Himalayan Panorama Tour is an unforgettable journey to Bhutan, Nepal and Tibet.In Bhutan we capture the cultural highlights from the tranquil Paro Valley to Punakha and the impressive Punakha Dzong, en-route crossing the Dochu La with magnificent views of the Himalaya. On return to Paro we make the 2 hour hike to view the famous Taktsang Monastery perched high above the valley.
In Nepal we explore ancient sites including Bhaktapur, before journeying to Dhulikhel on the valley rim for sunset views of the Nepal Himalaya. Finally we take a flight to the ancient Tibetan city of Lhasa where we appreciate its rich cultural heritage as we visit the famous Jokhang, the Norbulingka and the Potala Palace - a must for all Himalayan enthusiasts. For the best cost offer and customized tour itinerary, talk to our local tour guide and leader.
Day 1: Kathmandu to Paro
We fly to Paro with Druk Air, Bhutan national airline, and after clearing customs and immigration, you’re met by our guide. There will be a pre-trip briefing on arrival at the hotel, followed by an afternoon/evening at leisure in Paro, to allow some acclimatization. Paro is 2280m above sea level.
Day 2: Paro to Thimphu (approx.1-2hrs drive)
Bhutan compact capital is easily explored on foot. We visit the Indigenous hospital, where traditional healing arts are still practiced, the Art & Craft School, the National Library, the Royal goldsmith workshop and the Handicraft Emporium with its famous weaving, woodcarvings and paintings. In the afternoon we visit the memorial chorten (a “chorten” is a stone Buddhist monument, often containing relics) dedicated to the late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, the founder of modern-day Bhutan. We will also visit the 15th century Changangkha monastery and Motithang mini zoo, where we will see the rare takin (the national animal of Bhutan), before driving out of town for a view of the Thimphu Valley. We also visit the new Drupthob nunnery temple and browse the local market.
Day 3: Thimpu to Punakha Dzong via Cross Dochu La (drive approx. 3/4hrs)
From Thimphu, we drive for about three hours to Wangduephodrang locally known as “Wangdi” via Punakha, changing climatic zones from mountainous to tropical. On the way, we cross over Dochu La, a 3150-metre-high pass marked by prayer flags and a chorten and, if the weather is fine, a view of the eastern Himalaya including the highest mountain in Bhutan, Mt Gangar Punsum (7520m). We drive through forests of rhododrendron and magnolia, before the road descends into the warmer lowlands around Punakha. We visit the Punakha Dzong, which once served as the old capital of Bhutan. This remarkable fortress is built in 1637 between two rivers and has survived many glacial floods and fire. Every February there is a procession known as the Punakha Serda to commemorate the victory over the Tibetans. From there it is just 45 minute drive to Wangduephodrang where you can stroll around the market area. It was one of the oldest and most substantial dzongs in Bhutan built in 1638. Renovations were underway when the fire started and so most of the historic relics had been put into storage and were saved from the devastation of the fire. Re-building is already underway to restore the dzong to its former glory.
Day 4: Punakha to Paro, afternoon at leisure
The return drive back to Paro is no less spectacular; we re-cross the spectacular Dochu La and arrive into Paro in the afternoon. The remainder of the day can be spent wandering the peaceful streets of Paro or relaxing in the hotel.
Day 5: In Paro, Taktsang Monastery
We spend the day sightseeing in and around Paro. We visit Ta-Dzong, which now houses the National Museum of Bhutan. The seven-storey museum highlights various aspects of Bhutanese culture and history dating back to the 7th century; there are excellent displays of all facets of the country rich cultural history including traditional costumes and battle dress, priceless jewellery and specimens of the kingdom unique flora and fauna. We take a short walk downhill to the Rinpung Dzong which serves as the administrative centre and school for monks, before walking a little further and crossing the traditional bridge into Paro Town. In the afternoon we drive to the foot of the Taktsang Monastery - the famous Tigers Nest Monastery said to have been one of the divine resting places of the Guru Ringpoche. Although much of the building was once destroyed by fire it is now restored and it is worthwhile to ascend the walking trail to appreciate the monasteries breathtaking location on a cliff edge about 800 metres above the valley floor.
Day 6: Paro to Kathmandu
On arrival in Kathmandu you will be met by us and transferred to hotel. A sightseeing tour has been arranged taking in the key attractions in and around Kathmandu. The area has an amazing range of fascinating highlights, whatever your interest. Excellent bookshops, extensive markets, and novelty and handicraft shops contrast with fantastic centers of cultural and spiritual significance - Kathmandu has more World Heritage sites than any other city in the world.
Day 7: Kathmandu to Dhulikhel via Bhaktpur
After breakfast at the hotel, we check-out and journey a short distance to the medieval town of Bhaktapur, known as ‘Khwopa’. This fascinating town is rich with temples, monasteries and palaces, with ornately carved features such as the famous ‘Peacock Window’. The main square, Durbar Square, is a UNESCO world heritage site, and is best appreciated by sitting and watching while one of the many religious festivals and processions passes by. Following time to appreciate this living history and the many artisans workshop, the town is famous for pottery and wood carving, we continue on to Dhulikhel on the rim of the Kathmandu Valley. This ancient town is situated 32 Km east of Kathmandu on the side of Kathmandu - Kodari highway. The town is inhabited by the Newar community and offers a traditional atmosphere along with spectacular views of Langtang and Rolwaling ranges. The pleasant climate, even during summer, attracts visitors to Dhulikhel.There will be an opportunity this evening to watch the sun setting over the Himalaya.
Day 8: Dhulikhel to Kathmandu, afternoon at leisure
There are many fascinating little shops in this oversized market place, or you may chose to try some of the many restaurants and coffee shops.
Day 9: Kathmandu to Lhasa
This morning we take the one hour flight from Kathmandu to Lhasa. On arrival at Lhasa Airport you will be transferred to the city – a drive that takes around two hours. The afternoon is set aside to rest and acclimatize.
Days 10/11: Lhasa Tour
Three days are scheduled in Lhasa to appreciate its rich cultural history. We include visits to the Jokhang, the Norbulingka -the Summer Palace of the Dalai Lama, and the famous Potala Palace. We also include visits to the nearby monasteries of Drepung and Sera.
Day 12: In Lhasa, trip concludes
After breakfast our trip concludes. Either flies back to Kathmandu or to Mainland China.