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Welcome to Nepal and the start of your Himalayan Odyssey! You’ll be met at the airport by our friendly local team and transferred to your hotel where you can relax for the rest of the day.
Today after breakfast we explore Kathmandu and its surrounds. The highlights include the Buddhist Stupas of Bodhnath and Swayambhunath, which are fabulous examples of Buddhist temple architecture and a great place to observe Buddhist life and culture. We’ll also explore Patan Durbar Square, home to more than 50 stunning temples and shrines.
After breakfast we take a short drive to Kirtipur, also known as the City of Glory. The well-preserved old town contrasts developed Kathmandu with its unpaved narrow lanes. Admire the amazing views of the Kathmandu Valley from the top point of Kirtipur. We continue to the historic town of Patan, sometimes referred to as Lalitpur, meaning City of Beauty, and admire the rich collection of temples and monasteries in the area.
Today we drive by private car onward to spectacular Pokhara making stops at quaint villages along the way. Pokhara is the gateway to the magnificent Annapurna Range, which consists of five mountains over 7200m including the Machhapuchare, which although falling short of 7000m, is one of the most extraordinary mountains due to its unique ‘fishtail’ peak. The local people believe it is sacred to the god Shiva and therefore is off limits to climbing.
An early start as you are driven to Sarangkot enjoying the views of the landscapes and mountains and observing local people, villages and farms. After breakfast visit the thundering waterfall known as Devi’s falls where the Pardi River, which drains Phewa Lake, enters a grottoed channel and sinks underground in a sudden rush of foam and fury. We then visit Tashi Ling Tibetan Village and Tibetan refugee camp, and a local school and monastery, and have the chance to pick up some souvenirs from small stalls and a carpet-weaving hall, before returning to our hotel.
Today allows free time to participate in optional activities such as paragliding, mountain biking, cycling, boating and horse riding, or if you prefer why not unwind down by the lake
Fly back to Kathmandu where you will be transferred to the Hill Station town of Nagarkot located a short distance from the city – Spend the afternoon to explore the area.
Morning we return to the airport for your flight to Bhutan. Welcome to the Kingdom of Bhutan. Airport arrival transfer from Paro airport to Thimphu, the modern capital town of Bhutan. Driving through the Paro valley, en route to Thimphu gaze out upon silvery Pa Chu (Paro River) meandering its way through the thick forested ravine, the Paro Dzong (fortress) and Ta Dzong (watch tower).
Today’s full day of sightseeing in Thimphu valley includes the National Library which has a vast collection of ancient Buddhist texts. The Traditional Medicine Institute is where the rich herbal medicines abundant in Kingdom are prepared here. Then onto Memorial Chorten, which is a beautiful stupa built in the memory of Bhutan’s third King. Last stop is Trashichhodzong, the beautiful fortress/monastery which houses Secretariate building, King’s Throne room and other government’s offices, is also the summer residence of Chief Abbot.
This morning drive to Punakha, an old winter capital of Bhutan. En-route stop at the lofty Dochu La Pass, 10,000ft/3,048m to view the rugged eastern Himalayas. This afternoon visit the impressive Punakha Dzong or Pungthang Dechen Phodrang "Palace of Great Happiness," which is located on the confluence of two rivers (Phochu and Mochu). Later hike to the Chimi lhakhang – the temple of Divine Madman which was built in 1499. It’s a 20-minute walk across to the temple. The trail leads across rice fields to the tiny settlement of Pana.
Punakha & Wangdue are two separate districts in the same valley, just 20kms apart. Located at a lower elevation, the valley has mild winters, allowing cactuses, oranges, bananas and sub-tropical plants to flourish. Punakha was once the winter capital of Bhutan, the tradition that is still held by the Central Monks and Jekhenpo, who reside here in Punakha Dzong during the winters and return to Thimphu, which is their summer capital. In Wangdue, there is a small town on the ridge and large Wangdue Phodrang Dzong. Enjoy an excursion to Wangdue today and explore the town.
Enjoy a day at leisure in Punakha you can head out to visit some of the small villages in the region.
Travel back to Paro today via the scenic Doch La Pass, where on a clear day you can enjoy spectacular views of the towering Bhutan Himalaya peaks. Enjoy a sightseeing tour of the Paro Valley. Visit Kichu Lhakang - one of the oldest temples in Bhutan, built in the 7th century. Last stop for the day Dungtse Lhakang, an incredible 3-storey Chorten-style building which was constructed in 1433 and the impressive and iconic Paro Rinpung Dzong.
Today take a scenic hike to view the spectacular and unmissable sight of Taktshang Pelphung monastery or Tiger's Nest as it often referred to, is one of the most venerated and famous of Bhutan's monasteries. The monastery is only accessible on foot or you can ride a pony part of the way (this must be arranged in advance by your guide).
This morning onward departure transfer to Paro airport for your flight to Katmandhu. Arriving here, we transfer you to Bhaktapur a typical Newari town. Despite its close proximity to Kathmandu, Bhaktapur seems worlds apart. This enchanting old town is peacefully traffic free and has retained its centuries old traditions, crafts and trades. Bhaktapur Durbar Square is home to beautifully carved Malla dynasty palaces and pagodas and the cobblestone streets, temples, shrines and squares are full of character. Spend the afternoon exploring at your leisure.
Sadly your journey has come to an end, we will transfer you to the airport in time for your flight home.