Monastery which was built in the 14th century. The monastery 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. This would be discovery that would make your moments in Lhasa a big worth. Overnight in Lhasa.
Today you visit the sacred Jokhang Temple followed by Norbulingka Palace and Sera Monastery. Jokhang Temple is the most revered religious structure in Tibet which unravels more deep-seated mysteries of Tibetan Buddhism. The Jokhang also known in Tibetan as the Tsuglhakhang, is thick with the smell of yak butter, echoing with the murmur of mantras and bustling with awed pilgrims, the Jokhang is an unrivalled Tibetan experience. You move on to Norbulingka Palace, the summer palace of the Dalai Lama comprising of houses what is considered to be the largest man-made garden in Tibet.
You then walk towards Sera Monastery which is a preserved monastery of white-washed walls and golden roofs. The monastery is worth a visit particularly in the morning when the monastery is at its most active, but also between 3pm and 5pm (not Sundays), when debating is usually held in the monastery’s debating courtyard. End your sightseeing for today with Drak Yerpa caves. For those with an interest in Tibetan Buddhism, Drak Yerpa hermitage is one of the holiest cave retreats. Among the many ascetics who have sojourned here are Guru Rinpoche, King Songtsen Gampo and Atisha, the Bengali Buddhist. The peaceful site offers lovely views and is a great day trip from Lhasa. Overnight in Lhasa.
After breakfast, you will now drive towards Gyantse while you enjoy the beautiful view. Along the way you will pass the mystifying Yamdrok-tsho Lake also known as the Turquoise Lake which is one of the three largest sacred lakes of Tibet. Yamdrok-tsho, at almost 4,500 meters is one of the highest altitude lakes in the world with water an incredible hue of turquoise and teal. You might as well pack a picnic for the views from above the lake are stunning. And with almost nobody around, you are sure to experience a very unique and tranquil picnic.
Visit Pelkor monastery and Gyantse Dzong (Fortress), one of the best preserved dzongs in Tibet, en route. Like most Tibetan towns, Gyantse radiates old-world charm when its whitewashed buildings are viewed from on high. In addition to Gyantse, clear views are afforded of the entire fertile pound of the Pelkor Chode Monastery. Founded in 1418, the red-walled Pelkor Chode was once a compound of 15 monasteries that brought together three different orders of Tibetan Buddhism- a rare instance of multidenominational tolerance. You now head towards the second largest city after Lhasa in Tibet, Xigatse. Overnight in Xigatse.
Xigatse is a sprawling place, with dusty, uneven streets humming with traffic. The town, formerly known as Samdruptse, has long been an important trading and administrative centre. As you drive in across the plains, the site of the Potala-look alike Shigatse Dzong, high on a hilltop overlooking the town, will probably fire up your imagination. It is the Tashilhunpo Monastery, to the west of town that is the real draw. It holds both historical and cultural importance for being founded by Gendun Drup, the First Dalai Lama in 1447. Covering 70,000 sq metres, the monastery is essentially a walled town in its own right. Circumnavigating the compound is a one hour kora that takes you into the hills behind the monastery. You further drive downwards towards the verdant and fertile vegetation of Zhangmu in the Nepalese border. Overnight in Xigatse.
After a few kilometers drive from Zangmu to Friendship Bridge over the Bhote Koshi River brings you to Immigration Control in Kodari where you are expected to complete some custom formalities. You then bid farewell to your Tibetan guide, walk across the river where a Wind Horse Adventures representative will be waiting for you. You now take 4 hours drive through deep valleys and reach Kathmandu, capital city of Nepal. You can take some time off in the noon and explore the bustling streets and local markets from around Kathmandu. Unwind yourself with a relaxing dinner in the evening we have arranged for you to recollect and share your travel stories. Overnight in Kathmandu.
Today is the day you bid goodbye to the land of Himalayas. They say goodbyes are not forever. Perhaps you might be back for more mountain adventure. Who knows! Our cheerful representative will drop you off to the airport three hours prior to your departure. Safe travels!
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