Bhutan Tibet or Nepal: how to combine your tour?
Three of the best destinations in Asia for visiting the Himalayas, Bhutan, Nepal, and Tibet are exciting destinations that can excite the mind and inspire the soul, yet are as different from each other as it is possible to get. Tibet is the high-altitude land on the world’s highest plateau, and is one of only two locations where you can get to view the stunning Mount Everest up close, not to mention the amazing landscape and unique Tibetan religious culture. Nepal is a land where you can go from high-altitude mountain trekking to the awesome delights of riding and elephant on safari in dense sub-tropical jungles, within just a few hours of each other, and tour around one of Asia’s most exotic cities, Kathmandu. Bhutan is the jewel in the crown of Himalayan tourist destinations, with its unspoiled landscapes and vast tracts of virgin forests, the last true Shangri-La of the Himalayas, and one of the most exclusive yet affordable destinations in the world.
Combining a tour of any of these exotic locations with each other is a delightful experience that should not be missed, and the combination can also cater to the interests of almost anyone. For the best in mountain trekking, Bhutan and Nepal beat anywhere else in the world for quality of treks and the ability to travel through some of the world’s highest mountains. For the unique Tibetan Buddhist religion, Bhutan and Tibet are the ideal combinations, both having Tibetan Buddhism as their national religions. Or you can opt for a trip to Tibet and Nepal together, to explore the different cultures and religions, and discover just how much of the Tibetan Buddhist religion exists in the Nepali Hindu faith.
Before Your Visit, You Need to Know
Before you take the plunge and decide on where to go in this region of the Himalayas, there are some important factors to consider, which can help you make an informed decision on which two destinations to choose, or whether you should just choose to tour all three together as one trip.
What to expect for visiting Bhutan, Tibet, and Nepal
Tibet is one of the most popular locations in South Asia for modern tourism, and despite having to be on an organized tour of the region, hundreds of thousands of travelers from around the world make the journey up to the high plateau every year. And those numbers are constantly increasing. One of the most beautiful places in the world, Tibet is a land of high mountains, crystal-clear lakes, ancient monasteries with devout Buddhist monks, and one of the most unique cultures on the planet.
Location of Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan on Map
Nepal, a major Hindu country in Asia, is the home of the best trekking in the world. With eight of the 14 highest mountains in the world lying along its northern region, on the borderline with China’s Tibet Autonomous Region, there is little in the world that can match the stunning beauty and awesome experience of trekking in Nepal. Nepal is also the recognized birthplace of Buddha, known as the Gautama Buddha or Sakyamuni Buddha, and while the main religion is Hindu, there are many features of Tibetan Buddhism that are prevalent in the scriptures, ceremonies, and beliefs of Nepali Hinduism that make it the most unique version of Hinduism in the world.
Bhutan is one of the most exclusive destinations in Asia, with a unique tourism policy that is designed to protect its unspoiled environment and preserve the culture of this ancient Himalayan Kingdom. A devout Buddhist country, the kingdom has a huge number of monasteries, the most spectacular being the Taktsang Monastery, located halfway up a cliff overlooking the Paro Valley.
How to travel amid these three Himalayan Kingdoms
Getting from one destination to the other is relatively easy, with flights that run daily between Nepal and Lhasa and Nepal and Bhutan. While you cannot go direct between Tibet and Bhutan, there is an easy route through Nepal. From Nepal, you can travel to both Tibet and Bhutan by flight or by traveling overland. The trip from Kathmandu to Lhasa by flight takes around 90 minutes, while the flight to Bhutan takes just 1 hour 15 minutes to reach Paro International Airport.
Flight is the easiest way to travel amid Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan.
Traveling overland is just as easy to both locations. For Tibet, you can take a local bus to the border with Nepal from Kathmandu, where your tour guide will meet you with the private vehicle for your overland tour to Lhasa, the Tibetan capital. For Bhutan, you can get local transport to the border with India in the east of Nepal, at Kakarbhitta, where you can use the vast rail network of India to travel across West Bengal to Bhutan. Once at Hasimara, the closest railway station to Bhutan, you can get local transport all the way t Phuentsholing, in Bhutan, on the border with India, where your tour guide will meet you for the tour of Bhutan.
Best time for visiting Bhutan, Tibet, and Nepal
While these three destinations are completely separate, there are some similarities in the climates. Nepal and Bhutan are very similar in climate, with a heavy monsoon season in the summer months and the best time to travel being in the spring and autumn, from March to May and September to November. Tibet’s climate is a little different, and while it does have a monsoon season in the summer months, there is not much rain at all, and most of what does fall is in the evenings and overnight, making the peak season to travel from June to September. However, for the clearest skies, spring and autumn are the best times in Tibet, the same as both Nepal and Bhutan, so if you are planning to visit two of the three or even all three destinations, then these are the best times to do so.
For Trekking, Consider Tibet and Nepal Tour
Trekking in Bhutan is an amazing experience, hiking through some of the world’s most unspoiled countryside. However, for the best in high-altitude mountain trekking, Tibet and Nepal have it made. Both destinations have access to the world’s highest mountain, Mount Everest, with base camps on both sides of the Sino-Nepal border.
Nepal is widely known as the paradise of trekking.
Both locations have treks to Everest Base Camp, the best place to see the massive mountain itself (although in Nepal the best site is just before the base camp itself at Kala Patthar), and in Nepal, there are a host of other mountains to trek around. One of the most popular is the Annapurna Range, to the northwest of Mount Everest, north of Pokhara, where the Annapurna Circuit Trek is one of the most popular long-distance treks in Nepal.
For Mysterious Himalayan Kingdom, Visit Bhutan and Tibet
Both Bhutan and Tibet are known as the last of the true Himalayan kingdoms, and are the best places to visit for the experience of being in what could be the Shangri-La of ancient legend. Tibet was once part of a huge empire that lasted for more than 400 years, dying out in the 10th century after the death of the Tibetan Emperor at the hands of a Buddhist Lama. Bhutan is still a kingdom with a reigning monarch, and has been believed to be the legendary land of paradise that has been described in hundreds of texts and sought after by western explorers for more than a century.
Stunning Himalayan peaks seen at famous Gawu La Pass in Tibet
While you can travel freely in Nepal, both Tibet and Bhutan give you that deeper feeling of mystery and mysticism, with fewer tourists crowding the beauty of the landscapes, as different as they are. In Tibetan Buddhism, a legend exists of the sacred land of Shambhala, a valley cut off from the rest of the world where all the wisdom of the human race is preserved from being lost, and where people live in harmony in a glorious paradise. Supposedly located somewhere in the Himalayas, surrounded by impenetrable mountains, both Bhutan and Tibet are believed to be the possible locations of what has become known as Shangri-La.
For Epic Road Trip, Consider Lhasa to Kathmandu Overland Tour
One of the most stunning trips you can make is the overland tour from Kathmandu to Lhasa, which takes in the highlights of the beautiful Kathmandu Valley, with its temples and monasteries, as well as its beautiful scenery, and the outstanding landscape of the Tibetan plateau, passing through Everest Base Camp, and along the Friendship Highway to Lhasa. This epic journey is one of the best ways to explore the culture and people of both Nepal and Tibet close up, and get the best experience of crossing the massive Himalayas, over the pass at Gyirong.
For Wildlife, Consider Tibet Nepal and Bhutan Tour
Tibet, Bhutan, and Nepal tour can give an adventurous explorer some of the best opportunities to see some of the world’s most amazing wildlife. In Nepal, you can take a trip to Chitwan National Park, where you will have the chance of seeing elephants, crocodiles, leopards, monkeys, rhinos, and maybe even the Bengal Tiger. In Tibet, a trip to Ngari or Nagqu can reveal some of the local natural inhabitants, such as wild yaks and donkeys that are native to the plateau, as well as the rare and endangered Tibetan antelope. Bhutan is a haven for bird watchers, with hundreds of species of local birds inhabiting the kingdom, including being able to see the rare black-necked crane during its winter migration to the Gangtey Valley. There is also the famous Takin, a local version of the moose, which is only found in the mountain slopes of Bhutan and is the kingdom’s national animal.
Chitwan National Park is the largest and oldest national park in Nepal.
For Spiritual Journey, Enjoy Tibet Nepal and Bhutan Tour
All three of these stunning destinations are great places to explore your own spirituality, or the spiritual lives of the local people. Each has its own sacred places that are linked to the spiritual religions of the region. In Tibet, Mount Kailash, in Ngari Prefecture, is known as the world’s most sacred mountain, and is sacred in four different religions, including Tibetan Buddhism and Hinduism.
Nepal, a major Hindu country, is the birthplace of Siddhartha Gautama, known around the world as Buddha, who is said to have been born in what is now Lumbini, in southwest Nepal. Bhutan is a sacred country in its own right, with hundreds of Dzongs and sacred Tsechus, or festivals. It is also the location of the Tiger’s Nest Monastery, a sacred site where the Guru Rinpoche, also known as Padmasambhava flew into Bhutan on the back of a tiger that was the transformation of his former consort. There he meditated for 3 years, 3 months, 3 weeks, and three days, before defeating all the demons in Bhutan and bringing Buddhism to the kingdom.
No matter which destinations you choose from, you are guaranteed to have the best trip possible in Asia. Bhutan, Tibet, and Nepal are stunningly beautiful locations that have some of the most beautiful landscapes and scenery in the world. And lying close together in the Himalayas, a trip to any or all of these stunning destinations is the trip of a lifetime.