Destination Himalaya specializes in adventure tours to Himalayan Countries, offering Photo Tours, Wildlife Safaris, Treks, Luxury Tours, Custom Tours and Groups to Tibet, India, Sri Lanka, Mongolia, Bhutan.

Photographer's Bhutan

Journey to Nepal & Bhutan With Ashok Jain
featuring the Paro Festival in Bhutan

The ancient kingdoms of Nepal and Bhutan are synonymous with the Himalaya. Geographically close in proximity, the two nations are vastly different many ways; yet, they compliment each other and together tell the story of Himalayan culture. On this unique departure, we will visit both of the old Himalayan Kingdoms, imbibing in the multiplicity of cultural offerings in Nepal and Bhutan.

On this cultural journey, we begin by exploring the sites in and around the Kathmandu Valley, making our home at the legendary Yak & Yeti Hotel. We will wander the ancient byways and bazaars of exotic Kathmandu, will visit the Buddhist stupas and Hindu temples. After experiencing the best of Kathmandu, we make the short flight to Pokhara. Nestled on the banks of Phewa Lake, the mighty Nepali Himalaya tower above - including several of the range’s legendary peaks – Dhaulagiri, Manaslu, the iconic “fish-tail” peak of Machhapucchare, and, of course, the redoubtable Annapurnas.

Leaving the Hindu "kingdom" of Nepal, we fly across the high Himalaya (a breathtakingly beautiful mountain flight) to the Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan, Land of the Thunder Dragon. Bhutan’s greatest attractions are undoubtedly its glorious Himalayan and pastoral landscapes, and its vibrant and active Buddhist culture. Bhutan’s Buddhist festival, or tshechus, are immensely popular events and play an integral part in Bhutanese life. Dressed in their finest clothes and jewelry, Bhutanese people attend the various festivals in celebration of purification and religious blessings. Arrays of colorful brocades whirl through the air as the dancers spin and dance the "thunderbolt step."

Both of our “Himalayan Kingdoms” departure will feature one of Bhutan’s finest festivals – the Paro Festival on our Spring departure and the Wangdi Festival on our Fall departure.

Outline Itinerary

Day 1, March 9: DEPART USA

Day 2, March 10: ARRIVE BANGKOK

Day 3, March 11: TO KATHMANDU – Today we fly from Bangkok to fabled Kathmandu, capital of the Himalayan kingdom of Nepal. Kathmandu is living history, where the modern and ancient continue to mingle. It is an unforgettable experience to wander the mysterious bazaars of old Kathmandu, and this afternoon we can take a walking tour of locales such as the Durbar Square, Hanuman Dhoka and Kathmandu’s incomparable bazaars.

Day 4, March 12: EXPLORING KATHMANDU – Our tour of Kathmandu continues as we explore the photogenic Buddhist stupa at Swayambunath and visit the vibrant Tibetan community at Bodnath. We will also visit the sacred Hindu temple at Pashupatinath, a major pilgrimage site for the Hindu faithful.

Day 5, March 13: EXPLORING KATHMANDU – Explore the ancient temple city of Bhaktapur and nearby Patan, including the rug-weaving center of Refugee Tibetans.

Day 6, March 14: TO POKHARA – Today we make the short flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara in Central Nepal. Nestled in the Pokhara Valley, the city of Pokhara is surrounded by the towering Himalaya, including several of the range’s legendary peaks – Dhaulagiri, Manaslu, the iconic “fish-tail” peak of Machhapucchare, and, of course, the redoubtable Annapurnas.

Day 7, March 15: EXPLORING POKHARA- We can revel in the glory of the mighty Himalaya as we take a day hike and a relaxing boat ride on Phewa Lake.

Day 8, March 16: TO KATHMANDU – Bidding farewell to Pokhara and the Annapurna Range, we make the return flight to Kathmandu.

Day 9, March 17: TO THIMPHU– This morning we fly from Kathmandu to Paro in Bhutan. Weather permitting, we will have some amazing views of the towering Himalayas. You will be met on arrival at Paro, and will be transferred to Thimphu, Bhutan’s capital and an exciting blend of tradition and modernity.

Day 10, March 18: EXPLORING THIMPHU - We will continue exploring Thimphu, visiting the Zorig Chusum (commonly known as Painting School), the Textile and Folk Heritage Museums, and the National Memorial Chorten, a monument to world peace and prosperity.

Day 11, March 19: TO PUNAKHA - Driving over Dochu-la pass (3,088m/10,130 ft), with impressive views of Himalayan giants, we descend into Punakha Valley.

Day 12, March 20: EXPLORING PUNAKHA, TO PARO - We take an excursion to Chimi Lhakhang, the temple of fertility and the Namgal Chorten, which was built to remove negative forces and promote peace, stability and harmony in the changing world. This afternoon we make the return drive to the “idyllic” Paro Valley.

Day 13, March 21: PARO FESTIVAL – Visit the Paro Dzong to attend the Paro Tshechu, one of Bhutan’s most important Buddhist festivals. Here you can see the unfurling of the giant thangka of Guru Rinpoche, and immerse yourself in the vibrant costumes, wonderful music and exciting dances that make Bhutanese festivals so unique.

Day 14, March 22: EXPLORING PARO - While in Paro, we will visit historic sites such as Drukgyel Dzong, Ta Dzong, Rinpung Dzong and Kyichu Lhakhang, as well as the most famous of Bhutanese monasteries, Taktsang, Guru Rinpoche’s “Tiger’s Nest.”

Day 15, March 23: TO BANGKOK - Today we leave Bhutan, taking the return flight from Paro to Bangkok. Overnight in Bangkok for return flight to the USA the next day.

Day 16, March 24: ARRIVE USA – Departing Bangkok, you arrive in the USA later the same day.

Suggested Extensions:
  • QuickEscapes – Mountains
    Visit the Hill Stations of Kalimpong and Darjeeling offering fabulous views of the high Himalaya. Everest, Kanchenjunga and Makalu can all be viewed from Tiger Hill, above Darjeeling.

  • QuickEscapes – Tibet
    Immerse yourself in the vivacious culture of the Tibetan heartland, as we explore many of Tibet’s major cultural and historical sites in an incredible 10-day journey.

Other itineraries featuring Bhutan:

Call us toll free at 1-800 MY INDIA (1-800-694-6342) or email us to request a detailed day-to-day itinerary.

"“This was a great trip.  Much of the credit goes to Ashok Jain, who was a wonderful trip leader, very courteous, helpful, knowledgeable.  I can’t say enough good about him.”
- Jeff B, AK

Buddhist temple, Kathmandu

High Himalaya views Kathmandu & Pokhara Buddhist Festival in Bhutan
Thimphu, Punakha, Paro Taktsang (Tiger's Nest)

It's Included:
Medical & evacuation insurance
All hotels, meals, ground transportation, local guides and entrance fees
Fully escorted trip

with Paro Festival
March 9 – 24, 2016

Land Cost: per person
6-9 participants : $5680
10 + participants : $4885

Leh monastery
School girls dancing, Pokhara

Taksang Monastery (Tiger's Nest)

Masked dancers at festival

Leh monastery
Masked dancer at festival
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