24 days, 23 nights
Difficulty Level: 2
Price (US$): From $6,695.00
Months Available: May, June, September and October
Come join Grand Asian Journeys on this once-in-a-lifetime adventure to visit three of the world’s most mysterious and beautiful destinations in one magical itinerary – Bhutan, Nepal and Tibet. (This is a more comprehensive version of the Himalayan Trilogy Adventure allowing you more time in the three destinations). The advertised dates are scheduled to coincide with a festival in the Bumthang region of Bhutan.
Fly to Paro in Bhutan. Glimpse into the heart of the tranquil kingdom of Bhutan and experience of the lifestyle that is famously measured as “Gross National Happiness.” You will hike to the legendary Taktsang Monastery, also called Tiger’s Nest, which hangs dramatically on a sheer rock face 2,900 feet above the valley floor. Explore the capital city of Thimphu and move deeper into the country to visit a traditional festival.
Next visit the chaotic capital of Nepal, Kathmandu, a melting pot of various ethnic and religious groups. The unique blend of Hinduism and Buddhism is apparent in the temples and stupas and in the daily lives of the Nepali people.
On to Tibet with the sense of the deep connection to Buddhism interwoven throughout daily life in this vast expanse of land. The spirit of the Tibetan people resounds at the Forbidden City of Lhasa and in the Potala Palace, the ancient palace of the Dalai Lamas.
This journey will captivate your senses and your soul! Prepare to be amazed by the beauty and grandeur of the Himalayas!
Before proceeding further to the town of Punakha, hike about 30 minutes to the Chimi Lhakhang (temple) on a small hilltop. The temple was dedicated to the great Yogi in the 14th century, known as Drukpa Kuenley, as well as the “Divine madman.” He dramatized Buddhist teachings using songs and outrageous sexual humor. Bold phallus symbols and paintings on the houses and temples are a result of his influence. It is believed that this temple blesses women who seek fertility.
After lunch, continue to Punakha Dzong (fortress) situated between the two rivers, Pho Chu and Mochu (male and female river). The fortress is now used as the winter seat of Je Khenpo (the spiritual head of Bhutan). The Dzong served as the capital seat of the Kingdom for more than 300 years. The intricate Buddhist paintings inside the monastery are spectacular. Overnight Meri Puensum. (All meals)
Day 07 - Punakha to Trongsa Drive approximately 4 hours to Trongsa. Overnight local lodge. (All meals)
Day 08 - Trongsa to Bumthang Drive 2.5 hours to Bumthang. Overnight local lodge. (All meals)
Day 09 and 10 - Bumthang Two days of exploring the valley. Witness the Ura Festival in the May departure and the Thangbi Mani Festival in the October departure. Overnight local lodge. (All meals)
Day 11 - Bumthang to Wangdue Drive approximately 7 hours to Wangdue. Overnight lodge. (All meals)Day 12 - Wangdue to Paro Drive approximately 5 hours to Paro. Evening free to stroll the streets of Paro. (All meals) Day 13 - Paro (Tiger's Nest hike) Begin the day with breakfast before a short drive to Taktshang Monastery. The trail to the monastery climbs through pine trees festooned with Spanish moss and occasional fluttering prayer flags. Hike at your own pace for about two to four hours.
Built in 1600s, the monastery clings to the edge of a sheer-rock cliff that plunges 2,952 feet into the valley below. It is believed that, in the 8th century, Guru Rimpoche, the tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan, landed here on the back of a flying tigress to subdue a demon. Guru Rimpoche is believed to have meditated here for three months. Packed lunch will be served.
Drive further up the valley to Drukgyel Dzong, the fortress of the victorious Drukpas. From Drukgyel Dzong, the Tibet border is only a two-day hike away. Overnight at Hotel. (All meals)Day 14 - Paro to Kathmandu Fly to Kathmandu. Overnight Hotel Yak and Yeti. (B, L) Day 15 - Kathmandu Free day in Kathmandu. Overnight Hotel Yak and Yeti. (B, L) Day 16 - Kathmandu to Lhasa Fly to Lhasa. Free to relax, acclimatize or explore the Barkhor Square. Overnight Hotel Shangbala or similar. (B, D)
Day 17 and 18 - Lhasa Visit Potala Palace, the palace of the Dalai Lamas – the spiritual and administrative leaders of Tibet – for many centuries. There are a thousand rooms in this tremendous building, which is a prominent landmark. Visit the Sera Monastery in the afternoon and watch monks hone their debating skills in the courtyard. (Visit the holiest temple in Tibet - The Jokhang, Barkhor. Continue to Drepung. Overnight Hotel Shangbala or similar. (B, L)Day 19 and 20 - Lhasa to Gyantse Drive to Gyantse via the scenic Yamdrok Lake. The next day is a full day of exploring Gyantse. Visit the Kumbum Stupa, the Gyantse monastery and the Gyantse Fort. Overnight Gyantse Hotel or similar. (B, L) Day 21 - Gyantse to Shigatse Drive three hours to Shigatse. Visit the Tashilunpo monastery, the seat of the Karmapa Lama. Overnight Mansarovar Hotel or similar. (B, D) Day 22 - Shigatse to Lhasa Return drive to Lhasa. Overnight Hotel Shangbala or similar. (B, L) Day 23 - Lhasa to Kathmandu Fly over the Himalayas to Kathmandu. Day free in Kathmandu. Final dinner at a Typical Nepali restaurant. (Breakfast and Dinner) Day 24 - Final departure Transfer to airport for flight home. (Breakfast) (Contact us for a detailed brochure)
“We had a wonderful time. Pam and Jwalant did a wonderful job and everything turned out perfectly... All the hotels were fine (plenty of heat and hot water in ALL LOL). I think the highlight of our trip was the Tigers Nest !! Just loved seeing it and in Tibet the Potala Palace. It was a great experience to stay with Jwalant and his family. It was great to meet him and loved his Mom and Dad !! You and Jwalant are great about following up with ALL my questions in a timely manner and I would and will recommend Grand Asian Journeys to any of my friends !! We are hoping to do Vietnam and Cambodia next but not sure when yet but WILL let you know once we decide !! The pre-trip information you gave was EXTREMELY helpful !
Ron and I want to thank you and Jwalant to all you did in planning this wonderful trip. It will forever stand as one of the most interesting trips we have taken. Will be in touch about further travel plans as we decide !! Now it is just nice to be home for a bit ! :) I think this e mail is a bit tangential but I was trying to answer all your questions!! Thanks to you and Jwalant again !! :) .”