Day 1: Australia – – Kathmandu, Nepal
Today, depart Australia for your Himalayan adventure! Welcome to Nepal. On arrival at Tribhuwan International Airport you will be met and transferred to your hotel in Kathmandu.
Day 2: Kathmandu, Nepal (B)
Kathmandu city stands at an elevation of approximately 1,400 metres (4,600 ft) in the bowl-shaped Kathmandu Valley of central Nepal and is surrounded by four major hills: Shivapuri, Phulchoki, Nagarjun, and Chandragiri. This morning head out on a day tour of Kathmandu city. Visit Pashupatinath Temple, a sacred Hindu temple dedicated to Pashupatinath and is located on the banks of the Bagmati River. Enjoy the Boudhanath. This ancient Stupa is one of the largest in the world and is on the ancient trade route from Tibet which enters the Kathmandu Valley by the village of Sankhu in the northeast corner. Finally, visit the Swayambhunath religious site and learn about the Buddhist religion at one of its most sacred sites.
Day 3: Kathmandu – Bhaktapur – Nagarkot, Nepal (B)
Today after breakfast, we leave Kathmandu and travel to the ancient city of Bhaktapur. The third of the medieval city-states in the Kathmandu Valley, Bhaktapur was always described as the best preserved. Bhaktapur has not one but three major squares full of towering temples that comprise some of the finest religious architecture in the entire country. After, we continue on to Nagarkot, a town perched upon the mountainside. Nagarkot has a reputation as the top spot for enjoying Himalayan views from the comfort of your hotel balcony. Here, enjoy the stunning sights as the sunsets of the Himalayan mountain range.
Day 4: Nagarkot – Chisapani, Nepal (B)
This morning, rise early and enjoy the sunrise over the ‘roof of the world’. The suns orange hue casts incredible colours on the mountain ranges not to be missed. After breakfast, we then head out to get a taste of what it is like trekking these incredible valleys. The trek has been designed to meet most levels of fitness, however walking in higher altitudes is more physically demanding than at sea level. We’ll ensure the pace is easy going to allow all people to enjoy the spectacular views of snowcapped mountains and beautiful Nepali villages with green terraces on the way up to Chisapani (5-6 hours).
Day 5: Chisapani – Sundarijal, Nepal (B)
Today, wake and enjoy a simple breakfast in your guest house, before heading back out for your second day of trekking. Today’s trek takes us down to the village of Sundarijal. On the way we pass through a few settlements and rich forest with a variety of birds and the chance of animal sightings. Continue on until you are eventually surrounded by the lush greenery and rivers of the Sundarijal National Park before arriving into the village of Sundarijal (4 hours). On arrival, there is the chance to sit back and relax as you are driven back to Kathmandu for your overnight stay.
Day 6: Kathmandu – Paro, Bhutan (B)
After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for your flight through the Himalayas to the Buddhist Kingdom of Bhutan. On a clear day the panoramic views of the Himalaya are sensational, including Everest, but particularly exciting is the approach through the Bhutanese foothills and the landing, including a few steep turns to land at the tiny airstrip of Paro. In Paro you will be received by your Bhutanese guide and transferred to hotel for your overnight stay.
Besides the stunning natural scenery, the enduring image of the country for most visitors is the strong sense of culture and tradition that binds the kingdom and clearly distinguishes it from its larger neighbours. Bhutan is a unique country both culturally and environmentally. Perched high in the Himalayas, it is the world’s last remaining Buddhist Kingdom. It has developed the philosophy of Gross National Happiness; where development is measured using a holistic approach of well-being, not just based on gross domestic product.
Day 7: Paro, Bhutan (B,D)
Today, enjoy a full day exploring the sights of Paro. Visit Drugyel Dzong, the ruined victorious fortress of the Drukpas, which once defended Paro from Tibetan invasion. On a clear day you can see spectacular views of sacred Mt. Jumolhari from the vicinity of Dzong area. On the way back view Taktsang Monastery. Probably one of the most photographed monasteries in the world, it defies gravity by being perched on the cliff face. This famous and sacred monastery sits 900m above the valley floor, 3120 meters above the sea level on the side of the upper Paro valley. The name Taktsang means Tiger’s Nest. Later, enjoy an evening stroll around Paro town.
Day 8: Paro – Thimphu, Bhutan (B,L,D)
After the breakfast we drive to Thimphu where we enjoy a city tour. Begin by heading to the gorgeous National Memorial Chorten, built in honor of Bhutan’s 3rd king. Then visit Takin Sanctuary to see Bhutan’s national animal Takin that you won’t find in other countries and meet the nuns at the serene Zilukha Nunnery. Lastly, admire Thimphu Dzong (Trashichho Dzong), the largest religious building in Thimphu as well as the central administrative centre.
Day 9: Thimphu – Taktshang Monastery – Paro (B,L,D)
Today, we hike up to Taktshang Monastery for an up close visit. This is Bhutan’s most recognisable cultural icon perched up a seemingly sheer cliff. Although it was tragically and mysteriously consumed by fire in April 1998 it has now been restored to its former glory. It is believed that in the 8th century, the great tantric master Guru Rimopche/ Padmasambhava (2nd Buddha) flew on the back of a tigress to the site where the monastery now stands. The hike takes around three hours in total finishing back in Paro. Later stroll around the town and see how locals live before returning to the hotel.
Day 10: Paro – – Kathmandu (B)
This morning you will be transferred back to the airport to board a flight to Kathmandu giving you a second chance to enjoy the stunning views out the plane window of the world’s highest mountains, hopefully again getting a glimpse of Mt Everest! On arrival into Kathmandu, you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the afternoon is then at leisure.
Day 11: Kathmandu – – Australia (B)
This morning there is leisure time until you are transferred to the airport for your departure flight home.
Day 12: Australia
Arrive home today.