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20 Days Himalaya Photography Tour of Tibet Nepal and Bhutan

Tour Route: Lhasa - Namtso Lake - Shigatse - EBC - Gyirong - Kathmandu - Pokhara - Kathmandu - Paro - Thimphu - Punakha - Phobjikha - Trongsa - Bumthang - Wangdue Phodrang – Paro

Trip Overview:

In addition to traditional sightseeing of culture-rich sites, this 20-day Tibet Nepal Bhutan tour will let you discover some of the most fascinating natural landscapes of the three regions, including the breathtaking Namtso Lake and Mount Everest in Tibet, Phewa Lake in Pokhara, and central valleys in Bhutan. The tour starts from Tibet, where you will visit great Potala Palace, Tashilhunpo Monastery, Yamdrok Lake, Everest Base Camp etc. all presenting the unique beauty and charm of this snow land. Take the road trip to Nepal, you will then explore the Kathmandu valley and the lake city of Pokhara. After that, fly to Paro to dive into the “Shangri-La” world in Bhutan. From west to center part, you will get an in-depth exploration of this mysterious country, as you visit its brilliant Dzongs, monasteries, valleys and more. 

  • Tour Code:
    TTO-NT-TNB20
  • Max Altitude:
    5,200 m
  • Tour Type:
    Private tour with private guide and vehicle
  • Phisycal Demand:

    Phisycal Demand Level Guide:
    1. Easy (1 point) - suitable for all level of fitness, family with kids and senior groups.
    2. Moderate (2-3 Points) - suitable for those having average level for fitness, family with kids bigger than 12 years.
    3. Moderate to Strenous (4 Points) - suitable for those physically fit and have experiences of high altitude trekking.
    4. Strenuous (5 Points) - suitable for adventures and individual with physically fit and healthy.

  • Season:
    springSpringSummerSummerautumnAutumn

Highlights:

  • Get impressed by the brilliant Potala Palace, revered Jokhang Temple, and more important monasteries in holy Lhasa.
  • Appreciate the crystal-clear dazzling blue water of holy Namtso Lake.
  • Take in the panoramic view of Mount Everest from the north base camp in Tibetan side.
  • Explore the world-heritage attractions in Kathmandu Valley, including Kathmandu’s Durbar Square, Swayambhunath etc.
  • Immerse in the Buddhist world of Bhutan to visit famous Paro Rinpung Dzong, Tashichho Dzong and Punakha Dzong.
  • Explore the beautiful Phobjikha Valley in central part of Bhutan.
  • Tour the landmarks Bumthang like Jambay Lhakhang, Yathra Waving Center etc.
  • Trek to the holiest temple in Bhutan, Tiger’s Nest.

No documents found.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Lhasa

Welcome to Tibet! Upon arrival, be greeted by local guide at airport and be presented with traditional Tibetan White Scarf to wish you good luck!

Then our driver will take you to your hotel. You will enjoy the spectacular scenery and the typical Tibetan villages on the way.

Stay at the hotel after arrival for adapting to the high attitude. It is helpful to take things easy for the first few days, and try to drink some water just and now.

Day 2: Lhasa Sightseeing - Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Street

After breakfast, we go to the Potala Palace, a golden feather upon the roof of the world, which Tibetans proudly claim to be the prime miracle since the creation of this world. It is visible from any distance, with the golden roof shinning in the sun, spend one hour wondering around the inside of this magnificent building exploring the rooms previously used by the Dalai Lama and the many Buddhist icons within.

In the afternoon we go inside of the Jokhang Temple. The Jokhang, like most of the larger temple structures have numerous individual temples within it dedicated to specific enlightened beings, protectors, high lamas, or saints. Images, both sculpted and painted, are everywhere. Every inch of wall and ceiling is brightly painted with images of clouds, beings, mandalas, or decorative patterns. Colorful silk banners, three stories high, hang in various places. Color, pattern, and images crowd in around you. The central image inside the building is a 30-foot high gilded image of Maitreya Buddha.

Then stroll around the back alleys of the Barkhor area of Old Lhasa. The streets smelled of yak butter and incense while hordes of pilgrims shuffled along the main Kora (circumambulations) around Jokhang Temple. If someone just walked at a normal pace, one kora would take about 15-20 minutes.

Day 3: Visit Drepung and Sera Monastery

In the morning, you will have a tour for Drepung Monastery, the ever-largest monastery with more than 10 thousand monks, Buddhist debates often occur there. Seen from afar, its grand, white construction gives the monastery the appearance of a heap of rice. As such, it was given its name which, in the Tibetan language, means Monastery of Collecting-Rice. Learn about the lives of Tibetan monks there.

After lunch, you are going to visit Sera Monastery, which was created in 1419 and has always been an important Buddhist seminary. As rose are planted everywhere in the monastery, it is also called “the court of wild rose”. Today still 200 lamas live in there. You can have a little hike for the beautiful valley scenery nearby and picnic there. And you may have the chance to see the famous monks debate (usually from 15:00 to 17:00) before returning back to Lhasa.

Day 4: Drive about 5 hours from Lhasa to Lake Namtso

Drive forward to Lake Namtso this morning, set up camp at Tashi Dorie peninsula after arrival and enjoying the glory of sunset over the lake if the weather is clear. By the lake, you can view the peak of Nyianchentangula (7162m). It is said the holy lake and the holy mountain are a couple of lovers, who altogether guard the vast pasture and cattle. The wide open spaces, dotted with the tents of local nomads are intoxicating.

If lucky enough, there is the opportunity to get a peek at the otherwise inaccessible nomadic life.

After the sightseeing, drive back to Lhasa.

Stay overnight in Lhasa. 

Day 5: Lhasa-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 holy lakes in Tibet. This dazzling lake is normally first seen from the summit of the Kamba-la (4700m). The lake lies several hundred meters below the road, and it is shaped like a coiling scorpion. Far in the distance is the huge massif of Mt. Nojin Kangstsang (7191m).

Afterwards pass by the 5,010 m high Karo-la and the Simi La forward to Gyantse (3,950m). Visit Pelkor Monastery as well as the splendid Kumbum Stupa (100-Thousand-Buddha Pagoda) nearby, 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. Upon arrival, you’ll have an opportunity to explore the Tashilhunpo Monastery, the holy seat of the Panchen Lama, which is essentially a walled town with cobbled and twisting lanes that revolve around a magnificent monastery.

Stay overnight in Shigatse.

Day 6: Shigatse to Everest Base Camp

Today, we have an early start 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. After 4 to 6 hours then you will arrive at Rongbuk monastery.

On the way to Rongbuk Monastery, if it is in clear weather, 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 7: Everest Base Camp to Gyirong Town

In the morning, if the weather is good, tourists can see the sun rise on the top of Mt Everest, after visiting the base camp, drive to Tongla pass to see the panoramic view of Himalaya mountain range. Then driving down to Gyirong, where is surrounded by forest with ice-capped mountain background. The altitude is 2600m at the border.

Day 8: Exit China through Gyirong Border, then drive to Kathmandu

In the morning, drive clients to the Sino-Nepal border - Gyirong, tour guide will assist clients to check out of the border. After going through the immigration, Nepalese driver will pick you up at the border and drive to Kathmandu. The road to Kathmandu is bumpy but the scenery is quite beautiful, you can see the deep gorges, rivers all through the way. The road condition is rough in Nepal so this 160km road takes a whole day.

Day 9: Kathmandu Sightseeing; Fly to Pokhara

After breakfast, you will visit the oldest Hinduism Temple in Katmandu, the Pashupatnath Temple. Although the temple is only open to the Hindus, you can still see the splendid buildings on the viewing platform across the river.

Then proceed to the Bhaktapur Durbar Square. Bhaktapur means the city of devotees. About 19 kilometers (about 12 miles) from Katmandu, the Bhaktapur Durbar Square is the best model of Nepalese craftsmanship. The highlight of the square is the royal palace with its 55 windows of brick and wood, and the Golden Gate, carved with the portrait of Goddess Durga.

Afterward, head for another famous square, the Patan Durbar Square, where you will pay a visit to the Golden Temple, one of the most famous Vihara in Katmandu Valley.

After the sightseeing, driving to the airport and catch your flight to Pokhara.

stay overnight in Pokhara. 

Day 10: Pokhara Day Tour

Early morning excursion to Sarangkot to view the spectacular scene of the sun rising out of the mountain peaks. At an elevation of just under 1,600 meters, Sarangkot is perched on a high ridge to the northwest of Pokhara and has panoramic mountain views from Dhaulagiri and across the Annapurnas to Manalsu, as well as south over the Pokhara Valley. Sunrise - subject to weather.

In the morning we do the Sightseeing tour in Pokhara City. The World Peace Pagoda can be seen on top of a hill on the southern fringe of Phewa Lake. It has four images of the Buddha facing the four directions. The dome-shaped pagoda is an impressive sight, and its hilltop location commands a great view. It is a great vantage point which offers spectacular views of the Annapurna.

In the afternoon, we do the boating at Phewa Lake. The center of attraction in Pokhara is the Phewa Lake - the second largest lake in the Kingdom. It is the largest and most enchanting of the three lakes that add to the resplendence of Pokhara. Here, one can sail or row a hired boat across to the water or visit the island temple in the middle. The favorite home base for travelers is the eastern shore You can do some outdoor activities like paragliding, helicopter in Pokhara, cost is not included in the package.

Stay overnight in Pokhara. 

Day 11: Flight from Pokhara to Kathmandu

After breakfast, you will move towards Pokhara Airport and fly to Kathmandu. Upon arrival, go to visit the famous Katmandu Durbar Square. As the most noted square in Katmandu, the square assembles many splendid ancient buildings between 16th and 19th century, including over 50 temples and palaces. The magnificent Nepal architecture, exquisite decorations and numerous historical items will show you the unique culture of Nepal.

Then continue to visit the Swayambhunath Pagoda, one of the oldest Buddhist holy lands and famous for the glistening pagoda. Your next destination is the Buddhanikantha Temple, where you will see the huge statue of Vishnu lying on the giant snake Ananta. Today's visit will end up with the Bouddhanath Stupa which is about 11 km (7 miles) from the city center of Katmandu and is the largest spherical stupa in the world.

Stay overnight in Kathmandu.

Day 12: 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 13: Thimphu Sightseeing and 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 14: Punakha to Phobjikha

Get up in the morning to visit Punakha Dzong, widely believed to be the most beautiful Bhutanese Dzong, built at the confluence of Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu Rivers. Never miss the Punakha festival around mid-Feb if you come at the right time. Next, the car will drive you to Phobjkha valley. Here, you will visit the Gangtey Monastery, a can’t-miss monastery of Nyingmapa school of Buddhism in Bhutan.

Lastly, you can enjoy the beautiful sceneries along the route and end at the Black Necked Crane Center. Take a leisure walk in this eminent center and pay a visit to the local’s house. Feel free to interact with the people residing around and ask whatever you are interested.

Stay overnight in Phobjikha.

Day 15: Phobjikha to Trongsa

Today, you will continue to drive to Trongsa, the center of Bhutan historically and geographically. On arrival at Trongsa, you will visit Trongsa Dzong, the largest dzong fortress in Bhutan and built on a spur overlooking the gorge of the Mangde River.

Then, you will head to visit the old tower of Trongsa (also called Ta-Dzong), a brilliant historical center of Bhutan. The five stories of showcases center around Buddhist workmanship and imperial memorabilia, including such fluctuated treasures as the 500-year-old coat of Ngagi Wangchuk and the football boots utilized by the teenaged fourth king.

Stay overnight in Trongsa.

Day 16: Trongsa to Bumthang

Today, you will continue your travel to Bumthang by passing through Yotong La Pass (3,400m). The route during this section takes you to the Yathra Waving Center at Zugney village where you can witness the locals waving Yathra, a name that refers to the colorful and woolen cloth with geometric design in Bhutanese. Then the bus takes you further to Bumthang valley.

Then, pay a visit to the Jambay Lhakhang, a temple built by the King Songtsen Gampo of Tibet in the 7th century. With his effort in the propagation of Buddhism, the Tibet king had an ambitious plan to build a total of 108 temples in Tibet and Bhutan.

Stay overnight in Bumthang.

Day 17: Bumthang to Wangdu Phodrang

Set out in the early morning after breakfast and travel to Wangdue Phodrang through Pele La Pass (3,300m). After arriving at Pele La Pass, you can see a brilliant stupa with colored prayer flags in front of you. Besides, you will get a fantastic view of Mt.Jomolhari and Jiuchu Drakye on the way.

Stay overnight in Wangdue Phodrang.

Day 18: Wangdu Phodrang to Paro

In the morning, you will visit Wangdue Phodrang Dzong. It was founded by the Zhabdrung in 1638 atop a high ridge between the Puna Tsang Chhu and the Dang Chhu, clearly chosen for its commanding view of the valleys below.

After the wonderful sightseeing, you will drive to Paro.

Stay overnight in Paro.

Day 19: 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 20: 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.

What’s included?

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.

Trip Notes:

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.

2. Accommodation

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.

4. Toilet

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.

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