We are 72 and 76 and well-traveled. Below is our itinerary as of today suggested by agent. The hotels should be clean and if possible have a view or some charm & if possible a good pool. We don’t camp. We like UNESCO monuments, small towns/villages, museums, gorgeous scenery, caves with sculpture & or painting. We will appreciate any tips you can offer.
Sri Lanka Start 10 Days in Sri Lanka: is this too much?
January 19, Sunday: Delhi/Colombo
Morning at leisure. In the late afternoon, transfer to the airport in time for Sri Lankan Airlines flight UL#196 departing Delhi at 6:40 pm to arrive Colombo at 10:15 pm. Complete immigration and customs formalities. You will be met and transferred to Cinnamon Lake Side Hotel (Deluxe Room).
January 20, Monday: Colombo
Morning at leisure.
In the afternoon proceed on sightseeing Tour of Colombo driving through the Commercial area of the “ Fort”. Drive passed “Pettah” Visit Hindu temple & drive pass Jumi-UL Alfar Jumma Mosque, Tour Wolvendaal Dutch Church, Hultsdorf Law courts, to the residential area of Cinnamon Gardens, Independence Square, Bandaranayke Memorial International Conference Hall. And also visit Gangaramaya Temple
January 21, Tuesday: Colombo
After breakfast, leave for Kelaniya and visit the "Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara"
January 22, Wednesday: Colombo/Pinnawela/Kandy
After breakfast, leave for Kandy en route visit the elephant orphanage in Pinnawala seeing the baby elephants being bottle-fed. Also could accompany the elephants to a river close-by and see them having their daily bath.
Cinnamon Citadel Hotel (Superior Room). Balance of the day is at leisure.
January 23, Thursday: Kandy
After breakfast, visit the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens. City tour of Kandy. Drive around the Kandy Lake. Visit the Kandy town and Bazaar, the arts & crafts centre and a gem museum and a lapidary. In the evening visit the Temple of the Tooth Relic and thereafter witness a cultural show featuring traditional Sri Lankan dancing.
January 24, Friday: Kandy/Dambulla
After breakfast, leave for Dambulla en route stopping in a spice garden in Matale, to see the different spices. Visit the Dambulla Rock Temple. Climb up to the temple, Dambulla is a World Heritage site and is the most impressive of Sri Lanka’s cave temples. The complex of five caves with over 2000 sq. meters of painted walls and the ceiling is the largest area of paintings found in the world.
Heritance Kandalama Hotel (Dambulla Wing).
January 25, Saturday: Dambulla/Sigiriya/Polonnaruwa/Dambulla
Visit Sigiriya - Climb the 5th century Sigiriya rock fortress which is a world heritage site, Visit the world-renowned frescoes of the ‘Heavenly Maidens’ of Sigiriya, which are in a sheltered pocket of the rock approached by a spiral stairway, a world heritage site - Here you can see the ruins of the Royal Palace, the Gal Viharaya – with 4 splendid statues of the Buddha in ‘Upright’, ‘Sedentary’ and ‘Recumbent’ postures carved out of rock, the Audience Hall, the Lotus Bath, king Parakramabahu’s statue, and the Parakrama Samudraya lake built by King Parakramabahu the great. See monuments Shiva Temple, the Lankathilake, the Watadage, the Galpotha, the Kiri Vehera and the remains of a former Temple of the Tooth Relic. Return to your hotel in Dambulla.
January 26, Sunday: Dambulla/Anuradhapura/Dambulla
Drive to Anuradhapura the home of two World Heritage sites. See Sri Maha Bodhi (Sacred Bo-Tree); Brazen Palace (2nd century B.C), the 1600 stone columns, Ruwanweliseya (2nd century B.C) famous of all the Dagobas. Isurumuniya rock temple (3rd century B.C) rock carvings of 'The Lovers'. Kuttam Pokuna – twin ponds (6th century AD) was used by the Buddhist monks as a bathing pool. Thuparama Dagoba (3rd century B.C) Return to hotel.
January 27, Monday: Dambulla/Negombo
Go to Negombo, Jetwing Blue Hotel (deluxe room). Balance of the day at leisure. (What is there to see? We’re not much for leisure unless specially nice hotel )
January 28, Tuesday: Negombo
Day to relax on the beach. (If cannot swim in polluted water skip this?)
January 29, Wednesday: Negombo/Colombo/Delhi
Colombo airport in time for UL#195 departing at 2:05 pm to arrive Delhi at 5:40 pm. Radisson Blu Hotel, just ourside the airport.
(Change to early flight, avoid airport hotel, fly to Kathmandu on 29th?)
Start 8 days in Nepal/Kathmandu
January 30, Thursday: Delhi/Kathmandu
In the late morning, transfer to the airport in time for Jet Airways flight 9W#262 departing Delhi at 1:50 pm to arrive Kathmandu at 3:35 pm. Complete immigration and customs formalities. You will be met and transferred to Hotel Hyatt Regency (stupa view room). (Can’t we do this in one day? See Jan.29 question.)
January 31, Friday: Kathmandu
Explore Kathmandu visit Swayambhunath, a 2,000 year old Buddhist stupa, Hindu temples and palaces. In the afternoon, visit Bhadgaon, an ancient capital of Nepal. Palace of 55 Windows, the Golden Gate, the 5-storeyed Nyatapola Temple (a marvelous example of the pervasive pagoda architecture), and the small but excellent museum. Also visit Pasupatinath Temple on your way back. It is a holy Hindu shrine on the banks of the Bagmati River.
February 1, Saturday: Kathmandu
In the morning, weather permitting, you will take what promises to be one of the most thrilling flights of your life - the Himalayan Mountain flight. During a one hour flight the plane flies at close range along the Himalayas - the world's highest and the most majestic peaks. Your view from the plane window is spectacular, especially when you finally see Mt. Everest, the highest mountain on earth. In the afternoon, drive to Patan, known as the "City of Grace and Fine Arts", where you will see interesting and beautiful pieces of art and architecture. Enroute, you will visit the salesroom at the Tibetan Refugee Craft Center. (Skip or see crafts being done?)
February 2, Sunday: Kathmandu
Full day excursion to Bhaktapur and Dhulikhel including at the Mountain Resort.
February 3, Monday: Kathmandu/Pokhara
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight to Pokhara, transfer to the Atithi Resort & Spa Hotel. In the afternoon, visit the places of interest around Pokhara valley. (What is of interest?)
February 4, Tuesday: Pokhara
Easy hiking trip to Sarangkot with boxed lunch.
February 5, Wednesday: Pokhara
Free day to relax. (Skip unless hotel really lovely place to be?)
February 6, Thursday: Pokhara/Kathmandu
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight to Kathmandu. On arrival, transfer to Hyatt Regency Hotel (stupa view room).
Start 10 Days in Bhutan
Druk Air flight KB#401 departing Kathmandu at 9:45 am to arrive Paro at 11:20 am. In clear weather, Druk Air’s flight to Bhutan provides a wonderful view of Himalayan scenery, flying along the Himalayan range from Kathmandu. It is a breathtaking journey, culminating in an exciting descent past forested hills into the kingdom. Upon arrival 2 hour drive to Thimphu, Bhutan.
February 8, Saturday: Thimphu
Thimphu: visit Tashichhodzong, Tashichhodzong summer residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot), visit National Library, which houses an extensive colle ction of Buddhist literature, with some works dating back several hundred years. Visit the nearby Institute for Zorig Chusum (commonly known as the Painting School), visit (outside only) the National Institute of Traditional Medicine, where the medicinal herbs abundant in the kingdom are compounded and dispensed. Afternoon is free. (Is hotel worth hanging around? Or what else to see?)
February 9, Sunday: Thimphu
Visit National Memorial Chorten & Handicrafts Emporium and privately owned crafts shops, splendid thangkha paintings and woven textiles for which Bhutan is famous. (Skip this?) Visit the Folk Heritage&National Textile Museums.
February 10, Monday: Thimphu/Punakha
Drive over Dochu-la pass (10,130 ft) to Punakha. (Monuments on way?)
Overnight . Punakha
February 11, Tuesday: Punakha
Visit Punakha Dzong, drive to Wangduephodrang, see Wangduephodrang Dzong. Visit the local market.
February 12, Wednesday: Punakha/Paro
Drive to Paro visiting Simtokha Dzong en route. Arrive Paro and check into your hotel. Overnight.
February 13, Thursday: Paro
Visit Ta Dzong, walk down a hillside trail to visit Rinpung Dzong.
After lunch, drive up the valley to view the ruins of Drukgyel Dzong
visit Kyichu Lhakhang, Walk along the main street.
February 14, Friday: Paro
Hike to Taksang or Tiger Nest which will take about 5 hours. One can opt to travel on foot only or hike and horseback. (Can we do this at age 72 & 76? How steep is it?)
February 15, Saturday: Paro/Delhi
KB#204 departing Paro at 11:25 am to arrive Delhi at 1:35 pm
February 17, Monday: Delhi/USA
(Except we fly back 2/21 so we can expand something above; we were in Delhi & India 5 weeks last year but not in Punjab. What do you suggest?)