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How to Travel from Tibet to Bhutan / Travel from Bhutan to Tibet

Located in the southwestern area of China, Tibet is an attractive destination full of glittering snow-mountains, magnificent Buddhist monasteries, turquoise sacred lakes, desolate desert, etc. Bhutan is a landlocked country bordering China (Tibet). Bhutan holds many surprises as well, including spectacular nature, traditional buildings (especially dzongs and lhakhangs), colorful festivals and kind people with smiling face. As close neighbors, Tibet and Bhutan are two kingdoms with fascinating civilizations, glorious histories and unbelievable natural landscape. Visiting them togethere gives you a unique experience distinguished from the life in the modern steel and concrete cities.

How to Transfer between Tibet and Bhutan - Make Transfer in Nepal

Since China and Bhutan have not established diplomatic ties currently, it’s not available to transfer Tibet and Bhutan directly. In other words, there is no flight or train traveling between Tibet and Bhutan. Every traveler needs to make transfer in some inland cities of China and other countries like Nepal, India, Singapore and so on. Making transfer in Nepal is the most convenient way because Kathmandu is well-connected with both Lhasa and Paro. You can fly between Lhasa and Kathmandu directly or enjoy an overlanding driving from Lhasa to Kathmandu via Gyirong Port. Paro Airport in Bhutan also operates daily international flights to Kathmandu.

Tibet Nepal Transfer

Both nonstop flight and overland driving are available to take you to travel between Tibet and Bhutan. Taking flight is the most efficient and comfortable way but overland driving between Tibet and Nepal offers a visual treasure.

Lhasa Kathmandu Flights

Nepal is the only country operating international flight to Tibet. There are four flights between Lhasa Gonggar Airport and Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport, 2 flights from Lhasa to Kathmandu and the other 2 flights from Kathmandu to Lhasa. The whole duration is only about 1.5 hours. Usually there is only daily flight available, but the flights might be cut in low seasons. Check the following flight schedule:

Flight No.Departure -- ArrivalDurationFrequencyPlaneTicket
Tribhuvan Airport

Gonggar Airport
1h 25m --T-T-S Airbus A319
4410 ¥
Economy Class
Tribhuvan Airport

Gonggar Airport
1h 25m SM-W-F- Airbus A319
5230 ¥
Economy Class
Gonggar Airport

Tribhuvan Airport
1h 55m SM-W-F- Airbus A319
5230 ¥
Economy Class
Gonggar Airport

Tribhuvan Airport
1h 35m --T-T-S Airbus A319
4410 ¥
Economy Class

Important Notice: 1) The departure time and arrival time are on local time and the time difference between Nepal and China is 2 hours and 15 minutes; 2) above flights schedules are only for reference, and please contact us to catch up on the latest information.

Lhasa to Kathmandu Overland Driving

Since Gyirong Port was open to travelers in 2017, many people prefer an overland trip. It takes 3~4 days to have an overland driving between Lhasa and Kathmandu, but the landscape along the road is always incredible. You will pass through two other tourist destinations – Gyantse and Shigatse. It also recommended to spend another day to Mount Everest – the highest peaks in the world.

Read more about Get from Lhasa to Kathmandu and Get from Kathmandu to Lhasa

Lhasa Kathmandu Driving MapLhasa Kathmandu Driving Map

Nepal Bhutan Transfer

Taking flight is the only way to transfer between Nepal and Bhutan at present. There are about 11 flights per week departing from Kathmandu to Paro. With a liner distance of 403 kilometers (250 miles), the flight takes only one hour. The flight journey between Paro and Kathmandu allows you to savor the wonderful views of Himalayan Peaks out the window.

Flight No.Departure -- ArrivalDurationFrequencyPlane
Kathmandu Tribhuvan Airport

Bhutan Paro Airport
1h - - - - - - S Airbus A319
Kathmandu Tribhuvan Airport

Bhutan Paro Airport
1h - M - - - - - Airbus A319
Kathmandu Tribhuvan Airport

Kathmandu Paro Airport
1 h - M - W - F - Airbus A319
Bhutan Paro Airport

Kathmandu Tribhuvan Airport
1h - - -W - F - Airbus A319
Bhutan Paro Airport

Kathmandu Tribhuvan Airport
1h - M - - - - Airbus A319
Bhutan Paro Airport

Kathmandu Tribhuvan Airport
1h - - T - - - - Airbus A319
Bhutan Paro Airport

Kathmandu Tribhuvan Airport
1h 5min - - - - T - S Airbus A319

Important Notices: 1) The departure time and arrival time are on local time and the time difference between Nepal and Bhutan is 15 minutes; 2) above flights schedules are only for reference, and please contact us to catch up on the latest information.

Travel from Tibet to Bhutan or Travel from Bhutan to Tibet?

No matter you start your Tibet Bhutan tour from Tibet or from Bhutan, you won’t miss the essential landscape in the two destinations. However, it is more recommended to start your trip from Tibet to Bhutan via Nepal according to our experience. Because of you will get more choices of transportation, less worry about traveling documents and less rick of High Altitude of Sickness.

1. Convenience to Enter Mainland China and Tibet

If you travel Tibet, there is no reason skip mainland China. China is vast and there are many things to make your tour interesting, like stupendous scenery, featured cuisine, breathtaking antiquity, etc. There are enough international flights from Europe, America, Asia, Africa, Oceania… to the major cities in China, especially Beijing and Shanghai. After your wonderful experience in China, you can take a train or a flight to Lhasa easily.

2. No Need to Apply Group Tibet Visa

If you start your trip from Bhutan via Nepal, Tibet Group Visa is a must. As a special Chinese Visa, Tibet Group Visa Application is a little complicate. It can only be applied in Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu and it needs 5 working days for regular processing. Besides, the Group Visa can only be issued for group with at least 5 members. If you travel to China first, you can directly apply your Chinse visa in local Chinse Embassy before your tour.

3. More Time to Adapt to High Altitude

Lhasa to Kathmandu route is good for adapting the high altitude if you choose an overlanding trip between Tibet and Nepal via Mount Everest. The average of Kathmandu Valley is no more than 2,000m (6,562ft) while the altitude of Rongbuk Monastery (perfect site to view Mount Everest) is about 4,980 meters (1,6338ft). Because of the big altitude difference, it’s easier to suffer from High Altitude Sickness while traveling from Kathmandu to Everest in only 2 days. On the contrary, if you tour Lhasa (3,650m) for 2 days and then travel to Kathmandu via Shigatse (4,000m), Mount Everest, you can acclimatize your body to the altitude gradually better.

Suggested Tibet Bhutan Itineraries

Usually, a Tibet Bhutan tour can take 9 ~ 20 days. You plan a tour according to your own taste and travel length.

Spend 9 Days to Explore the Essence of Tibet and Bhutan

Day 1 ~ 3: Lhasa arrival and essence exploration. It’s available to reach Lhasa by flight or train from Chengdu, Beijing, Chongqing, Xining and other cities on Day 1. In the next 2 days, you can visit the landmarks of Holy City Lhasa, like majestic Potala Palace, spiritual Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Street and Sera Monastery and so on.

>> 4 Days Holy City Tour

Day 4: Flight from Lhasa to Kathmandu. Accommodate in Kathmandu this night.

Day 5 ~ 8: Flight from Kathmandu to Paro & Bhutan Sightseeing. On Day 5, take a morning flight from Kathmandu to Paro and start your trip there. You will firstly visit Paro’s landmarks - Bhutan National Museum and Rinpung Dzong. After sightseeing, drive to Thimph, the capital of Bhutan for accommodation. On Day 6, visit top attractions in Thimphu, including National Memorial Chorten, Motithang Takin Preserve, Traditional Painting School, etc. Leaving Thimph, you will continue your trip to Punakha and stay overnight there. On Day 7, you will move to beautiful Punakha Dzong and Chimi Lhakhang. Then drive back to Paro. On Day 8, you will take a challenging but necessary trek to Taktsang Monastery which the must-be-visited sight in Bhutan.

Day 9, Bhutan Departure. You can take an international flight to India, Nepal, Singapore, etc.

>> 5 Days Bhutan Classic Tour

Travel from Tibet to NepalJulie's group from USA visited Potala Palace with Tibet Discovery
Punakha DzongRichard and Hamad's Journey to Punakha Dzong with Tibet Discovery

Add 4 more Days to Enjoy an Overland Adventure with Mount Everest

If you have more time, we strongly suggest you take an overland trip from Tibet to Nepal via Mount Everest and then fly to Bhutan.

Day 1 ~ 3: Lhasa arrival and essence exploration.

Day 4 ~ 8: Overland Trip from Lhasa to Kathmandu. On Day 4, you will start a great driving journey from Lhasa to Shigatse. The attractions on the way include impressive Yamdrok Lake, stunning Karola Glacier and Nepal-style Placho Monastery. On the next day, you will visit Tashilhunpo Monastery in Shigatse and then drive to Rongbuk Monastery and enjoy the fantastic view of Mount Everest. Drive from Everest to Gyirong Town on Day 6 and drive to Kathmandu via Gyirong Port.

>> 8 Days Mount Everest Flight Tour

>> 8 Lhasa to Kathmandu Overland Tour via Everest

Day 9 ~ 13: Flight to Bhutan & Bhutan Sightseeing & Bhutan Departure

Travel from Tibet to NepalExplore Mount Everest with Tibet Discovery

Enjoy an In-depth Tour to Western Tibet and Central Bhutan

If you are deeply interested in wild nature and Buddhism, you can visit western Tibet (Ngari). Mount Kailash in Ngari is regarded as the Center of World in Buddhism, Bon and Hinduism. The nature of Ngari is also surprising.

>> 13 DaysMt. Kailash & Lake Manasarovar Trekking Tour

>> 16 Days Mt.Kailash Pilgrimage Private Tour

If you want to probe into Bhutan’s history and nature more, central Bhutan is top recommended. Its forested mountains and fertile valley comprise the country’s cultural heartland. There are Bhutan’s oldest and most significant monasteries.

>> 9 Days Bhutan In-depth Tour

Travel from Tibet to NepalGreat View of Mount Kailash

Nepal Tibet Bhutan Travel

Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan all feature in highly-soaring Himalayan peaks and thick religious atmosphere. Since it is necessary to take stopover in Kathmandu, it will be a good idea to spend 2 ~ 7 more days touring Nepal.

Usually, 2 whole days allow you to see the highlights of Kathmandu Valley – Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur. The Durbar Squares in the three cities exhibit the architectural essence and cultural elite of Nepal. If you want to explore more, you can travel to Nagarkot for an enchanting sunrise, Pokhara for Nepal’s most beautiful Nature, Chitwan for interesting wildlife and Lumbini for Buddhist fragrance. Read more about Nepal Tibet Bhutan Tours>

>> 15 Days Tibet Nepal Bhutan Himalaya Exploration In-depth Tour

>> 16 Days Nepal Tibet Bhutan Classic Tour

>> 20 Days Himalaya Photography Tour from Tibet to Nepal & Bhutan

>> 24 Days Bhutan Nepal Tibet Pilgrimage Tour

Boudhanath StupaBoudhanath Stupa in Kahtmandu
PhokharaPhokhara with Picture-postcard Backdrop

Necessary Visas and Permits for Tibet Bhutan Tour

If you travel from Tibet to Bhutan via Nepal, needed permits include Tibet Enter Permit, Tibet Border Pass, Chinese Visa, Nepal Visa and Bhutan Visa. Alien Travel Permit is also necessary if you travel beyond Lhasa to other prefectures in Tibet. If you travel from Bhutan to Tibet via Nepal, you have to prepare Bhutan Visa, Nepal Visa, Tibet Group Visa, Tibet Enter Permit and Tibet Border Pass.

Tibet Entry Permit

Tibet Entry Permit is foremost and compulsory for foreign passport holders to enter Tibet. Issued by Tibet Tourism Bureau, it is also called TTB permit. Without the permit, you can’t board your flight to Tibet or cross overland from Nepal, also will not be able to get other permits to continue to travel Tibet further. Learn more >

Tibet Border Pass

To pass the China-Nepal border area, travelers have to hold a Border Pass which is issued by Tibet Armed Police Border Corps in Lhasa. It can't be applied by travelers individually. One has to contact a Tibet travel agency to apply the Border Permit from the Tibet Armed Police Border Corps in Lhasa. Learn more >

Alien Travel Permit

When foreign travelers travel beyond Lhasa to other prefectures in Tibet, such as Shigatse, Shannan, Ngari, one has to have an Alien Travel Permit. The Lhasa to Kathmandu Cycling passes Shannan and Shigatse Prefectures. So the Alien Travel Permit is required. This permit can be applied after arrival in Tibet. Your tour guide will take you original passport and Chinese visa to apply for the permit. It usually takes only about 30 minutes to get the permit. Learn more >

Tibet Group Visa

If you travel enter Tibet from Nepal, Tibet Group Visa is needed. It can only be applied from and issued by the Chinese embassy in Kathmandu. Usually, it is should be applied by group of travelers with at least 5 members and you can obtain it after 5 working days. Learn more>

Chinese Visa

If you want to travel from Tibet to Nepal, you have to obtain a Chinese Visa first. Group Visa is not qualified. The Chinese Visa will also be used to apply for Tibet Entry Permit before your trip. Learn more >

Nepal Visa

Nepal Visa is required for all foreign nationals (except Indian nationals), who wants to enter Nepal and spend a holiday there. It is simple and quick to obtain the visa. Passport is needed to apply for Nepal Visa. Lead more>

Bhutan Visa

Bhutan Visa is a compulsory travel permit to visit Bhutan. According to the local policy, all foreign tourist (except for Indians, Bangladeshis and Maldivians) need to obtain a Bhutan visa prior to visit Bhutan. It can only be applied by licensed Bhutanese tour operator. Learn more>

Tibet Entry Permit
Tibet Entry Permit
Tibet Border Pass
Tibet Border Pass
Group Visa
Alien Travel Permit

Tips for a Tibet Bhutan Tour

Independent Travel Not Allowed

In order to protect the local fragile environment and keep the number of tourists under control, all non-native passport holders are not permitted to travel in Tibet and Bhutan. For foreign travelers, you need to travel with an authorized travel agency, like Tibet Discovery. We not only customize a unique tour according to your own needs, but also offer the professional service of travel guide and driver.

High Altitude Sickness

High Altitude Sickness is a possible uncomfortable pathological reaction in high altitude areas where the oxygen is quite thin. Traveling to Tibet and Bhutan, it’s necessary to take some measures to avoid high altitude sickness. If it is your first time to high altitude area, you’d better take a full physical examination and ask your doctor to make sure that your body is about to stand high altitude in Tibet and Bhutan.

Best Time to Visit

Take the climate into consideration, spring (April ~ June) and autumn (September ~ October) when the weather is quite comfortable (neither cold nor hot). It rains a lot in the summer of Bhutan and the winter of Tibetan is really cold. If you just want to see the cultural sites in Lhasa, Paro, Thimphu and Punakha, you can visit Tibet and Bhutan all the year around.

Packing and Wearing Ideas

It is advisable to take two bags – one large backpack for daily activities and one small handbag for important permits and valuables. Warm clothes and strong shoes are essential. Dressing in layers will be helpful because you can add or remove the clothes as the temperatures changes. Waterproof clothing and raincoat are highly recommended if you travel in summer. Bring hat, sunglasses and sunscreen cream to protect your skin from the strong sunlight even in winter.

Recommended Tibet Bhutan Tour Packages

Tibet Discovery Tours is specialized in finding unique experience of Himalayan Kingdoms, and leading you to explore what interests you most. Our Private Tibet Bhutan Tours will take you to explore deep into the Holy Land, with loads of options, freedom & flexibility. You can choose from the following hand-picked tour packages which have been successfully operated for many years and created loads of amazing experiences for our customers, or check more Tibet Bhutan Tours >>

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