15 Day Ancient Cities Tour in Tibet Nepal and Bhutan
This tour includes three of the biggest ancient cities: Lhasa, Gyantse and Shigatse. By visiting these places, you will get an overview of Tibet's religion, cultural treasures, and dream-like landscapes. The many highlights of this tour include the Tibetan architectural treasure, the Potala Palace, Jokhang and Sera and the Holy Yamdrok Lake. Other highlights include the Karo glacier and the Tashilumpo Monastery which stores the biggest copper Buddha statue in the world.
Cost is subject to class availability and exchange rate, may change without prior notice.
Day 1: Arrival in Lhasa.
After arriving in Lhasa, your local tour guide will welcome you at the airport/train station, then transfer you to your hotel. Acclimatize to the high altitude in the hotel.
Overnight in Lhasa
Day 2: Lhasa City, Potala Place and Barkhor Street (B,D)
The tour will begin from UNESCO World Heritage site - Potala Palace, which is also the winter palace of Dalai Lama. It's situated at 12,139 feet above sea level. It's a 13-story high building that contains over 1,000 rooms, various statues, stupas, murals and artifacts.
Next continue to Jokhang Temple, another UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s a spiritual center for Buddhists in Tibet. Near by to the temple is Bakhor Street, filled with pilgrims and street vendors, selling traditional Tibetan items such as prayer wheels and jewelry.
Day 3: Monasteries in Lhasa, Drepung and Sera (B)
In the morning, you will visit Drepung monastery which was one of the “three greet” Gelug monasteries of Tibet and was founded in 1416. Ganden palace is used as Dalai Lama’s palace in the Drepung before moving to the Potala palace.
In the afternoon, visit the Sera Monastery---one of the “three great” Gelug monasteries of Tibet and it was founded in 1419. The highlight is the Monks debate at around 3 - 5 in the afternoon.
Day 4: Lhasa – Gyantse - Shigatse (B)
Today you will drive from Lhasa to Gyantse. Admire the Gampala pass (4790 m) on the way, and get a glimpse of Yamdrok-tso (4400m), which is surrounded by many snow-capped mountains. Then continue to drive west towards Gyantse. In Gyantse, you will visit the famous Pelkor Monastery and Gyantse Kumbum. After a one and a half hour's drive, you will arrive in Shigatse, which is the second largest city in Tibet.
Day 5: Shigatse - Lhasa (B)
Today, explore the Tashilunpo monastery of Gelug Sect, the seat of the Panchen Lama, built in 1447. The monastery houses a giant statue of the Maitreya Buddha - the biggest gilded statue of Maitreya (Buddha of the future) in the world and a tomb of all the Panchen Lama, containing jewels and gold. In the afternoon, you will drive back to Lhasa, which will take around 6 hours.(Shigatse to Lhasa’s transfer may be by train）
Day 6: Depart from Lhasa- Arrive KathmandU (B)
Transfer clients to the airport or train station. Upon arrival in Kathmandu you will meet our representative at the airport and be driven to your Hotel to check in. Hotel Maya manor Boutique hotel or similar.
Kathmandu stands at 1350 metres and the valley is surrounded by hills at an altitude of around 2400 metres. There are three important cities in the valley, the most significant being Kathmandu itself. Patan is the most Buddhist of the three and is across the Bagmati River to the south of Kathmandu, but so close as to be almost an extension of the capital. Bhaktapur, also known as Bhadgaon, is the most "medieval" and is situated in the eastern part of the valley.
Day 07: Kathmandu Sightseeing - Bauddhanath, Bhaktapur (B)
Arrive Kathmandu. Meet at the airport and drive to your hotel. Hotel may not be ready to check in if no one has checked out early. But if room is ready, you can put luggage at the hotel, rest and relax as you would have started your journey early morning. After breakfast your guide will meet you at the hotel for a sightseeing tour of Monkey temple & Patan. After sightseeing you will return to your hotel in the afternoon. Free on your own and over night at Everest Hotel.
Day 08: Kathmandu - Pokhara (B)
Pokhara is a place of remarkable natural beauty. The serenity of Phewa Lake and the magnificence of fish-tailed Machapuchare rising behind it make it an ideal setting to spend a few days and from which to explore the area. Free on your own to explore the town.
Day 09: Sarangkot – (Tibetan refugee camp) and Mahendra Pul - Kathmandu (B)
This route is popular both for the mountain and the sunrise view and to experience the Nepalese village way of life. The view point, Sarangkot offers the excellent panoramic view of Annapurnas and the sunrise. You can also feel the cool and fresh air of the mountains.
DAY 10 – Kathmandu – Paro – Thimphu (BLD)
Arrive at Paro International Airport from Delhi, Calcutta, Kathmandu or Bangkok. Paro is situated in a beautiful valley at 2280 metres and is a fitting introduction to this charming kingdom. Your guide will meet you and take you on a short one-hour drive along the Paro and Thimphu river valleys to Thimphu, Bhutan’s capital, at 2320 metres. You can stop on the way to take in the magnificent Tamchhog Lhakhang, the hereditary place of worship for Bhutan’s iron bridge builder. Take a late afternoon walk around town and soak in the atmosphere of this magical capital with its busy shops and bazaars and photogenic citizens in national dress. Overnight in Thimphu.
DAY 11 Thimphu sightseeing (BLD)
We will visit the weekly market, the revered Memorial Chorten, the National Library and the School of Traditional Arts. You could visit Changangkha temple, perched on the hilltop overlooking the town. Devotees flock throughout the day to circumambulate and turn the prayer wheels. The temple also contains beautiful wall paintings and hundreds of religious scriptures written in gold. In the afternoon you can take in more of the sights and culture of the capital, with the option of a trip to Simtokha Dzong (one of the oldest fortresses in Bhutan, dating from 1629 AD). If you prefer to stay closer to town you could visit the huge statue of Buddha Dordenma, which commands a tremendous view of Thimphu valley. The huge 3-storey throne holds several chapels and the body itself is filled with 125,000 smaller statues of Buddha. You can also visit the Takin Reserve showcasing the unique national animal, the Takin, browse the striking collection of intricate textiles at the National Textile Museum or visit the Folk Heritage Museum. You may also like to visit the newly opened postal museum, detailing the history of Bhutan’s postal system and showcasing Bhutan’s rich assortment of interesting stamps. If you would like to view or buy Bhutanese handicrafts you may like to visit the new market opposite Taj Tashi hotel which has an array of stalls run by local handicraft shops selling purely home made articles with no imports. Tell your guide what takes your interest.
Overnight in Thimphu
DAY 12 Thimphu to Punakha (BLD)
In the morning drive approximately 3 hours to the old capital, Punakha, via Dochu La pass at 3050 metres, where we will stop for a hot drink and enjoy spectacular panoramic views of the Eastern Himalaya ranges. You will notice the change of climate and vegetation as we approach low-lying Punakha at 1250 metres. Take a pleasant walk for an hour or so across the terraced fields of Sopsokha village to Chimi Lhakhang (Temple of Fertility) built in the 15th century by the ‘Divine Madman’ (Lama Drukpa Kuenley). Then we will visit the imposing Punakha Dzong, “Palace of Great Happiness”. Built in 1637, it is strategically placed at the confluence of two rivers, the Po Chu and the Mo Chu. Overnight in Punakha.
DAY 13: Punakha – Paro (BLD)
Today we return to Paro, a drive of approximately 5 hours. In the afternoon you can start your culture tour of Paro valley by visiting the impressive Paro Rinpung Dzong, one of the finest examples of Bhutanese architecture. You can also visit the National Museum. This was previously housed in the Ta Dzong (watch tower) built on top of the hill above Rinpung Dzong to defend Rinpung Dzong and the Paro valley during times of war, in an unusual circular construction resembling a conch shell. Unfortunately, an earthquake in September 2011 damaged the Ta Dzong and the contents of the museum were moved to a neighbouring building. You can still see a magnificent collection of Bhutanese artifacts – costumes, religious paintings, arms, textiles and a fascinating collection of Bhutan stamps. The National Museum is due to reopen in the Ta Dzong in 2018. Near to the museum you may also be able to see a demonstration of traditional wood turning skills by local artisans who make traditional wooden bowls and cups – and you can try your hand as well if you wish.
Overnight in Paro (Zhiwaling)
DAY 14 Paro (BLD)
Take a day walk to the ‘Tiger's Nest’, the sacred Taktshang monastery which clings to the rock face 900 metres above the valley floor. Guru Rinpoche is said to have flown to the site riding on a tigress. He subsequently meditated here for three months. It is one of Bhutan’s most holy sites and draws pilgrims not only from Bhutan but also from neighboring Buddhist countries. You can have lunch at the Taktshang cafeteria from where you get a spectacular view of the monastery. Afterwards if there is time you can visit the ruined Drukgyel Dzong (fortress of victory), constructed to commemorate the victory over Tibetan invaders in 1644 and destroyed by a butter lamp fire in 1951. Nearby you can also visit the 7th century Kyichu Lhakhang, a temple of historical significance and one of the most sacred shrines in Bhutan. Alternatively you may be interested to visit a manor house turned museum in a local village. The house dates from the 17th Century and the museum is designed to showcase the culture of medieval rural Bhutan.
Overnight in Paro (Zhiwaling)
DAY 15 Departure (B)
Early in the morning your guide will accompany you to the airport to for your onward flight home.
- All necessary travel permits for Tibet (excluding the Chinese Visa),Visa Fee-Nepal
- Tourist bus/mini bus transportation with experienced local driver during tour
- Tourist bus/mini bus transportation between airport/train station and Hotel at designated period of time
- Twin sharing accommodation with breakfast
- One welcome or welfare dinner
- All admission fee of tourist sites listed in the itinerary
- Experienced local local and private guides
- Oxygen bottle provided during the tour days in Tibet
- Meals as per the itinerary
- Accommodation as listed (twin sharing)
- Domestic airfares
- Potala Palace: Winter palace of the Dalai Lama
- Jokhang Temple: Spiritual Center for Buddhists in Tibet
- Sera Monastery: One of the “great three” Gelug monasteries of Tibet, the hot attraction is monks debate.
- Drepung Monstery: Drepung used to be a seat of central government until the 5th Dalai Lama built Potala Palace.
- Yamdrok-tso: A sacred lake with stunning blue water on a almost desert mountain background.
- Tashilunpo monastery: The seat of the Panchen Lama.
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|Private Tours or Group Tours/ Packages||Large Group Tours & School Tours
(More than 16 people)
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PASSPORTS & VISAS
All travellers must have a valid passport for international travel and most countries require at least 6 months validity from the date of return and some countries require a machine-readable passport. When assisting with an international travel booking, we will assume that all travellers on the booking have a valid Australian passport. It is important that you ensure that you have valid passports, visas and re-entry permits which meet the requirements of immigration and other government authorities. It is your sole responsibility if any fines, penalties, payments or expenditures incurred as a result of such documents not satisfying the requirements of those authorities.
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