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12 Days Scenic and Cultural Discovery of Tibet and Bhutan

12 Days Scenic and Cultural Discovery of Tibet and Bhutan

(TB--12) Lhasa - Kathmandu - Paro - Thimpu - Punakha - Gangtey - Wangdiphodrang - Paro


Your discovery of Tibet and Bhutan begins with explorations to the landmark Buddhist sites in Lhasa, then keep heading north to pastoral Nagqu prefecture, where you can visit the tents of welcoming Tibetan nomads and meander along wondrous Namtso Lake, the biggest saline lake in Tibet. Later, fly to Paro via Kathmandu, and keep exploring enchanting Bhutanese dzongs from Paro to Thimphu and Punakha and pristine forest and alpine peaks till reaching the Swiss-style valleys in Gangety. The rich cultural encounter and diverse geographical wonders will fulfill your bucket list.

Day to Day Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Lhasa

When you arrive in Lhasa either by train or flight, your guide will greet you and escort you to your hotel with clean and comfortable tour van. Never miss the chance to capture the Yarlung Tsangpo River - the Longest and largest river in Tibet and Lhasa River on their way to Lhasa.

For the new-comers of Tibet, having a good sleep in your hotel is a good option. It helps you get acclimatized to Tibetan plateau quickly. Do not rush to visit attractions inside Lhasa city. Your guide will give you a briefing about tomorrow’s tour arrangement.

Stay overnight in Lhasa.

Day 2: Lhasa Tour - Potala Palace, Johkang Temple, and Barkhor Street (B, D)

Today's tour will first bring you to the Potala Palace which is the winter palace of the Dalai Lama. It was put to use since the 7th Century by the 33rd great king of Tibet. The most valuable collections of Potala Palace are the gilded burial stupas of former Dalai Lamas and meditation Cave of the 33rd great king of Tibet.

Then after lunch, tourists head to Jokhang temple which was founded by the 33rd great king of Tibet in the 7th century. Inside you can see the statue of Buddha Sakyamuni at the age of twelve. Outside, you can see pilgrims making prostrating in front of Jokhang Temple. Around the temple is Barkhor street, where you can do kora (a religious circle of a building or mountain) with pilgrims and locals, and explore the old market.

Besides, We can taste Tibetan tea with locals in tea house; The welcome dinner will also be arranged accordingly;

With time permitting, you may go with your tour guide to visit Tibetan handicraft art or Tibetan Traditional Medicine center. You can upgrade your service to enjoy Tibetan Culture Show in the evening (fr. 60USD)

Stay overnight in Lhasa

Day 3: Lhasa Tour - Drepung and Sera Monastery (B)

In the morning, you are going to visit Drepung monastery which is one of the “great three” Gelug monasteries of Tibet, founded in 1416 by Jamyang choge, one of the Tsongkhapa’s main disciples. You can visit the biggest monastery kitchen inside the monastery and enjoy Buddhist Sculpture Carving workshop near Drepung.

In the Afternoon, Tourists will visit Sera Monastery which is another one of the “great three” Gelug monasteries of Tibet. The hot attraction is the Monks debate at around 3 - 5 in the afternoon. In addition, you can tour the Tibetan religious scripture printing house; inside the monastery, you can see three sand Mandalas and colorful Rock Painting of Buddha.

Stay overnight in Lhasa

Day 4: Lhasa to Namtso Lake (250km, 5 hours ) (B)

In the morning, you will enjoy the long and scenic ride from Lhasa to Lake Namtso, one of the four holy lakes of Tibet and also the highest saline lake in the world. On the way, you can see snow-capped Nyenchen Thanglha Mountain Ranges and lots of nomads and their tents with grazing yak and sheep densely-populated on the flourishing grassland (in summer). Besides, you can enjoy the view of Sky-Road Railway with snow mountain background; while standing at the famous Lagenla Mountain Pass(5190m), you can view the stunning vista of holy Namtso Lake.

Then we can do a leisure trek around Tashi Dor Island and enjoy the sunset of Namtso. At night, you can enjoy the night view of the milky way at the lake shore.

Stay overnight at Namtso Tent Guest house

Day 5: Namtso Lake back to Lhasa via Yampachen (230km,5 hours )

Enjoy the sunrise view of the Namtso Lake at the lakeshore, you can trek along the lake shore to Tashi Dor Island to explore the meditation caves. Then enjoy the ride to Dumxung to have lunch.

In the afternoon, you may enjoy Yangpachen hot spring (Optional, Price $25 not included in the package) and have both indoor and outdoor swimming pool filled with hot springs water. Finally, head back to Lhasa.

Stay overnight in Lhasa

Day 6: Fly from Lhasa to Kathmandu

Take the flight from Lhasa to Kathmandu. Our staff will be greeting you at Kathmandu airport and give you a comfortable ride to your hotel. We will spend one night in Kathmandu city for tomorrow’s flight to Paro. Since we have no particular tour arrangement for the brief stopover, a recommended place to soak up the vibes of Kathmandu city is at lively Thamel Street.

Stay overnight in Kathmandu

Day 7: Fly from Kathmandu to Paro and Get Transferred to Thimpu (2300m) (2hrs’ drive)

Fly to Paro. Welcome to Bhutan, the land of the “Thunder Dragon”. Do choose the left window seat for 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 international airport, your Bhutan guide and driver will be expecting you and give you a pleasing ride 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 8: 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 the 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 a refreshing tea. The perfect vantage 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 9: Keep Traveling to Gangtey (2890m) via Wangdiphodrang (1460m) (6-7hrs' 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 that, we travel southeast to Gangety (Phobjikha). The beautiful place is known for its surprising flat valley in Bhutan and is home to migratory black-necked in winter. Do take a stroll in enchanting Phobjikha Valley and later we will tour Gangtey Monastery, the only and the biggest Nyingmapa monastery in Bhutan. Finally, we will drive back to Wangdiphodrang.

Stay overnight in Wangdiphodrang

Day 10: Travel Back from Wangdiphodrang to Paro (2260m) (3-4hrs' drive)

Say farewell to the charming pastoral scene in Wangdiphodrang Valley. We drive all the way back to Paro. In the afternoon, we head to the 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 11: Day Trek to Taktsang Lhakhang (Tinger’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 12: Departure from Paro

Today, our tour guide will transfer you to Paro International Airport for your next destination. Tour service ends.

(Optional: To facilitate your Himalayan journey, you may also choose to visit Nepal, Tibet, and Bhutan together, we are ready to free hassle-free service for you.)

Service Guide

What is Included

  • Tibet travel permit and all other necessary permits for travel within Tibet
  • Accommodation - Twin share (tourist standard hotel "A" grade wherever available)
  • All applicable transfers & sightseeing as mentioned in the itinerary
  • All Sightseeing entry fee for all tourist sites listed in the itinerary
  • All meals in Bhutan, breakfast listed in the itineraries in Tibet
  • English speaking local interpreter/guide
  • Tourist accident/casualty insurance in Tibet
  • First aid kit

What is not Included

  • Bhutan Visa Fee
  • International flight to and out of Tibet and Bhutan
  • 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.)
  • Personal expenses such as drinks, postage, and laundry, etc.
  • Travel insurance in Bhutan
  • Meals not specified in the itinerary; usually it costs about USD3-15 per person for one meal in TAR (Tibet Autonomous Region).
  • Emergency evacuation
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Costs arising from unforeseen events

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