Himalayan Adventure, Nepal

Nepal and Bhutan

Tour Highlights

Join us on this exciting journey to experience the world’s highest and most stunning mountain range, explore incredible natural wonders and discover the cultural treasures of Nepal and Bhutan.
Nepal, home to Mount Everest and several of the other highest peaks in the world, is a land of geographical landmarks, monumental landscapes and smiling, friendly people.  The capital, Kathmandu, is known for its heritage and cultural splendour, and every monument here has a rich legend associated with it.  Pokhara, known as the “City of Lakes”, sparkles with natural beauty, while Chitwan National Park provides the opportunity of a lifetime to see royal Bengal Tigers, one-horned rhinos and various species of birds and butterflies. During our stay in the park there will be a range of great activities available such as elephant safaris, jungle walks, canoeing and cultural programs.

Bhutan (the “Happiest Country in the World') is an oasis of incredible scenery, a strong sense of culture and age-old traditions that clearly distinguish it from its larger neighbours. Here, the Buddhist religion exerts a strong influence on all aspects of life, aiming to create a harmonious society and pristine environment. Known as the last “Shangri-La”, this is the perfect time to visit this magical kingdom while life remains all but untouched by the modern world. We will take a spectacular flight along the Himalayan mountain range to Paro - a historic town with many sacred sites and historical buildings, then proceed to the valley capital of Thimphu with its many museums and local arts.  We will learn the unique character and culture of mountain life as we explore Dochula Pass with its over 100 chortens (stupas) and discover the 17th century Punakha Dzong fortress at the juncture of the Pho and Mo Chhu rivers.  We will see incredible monasteries perched on precarious cliffsides (including the famous “Tiger’s Nest”), see ancient temples and visit markets selling unique handicrafts.

*** Those joining any of our tours to Asia must be able to walk fairly long distances and climb stairs easily.

Tentative Itinerary

We depart for Dubai with Emirates Airline.
We connect to our flight for Kathmandu.
We arrive in Kathmandu. After some time to relax in our hotel we go out to visit Durbar Square with its array of temples, monuments and the ancient palaces of the former Nepali Royals.
We fly to the sub-tropical Chitwan National Park - a UNESCO World Heritage Site which houses a wide array of plant and animal species, including Royal Bengal tigers, Genetic dolphins, rhinos, Golden Monitor lizards, Wild Asian and Gaur elephants, and Gharial crocodiles. This evening we enjoy a Tharu Stick Dance show.
A full day at Chitwan National Park with a naturalist guide who will offer us various activities including an Elephant safari, bird watching, jungle walk, canoeing and a village walk.
Today we take a short flight to Pokhara, a remarkable place of natural beauty with views of the Himalayan peaks, a tropical atmosphere and an incredible diversity of flowers.  We enjoy a boat ride on serene Phewa Lake, with beautiful reflections of Mount Annapurna and sacred Macchapuchare. We will see a variety of fish and an island temple situated in the middle of the lake. We then continue to Davi’s Waterfall and Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave, where an idol-like object resembling Lord Shiva has formed naturally.
We travel to Lumle, enjoying breathtaking views of the Annapurna Mountains, and enjoy a walk (1 ½ hours) to take in spectacular mountain views to Gurung and Chandrakot Villages, finishing at our mountain lodge. An additional optional walk to surrounding villages will be offered in the afternoon.
We fly to Kathmandu, and discover Pashupatinath Temple - one of the oldest temples dedicated to Lord Shiva situated in a lush natural setting by the sacred Bagmati River. We’ll see Boudhanath Monument - a unique spherical stupa 36 meters high with four pairs of eyes believed to watching for righteous behaviour and human prosperity. The monument is ringed by a settlement of Tibetan refugees who developed the site into a ‘Mini-Tibet’.
We fly to Paro with spectacular views of the Himalayans (including Mt. Everest) and an exciting descent into the Kingdom of Bhutan. Upon arrival we drive to the capital, Thimphu - a unique mixture of modern development alongside ancient traditions. Later we visit Kuensel Phodrang which boasts the country’s largest buddha statue and a lovely view of the Thimphu Valley. We then enjoy an exploratory walk around Thimphu’s main street and market area.
We drive to Pangri Zampa - a 16th century monastery where Buddhist student monks learn Lamaism and astrology based on Buddhist philosophy. We then visit the Textile Museum to learn the local national art of weaving, and the National Library with its archaic texts, thousands of manuscripts and printing blocks for prayer flags. We will visit the Arts & Crafts School where students learn the 13 traditional crafts of Bhutan, and the Folk Heritage Museum. We finish our day with a visit of Trashichhoe Dzong - the “fortress of the glorious religion” and center of government.
We drive up into the mountains and take in the dramatic views of Dochula Pass and the many stupas and prayer flags which decorate the highest point on the road. If skies are clear the tallest mountain peaks can be seen from here, including “table mountain” - Bhutan’s highest peak. We continue to Gangtey - one of Bhutan’s most beautiful and unspoiled places. This evening we will stroll in the valley village of Phobjikha.
We first visit Gangtey Goempa monastery, perched on a ridge overlooking the valley, and explore the fascinating Phobjikha valley - winter home of black necked cranes. We will visit Black Neck Crane Information Centre and then proceed to Punakha.
We visit Punakha Dzong (Palace of Great Happiness) built in 1637, which has a six-story, gold-domed tower, courtyards and religious statuary. We then take a beautiful walk to Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten, built to remove negative forces and promote peace and harmony in the changing world. Later we will visit the Lhakhang Nunnery perched on a ridge overlooking the valley, and Chimi Lhakhang to see the temple of fertility. A walk through the village will give us a rare glimpse into the lifestyle of the villagers.
We return to Paro, en-route visiting Simtokha Dzong - the country’s oldest fortress built in 1627 which now houses the School for Buddhist studies. Paro is rich in scenic beauty, and is home to many of Bhutan’s oldest temples and monasteries. We will visit Ta Dzong, which houses the National Museum with its collection of antique paintings, weapons and various historic artifacts, and then visit the historic “Fortress of the Heap of Jewels”. This evening we discover the Paro city centre and market area.
We visit Dzongdrakha Goempa - a cliff-side temple complex in the Paro Valley. Four shrines make up the complex and it sits above Bondey village, known for the majority of its men being either fully ordained monks or lay monks (who don’t take vows of celibacy). It is the women who work in the fields and are the “bread winners” unlike any other part of the country. We will then drive to Paro Takstang (Tiger’s Nest) for a viewpoint of this architectural wonder perched on the side of a cliff 900m above the valley floor. This sacred place is visited by all Bhutanese at least once in their lifetime. In the late afternoon we drive to the base of Drukgyel Dzong, a 17th century fortress burned down in the early 50s and also visit a typical farmhouse. Bhutanese farmhouses are very colourful and decorated and are traditionally built without the use of a single nail.
We fly to Kathmandu and on arrival visit Swaymbhunath Stupa. This 2000-year-old Buddhist Stupa sits atop a hillock overlooking the valley and is famously known as the ‘Monkey Temple’ (for obvious reasons). We then visit Patan (‘city of artisans’) with its magnificent square housing, lovely courtyards and graceful pagoda temples full of wood and stone carvings, metal statues, dozens of Buddhist and Hindu temples and over 1200 monuments.
We depart for Dubai.
In Dubai we connect to our flight back to Canada.

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