Nepal, Tibet, and Bhutan used to be mysterious places just below the roof of the world until relatively recently. Only adventurers, alpinists, and pilgrims included these destinations in their itinerary in a not-so-distant past. Still, everything changes and more and more travelers visit Tibet, Nepal, and Bhutan, the nations renowned for extraordinary heritage, beautiful nature, and friendly locals.
Traveling Bhutan, Nepal, and Tibet brings you near ancient monasteries, immense fortresses, and high, snow-capped mountains. While traveling the roads of Tibet, Nepal, and Bhutan, you are very likely to pull-over at times and allow the night to sneak up on you while you admire heavenly lakes, lush valleys, or distanced mountain ranges whose peaks tower over the clouds.
Where are Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan – Location Map of Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan
Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan Location Map
Tibet is an autonomous province, located in the west of China. Occupying the bulk of the Tibetan Plateau, the world's largest and highest plateau, Tibet encompasses awe-inspiring mountains, virgin forests, and vast valleys. The capital of Tibet is Lhasa, sitting at an altitude of 3,650 meters. In the south, Tibet borders India, Nepal, Bhutan, and Myanmar.
Nepal, the nation priding on Mount Everest, the world's highest mountain, borders Tibet (China) to the north and India. Besides the mountainous north, Nepal encompasses hills in central regions and plains in the south. The elevation of Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal, is 1,400 meters.
Bhutan, a Buddhist kingdom, features mountains, and savanna and valleys to a certain extent. Bhutan neighbors Tibet to the north, and India. Its capital city is Thimphu, located almost 2,350 meters above sea level.
What to See in Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan? – Tourist Map of Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan
While touring Bhutan, Tibet, and Nepal, you will visit historic monasteries, scenic lakes, towering mountains, Buddhist shrines, and imposing fortifications.
Tourist Map of Tibet
Potala Palace, the main landmark of Lhasa, is an enormous complex, housing stupas of late Dalai Lamas. Once you climb the steps accessing the grand complex that reminds of a fortress, sprawling views of Lhasa and its surroundings will enchant you forever.
Tourists’ Map of Tibet
Jokhang is a timber temple crowned with a golden top. It is the holiest temple in Tibet, incorporating elements of Nepali, Tibetan, and Indian architectures. Pay close attention to outstanding murals, which are the artistic highlight of the Jokhang Temple.
Visitors of Mount Everest Base Camp benefit from views of Mount Everest and the nearness of Rongbuk, the highest monastery on Earth. Mount Kailash maybe isn't as high as Mount Everest, but is the holiest mountain in Tibet. On a pilgrimage to Mount Kailash, Hindu, Buddhist and other pilgrims take maybe the most strenuous pilgrimage in the world. According to legend, the mount has four sides made of four different materials corresponding to four rivers.
Lake Yamdrok, encircled by mountains and 72km/45mi long, is an incredibly serene lake. Consider spending some time by Yamdrok Lake to witness how it changes colors from azure to turquoise as the sun moves. Lake Namtso, the highest saltwater lake on Earth, boasts waters whose color reminds of a sapphire. High snow-capped mountains in the distance make a perfect backdrop for "Heavenly Lake."
Tourist Map of Nepal
Swayambhunath, one of the holiest Buddhist sites in Nepal, is a temple occupying the top of the Kathmandu Valley. On every side of the Swayambhunath, ever-watching Buddha eyes scrutinize the world. Boudhanath is the holiest Buddhist stupa outside Tibet and the largest one in Nepal. Located in Kathmandu, Boudhanath also features eyes of Buddha on every side.
Tourists’ Map of Nepal
Pokhara Phewa Lake is a natural masterpiece of Nepal whose waters reflect the mountain ranges of Annapurna and Machhapchhre. A boat trip introducing an island temple and forested shores is a must-do here. The nearby Annapurna mountain range has tracks suitable for everyone.
Chitwan NPL is home to rare wildlife, including Indian Rhinoceros and Bengal Tigers. Participants in jeep safaris and boating tours get to see deer, alligators and many other wildlife species.
Lumbini Monastery is, according to legend, a place where Gautama Buddha was born. Lumbini is a complex of monasteries built by various countries, and not only Asian. Nepali, Chinese, Vietnamese, German, and other monasteries highlight the fact that Buddhism is universal.
Tourist Map of Bhutan
Rinpung Dzong, commonly known as Paro Dzong, is the pinnacle of Bhutanese architecture. Standing on a hill above a valley and beneath a mountain, the formidable fortress houses religious and state authorities. Screening of some scenes from the Little Buddha film (1995) took place in the Rinpung Dzong. Standing by a river, the Punakha Dzong is the second oldest and, by many, the most beautiful dzong in Bhutan. Green hills in the background frame the majestic dzong, which is a crowning place for Bhutan kings. The outline of the Punakha Dzong relates to Buddhist values.
Tourists’ Map of Bhutan
Taktshang Monastery, one of the leading pilgrimage sites in Bhutan, is an architectural and constructional masterpiece. Dominating the surrounding area from an 800-meter high cliff, the “Tiger’s Nest” is among the most unusual religious complexes you will ever see. From there, you will cherish panoramic views of a valley below and high, forested mountains whose tops are shrouded in clouds. Tashichho Dzong, on the outskirts of Thimphu, is the official royal residence of Bhutan. The fortified monastery housing the throne room features impressive surroundings, with maintained grass and manicured gardens.
How to Travel Between Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan? – Travel Map of Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan
When planning a trip to Tibet, Nepal, and Bhutan, you need to travel from Bhutan to Tibet via Nepal or choose the other way around, since direct transport between Tibet and Bhutan isn't available at present.
Traveling Between Tibet and Nepal by Flight or Overland
Getting between Tibet and Nepal is possible by road and airplane. If you travel to Lhasa by land, take the road to Shigatse and take a train to the Tibetan capital from there.
The road trip is a scenic experience, allowing you to explore Tibet along the way. The road runs from Kathmandu to Lhasa via the Gyirong border crossing, traversing many top Tibetan attractions along the way. Another benefit of traveling by road is an opportunity to adapt gradually to the elevation difference. Overland distance between the two capital cities is around 1,000km, which tends to lengthen as you explore along the way.
Tibet and Nepal by Flight or Overland
While traveling from Lhasa to Kathmandu or vice versa, the road takes you to or near Yamdrok Lake, historic Drepung and Sera monasteries, and the Tashilhunpo Monastery in Shigatse. To access the Everest Base Camp and Rongbuk Monastery, you need to leave the main road at Tingri and take a rough trail.
Flying from Lhasa to Kathmandu is an incomparably quicker way of getting between the capitals of Tibet and Nepal. As you fly by airplane, you will cherish views of the world's highest mountains from a unique perspective. The main downside of this means of transport is the inability to adjust to the altitude difference along the way.
Traveling Between Nepal and Bhutan by Flight
Despite sharing the border with Tibet, the only way of getting from the autonomous province of Tibet to Bhutan leads you via Nepal. Since the Bhutan Kingdom remains relatively isolated, at least to the modern standards, flying to Paro Airport near Thimphu often remains the most convenient or the only option. There are several flights from Kathmandu to Thimphu on a weekly basis, typically taking off from the Nepali capital during early afternoon hours. Returning flights usually take place before noon.
To be able to travel to Nepal, Tibet, and Bhutan, you need to obtain tourist visas. In addition, you need to apply for the Tibet Travel Permit via the Tibetan tour operator and book a tour via local agencies in Tibet and Bhutan to be eligible to visit these destinations. In Nepal, you may obtain the necessary documentation through diplomatic consulates or at the specified entry points, such as Kathmandu Airport.
Due to the closed border between Bhutan and Tibet, you should start your trip to Nepal, Tibet, and Bhutan in any of the latter two destinations to make the most of your voyage. If you don't have much time for a trip, maybe Bhutan would be the best starting point. Since Bhutan's average elevation is the lowest of the three nations (2,440m compared to Nepal's 3,275m and Tibet's 4,500m), you will acclimatize yourself to the higher altitudes best there.