Nepal boasts eight of the world's tallest mountains and the world's oldest Hindu and Buddhist sites. While Kathmandu Valley is made of three ancient cities filled with enchanting medieval palaces, pagodas, temples, statues and stupas, the rest of the kingdom offers unparalleled adventure options with abundance in flora and fauna. As for its people - From the Tharus that share their land with the splendid Asian tuskers in the plains to the brave Yak herders of Dolpo, they are as amazing as the land itself. Here in its tropical jungles the Royal Bengal Tiger prowls, higher up the legend of the Yeti lives on. Although modernization has set in, the quintessence of ancient Nepal remains amongst its people.
Tibet Call it “The Roof of the World”, “The Forbidden City” or the “Third Pole”- so magnetic is its fame that a mere mention conjures up images of grandeur and spirituality amidst a wild and uncompromising landscape. It has the earth's highest ecosystem and is one of its last remaining wildernesses with its lush forests supporting abundant wildlife. Its many mountains feed some of Asia's most revered rivers and Mt. Kailash is the most sacred mountain in the world. Its people are some of the most resilient in the world. Through their richness and deep religious convictions, were built many fascinating monuments - Dalai Lama's summer and winter retreats, the Potala Palace and Norbulingkha are most prominent. It is one of the most fascinating places to visit in Asia.
Days PROGRAM ACCOMMODATION
1 Arrive in Kathmandu Hotel
2 Drive to Chitwan Resort
3 In Chitwan Resort
4 Drive to Kathmandu Hotel
5 Fly to Lhasa Hotel
6 In Lhasa Hotel
7 In Lhasa Hotel
8 Drive to Shigatse via Gyantse Hotel
9 Drive back to Lhasa Hotel
10 Fly back to Kathmandu Hotel
Upon arrival meet & be assisted by our airport representative and transfer to the hotel as booked.
Evening welcome dinner at Nepalese restaurant and briefing about your program
Early morning depart our hotel to begin our adventure on the river. Today you will experience the thrills of the white water rafting on the Trishuli River. Big bouncy waves, hefty holes and tricky chutes all go towards making an exhilarating ride to remember. After a three hour drive we arrive at our starting point and meet the crew. The rafting guide will demonstrate the use of equipment and will explain the safety guidelines. We start our exciting trip and encounter rapids such as “Teen Devi” and “Monkey” amongst others (mostly – grade III)
We stop for lunch at a sandy beach on the river. After lunch, continue drive to Chitwan.
Chitwan literally means “Heart of the jungle”. Chitwan is rich in flora and fauna with different species of birds, mammals, butterflies etc. and is an ideal place for nature lovers. The park is renowned for its variety of wildlife like various types of deer, monkeys, leopards, bear, crocodiles and particularly the Great Indian One Horned Rhinoceros and the elusive Royal Bengal Tiger. Exploring the park is made easy through several jungle activities like elephant back rides, jungle walks, jeep safari, canoeing, bird watching etc. which provides great opportunity to get closer to the diverse ecosystem of the forests of Nepal. In the afternoon we take an elephant safari into the jungle to explore the wildlife which includes the one horned Asian rhinoceros, sloth bear, leopard, and the Royal Bengal tiger.
Rest of the day involve in various jungle activities such as Elephant safari, nature walk, bird watching etc.
Early morning bed tea will be served in your room. Before breakfast take an exhilarating nature walk as you are introduced to the main features of the park, the forest, open grasslands and the riverine forest.
After breakfast explore the culture and flora of the village life around the hotel in an oxcart. Lunch will be served at the hotel.
After lunch, a short drive will take you to the canoeing point from where you will canoe down the river. As you float down the serenity of the tranquil water, you can observe the aquatic animals and the bird life so diverse in Chitwan. This program will last for about 1-2 Hours.
After some time to freshen up, dinner will be served at about 19:00.
After breakfast drive back to Kathmandu. Check in at Hotel in Kathmandu, rest of the day will be at leisure to explore on your own.
After breakfast you will be received at Hotel and transferred to Kathmandu airport to fly to Lhasa. Meet and assist at the airport by our representative. Check in to the hotel and rest for most of day for acclimatization.
Lhasa, which means ‘the land of the gods’ is the heart and soul of Tibet. It is a city of wonders, the capital of the Tibet autonomous region of China. The city contains many culturally significant Tibetan Buddhist religious sites and lies in a valley next to the Lhasa River. For centuries this holy city has attracted travelers from all over the world, drawn by beautiful scenery, cultural heritage and its mysticism leaves the travelers captivated.
Visit Drepung Monastery and Sera Monastery
Drepung Monastery: About 8km to the west of central Lhasa, Drepung is one of the "great three" Gelukpa university monasteries of Tibet. The other two are Ganden and Sera. Seen from afar, Drepung’s grand, white construction gives the monastery the appearance of a heap of rice hence; Drepung literally means ‘heaps of rice’. The fertility of its fields supported a monastic community that before 1959, ranked as Tibet’s largest monastery with 7,770 monks. Since the 1950s, Drepung Monastery, along with its peers Ganden and Sera have lost much of their independence and spiritual credibility in the eyes of Tibetans since they operate under the close watch of the Chinese security services.
For over 500 years Drepung served as the major pillar of the theocratic state, serving as the main political headquarters for the Gelugpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism. It also served as the residence of the Dalai Lamas until the Potala Palace was constructed in 1645. Suffering only minor damage during the Cultural Revolution Drepung has plenty of historical relics, Buddhist scriptures and arts. The Drepung Monastery houses many cultural relics, making it more beautiful and giving it more historical significance. Statues of famous celebrities in Buddhism are found on the first story of the Coqen Hall, rare sutras on the second story, and a famous conch shell on the third one. All of these add to the mystique of the monastery.
Sera Monastery: 5km North of Lhasa, the Sera Monastery’s setting is one of the prettiest in Lhasa, hugging the ridge that forms the Northern wall of the Kyi Chu Valley. Founded in 1419, Sera Monastery is one of the "great three" Gelukpa university monasteries in Tibet. The other two are Ganden Monastery and Drepung Monastery. The origin of the name 'Sera' is not certain, but it may have come from the wild roses (se ra in Tibetan) surrounding the original site.
In its heyday, Sera hosted a huge monastic population and five colleges. Like Drepung, the colleges in Sera specialised in: Sera Me in fundamental precepts of Buddhism, Sera Je in instruction of itinerant monks and Sera Ngagpa in Tantric studies.
The monastery is magnificent, featuring a unique style quite different from other famous monasteries in Lhasa and covering an area of 114,946 square meters (28 acres). Its main buildings are the Coqen Hall, Zhacang (college) and Kamcun (dormitory). Buddhist Scriptures written in gold powder, fine statues, scent cloths and unparalleled murals can be found in these halls. The monastery is a Buddhist think-tank and lively debates on Buddhist doctrines are held here.
Today you will be transferred to the airport for your onward journey.
Visit Potala palace, Norbulinka, Jokhang and Barkhor Market
Potala Palace, the chief residence of the Dalai Lama since the 7th century has been the focus of the travelers for centuries. It is the cardinal landmark and a structure of massive proportion. It symbolizes Tibetan Buddhism and its role in the traditional administration of Tibet. It is an architectural gem that was built in the colossal monastic style of Central Tibet in the 7th century but rebuilt in the mid 17th century. The Tibetans themselves rarely speak of the sacred place as the "Potala", but rather as "Peak Potala" (Tse Potala), or usually as "The Peak."
It stands 300m above the valley floor, atop the hill called Marpo Ri, the ‘Red Hill’. The Potala Palace is an immense structure with an interior space of about 130,000 square meters, it has thirteen stories of buildings containing 1000 rooms, 1000 shrines and about 200,000 statues that date from 1645 when the fifth Dalai Lama began erecting a palace that would serve as a sacred and administrative center. It served all the succeeding Dalai Lamas until the 14th Dalai Lama who fled to Dharamshala, India during the 1959 Tibetan Uprising. Today, the Potala Palace has been converted into a museum by the Chinese authorities.
The Potala palace is one of Tibet’s most impressive and enduring monuments that was protected by the Chinese Army of Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution. As a result many of its chapels and treasures are intact, virtually unchanged since the 17th century. It was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994.
Norbulingka: Built 100 years after the Potala palace, Norbulingka means ‘Treasure Park’ in Tibetan and is situated in the western suburb of Lhasa City, on the bank of the Kyichu River, about one kilometer southwest of the Potala Palace. It is the biggest man-made garden in Tibet. The park was built by the Seventh Dalai Lama in 1755, and became the summer residence of the Eighth Dalai Lama. The garden contains an abundance of chapels, gardens, fountains, and pools as well as a variety of beautiful flowers and trees. Norbulingka reflects both the ethnic and religious traits of the Tibetan people and embodies the architecture style of inland China. It is of great cultural value and was listed by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage Site in 2001 as an extension of Potala Palace.
During the Cultural Revolution, the Norbulingka complex suffered extensive damage. However, in 2001, the Central Committee of the Chinese Government in its 4th Tibet Session resolved to restore the complex to its original glory.
The garden is a favorite picnic spot and provides a beautiful venue for theatre, dancing and festivals, particularly the Sho Dun or 'Yoghurt Festival', at the beginning of August, with families camping in the grounds for days surrounded by colorful makeshift windbreaks of rugs and scarves and enjoying the height of summer weather. There is also a zoo at Norbulingka, originally to keep the animals that were given to the Dalai Lama. Heinrich Harrer helped the 14th Dalai Lama build a small movie theatre there in the 1950s.
Jokhang meaning ‘House of the Lord’ in Tibetan is located at the center of the old Lhasa and is the oldest and the most revered religious structure in Tibet. Built in 647 by Songtsen Gampo, it has a history of more than 1,300 years. It was built by craftsmen from Tibet, China and Nepal and thus features an intriguing mix of architectural styles.
Jokhang Temple also houses many invaluable cultural relics. Every year, the Great Prayer Festival is held here. The rites of Dalai Lamas and Panchen Lamas' initiation into lamahood are also held in the monastery.
Princess Wencheng made use of Chinese astrology to decide that the temple should be built over the pool where the temple is now located. She believed that the pool was a witch's heart and that building the temple over it would purify the area of evil. This pool still exists under the temple. Outside the temple an old and withered willow tree has survived centuries and is said to be planted by Princess Wencheng herself.
Barkhor Market: Barkhor Street is the oldest street in Lhasa and runs through the center of the old city. It is a circular street where Tibetan culture, economy, religion and arts assemble. The word Barkhor refers to the middle of the three concentric holy circuits around the Jokhang. The Barkhor Circuit runs through the heart of the old city where life has changed little down the centuries and it gives you a curious sensation of having slipped through time into a medieval carnival. Tibetans walk clockwise around the Jokhang Temple to pay their respects to Sakyamuni, establishing Barkhor Street as Tibet's "Sacred Way". Each day hundreds of Buddhist pilgrims flow in from every corner of Tibet and across China to make the trek through Barkhor Street. Some merely walk, but some progress by body-lengths along the street clockwise every day into deep night to worship Sakyamuni. Barkhor will allow you to experience firsthand the religious fervor of Tibet.
Visit Yamdrok Lake, Kumbum stupa and Pelkhor stupa in Gyantse and drive to Shigatse
Gyantse: The third most important city Gyantse is one of the least Chinese influenced towns in Tibet and is worth a visit for this reason alone.
Yamdrok Lake is one of the three largest sacred lakes in Tibet. It is over 72 km (45 miles) long. The lake is surrounded by many snow-capped mountains and is fed by numerous small streams. The lake does have an outlet stream at its far western end. Around 90 km to the west of the lake lays the Tibetan town of Gyantse and Lhasa is a hundred km to the northeast. According to local mythology, Yamdok Yumtso Lake is the transformation of a goddess.
Yamdrok Lake, has a power station that was completed and dedicated in 1996 near the small village of Pai-Ti at the lake western end. This power station is the largest in Tibet.
The lake with an area of 621 square kilometers and the unknown depth is fan-shaped, spreading to the South but narrowing up to the North. The mountainous lake has a dozen of islands, the largest of which is about 3,000 square kilometer. The lake freezes up in winter. Like mountains, lakes are considered sacred by the Tibetan people, the principle being that they are the dwelling places of protective deities and therefore invested with special spiritual powers.
Kumbum stupa: The spectacular Bodhi stupa, or Kumbum in Tibetan was built in 1412 and completed 10 years later. Deemed as the symbol of the monastery, the spectacular "stupa" consists of hundreds of chapels in layers, housing about a hundred thousand images of various icons. The elegant structure is worth visiting. The famous Kumbum pagoda, built in collaboration with Newari artists from Nepal and Tibetan artists, also stands in the same courtyard with nine stories, 108 doors and 77 chapels containing clay sculptures and various murals. The Stupa rises over four symmetrical floors and is surmounted by a gold dome. The dome rises like a crown over four sets of eyes that gaze serenely out in the cardinal directions of the compass. . Kumbum means 10,000 images. The pagoda is said to have 100,000 images, either sculptured or painted, this is the reason for its name "100,000 Image Pagoda".
Phalkor stupa: Located about 100 km east of Shigatse, the unique Palkhor Monstery, also named Palcho Monastery, and is very different from other monasteries. It is reputed as the lord of Tibetan stupas and is famous for its architecture, sculpture, and mural painting art. Palkhor Monastery enjoys a high status in Tibetan Buddhism history because it houses three sects, Sakyapa, Kadampa and Gelugpa together. It was built in collaboration with the Newari architects and Tibetan artists.
Later drive to Shigatse for overnight.
Visit Tashilunpo Monastery in Shigatse and drive back to Lhasa
Shigatse: It is the second largest city in Tibet and the capital of the traditional Tibetan province of Tsang.
Tashilunpo Monatsery: Tashilhunpo Monastery is a historic and culturally important monastery in Tibet. It is located on a hill in the center of Shigatse, the second largest city in Tibet. Tashilhunpo in Tibet means "all fortune and happiness gathered here" or "heap of glory".
Founded by the First Dalai Lama in 1447, the monastery is the traditional seat of successive Panchen Lamas, the second highest-ranking tulku lineage in the Gelukpa tradition. Tashilhunpo in its prime had over 4,000 monks, but after the Tibetan national uprising that took place in 1959, a handful of Tashi Lhunpo Monastery monks along with many thousands of Tibetans escaped into India.
Since the early 1980s parts of the Tashilhunpo monastery have been open to the public and it is an important tourist attraction in Tibet today.
Today you will be transferred to the airport for your flight back to Kathmandu. Upon arrival, transfer to the hotel as booked. After refreshment, continue sightseeing tour by visiting medieval ancient city of Bhaktapur.
Perched on a hill at an altitude of 1,401 m, Bhaktapur or Bhadgaon, literally the ‘City of Devotees’ is a major tourist destination that takes visitors back in time. Bhaktapur lies 12 km east of the Kathmandu city on the Arniko Highway that leads to the Chinese border. Bhaktapur is still untouched by rapid urbanization and has managed to retain its brick paved roads, charming red brick houses and a way of life that goes back to medieval times. This ancient city is also famous for pottery and woodcarving amply displayed on the squares and windows respectively.
The extraordinary Bhaktapur Durbar Square is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and its monuments reflect the glory days of the Malla Dynasty.
Among the three durbar squares, the Bhaktapur Durbar Square, a UNESCO World Heritage Site is by far the most elegant with its large open space facing south. The extraordinary Durbar Square with its extraordinary monuments reflects the glory days of the Malla dynasty when art and architecture thrived in the three cities of the valley
The above cost includes:
• Necessary arrival/ departure transfers with private transfers and representative.
• 03 Nights hotel accommodation at Hotel – Kathmandu on twin sharing basis on half board basis.
• 02 Nights twin share accommodation at Resort – Chitwan with all meals and all jungle activities.
• All sightseeing as indicated in the program with private vehicle and escorted by English speaking local guide during entire trip in Nepal.
• A day raft at Trishuli River on the way drive to Chitwan with necessary rafting gears.
• Welcome Nepalese dinner in selected local restaurant at Kathmandu.
• All monument entrance fees during sightseeing tour at Kathmandu and national park entrance fee at Chitwan National park.
• All necessary arrival/departure transfers.
• Meet assistance at the airport.
• 04 Nights hotel accommodation at Hotel – Lhasa in twin sharing room on bed and breakfast plan as per the above quotation.
• 01 Night accommodation at Hotel Shigatse in a twin sharing room on bed and breakfast basis.
• Sightseeing tour and all surface transfers in Tibet will be provided as per the itinerary with an English speaking Tibetan guide by private vehicle.
• Tibet Travel Permit.
• All entrance and monuments fees as indicated in the program.
The above cost that does not include:
• Nepal entry visa fee
• Chinese Visa Fee –As quoted separately
• International/Domestic airfare and taxes [Quoted separately and is subject to change if revised].
• Meals which are not mentioned in the above program
• Refreshments, bottled drinks.
• Insurance and rescue of any form.
• Cost arising out of flight cancellation/road blockades/landslides/riots and events beyond our control.
• Expenses of personal nature and any other expenses not mentioned in the above cost.
• Photography charges in the monasteries and monuments.
• Any items, services and meals which are not included in the above cost inclusion or mentioned in the above itinerary