Welcome to Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, rich in culture and religion. After arriving at Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport, you will be greeted by our enthusiastic guide with a very smiling face, then be transferred to check in your hotel in downtown by a air-conditioned private vehicle. The rest of today is your free time to take rest or walk around.
In the evening, you will be treated a "Welcome Dinner" at an excellent traditional Nepalese Restaurant where you will enjoy authentic Nepalese food.
Accommodation：Overnight in Kathmandu
After breakfast, you will visit Bhaktapur which is one of three medieval city-states in the Kathmandu Valley as well as the best preserved one with an altitude of 1,401 meter. With three different styles square - Durbar Square, Taumadhi Square and Dattatreya Square, it is the best place to explore traditional Nepalese architecture and local life and custom, also the best place to witness the great achievements of arts and crafts created by the famous Nepal's Malla Dynasty (1201–1769). Bhaktapur is also famous as the Town of the Devotees. There are many devout Hindus and Buddhists living in the city.
Leaving Bhaktapur, you will head to Patan, once a glorious independent kingdom, but now almost a suburb of Kathmandu city. It is known for the crowding Patan Durbar Square which is honored as the finest collection of temples and palaces with exquisite carvings in the whole of Nepal. It also attracts tourists with the treasures and souvenirs in the various shops around the square. The square consists of three main chowks, or courtyards - the central Mul Chowk, Sundari Chowk and Main Keshab Narayan Chowk.
After the sightseeing, driving to the airport and catch your flight to Pokhara.
Accommodation：Overnight in Pokhara
Today, you will begin the full-day sightseeing of Pokhara. In the early morning, you will drive to the Sarangkot to watch breathtaking sunrise. When the sun picks out the peaks, they are transformed from a purple-pink to a celestial gold. As the day breaks thoroughly, you can admire a wonderful panoramic sweep of Himalayan peaks from west to east. The view of the Annapurna Himalaya from Sarangkot is praised as a religious experience. After the spectacular sightseeing from Sarangkot, you will drive to Peace Temple to see the brilliant-white World Peace Pagoda. The road to the pagoda is not in very good condition, but scenery is stunning. World Peace Pagoda was constructed by the Buddhists from Japanese Nipponzan Myohoji organization, symbolizing the peace of the world. While seeing the enchanting natural sights around, you will also get a feeling of inner peace as well.
After lunch, you will visit Devil’s Fall, locally known as Patale Chhango (Hell’s Fall). It is an awesome waterfall lying about 2 km south-west of Pokhara Airport on the highway to Tanmen. Then, pay a visite the nearby Gupteswar Gupha, which is a sacred cave. It has some big hall-size rooms and some passages where you have to crawl on all fours. Afterwards, you will have a relaxed journey in Phewa Lake which is the second largest lake in Nepal. It is available to take to the lake with one of the beautifully painted boats or walk/cycle around the lakeshore. The most important religious monument in Pokhara, Barahi Temple, is built almost in the middle of Phewa Lake. The two storied pagoda is dedicated to boar manifestation of Ajima, the protector deity representing the female force Shakti.
Accommodation：Overnight in Pokhara
After having breakfast, you will move towards Pokhara Airport and fly to Kathmandu. Today’s activities start with a wonderful stroll around the grand Kathmandu Durbar Square, which is the social, religious and urban focal point of the city. With the complex made between the 12th and 18th centuries by the ancient Malla Kings of Nepal, it provides many interesting things to see, like Taleju Temple, Kal Bhairab (God of Destruction), Nautalle Durbar, Coronation Nasal Chowk, the Gaddi Baithak, the statue of King Pratap Malla, the Big Bell, Big Drum and the Jagnnath Temple etc. Then you will visit the Kathmandu’s most ancient and enigmatic holy shrine – Swayambhunath, also known as “Monkey Temple”. It lies 2km west of Kathmandu City. On the clear days, you are able to see a line of Himalayan Ranges. From its hilltop setting, you can get a fine view over Kathmandu of and the valley. After that, follow a contrast tour to the giant Buddhist stupa – Boudhanath, the largest stupa in Kathmandu Valley at about 131ft (40km) high and one of the largest and most important Buddhist stupas in the world. The all-seeing red, white and blue eyes of Buddha are painted on all four sides of the stupa, similar to Swayambhunath, and surrounded by hundreds of fluttering prayer flags, prayer wheels and small images of Buddha.
Optional Activities: you can choose to take a Everest Mountain Flight in the early morning. From the airplane, fantastic Himalayan peaks, lakes and glaciers can be witnessed.
Accommodation：Overnight in Kathmandu
Early this morning, your driver will meet you at your hotel and then take you to the airport to catch your international flight to Paro Airport, the sole international airport in Bhutan. If you sit near the left window of your plane, and fly in a clear day, you will be very lucky to enjoy a spectacular view of the Himalaya peaks, including the world’s highest mountain - Mount Everest (Alt: 29,029ft) and its neighbors - Mt. Lhotse (the world’s fourth highest mountain, Alt: 27,940ft), Mt. Makalu (the world’s fifth highest mountain, Alt: 27,838ft) and Mt. Nuptse (Alt: 25,791ft) as you approach Paro (Alt: 7,364ft).The captain’s broadcast introduction and the magazines on the plane will help you recognize these peaks.
Upon arrival, you will be greeted by your local travel guide and driver, and then be escorted to Paro Town to start your wonderful journey. You will firstly visit Bhutan National Museum where you are going to learn a crash course in Bhutanese rich culture and history. There are many impressive collections displayed in its five galleries, including traditional thangkas, festival masks, religious statues, interesting carvings, etc. Your next attraction is Rinpung Dzong, also known as Paro Dzong, which is reputed as the finest example of Bhutanese dzong. After appreciating these charming architectures in Rinpung Dzong, you could take a leisure walk through cantilever bridge and to Paro Town and witness national game archery, which is played almost every day on the ground.
After the sightseeing, drive about 1.5 hours to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan Kingdom, for accommodation.
Accommodation：Overnight in Thimphu
This morning you will start the day by visiting the National Memorial Chorten (shrine), a monument dedicated to the past 3rd king of Bhutan, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. More than a memorial stupa, it is also one important religious center for Bhutanese daily worship. Then go to visit Traditional Painting School, a school where students are taught to make Bhutan’s 13 traditional arts and crafts, like painting, woodcarving, embroidery, statue-making and so on. Next, go to National Textile Museum which is a good place to display textile weaving – Bhutan’s living national art. You can not only feast on the beautiful costumes, but also learn about the type of textiles, the styles of local dress and the techniques of weaving. Last activity of today is visiting the national animal - Takin in Motithang Takin Preserve, a unique looking animal with the head of sheep and body of cattle.
Leaving Thimphu, drive through a forest of pine and hemlock, up to cross over the Dochu La Pass (Alt: 10142ft/ 3,050 m). From the place, you can enjoy the panoramic views of the majestic Himalaya Mountains. Keep driving along the winding road to the fertile valley of Punakha (Alt: 4430ft/ 1,350 meters).
Accommodation：Accommodate in Punakha Town.
After breakfast, you will go to visit Punakha Dzong, situated between Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu (male and female rivers) and featuring in three docheys (one more than other dzongs). It is praised by many people as the most beautiful one in Bhutan’s 21 dzongs, especially in spring when the lilac jacaranda trees in blossom. Next, move to the Chimi Lhakhang, a mysterious temple built in 1499 by the legendary “Divine Madman” - lama Drukpa Kunley. There is a tradition that the childless women can visit this temple to receive a wang (blessing) from the saint, then they will have a child.
After lunch, drive about 3.5 hours back to Paro. Have a good night in Paro Town.
Accommodation：Accommodate in Paro
Start the day with short drive to Paro’s upper valley. If the day is clear, you’ll have an unforgettable view of the "Goddess" – Mt.Chomolhari (23,640 feet).
Afterward, it's a short drive to Taktsang trail ahead. Take a challenging but necessary 2~3 hours' trek to Taktsang Monastery, the most famous monastery in Bhutan, also known as "Tiger Nest Monastery", because Guru Rinpoche reportedly flew to the site on the back of a flying tiger late in the 7th century. Between blue pines and a blue sky, the monastery perches miraculously on a cliff nearly 2,700 feet above Paro’s valley floor. Break along the way for tea and snacks in small tea house, and the view of both Taktsang Monastery and Paro Valley is magnificent.
Hike down the mountain, then drive back to Paro for accommodation.
Tips: 1) it takes about 2 ~ 3 hours to trek from the parking lot to Taktsang Monastery, and you could ride a horse for the first hour; 2) photography is strictly forbidden in the monastery, but you can take a nice shot on your road to Taktsang Monastery; 3) travelers have to deposit all belongings (cameras, phones or other electronic equipment and bags) at the entrance.
Accommodation：Accommodate in Takshang
Your journey in Bhutan comes to an end today! After breakfast, your guide will pick you up from the hotel to the airport in time for the scheduled flight to your next destination. Before that, you can take a rest at the hotel or go for a walk nearby.
Tips: Please pack your luggage carefully, especially for small things like camera charge, power adaptor, mobile phone, phone charger, wallet and towel. If your flight is arranged in the afternoon, please make sure you check out the hotel before 12pm.