Bhutan and Nepal

Join us on a tour of perhaps the Himalayas’ most interesting countries! Together with Swedish tour guides, knowledgeable local guides and a limited number of fellow travelers, you visit some of the region’s absolute gold nuggets and get to experience the special atmosphere you only find here. The people of the Himalayas are known for their genuine hospitality and here you are met by friendly smiles, quiet curiosity and a spirituality that is deeply rooted in the Himalayan Hindu and Buddhist imaginary world. A trip to Nepal and Bhutan is a unique experience and will be a memory for life. For many, it can also be something of a spiritual experience.

Bhutan and Nepal 2

Our journey begins and ends in the Kathmandu Valley with its rich cultural treasure and historically interesting and religiously significant sites, many of which are on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The journey continues over the peaks of the Himalayas to the “Land of the Thunder Dragon” Bhutan. Bhutan with its beautiful Buddhist monasteries, waving prayer flags and its deeply religious population, still dressed in its kimono-like national costume, is probably unbeatable as a travel destination. This peaceful kingdom was isolated from the outside world for hundreds of years. It was not until 1975 that the country was opened to some tourism. There is therefore something of a magical shimmer resting over this still relatively unknown kingdom, whose government has proceeded very carefully in its modernization work so that its own cultural heritage and the country’s unique flora and fauna are not lost.

Day 1: Travel to Nepal (Kathmandu)
Flight to Nepal’s capital Kathmandu. Meals are included on board the long-haul flight.

Day 2: Arrival in Kathmandu
Kathmandu is the largest and most cosmopolitan city in the Himalayas. Here you will find a fascinating mix of old and new, domestic and foreign. On arrival we are met by our local guide and go to our hotel for check-in. During the evening we gather for the welcome dinner with traditional dishes from Nepalese cuisine. Overnight in Kathmandu.

Day 3: Kathmandu – Paro – Thimphu
After breakfast we visit Lalitpur (Patan) in the Kathmandu Valley. The city is known for its rich cultural heritage and exquisite handicrafts. In the morning we visit Patan Durbar Square where Nepal’s most beautiful temple and palace buildings are gathered. In the afternoon we fly to Paro in Bhutan (Bhutan’s capital Thimphu lacks an international airport). The flight to Paro runs along the mighty Himalayas and is certainly the flight in the whole region that offers the finest views of the mighty mountain range. In clear weather you can even see Mt. Everest. Upon arrival in Paro, we are met by our local guide and head to Thimphu, located 2,400 meters above sea level. Overnight in Thimphu.

Day 4: Thimphu
Thimphu is admittedly Bhutan’s largest city, but still gives a feeling of small town and exotic charm. For example, Thimphu is the only capital city in the world that lacks traffic lights! After breakfast we visit the King’s Memorial Chorten, a stupa erected in 1974 to honor the memory of His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck who was the first regent to open the country to the outside world and cautiously embark on certain reforms and modernization projects. Then we also visit the National Library with its huge collections of Buddhist scriptures and then continue to the art school Choki Traditional Art School, famous for its exquisite thangka paintings – a kind of icons commonly found in Tibetan Buddhism. In the morning we also visit the Institute of Traditional Medicine Services for an introduction to Bhutanese medicine. The afternoon is open for exploring the city on your own. Overnight in Thimphu.

Day 5: Thimphu
After breakfast we visit a paper manufacturer who produces his products by hand in the traditional way. Then we see Buddha Dordenma, a 51 meter high gilded Buddha statue that is said to fulfill a prophecy from the 700s. Buddha Dordenma is one of the world’s largest Buddha statues and is considered to spread happiness and peace. We continue to the majestic Tashichho Dzong (Thimpu Dzong). The monastery complex with its exquisite architecture is today the seat of the King of Bhutan and his government. After lunch we visit a farmers market where people from the villages come to sell their agricultural products. Many of the stalls also sell household items and handicrafts. Overnight in Thimphu.

Day 6: Thimphu – Punakha
After breakfast we travel to the ancient capital Punakha through the beautiful landscape of the Himalayas. We stop for lunch at the Dochu La mountain pass at an altitude of more than 3,000 meters. In clear weather you can get a fantastic view of the landscape from here. The journey continues down to the Punakha Valley through fabulous forest areas with wild rhododendrons and conifers. On the way we visit the Buddhist temple Chimi Lhakhang, known for its phallus symbols used in tantric rituals to bless women who want to have children. Overnight in Punakha.

Day 7: Punakha
Punakha was the capital of Bhutan until the mid-1950s. The city’s main attraction is the large fortified Punakha Dzong Monastery. This type of fortified monastery complex (dzong) is common in both Bhutan and Tibet and was built as a center for religious practice and civil administration but also served as important trading posts in the Himalayas. Punakha’s dzong is widely considered to be the most beautiful and impressive in all of Bhutan. After visiting the fortified monastery, we go north through the valley. We go for a walk through rural idyll to the stupa Khamsun Yulley Namgyal Chorten, located on a hill with wonderful views of the neighborhood. Overnight in Punakha.

Day 8: Punakha – Paro
After breakfast we return to Paro where we visit Bhutan’s small national museum housed in an old watchtower from the 17th century. We then take a short walk to the fortified Rinpung Dzong Monastery with its beautiful architecture. Overnight in Paro.

Day 9: Paro (Taktsangklostret)
After breakfast we make an excursion about 10 km north of Paro to Taktsangklostret (“Tiger Nest”) which is located on a cliff at 3,200 meters altitude. From here you get a magnificent view of the Parodalen below. The monastery, dating from the 17th century, with its spectacular location is one of Bhutan’s main attractions. For those who want to walk all the way up to the monastery, the walk takes about 2-3 hours. The hiking trail is lined with prayer flags and offers fantastic nature experiences. Do not forget comfortable shoes and feel free to bring a hiking stick! Overnight in Paro.

Day 10: Paro – Kathmandu – Nagarkot
We say goodbye to “Thunder Dragon’s land” and take the flight to Nepal. On arrival we go to the town of Nagarkot (2,195 masl) just east of Kathmandu. On the way we visit Bhaktapur which during the 16th and 17th centuries was the capital of the Malladin dynasty. With its old buildings and rich handicraft traditions, the resort is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. We visit the beautiful Durbartorget and visit a family that makes Ju Ju Dhau (a kind of yogurt) and a pottery workshop where anyone who wants can try the craft themselves. Overnight in Nagarkot.

Day 11: Nagarkot – Kathmandu
Nagarkot is the resort in the Kathmandu Valley that offers the finest view of the Himalayas. From here you can see how the sun rises over the high peaks of the Himalayas with the world’s highest mountain Mt. Everest. We get up early in the morning to experience the sunrise and after breakfast go to Kathmandu where we first visit the world heritage site Boudhanath – a stupa built in Tibetan style. Then we go to Swayambhunath Temple (“Apt Temple”) which is located on a hill with magnificent views of the Kathmandu Valley. From here we head on to Kathmandu Durbartorg with its many temples and shrines. The day also offers a rickshaw ride through central Khatmandu, from Hanuman Dhoka (the Royal Palace) to the Thamel district. In the evening, a farewell dinner with local delicacies and traditional dance entertainment awaits.

Day 12: Return to the boarding place
During the morning transfer to the airport before the return journey. Meals are included on board the long-haul flight.

Bhutan and Nepal