FABLED KINGDOMS OF THE HIMALAYAS
11 days

Some 60 million years ago, the slow, inexorable northward drift of the Indian subcontinent uplifted ancient seafloors and created the extraordinary range of mountains we know as the Himalayas. This journey combines a visit to two countries within the Himalayan range, Nepal and Bhutan.

Begin your adventure in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. Here Hindu and Buddhist traditions have enriched each other to create a unique culture. In the words of UNESCO, “The cultural heritage of the Kathmandu Valley is illustrated by seven groups of monuments and buildings which display the full range of historic and artistic achievements for which the Kathmandu Valley is world famous.”

Your next destination is Bhutan, the greener part of the Eastern Himalayas. Bhutan represents a gold standard in nature and cultural preservation. Tourists were allowed in only from 1974, TV was introduced as late as 1999 and all Bhutanese citizens observe a dress code. Fly into Paro, a scenic city which is home to the magnificent Tiger’s Nest monastery, then drive to Thimphu, a base to explore the valleys of Punakha and Wangdiphodrong.

DAY 1 | KATHMANDU

Arrive in Kathmandu (alt 1,355m) today, where accommodation is held from 12 noon. Afternoon tour of Bhadgaon, one of the four ancient capitals in the valley, with the atmosphere of a living museum. Attend a folkloric show this evening, followed by dinner at a local restaurant.

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DAY 2 | KATHMANDU

Full day tour of Kathmandu, beginning this morning with a visit to the hilltop Buddhist stupa at Swayambhunath, and Nepal’s most sacred Hindu temple at Pashupatinath, along the Bagmati River. In the afternoon, visit medieval Patan, the “City of Art”, before ending the day strolling through Kathmandu’s Durbar Square, always memorable despite the all too brief glimpse of the Living Goddess.

DAY 3 | KATHMANDU/ POKHARA

Fly to Pokhara (or drive, 200 km/6 hours), dramatically situated in the shadow of the Himalayas with the magnificent Annapurna, Dhaulagiri and Manaslu ranges as the backdrop.

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DAY 4 | POKHARA

Spend the day at Pokhara (alt 827m), breathing in the mountain air and visiting interesting local sites. A half or full day walk, with picnic lunch, will gladly be arranged on request.

DAY 5 | POKHARA/ KATHMANDU

Fly or drive to Kathmandu, with the remainder of the day at leisure.

DAY 6 | KATHMANDU/ PARO/ THIMPHU

Fly to Paro (note: flights operate 3-4 times weekly on this route) and drive to Thimphu (54 km/1.5 hours, alt 2,400m). The first views of the mountains which are terraced rice fields are compelling. Rest of the day at leisure to acclimatise before beginning your explorations of this medieval mountain kingdom.

DAY 7 | THIMPHU

A full day tour of the old and new capitals of Bhutan. Standing alongside one another, the dzongs (forts), monasteries, institutional buildings and markets are emblematic of the old and the ongoing Thimphu Structural Plan that epitomises the new while preserving the spirit and traditions of Bhutan.

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DAY 8 | THIMPHU/ PUNAKHA/ WANGDUE PHODRANG/ THIMPHU

Day excursion to Punakha and Wangdue Phodrang (154 km roundtrip/3.5 hours drive each way), crossing the Dochu La Pass (alt 3,088m) before descending into the Punakha river valley (alt 1,300m). Visit the Punakha Dzong, the Wangdiphodrang Dzong and a rural settlement before returning to Thimphu.

DAY 9 | THIMPHU/ PARO

After breakfast, drive to Paro (alt 2,200,). In the afternoon, visit the excellent Ta Dzong National Museum and the 7th century Kyichu Lhakhang monastery, oldest in the land and the harbinger of Buddhism.

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DAY 10 | PARO

Morning viewing of the awesome Taktsang, the Tiger’s Nest monastery, with an option to walk up to its breathtakingly precipitous location – an unforgettable accomplishment. Afternoon at leisure.

DAY 11 | DEPART PARO

Depart for your onward destination aboard a Druk Air flight.

ITINERARY ON A MAP
GALLERY OF EXPERIENCES
ITINERARY INCLUSIONS
INCLUSIONS IN THE ITINERARY

We look forward to welcoming you to slow travel in the Indian subcontinent,

imaginatively and meticulously designed just for you.

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AMIT

Expert in NEPAL & BHUTAN