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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.
3 Hours Before Flight Time
Welcome to Bhutan, the land of the “Thunder Dragon”. We’re sure you must get amazed at the stunning vista of the majestic Himalayas, esp. the lofty Mt. Jumolhari and Jichu Drake Peaks during your flight from Kathmandu. However, they are only a small appetizer. Upon your arrival at Paro international airport, our Bhutan guide and driver will meet you at the airport.
Later, we will visit the Kyichu Lhakhang (also known as Kyerchu Temple), the oldest and most beautiful temple in Bhutan. Surrounded by fields, flowers, and hills, Kyichu Lhakhang is home to the eight-year-old Buddha statue of Sakyamuni, historic relics, elaborate paintings, numerous Buddhist scriptures, etc. And Later explore the Paro Rinpung Dzong. Located in 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.
Stay overnight in Thimphu.
As the capital city of Bhutan, Thimpu is devoid of stereotyped skyscrapers and huge traffic. Instead, surrounded 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 vintage point brings you the unobstructed vista of the Great Himalayas.
After lunch at Wangduephodrang (1,350m), we keep driving to Punakha.
Stay overnight in Punakha
Get up in the morning to visit Punakha Dzong, widely believed to be the most beautiful Bhutanese Dzong, built at the confluence of the 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 the National Museum of Bhutan, which looks like a round watchtower. You can trace back to ancient Bhutan’s 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 on its foot.
Stay overnight in Paro
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 flown 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
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.
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 give 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 dates back to the 12th century and is a great place to explore the Buddhist culture of Nepal.
Stay overnight in Kathmandu.
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 Bagmati 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. 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.
Our driver will pick you up at your hotel during 9:00-9:30 am. Then we will drive to the China Tibet border. While driving near Mt.Himalaya, you can see the deep gorges and snow-capped mountains on the way. We will also drive across Langtang National Park.
Stay overnight in a village guest house in Syabrubesi
After breakfast, we will drive 15km to the border to enter China. You will meet our guide in China side. Then we will drive for 1 hour to Kyirong (2800m) which 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 a minute’s walk from your hotel.
Stay overnight at Kyirong Hotel
Today, we will first drive to pass through Peikutso lake and the grassland. Then we continue to drive to Everest Base Camp and visit the world’s highest Monastery, the Rongbuk Monastery. On the way, you can view the splendid panoramic Himalayan Mountain Range at Gyawula Pass (5200m).
After visiting Everest Base Camp, we will drive to Tingri.
Stay overnight at Tingri Hotel
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 the Shigatse hotel
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, Karola Glacier, and Yamdrok Lake on the way to Lhasa.
Stay overnight in Lhasa
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.
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.
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.
All important documentation like Tibet visa and permits, Bhutan Visa and Permits, Accommodation, transportation, Meals and guide.
March, April, May, September, October, and November are the best season to visit the Country at one go.