13 Day Classic Tibet Nepal Bhutan Overland Tour
(TNBT001) Lhasa - Gyantse - Shigatse - Tingri - EBC - Gyirong - Kathmandu - Paro - Punakha Dzong - Paro - Taktsang - Paro
Escorted by private guide and vehicle; leave 365 days a year!
Easy - suitable for all level of fitness, family with kids and senior groups.
Trip Level Guide:
- Easy - suitable for all level of fitness, family with kids and senior groups.
- Moderate - suitable for ones with average level fitness, family with kids bigger than 12 yrs.
- Moderate to Strenous - suitable for ones physically fit; have experiences of high altitude trek.
- Strenuous: suitable for adventures and individual with physically fit and healthy.
Covering three separate countries, this 13-day tour includes Tibet, Nepal, and Bhutan in an overland expedition to beat them all, as well as a short-hop flight across borders to visit the beautiful country of Bhutan. You can join the shuffling, murmuring pilgrims at the kora around Jokhang Temple, and take in the famous debating monks of Sera Monastery, as they debate frantically and expressively on the philosophy of Buddhism. You will cross the vast expanse of the Tibetan Plateau, the highest plateau in the world, and delve deep into the Kathmandu Valley, to explore Nepali culture, before flying across to Paro, in Bhutan, to take in some of the unique sights of the Bhutanese culture and religion.
At a GlanceDay 1
Arrive in LhasaDay 2
Lhasa tour - Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Street (B)Day 3
Lhasa tour - Drepung Monastery, Sera Monastery(B)Day 4
Lhasa (3650m) to Shigatse (3900m) via Gyantse (B)Day 5
Shigatse (3900m) to EBC (5200m) via Tingri (B)Day 6
EBC to Gyirong Border(370km)Day 7
Gyirong to Nepal Border (B) / transfer to KathmanduDay 8
Day tour in Kathmandu: Kathmandu City, Swayambhunath and Pantan City (B)Day 9
Day tour in Kathmandu: Pashupatinath, Boudhanath and Bhaktapur CityDay 10
Fly from Kathmandu to Paro International Airport /transfer to Thimphu (2300m)Day 11
Day tour in Punakha Dzong/ drive back to Paro (1460m)Day 12
Trek to Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest Monastery) and drive back to ParoDay 13
Departure from Paro
Day by Day Itinerary
Day 1: Arrive in Lhasa
When you arrive in Lhasa in the mid-afternoon, our guide will greet you warmly with the phrase, "Tashi Delek", which means 'wish you all the best'. Your tour guide will meet you at the exit of the station, and a private car will transport you to your hotel to allow you to rest and acclimatize for the rest of the day.
Stay overnight in Lhasa.
Day 2: Lhasa tour - Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, 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 reli-gious 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 3: Lhasa tour - Drepung Monastery, 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 4: Lhasa (3650m) to Shigatse (3900m) via Gyantse (B)
In the morning our guide will drive you from Lhasa to Shigatse, Tibet's second largest city. En route to Shigatse you will pass over Gampala Pass, which lies at an elevation of 4,790 meters, and will pass the amazing Lake Yamdrok. At 4,400 meters above sea level, the lake lies nestled between lofty mountains, and you will see the holy mountain, Nyenchen Khangsar, its 7,191 meter peak standing tall in the distance.
The trip to Gyantse passes close by the Karola Glacier, and at Manak Dam Lake you will be able to hang a prayer flag at the Simila Mountain Pass. In Gyantse, you will get to visit the unique Pelkor Monastery, which is rare due to it housing three different sects of Tibetan Buddhism under one roof. You will also get to see the Gyantse Kumbum, a giant architectural stupa that stands 34 meters high.
After another hour and a half of driving you will reach Shigatse, and will be able to visit the traditional barley mill and in summer you can view the spectacular sight of the barley fields in full crop.
Stay overnight in Shigatse.
Day 5: Shigatse (3900m) to EBC (5200m) via Tingri (B)
Before leaving Shigatse, you will get to visit the seat of Tibet's second highest spiritual leader, the Panchen Lama, at Tashi Lhunpo Monastery.
After obtaining your Alien's Travel Permit, which is needed to tour this area, you will leave Shigatse for Lhatse, a small town where you can get a nice lunch. On the drive on to Shegar, weather permitting, you will get your first look at the amazing sight of Mt. Everest, or Mt. Quomolangma as it is called in Tibetan.
The route will go over the Tsola Pass, at 4,600 meters, and the Gyatsola Pass, which is higher at 5,248 meters. On entering the Mt. Everest National Nature reserve you will be able to enjoy the amazing panoramic view of the Himalayas as you travel over Gawula Pass, at an elevation of 5,198 meters. After arriving at Rongbuk you will be able to rest from the long drive, ready for the trip to EBC.
Stay overnight at Rongbuk Guest House.
Day 6: EBC to Gyirong Border(370km)
In the morning you will first visit Rongbuk Monastery. The highest monastery in the world, at 5,000 meters above sea level, it is part of the Nyingmapa Sect of Tibetan Buddhism, and is unique in that both monks and nuns live together in the same monastery. From there it is a short hike of 4km to EBC, where you can take photos of the peak from the best vantage point, the closest place to Everest it is possible to get.
After EBC, you will drive to Gyirong port, taking in the breathtaking vista of Mt. Shishapangma and Pelkutso Lake. The road goes past the Ghungtang Lhamo, at 5,236 meters, and you will arrive in Gyirong in the late afternoon.
Stay overnight in a Gyirong Guest House.
Day 7: Gyirong to Nepal Border (B) / transfer to Kathmandu
In the morning, your guide will assist you to exit China, and will see you off at the border with Nepal. On the other side, our guide from Nepal will meet you and transfer you to Kathmandu, and your hotel. The rest of the day is yours to look around the area, or just rest in your hotel after the rigorous trip across Tibet.
Stay overnight at hotel in Kathmandu
Day 8: Day tour in Kathmandu: Kathmandu City, Swayambhunath and Pantan 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 9: 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 10: Fly from Kathmandu to Paro International Airport /transfer to Thimphu (2300m)
Today you will be taken to the airport, for the flight from Kathmandu to Paro, and you will get to see the breathtaking views of the Himalayas from the plane, including the sacred Mt. Jumolhari, known as the “bridge of Kanchenjunga”, and its companion mountain, Mt. Jichu Drake, in Bhutan. On arrival at Paro International Airport, your guide will receive you, and take you on the 1 hr 30 minute drive to Thimphu.
The rest of the day is yours to stroll around the town or take a rest in the hotel.
Stay overnight in Paro.
Day 11: Day tour in Punakha Dzong/ drive back to Paro (1460m)
In the morning you will be driven from Paro to Punakha, crossing the Dochu La Pass at 3,100 meters, where you will be able to see the 108 beautiful chortens. These chortens were commissioned to be built by Her Majesty, Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuk, the Queen Mother, and the first of the four wives of former king of Bhutan, King Jigme Singye Wangchuck. In Punakha, you will get to visit the famous Punakha Dzong, which was built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. After visiting the dzong, you will drive back to Paro.
Perched above Paro Dzong, in Paro, is the ancient ta Dzong, or watchtower. Built in 1649 to protect the undefended Dzong, it was renovated in 1968 to house the National Museum. The unusual round building was built to be in the shape of a conch shell, with 2.5m-thick walls. The watchtower suffered damage in the 2011 earthquake but was reopened in 2016 as the nation's premier museum.
Stay overnight in Paro.
Day 12: Trek to Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest Monastery) and drive back to Paro
In the morning you will trek from the bottom of Paro Valley to the Taktsang Monastery, perched on the side of the mountain. Taktsang (commonly known as Tiger's Nest) is one of the most sacred sites in Bhutan and one of the most challenging monasteries to get to. Located at an elevation of 3120 meters, Taktsang is the birthplace of Bhutanese Buddhism. Guru Rinpoche flew here from Tibet on the back of a tigress, which was the manifestation of his divine consort Yeshe Tsogyal.
You can reach the Tiger's Nest by walking or by horseback and while it is a challenging trek, you gain merit with every step. The view of Paro Valley from the monastery is worth the climb. The hike starts with a gentle forest climb among prayer flags. After passing a creek and some water-powered prayer wheels the trail starts getting steeper.
About half way up the climb is a nice teahouse with great views of Tiger's Nest that makes a welcome stopping point. You can get tea and food here on your way up or on your way down. After the teahouse, you continue climbing to the viewpoint that overlooks Tiger's Nest. The viewpoint is the best place to take photos of Taktsang. From here, you walk down a series of steep stairs to a waterfall before making your final ascent to the entrance. Here you will be required to leave your backpacks, cameras, and phones. There are lockers to leave your things, so make sure to bring a small lock.
After the trek up and down the mountain, you will head back to Paro.
Stay overnight in Paro.
Day 13: Departure from Paro
Your guide will pick you up from your hotel and take you to the airport, and help you with checking in for your flight home from Bhutan.
- 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;
- 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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