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15 Day Epic Himalayan Kingdoms’ Tour

15 Day Epic Himalayan Kingdoms’ Tour

(TNBT002) Paro - Thimphu - Punakha - Paro - Kathmandu - Kyirong - Everest Base Camp - Tingri - Shigatse - Gyantse - Lhasa

Overview

This fifteen day-long excursion from Bhutan takes in several of the country’s most famous sites, and explores a little of the Bhutanese culture and religion, including the most remote monastery in Bhutan, before heading off to explore the beautiful Kathmandu Valley. After two days touring the religious and cultural highlights of Kathmandu, the real Nepal, it is across the border to traverse the high-altitude plateau of Tibet, and explore some of the most amazing sights in the world, including Rongbuk, the world’s highest monastery; Shigatse, the second largest city in Tibet; Lhasa, Tibet’s capital and the center of Tibetan Buddhism; and the ever-famous Mount Everest, the world’s highest mountain.

Day to Day Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Paro and Get Transferred to Thimpu (2300m) (2hrs’drive)

Welcome to Bhutan, the land of the “thunder Dragon”. We’re sure you must get amazed at the stunning vista of majestic Himalayas, esp. the lofty Mt. Jumolhari and Jichu Drake Peaks during your flight. However, they are only a small appetizer. Upon your arrival in Paro internatonal airport, our Bhutan guide and driver will be expecting you and later transfer you to your hotel.

After a brief rest at your hotel, in the afternoon, with time permitting, we may visit the Kyichu Lhakhang (also known as Kyerchu Temple), the oldest and most beautiful temple in Bhutan. Surrounded by the fields, flowers and hills, Kyichu Lhakhang is home to the eight-year-old Buddha statue of Sakyamuni, historic relics, elaborate paintings and numerous Buddhist scriptures, etc. And Later explore the Paro Rinpung Dzong. Located at the suburb of Paro City, Rinpung Dzong is a fortress built in the 17th Century to protect Paro valley, which offers you picturesque scenery and a sense of inner peace.

In the evening, we will head to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan and spend the night there.

Stay overnight in Thimphu

Day 2: Sightseeing in Thimpu and Travel to Punakha (1250m) (3-4hrs’drive)

As the capital city of Bhutan, Thimpu is devoid of stereotyped skyscrapers and huge traffic. Instead, surrounding by rolling mountains, Thimpu is known for its picturesque Bhutan dzong, fresh air and loveable local people. Today’s tour begins with a visit to Late King's Memorial Chorten, and explore the National Library, Folk Heritage Museum and Hand-made Paper Factory, and the School of Arts and Crafts, where you will have a panoramic view of Bhutan history and learn more of textile and the handicraft making in the most traditional way.

Of course, the highlight comes as we tour the Tashichho Dzong (Thimpu Dzong), the most beautiful Bhutan dzong as well as the headquarters of Bhutan government. Later, we will travel northeast to Punakha, the former capital of Bhutan. On the way, we will stop at scenic Dochu La Pass (3,100m) for refreshing tea. The perfect vintage point brings you the unobstructed vista of Great Himalayas.

After lunch at Wangduephodrang (1,350m), we keep driving to Punakha.

Stay overnight in Punakha

Day 3: Sightseeing in Punakha Dzong and Drive back to Paro (1460m) (4 hrs’ drive)

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.

After touring Punakha, we are about to drive back to Paro. In the afternoon, we head to National Museum of Bhutan, which looks like a round watchtower. You can trace back to the ancient Bhutan history and explore the diverse wild lives as well as splendid local culture and arts. Then we drive to visit Drukgyel Dzong, where you can enjoy the enchanting village lying at its foot.

Stay overnight in Paro

Day 4: Trek to Taksang Lhakhang (Tiger’s Nest)

Getting up in the fresh morning, we’ll start today’s trek to Taktshang Goemba (also known as Tiger's Nest).Standing 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 Padmasambhava (also known as 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.

After lunch, you may opt for a stone bath or enjoy free exploration nearby.

Stay overnight in Paro

Day 5: Fly from Paro to Kathmandu

In the morning, your guide will take you to Paro International Airport for your flight to Kathmandu. At Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, you will be met by the local guide, and taken to your hotel, where you can spend the rest of the day resting, or seeing the local sights.

Stay overnight in Kathmandu.

Day 6: Day tour in Kathmandu: Kathmandu City, Swayambhunath and Patan City (B)

The day starts with a tour of Kathmandu City, and takes in the famous Kathmandu Durbar Square. The most famous square in the city, the Durbar Square is the Royal Palace square in the city, and is surrounded by ancient buildings from the early 16th century. The magnificent architecture, exquisite decorations, and the intensity of historical items gives a great insight into Nepali culture.

You then continue the tour with a visit to the Swayambhunath Pagoda, which is one of the oldest Buddhist sites in Nepal. Swayambhunath is a huge golden stupa festooned with prayer flags that flutter in the breeze, on a hill that overlooks the entire city. Then it is on to Patan City, the second largest city in the Kathmandu Valley area. Patan City has one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Nepal that dates back to the 12th century, and is a great place to explore the Buddhist culture of Nepal.

Stay overnight in Kathmandu.

Day 7: Day tour in Kathmandu: Pashupatinath, Boudhanath and Bhaktapur City

You will also get to go further afield in Nepal, to visit the ancient Hindu temple of Pashupatinath, and Boudhanath, one of the largest stupas in Asia, and a focal point for Tibetan Buddhism in Nepal. Set on the banks of the Baghmati River, Pashupatinath is one of Nepal’s famous UNESCO sites, and the sunset over the temple roofs is spectacular.

Another great place to see is Boudhanath, located on the ancient trade route. It is a place of meditation and part of the spiritual journey around Kathmandu. With one of the largest stupas in the world, it has been the site of many Tibetan prayers over the centuries. Bhaktapur Durbar Square is the last place to visit for the day, with its pagoda and shikhara temples strewn around the royal palace. The square really highlights the ancient building arts of Nepal.

Stay overnight in Kathmandu.

Day 8: Kathmandu to Syabrubesi (137km, 7 hrs)

Our driver will pick you up in your hotel during 9:00-9:30 am. Then we will drive to China Tibet border. While driving near Mt.Himalaya, you can see the deep gorges, snow-capped mountain on the way. We will also drive across the LuangTang National Park.

Stay overnight in village guest house in Syabrubesi

Day 9: Syabrubesi to Kyirong (40km, 4-5hrs) (B)

After breakfast, we will drive 15km to the border to enter China. You will meet our guide in China side. Then we will drive 1 hour to Kyirong (2800m) where is surrounded by lofty snow-capped mountains and dense forests. In the afternoon, you take a stroll to visit Paba Temple (2850m), a Gelugpa temple built by Tibetan King Songtsan Gambo at the proposal of his wife Nepali princess Bhrikuti. The Nepali style temple with delicate murals is only within minutes’ walk from your hotel.

Stay overnight in Kyirong Hotel

Day 10: Kyirong to EBC to Tingri (480km, 11 hrs) (B)

Today, we will first drive to pass through Peikutso lake and grassland. Then we continue to drive to Everest Base Camp and visit the world highest Monastery, the Rongbuk Monastery. On the way, you can view the splendid panoramic Himalaya Mountain Range at Gyawula Pass (5200m).

After visiting Everest Base Camp, we will drive to Tingri.

Stay overnight in Tingri Hotel

Day 11: Tingri to Shigatse (280km, 7 hrs) (B)

Today, we will drive from Tingri to Shigatse. On the way, you will visit the 5000m G318 National Highway milestone in Lhatse. After your arrival in Shigatse in the early afternoon, you will visit the seat of Panchan Lama - Tashilunpo Monastery, one of the most important monasteries in Tibet.

Stay overnight in Shigatse hotel

Day 12: Shigatse to Lhasa via Gyantse (375km) (B)

Today, we will drive to Lhasa via Gyantse. On the way you can see many Tibetan farmer villages. After arriving in Gyantse, you will visit Heritage town Gyantse old street and Perklor Monastery, Kumbum stupa. Then you will also visit Manak Dam Lake, Korola Glacier and Yamdrok Lake on the way to Lhasa.

Stay overnight in Lhasa

Day 13: Lhasa tour - Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, and Barkhor Street (B)

The following day your first stop will be the world famous Potala Palace, the winter palace of the Dalai Lama. Sitting atop Moburi (Red Hill), the palace looks down on the town of Lhasa from its 3,750-meter vantage point. The temple dates back to the 7th century, and houses artifacts and works of art from throughout Tibetan History. The palace also has the gilded burial stupas of the past Dalai Lamas, and below ground lies the ancient meditation cave of the 33rd King of Tibet.

After some lunch, you will head downtown to Jokhang Temple, the primary seat of the Gelugpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism. It was built by the 33rd King of Tibet in 647AD, and is the spiritual center of Tibet and the holiest temple in Tibetan Buddhism. Inside sits the most precious object in the temple, a life-sized statue of Buddha Sakyamuni when he was just 12 years old. Adorned with many precious gems, this gilded statue is the most sacred object in Tibet.

Running around the temple is the famed Barkhor Street. As well as the route of the holy kora, or religious circumambulation, it is also the site of many sellers where you can buy authentic souvenirs from across the region. You can join the pilgrims on their clockwise walk around the temple.

Stay overnight in Lhasa.

Day 14: Lhasa tour - Drepung and Sera Monastery (B)

The next morning you will leave early for a trip outside Lhasa, first to Drepung Monastery, one of the Great Three monasteries of the Gelugpa sect. Sitting at the foot of Gambo Utse, 5 kilometers outside Lhasa, it was founded by Jamyang Choge, one of the disciples of Tsong Khapa, in 1416. The Ganden Potrang, sited in the southwest corner of the monastery, was the former residence of the Dalai Lama, until the move to the Potala Palace.

In the afternoon you will travel back across the city to the northern suburbs, to visit Sera Monastery, another of the Great Three monasteries. Founded in 1419, the name, Sera, means "wild rose" in Tibetan, and was named because of the roses that were in bloom on the hill behind it when it was built. The main attraction of the monastery is the colorful and animated debating of the monks, held under the trees in the debating field every afternoon. Definitely something to watch, even if you do not understand what is said.

Stay overnight in Lhasa.

Day 15: Departure from Lhasa

On the last day of your tour, our guide will take you to the airport or train station, and help you with checking in and boarding.

Service Guide

Service Included:

  • Tibet travel permit and all other necessary permits to Tibet;
  • All entrance ticket fees for all tourist sites listed in the itinerary;
  • Personal knowledgeable English-speaking Tibetan local tour guide;
  • Personal comfortable, clean and safe vehicle with reliable Tibetan local driver; vehicle ranging from 4WD land cruiser to minibus depending on your group size;
  • All lodging listed in the itinerary; it’s your decision about the accommodation class: luxury 5-star international hotel, comfortable 4-star hotel, economic 3-star hotel or budget hostel, guesthouse or tent. Please tell us your accommodation preference when submitting the enquiry; we will arrange the best-value hotels for you.
  • Domestic flight/train tickets listed in the itinerary;
  • All meals listed in the above itinerary;
  • Tourist accident/casualty insurance;
  • First aid kit;

Service Excluded:

  • International flight to and out of China;
  • Chinese visa (Note: we could help you with the Chinese visa application, like providing the invitation letter, presenting the hotel or domestic flight reservation copies, etc that you may need. )
  • Domestic flight/train not listed in the itinerary. (We can provide you the domestic flight/train ticket booking service at the BEST discount price; please contact us our travel experts for the details.)
  • Meals not specified in the itinerary; usually it costs about USD3-15 per person for one meal in TAR (Tibet Autonomous Region).
  • Tips and gratitude to tour guide and driver;
  • Personal expenses, like laundry, phone call, snacks, soft drinks (please do the best to avoid the alcoholic beverages during your Tibet trip), optional tour activities, etc.

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