24 Days Bhutan Nepal Tibet Pilgrimage Tour

Paro / Thimphu / Punakha / Kathmandu / Pokhara / Ngari / Everest / Shigatse / Gyatnse / Lhasa

Overview

Nepal, Tibet, and Bhutan are all holy Buddhist kingdoms which have been lodestones to people for centuries. Customized for Buddhist pilgrims, adventurous travelers and those who are interested in Buddhism, this 24 days tour provides a starting point from Bhutan – a Himalayan kingdom with an amazing tradition of respect and reverence of nature, plus a spiritual experience in Nepal – the born place of Buddha and Tibet – the roof of the world. The highlights of this tour are the sacred Buddhist sites, including the soaring Dzongs, magnificent palaces, important monasteries, sacred lakes etc., as well as the holy mountain – Mount Kailash – the religious center of the world. You can make a devout pilgrimage to these holy sites or get touched by the Buddhist followers. In addition, you will enjoy the marvelous landscape of the Himalayan Ranges.

24 days and 23 nights
Private Customizable Tour Package
Departure: Flexible
Theme: Culture, Photography, Mountain, Architecture
Suitable:

Highlights

  • Take a guided tour of Thimpu, Paro, Punakha and immerse into the happy living of Bhutanese people and enjoy the natural beauty there;
  • Get amazed by Nepalese culture while visiting the unforgettable historical and Buddhist landmarks in Kathmandu Valley – Durbar Squares, Swayambhunath Temple, Boudhanath, etc.;
  • Travel overland from Kathmandu to Tibet while exploring the most famous highlights – Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Yamdrok Lake, Palcho Monastery as well as the world’s highest peak – Mount Everest;
  • Envelop yourself in the mystery of Ngari, and take a close sight of its geographical and spiritual focal points – sacred Mount Kailash and holy Lake Manasarovar.

Itinerary

Day 1 Paro Arrival ( D )

Welcome to Bhutan,  the “Land of the Thunder Dragon”.  After you arrive at Paro International Airport, you will be met by our enthusiastic guide with a very smiling face and transferred to the hotel by a private vehicle. Our tour guide will help you to check-in hotel. After check-in, you could have free time to take rest.

Arrival Ideas: It is available to get to Bhutan by flight from Nepal (Kathmandu), India (Delhi, Guwahati, Gaya, Kolkata), Bangladesh(Dhaka), Singapore (Singapore) and Thailand (Bangkok), or take an overland driving journey from India.

Day 2 Paro & Driving to Thimphu / 1h15mins' Driving ( B, L, D )

After breakfast, go to visit the National Museum which is more of a temple with all the collection of paintings (Thangka). Continue to visit Rimpung Dzong (fortress) where you can take a leisure walk down through a cantilever bridge and to Paro town. Just beside the bridge, you can witness national game archery, which is played almost every day on the ground.

After the sightseeing, drive about 1.5 hours to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan Kingdom, for accommodation.

Day 3 Thimphu & Driving to Punakha / 80km, About 2.5hrs' Driving ( B, L, D )

This morning you will start the day by visiting the National Memorial Chorten (shrine), a monument dedicated to the past 3rd king of Bhutan, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. More than a memorial stupa, it is also one important religious center for Bhutanese daily worship. Then go to visit Traditional Painting School, a school where students are taught to make Bhutan’s 13 traditional arts and crafts, like painting, woodcarving, embroidery, statue-making and so on. Next, go to the National Textile Museum which is a good place to display textile weaving – Bhutan’s living national art. You can not only feast on the beautiful costumes, but also learn about the type of textiles, the styles of local dress and the techniques of weaving. Last activity of today is visiting the national animal – Takin in Motithang Takin Preserve, a unique looking animal with the head of a sheep and body of cattle.

After lunch, drive through a forest of pine and hemlock, up to cross over the Dochula pass (Alt: 10142ft/ 3,050 m). From the pace, you can enjoy the panoramic views of the majestic Himalaya Mountains. Keep driving along the winding road to the fertile valley of Punakha / Alt: 4430ft/ 1,350 meters.

Accommodate in Punakha Town.

Day 4 Punakha & Driving to Paro / 130km, About 3.5hrs' Driving ( B, L, D )

After breakfast, you will go to visit Punakha Dzong, situated in between pho Chhu and Mo Chhu (male and female river). It has three towers and praised by many people as the most beautiful one in Bhutan’s 21 Dzongs. Next, move to the Chimi Lhakhang, a mysterious temple. It was built in 1499 by the legendary “Divine Madman” – lama Drukpa Kunley. There is a tradition that the childless women can visit this temple to receive a wang (blessing) from the saint, then they will have a child.

After lunch, drive back to Paro. Have a good night in Paro Town.

Day 5 Paro - Takshang (Tiger’s Nest) / About 20mins' Driving Plus 2~3hrs' Hike ( B, L, D )

Start the day with a short drive to Paro’s upper valley. If the day is clear, you’ll have an unforgettable view of the “Goddess” – Mt.Chomolhari (23,640 feet).

Afterward, it’s a short drive to Taktsang trail ahead. Take a challenging but necessary 2~3 hours’ trek to Taktsang Monastery, the most famous monastery in Bhutan, also known as “Tiger Nest Monastery, because Guru Rinpoche reportedly flew to the site on the back of a flying tiger late in the 7th century. Between blue pines and a blue sky, the monastery perches miraculously on a cliff nearly 2,700 feet above Paro’s valley floor. Break along the way for tea and snacks in a small tea house, and the view of both Taktsang Monastery and Paro Valley is magnificent.

Hike down the mountain, then drive back to Paro for accommodation.

Tips: 1) it takes about 2 ~ 3 hours to trek from the parking lot to Taktsang Monastery, and you could ride a horse for the first hour; 2) photography is strictly forbidden in the monastery, but you can take a nice shot on your road to Taktsang Monastery; 3) travelers have to deposit all belongings (cameras, phones or other electronic equipment and bags) at the entrance.

Day 6 Flight from Paro to Kathmandu ( B )

Early this morning, your driver will meet you at your hotel and then take you to the airport to catch your international flight to Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport. If you sit near the right window of your plane and fly in a clear day, you will be very lucky to enjoy a spectacular view of the Himalaya peaks, including the world’s highest mountain – Mount Everest (Alt: 29,029ft) and its neighbors – Mt. Lhotse (the world’s fourth highest mountain, Alt: 27,940m), Mt. Makalu (the world’s fifth highest mountain, Alt: 27,838ft) and Mt. Nuptse (Alt: 25,791ft). The captain’s broadcast introduction and the magazines on the plane will help you recognize these peaks.

Day 7 Kathmandu - Pokhara, About 25 minutes' Flight ( B )

After breakfast, you will visit Bhaktapur which is one of three medieval city-states in the Kathmandu Valley as well as the best-preserved one with an altitude of 1,401 meters. With three different styles square – Durbar Square, Taumadhi Square and Dattatreya Square, it is the best place to explore traditional Nepalese architecture and local life and custom, also the best place to witness the great achievements of arts and crafts created by famous Nepal’s Malla Dynasty (1201–1769). Bhaktapur is also famous as the Town of the Devotees. There are many devout Hindus and Buddhists living in the city.

Leaving Bhaktapur, you will head to  – Patan, once a glorious independent kingdom, but now almost a suburb of Kathmandu city. It is known for the crowding Patan Durbar Square which is honored as the finest collection of temples and palaces with exquisite carvings in the whole of Nepal. It also attracts tourists with the treasures and souvenirs in the various shops around the square. The square consists of three main chowks, or courtyards – the central Mul Chowk, Sundari Chowk and Main Keshab Narayan Chowk.

After the sightseeing, driving to the airport and catch your flight to Pokhara.

Day 8 Pokhara ( B )

Today, you will begin the full-day sightseeing of Bokhara. In the early morning, you will drive to the Sarangkot to watch a breathtaking sunrise. When the sun picks out the peaks, they are transformed from a purple-pink to a celestial gold. As the day breaks thoroughly, you can admire a wonderful panoramic sweep of Himalayan peaks from west to east. The view of the Annapurna Himalaya from Sarangkot is praised as a religious experience. After the spectacular sightseeing from Sarangkot, you will drive to the Peace Temple to see the brilliant-white World Peace Pagoda. The road to the pagoda is not in very good condition, but the scenery is stunning. World Peace Pagoda was constructed by the Buddhists from Japanese Nipponzan Myohoji organization, symbolizing the peace of the world. While seeing the enchanting natural sights around, you will also get a feeling of inner peace as well.

After lunch, you will visit Devil’s Fall, locally known as Patale Chhango (Hell’s Fall). It is an awesome waterfall lying about 2 km south-west of Pokhara Airport on the highway to Tanmen. Then, pay a visit the nearby Gupteswar Gupha, which is a sacred cave. It has some big hall-size rooms and some passages where you have to crawl on all fours. Afterward, you will have a relaxed journey in Phewa Lake which is the second largest lake in Nepal. It is available to take to the lake with one of the beautifully painted boats or walk/cycle around the lakeshore. The most important religious monument in Pokhara, Barahi Temple, is built almost in the middle of Phewa Lake. The two storied pagoda is dedicated to boar manifestation of Ajima, the protector deity representing the female force Shakti.

Day 9 Pokhara - Kathmandu / about 25 minutes' driving ( B )

After having breakfast, you will move towards Pokhara Airport and fly to Kathmandu. Today’s activities start with a wonderful stroll around the grand Kathmandu Durbar Square, which is the social, religious and urban focal point of the city. With the complex made between the 12th and 18th centuries by the ancient Malla Kings of Nepal, it provides many interesting things to see, like Taleju Temple, Kal Bhairab (God of Destruction), Nautalle Durbar, Coronation Nasal Chowk, the Gaddi Baithak, the statue of King Pratap Malla, the Big Bell, Big Drum and the Jagannath Temple etc. Then you will visit the Kathmandu’s most ancient and enigmatic holy shrine – Swayambhunath, also known as “Monkey Temple”. It lies 2km west of Kathmandu City. On the clear days, you are able to see a line of Himalayan Ranges. From its hilltop setting, you can get a fine view over Kathmandu of and the valley. After that, follow a contrast tour to the giant Buddhist stupa – Boudhanath, the largest stupa in Kathmandu Valley at about 131ft (40km) high and one of the largest and most important Buddhist stupas in the world. The all-seeing red, white and blue eyes of Buddha are painted on all four sides of the stupa, similar to Swayambhunath, and surrounded by hundreds of fluttering prayer flags, prayer wheels and small images of Buddha.

Optional Activities: you can choose to take an Everest Mountain Flight in the early morning. From the airplane, fantastic Himalayan peaks, lakes, and glaciers can be witnessed.

Day 10 Kathmandu - Gyirong / 185km, About 7 ~ 8hrs' Driving ( B )

Today you will drive about 160km from Kathmandu to Gyirong Port on the China-Nepal border. Passing the custom, and meet our Tibetan local guide. Then drive about 25km to Gyirong Town and check into your hotel. The rest time is free on your own for acclimatization.

Tips of today: 1) go for some walking to acclimate the high altitude but avoid strenuous activity after arrival; 2) you’d better not have a bath; 3) drink more water, and have some fruit; 4) have a good rest.

Day 11 Gyirong Town - Saga / 170km, About 4.5hrs' Driving ( B )

On this day, you drive about 4.5 hours (170km) to Sagar County from Gyirong Town. It is a rather short trip but the scenery is good as well. The altitude of Saga County is around 4600m. After arrival at the town, spend some time acclimatize yourself to the high altitude here. Avoid strenuous activities.

Tip of Today: you can buy some food and drinks in the town of Saga County. After leaving Saga, there won’t be a bigger town for supply.

Day 12 Saga - Darchen / 490km, About 9hrs' Driving

After breakfast, you have to take another long driving about 550km from Saga to Darchen (4,575m), a small village located at the starting point of the walking kora of the holy Mount Kailash. During the auspicious pilgrimage times, Darchen will be flooded with Pilgrims with hundreds of tents all over the small village.

Accommodate at the local guesthouse in Darchen.

Day 13 Darchen - Dirapuk ( B )

Trekking Time: 5-6 hrs, 20km

Trek from Darchen (4,560m) to Dirapuk Monastery (4,750m). The trek is a gradual walk in the clockwise circuit at the average altitude of more than 4,700 meters. You will be accompanied by many local Buddhist pilgrims also walking the same kora. If you meet people who come in the anti-clockwise direction, don’t be surprised, they are Bon pilgrims. You will stop at the Tamdin (4,780m) for lunch and hot water supply. Then keep trekking 4km to the final destinations of today – Dirakpuk Monaster. This section of trekking boasts some of the best scenery of the entire kora.

Accommodate at Dirapuk guesthouse.

Day 14 Trek from Dirapuk to Zutulpuk

Trekking Time: 6-7 hrs, 18km

Trek from Dirapuk Monastery uprising 762 meters at altitude to Zutulpuk Monastery by crossing Drolma-la Pass (5,630m) before quickly descending to Dzutul-puk monastery (Dzutul-puk means “magical cave” in Tibetan).

Stay overnight at the tent guesthouse of a monastery.

Day 15 Zutulpuk - Darchen

Trekking Time: 3 hrs,11km

Wake up in the holy sunrise of Mount Kailash, after breakfast, you will trek back to Darchen. Todays’ trekking is leisure and relaxing, which can be done in 3 ~ 4 hours. On route, explore the meditation cave of Milarepa, the famous Buddhist master, and Yoga meditator. Surrounding the caves are many temples and shrines.

Once you exit from the valley, your driver will pick you up and transfer to Darchen.

Day 16 Darchen - Guge Kingdom

Today you will drive from Darchen to Zhada to visit Toling monasteryTsaparang (Zanda Earth Forest) and Guge Kingdom Ruin Site.

Stay overnight in a local guesthouse.

Day 17 Guge Kingdom - Manasarovar Lake

Today, you’ll drive Holy Mansarovar Lake after a 5-6 hour drive. This holy lake is one of the highest freshwater lakes in the world (4,590m above sea level). It is also one of the most important pilgrimage sites for Hindus and Buddhists. In Hinduism, Lake Manasa Sarovar is a personification of purity, and one who drinks water from the lake is believed to be cleansed of all his sins committed over even a hundred lifetimes. The lake is very popular in Buddhist literature and associated with many teachings and stories in Buddhism. Lord Buddha, it is reported, stayed and meditated near this lake on several occasions. Mansarovar Lake attracts thousands of tourists and religious people every year from all over the world. Spend the night camping on the bank of Holy Mansarovar Lake.

Tips: The restaurants in the area are not so good, so it is best if you bring plenty of food with you.

Day 18 Manasarovar Lake - Saga

Drive through the windswept territory passing many villages and camps of Yak herders, and back to Saga. There are many opportunities to take great pictures!

Day 19 Saga - Everest

Today, you will leave Shigatse for the world’s highest peak – Mount Everest. Though being a long driving of about 7 hours, but the views along the road are stupendous. In clear days, you can see the clear face the Himalaya range including several famous peaks over 8,000 meters, such as Makalu, Lhotse, Gyachung and Cho Oyu and enjoy the beautiful view of Pekutso Lake. When you finally get to the Rongbuk Monastery (altitude: 4,980m) and get the first sight of the mighty Everest, you will immerse in a solemn ethereal mood and find all the efforts you have made along the long way are not in vain. Located about 5100 meters above the sea level, Rongbuk Monastery is the highest monastery in the world. It is the best location to take some great photos of the front face of Mount Everest. The rest of today is free for you to visit the Rongbuk Monastery and explore the surrounding landscape.

Accommodation: if you visit Mount Everest during the off-season (November to April), you will accommodate at Rongbuk Guest House near the Rongbuk Monastery; if you visit Mount Everest during the peak season (May to October), you will accommodate at the Tibetan Tents Camp which is about 4km further from Rongbuk Monastery. Please note that the accommodation condition at both places is very basic. Only dorm beds are available.

Tips of today: 1) prepare more food and drinks for long driving; 2) bring a warm and thick coat for low temperature in Everest; 3) avoid strenuous activity to prevent from high altitude sickness.

Day 20 Mount Everest - Shigatse / 350km, About 7hrs' Driving

After breakfast, you will be going to visit the official seat of Panchen Lama – Tashilhunpo Monastery, also an influential monastery Geleg School. Covering an area of nearly 150,000 square meters, the monastery is one of the largest temples in Tibet with about 57 halls and 3600 rooms. Among them, the Coqen Hall can hold 2000 monks to take part in Buddhist activities. Featuring an interesting sprawling amalgam of traditional Tibetan monastic style, those halls, chapels and other structures are connected by precipitous steps and narrow cobblestone alleys. The interplay between the golden roofs and the white, red and black exterior walls creates a striking composition. Here you will see a giant statue of Future Buddha, the largest one of its kind on earth ( 26.2 meters high and 11.5 meters wide ), decorated with precious pearls, turquoises, corals, and ambers.

Then you will leave Shigatse for the final destination of your Tibet trip – Mount Everest. Though being a long driving of about 7 hours, but the views along the road are stupendous. On clear days, you can see the clear face of the Himalaya range including several famous peaks over 8,000 meters, such as Makalu, Lhotse, Gyachung and Cho Oyu. When you finally get to the Rongbuk Monastery (altitude: 4,980m) and get the first sight of the mighty Everest, you will immerse in a solemn ethereal mood and find all the efforts you have made along the long way are not in vain. Located about 5100 meters above the sea level, Rongbuk Monastery is the highest monastery in the world. It is the best location to take some great photos of the front face of Mount Everest. The rest of today is free for you to visit the Rongbuk Monastery and explore the surrounding landscape.

Accommodation: if you visit Mount Everest during the off-season (November to April), you will accommodate at Rongbuk Guest House near the Rongbuk Monastery; if you visit Mount Everest during the peak season (May to October), you will accommodate at the Tibetan Tents Camp which is about 4km further from Rongbuk Monastery. Please note that the accommodation condition at both places is very basic. Only dorm beds are available.

Tips of today: 1) prepare more food and drinks for long driving; 2) bring a warm and thick coat for low temperature in Everest; 3) avoid strenuous activity to prevent from high altitude sickness.

Day 21 Shigatse - Lhasa ( B )

After breakfast, you will be going to visit the official seat of Panchen Lama – Tashilhunpo Monastery, also an influential monastery Geleg School. Covering an area of nearly 150,000 square meters, the monastery is one of the largest temples in Tibet with about 57 halls and 3600 rooms. Among them, the Coqen Hall can hold 2000 monks to take part in Buddhist activities. Featuring an interesting sprawling amalgam of traditional Tibetan monastic style, those halls, chapels and other structures are connected by precipitous steps and narrow cobblestone alleys. The interplay between the golden roofs and the white, red and black exterior walls creates a striking composition. Here you will see a giant statue of Future Buddha, the largest one of its kind on earth ( 26.2 meters high and 11.5 meters wide ), decorated with precious pearls, turquoises, corals, and ambers.

After the sightseeing, you will leave Shigatse and drive about 8 hours to Lhasa Palcho Monastery (altitude: 4,040m). The monks and tradition of three important sects of Tibetan Buddhism – Sakyapa, Zhalupa and Gelukpa, peacefully coexist in this monastery. Its Kumbum, which is 35 meters high and has 76 small chapels with hundreds of images of Kriyatantras, is believed to be the largest such structure in Tibet.

Keeping driving about 2 hours from Gyantse, you will stop along the road and see the imposing Karola Glacier (altitude: 5,045m) towering aloft on the left side of the road. Moving on not very far from Karola Glacier, you will reach the holy Yamdrok Lake (altitude: 4,400m). As the largest fresh lake in the north of the Himalaya Mountains, it spreads about 675 square meters from south to north, like an eardrop lying in the arms of snow-capped giant mountains. Viewing from a distance, you can see fertile pastures full of yaks and sheep, and some small Tibetan villages along the lakeshore.

Continuing your trip, you will arrive in Lhasa in the afternoon. Have a good rest!

Tips for today: 1) wear warm clothes to prevent cold and wild; 2) pack some food and drinks with you because you will spend much time on the road.

Day 22 Lhasa ( B )

Start today’s Lhasa exploration with an exciting visit to the landmark – Potala Palace which is regarded as one of the most beautiful architectural building in the world. You will climb up the palace along the zigzag stone paths with white-and-red walls to the top of the palace where you can not only appreciate the exotic Tibetan-style architecture, but also get a great view of Lhasa’s urban areas, then walk into the inner space of Potala Palace to explore the stately chapels and learn about the history of the palace.

Continuing your exploration, you will then get to Jokhang Temple which is considered as the spiritual heart of Tibetan Buddhism. Each day, there are thousands of pilgrims coming from different places in Tibet to the temple to worship to the Buddha. This temple is also known as the “house of Buddha” because it keeps the precious Jowo Rinpoche, the life-sized (5 foot/1.5m) image of the Shakyamuni at the age of 12. The last site for today’s exploration is the famous Barkor Street. It is a circular and wide street encircling the Jokhang Temple. The local people like to walk on the street for several circles usually in the late afternoon as a daily tradition of pilgrimage. The street also has many shops selling a wide variety of traditional Tibetan goods, religious items, and handicrafts.

Tips of today: 1) there are 1,080 steps up to climb to the top of Potala Palace, so don’t walk in a rush, which may cause high altitude sickness; 2) taking photos is not allowed inside the palace; 3) today you will be mainly outside, please bring some water, a hat, sun cream, and sunglasses with you.

Day 23 Lhasa ( B )

After breakfast, you will first go to visit the beautiful Norbulingka which used to be the former summer palace of Dalai Lamas in the ancient time and now is a public park. It is famous for its Potrang, the private palaces of former Dalai Lamas with grandiose Tibetan architecture style. Next, drive several kilometers to the western outskirts of Lhasa to visit Drepung Monastery. Drepung, in Tibetan, means “prosperity”. Since its establishment, Drepung Monastery has always been one of the most important Buddhist monasteries in Tibet. In its heyday, there were more than 10,000 monks lived and studied in the monastery. Throughout its history, many important and famous Tibetan leaders used to study here, especially the Dalai Lamas. So Drepung Monastery is also respectfully known as the “Mother School of Dalai Lamas”.

In the afternoon, you will be taken to another famous monastery in Lhasa – Sera Monastery. It is famous for the spectacular “Buddhism Debating”. As a daily routine, the monks gather in a courtyard and debate on the Buddhist doctrines with supplemented gestures, which is thought to be helpful to facilitate a better comprehension of the Buddhist philosophy to attain higher levels of study. After enjoying the “Buddhism Debating”, you will be transferred back to the city. The rest time is your own free time to rest.

The Etiquette of Visiting Monastery: 1) you shouldn’t wear short and uncover shoulders; 2) taking off your sunglasses and hat before entering the chapels; 3) taking photos is usually not allowed inside the chapels.

Day 24 Lhasa Departure

Today is free for you until your tour guide transfers you to the airport in time for your flight or drop you off at Lhasa train station.

Tips for today: 1. Please pack your luggage carefully, especially for small things like camera charger, power adapter, mobile phone, phone charger, wallet, and towel. 2. If your flight is arranged in the afternoon, please make sure you check out the hotel before 12 pm.

Important Notes:

  • PROGRAMS & SCHEDULES SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT PRIOR NOTICE

Price & Inclusion

24 Days Bhutan Nepal Tibet Pilgrimage Tour
Price for 2 Adults
US $
Discount
US $

Total
US $

Meals

Meals are included in itinerary

Transportation

Flight, car

Price Includes

  • Flight to Bhutan from Kathmandu of Nepal.
  • Private vehicle and Luggage Transfers.
  • All necessary Tibet travel permits and Bhutan Visa.
  • Private professional English-speaking tour guide.
  • Meals noted in the itinerary as “B, L, D” (B: Breakfast, L: Lunch, D: Dinner).
  • All accommodations, based on double occupancy. Comfortable class accommodation with attached bathroom on twin sharing basis in Tibet (Lhasa, Shigatse), Nepal and Bhutan. Guesthouse or tent in remote areas.
  • Admission fees and activity expenses, as noted in the itinerary.
  • Tourists Accident/Casualty Insurance.
  • Service Charge (the planning, handling, operational and communication charges) & government taxes.

Cancellation by Customer

  • 30% of total package price should be deposited once the booking is confirmed
  • Cancellation received less than 72 hours prior arrival date or No show: full charge the total package rate
  • Cancellation received from 4 days to 14 days prior arrival date: 50% of total package tour charged
  • Cancellation received from 15 days to 20 days prior arrival date: 10% of total package tour charged

Children Policy

  • For infant (<02 years old): FOC except domestic ticket cost
  • 02 – 11 years old without bed: 50% adult rate
  • 02 – 11 years old with extra bed: 75% adult rate
  • 02 – 11 years old in twin share: 90% adult rate