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16-Day Nepal Tibet Bhutan Tour

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Overview

Tour Type: Private Tour: Flexible Travel Date & Travel Routes
Guide & Driver: English-speaking guide & air-conditioned
  • Discover the legendary capital city of Nepal – Kathmandu, with its seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites including royal palace squares and fantastic temples and monasteries;
  • Explore Lhasa and Tibet, from the Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Drepung and Sera Monasteries to Yamdrok Lake and then majestic Mount Everest;
  • Travel overland from Tibet to Nepal through some of the most beautiful natural scenery found anywhere in the world;

Itinerary Day by Day

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Day1  Arrival in Kathmandu
Welcome to the captivating capital city of Nepal, Kathmandu. Upon your arrival at the Kathmandu Tribhuvan International International Airport, your local tour guide will meet you to escort you to your private vehicle to transfer you to your hotel and help you check in. You will have the rest of the day free to rest and relax in your hotel, or you may want to begin exploring the local area on your own.

Accommodation:Overnight in Kathmandu

Day2  Kathmandu – Pokhara
We will begin your exploration of Nepal with a short drive to visit Bhaktapur. Bhaktapur is an ancient city located about 13 kilometers (8 miles) east of Kathmandu. Bhaktapur, also known as Khwopa, was the capital of Nepal during the Malla Dynasty until the late 1400s and the largest of the three Newa kingdoms in the Kathmandu Valley. Bhaktapur has the most well-preserved palace courtyards and old city center in Nepal, with its rich culture, magnificent temples, wood, metal and stone artwork qualifying the city for inclusion as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

From Bhaktapur, we will drive to Patan, which was once its own independent kingdom and is now famous for its Patan Durbar Square. This former royal square is known for its many ancient temples and palaces that feature exquisitely carved artwork inside and out, and is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

After our visit to ancient Bhaktapur, we will transfer to the Kathmandu airport for the flight to Pokhara, the second largest city in Nepal that lies on the once vibrant trade route between India and Tibet. Even today, mule trains can be observed bringing goods from remote regions of the Himalayas. Pokhara has several beautiful lakes and offers fantastic panoramic views of three of the ten highest mountain peaks in the world. There are also numerous Buddhist and Hindu temples throughout the area, some of which are combined temples where devoted members of the different religions worship together in peace. Upon your arrival at the Pokhara airport, your local guide will greet you and take you to your local accommodations to check in for the night.

Accommodation:Overnight in Pokhara

Bhaktapur

Patan Durbar Square

Day3  Pokhara: Sarangkot, Davis Falls, Phewa Lake

Accommodation:Overnight in Pokhara

Davis Falls

Phewa Lake

Day4  Pokhara – Kathmandu
This morning after breakfast we will take you back to Pokhara Airport for the short flight to Kathmandu. Upon arrival at the Kathmandu airport, your local guide will escort you to your private car for more sightseeing in the Nepalese capital. First we’ll walk around the grand Kathmandu Durbar Square, one of three royal palace squares in the Kathmandu Valley, and the royal residence for Nepalese rulers until the 19th century. This was also the site for important ceremonies such as the coronation of Nepalese monarchs for centuries. One interesting feature at the south end of Kathmandu Durbar Square is the Kumari Chowk – a gilded cage that holds the Kumari, a young girl chosen through an ancient and mystical selection process to become the human incarnation of the Hindu mother goddess, Durga. This “living goddess” is worshipped during religions festivals and makes public appearances at other times when the appropriate fees are paid to her guards.

From Kathmandu Durbar Square, we will move on to Swayambhunath Temple, also known as the Monkey Temple due to the swarms of monkeys that inhabit the area. The Buddhist stupa at Swayambhunath is at least 1,500 years old and may be as much as 2,000 years old. It has a gilded spire and huge white dome located under thousands of multicolored prayer flags, with the spire having four faces of the Buddha looking out in all 4 directions. This religious complex consists of the ancient stupa and a variety of shrines and temples that are revered by both Buddhists and Hindus.

Accommodation:Overnight in Kathmandu

Kathmandu Durbar Square

Pashupatinath Temple

Day5  Kathmandu – Lhasa
Today you will have free time until we pick you up to take you back to the Kathmandu airport for your 90-minute flight to Lhasa. Upon your arrival at the Lhasa Gonggar Airport or the Lhasa train station, your local tour guide will greet you to escort you to your private vehicle to transport you to your downtown Lhasa hotel. You will have the rest of the day free to rest and relax in your hotel and become acclimatized to the higher elevations of Tibet.

Tips for High Altitude Acclimatization:

1) Take a leisurely walk outside around your hotel, but avoid any strenuous activity;

2) Drink plenty of water – hydration is key to avoiding high altitude sickness;

3) Get as much rest as possible.

fruit; 4) have a good rest.

Accommodation:Overnight in Lhasa

Day6  Lhasa – Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor
This morning after a nice breakfast at your hotel, we will begin our exploration of this amazing city with a visit to the incredibly beautiful icon of Lhasa – the Potala Palace. Construction on the Potala Palace was begun in 1645 A.D. as an ideal location for a governmental building situated between the Drepung and Sera Monasteries and the old city of Lhasa, but it was built over an earlier fortress built by Songtsen Gampo in 637 A.D. Two chapels in the northwest corner of the complex still preserve parts of the orginal fortress. This spectacular complex, containing 13 stories of buildings with more than 1,000 rooms, 10,000 shrines and approximately 200,000 statues, was built into the side and top of Marpo Ri (Red Hill) and it remains as one of humanity’s most beautiful structures after nearly 400 years. We will have the opportunity to enter the palace complex and explore many of the stately chapels as we learn about its fascinating history.

From the towering Potala Palace we will move on the historic Jokhang Temple, which is widely considered as the most sacred temple in Tibetan Buddhism. The oldest parts of the Jokhang Temple date to 652 A.D. with the last renovation done in 1610 A.D. to create the structure as it stands today. This ancient temple contains a massive number of ancient religious artifacts, the most important of which is the Jowo Rinpoche, the most sacred statue in Tibet. This life-sized (5 foot, 1.5 meter) statue of Shakyamuni at the age of 12 was reportedly blessed by the Buddha himself and was brought to the Jokhang Temple by Princess Wencheng around 1,400 years ago.

After visiting the sacred Jokhang Temple, we will explore the area surrounding the temple on Barkhor Square and Barkhor Street. Barkhor Street travels around the Jokhang Temple in a circle for about 1 kilometer and it is a popular route for Tibetan pilgrims as a “kora” or religious circuit. The square and street have many shops and stalls selling a wide variety of traditional Tibetan goods, religious items, handicrafts and souvenirs.

After visiting Barkhor, we will return to our hotel for the night.

Accommodation:Overnight in Lhasa

potala palace

barkhor street

Day7  Lhasa – Norbulingka, Drepung Monastery, Sera Monastery
Today after breakfast we will continue our in-depth exploration of this wonderful city with a visit to the beautiful Norbulingka Palace and Park, the location of the former summer palace of the Dalai Lamas from the 1780s up until 1959. It features the famous Potrang, the private palaces of former Dalai Lamas built in the grandiose style of traditional Tibetan architecture.

After visiting the palaces and park at Norbulingka, we will travel around 5 kilometers to the western outskirts of Lhasa to visit the Drepung Monastery. The word "drepung" in Tibetan language means "prosperity". Since its establishment in 1416, Drepung Monastery has served as one of the most important Buddhist monasteries in Tibet. During its prime, more than 10,000 monks lived and studied in the monastery. Throughout its history, many important and famous Tibetan leaders studied at this monastery, including the Dalai Lamas. Accordingly, Drepung Monastery is also respectfully known as the “Mother School of Dalai Lamas”.

In the afternoon, we will escort you on to another famous monastery in Lhasa - the Sera Monastery. Sera Monastery is famous for its spectacular “Buddhist Debates”. As a daily routine, the monks gather in a courtyard, and debate on the various Buddhist doctrines with exaggerated gestures, which is thought to be helpful in facilitating a better comprehension of the Buddhist philosophy to attain higher levels of study. After enjoying the "Buddhist Debates", we will take you back to your hotel with the rest of the day and evening to relax or explore on your own.

Tips for Proper Etiquette While Visiting Monasteries

1) For clothing, shorts and/or bare shoulders are not allowed.

2) Hats and sunglasses should be removed before entering the chapels.

3) Taking photos is usually not allowed inside the chapels.

Accommodation:Overnight in Lhasa

Norbulingka Palace

Sera Monastery

Day8  Lhasa – Gyantse – Shigatse
This morning after breakfast we will set off for Gyantse, a drive of about 260 kilometers (162 miles). Along the way we will stop by one of the four holy lakes of Tibet – Yamdrok Lake. At an elevation of 4,400 meters above sea level, Yamdrok Lake is a massive freshwater lake covering around 638 square kilometers (246 square miles). Lying amidst snow-capped mountains and fertile pastures dotted with grazing yaks and sheep, Yamdrok Lake is famed for its stunning panoramic views.

After plenty of time taking in the magnificent scenery of Yamdrok Lake, we will drive on through more spectacular scenery, passing by the beautiful Karola Glacier (elevation 5046 meters) that lies very near the highway.

After reaching Gyantse, we will visit the Palcho (Pelkhor) Monastery, an ancient complex of structures that traces its history back to the 9th century A.D. The most notable feature of Palcho Monastery is its Bodhi Dagoba, also known as a “kumbum”, which is a multistoried aggregate of chapels in Tibetan Buddhism. The kumbum at Palcho Monastery stands 32 meters (105 feet) high as a nine-tiered building with 108 gates and 76 chapels and shrines. The first five floors of the kumbum are square with the upper floors in a circular shape, giving it a pyramidial appearance. We will also have the opportunity to climb up to the ancient Gyantse Dzong (Fort) that overlooks the city and dates back to 1286 A.D.

From Gyantse, we will continue on to Shigatse, where we will check into our local accommodations for the night.

Accommodation:Overnight in Shigatse

Yamdrok Lake

gyantse kumbum monastery

Day9  Shigatse – Mount Everest
This morning after breakfast, we will visit the official seat of the Panchen Lama, the second highest ranking member in Tibetan Buddhism at the Tashilunpo Monastery. This influential monastery of the Gelug sect covers an area of nearly 150,000 square meters with around 57 halls and 3,600 rooms making it one of the largest temples in Tibet. This ancient monastery was founded in 1447 A.D. by Gedun Drub, who was posthumously named as the First Dalai Lama. The monastery also holds a massive statue of the Future Buddha that stands 26.2 meters tall and 11.5 meters wide and is embedded with diamonds, pearls, amber and corals along with 355 kilograms of gold.

From the Tashinlunpo Monastery we will depart Shigatse for the journey to our ultimate destination – Mount Everest. Along the way, if the weather is clear, we will be able to see some of the Himalayan mountain range’s most famous peaks, each of which rise more than 8,000 meters above sea level, including Makalu, Lhotse, Gyachung and Cho Oyu. Upon reaching the Ronkbuk Monastery, the world’s highest altitude monastery, we will be able to see the majestic peak of Mount Everest. The rest of the day will be free for you to visit the Ronkbuk Monastery and explore the surrounding area with its incredible views.

Notes on Accommodations:

Visitors to Mount Everest during the off-season (November to April) will stay overnight at the Rongbuk Guesthouse near the Rongbuk Monastery. During the peak season (May to October), guests will stay the Tibetan Tent Camp, located about 4 kilometers from the Rongbuk Monastery. Please be aware that accommodations at both places are very basic with only dormitory beds and communal squat toilets. Duvets, heated blankets and hot water are provided but we recommend that you bring your own sleeping bag and toilet paper for this part of the trip. There is no running water so there are no sinks or showers. Meals will be in the dining hall where only basic breakfast and dinner are provided with no menu.

Accommodation:Overnight at Everest Base Camp

Day10  Mount Everest – Gyirong Town
This morning, wake up early to see the incredible sunrise as it shines upon the peak of the world. If we have stayed overnight at the Rongbuk Guesthouse, we’ll drive to the Tibetan Tent Camp (elevation 4900 meters) to enjoy a closer view of Mount Everest. Of course the peak of Mount Everest is covered by snow year-round, so when the sun shines on the peak it looks like a giant white pyramid. This is one of the most famous views of Mount Everest in photographs, and if the day is clear enough you will be able to witness it with your own eyes. On bright days you may also see a wisp of a cloud hanging just above the tip of Mount Everest, which flies eastward in the fast-moving westerly wind, creating an effect just like a flapping flag. This unique effect is known as the “Cloud Flag” and it is spectacular as it changes from surging waves into a thin wisp of smoke, or from something resembling galloping stallions into the mysterious veil of a goddess.

After plenty of time taking in the incredible scenery of Mount Everest, we will drive on through some more incredible Himalayan scenery to reach Gyirong Town. Along the way, if the weather permits, we will be able to see Shishapangma Peak and the stunningly beautiful Pekutso Lake before we check into our local accommodations for the night.

Accommodation:Overnight at Gyirong Town

Day11  Gyirong – Kathmandu
This morning we will be leaving Tibet and China to travel into the neighboring country of Nepal and Kathmandu by walking through customs and crossing the border. From the customs checkpoint we will drive on through some wonderful mountain scenery for about 160 kilometers, taking around 6 hours to get there due to the narrow and bumpy roads. Please be aware that during the rainy season this road will be muddy and can sometimes be closed due to landslides.

Upon your arrival in Kathmandu, we will take you to your local hotel and help you get checked in for the night. You will have the rest of the day to relax in your hotel room, or you can begin to explore the local area on your own.

Accommodation:Overnight in Kathmandu

Day12  Kathmandu – Paro – Thimphu
We will get an early start this morning as we take you to the Kathmandu airportfor your flight to Paro airport, the only international airport in Bhutan. This flight is unusually scenic with views of some of the world’s highest mountain peaks including Mount Everest along the way.

Upon arrival at the Paro airport, your local tour guide will escort you to your private vehicle where your driver will transport you to downtown Paro to begin your exploration of Bhutan. First up is a visit to the Bhutan National Museum to learn about this small country’s rich culture and history. The museum itself is housed in an ancient watchtower located on a hill above Rinpung Dzong, an ancient fortress and monastery also known as Paro Dzong, which we will also have the opportunity to visit today. From Rinpung Dzong we can walk across the cantilever bridge to Paro Town to explore the small town.

After our sightseeing in Paro, we will drive around 90 minutes to reach the capital city of Bhutan, Thimphu and check into our local accommodations for the night.

Accommodation:Overnight in Thimphu

Day13  Thimphu – Punakha
This morning after breakfast we will visit the National Memorial Chorten, a stupa dedicated to the 3rd king of Bhutan, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. With its bells and golden spires, the stupa serves as an important religious center for Bhutan’s local population. From the National Memorial we will move on to the Traditional Painting School where students learn how to create the 13 traditional Bhutanese arts and crafts such as painting, woodcarving, embroidery, sculpture, etc. After visiting the school, we will see the National Textile Museum where we can learn about Bhutan’s “national living art” – textile weaving. The museum contains many examples of Bhutan’s traditional costumes and historic textiles.

Next we will explore the Motithang Takin Preserve, a wildlife preserve area for the takin, the national animal of Bhutan. This unique animal looks like a muskox but it is more closely related to sheep.

After our visit to the Motithang Takin Preserve, we will depart from Thimphu, driving through a forest of hemlock and pine trees to drive on to Punakha. Along the way we will travel through the Dochu La Pass (elevation 3050 meters / 10142 feet) where you can enjoy spectacular panoramic views of the majestic Himalayas.

Upon our arrival in Punakha, we will check into our local accommodations for the night.

Accommodation:Overnight in Punakha

Day14  Punakha – Paro
This morning we will visit the Punakha Dzong, the second oldest and second largest dzong in Bhutan. Constructed in 1637 – 1638, the dzong houses the sacred relics of the souther Drukpa lineage of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, including the Rangjung Kasarpani and the sacred remains of Ngawang Namgyal and the terton Pema Lingpa.

From the Punakha Dzong we will move on to the mysterious Chimi Lhakhang, a Buddhist monastery built on a hilltop in 1499 A.D. It is said that childless women can visit this temple to receive a blessing that will allow them to have a child.

After our visit to Chimi Lhaktang, we will take the scenic 3.5-hour drive back to Paro where we will check into our local accommodations for the night.

Accommodation:Overnight in Paro

Day15  Paro – Takshang Monastery - Paro
This morning we will embark on the short drive to the upper valley of Paro, where we can get a fantastic view of Mt. Chomolhari, a Himalayan peak that straddles the border between Tibet and Bhutan. From there we will move on to the Taktsang trail for a 2 to 3-hour hike to the spectacular Taktsang Monastery. Also known as Paro Taktsang, the monastery was precariously built into a cliffside about 900 meters (2,953 feet) above the Paro Valley floor in 1692. It is also sometimes referred to as the Tiger’s Nest due to a legend that Guru Rinpoche flew to the site on the back of a flying tigress in the late 7th century. Along the way to the monastery we will stop at a small tea house for tea and snack food, with the view of the Taktsang Monastery and the Paro Valley providing an incredible backdrop as we rest.

After visiting the Taktsang Monastery, we will return to Paro to spend the night.

Accommodation:Overnight in Paro

Day16  Departure from Paro
This morning after breakfast, your local guide and driver will transport you from your hotel to the airport for the flight on to your next destination.

Accommodation:None

What's Included

Private professional English-speaking tour guide.
Private transfer listed.
All accommodations, based on double-occupancy.
Meals noted in the itinerary as "B,L,D".
Admission fees and activity expenses, as noted in the itinerary.
Service Charge (the planning, handling, operational and communication charges) & government taxes. Tourists Accident/Casualty Insurance
Nepal visa (your local tour guide could help you get it if necessary).
Sightseeing not listed in the itinerary.
Meals not listed in the itinerary (all lunches and dinners).
Personal expenses such as laundry, drink, fax, telephone call, optional tour activities, etc.
Gratuities, tips to guides, drivers, bellboys, etc.
Flight tickets in and out of Nepal
Single room supplement.
Additional tour service and/or activities.

Additional Info

Alterations of Itineraries

The travel date, service items, itinerary and number of visitors, visitors’ ID information, etc. can be modified free of charge 30 days or more before the trip. If the visitor needs to make a second modification, an additional service fee of 5% of the deposit will be charged. Every time the content of the travel contract is modified, the company reserves the right to re-quote.

Cancellation Policy

Once the deposit is paid, your trip is confirmed. If you need to change or cancel your itinerary, please contact your travel consultant by email, phone, instant messenger, etc. There will be a charge for Cancellation or modification. The policy is as follows:

1. Notice of trip cancellation due to personal reasons before the trip starts
Cancellation 30 days or more before the trip starts, 10% penalty of the deposit.
Cancellation 29-15 days before the trip starts, 20% penalty of the deposit.
Cancellation 14-7 days before the trip starts, 30% penalty of the deposit.
Cancellation 6-2 days before the trip starts, 50% penalty of the deposit.
Cancellation within 48 hours prior to the trip starts, no refund of your deposit.

2. Trip cancellation due to irresistible factors before the trip starts

If you have to cancel the itinerary due to irresistible reasons such as traffic, weather, politics, etc., the deposit will be fully refunded by the company (for loss related to air ticket/train ticket, please take reference of the first item).

Reviews

 Sharon C
Travel Date:April 23, 2019

Tibet has been one of my top travel destinations. As a Buddhism, visiting places tapping into sacred goddess and Mother Nature becomes a dream for me to achieve. At the age of 40, I am so happy I have finally made my dream come true.

The trip planning to Tibet has never been easy for Taiwanese. To grant a permit by a trust worthy travel agent is already a hassle, my first trip plan didn’t get though two years ago. I am glad I found odyssey travel agent for my second try. The whole process started off with zero trust, trip advisor and Facebook helped me to validate its credibility, and further more I had even asked for reference check from the agent. Thanks Kay for being a nice and patient coordinator during this planning process.

With all had prepared, our group has been one of the most peaceful and harmony travel company I have been with. With years of experience, I have not been with a group of >20 until this time, apart from school and company team building. To spend 9 days with who I meet the first time and could probably the only time caused me zero worry with the brilliant tour guide Xiao Gao!

If you’ll and would like to have a joyful and unforgettable journey in Tibet, going up to the Everest base camp is definitely the only option. So is odyssey travel.

 markofelgenhauer
Travel Date:May 1, 2019

Wir konnten wunderbare Tage auf dem Dach der Welt verbringen - und wenn es heute erneut die Möglichkeit geben würde - Ja ich würde diese Reise noch einmal unternehmen. Dennoch sind es große Anstrengungen und die Touren im Auto sind lang. 2 Tage dauert die Autotour zum BaseCamp - Achtung - bei der Anreise überquert man bereits die ersten 3 Pässe mit über 5000m - daher sollte eine gesundheitliche Abwägung oberste Priorität haben. Tolle Organisation mit AMY - ich kann es nur jeden empfehlen, da Sie wirklich Sehr gut und schnell auf alle Anfragen, Anregungen und Änderungen eingeht. Ein Tip nach Möglichkeit mit der Tourguidin Kelsan Droma reisen - Auch Sie versteht es wunderbar Ihr Land näher zu bringen und lebt so positiv.

 Chetan
Travel Date:Nov. 17th 2018

Overall, I am very satisfied with the service. Our travel consultant Monica is very responsive and helpful. She responded to our questions promptly and willing to accommodate my request. Tibet tour is very nice and memorable. We got well along with other travel members and became very good friends. The only thing I do mind is the condition of the public toilets, hard to describe, you should see them by yourself.

 Pol
Travel Date:May 06th 2018

Highly recommend the tour. We visited Tibet and had Lomsang as our guide. This was one of the most special trips I had taken in my life. Our guide told us the culture of the Tibetan people, we met with breathtaking sceneries. Our guide was adept with great driving skills. We felt safe sitting in the vehicle. Lomsang was one of the best guide we have ever had. he was extremely organized, patient, and attentive to the group. I was so impressed with his capabilities. Overall, excellent service and excellent experience.

 Logen143
Travel Date:May 27, 2019

Amy local agent have done great job in arrange the 15days tour. She is always ready to answer any queries and keep checking on us during the trip. Our guide Ngawang local Tibet guy was excellent in guide and take care us individually to complete this tour without any problem.with his expertise manage guide us well and very accommodating for all our needs.

For first time traveler to TIbet, please clear all your doubts and explain well your expectations on food and accommodation so Amy will able arrange it accordingly. Overall it was pleasant trip.Thanks to Amy and Ngawang

 BurtCo
Travel Date:May 27, 2019

Initially our tour consultant AMY did a fantastic job of coordinating our tour. This included arranging our small group to meet up in Lhasa despite us arriving there on different days. The accommodation was great and AMY followed up during the tour to ensure everything was going smoothly. Great Job AMY !!

On the tour itself we were accompanied by JESSICA for whom I cannot speak highly enough. Her explanations in all the various locations proved she was very knowledgeable. Her English was clear and she was always willing and able to answer any queries. Best of all, there was not a single day when she did not greet us with a happy and friendly smile. Participated in countless photos with us. The tour was unforgettable thanks to AMY, JESSICA and Asia Odyssey Travel.