Classic Tibet, Nepal Bhutan Tour
THE TOUR AT THE GLANCE
This 13-day tour will take you to three separate countries, Tibet, Nepal, and Bhutan. In Lhasa, Tibet, you can see some cultural and historical sites, including Potala Palace and Jokhang Temple. Meanwhile, you can visit some monasteries such as Sera Monastery and Drepung Monastery. After catching a glimpse of Mount Everest, you will cross the vast expanse of the Tibetan Plateau to delve deep into the Kathmandu Valley to explore Nepali culture. Before flying across to Paro, in Bhutan, you can visit some unique sights of the Bhutanese culture and religion. Taking a short-hop flight across borders to visit the beautiful country of Bhutan, you can join the trekking and murmuring.
EXPERIENCES AND VISITS IN THIS TOUR JOURNEY
- Potala Palace, Norbulingkha Palace, Jorkhang Temple, Sera Monastery, Drepung Monastery, Barkhor Street in Lhasa.
- Spectacular drive across Kambala and Karola passes and along the shores of Yamdrok Tso Lake.
- Inspiring landscapes, super mountain views, rich Buddhist history and culture.
- Comfortable transportation/hotels with Tibetan character wherever possible
- Experience the Tibetan cultural capital of Lhasa,
- witness monks in debate and prayer, explore rural villages and lunar-like landscapes, Reach 5000m and a mere 7km below Everest Base Camp,
- Tradruk Temple, Yambulakhang Palace, and ancient Samye Monastery.
- Enjoy stunning views while travelling overland from Tibet to Nepal.
- From the sacred peaks of Tibet to lush green Nepalese valleys,
- Explore overland the best of the Himalayas on this two-week tour. Discover mighty temples and small outposts on.
- In the thin mountain air of Rongbuk, the highest monastery in the world,
- Enjoy unparalleled views of Mt Everest. So make sure your camera is charged
- Gyantse Kumbum and Pelkore Chode Monastery.
- Shalu Monastery and Tashilunbo Monastery in Shigatse.
- Yamdroktso Lake, Karola Glacier, Simila Mountain Pass, Pelkor Chöde Monastery, Far view of Gyangtse Fortress
- Meet the local Tibetan families.
- Enjoy stunning views while travelling overland from Tibet to Nepal.
VIEW FULL ITINERARY
Arrive in Gonggar Airport of Lhasa. Upon arrival at Lhasa airport, meet your Tibetan Guide and driver and transfer to your hotel in the city.
You need to first arrive in Beijing or Chengdu on your own, at least a day before your flight to Lhasa. We will ship your Tibet entry permit to your hotel.
The balance of the day is for rest for acclimatization. You may experience mild symptoms of altitude sickness like headache, lightheadedness, disorientation, breathlessness, etc. But it should go away in a day or two. Please, take rest, drink plenty of water and consume liquid food in meals.
Optional: Tonight, you may want to attend the Tibetan Opera, and folklore shows that help you understand Tibetan culture and traditions!
Today, you will visit the significant historical and cultural attractions of Lhasa, which includes the Drepung Monastery, Norbulingkha Palaces, and Jorkhang Temple. And later, conclude the day with a relaxed stroll in the Barkhor Street.
Drepung Monastery, situated to the west of Lhasa city, was the largest and most prosperous of the three principal Yellow Hat Sect monasteries in Lhasa. Once the most powerful of the “Gelukpa” monasteries, Drepung had seven colleges and, at its height, housed over 10,000 monks. It owns many splendid murals, elaborate statues, and other precious treasures.
The next stop will be at Norbulinka Palaces- the summer residences of the Dalai Lamas. The Norbulinka has three palaces, situated in a beautiful garden. Most visited is the private residence of the current Dalai Lama that includes his private chamber, meditation room, the reception room, and the throne room.
We will have a lunch break in the Barkhor area (Pay on your own), and after that, we visit Jokhang Temple- situated at the center of old Lhasa. Originally, built-in 647 AD, the temple site was believed to have been chosen personally by the wife of King Songtsan Gampo, the Tang Princess Wen Cheng. The temple is the spiritual center of Tibet and the holiest destination for all Tibetan Buddhist pilgrims.
Now, we will go for a relaxed stroll in the Barkhor street that encircles the Jokhang Temple. Barkhor means “a pilgrim’s inner circuit,” and it's believed to be the earliest street of old Lhasa city. It dates back to the foundation of the Jokhang and is an essential pilgrim route. Houses and small inns were built all around the street. As time went on, shops and businesses sprung up in the Barkhor, and it slowly became a prosperous area.
Today, you will visit two exciting destinations; visit the magnificent Potala Palace in the morning and the Sera Monastery in the afternoon.
The world-famous Potala Palace of the Dalai Lama is located on "Red Hill," to the west of old Lhasa. Architecturally, it is considered to be one of the wonders of the world, and thousands of domestic and foreign tourists visit the palace every day.
From here, we will head to Sera Monastery- the last of the three principal Yellow Sect monasteries to be built in Lhasa. Sera means” Hailstone” in Tibet, and legend tells that it hailed during the foundation of this famous monastery. Sera comprise a great sutra chanting hall, a college, and 32 sections. It once housed nearly 10,000 monks and is proud of its glorious history during the Ming Dynasty. Here, we take a chance to attend the debating ceremony of monks in which the monks discuss their knowledge of Buddhism. It is an ancient method of learning and sharpening their understanding of Buddhism and quite amusing to onlookers as well.
You should have been well acclimated and ready to hit the high roads of Tibet.
Today, travel by road to Gyantse town in central Tibet. While Chinese influences are rapidly engulfing many Tibetan towns, Gyantse still preserves its Tibetan characters.
The journey involves the crossing of two high passes Kamba La (15,700 ft.) and Karo La (16,500 ft.) and then follows the shores of Yamdrok Tso Lake for more than 40 miles. Yamdrok Tso Lake is one of the four holiest lakes of Tibet and has turquoise green water. As we leave the lakeshore behind, the road climbs to Karo La (16,500ft), once again opportunities of breathtaking views of the Himalayan peaks and vast Tibetan plateau. We should arrive in Gyantse town in mid-afternoon. We check in the hotel, and after wash and change, we set out to visit the attractions of the city.
Gyantse's major attractions are the Gyantse Kumbum- a magnificent tiered structure that has only one ruined and remote contemporary (at Jonang, 60km north-east of Lhatse ) in the Buddhist world- and the Pelkor Chode Monastery. Kumbum and Pelkor Chode monastery share the same compound which ones contained 15 Monasteries of different faiths.
Depending on available time and your interest, we may take a hike to the historic Gyantse Dzong. There is, of course, history in place, but what attracts most is fascinating views of Pelkhor Chode, the ancient alleyways, and the jagged surrounding peaks. We descend and visit the Tibetan dwellings, and take a peek into their lifestyle.
Today, travel by road to Shigatse. About 20 Kms before Shigatse, we take Shalu Monastery to turn off. Shalu Monastery lies approximately 12 Kms from the main highway. Jetsun Sherab Jungne built this monastery in the year 1000. The architecture of the monastery features completely Chinese Yuan Dynasty's temple, which is a rare and unique work of art, a mixed feature of Tibetan and Han. The monastery enshrines various relics such as religious objects, Buddhist scriptures written on "pattra" leaves, and an essential decree of Pagpa, the Sakya abbot.
Upon arrival in Shigatse, check-in hotel, and after refreshment, we visit the famous Tashilunbo Monastery-the principal seat of Panchen Lama-the second most venerated religious leader of Tibet. The monastery is the landmark of Shigatse and associated with the Gelugpa order and is one of the six great Gelugpa institutions along with Sera, Drepung, Ganden, Kumbum, and Labrang. We also take a chance to visit the vibrant 'free' market of Shigatse, where we can get excellent bargains on local handicrafts embedded with coral and turquoise. There are also Tibetan Daggers, Chinese pottery, and yak butter, and local produce.
In the morning, we will visit the home of Panchan Lama - Tashilunpo Monastery and then drive to Lhatse, a small town located 150 km from Shigatse, and you may have lunch in the local restaurant. After a short rest, you will go ahead to Tingri. You will pass Tsola Pass(4600M), and Gyatsola Pass(5248M). In the late afternoon, you enter Mt. Everest National Nature Reserve. You can enjoy the panorama of the Himalayas at Gawula Pass (5198m).Then we drive along the new zigzag road to Rongbuk Monastery or Everest Base Camp to stay overnight. If the weather is good, you can have a clear view of the sunset of golden Everest peak.
If it’s summertime (usually May~Oct), we will carry on the last few kilometers to Everest Tent Camp to stay the night; if winter time (usually Nov~Apr), we will stay at Rongbuk Monastery’s guesthouse. Both places have but only the dorm bed lodging available. Both places you can see the glorious Everest sunset if the weather is good.
Early morning take Tibetan breakfast. You will understand why when you’re at Everest Base Camp. Tibetan breakfast, such as noodle, zanba, etc. You are highly suggested to take some cookies, & coffee. etc. You can get up early and enjoy the sunrise of Everest Peak at the lodging area if the weather is good. After sightseeing, we will drive to Gyirong, the border which connects Tibet & Nepal. On the way, tourists can enjoy the breathtaking vista of Mt. Shishapangma and Pekutso Lake. After passing the Ghungtang Lhamo(5236M), we will arrive in Gyirong in the late afternoon.
Today, cross the border back into Nepal. The overland journey from Tibet to Nepal is considered one of the most stunning drives in Asia. Once across the border, travel to Kathmandu to enjoy a final evening in the city.
Prepare for another beautiful driving day on your way to Nepal. Cross high mountain passes amongst fluttering prayer flags, enjoy jaw dropping views of the Himalayan range, stunning lakes and forest, then begin to descend in altitude towards lush, green Nepal. After immigration, cross the bridge joining Tibet and Nepal by foot. Jump in the vehicle and make the winding, bumpy, yet extremely scenic drive to Kathmandu.
Morning visit Kathmandu Durbar Square in the heart of old city Kathmandu.Visit Swoyambhunath - a UNESCO World Heritage site, believed to have been established more than 2,500 years ago and now an important Buddhist learning site
Later visit Pasupatinath “Nepal’s most important Hindu temple stands on the banks of the holy Bagmati River”.
Afternoon Heritage walk to Boudhanath. The Stupa is located in the area of ancient trade route to Tibet where the Tibetan merchants used to rest and offered prayers for many centuries.
Visit a Buddhist Monastery near Boudhanath and experience a glimpse of Buddhism and watch the monks pray. Have an interactive session with a High-Monk (depending upon availability).
Later take a Rickshaw ride from Kathmandu Durbar Square to Thamel passing through the old Kathmandu city and local bazaars filled with local people.
Optional: Welcome dinner at the Krishna Arpan Restaurant at the Hotel Dwarika served in a traditional Nawari style and cuisine.
Today, drive to Bhadgaon - enroute visiting a Bamboo School. – Established in 2001 to provide free education to the children of the financially weak families. You would be welcomed by the children and each guest will be accompanied by a child to make a show around of the school and the orphanage. You can make donation and help fund the children.
Arrive Bhadgaon or Bhaktapur (Place of devotees) was the largest of the 3 Newar Kingdoms of the Kathmandu valley and was the ancient capital. It is the third largest city in Kathmandu valley and the majority of the population is Newars. It has the old Palace, courtyards and old city center in Nepal. Bhadgaon is a world Heritage site declared by UNESCO for its rich culture, temples and wood, metal and stone artworks.
Afternoon: Visit Patan city – founded in 3rd century and later expanded by the Mallas of Nepal. Patan Durbar Square, Mahaboudha Temple, Kumbeshwor temple, Krishna Temple, Golden Temple and other places of Patan - Patan is actually is an open museum showcasing intricately carved windows, intrinsic roof struts, statues of gods and goddesses, temples designed in pagoda style with erotic carvings and reposes’ metalwork facades , etc – Guest can also visit handicraft centre in Patan.
Transfer to Kathmandu airport to board flight for Paro. Upon arrival at Paro, you will be greeted by our guide / Representative, who will make us discover all the riches of the kingdom of Bhutan. Transfer to Timphou, capital of the country.
On the way, we will make a stop at the spectacular Buddha Dordenma, a gold-covered statue whose location offers a breath-taking view of the valley.
In the evening take an exploratory leisure walk around Thimphu Main Street.
Morning visit National Library, which holds a vast collection of ancient Buddhist texts and manuscripts, some dating back several hundred years, as well as modern academic books mainly on Himalayan culture and religion: (Closed on Weekends & Govt. Holidays)
Also visit nearby National Institute for Zorig Chusum: Commonly known as Arts & Crafts School or Painting School (closed on Saturday, Sunday & Government Holidays). On a visit, one can see students learning the various skills taught at the school.Textile Museum: This Textile Museum is operated by the National Commission for Cultural Affairs of Bhutan. The Museum has a good collection of exclusive and antique Bhutanese textile artifacts an objective to promote encourage weavers to continue the weaving of traditional Bhutanese textile, (Closed on Sunday). Simply Bhutan: Simply Bhutan is an exclusive project under the Bhutan Youth Development Fund (YDF), built to offer a unique experience to its visitors. It is a living museum and studio encapsulating the cultural heritage of the Bhutanese people. (Closed on Sunday)
In the afternoon visit to Trashichhoed zong: This impressive fortress / monastery houses Secretariat building, the throne room of His Majesty, the King and various government offices. It is also the summer residence of Chief Abbot and central monk body. Further visit King's Memorial Chorten continuously circumambulated by people, murmuring mantras and spinning their prayer wheels. Construction of this landmark was the idea of Bhutan’s third king, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuk (“the father of modern Bhutan”) who has wished to erect monument to world peace and prosperity.
End the day with a visit to the government-run Handicrafts Emporium and local crafts shops, to browse through example of Bhutan's fine traditional arts. Here you can buy hand-woven textiles, thangkha paintings, masks, ceramics, slate and wood carvings, jewelry, interesting items made from local materials.
Today, travel by surface to Punakha, across Dochula pass (3100 m). In Bhutan, the passes are marked by a large Bhutanese Chorten and prayer flag. Dochula pass offers the most spectacular view over the high peaks of the eastern Himalayas on a clear day. Arrive Punakha and check in at hotel.
Proceed to visit PunakhaDzong, a massive structure built at the junction of two rivers. It was the capital of Bhutan until 1955, and still serves as the winter residence of the monk body.
Later in the day excursion to ChimiLhakhang (from hotel it is about 15 minute drive till motorable road and then walk starts through paddy fields and villages. This is total about 1.1/2 hour walk, including both way).
The ChimiLhakhang, situated on a hillock in the centre of the valley is known as the temple of fertility. It is widely believed that couples who do not have children and wanting one, if they pray at this temple, they are usually blessed with a child very soon. The trail leads across rice fields to the tiny settlement of Pana, meaning ‘field’. A walk through the village near the temple will give you rare glimpses into the daily life and lifestyle of the villagers.
Evening can be spent exploring Punakha village located right on the bank of river.
Today, travel by surface, back to Paro, descending back down from Dochu La, follow the way back up the dramatic Wang Chhu and Paro Chhu river valleys, before crossing through Paro Town towards the north end of the valley.
En route visit Simtokha Dzong, the place of profound tantric teaching, this Dzong now houses a school for the study of the Dzongkha language.
Later in the day after checking into hotel, proceed to visit Ta Dzong, originally built as Watchtower, which now houses National Museum. The extensive collection includes antique thangkha paintings, textiles, weapons & armour, household objects and a rich assortment of natural and historic artifacts.
Then walk down the trail to visit Rinpung Dzong, meaning (fortress of the heap of jewels), which has a long and fascinating history. Along the wooden galleries lining the inner courtyard are fine wall paintings illustrating Buddhist lore such as four friends, the old man of long life, the wheel of life, scenes from the life of Milarepa, Mount. Sumeru and other cosmic Mandala
Excursion to Taktshang Monastery (approx. 5 Hrs walk): It is one of the most famous of Bhutan’s monasteries, perched on the side of a cliff 900m above the Paro valley floor. It is said that Guru Rinpoche arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at this monastery and hence it is called ‘Tiger’s Nest’. This site has been recognised as a most sacred place and visited by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646 and now visited by all Bhutanese at least once in their lifetime. On 19 April, 1998, a fire severely damaged the main structure of building but now this Bhutanese jewel has been restored to its original splendour.
On the way back to town stop at Drukgyel Dzong a ruined fortress where Bhutanese warriors fought Tibetan invaders centuries ago. The snowy dome of sacred Chomolhari, "mountain of goddess'' can be seen in all her glory from the approach road to the Dzong.
Along the way, visit the 7th century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples built in the Himalayas by Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo. The building of this temple marks the introduction of Buddhism in Bhutan.
Today in the evening visit a traditional farm house and meet a village family where tea / coffee will also be served. It provides opportunity to mingle with local family particularly the farming community and understand their cultural.
Later explore local market of Paro.
Later in time transfer to airport to board flight for Kathmandu / Delhi. Upon arrival meet and transfer to connect flight back home
WHAT YOU WILL RECEIVE IN YOUR TOUR COST
- Accommodation for (total 11 nights) sharing double / twin room as per program
- Meals: on Full board basis.(Breakfast + Lunch + Dinner) except in Kathmandu on Bed & breakfast
- Transfers, sightseeing/excursions as per the program by air-conditioned vehicle.
- Transfer from Gyriong border to Kathmandu by Jeep.
- English speaking local Tibetan Guide in Tibet and local guide in Kathmandu as per program.
- Monument entrance fees as per the itinerary.
- Permit: Tibet Tourism Bureau Permit (TTB); Alien's Travel Permit(PSB) to be applied in Shigatse with your original passport which takes abt 30mins
- Visit Bamboo School in Kathmandu
- Company representative for assistance on all arrival and departure transfers.
- All presently applicable taxes including all Government taxes.
- Two bottles of mineral water each day during sightseeing.
TOUR COST WILL NOT INCLUDE FOLLOWING EXPENSES
- International / Domestic Airfare
- Any new admission fees / taxes / fuel surcharges/ Chinese / Nepal Visa
- Meals not mentioned
- Travel and medical insurance.
- All personal expenses such as beverages, laundry, trip cancellation and personal insurance, gratuities, excess baggage fees
- Early check-in/late check-out (except as noted)
- Camera/video fees at monuments
- Evacuation charges, damage of any nature.
- Communication costs
- Any additional expenses due to unforeseen problems like natural disaster, war or strikes, cancellation or misconnection of flights or last-minute change of timings etc.
- Any other service, which has not been specified as "included".
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