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Best Tibet Bhutan Tour: the best way to explore Tibet and Bhutan

March,25 2019 BY Lobsang Tsering 0 COMMENTS

Tibet and Bhutan are close neighbors in the Himalayas, and while there is no direct connection between the two, a tour of Tibet and Bhutan is one of the beat experiences in Asia. There are literally hundreds of place to visit in Bhutan and Tibet, each with a long and varied history and always connected to Tibetan Buddhism, the national religion of both Tibet and Bhutan.

However, while there may be more places to visit than you can fit in one trip, any tour that combines the two should really follow a defined itinerary in order to get the most out of the trip to these two locations. The best itinerary for a trip to Tibet and Bhutan would be to start in Lhasa and travel overland to Kathmandu in Nepal, crossing the border at Gyirong Port, before taking the flight from Kathmandu to Bhutan for the rest of the trip. Please follow our travel expert’s guide to planning your Tibet Bhutan tour.

Firstly, Enjoy Lhasa to Kathmandu Overland Tour

There is no way to travel direct from Tibet to Bhutan, as the only country with direct international access to Tibet is Nepal. This means that, as the closest gateway airport for Bhutan to Tibet, Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport is the logical choice for continuing your vacation in Bhutan.

The first part of Lhasa to Kathmandu overland tour would be in Lhasa, exploring the stunning City of Sunshine, including the architectural masterpiece that is the Potala Palace, the stunning and sacred Jokhang Temple, and the local monasteries of Sera and Drepung, both of which are important monasteries of the Gelug School of Tibetan Buddhism. From Lhasa, it is then out onto the road to visit Shigatse, passing along the shores of Lake Yamdrok, one of the Great Three Holy Lakes of Tibet, and through Gyantse. The Gyantse Kumbum, a 32-meter stupa with 108 chapels is the highlight of this old city, located inside the unique Pelkor Chode Monastery.

Taking photos with the monument of G318 National Highway at its 5000kmTaking photos with the monument of G318 National Highway at its 5000km.

Shigatse, Tibet’s second city, is the location of the Tashilhunpo Monastery, the seat of the Panchen Lama, Tibet’s second highest spiritual leader. Once you have toured the monastery and the city, you will head out on the road again, traveling over high passes that exceed 5,000 meters to get to the Rongbuk Monastery, which lies at the foot of the Rongbuk Glacier. The other end of this huge glacial moraine lies in the foothills of Mount Everest, the world’s highest mountain, and after spending the night in the monastery guesthouse, you will get the unique opportunity of trekking or riding to the Everest Base Camp (EBC), from where you can get the world’s best view of this massive pea

Winding road to EBC in TibetYou will drive along the Winding road to EBC in Tibet.

Once you are done at EBC, you will travel back to the Friendship Highway, and follow the road to the small town of Gyirong, in Gyirong County, which lies just 24 kilometers from the Sino-Nepal border. In the morning, your guide will take you to the border, where you will exit Tibet and enter Nepal, obtaining your Nepal Entry Visa as you arrive at the Nepali immigration checkpoint of Rasuwa Gadhi. From there, you will travel by public bus or private shuttle to the Nepali capital of Kathmandu, a tri of around 6-7 hours.

Travel from Paro to Punakha, Where the Cultural Highlight of Bhutan lies

Kathmandu is the location of the Tribhuvan International Airport, the only international airport in Nepal and one of nine airports in just five countries that have flights to Bhutan. Once you are ready, you can board the flight to Bhutan’s Paro International Airport with either Druk Air or Bhutan Airlines. Only these two Bhutanese carriers can offer flights to the kingdom. From the airport in Paro, you will be met by your guide and driver and transferred to your hotel in Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan.

Tashi Chho Dzong in ThimphuThe magnificent vista of Tashi Chho Dzong in Thimphu.

Western Bhutan is the best area of the kingdom to explore, around the areas of Thimphu Dzongkhag, Paro Dzongkhag, and Punakha Dzongkhag. Thimphu, where the capital lies, is one of the most popular destinations for tourism in Bhutan, and the major sights of the area are the Memorial Chortens of the late Dragon King, erected by his wife, the Tashichho Dzong, also known as the Thimphu Dzong, the beautiful National Library, and the amazing Folk Heritage Museum.

After a stop in Wangdue Phodrang for lunch, the tour takes you to Punakha, one of the best trekking locations in Bhutan. The highlight of this beautiful region is the stunning Punakha Dzong, known as the most beautiful Dzong in Bhutan, which lies on the confluence of the Pho Chhu and the Mo Chhu. The Dzong is also the site of the famous Punakha Tsechu, which occurs in February.

Then it is back to Paro, where you can visit the National Museum of Bhutan, located in the former watchtower to the north of the city, and the Drukgyel Dzong, which lies just outside the city. Paro is also the location of the amazing Taktsang Monastery, known as the Tiger’s Nest Monastery, because it was the site where Padmasambhava landed in Bhutan on the back of a flying tiger that was his transformed consort. The monastery lies halfway up the cliff overlooking the Paro Valley, and the trek to the site, where the caves used by Padmasambhava still exist, takes a couple of hours, but is well worth the climb.

How to plan the best Tibet Bhutan tour?

Planning an adventure such as this is one that takes some careful consideration. You will be traveling into three different countries, China, Nepal, and Bhutan, and there are certain requirements for each of them. The main thing to consider is when to travel. Tibet has a different peak season for tourism than Nepal and Bhutan, so combining the three places means you need to work out when is the best time to travel. Thankfully, this is relatively simple, as both Bhutan and Nepal have their peak seasons in the spring and autumn, from March to May and September to November. In Tibet, these are known as the shoulder seasons, and are actually a good time to visit the plateau, as there is little rain and the weather is mostly clear and dry, Temperatures do vary a lot, and it is not as hot as the summer months, though still comfortable enough to travel.

Meeting our clients at Lhasa airportMeeting our clients at Lhasa airport for the beginning of Tibet Bhutan tour.

Booking the tours from Lhasa to Kathmandu and Kathmandu to Paro is simple. We can handle the complete booking in one trip, and give you the opportunity of making the tour of the three destinations one long vacation with us. We can also handle most of the paperwork for the tours, including the visa and permits for Bhutan, and the permits you will need to travel into and around Tibet.

Travel to Tibet requires a booked tour of the region, and once you have obtained your Chinese Entry Visa from the Chinese Embassy, we can use that to obtain your Tibet Travel Permit, which you will need to enter the region. We will also apply for an obtain the Alien’s Travel Permit, for travel outside Lhasa, and the Frontier Pass, for travel to the border regions of Tibet, for when you visit Mount Everest and cross over into Nepal.

Sample of Tibet Travel PermitTibet Travel Permit is an indispensable travel document for your Tibet tour.

You will need to arrange your visa to get into Nepal, but this is easy and can be done when you reach the Nepali immigration checkpoint at Rasuwa Gadhi, on the other side of the border from Gyirong Port. The visa can be applied for using your passport and one photo, and takes around an hour to process, costing just 30 dollars.

For Bhutan, you do not need to arrange any of the documents yourself, as we are required to do it all for you. Once you have booked your tour and sent us a scanned copy of your passport, we will apply for the relevant permits to travel in Bhutan and your Bhutan Entry Visa. Bhutan Visa cannot be applied for personally, and can only be obtained once you have booked a pre-arranged tour with a registered tour operator, such as us - Tibet Vista. We will send you a copy of the approval clearance, which you will need to book your flight to Bhutan (or we can book it for you) and board the plane. Your actual visa is issued once you reach Paro International Airport.

The total tour, from Lhasa to Kathmandu and on to Bhutan, requires around 12 days, which includes your arrival in Lhasa and your departure day from Bhutan to your next destination or home. We can also arrange all of your accommodation as part of the tour, in all three destinations, although you can choose the level of accommodation you want in Tibet and Nepal. In Bhutan all accommodation is at three-star as a minimum, but if you want a more expensive hotel, we can arrange that as well.

Conclusion

Overall, there can be no better trip than a tour of Nepal, Tibet, and Bhutan together. An awesome journey that takes you through all three of the Himalayan Kingdoms, this unique opportunity is a once in a lifetime chance to get the best of all three destinations in one go, and a unique chance to see the distinctly different cultures of Bhutan, Nepal and Tibet at first hand.

Lobsang Tsering

About the Author - Lobsang Tsering

I am a tour guide in Tibet an was Born in Kham Tibet, I am the father of 2 little girls, bachelor's degree. I have more than 7-years experience of being a tour guide in Tibet. I am a warm, friendly, knowledgeable and attractive guy.

Email me about your travel idea

https://plus.google.com/+LobsangTsering-TibetVista

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