Highlights of Nepal & Bhutan – Car & Driver
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This private car and driver itinerary encompasses the best of Nepal and Bhutan with stunning temple architecture, breathtaking mountain scenery, and Chitwan National Park home to the elusive Bengal tiger.
Day 1: Kathmandu On arrival in the Nepalese capital transfer to your hotel. Set at an elevation of 1350 metres in a bowl shaped valley and 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. Stay: Hyatt Regency. B.
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.
This afternoon you could explore the ancient religious complex of Swayambhunath, also known as the monkey temple, which is located on top of a hill overlooking the Kathmandu Valley and is one of the oldest monuments in Nepal. Stay: Hyatt Regency. B.
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 countrys 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 Terai. Stay: Safari Narayani Lodge. B, L, D.
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. Stay: Safari Narayani Lodge. B.
Day 5: Chitwan National Park to Pokhara The landscapes change again today as you head north west to Nepals 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. Stay: Atithi Resort & Spa. B.
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 Pokharas 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, Devis Falls, Gupteswor Cave, the old Pokhara Bazaar and the Tibetan Refugee Settlement. Stay: Atithi Resort & Spa. B.
Day 7: Pokhara to Kathmandu Return to Kathmandu today by land (approx. 6 hours) passing through valleys and following the course of a few of Nepals many rivers. On arrival, transfer to your hotel where you will stay one night. Spend the rest of the afternoon at leisure. Stay: Hyatt Regency. B.
Day 8: KathmanduToday 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. Stay: Hotel Riverview or similar. B, L, D.
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. Stay: Hotel Riverview or similar. B, L, D.
Day 10: Thimphu Rise early and ascend the 3088-metre Dochula Pass for 360 views of the Himalayas and some of the nations 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. Stay: Hotel Riverview or similar. B, L, D.
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. Stay: Hotel Olathang or similar. B, L, D.
Day 12: Paro Today you will visit a real icon of Bhutan, the Taktsang Monastery or Tigers Nest, which seemingly clings to the side of a cliff making it one of the worlds 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 nations oldest and most beautiful Buddhist temples. Later, take a stroll along the main street and browse for souvenirs in the local handicraft shops. Stay: Hotel Olathang or similar. B, L, D.
Day 13: Paro Transfer to the airport for your onward flight. Alternatively, choose to extend your stay. B.