Destination Himalaya specializes in adventure tours to Himalayan Countries, offering Photo Tours, Wildlife Safaris, Treks, Luxury Tours, Custom Tours and Groups to Tibet, India, Sri Lanka, Mongolia, Bhutan.

Sanjay Saxena Conde Nast Top Travel Specialist for India, Nepal, Tibet, Sri Lanka
India, Nepal, Tibet & Sri Lanka

Photographer's Bhutan
Journey to Tibet, Nepal & Bhutan
featuring the Wangdi Festival in Bhutan

The ancient lands of Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan are synonymous with the Himalaya. Geographically close in proximity, the three nations are vastly different in many ways; yet, they compliment each other and together tell the story of Himalayan culture. On this unique departure, we will visit all three of the old Himalayan Kingdoms, imbibing in the multiplicity of cultural offerings of the Himalaya.

We begin ourcultural journey in the lovely Yarlung Valley, through which flow the rushing waters of the great Tsangpo River.  After exploring the Nyingmapa monastery at Samye we will then be blessed with three wonderful days in the magical environs of Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, its skyline dominated by the majestic ramparts of the Potala Palace.  While in Lhasa, we will visit Tibet’s holiest temple, the sacred Jokhang.  We will wander the adjoining Barkhor, the maze of shops and stalls that encircles the Jokhang, and join with Tibetan pilgrims as they ritually circumambulate the Barkhor and Jokhang koras.  In the cities of Shigatse and Gyantse, discover the monastery at Tashilhunpo (home of the Panchen Lamas) and the amazing stupa of the Kumbum, before venturing into Nepal.

We fly through the high Himalaya (a breathtakingly beautiful mountain flight) to Kathamndu. After spending two days exploring the valley with visits to many World Heritage sites, we are off on another mountain flight to the Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan, Land of the Thunder Dragon. Bhutan’s greatest attractions are undoubtedly its glorious Himalayan and pastoral landscapes, and its vibrant and active Buddhist culture. Bhutan’s Buddhist festival, or tshechus, are immensely popular events and play an integral part in Bhutanese life. Dressed in their finest clothes and jewelry, Bhutanese people attend the various festivals in celebration of purification and religious blessings. Arrays of colorful brocades whirl through the air as the dancers spin and dance the "thunderbolt step."

All of our "Himalayan Kingdoms" departures feature a Bhuddhist festival. On this departure we will partake in the annual festiities at Wangdi Dzong.

Outline Itinerary – 2016

Day 1: DEPART USA

Day 2: ARRIVE CHENGDU
Connecting in Beijing or Shanghai you arrive Chengdu late in the evening. All group members are met on arrival and escorted to our hotel.

Day 3: TO LHASA
We take off from Chengdu and fly over a "sea of mountains" to Tibet.  Upon arrival we will meet our joined by local Tibetan guide and then drive to Lhasa. Today will be an easy day as we allow our bodies acclimate to the high altitude. Tonight we will get together for a very special Welcome Dinner.  

Day 4: IN LHASA
Our day begins with a visit to two of Tibet’s most pre-eminent monasteries, Drepung and Nechung.  In the afternoon, we will return to the Barkhor area and visit the Jokhang, the religious heart and soul of Tibetan Buddhism. 

Day 5: IN LHASA
With our third day in Lhasa, we will have the opportunity to visit Sera Monastery, where we will witness monks engaging in their hotly contested daily debates on Buddhist scripture.  We will also spend a good portion of our day at the former residence of the Dalai Lamas, the majestic Potala Palace, with its innumerable chambers, chapels, and memorial chörtens..

Day 6: TO GYANTSE VIA YAMDRUK LAKE
We depart Lhasa in the morning, heading south to the shores of the mighty Tsangpo River before changing course to the east and making our way to the city of Gyantse. Once we have arrived and checked in to our hotel, we will set out to photograph the beautiful Kumbum stupa (the Temple of the Hundred Thousand Buddhas), one of the greatest buildings in the Tibetan Buddhist world, renowned both for its religious significance and dramatic architectural splendor.

Day 7: TO SHIGATSE
Departing Gyantse, we have a short but scenic two-hour drive to Shigatse, during which time we will pass through the fertile agricultural heart of Tibet.  The striking, walled fortress-like Tashilhunpo monastery in Shigatse has been an important religious institution since the 13th Century, and is the home of the Panchen Lamas.

Day 8: TO LHASA
After breakfast, we will take the road back to Lhasa, where we will convene with our new friends and travel companions for a delicious Farewell Dinner.

Day 9: FLY TO KATHMANDU/NEPAL
Fabled Kathmandu, capital of the Himalayan kingdom of Nepal. Kathmandu is living history, where the modern and ancient continue to mingle. It is an unforgettable experience to wander the mysterious bazaars of old Kathmandu, and this afternoon.

Day 10: EXPLORING KATHMANDU
Explore the ancient temple city of Bhaktapur and nearby Patan, including the rug-weaving center of Refugee Tibetans.

Day 11: TO THIMPHU/BHUTAN
This morning we fly to Paro in Bhutan. Weather permitting, we will have some amazing views of the towering Himalayas. You will be met on arrival at Paro, and will be transferred to Thimphu, Bhutan’s capital and an exciting blend of tradition and modernity.

Day 12: EXPLORING THIMPHU
We will continue exploring Thimphu, visiting the Zorig Chusum (commonly known as Painting School), the Textile and Folk Heritage Museums, and the National Memorial Chorten, a monument to world peace and prosperity.

Day 13: TO PUNAKHA
Driving over Dochu-la pass (3,088m/10,130 ft), with impressive views of Himalayan giants, we descend into Punakha Valley.

Day 14: WANGDI FESTIVAL
We spend the day at the intimate festival located in Wangdi Dzong, which incorporates masked religious dances and dramas, as well as prayer ceremonies. The performances depict the visions of Buddhist saints present in Bhutanese history.

Day 15: TO PARO
We have the morning to further enjoy the festival. This afternoon we make the return drive to the “idyllic” Paro Valley.

Day 16: EXPLORING PARO
While in Paro, we will visit historic sites such as Drukgyel Dzong, Ta Dzong, Rinpung Dzong and Kyichu Lhakhang, as well as the most famous of Bhutanese monasteries, Taktsang, Guru Rinpoche’s “Tiger’s Nest.”

Day 17: TO BANGKOK
Today we leave Bhutan, taking the return flight from Paro to Bangkok. Overnight in Bangkok for return flight to the USA the next day.

Day 18: ARRIVE USA
Departing Bangkok, you arrive in the USA later the same day.

Suggested Extensions:
  • QuickEscapes – Mountains
    Visit the Hill Stations of Kalimpong and Darjeeling offering fabulous views of the high Himalaya. Everest, Kanchenjunga and Makalu can all be viewed from Tiger Hill, above Darjeeling.

  • QuickEscapes – Kerala
    After twelve days at high altitude, take in some R&R in the calm and leisurely paced life on the backwaters of the Arabian Sea, enjoy the pristine beaches of Kerala and an Ayurvedic spa. We fly you to Cochin via Kathmandu.

Other itineraries featuring Bhutan: Other itineraries featuring Tibet:

Call us toll free at 1-800 MY INDIA (1-800-694-6342) or email us to request a detailed day-to-day itinerary.

"“This was a great trip.  Much of the credit goes to Ashok Jain, who was a wonderful trip leader, very courteous, helpful, knowledgeable.  I can’t say enough good about him.”
- Jeff B, AK

Roof Detail, Potala Palace

Features:
High Himalaya views
Potala Palace, Lhasa
Monks debating, Sera Monastery
Yamdrok Lake
Samye, Drepung Monastery Buddhist Festival in Bhutan
Thimphu, Punakha, Paro Taktsang (Tiger's Nest)

It's Included:
Medical & evacuation insurance
All hotels, meals, ground transportation, local guides and entrance fees
Fully escorted trip

Departures:
with Wangdi Festival
Sep. 28 – Oct 15, 2016

Land Cost: per person
6-9 participants : $5885
10 + participants : $5245


Leh monastery
Potala Palace
Photo: Gillian Marshall


Taksang Monastery (Tiger's Nest)


Masked dancers at festival

Leh monastery
Masked dancer at festival
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