Nepal and Bhutan deluxe tour and holiday, Kathmandu and Thimpu festival
Come and discover the magic and fascination of Bhutan, Asia, the land of the Thundering Dragon (Druk Yul). This holiday with accommodation in luxury resorts will start from Kathmandu in Nepal and will then take you to explore Bhutan, a small Buddhist kingdom, almost hidden in the plains of the Himalayas, surrounded by two large nations like China and India. The landscapes are incredible, snowy peaks, pristine forests are the backdrop for a real journey into the past: more than 70 percent of Bhutan's territory is covered by forests, and in 2008 a law was introduced to preserve this natural state for at least 60 percent in the coming years.Read more
Come and discover the magic and fascination of Bhutan, Asia, the land of the Thundering Dragon (Druk Yul). This holiday with accommodation in luxury resorts will start from Kathmandu in Nepal and will then take you to explore Bhutan, a small Buddhist kingdom, almost hidden in the plains of the Himalayas, surrounded by two large nations like China and India. The landscapes are incredible, snowy peaks, pristine forests are the backdrop for a real journey into the past: more than 70 percent of Bhutan's territory is covered by forests, and in 2008 a law was introduced to preserve this natural state for at least 60 percent in the coming years.
The culture and traditions of Bhutan originate from Buddhism, which is the main religion, but here it is experienced as a real philosophical practice that pervades every daily activity: the development of this small country is in fact based on the so-called National Index of Happiness, thus tying the country's development to the values of life and therefore pursuing happiness as a primary asset of the people and promoting sustainable economic activities, in the most modern sense that is given to this term.
Here are the highlights of your cultural tour and luxury holiday:
This trip requires good adaptability for some long journeys on roads that are not always in good conditions and for some excursions that require trekking to reach the most remote monasteries-dzong.
Tour with guaranteed departure, minimum 15 people, from October 9 to 18.
Arrival at the aiport of Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. Located at 1337 m altitude, it is a city full of contrasts with its urban areas enclosing an extraordinary cultural and artistic heritage. After the processing of customs formalities meeting with the local guide and transfer to the hotel: the rooms will be available on arrival at the hotel. Free morning to rest and familiarize.
In the afternoon visit two important shrines of the valley: Pashupatinath, the most important Hindu temple in Nepal, sitting on the banks of the sacred Bagmati River, on the eastern outskirts of Kathmandu. The temple is dedicated to Shiva the destroyer and creator together, and is the scene of frequent cremations, where the body of the deceased, wrapped in a shroud, is lying on a wooden pyre and set on fire. Only Hindus can enter the main temple where the funeral celebrations take place, the opposite bank of the river is reserved to visitors, from here you can see a part of the sacred complex and the steps of cremations.
Then visit Bodhnath, also called Boudha, a religious center of the large Tibetan exile community in Nepal. The village is built around a huge circular stupa surmounted by the Buddha's eyes, the site is particularly impressive in the evening, and animated by Tibetan pilgrims moving around the stupa clockwise and turning the prayer wheels. Return to the hotel for overnight stay. Lunch and dinner at leisure.
Breakfast in the hotel. Transfer to the airport and flight by Druk Air, the national airline of Bhutan, bound to Paro (2200 m), that in spite of the development of recent years, continues to maintain a predominantly pastoral aspect, surrounded by cultivated fields and flowery valleys, dotted with small farms. After customs clearance and visa requirements, meeting with the Bhutanese guide and transfer by coach to Thimpu, the capital of Bhutan, which is about 60 km away.
Thimpu is situated in a large valley intersected by Wangchuk river and protected by high mountains. Along the route, which takes about two hours, you will see Tachogang monastery, the "temple of the great horse", built by Thangthong Gyalpo and cross the Iron Bridge, dating back to the Middle Ages and an example of fine workmanship. This first transfer will already allow you to get an insight on the different styles in which monasteries are built, recognizable by the shape of the domes, or rather "chorten".
Upon arrival in Thimpu, accommodation at the hotel. Free lunch. In the afternoon you'll take a first walk downtown. Before the meal, the local guide will give a brief introduction to the customs and traditions of Bhutan and show you how to wear the national costumes: Gho for men and Khira for women, which will be left to the guests, so you can wear them, if desired, throughout your stay. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Breakfast in the hotel. The entire day will be devoted to Thimpu Festival, whose main celebrations are held outside the city at the Tashichhodzong. Thimpu festival is the most important and perhaps the most beautiful of those held in the western region of the country: three days dedicated to the great saint Guru Rinpoche in a carousel of rites, dances, music and songs. In the late afternoon return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
Breakfast in the hotel. The morning will still be dedicated to the Festival. Return to the city and lunch in a local restaurant. In the afternoon visit the main sites of the valley, to discover the many aspects of Bhutanese culture, including the great statue of Buddha, Kuensel Phodrang. Visit Simply Bhutan, a real "living museum", developed for and by young Bhutanese.
In the evening admire the National Memorial Chorten, in the city center, built in honor of the Third King of Bhutan Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, where there are many citizens who come to pray and pay homage in a relentless procession. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
Breakfast in the hotel. Drive to Punakha, 71 km, about 3 hours away. The route winds through the fields of Yusipang before climbing up to Dochula Pass situated at 3140 meters, from where, weather permitting, you can enjoy a beautiful view of the eastern Himalayas. Photo stop before resuming the journey, through rhododendron and magnolia forests. There will be the chance to make other stops in small villages in the valley.
Upon arrival in Punakha lunch in a local restaurant. Punakha is home to the winter residence of the Je Khenpo, the Buddhist supreme abbot and the curia. In the afternoon visit Nalanda Buddhist Institute, known locally as Daley Goenpa, a monastic school and religious center where you can see the daily lives of Buddhist monks from up close. At the end transfer to the hotel, dinner and overnight.
Breakfast in the hotel. Early in the morning departure to Lobesa, the starting point for a light trek through rice fields, leading up to Chime Lhakang, the fifteenth -century monastery dedicated to saint Drukpa Kuenley, a place of pilgrimage especially for women. Then visit Punakha Dzong, one of the most impressive and important dzong in the country: idyllically located between two rivers, the Pho Chu (male entity) and Mo Chu (female entity), it was built in 1637 and until 1955 was seat of the National Government.
This Dzong was also called Druk Pungthank Deochen Phodrang, or the Palace of Great Happiness. After lunch in a local restaurant, drive to Paro via Thimpu: you will travel 128 km in about 5 hours. Upon arrival in Paro accommodation at the hotel. Dinner and overnight.
Breakfast in the hotel. The highlight of the day will be the spectacular Takstang Monastery, also known as Tiger Nest. Transfer by bus to Ramthankha from where you will continue walking on a light trekking leading up to the Monastery: the trail winds through a beautiful pine forest, where the typical colorful prayer flags wave. The monastery built in the fourteenth century around the cave where Guru Rinpoche, after flying here on the back of a tigress, meditated for three months in the eighth century, is certainly the most famous place in Bhutan, suspended on the cliffs above the valley.
To facilitate the cimb (about 3 hours total), you can rent a horse or a mule, with which you reach the first refuge where you can enjoy a wonderful view. From there continue on foot for an hour and a half through a magnificent forest and visit the monastery. Light lunch at the local café. Return to the hotel in the late afternoon. Farewell dinner and overnight.
Breakfast in the hotel. Transfer to the airport and departure for Kathmandu by Druk Air flight. Upon arrival, meet your local guide and take an orientation tour of the capital of Nepal. In the center of the old city, founded in the twelfth century by the Malla dynasty, lies the historic Durbar Square, the Palace Square, where the city's kings were crowned. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.The ancient royal palace with wooden balconies and windows decorated with fine carvings overlooks Durbar Square and the two neighbouring squares, together with Hindu temples and monasteries devoted to Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver, Shiva the destroyer and regenerator; beautiful buildings with courtyards, such as the Abode of the Kumari, a young girl chosen as the living goddess of the city.
All around the maze of the old city streets branches off. After the visit transfer to the hotel. Rest of the day available for rest or for individual activities. Lunch and dinner at leisure.
Breakfast in the hotel. In the morning visit Swayambhunath, also called "Monkey Temple" for the large colony of monkeys that live there; the large Buddhist complex overlooks the city, with the watchful eyes of the Buddha surveying the valley in every direction. The hill on which the temple stands was, according to the legend, an island emerged over a large lake that engulfed the entire Kathmandu valley, its historical origins date back to 460 A.D.
Continue on to Patan, the second largest city in the valley that lies south of Kathmandu, partially incorporated into the capital. Historically it is known by the Sanskrit name of Laliput, "city of beauty", founded in 250. BC, governed by local aristocrats and finally conquered by the Malla kings. Patan's Durbar Square is full of temples, palaces and buildings, which make up an extraordinary exhibition of Newari architecture. Lunch in a local restaurant.
In the afternoon short excursion to visit Bhaktapur: the city is beautiful and has preserved the traditional character of the Malla period, in its Durbar Square, in temples, shrines, buildings, fountains, and the lively streets of potters, wood carvers, weavers and numerous artisans with ancient traditions. Return to your Kathmandu hotel for a short rest. In the evening transfer to the beautiful Dwarika's Resort and farewell dinner at Krisharpan restaurant, with custom menu in a truly unique setting (the guests will be invited to sit on cushions on the ground, the traditional Nepali way). Return to the hotel for overnight stay.
Breakfast in the hotel. Transfer to the airport in time for boarding formalities.
This trip requires an entry visa for Bhutan and Nepal. Bhutan visa requires a passport which must be valid for 6 months and have at least 2 free pages. Passport details and a copy must be sent upon confirmation, the visa is issued only after payment of all services to the Ministry of Tourism in Bhutan at least one month before departure. The visa will be applied on the passport on arrival in Bhutan, you need two passport photos, your passport: the cost of the visa is included in the participation fee.
Nepal visa: you need to have your passport, which must be valid for 6 months and have one free page + 1 passport photo. The visa is issued on arrival at the airport for a fee of 25 USD or the equivalent in euros according to the local exchange.