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Welcome to Kathmandu and the start of your Himalayan journey! Meet our friendly team on arrival at the airport for transfer to the hotel. Resembling a medieval city of temples, shrines and living gods, Kathmandu is Nepal’s biggest and most cosmopolitan city, a meeting place of a dozen ethnic groups and once one of the most important points on the caravan routes between Tibet and India.
After breakfast we explore Kathmandu and its surrounds. The highlights include the Buddhist Stupas of Bodhnath, Swayambhunath and Pashupatinath which is the holiest Hindu pilgrimage destination in Nepal, 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, drive to Chitwan, about 5-hours drive. Widely acknowledged as one of the finest National Parks in Asia, Chitwan supports a population of a variety of species including Indian one horned rhino, bison, sloth bear, wild boar, deer, leopard and of course the magnificent, if elusive, Bengal tiger. Upon arrival at the Lodge welcome & briefing by the naturalist. After Lunch, enjoy the option to go on a canoe or elephant ride.
Today you have a choice of jungle activities including a Jungle walk, elephant ride, canoe ride, elephant briefing or elephant bathing, Village visits OR Tharu Dance performance.
Today we drive to scenic Pokhara, gateway to the magnificent Annapurna Range, which consists of five mountains over 7200m and Machhapuchare Mountain at 7000m. Upon arrival, check into your hotel and relax for the remainder of the day.
We drive to Sarangkot enjoying the views and observing local people, villages and farms. This afternoon we visit Pokhara city, highlights include Barahi Temple, Bindhyabasini Temple, Devis fall and Seti Gandaki and Seti Gorge.
Today we will drive to Kathmandu. En route you can make stops to explore the quaint rural villages that we pass for a glimpse into rural Nepalese life.
Enjoy a full day exploring Bhaktapur City, situated at an altitude of 1,401 m, Bhaktapur covers an area of four square miles. Bhaktapur or "the City of Devotees" still retains the medieval charm and visitors to this ancient town are treated with myriad wonders of cultural and artistic achievements. 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.
This morning we head off to the airport for your flight to Paro in the Himalayan Kingdom of 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, manuscripts, modern academic books and printing blocks for prayer flags and the Thimpu Painting School, famous for traditional thangkha paintings. The Traditional Medicine Institute is where the rich herbal medicines abundant in Kingdom are prepared here. We then explore Memorial Chorten is the beautiful stupa built in the memory of Bhutan’s third King and then Trashichhodzong, the beautiful fortress/monastery which houses Secretariate building.
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,"Later hike to the Chimi lhakhang – the temple of Divine Madman which was built by lama Drukpa Kunley in 1499. There are very few monks at the temple, which is surrounded by a row of prayer wheels and some very beautiful slate carvings for you to take in before returning to the hotel.
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.
Travel back to Paro today via the scenic Doch La Pass. Enjoy a sightseeing tour of the Paro Valley. Visit Kichu Lhakang - one of the oldest temples in Bhutan, built in the 7th century, Dungtse Lhakang, an incredible 3-storey Chorten-style building which was constructed in 1433 and the impressive and iconic Paro Rinpung Dzong. Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries Rinphung Dzong served as a bastion against invasion from the north. It is regarded as one of the finest Bhutanese architecture - with intricate wood work, large beams slotted into each other and held together without nails.
Taktshang Pelphung monastery or Tiger's Nest as it often referred to, is one of the most venerated and famous of Bhutan's monasteries. It is located on the face of a sheer 900m cliff above the floor of Paro valley. Today take a scenic hike to view this spectacular and unmissable sight! 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).
Sadly your journey has come to an end, we will transfer you to the airport in time for your flight home.