Himalayan Panorama

tours / Adventure

Himalayan Panorama information and booking

from
$3890
  • Duration
    12 days
    Days
  • Group size
    4-16
    Persons
  • Difficulty
    Adventure touring
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Schedule Details

Summary
  • 12 day trip
  • 11 nights hotels

Highlights

  • Sightseeing in Paro,Kathmandu & Lhasa
  • In Bhutan cross Dochu La to Punakha
  • The remarkable Punakha Dzong
  • Kathmandu Valley and Nagarkot
  • 2 days in the Ancient City of Lhasa

Tour description provided by World Expeditions

In Bhutan we capture the cultural highlights from the tranquil Paro Valley to Punakha and the impressive Punakha Dzong, en-route crossing the Dochu La with magnificent views of the Himalaya. On return to Paro we make the 2 hour hike to view the famous Taktsang Monastery perched high above the valley. In vibrant Kathmandu we explore ancient sites including Bhaktapur, before journeying to Nagarkot on the valley rim for sunset views of the Nepal Himalaya. Finally we take a flight to the ancient Tibetan city of Lhasa where we appreciate its rich cultural heritage as we visit the famous Jokhang, the Norbulingka and the Potala Palace - a must for all Himalayan enthusiasts.

What's included

  • 10 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 5 dinners
  • Flight paro/kathmandu & kathmandu/lhasa
  • 3 to 4 star hotel accommodation on a twin share basis
  • Arrival and departure transfers
  • English speaking local guides
  • Welcome drinks in kathmandu
  • All internal transport by private bus, jeep,car or scheduled air services
  • All sightseeing mentioned in the itinerary plus site entrance fees
  • Emergency medical kit
  • Pre-departure information guide with all you need to know for your trip

Itinerary

Day 1 Join Paro
We fly in to Paro with Druk Air, Bhutan's national airline, and after clearing customs and immigration, we're met by our group leader. There will be a pre-trip briefing on arrival at the hotel, followed by an afternoon/evening at leisure in Paro, to allow some acclimatisation; Paro is 2280m above sea level. Overnight at Kyichu Resort on the banks of the Paro Chhu (Paro River).
Day 2 Transfer to Thimphu (approx.1-2hrs)
Bhutan's compact capital (population about 50,000 – Bhutan, had its very first census in May 2005) is easily explored on foot. We visit the Indigenous hospital, where traditional healing arts are still practiced, the Art & Craft school, the National Library, the Royal goldsmith workshop and the Handicraft Emporium with its famous weaving, woodcarvings and paintings. In the afternoon we visit the memorial chorten (a “chorten” is a stone Buddhist monument, often containing relics) dedicated to the late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, the founder of modern-day Bhutan. We'll also visit the 15th century Changangkha monastery and Motithang mini zoo, where we'll see the rare "takin" (the national animal of Bhutan), before driving out of town for a view of the Thimphu Valley. We also visit the new Drupthob nunnery temple and browse the local market. Overnight Thimphu.
Day 3 Cross Dochu La, Punakha Dzong (drive approx. 3/4hrs)
From Thimphu, we drive for about three hours to Wangduephodrang (locally known as “Wangdi”) via Punakha, changing climatic zones from mountainous to tropical. On the way, we cross over Dochu La, a 3150-metre-high pass marked by prayer flags and a chorten and, if the weather is fine, a view of the eastern Himalaya including the highest mountain in Bhutan, Mt Gangar Punsum (7520m). We drive through forests of rhododrendron and magnolia, before the road descends into the warmer lowlands around Punakha. We visit the Punakha Dzong, which once served as the old capital of Bhutan. This remarkable fortress is built in 1637 between two rivers and has survived many glacial floods and fire. Every February there is a procession known as the Punakha Serda to commemorate the victory over the Tibetans. From there it's just 45 minutes' drive to Wangduephodrang where you can stroll around the market area. Overnight Wangdi Kyichu Resort. *On the 24th June 2012, the beautiful Wangduephodrang Dzong was completely destroyed by fire. It was one of the oldest and most substantial dzongs in Bhutan built in 1638. Renovations were underway when the fire started and so most of the historic relics had been put into storage and were saved from the devastation of the fire. Re-building is already underway to restore the dzong to its former glory.
Day 4 Return to Paro, afternoon at leisure
The return drive back to Paro is no less spectacular, we re-cross the spectacular Dochu La and arrive into Paro in the afternoon.The remainder of the day can be spent wandering the peaceful streets of Paro or relaxing in the hotel.
Day 5 In Paro, Taktsang Monastery
We spend the day sightseeing in and around Paro. We visit Ta-Dzong, which now houses the National Museum of Bhutan. The seven-storey museum highlights various aspects of Bhutanese culture and history dating back to the 7th century; there are excellent displays of all facets of the country's rich cultural history including traditional costumes and battle dress, priceless jewellery and specimens of the kingdom's unique flora and fauna. We take a short walk downhill to the Rinpung Dzong which serves as the administrative centre and school for monks, before walking a little further and crossing the traditional bridge into Paro Town. In the afternoon we drive to the foot of the Taktsang Monastery - the famous Tigers Nest Monastery said to have been one of the divine resting places of the Guru Ringpoche. Although much of the building was once destroyed by fire it is now restored and it is worthwhile to ascend the walking trail (2-3hrs walk) to appreciate the monasteries breathtaking location on a cliff edge about 800 metres above the valley floor.
Day 6 Fly Paro to Kathmandu
On arrival in Kathmandu you will be met by your group leader and transferred to the Radisson hotel. A sightseeing tour has been arranged taking in the key attractions in and around Kathmandu. The area has an amazing range of fascinating highlights, whatever your interest. Excellent bookshops, extensive markets, and novelty and handicraft shops contrast with fantastic centres of cultural and spiritual significance - Kathmandu has more World Heritage sites than any other city in the world. Evening drinks are held in the hotel for all World Expeditions clients arriving today. Drinks and snacks will generally be served from 6:30 pm until 7:15pm, before heading out to dinner.
Day 7 To Nagarkot (2195m), via Bhaktapur
A leisurely start this morning. After breakfast at the hotel, we check-out and journey a short distance to the medieval town of Bhaktapur, known as ‘Khwopa’. This fascinating town is rich with temples, monasteries and palaces, with ornately carved features such as the famous ‘Peacock Window’. The main square, Durbar Square, is a UNESCO world heritage site, and is best appreciated by sitting and watching while one of the many religious festivals and processions passes by. Following time to appreciate this living history and the many artisans workshops (the town is famous for pottery and wood carving), we continue on to Nagarkot, located 32kms east of the Kathmandu Valley. Here we enjoy the fresh air, and sunset and sunrise views of many of the Himalayan ranges including Langtang, Annapurna, Manaslu, Jugal and Rolwaling. Overnight Nagarkot.
Day 8 Return to Kathmandu, afternoon at leisure
IN the morning we transfer back to Kathmandu. The afternoon provides a great opportunity to wander the tourist quarter of Kathmandu, Thamel. There are many fascinating little shops in this oversized market place, or you may chose to try some of the many restaurants and coffee shops.
Day 9 Fly Kathmandu to Lhasa
This morning we take the one hour flight from Kathmandu to Lhasa. On arrival at Lhasa Airport you will be transferred to the city – a drive that takes around two hours. The afternoon is set aside to rest and acclimitise.
Day 10 to 11 In Lhasa
Three days are scheduled in Lhasa to appreciate its rich cultural history. We include visits to the Jokhang, the Norbulingka (the Summer Palace of the Dalai Lama), and the famous Potala Palace. We also include visits to the nearby monasteries of Drepung and Sera.
Day 12 In Lhasa, trip concludes
After breakfast our trip concludes.