Itinerary Day by Day
Day 1: Arrival in Lhasa
When you arrive in Lhasa, our tour guide will hold a board with your name on it at the exit to welcome you. A private car will take you to the reserved hotel. You may view the Yarlung Tsangpo River/Bhamaputra River (the longest and largest river in Tibet) and Lhasa River on your way to Lhasa.
Stay overnight in Lhasa.
Day 2: Lhasa Sightseeing: Potala Place, Jokhang Temple, and Barkhor Street (B)
Today, you’ll pay a visit to the famous Potala Palace, the world culture heritage. You can explore its audience halls, the jeweled and golden burial chortens (stupa tombs) of past Dalai Lamas, and tremendous number of Buddhist frescoes, thangkas, combinations of mandala, etc.
Then tourists will head to the holiest temple in Tibet, the Jokhang Temple, built during Srongtsen Gampo's reign by princess Wencheng of Tang dynasty, 647 A.D. Here you can observe sincere pilgrims making prostration in front of Jokhang Temple. While entering inside the temple, you can see the holiest statue of Buddha. Around the monastery is the famous Barkhor Street, where you can do the kora with pilgrims and locals. And then we’ll go to explore the old market and you may have chance to see the traditional jewelry trading between people from different parts of Tibet.
Stay overnight in Lhasa.
Day 3: Lhasa Sightseeing: Drepung Monastery and 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. The monastery is also home to the biggest monastery kitchen in Tibet, and if time permits, you can go and visit the Buddhist Sculpture Carving workshop nearby.
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-Shigatse via Gyantse (360km, 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 to EBC (350km, B)
In the morning, we will visit the home of Panchan Lama - Tashilhunpo Monastery. It is largest monastery of the Gelug Sect in Rear Tibet, and the main stage where generations of Panchen Lamas carried out religious and political activities. After getting your Alien’s travel permit, we will leave Shigatse and then drive to Lhatse for lunch.
After that, we’ll drive over Tsola Pass (4600M), and Gyatsola Pass (5248M). At Gawula Pass (5180m), tourists can view the panorama of Himalaya. Then we’ll drive along the new zigzag road to Everest Base Camp and get closer to Mt. Everest peak. You are lucky enough to catch the sunset of golden Everest peak if time and weather permits at the lodging area.
Stay overnight at Rongbuk Guest House.
Day 6: EBC - Gyirong Border (370km)
Do get up early in the morning to capture the incredible sunrise over the summit of Everest (as long as there is a good weather.). The, we will trek from the lodging area to visit Rongbuk Monastery - the world’s highest monastery in the world, where nuns and monks living separately in the same religious compound. While gazing at the lofty mountain, never miss the chance to pose for a nice shot at the foot of Mount Everest.
Then, we will head to Gyirong Border from EBC. On the way, you can enjoy the great vista of Mt. Shishapangma and the Pekutso Lake. Shortly after we pass the Ghungtang Lhamo (5236M), you’ll arrive in Gyirong in late afternoon.
Stay overnight in the guest house in Gyirong.
Day 7: Gyirong Border - Rasuwagadhi - Kathmandu (B)
Our Tibetan guide will help you exit China and see you off at Gyirong Border. Then, you need to walk across the border bridge, which is 50m long. Then check in at Nepal side. You can get the Nepal visa upon arrival with 30USD, please prepare one photo at passport size to get Nepal Visa.
The next step, the Nepal tour guide will be expecting you on the other side of the Sino-Nepal border and greet you and transfer you to your hotel in Kathmandu.
Though pretty bumpy and dusty, the road to Kathmandu (around 160km) is filled with deep gorges, rivers all through the way. The drive takes a whole day.
Stay overnight in Kathmandu.
Day 8: Kathmandu Sightseeing: Durbar Square, Swayambhunath, Patan City (B)
After tasty breakfast in hotel, let’s enjoy the spiritual odyssey in a number of must-visit medieval heritage sites. As one of the iconic buildings of Nepal, Kathmandu’s Durbar Square would be our first stop. Durbar literally means palace, where the former kings ascend the throne and rule the country. You can stroll along the three main parts of Durbar Square and sit on the terraced platform to feel the vibe of Nepali city.
Then we will head to the renowned “Monkey Temple” - Swayambhunath. With lovely monkeys jumping around on the gilded spire of the temple, you can see the iconic Buddha’s eye on the stupa. The pious religious worshippers doing kora around the stupa and burning butter lamps and smell of incense draw you back to the similar experience in Tibet.
Afternoon we are about to visit Patan City, 15 minutes’ drive from Kathmandu. In fact, Durbar Square is not exclusive to Kathmandu. Ancient temples literally is packed in Patan City. Patan Durbar Square, Golden Temple and Taleju Temple, etc. are some of the best places to take photos. You will learn more of the legends of Nepali deities and kings.
Stay overnight in Kathmandu.
Day 9: Kathmandu Sightseeing: Pashupatinath, Bouddhanath, Bhaktapur City
The last day of the Nepal tour, we will cover some of the most important Hindu temples in Nepal. Though looked not that impressive that exterior, Pashupatinath serves as source of Hindu spiritual power. Shiva is worshipped here as Pashupati, the lord of the beasts. You can see the dead of Shiva, being cremated on the banks of the holy river. Don’t forget to take photos with sadhus with outlandish clothes and red tika on the forehead.
Then Bouddhanath is our visit. The gigantic stupa originally serves as the staging post for businessman travelling between Lhasa and Kathmandu. Now, the holy stupa is a hot destination, drawing numerous pilgrims, both Hindus and Tibetan Buddhists, to do the kora under the gaze of the Buddha. Monasteries and workshops selling incense, butter lamps, and Tibetan drums and other souvenirs can be found. The strong bond between Tibet and Nepal and historical significance are so palpable.
After lunch we will tour Bhaktapur City. Bhaktapur is three of the best preserved medieval cities in Nepal. Three major Durbar Squares here hold some of the finest religious sites in the country. The town is also known for its skillful artisans who lead a peaceful life and are experts for making pottery, wood carving, etc. The final tour highlights the ancient arts of Nepal.
Stay overnight in Kathmandu.
Day 10: Fly from Kathmandu to Paro and Transfer to Thimphu
Today, you will take the flight from Kathmandu, Nepal to Paro, Bhutan. On the way, you will have a chance to see the stunning peak view of the Himalayas from the plane, including two of the holy mountains in Bhutan: Mt. Jumolhari known as the “bridge of Kanchenjunga” and its companion mountain, Mt. Jichu Drake.
Upon your arrival at Paro International Airport, our Bhutan tour guide and driver will pick you on time. Then we’ll pay a visit to Kyichu Lhakhang, which is one of the oldest and holiest temples in Bhutan and houses the eight-year-old Buddha statue of Sakyamuni in the Lhakhang (temple) inner sanctum. There is an orange tree in the courtyard that bears fruits all the year round. Later, we’ll travel to Rinpung Dzong, housing administrative offices and the Monastic center of Paro. It sits at a very good location where you can get a beautiful view of Paro Valley.
Finally, we’ll go to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan.
Stay overnight in Thimphu.
Day 11: Sightsee in Thimphu and Drive back to Paro
Today, we’ll tour around Thimphu City. First, we’ll visit Thimphu Chorten (Memorial Chorten). In memory of the third King of Bhutan, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, it's a neat, clean three-story memorial, where you can see many locals turning the prayer wheel and chatting with the monks. Later, we’ll travel to National Library and Archives of Bhutan, National Folk Heritage Museum, Hand-made Paper Factory, and the School of Arts and Crafts, where you’ll gain a panoramic view of Bhutan history, handicraft making, and art.
Then, we’ll travel to Tashichho Dzong (Thimpu Dzong), which combines the huge Buddhist monastery, a complex of government offices and the modest palace of the reigning king. After roaming around the peaceful courtyard, we’ll head back to Paro.
Stay overnight in Paro
Day 12: Trek from Paro to Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest Monastery)
Today, you will trek from Paro Valley to Taktsang Monastery, which is commonly known as Tiger's Nest. Standing 3000 meters high on the cliff, it is one of the most sacred sites in Bhutan. It is said that the Guru Rinpoche once flew here from Tibet on the back of a tigress.
The trekking to Taktsang is a challenging one and you can choose to reach there by walking or horseback. Starting with a gentle forest climb, you will pass a creek and some prayer wheels, as the trail gets steeper and steeper. On the way, there is a nice teahouse where you have a short rest and have a great view of the monastery. As you continue your trek, you will climb to the viewing point which is the best place to take photos of Taktsang. After that, the trail goes down until you make it to the entrance.
Then, we’ll go to visit National Museum, where you can get an idea of Bhutan on all aspects in a nutshell, including Bhutan wild lives and local culture and arts, etc. Later, we’ll move to Drukgyel Dzong, a fortress and Buddhist monastery. It is listed as a tentative site in Bhutan's Tentative List for UNESCO inclusion. Here you can visit the majestic ruins with snow-clad mountains in the backdrop.
Stay overnight in Paro.
Day 13: Departure from Paro
The driver will pick you up and take you to the airport, then you can take your flight home or your next destination.
- Tibet Travel Permit and all other necessary permit to Tibet
- All lodging listed in the itinerary. If you travel individually, you will need to share one room with another tourist. If you prefer to stay in one room by yourself, you will have to pay the single room supplement
- Meals listed in itinerary
- Flight/train tickets listed in the itinerary
- Entrance fees of all tourist sites listed in the itinerary
- Local Tour Transfers according to group size
- Local Tibetan English-speaking guide
- One shared big Oxygen tank in the car
- Tourist accident/casualty insurance
- First aid kit
- Chinese visa
- Flight/train not listed in the itinerary. (We offer domestic train/flight ticket booking service, please contact our travel experts for the details.)
- Meals not specified the itinerary
- Tips and gratitude to tour guide and drive
- Personal expenses, like laundry, phone call, snacks, soft drinks, optional tour activities, etc.
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