This 15-day Tibet Nepal Bhutan tour combines the essence of Tibet and Nepal with a cultural discovery of Bhutan kingdom. Connected by both flights and road trip among the three places, the tour will first take you to the vibrant city of Kathmandu to explore its Durbar Square, Boudhanath Stupa, Pashupatinath Temple. Then flying over the Himalaya to Tibet, you will start the legendary exploration of this unique land, through a classic overland tour from Lhasa to Kathmandu. The highlights include Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Yamdrok Lake, and Everest Summit at the northern base camp etc. At last, after getting transferred to Bhutan from Kathmandu by flight, you will continue to discover the best of Bhutan, and visit Paro Rinpung Dzong, National Library, Punakha Dzong, as well as the world-famous Taktshang Goemba (Tiger’s Nest).
- Explore the world-heritage attractions in Kathmandu valley, including Kathmandu’s Durbar Square, Pashupatinath and Swayambhunath etc.
- Take the epic overland trip from Lhasa to Kathmandu.
- Visit the brilliant Potala Palace, revered Jokhang Temple, and more important monasteries in holy Lhasa.
- Marvel at the turquoise waters of Yamdrok-Tso, one of Tibet’s most sacred lakes.
- Take in the panoramic view of Mount Everest from the north base camp in Tibetan side.
- Immerse in the Buddhist world of Bhutan to visit famous Paro Rinpung Dzong, Tashichho Dzong and Punakha Dzong.
- Trek to the holiest temple in Bhutan, Tiger’s Nest.
Day 1: Arrive in Kathmandu
When you arrive at Tribhuvan International Airport, you tour guide will await you outside the arrival area. Then you will be transferred to your hotel in Kathmandu. (Our local office staff will meet you to collect your passport to apply for Chinese Visa for you, Visa fee is not included in price quotation and you will need pay extra service charge 20 USD/person).
Notice: Chinese embassy requires 3 working days to issue the Visa, we advise you could arrive in Nepal 3 working days in advance before going to Tibet.
Stay overnight in Kathmandu.
Day 2: Day tour to Kathmandu City, Swayambhunath and Patan City
Kathmandu’s Durbar Square is one of three durbar (royal palace) squares in the Kathmandu Valley. It is the site of the Hanuman Dhoka Palace Complex, which was the royal Nepalese residence until the 19th century and where important ceremonies taken place. Swayambhunath the golden spire of the 5th-century Swayambhu stupa is adorned with a colorful fluttering of prayer flags; it crowns a hill overlooking the Kathmandu Valley and offers fantastic views over the city of Kathmandu.
The last site we visit for today is Patan City which is the second largest town in Kathmandu valley. Patan's central Durbar Square is entitled in the World Heritage Site and absolutely packed with temples, the Golden Temple which is the unique Buddhist Monastery was founded in the 12th century, is a large rectangular building has three roofs and a copper gilded facade with the images of Buddha and Avalokitesvara where there are Buddha images and illustrations on the walls.
Stay overnight in Kathmandu.
Day 3: Day tour to Pashupatinath, Bodhnath and Bhaktapur City
Pashupatinath the most important Hindu temple in Nepal, the old buildings on the site were destroyed by Moslem invaders in the 14th century, its stone linga smashed to dust, but it rose again behind their retreating backs. Succeeding monarchs reinstated the temple and the images. Bouddhanath is among the largest stupas in South Asia, and it has become the focal point of Tibetan Buddhism in Nepal. The white mound looms thirty-six meters overhead. The stupa is located on the ancient trade route to Tibet, and Tibetan merchants rested and offered prayers here for many centuries.
Bhaktapur Durbar Square is a conglomeration of pagoda and shikhara style temples grouped around a fifty-five window palace of brick and wood. The square is one of the most charming architectural showpieces of the Valley as it highlights the ancient arts of Nepal.
Stay overnight in Kathmandu.
Day 4: Fly to Lhasa over Himalaya
Fly to Lhasa in the morning. The air journey is just around 2 hours. You will be shocked by amazing Himalaya mountain range, the mountains which over 8000m are just moving across you, and you cannot see the side of the snow-capped mountains. Arrive Lhasa Gonggar International Airport, tour guide will await you outside the arrival area. Transfer for your stay at Lhasa. In the afternoon, you need to stay at hotel to acclimatize the high altitude.
Stay overnight in Lhasa.
Day 5: Day tour to visit Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Street
The tour will begin from UNESCO World Heritage site - Potala Palace, which is also the winter palace of Dalai Lama. It's situated at 12,139 feet above sea level. It's a 13-story high building that contains over 1,000 rooms, various statues, stupas, murals and artifacts. Then continue to Jokhang Temple, another UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s a spiritual center for Buddhists in Tibet. Next to the temple there is Barkhor Street, filled with pilgrims and street vendors, selling traditional Tibetan items such as prayer wheels and jewelry
Stay overnight in Lhasa.
Day 6: Day tour to visit two important monasteries in Lhasa, Sera & Drepung
In the morning, tourists are going to visit Drepung monastery which was one of the “three greet” Gelug monasteries of Tibet and was founded in 1416. Ganden palace is used as Dalai Lama’s palace in the Drepung before moving to the Potala palace. In the afternoon, we will visit Sera Monastery, which was one of the “three great” Gelug monasteries of Tibet and was founded in 1419. The highlight is the Monks debate at around 3 - 5 in the afternoon.
Stay overnight in Lhasa.
Day 7: Lhasa - Yamdrok Lake - Gyantse - Shigatse
After fully explore Lhasa, you'll have a chance to get lost in the endless Tibetan landscape while you take a short hike along the turquoise waters of Lake Yamdrok, one of the three holy lakes in Tibet and the largest habitat of waterfowls in south Tibet.
Afterwards pass by the 5,010 m high Karo La and the Simi La forward to Gyantse (approx. 3.950 m). Visit Pelkor Monastery and Kumbum Stupa (100-Thousand-Buddha Pagoda) nearby, which were both built in the15th century and situated in the northwestern edge of Gyantse.
In the afternoon drive about 90 kilometers to Shigatse (3880m), the second largest city with 40,000 inhabitants in Tibet and the traditional capital of the Tsang. In Shigatse, we’ll visit Tashilhunpo Monastery, the seat of Tibet's second highest incarnation, the Panchen Lama.
Stay overnight in Shigatse.
Day 8: Shigatse to Rongbuk Monastery
We’ll leave Shigatse after getting your Alien’s travel permit, and then drive to Lhatse, it is a small town where you can have lunch.
Then continue to drive westwards the Friendship way to Rongbuk. On the road the drive is full of magnificent scenery and cross some extremely high passes including Gyatsola (5248m). The road to Everest diverts off the newly paved Friendship highway near the town of Shegar and turns into bumpy gravel trail, which is still 90km to get to Rongbuk.
If it is in clear whether, you can have a glimpse of 4 mountains which is 8000m high or more, such as: Mt. Lhotse(8516m), Mt. Everest(8848m), Mt. Qowowuyag (8201m), Mt Mayalu (8463m).
Stay overnight at tent or Rongbuk monastery guest house.
Day 9: Everest Base Camp to Gyirong Border
Get up early for sunrise. You could take the local bus to arrive at Everest Base Camp for half an hour, or you also can have a hike to Base Camp around 1.5-2 hours one way. It's interesting and much warmer, but hard to breath. The morning is frigid and as the wind howl your fingers must be frozen trying to take pictures of the iconic mountain but it is worth the pain to view such an amazing site.
After base camp, you can visit Rongbuk Monastery which is the highest monastery in the world (5000m) and then drive to Old Tingri where you can enjoy the beauty of whole Himalaya range.
Then, we will drive to Gyirong Port, taking in the breathtaking vista of Mt. Shishapangma and Pekutso Lake. The road goes past the Ghungtang Lhamo, at 5,236 meters, and you will arrive in Gyirong in the late afternoon.
Stay overnight at Gyirong Guest House.
Day 10: Gyirong to Nepal Border; Transfer to Kathmandu
Our Guide will drop you off in the morning at the border bridge, you are kindly required to walk on your own to cross the border bridge which is 50m long. After crossing the border, our guide from Nepal will meet you and transfer you to Kathmandu. It is a rigorous trip from the Nepal border to Kathmandu, taking several hours. Upon arrival, you can have a good rest in the hotel.
Stay overnight in Kathmandu.
Day 11: Fly from Kathmandu to Paro, then Drive to Thimphu
During your flight to Paro, you will experience breathtaking views of the Himalayan Peaks including sacred Chomolhari and Mt. Jichu Drake in Bhutan. On arrival at Paro International Airport you will be received by our guide. Then drive for 1 hr 30 min to Thimphu.
In the afternoon, we will head to visit the landmarks in Thimphu, including the Kyichu Lhakhang and Paro Rinpung Dzong. Kyichu Lhakhang is also known as Kyerchu Temple and is the oldest and most beautiful temple in Bhutan. Paro Rinpung Dzong, built in 17th century as a fortress to protect Paro valley, offers you picturesque scenery and a sense of inner peace.
Stay overnight in Thimphu.
Day 12: Thimphu Sightseeing & Drive to Punakha
In the Morning, we will continue sightseeing in Thimphu. You will pay a visit to National Library that houses the world’s largest book and many ancient Buddhist texts and manuscripts, Painting School which is famous for traditional Thangkha paintings, Traditional Medicine Institute where the centuries old herbal medicine is still practiced and the folk heritage museum. And the highlight comes as you tour the Tashichho Dzong, the most beautiful Bhutan dzong as well as the headquarters of Bhutan government.
After lunch, we will drive from Thimphu to Punakha crossing Dochula pass at 3100mtrs where you can see the 108 beautiful chortens built by Her Majesty Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuk. From this pass, on a clear day, you can have a superb view of the highest peaks in Bhutan.
Stay overnight in Punakha
Day 13: Punakha Sightseeing & Drive back to Paro
Punakha is a low-lying sub-tropical valley, it served as the capital of Bhutan until 1955 and still it is home of Chief Abbot in winter months. Punakha Dzong, built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal has played prominent role in civil and religious life of the Kingdom. Destroyed four times by fire and an earthquake in 1897, the Dzong has been now fully restored in its original splendor.
After touring Punakha, we will drive back to Paro. In the afternoon, we will enjoy sightseeing in Paro. First head to visit Drukgyel Dzong, a ruined Fort, which once defended this valley from the Tibetan invasion. This fortress, now a burned shell, was once strategic in Bhutan's defense against the Tibetan invasion. Then visit Ta Dzong, built in 17th century as a watch tower for Paro Dzong. This Dzong was later converted into the National Museum in 1967, and is filled with antique thangkha paintings, textiles, weapons and armor. Also visit the Rinpung Dzong, built in 17th century to defend valley against Tibetan invaders. It is now used as an administrative center and home of monastic community.
Stay overnight in Paro
Day 14: Trek to Taksang Lhakhang (Tiger’s Nest)
Today, we will enjoy the wonderful trek to Taktshang Goemba, also known as Tiger's Nest. Perched on the cliff of Paro Valley, Taktshang Goemba (3120 meters) is the landmark of Paro as well as the holiest temple in Bhutan. It’s said that Guru Rinpoche had flied here on the back of a tigress and meditated in the caves on the cliffside for three months. From here, you can catch a panoramic view of Paro Valley.
In the afternoon, you may opt for a stone bath or enjoy free exploration nearby.
Stay overnight in Paro
Day 15: Departure from Paro
Our guide will pick you up from the hotel and send you to the airport so that you can board the flight back home after this pleasant tour. Tour service end.
1.Tibet Entry Permit
2. Comfortable, clean and safe vehicle depending on your group size with reliable local driver;
3. Admission fees of tourist sites listed in the itinerary;
4. Professional English speaking tour guide;
5. Accommodations depend on your preference. Please tell us your preferred accommodation class when submitting the enquiry, and we will arrange the best-value hotels for you.
6.All measl listed in the itinerary;
7.Tourist Accident/Casualty Insurance
What’s not included?
1. International flight to and out of China;
2. Chinese Visa
3. Domestic flight / train not listed in the itinerary (If you need ticket booking service, please leave your requirements in the Online Inruiry form.)
4.Meals not specified in the itinerary;
5.Tips to driver and tour guide, Tip as you wish
6.Personal expenses, such as laundry, phone call, optional tour activities and so on.
1. Tibet Travel Permit
Tibet Travel Permit is a must for Tibet tour. Its cost is included in the tour quotation. Send your passport and China visa copies to us 20 days in advance, and we will apply for the permit after you book a Tibetan tour with us. Shortly after we get your permit from Tibet Tourism Bureau, we will inform you and mail it to your hotel in China via express.
In some extreme cases, our staff will hand it over to you at the airport or railway station. In our experience, we can virtually guarantee to get your permit during times when Tibet is open to foreign travelers.
Tibet is never known for its 5-star luxury resorts, though you can find some like Intercontinental Lhasa Paradise, St.Regis Lhasa Resort, Sheraton hotel, etc in Lhasa. Overall, the accommodation facilities and services are not as good as those in coastal and central parts of China. However, from cheap and clean youth hotel, to distinct Tibetan style 3-star and international 5-star luxury hotel, you will find one that suits your interest and pocket in Lhasa.
We’ve handpicked cozy and safe hotels in the central area of Lhasa, where you will find Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Street are just steps away from you. You can easily experience more of the local life and culture. Normally, as you travel to remote areas in some parts of Shigatse like Tingri, or EBC, Ngari, Nagqu, etc. the accommodation would be much poorer. Some may have air-conditioning in the hotel;others may only have electric blanket in the guesthouses. And the food is also very basic.
3.Guiding and Tipping
Our English-speaking guides are natives of Tibet with good knowledge of Tibetan culture, history, and Buddhism. Most are trained to offer Western-standard service. Throughout your stay in Tibet, we will minor your health and provide prompt help to you. If you run into any trouble, please do not hesitate to reach them or our customer service manager.
Travelers’s tipping to Tibetan guide and driver is taken as an extra gratitude to their good service, just like what you do in the west. Normally, a tipping of 7 USD/day is acceptable. The basic rule is good service for good pay.
Admittedly, to many western tourists, using toilets in Tibet is the most dreadful experience. So, please down play your expectation. If you take Tibet train to Lhasa, both western toilet and squat toilet are available in the train. If you stay in hotel above 3-star hotels in Lhasa, Shigatse, etc. you will have no complaining using standard western flash toilet.
However, if you visit some of the attractions like Yamdrok or Namtso, EBC outdoor, mostly you will see the smelly and filthy pit toilet.It's better to carry enough toilet paper.
5. Tibet Weather
One of the biggest features of weather on Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is the dramatic temperature change between day and night. The annual temperature in Lhasa is -2℃-- 12℃(spring), 9℃-- 22℃(summer), 7℃-- 19℃(fall), -7℃-- 9℃(winter). Do wear clothes properly such as thermal tops, fleece jacket, breathable underwear, down jacket, jeans, beanie, etc.
Of course, sun screen, lip balm, sun glasses are essential to shield you from powerful blinding sunlight on the plateau. Do drink more water and eat more vegetable as you travel in Tibet. It can prevent you from dehydration.
6. Acclimatization to the High Altitude
For the first timer to Tibet, either by flight or train, a good rest is a must for quick acclimation to the high altitude in Lhasa. Never rush to tour the street or attractions on your own. Walk slower and do not exert yourself like running or jumping. Spending at least two days in Lhasa is a good way to get acclimatized before heading to Shigatse or Namtso. If you have any discomfort, do tell it to your guide,and he will help you out.
7. Other Dos and Don'ts
Normally, taking photos is forbidden in the monastery. If you want to take photos of Tibetan pilgrims, a gentle ask of permission would be appreciated or you can do it from a long distance. Swimming and fishing are not allowed in holy lakes in Tibet; Do not talk about sensitive topics like politics; International tourists are not allowed to travel alone in Tibet according to the policy; Walk clockwise around Barkhor Street; Never venture into the unknown trails; do as much as you can to protect the fragile eco-system in Tibet, etc.
As Tibetan Buddhism is deeply-rooted in every facet of Tibetans' life, always follow and respect the unique customs in Tibet. If you are uncertain about something, it’s advisable to ask your guide before you do it at will.