You will be received at Kathmandu airport by our representative holding your name plate. After formal meeting,and welcome with a traditional flower garland and transferred to your hotel. There is an option of familiarization walk to the old Kathmandu in the suburb of tourist center of Thamel.
Rise early this morning to join the one hour optional flightseeing of Mt. Everest, the highest mountain in the world.Breakfast and drive on to 1st-century Swayambhunath, crowning a hill overlooking the Kathmandu Valley with its golden spire adorned with colorful prayer flags fluttering in the breeze. This World Heritage Site is one of the most recognizable symbols of Nepal; the painted eyes of Buddha follow all who ascend the worn stone steps. Crowds of pilgrims and red-clad monks circle the complex, spinning the prayer wheels while scores of monkeys prance about in irreverent groups.
Continue to Durbar Square, an amazing cluster of ancient temples and palaces that symbolize the country's religious and cultural life, including sprawling Hanuman Dhoka, ancient palace of Nepalese Royalty and the Temple of Kumari, home to the Living Goddess. See the stone carved statue of ferocious KalBhairav, a colorful memorial to the Hindu God of Destruction and the Temple of the Goddess Taleju. A change of pace as you arrive at a popular restaurant for lunch and a specially arranged cooking demonstration of MoMo, one of Nepal's national dishes.
Afternoon visit to Boudhanath, the largest stupa of its kind in the world. Participate in a prayer ceremony and receive blessings from the Holy Lama at this extraordinary Buddhist monument. After an outstanding day, return to the hotel.
An excursion takes you this morning to the medieval city of Bhaktapur, called the "City of Devotees," a UNESCO World Heritage Site, lined with palaces, temples, statues and squares connected by a maze of pedestrianized streets. The 14th century Dattatreya Temple and the world famous Peacock Window at Tachapal keep visitors spellbound. Marvel at the intricately carved deities of the richly molded Golden Gate and enter the Palace of Fifty-Five Windows with its exquisite wood carvings. See the Lion's Gate with its guarding statues, Nyatapola, the five-storied temple in Taumadhi Square and the astonishing Bhairab Temple, dedicated to Lord Buddha. Then, you visit the Pottery Center where you watch a demonstration of this fine craft by skilled potters.
After a village inspired lunch, you embark upon a journey to the World Heritage Site of Pashupatinath, one of the most sacred Hindu shrines in the world. On the banks of the holy Bagmati River, this temple is renowned for its beautiful architecture along with its cremation platforms spread along the river. You’ll see throngs of devotees meditating and praying on the steps throughout this sacred temple.
A traditional "khada" ceremony this morning as a symbolic scarf is wrapped around you, with blessings for a serene and safe journey. Travel by flight to Paro in the spiritual mountain kingdom of Bhutan with its striking monasteries and magnificent mountain scenery. Here, you'll also see traditional dzongs dotting the landscape, a distinctive type of fortress architecture with towering exterior walls surrounding complexes of courtyards, temples, and monks' accommodations. Tucked away between China and India in the heart of the Himalayas, Bhutan remains a uniquely distinct country. Upon arrival in historic Paro, drive to the capital city of Thimphu, a fabulous blending of old and new. Time to stroll through the main square and get acquainted with your new surroundings. Tonight, a briefing by your new Tour Manager about the adventure that awaits you in Bhutan, followed by a Welcome Dinner together at the hotel
In Thimphu, you observe monks strolling serenely in their crimson robes and workers wearing traditional ghos and kiras. Your day begins with a visit to the indigenous Medical Hospital, and the Painting School where students learn thirteen different Bhutanese crafts over the six-year course including paper making, masonry, painting, sculpture, embroidery and much more. At the National Library you view the largest book in the world before proceeding to the Folk Heritage Museum to tour the medieval home used by Bhutan's Queen mothers. Here, you enjoy a lunch of traditional Bhutanese cuisine served in the impressive and historic courtyard. At the Royal Textile museum, view unique displays of textile designs and watch a multimedia presentation before returning for dinner at the hotel and an evening at leisure.
An early start this morning as you drive through the scenic terrain of the Himalayas to Punakha, the ancient capital of Bhutan, pausing at Dochhula Pass to view the astounding snow-clad peaks of Bhutan (on a clear day.) You pass over one hundred monuments and see many colorful prayer flags along your route on your way to the Royal Botanical gardens. After lunch in the village of Lobesa, continue to Chimi Lhakhang, a monastery and fertility temple dedicated to a famous monk also known as "the divine madman." Famous for being unorthodox and trying to make Buddhism more relaxed, he is considered a hero in Bhutan. The monastery is also a fertility temple and couples often come here who want to have children. Later, you experience the soothing sounds of chants and spiritual music as you enter a nearby nunnery or temple. Before dinner at the hotel, you gather to learn how to create a Mandala out of colorful rice, a spiritual and ritual symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism that represents the Universe.
Visit Punakha Dzong, center of power until 1907, considered the most beautiful dzong in the country with its towering whitewashed walls accented by elaborately painted gold, red and black wood. By tradition, all of the Kings of Bhutan are crowned here in the 100-pillar Coronation Hall, decorated with massive gold statues and murals depicting the life of Buddha. After, you continue to Paro, stopping along the way at the legendary Wang Sisina Farm House for a delicious traditional Bhutanese meal served in original earthenware by the hostess. An interesting cultural show and tour of the vast courtyards of this 300 year-old-home will also be arranged. After, you drive to Tachogang Lhakhang near Chuzom, one of the temples founded by a Tibetan saint who also designed and erected many iron suspension bridges in the early 15th century, making parts of Bhutan accessible for the very first time. At an incense making shop you learn more about this craft, and how this has become a popular small industry in this area. Arrive in the town of Paro for an orientation walk before heading to your hotel for dinner and overnight.
If you're adventurous and physically fit, get ready for a memorable hike to world-famous "Tiger's Nest" or Taktsang Palphug Monastery. Located on the face of a sheer cliff above the floor of the Paro Valley, this not to be missed site is accessible by hiking. It is a strenuous uphill climb including over 700 steps. This sacred pilgrimage site is where the great tantric mystic, Padmasambhava flew on the back of the tiger and brought the teachings of the Buddhist Dharma to Bhutan (mythical belief). The Monastery clings to a cliff soaring 3,000 feet above the valley floor at an altitude of 10,000 feet. Along the way, you can hang prayer flags for world peace, or for people who are hungry, ill or in pain (in Buddhism, a prayer flag is considered a blessing). Stop for lunch and savor the breathtaking views from the cafeteria before slowly descending. Tonight, bid a fond farewell at dinner to your newfound friends and Tour guide with whom you shared this extraordinary journey in Bhutan.
Early this morning, depart from the airport in Paro on a flight that takes you back to Kathmandu, Nepal. The remainder of the day is at leisure for individual pursuits. It is possible to join the optional Dhulikhel & Panauti Tour, where you will do some off the beaten path exploring of the Kathmandu Valley. Start out in Dhulikhel, an ancient town located about 20 miles east of Kathmandu city. You’ll hike among the rolling green hills, admiring the mountains stretching into the distance and traditional architecture that dots the area around this historic trading center along the old commercial route linking Nepal to Tibet. Along the way you’ll climb up to Devi Temple and stop at Shanti Ban, a serene forest that is home to a giant statue of Gautama Buddha. End the hike in Panauti village, a traditional Newar settlement rich in rural character. Here, you will see several temples, including the Indreshwar Mahadev and Bhairav Temples, along with magnificent Rana-era mansions and stupas.
Early morning departure from Kathmandu to Rasuwagadi, the newly open Nepal/Tibet border for 6/7 hours passing through villages, river and waterfall with observing the great view of the Himalayas. Complete the immigration and continue drive to Gyirong. Stay night at guest house in Gyirong.
Drive through the Nyalam passes at 3800m and continue via Lalungla pass (5050m) to Tingri or Lhatse. Highlights of this drive are the ever-present spectacular mountain scenery and the great Himalayas range of Jugal mountain range, Mt. Shisapangma (8013m), the highest peak in Tibet, Mt. Makalu (8463m), Mt. Everest (8848m), Mt. Lhotse (8516m) and Mt. Cho-Oyu (8201m).
Drive to Xigatse, the place of the famous Tashilumpo monastery, the second largest monastery in Tibet and the seat of Panchen Lama. Overnight at hotel in Shigatse.
Visit Tashi Lumpo monastery and Xigatse Bazaar in the morning and drive to Gyantse.Gyantse, lying 264 kilometers southwest of Lhasa on the northern bank of the Nyang Chu River, is of historical significance. In the 15th century it served as the capital of a small kingdom. Today, Gyantse retains a deeply Tibetan character. The principle structures consist of a castle on a ridge overlooking the town and a walled monastic complex. The monastery includes the massive temple of Palkhor Chode and the great multi-chapel Kumbum stupa. These religious monuments, part of Gyantse's ancient monastic town, contain some of the most extraordinary works of art in Tibet.
Drive through Karo La pass at (5010m) and onto the Khamba La pass at 4794m. The former climbs two lofty mountains, the Nozing Khang Sa (7223m) and the Ralung (6236m). You will also see the wonderful Yamdrok Tso Lake known as Turquoise Lake and the Brahmaputra River as well as the ever-present views of the interesting and unusual landscape. Spend the night in a guesthouse or hotel in Lhasa.
You will explore the Jokhang, the holiest Buddhist temple in the Himalaya’s. Founded nearly 1400 years ago, Jokhang Temple houses the most sacred statue of Buddha. You will work your way through this fascinating temple alongside Buddhist pilgrims from the faraway regions of Tibet. The sound of pilgrims chanting mantras fills the air as does the smell of yak butter candle offerings. In the afternoon, you will go to the 600 year old Sera, one of Tibet’s largest Buddhist monasteries. Each weekday afternoon starting at 3pm, monks engage in Buddhist philosophy debates, which are fun to photograph.
You will start the day by exploring the Potala Palace, Tibet’s most iconic building. Towering above Lhasa with more than 1000 rooms, the Potala Palace served as the winter residence of the Dalai Lama’s for hundreds of years. After lunch, you will go to Drepung, another of Tibet’s huge monastic complexes. The pilgrimage circuit around Drepung takes about an hour or so and offers spectacular views.
After 90km drive from Lhasa city to Lhasa airport, fly to Kathmandu will give you an amazing view of mountains such as Mt Kanchenjunga (8586m), Mt. Everest (8848m), Mt. Makalu (8463m) and others. Those who want to go to mainland China, get train or flight from Lhasa.
The trip ends, and after breakfast, you will be transferred to the Lhasa airport to get your flight back to home.
Free day in Kathmandu on your own. Stay night at hotel in Kathmandu.
Breakfast and final transfer to Kathmandu airprot to get your flight back to home.