Nepal and Bhutan

Buddhism & Himalayan Views

October 15th through October 29th, 2017

Our journey to Nepal and Bhutan will be focused on the cultural and spiritual aspects of both countries, with visits to numerous Buddhist monasteries and stupas, where we will witness the performance of Buddhist rituals, one Hindu temple, and a brief introduction to meditation. We will have contact with the local people and enjoy the majestic natural beauty of the mountain scenery of both countries, while staying in beautiful hotels.

 

Nepal: This gem of the Himalayan mountains is bordered to the north by Tibet and China, with India to its south. Nepal’s elevation varies from 70 meters above sea level to the highest point on earth, Mount Everest, 8,848 meters, and is well known for its fantastic network of hiking trails. Nepal contains surprisingly diverse climates, from sub-tropical to alpine, and is world famous for its incredible variety of eco systems, which include the most impressive mountain ranges in the world, dense tropical jungles full of wildlife, rushing rivers and forested hills. There are numerous historically important cities and ancient towns inhabited by various ethnic groups. Although primarily Buddhist, Nepal also has many Hindus, not to mention a large number of Communists. Nepal is still recovering from the devastating earthquake of 2015, but is rapidly rebuilding and striving to improve its infrastructure. We have found Nepal to be one of the most delightful places in the world. It is truly a treasure house of natural beauty, vibrant spirituality and cultural gems, and the Nepali people are especially friendly and charming.

 

Bhutan: This small Buddhist kingdom, set among majestic Himalayan peaks, is unsurpassable in its scenic beauty and vibrant, well-preserved culture. It is an enchanting kingdom, largely shut off from the flaws of the Western world, and famous as “the happiest country in the world.” It boasts extraordinary mountain views, deep forests criss-crossed by sparkling streams, and a powerful glacier-fed river. Truly, Bhutan is a pristine paradise, a one-of-a-kind destination for tourists interested in Buddhist culture and philosophy, or just curious to see the world’s only remaining Shangri-La!

Dates:

October 15th through October 29th, 2017.

Places we will visit:

Nepal and Bhutan

Where and When the Tour Begins

Kathmandu International Airport of October 15th, 2017

Return flight

Kathmandu

Guides:

Tarini Ma Dagnino  (guia), Ram-Das Batchelder (profesor de filosofía), Sumangala Salvatorelli (yoga y meditación)

Languages spoken during the tour:

English & Spanish.

 

 

Daily Itinerary

 

Day 1: Sunday, October 15th, Kathmandu.

Arrival at Kathmandu International Airport, in the capital of Nepla. Traditional welcome. Transport to hotel.

Night in Kathmandu, 4-star hotel.

 

Día 02: Lunes, 16 de octubre. Katmandú.

Por la mañana y después del desayuno saldremos de paseo por el valle de Katmandú.

Entre los muchos sitios de interés que visitaremos se encuentran el Templo Pashupatinath,  Estupa de Boudhanat (uno de los monumentos budistas más antiguos y más grandes de Nepal), y el pueblo de Patan, famoso por los numerosos templos hinduistas y más de 1.200 altares y estupas budistas. La plaza Patan Dumbar es un complejo de templos y palacios, los cuales son patrimonio de la humanidad de la Unesco.

Night in Kathmandu, 4-star hotel.

 

Day 2: Monday, October 16th. Kathmandu.

After breakfast we will head out for some sightseeing in the Kathmandu Valley, visiting the following: the Pashupatinath Temple (one of the most important Hindu temples in Nepal), the Boudhanath Stupa (one of the oldest and largest stupas in Nepal), the town of Patan, famous for its numerous Hindu temples and 1,200 Buddhist stupas. We’ll also visit the Patan Dumbar Plaza, a complex of temples and palaces which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Night in Kathmandu, 5-star hotel.

 

Day 3: Tuesday, October 17. Kathmandu:

After breakfast we will continue to explore Kathmandu, visiting the following:

The Kathmandu Durbar Plaza

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a complex of temples and palaces which were inhabited by the ancient kings of Kathmandu.

Swayambhunath Maha Chaitya

This stupa is one of the world’s most fascinating architectural jewels, and a precious Buddhist pilgrimage spot.

Bhaktapur

This ancient city in the Kathmandu Valley has kept its antique temples intact, and for this reason the entire city is a UNESCO Heritage Site.

Night in Kathmandu, 5-star hotel.

 

Day 4: Wednesday, October 18th: Kathmandu-Pokhara.

After breakfast, we will go by car towards Pokhara, since this is the easiest way to catch a glimpse of the simple rural life of the people of Nepal. Pokhara is without a doubt the most beautiful valley in Nepal, offering both a pristine lake and extraordinary views of snowcapped Himalayan peaks.

Night in Pokhara, 4-star hotel.

 

Day 5: Thursday, October 19th: Pokhara.

Early in the morning we will visit Sarangkot, a place famous for its sunrises. On clear days Sarangkot offers incredible panoramic views of a vast Himalayan range. Amazing!

After breakfast we’ll take an excursión to Lake Phewa, the second largest lake in Nepal and the central attraction of Pokhara.

Night in Pokhara, 4-star hotel.

 

Day 6: Thursday, October 20th: Pokhara - Kathmandu:

Today we have the morning free to walk in the area and interact with the local people – this is a delight! After lunch we’ll take a flight for our return to Kathmandu. In the evening we’ll witness a performance of Nepali traditional dance.

Night in Kathmandu, 5-star hotel.

 

Day 7: Saturday, October 21st: Kathmandu - Paro- Thimphu:

After breakfast we will catch our flight to Paro, in Bhutan, and then drive to Thimphu, Bhutan’s capital city. Our flight to Paro on Druk Air is one of the most impressive mountain flights available anywhere in the world, with stunning views of the vast Himalayan ranges. Upon arrival in Thimphu, we will visit the Buddha Dordenma, a famous statue of Lord Buddha located atop a hill in Kuenselphodrang Nature Park,  and Trachichoe Dzhong, a famous Buddhist monastery.

Night in Thimphu, 3-star hotel.

 

Day 8: Sunday, October 22nd. Thimphu-Punakha.

In the morning we will tour the charming city of Thimphu, including several monuments, a convent, a museum, a paper factory and several artisan workshops.

After lunch we’ll drive to Punakha, once Bhutan’s capital, and on the way we’ll take a short stop in Dochula Pass (3,080 meters) to admire the amazing Himalayan views, as well as 108 stupas there and the prayer flags which adorn the highest point on the highway.

Night in Punakha, 3-star hotel.

 

Day 9: Monday, October 23rd: Punakha-Paro.

After breakfast we will visit the Punakha Dzong, the religious and administrative center of the region. And on the way we will visit Simtokha Dzong, the oldest fort in the country which now houses the National Museum, which has a fascinating collection of art, artifacts, thangkhas and exquisite Bhutanese seals. Afterwards we will walk up a hillside and visit Rinpung Dzong, the most important monastery in the district.

Night in Paro, 4-star hotel.

 

Day 10: Tuesday, October 24th: Paro and vicinity.

After breakfast we’ll drive north through the Paro Valley to the ruins of Drukgyel Dzong. We will then visit a nearby Bhutanese farmhouse where we can catch a glimpse of the lifestyle of the local people. We’ll then take an excursion to the Taktsang Monastery, the most famous of the Bhutanese monasteries. It is said that Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) arrived there on the back of a tigress and meditated in this monastery, and for this reason it has been named “The Tiger’s Nest.”

Night in Paro, 3-star hotel.

 

Day 11: Wednesday, October 25th: Paro – Gyangtse – Shigatse.

After breakfast we’ll drive to Gyangtse-Shigatse, where we will visit the most important historical and cultural centers of the area, such as the Palkhor Chode Monastery, which contains the Kumbum Stupa, one of the few ancient structures which survived intact among the thousands that were destroyed during Chinese invasions. Around noon we’ll make the short journey to Shigatse, along the way crossing the rich agricultural valley known as Tibel Nying Chu.

Night in Shigatse, 3-star hotel.

 

Day 12: Thursday, October 26th: Shigatse-Sakya-Shegar.

After breakfast we’ll visit the Tahilunpo Monastery (primary residence of the Panchen Lama), and also see the traditional local market. In the afternoon we’ll make the journey to Shegar, and on the way we’ll have the opportunity to visit the Sakya Monastery, of the Sakya Buddhist sect. The Sakya Monastery possesses a large collection of sacred books and Buddhist sutras.

Night in Shegar, 3-star hotel.

 

Day 13: Friday, October 27th: Shegar/Zhang Mu/ Namobuddha Monastery

Be sure to leave space in your camera to take photos of the Himalayan range as we cross the Lalung Pass at 5,200 meters — from there the views are simply amazing! After crossing the Nepalese border we will continue on to the Namobuddha Monastery, where we’ll experience first hand the life in a Tibetan monastery. We can attend the meditative musical performances of the monks, and even eat with them, as well as watching them play impromptu games of football with whatever small ball they can find!

We will also take a lovely long walk through the local area, passing by many small farms and experiencing the charming innocence and friendliness of the Nepalese villagers.

Night in Namobuddha Monastery.

 

Day 14: Saturday, October 28th: Namobuddha Monastery – Paro- Katmandú.

Namobuddha is located in the mountains about two hours by road from Kathmandu, and is one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage spots in Nepal. It is known as the place where Lord Buddha, in a previous incarnation in which he was a prince, compassionately offered his own body to a hungry lioness and her cubs. The monastery is extremely beautiful, and the monks are charming!

Night in Namobuddha Monastery.

 

Day 15: Sunday, October 29th: Return flight from Kathmandu to your home country

This morning we will drive to the Kathmandu International Airport where you will either take your flight home, or your connecting flight to Delhi to begin the Extension tour in India.

 

End of Tour.

 

A 7-day Extension is available to India’s “Golden Triangle”

– Delhi, Jaipur and Agra (the Taj Mahal).

 

Contact us for more details: tours@nirvana-merida.com

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