Nepal & Bhutan Explorer-14 Days

Arrival On : Kathmandu Nepal
Max Altitude : 3,120m/10,236ft
Accommodation Types : Hotels
Trip Duration : 15 Days
Maximum Group Size : 12
Meal Arrangement : Bed and breakfast in Kathmandu and Pokhara, all meals elsewhere.
Difficulty : Moderate
Land Only Joining City : Kathmandu
Departure From : Kathmandu Nepal

Trip Overview

This great tour brings you some of the highlights of these two wonderful but contrasting Himalayan countries. Nepal has a laid back and chaotic charm which has made it a favourite with travellers and trekkers alike since the hippy era, while its wonderful mountains, vibrant culture and friendly people mean that for many people that once-in-a-lifetime visit’ has proved to be just the first of many. Bhutan has a quieter attraction but its unspoilt mountain scenery, living Buddhist culture and the wonderful architecture of its fabulous dzongs have made it always a great favourite with our clients.

In Nepal, after a day taking in the key sights of Kathmandu, you visit Bandipur, a typical and pretty Newari village that offers an authentic taste of everyday life. Next you travel to picturesque Pokhara, set on the shores of lake Phewa Tal and famous for its stupendous views of the Annapurna range. You have ample time for sightseeing here and to take a boat ride across the tranquil waters of the lake. You also visit Dhulikhel, perched on the rim of the Kathmandu Valley, from where there is a vast panorama of mountains to enjoy stretching all the way to Everest.


From Nepal you fly east, passing Everest. You will feel the change in tempo as soon as you land at Paro airport. Arrival is delightfully unhurried, and you will be greeted by smiling immigration and customs officials wearing the robes of Bhutanese national dress. The Paro valley, where you land, is green and forested and you will immediately be struck by the distinctive architecture of farm houses. Firstly you will drive to Thimphu, Bhutan’s capital, and will find it to be much less frenetic than Kathmandu. After time to explore in Thimphu you will travel over a high pass to visit the lush Punakha valley with its stunning dzong, situated in a scenic location at the confluence of two rivers. After visiting Punakha Dzong and the Chimi Lakhang temple you will return to Paro, where you will walk up to visit Taktsang, the famous Tigers Nest monastery, a highlight of any trip to Bhutan. Finally you return to busy Kathmandu for your flight home.


Leader: Local Leader, Nepal

Whether it’s a cultural tour, gentle walking holiday or strenuous trek, our holidays in Nepal are led by professionally-trained English speaking leaders. They have an intimate and expert knowledge of the history, culture and nature of Nepal and will make your trip a memorable experience.


Leader: Local leader, Bhutan

You will have an English speaking Bhutanese guide.Smart mountain Adventure, have been working with the same  Bhutan Their guides are some of the best in the Smart. They speak fluent English, as this is taught in all Bhutanese, and are fully qualified guides. The Tourism Authority of Bhutan insists that a Bhutanese trek or tour leader must pass his/her guiding exams in Thimphu before accompanying groups of foreign visitors. Guides receive regular ‘top-up’ training and  of our regular leaders have completed an extended training course run by Smart mountain Adventure in Bhutan.

Short Itinerary

Day 01-02:

Fly to Kathmandu.

Day 03:

Sightseeing in Kathmandu.

Day 04-05:

Drive to Pokhara via Bandipur. Boat ride on Phewa Tal lake.

Day 06:

Sightseeing around Pokhara.

Day 07:

Fly to Kathmandu. Drive to Dhulikhel.

Day 08:

Fly to Paro, Bhutan. Drive to Thimphu.

Day 09:

Sightseeing in Thimphu.

Day 10:

Visit Punakha Dzong. Walk to Chimi Lakhang. Return to Thimphu.

Day 11:

Sightseeing in Paro Valley.

Day 12:

Visit Taktsang Monastery. Afternoon sightseeing in Paro Valley.

Day 13-14:

Fly to Kathmandu. Fly to your Home.


Day 01 Depart from your Home.
Overnight: In flight

Fly overnight from your Home to Kathmandu.

Day 02 Arrive Kathmandu, 1,400m/4,593ft. Group transfer to hotel.
Overnight: Hotel Or Similar, Kathmandu

On arrival in Kathmandu you will be met and transferred to your hotel.Kathmandu is a wonderful mixture of the ancient alongside the modern – crowded bazaars still throng with colourful local people today as they have for hundreds of years while roads are crowded with cars, roaring motorbikes and buses belching out black smoke; ancient temples and crumbling shrines sit alongside modern offices, picturesque palaces slowly sag into dereliction while Buddhist stupas gaze over the bustling scene with their all seeing eyes. Meanwhile, in the tourist hub of Thamel you will find restaurants and bars, shops and internet cafés. Although this is a crowded, noisy and polluted city, it is also fascinating, friendly and vibrant.

Tonight, you may choose to eat at the hotel or you could head off into Thamel to one of the famous restaurants there such as Rum Doodle Restaurant, a place frequented by trekkers and climbers alike, with pride of place given to a board with the signatures of many Everest summiteers.

Day 03 Sightseeing in Kathmandu.
Overnight: Hotel Shanker Or Similar, Kathmandu

Today you will have a full day sightseeing in Kathmandu.

In the morning you will visit Swayambhunath, also known as ‘The Monkey Temple’. This fascinating temple is perched on a hilltop to the west of the city and is a site of pilgrimage for both Hindus and Buddhists. You’ll then get an introduction to Thamel, a tourist hub and a great place to pick up some souvenirs or to enjoy a cup of tea and some people watching!

Later you will visit Patan, one of the historic cities of the Kathmandu Valley built by the Malla kings, an ancient royal dynasty of Nepal. Here there is a very fine Durbar square with temples and palaces. Patan has long been a centre for Newari craftsmen who are superbly skilled in woodcarving and working in bronze. A visit to the excellent museum in Patan will introduce you to many fine works by Newari artists and craftsmen, especially famed for producing fine bronze statuary by the lost wax method.

Later you will travel to Boudhanath where you will visit the ancient Buddhist stupa. Here pilgrims from all over the Indian subcontinent circle the stupa clockwise, turning prayer wheels as they pass. If you are there just before sunset, a pleasant way to end the day is watching the sun go down over the stupa from the rooftop terrace of a café, while sipping a cold beer.

Day 04 Drive to Bandipur, 1,030m/3,379ft. Explore village.
Overnight: Gaun Ghar Hotel or Similar, Bandipur

Today you will drive to the historic village of Bandipur, situated on a ridge in the Mahabharat range of hills, west of Kathmandu and south of the Annapurna range of mountains. Once a thriving Newari town on the trade route to India, Bandipur was left stranded when the main Pokhara to Kathmandu road was built far below in the valley. Nowadays Bandipur has found a new lease of life and is proud of its environmental credentials being twinned with Hydra, a Greek island, as well as a national park in Italy. The village has been carefully restored and pedestrianised, but at the same time a traditional lifestyle still continues. The locals are happy to see visitors, particularly because the village has benefited so much from visitors appreciating this careful restoration. There are just a few places to stay and money from tourism ventures is ploughed back into restoring the various temples and traditional houses in the town. The village commands panoramic views of the Himalaya and on a clear day, from the village, you can see the whole Annapurna range, as well as peaks in Langtang to the east and Dhaulagiri in the west. It is a place where it is a pleasure to watch daily village life going on around you.

There are many easy and pretty village walks starting from your hotel in Bandipur bazaar. You could visit Siddha Cave (30 minutes) or hike to Ramkot village (2 hours), take a nature walk in the mixed Sal forest at Raniban east of the bazaar, or walk to Purano Kot, originally a fort, 20 minutes/500m west of the bazaar. There is a small temple containing some old statues and next to it a newly built temple. Local people believe that praying here during a drought to the god Mahadev will bring rain.

Day 05 Drive to Pokhara, 1,400m/4,593ft. Sightseeing and boat ride on Phewa Tal lake.
Overnight: Barahi Hotel or Similar, Pokhara

Today you will drive to Pokhara, a journey of about three hours. You drive down from Bandipur village into the valley of the Marsyangdi River and then follow the main Kathmandu-Pokhara highway westwards through a lovely pastoral countryside of paddy fields and small villages. Arriving in Pokhara you will check into your hotel.

Pokhara is Nepal’s second city and has the most lovely location on the banks of Lake Phewa Tal with the most amazing views north of the mountains of the Annapurna range. Along the rather brash lakeside area there are many hotels, internet cafes, bars and restaurants and countless shops and road side stalls for souvenir shopping.

In the afternoon you will leave this razzmatazz to take a boat ride on the lake where you will see local people going about their daily lives, fishing and bringing their animals down to the water’s edge to drink or wallow. It is a very relaxing boat ride and gives you excellent views of the mountains and the surrounding countryside and the opportunity to stop off at a small temple set on an island, dedicated to the Hindu goddess Barahi and a famous religious and pilgrimage site.In the evening you will be able to choose from a wide selection of restaurants to take dinner.

Day 06 Sightseeing and time at leisure in Pokhara.
Overnight: Barahi Hotel or Similar, Pokhara, sarangkot

It is well worth getting up early to see sunrise on the mountains, as the moment when the first flush of pink colours the peaks the view is truly stunning; you might ask the hotel reception to arrange an early morning call for you, so that you do not miss it.

Then you will have the day for sightseeing and relaxation in Pokhara. In the morning you will visit Pokhara museum as well as Devis Falls. Devis Falls is an interesting geological feature – take a look at the precipitous gorge and strange rock formations – there may not be any water flowing over the falls at all times of the year but this still makes an interesting visit. You could then continue across the road to the nearby Devis Falls Tibetan Settlement where you can see carpets being woven and the older ladies spinning and dyeing the wool for the carpets. Handicrafts are also for sale here and there are opportunities for some serious souvenir shopping.You will have the afternoon free for relaxation or further exploration.

Day 07 Fly to Kathmandu. Drive to Dhulikhel, 1,550m/5,085ft, afternoon at leisure.
Overnight: Dhulikhel

After breakfast you will transfer to Pokhara airport to fly to Kathmandu, a flight of about 1,an halp hour. In Kathmandu you will be met and you will drive out to the small town of Dhulikhel, located some 30 kms east of Kathmandu on the Kodari Highway, the road leading to the Tibetan border. Dhulikhel is set on the rim of the Kathmandu Valley at an altitude of 1,676m/5,500 ft and is famous for its fine mountain views. Your hotel, the Dhulikhel Mountain Resort, is a pleasant hotel set in lovely gardens and enjoying excellent views are so beutiful,

You will have the afternoon in Dhulikel. You might choose to relax in the gardens of the hotel with a cold beer or there are some pleasant walks in the countryside to visit some pretty villages nearby. Your guide will be able to make some suggestions. Alternatively you could walk up to the nearby ridge top for the fine views and later for a stunning sunset over the Himalaya – if the weather is clear you get views from Everest far away in the east as far as Annapurna far to the west.

Day 08 Fly to Paro, 2,200m//7,218ft, Bhutan. Drive to Thimphu 2,334m//7,657ft.
Overnight: Hotel or Similar, Thimphu

You will transfer to Kathmandu Airport for the short flight up to Bhutan. On a clear day the panoramic views of the Himalaya are sensational, including Everest and Kangchenjunga, but particularly exciting is the approach through the Bhutanese foothills and the landing, including a few steep turns to land at the tiny airstrip of Paro. Although you are at the mercy of the airline computer, if possible try to sit on the left hand side of the plane for the most spectacular views. In Paro you will be met by your Bhutanese guide and will drive to Thimphu (1½-2 hours). There should be time for some sightseeing in Thimphu depending on the flight schedule.

Thimphu has an attractive valley location and is relatively small for a capital city although it has grown greatly in recent years. There are many places of interest to visit there. Initially you might like to drive up to see the giant Buddha figure and enjoy the views over the town.

Day 09 Sightseeing in Thimphu. Visit Wangditse Monastery
Overnight: Hotel or Similar, Thimphu

There are many places of interest to visit in Thimphu, including the Tashichhodzong (the main government buildings), the Textile Museum, the Heritage Museum, the late King’s Memorial Chorten, the National Library, the School of Painting and the silversmiths and pottery workshops. The Government Handicrafts Emporium is possibly the best place to look for local handicrafts especially if you are looking to buy national dress. It is interesting to visit the handmade paper workshop to see paper being made. Some nice items made from handmade paper are for sale there. You could also visit the Post Office to buy some of Bhutan’s very attractive stamps. They also have good t-shirts on sale there.

Later you will drive up to Sangaygang next to the Bhutan First Broadcasting Service tower, located in the North West of Thimphu. It is only about a mile drive up to the tower so if you feel like you would like to burn a bit more energy you can always walk up instead. From the tower you will have great views over Thimphu Dzong and the Thimphu Valley as you start your walk contouring the beautiful hills to visit Wangditse Gompa. This walk should take around 1.5 hours. You will have time to visit the gompa before you walk down for another 30 minutes to reach Dechen Phodrang Monastery. This monastery houses around 450 student monks enrolled in a 8 year course and is also home to some fantastic UNESCO monitored 12th century paintings. You will then meet your vehicle and be driven back to Thimphu.

Day 10 Drive to Punakha, 1,242m//4,075ft. Visit Punakha Dzong and walk to Chimi Lakhang.
Overnight: Zhingkham Resort or Damchen Resort or Similar, Punakha

After breakfast you will drive east to Punakha about a 3 hour drive. Leaving Thimphu you climb to cross the Dochu La Pass, 3,048m//10,000ft, a spot marked by 108 chortens. Here, weather permitting you may take in a magnificent mountain vista. On clear days there are fabulous views of the eastern Himalaya. This is a very atmospheric spot even on misty days. You then drive down through varied forest into the lush Punakha Valley.

In Punakha you will visit the fabulous Punakha Dzong, one. of the most spectacular and important dzongs in the kingdom. The dzong is situated at the confluence of two rivers. In 1994 there was a major flood in the town which caused a lot of damage to the dzong but it has been beautifully renovated and is a real showcase for Bhutanese craftsmanship and painting. You are normally allowed into the dzong unless there are VIPs visiting.

You will also visit Chimi Lakhang, a temple built by Drukpa Kunley. Known as the The Divine Madman’, Drukpa Kunley was a 15th century Bhutanese lama and is Bhutan’s most popular saint and one of the most important figures in Bhutanese folklore. Despite the apparent conservatism of the Bhutanese people, Drukpa Kunley with his unconventional views on sex is a great favourite throughout the country. Chimi Lakhang is especially popular with women who come here to pray for children. The lakhang is reached by a short walk across the paddy fields and this short excursion takes about 45 minutes each way. Afte the walk you will return to your hotel.

Day 11 Sightseeing in Paro Valley
Overnight: Hotel Olathang Or Similar,

Today you will drive to Paro and spend the afternoon sightseeing in the Paro valley. Firstly you could drive up the valley to Drukyel Dzong, the impressive ruins of a fortress and monastery which burnt down in the last century. On a clear day you get views of Mount Chomolhari from here. Returning towards Paro you visit the ancient temple of Kyichu Lakhang, one of 108 temples built by Songtsen Gampo an important early Tibetan king, to pin down the Bon demon who was thought to hover over the whole of Tibet. Back in town you may visit the Ta Dzong. This 17th century. circular watchtower is home to Bhutan’s National Museum. Having undergone a major renovation, the museum showcases a wealth of Bhutan’s most significant cultural and artistic treasures. The nearby spectacular Paro Dzong is also worth a visit, as is the typical cantilever bridge below the dzong.

Day 12 Visit Taktsang Monastery, 3,120m//10,236ft. Afternoon sightseeing paro Valley.
Overnight: Hotel Olathang Or Similar, Paro

Today you will walk up to the famous Tiger’s Nest, Taktsang Monastery – a fitting climax to your visit to Bhutan. The monastery is perched some 600m//2,000ft up on a cliff overlooking the valley and was said to be where the legendary Indian saint, Guru Padma Sambhava, flew from Tibet on the back of a tiger to defeat five demons who were opposing the spread of Buddhism in Bhutan. It’s a steep uphill walk through woods of about 1½-2hrs to reach a tea house (an ascent of 340m//1,115ft). Apart from offering welcome refreshment this tea house is one of the principle viewpoints of the monastery, and those who prefer not to climb any further can relax here whilst others continue upwards. Even if you are not going as far as the actual monastery it is worth climbing a further half hour to some prayer flags and a viewpoint directly across from the monastery. If there is a particular religious gathering or VIP visit in progress you will not be able to enter the monastery but if this is allowed the final section of the walk takes you from here steeply down approximately 100m/330ft into the gorge that separates you from the monastery and then climbs steeply back up again to reach the monastery gate – was built to be isolated! You return down the same way to where your vehicle will be waiting. The full walk to the monastery and back involves approximately 740m//2,440ft of ascent and takes about four hours.

In the afternoon you may complete any sightseeing you did not do yesterday or you may relax at your hotel. Perhaps take a hot stone bath, a revitalising Bhutanese tradition!

Day 13 Fly to Kathmandu.
Overnight: Hotel Or Similar, Kathmandu

You will transfer to the airport where you will say goodbye to your Bhutanese guide and driver. You will then fly to Kathmandu with a further opportunity to see the peaks of the high Himalaya including Everest and Kangchenjunga. You will then drive back to your hotel and have the rest of the day at leisure.

Day 14 Time at leisure, Transfer to airport and depart Kathmandu.
Overnight: In flight

You will have time at leisure in Kathmandu today when you may do some sightseeing, shopping or simply relax at your hotel. Later there will be a group transfer to the airport for your overnight flight to your Home.

Day 15 Arrive your Home.


  • Includes Arrival & Departure Transport By private Car/Van/Bus.
  • Three meals a day during the Trekking (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner)
  • Accommodation in Tea House during the Trekking.
  • Trekking Guide with Insurance
  • Kathmandu city and trekking maps.
  • Free use Company's duffel bag.
  • Day sightseeing around Kathmandu Valley, car/van/bus and tour guide
  • All needed Government fees.
  • Food in Kathmandu(City) lunch and dinner.
  • Tips for Guide and Porters
  • Extra night accommodation in Kathmandu (late departure or early arrival from the mountains.
  • Donation Items of personal expenses like hot shower, battery charge, telephone etc.




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