Lhasa Kathmandu and Glimpse of Bhutan Tour - 11 days

Lhasa Kathmandu and Glimpse of Bhutan Tour - 11 days

Lhasa Kathmandu and Glimpse of Bhutan Tour takes you to three Himalayan nations that were once closed off to outsiders. Discover the cultural highlights of Tibet, Nepal, and Bhutan and experience the warm traditional hospitality. Visit centuries-old castles and temples and walk through mystic sites blessed by Buddhist saints. Journey across mist-covered hills and connect with nature beneath the shadows of the mighty Himalayas.

This short tour of eleven days begins from the Tibetan capital of Lhasa where you will get to step inside the former palace of Dalai Lama and ancient monasteries. At the Yarlung Valley you can explore the site of the first human settlement in Tibet. Leaving Tibet you take a flight over the Himalayan range and reach Kathmandu, the cultural hub of Nepal. A knowledgeable local guide will guide you to palace squares built by the Malla kings and share the valley’s rich history and folklore. Take a stroll around charming pagoda-roofed temples and domed stupas.

The last destination on your itinerary is the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan. Explore magnificent forts and sacred Buddhist monasteries in the picturesque cities of Paro and Thimphu. Journey across mist-covered hills and learn about their unique culture and traditions that have made them one of the 'happiest countries in the world.

The Lhasa Kathmandu and Glimpse of Nepal Tour is recommended for people who seek to visit the rarely explored Himalayan regions. It is also for those with an interest in Buddhism and Buddhist art and culture. Except for the hike to the Tiger's Nest, the tour involves easy walking on even ground while visiting the tourist sites. If you are not that keen on hiking you can skip the hike and visit some other site after consulting with your guide. Spring and autumn are perfect for traveling. The weather remains pleasant and warm. You can expect some snow during winter in Tibet and Bhutan while torrential monsoon rains lash Nepal and Bhutan in summer. 

How Much Does This Trip Cost?

The trip's price depends on the type of services chosen by our clients and the group size. The cost of each trip we organize is different because we see travelers as individuals having their own particular needs and preferences.

Get ready for an incredible journey tailored to your interests and preferences, whether you're looking for a budget-friendly adventure or a luxurious getaway. Leave the planning to us as we take care of all the details, ensuring your dream trip becomes a reality. You can relax and focus on creating unforgettable memories that will stay with you forever.

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Trip Highlights

  • Explore the Potala Palace, Barkhor Street, and Jokhang Temple in Lhasa
  • Interact with monks at the Drepung and Sera Monasteries
  • Visit the ancient Yarlung Valley, the birthplace of Tibetan civilization
  • Step inside the ancient Samye Monastery, the first Buddhist monastery in Tibet
  • Heritage walk at the three Durbar squares of Kathmandu Valley
  • Visit the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Changunarayan and Swoyambhunath
  • Tour ancient castles and monasteries in Paro and Thimphu
  • Hike to Tiger's Nest

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights
Day 1 Arrival in Tibet, Lhasa (3,650m/11,980ft) - Transfer to Hotel
Day 2 Sightseeing in Lhasa - Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, and Barkhor Street
Day 3 Sightseeing in Lhasa - Drepung Monastery and Sera Monastery
Day 4 Drive to Samye via Tsedang: Yumbulhakhang Palace and Trandruk Monastery
Day 5 Visit Samye Chimphu Hermitage and Samye Monastery
Day 6 Fly to Kathmandu and half-day sightseeing – 1:35 hours flight
Day 7 Sightseeing in Patan, Bhaktapur, and Changunarayan
Day 8 Fly to Paro, Drive to Thimphu and Thimphu Sightseeing- 1:30 hours (55km) drive
Day 9 Sightseeing in Thimphu, drive to Paro and explore Paro - 1:30 hours (55km) drive
Day 10 Hike to Taktsang Monastery (Tiger Nest's) (3180m/1043ft) - 5 to 6 hours hike
Day 11 Final Departure

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1
Arrival in Tibet, Lhasa (3,650m/11,980ft) - Transfer to Hotel

Welcome to the capital of Tibet! Our representative will greet you at the Gonggar International Airport and drive you to your hotel in Lhasa. It takes a little over one hour to reach the main city. On reaching Lhasa you can check in at your hotel room and take a rest. No activity has been planned for the day to give your body time to adjust to the high altitude. We recommend you drink plenty of water while resting in your room so as to keep the symptoms of altitude sickness at bay.

Overnight in Lhasa.

Day 2
Sightseeing in Lhasa - Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, and Barkhor Street

After a hearty breakfast at your hotel, you will start your sightseeing tour. Your guide will take you to the grand Potala Palace that sits above the city of Lhasa. Located on a hill overlooking the city, Potala Palace was built by the great Tibetan emperor Songtsen Gampo. The palace used to be the winter residence of the Dalai Lama. Divided into two sections, the palace complex is very huge, and only some sections are open for public viewing. You can explore the assembly hall, museum, and chapels. There are also tombs of former Dalai Lamas inside the complex.

Later your guide will take you to the Jokhang Temple, an ancient temple built by King Songtsen Gampo to preserve precious Buddhist relics and statues brought by his two Queens Bhrikuti and Wenchen from Nepal and China. This is one of the oldest temples in Tibet. Afterward, you can take a leisurely walk around Barkhor Street and watch the pilgrims prostrating and locals going about their business. There are many shops lining the street where you can buy souvenirs.

Overnight in Lhasa.

Day 3
Sightseeing in Lhasa - Drepung Monastery and Sera Monastery

Today you will be visiting two of the greatest centers of Tibetan Buddhism in Tibet - the Drepung Monastery and the Sera Monastery. Drepung Monastery used to be the official residence of the Dalai Lama before it was moved to the Potala Palace in the seventeenth century. Stretching over an area of 6.2 acres Drepung is the largest monastery in Tibet. Around six thousand monks receive education at this monastery. After exploring the monastery, you will make your way towards another important Gelungpa monastery, the Sera Monastery. Built in the fourteenth century, Sera is one of the prime monastic universities in the Buddhist world. In the courtyard of the monastery, you can watch lively debates of the young monks.

Overnight in Lhasa.

Day 4
Drive to Samye via Tsedang: Yumbulhakhang Palace and Trandruk Monastery

From Lhasa, you take a pleasant drive to the ancient Yarlung Valley known as the 'Cradle of Tibetan Civilization'. Located in Tsedang the fourth largest city in Tibet, the Yarlung Valley was the first permanent settlement of the Tibetans recorded in history. It is in this valley that the Tibetans first learnt agriculture and farming practices.

Upon reaching the city your guide will take you to see the ruins of the Yumbhulakhang Palace built by the Bon people for their first king Nyatri Tsetpo in the 3rd century BC. The five-storied palace lies on the crest of a hill and holds statues of Tibetan kings and ancient artifacts. It was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution by the Chinese army and was rebuilt later. The current structure is a replica of the original castle. The palace is divided into two sections and one can enjoy sweeping views of the valley from the top.

Later you can visit the Trandruk Monastery, one of the oldest monasteries in Tibet. It was built by the Tibetan emperor Songtsen Gampo to subdue a demoness in the seventh century. The monastery houses the famous pearl thanka which has an elaborate image of Avalokkiteshwara created with 29,000 pearls. The principal chapel holds the statue of Goddess Tara and the five Dhyani Buddhas. There's also a stove that belonged to King Songtsen Gampo's Chinese Queen, Wengchen.

After your sightseeing tour, you will be driven back to your hotel in Samye where you can rest.

Overnight in Samye.

Day 5
Visit Samye Chimphu Hermitage and Samye Monastery

After breakfast, you will visit Samye Chimphu Hermitage, located near Samye Monastery in Tibet, which is a sacred site with meditation caves used by yogis for centuries.

Afternoon your guide will take you to Samye Monastery, the first Buddhist monastery in Tibet. The route to the monastery goes through the fertile Yarlung Tsangpo Valley. The Samye Monastery was built by King Trisong Detsen, one of the three great Dharma Kings who invited the learned gurus Padmasambhava and Shantarakshita from India to teach Buddhism. Shantarakshita is believed to have designed the monastery while Padmasambhava subdued the demons. The first ordination ceremony of Buddhist monks in Tibet was held at the Samye Monastery.  Explore the vast monastery complex which includes prayer halls, chapels, Utse or the main shrine and the different colored stupas placed at the four cardinal points. There are also huge statues of the Tibetan king, Padmasambhava and Santarakshita in the main hall of the monastery. Elaborate murals and thankas decorate the walls.  

Overnight in  Samye.

Day 6
Fly to Kathmandu and half-day sightseeing – 1:35 hours flight

Our representative will pick you up from your hotel in Lhasa and drop you off at the international airport from where you catch a flight bound for Kathmandu. During the flight, you can enjoy mesmerizing views of the Himalayan mountains including Mount Everest, Makalu, Shisapangma, Lhotse, Nuptse, etc.

On reaching Kathmandu, you will be received by Third Rock Adventures' guide who will escort you to your hotel. You can check-in and freshen up. Later in the day, your guide will take you on a half-day sightseeing tour. You will visit the Kathmandu or Basantapur Durbar Square which lies in the center of the city. The royal square is filled with temples and palaces. Built by Malla Kings, the durbar square was the seat of power for several generations of Malla as well as Shah kings. Kumari Bahal or the house of the Living Goddess is also located in the square. After spending some time at the Durbar Square, you will be driven to the western side of the city to a hill where one of the oldest structures in the valley is situated.

The Swayambhunath Stupa lies on top of a hill overlooking the capital city. You will have to climb a long staircase to reach this ancient temple. Believed to have been built by the Boddhisattva Majushri, the white-domed Swoyambhunath Stupa has been associated with the origin of Kathmandu Valley. There are Hindu temples and a monastery around the stupa. You can enjoy a bird's eye view of the city and a beautiful sunset before returning to your hotel.

Overnight in Kathmandu.

Day 7
Sightseeing in Patan, Bhaktapur, and Changunarayan

You start your sightseeing tour right after breakfast. First, you will get to explore Patan Durbar Square. During the medieval period, Patan was one of the three Malla kingdoms in the Kathmandu Valley. The king used to rule over the kingdom of Patan or Lalitpur from the Patan Durbar Square. The Durbar Square decorated with exquisitely carved stone and wooden temples and a royal palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Walk through the Patan Palace which has been converted into a museum and discover works of art and religious artifacts that are hundreds of years old. Admire the fine stone carvings in the Krishna Temple and visit the sacred Golden Temple.

Later you drive to the eastern part of the valley and enjoy a walk on the vehicle-less streets of the Bhaktapur Durbar Square. Bhaktapur was another stronghold of the Malla kings in the Kathmandu Valley. The city has a rich history as is evident from the ancient buildings and temples dotting the square. Divided into four squares, the Bhaktapur Durbar Square Complex is much larger and more elaborate than the other two royal squares in the valley.

The must-visit sites include the Palace of 55 Windows, the five-tiered pagoda temple of Nyatapole, Char Dham, Pashupatinath Tempel, the National Art Gallery, etc. You can also spend some time at Pottery Square observing the local potters making terracotta pots and drying them in the sun.

Lastly, you will be driven to the hilltop temple of Changurayan, one of the oldest Hindu temples in the world. Dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu, Changunarayan was built during the Lichhavi Period. Apart from the ornately carved temple, one will find sculptures of all the manifestations of Lord Vishnu and the oldest written inscription discovered in Nepal. Written in Sanskrit the inscription is carved on a stone pillar which dates back to the fifth century.

Later head back to your hotel and prepare for your trip to Bhutan.

Overnight in Kathmandu.

Day 8
Fly to Paro, Drive to Thimphu and Thimphu Sightseeing- 1:30 hours (55km) drive

After an amazing stay in Kathmandu, it's time to leave Nepal and head towards Bhutan, the last destination of the Lhasa Kathmandu and Glimpse of Bhutan Tour. Our guide will drop you off at the Tribhuvan International Airport to catch your Paro-bound flight. During the flight, you can savor stunning views of the Himalayan range. The plane flies between high mountains to land at the small airport in Paro flanked by green hills. Our Bhutanese representative will be there at the airport to receive you and drive you to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan.

On reaching Thimphu you can check in at your hotel and later commence your sightseeing tour.  Your guide will take you to the National Memorial Chorten, the National Institute of Zorig Chusum, and the Tashichho Dzong. The National Memorial Chorten is a splendid white chorten built in memory of the third king of Bhutan. At the National Institute of Zorig Chusum, you can observe students learning the thirteen traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan. The Tashichho Dzong is an impressive Bhutanese castle housing government offices and the throne room of the Bhutanese royalty.

After your sightseeing tour, you head back to your hotel.

Overnight in Thimphu.

Day 9
Sightseeing in Thimphu, drive to Paro and explore Paro - 1:30 hours (55km) drive

After breakfast you will visit the hilltop shrine of Buddha Dordenma. Located on a hill overlooking Thimphu, the giant statue of Buddha Dorndenma holds 125000 miniature statues of Lord Buddha. Leaving Thimphu you take the highway to Paro, driving past pine forests and picturesque farmhouses. On reaching Paro you will check into your hotel and resume your sightseeing tour.

Your guide will take you to the majestic Paro Dzong and the National Museum. The dzong is a huge fortress built in the Bhutanese traditional style of architecture. Inside are government offices, a monastery, and chapels. The National Museum is housed in an ancient watch tower above the Paro Dzong. Exhibits at the museum include Stone Age tools, Buddhist relics, thankas, traditional costumes, statues of Buddhist deities, etc.

Overnight in Paro.

Day 10
Hike to Taktsang Monastery (Tiger Nest's) (3180m/1043ft) - 5 to 6 hours hike

After an early breakfast, you head towards the outskirts of the city to a hill where the Taktsang Monastery stands. The vehicle will drop you at the foot of the hill from where you start your hike Tiger's Nest Monastery. The trail follows a well-marked route through a beautiful pine forest. It's uphill throughout. Pony rides are available at an extra charge to the halfway point. You can take a break at the restaurant located mid-way and have your lunch or some refreshment. The view of the monastery and the Paro Valley from the restaurant is rather impressive. Later continue walking towards the monastery.

 It is believed that Padmasambhava, also known as the Second Buddha traveled from Tibet to this site on a flying tigress and meditated there for three years, three months, and three days. It is one of the holiest pilgrimage sites for followers of Tibetan Buddhism. After exploring the monastery you can make your way down to the car park where you will find our vehicle waiting for you. Board the vehicle and return to the city. Later in the afternoon you can enjoy a stroll around the market and shop for souvenirs.

Overnight in Paro.

Day 11
Final Departure

Your Lhasa Kathmandu and Glimpse of Bhutan Tour ends here. It's time to bid farewell to Bhutan. Our representative will drive you to the Paro International Airport on time to catch your flight. If you want to extend your visit and explore more places in Bhutan or Nepal please do give us a call or drop us a line. We will get in touch with you ASAP to plan another memorable trip.

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864 route de la Marqueze, 40230 Josse
Keshar Mahal Marg, Thamel, Kathmandu, Nepal
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Changlam, Thimphu 11001, Bhutan