Day 1: Overnight: Kathmandu
On arrival in the Nepalese capital transfer to your hotel. Kathmandu valley surrounded by verdant hills, Kathmandu is a city that is rich in history and heritage. The main religion here is Hinduism, which is closely followed by Buddhism and during your stay here you will be able to witness some incredible temples and palaces, some of which date back over 2000 years. Trip Briefing Tonight.
Day 2: Kathmandu
This morning you may choose to book a mountain flight (weather dependent), during which you can enjoy amazing views of the high peaks of the Himalayas including the highest mountain in the world – Mount Everest – with a peak that sits at 8,848 metres above sea level. You may choose to begin your exploration in Bhaktapur, the largest of the three ancient Newar Kingdoms found in the Kathmandu Valley. The city is particularly known for its arts, culture and the traditional lifestyles of its people. Highlights include Durbar Square where you can witness a magnificent 55-window palace which is surrounded by a number of pagodas and shikhara-style temples. Taumadhi Square is home to the early 18th-Century, five-storied Nyatapola Temple, which is the largest of its kind in the country.
Day 3: Kathmandu to Chitwan National Park
Travel south today through the southern foothills of the Himalayas to the lowland plains of the Terai where the country’s famous national park Chitwan is located (approx. 5 hours). On arrival at the lodge, where you will spend the next two nights, lunch will be served. This evening there will be a chance to take an ox cart ride to a local Tharu village, home to the ingenious people of the TeraiDay
Day 4: Chitwan National Park
Enjoy a full day of activities from the lodge, which is located in the jungle overlooking the Rapti River and the national park on the opposite bank. The park covers an area of 360 square miles at the foot of the Himalayan foothills and is home to a variety of rare wildlife species including Bengal tigers, leopards, sloth bears, Asiatic rhinoceros and Asian elephants. Enjoy a canoe ride on the Rapti River, and take a walk through the jungle before visiting the Elephant Breeding Centre and the Charial (a native crocodile) Breeding Centre. Return to your lodge for dinner and an evening at leisure.
Day 5: Chitwan National Park to Pokhara
The landscapes change again today as you head north west to Nepal’s third largest city – Pokhara – which sits in the shadow of the mighty Annapurna Massif. The city acts as a gateway to the trails and mountains for adventurous trekkers and climbers, as well as being a laid-back mountain and lakeside retreat. Your hotel is located in the popular Lakeside part of the city which is right on the shore of the beautiful Phewar Lake – the perfect location to shop, drink and dine.
Highlights here include the fascinating Gurkha Memorial Museum. The Gurkhas, many of whom were born and grew up in the nearby mountain towns and villages and are chosen during gruelling selection tests, have fought for the British army in many wars and campaigns over the past 200 years. The museum celebrates the achievements of these renowned regiments and showcases their history from the 19th Century to the present day. Here you can also discover the individual stories of Gurkhas who have been awarded the Victoria Cross medal – the highest military decoration for members of the armed forces in the commonwealth and former British territories.
Day 6: Pokhara
This morning is the perfect opportunity to admire the beautiful Himalayan views (weather dependent). We recommend rising early to travel to Sarangkot to watch the changing light catching the changing light catch the peaks of the Annapurna Himalayas – including the distinctive Machhapuchhre, or ‘Fishtail’ mountain – as the sun rises. Return to your hotel for breakfast before discovering Pokhara’s main sights.
The World Peace Pagoda, also known as the Shanti Stupa, is set on at the top of Ananda Hill overlooking the city. A modern stupa by Nepalese standards this place of worship was built, along with many other World Peace Pagodas around the globe, in response to the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Other highlights include the Bindebasani Temple, Devi’s Falls, Gupteswor Cave, the old Pokhara Bazaar and the Tibetan Refugee Settlement.
Day 7:Pokhara to Kathmandu
Return to Kathmandu today by land (approx. 8 hours) passing through valleys and following the course of a few of Nepal’s many rivers. On arrival, transfer to your hotel where you will stay one night. Spend the rest of the afternoon at leisure.
Today you will fly to Paro in the remote Kingdom of Bhutan. If it is a clear day then during your flight you can enjoy breathtaking views of the Himalayas which, if you are lucky, include Mount Everest. Transfer to Thimphu, the modern capital of Bhutan, for a two night stay. This afternoon visit Kuensel Phodrang to view the 169-foot bronze statue of Lord Buddha which overlooks the city.
Day 9: Thimphu
Visit some of the country’s most intriguing sights including the National Memorial Chorten – a place of worship; the Handicrafts Emporium which offers a range of hand-woven textiles and crafts; the National Library; and the Zorig Chusum school, where students learn the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan.
Day 10: Thimphu
Rise early and ascend the 3088-metre Dochula Pass for 360º views of the Himalayas and some of the nation’s highest peaks before continuing on to the former capital of Punakha. Here you will visit the beautiful 17th-Century Punakha Dzong. Drive onwards to Wangdue Phodrang, a typical small Bhutanese town with a lively market and shops.
Day 11: Thimphu to Paro
After an early breakfast, transfer to the picturesque city of Paro, visiting Simtokha Dzong – Bhutan’s oldest building and home to the Buddhist University – en route. Proceed to Ta Dzong, which is home to the National Museum and the Rimpong Dzong which overlooks the picturesque valley. This evening visit a traditional farmhouse for the opportunity to interact with a local family.
Day 12: Paro
Today you will visit a real icon of Bhutan, the Taktsang Monastery or Tiger’s Nest, which seemingly clings to the side of a cliff making it one of the world’s most breathtaking temples. This afternoon witness the ruins of the 17th-Century fortress Drukgyel Dzong which is set on the trail from Tibet to Paro, and Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the nation’s oldest and most beautiful Buddhist temples. Later, take a stroll along the main street and browse for souvenirs in the local handicraft shops.
Day 13: Paro
Transfer to the airport for your onward flight. Alternatively, choose to extend your stay.