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A Journey to the Highest Himalaya - Tibet & Nepal

Tibet and Nepal  

When Peter Hillary first climbed Mount Everest in 1990, he and his father, Sir Edmund Hillary - who made the first ascent of Mount Everest in 1953 - became the first father and son to reach the summit. He reached the summit again in 2002 on a National Geographic-sponsored ascent later featured in the film Surviving Everest. Peter has completed more than 40 mountaineering expeditions and is deeply involved in assistance programs for the people of the Mount Everest region in Nepal. Peter Hillary joins select departures.

Trip Highlights

*  Admire the extraordinary landscapes of the Himalaya, from towering peaks and hanging glaciers to the lush foothills of Nepal

*  Venture into the legendary Potala Palace in Lhasa and visit Tibet's holiest and most historic monasteries.

*  Gaze up at the soaring crags of Mount Everest from the storied North Face Base Camp in Tibet

*  Discover many layers of symbolism and belief at ancient Bodhnath, the largest Buddhist stupa in Nepal.

Itinerary - 16 Days

Days 1 — U.S./Beijing, China
Arrive Beijing and check in to our hotel.
The Four Seasons Hotel Beijing

Day 2 — Beijing/Lhasa, Tibet
This morning, embark on one of the world's most astonishing flights, crossing the Hengduan Range and three of Asia's greatest rivers - the Salween, the Mekong, and the Yangtze - en route to Lhasa (11,970 feet). Drive to the Holy City, scanning the vast countryside for the first sight of the Potala Palace. Gather for a welcome reception and dinner this evening.
Shangri-La Lhasa (B,L,D)

Day 3 — Lhasa
Explore Drepung Monastery, once home to some 10,000 monks and still one of the most impressive monasteries in Tibet. Meandering through its dark, ancient halls, listen for the lilting, booming chants of monks at prayer.
Shangri-La Lhasa (B,L,D)

Day 4 — Lhasa
Venture up to the Potala Palace and explore the grandest of its myriad rooms. See the jeweled burial chortens of past Dalai Lamas as well as statuary, frescoes, and paintings. Later, visit the Jokhang, Tibet’s holiest temple; and wander through the Barkhor, Lhasa’s old market.
Shangri-La Lhasa (B,L,D)

Day 5 — Lhasa
Take an excursion to the historic Ganden Monastery, destroyed by China's Red Army in 1966 and now a working monastery once again.
Shangri-La Lhasa (B,L,D)

Day 6 — Lhasa/Gyangzê
Our drive to Gyangzê (12,956 feet) traces the turquoise waters of the holy Lake Yamdrok and crosses two spectacular high passes. Stop to view a spectacular hanging glacier, and if you wish, take a short walk for a closer view.
Gyangzê Hotel (B,L,D)

Day 7 — Gyangzê/Shigatse
Explore the Pelkor Chode, a complex of monasteries and temples in which all four major sects of Tibetan Buddhism worshipped. Then drive (by comfortable 4X4 vehicles) to Shigatse (12,792 feet), home to the immense Tashilunpo Monastery, the seat of Tibet's second highest incarnation, the Panchen Lama. Venture into its warren of chapels and shrines linked by mysterious alleyways and steep staircases. Walk back to the hotel through the town of Shigatse, stopping to browse through the old market.
Tashi Choe Ta (B,L,D) 

Day 8 — Shigatse 
Take an optional hike from remote Ja Village to Ngor Monastery, crossing the Chak La pass (14,700 feet). From the pass, the tiny, remote monastery is visible below, and we continue walking another 1,000 feet down to reach it. Those who don’t wish to make the five-hour hike can spend the day further exploring Shigatse. As one of Tibet’s larger towns, Shigatse is at a crossroads between its history as an ancient Tibetan settlement and the encroaching modernity of contemporary China.
Tashi Choe Ta (B,L,D) 

Day 9 — Xêgar
The scenic drive to Xêgar crosses the Lakpa La pass (17,121 feet) and provides us with our first glimpse of Mount Everest (weather permitting). Settle into our hotel in the small town of Xêgar (14,268 feet), where the first expeditions to Mount Everest stopped in the 1920s.
Qomolangma Hotel (B,L,D)

Day 10 — Xêgar/Everest North Face Base Camp/Tingri 
From Xêgar, cross the 17,000-foot Pang La pass. Here, take in a superb vista of ice-capped peaks dwarfed by majestic Mount Everest - described by George Leigh Mallory, who pioneered today's route, as the "prodigious white fang ...[rising] from the jaw of the world." Visit Rongbuk Monastery before continuing to the North Face Base Camp of Everest
Qomolangma Hotel (B,L,D)

Day 11 — Xêgar/Shigatse
Returning east from the Everest region, drive approximately six hours back to Shigatse, making stops in small villages and taking in the rugged landscapes of the high plateau along the way. 
Tashi Choe Ta (B,L,D)

Day 12 — Shigatse/Lhasa
Resume the drive back to Lhasa via the picturesque northern route, passing through the small town of Yangbajing and traveling over the Shugu La pass (17,254 feet). The scenes along these roads, some of them still unpaved, may look markedly different from life along the paved route taken on the journey west. Enjoy a final evening in Tibet with a dinner overlooking the floodlit Potala Palace (weather permitting).
Shangri-La Lhasa (B,L,D)

Day 13 — Lhasa/Kathmandu
Return to Lhasa’s Gongkar Airport this morning for a short flight to Nepal. Upon arrival, take a walk in the heart of the city, Durbar Square, and the Hanuman Dhoka temple complex. Though tragically damaged in the recent earthquakes, many of the temples and palace buildings here still stand, with efforts underway to save and restore them. From Durbar Square, continue to Swayambhunath. Located on a small hill to the west of Kathmandu, the 2,500-year-old shrine at Swayambhunath is a pacific and fascinating mixture of Hindu and Buddhist piety. Looking east, take in views of the entire Kathmandu Valley spread out below.
Hotel Yak & Yeti (B,L,D)

Day 14 — Kathmandu
While some travelers return to the airport and begin their return flights home today, the remainder of the group stays in Nepal for a final day of touring. Drive about forty-five minutes east to Kathmandu’s medieval city, Bhaktapur, to explore ancient temples and palaces adorned with intricately carved wooden windows and latticework. These structures showcase some of the best traditional craftsmanship of the country’s ethnic Newari people. This afternoon, visit two of Kathmandu’s holiest sites, Bodhnath and Pashupatinath. Surrounded by a large Tibetan community, the great Buddhist stupa of Bodhnath is the largest such structure in Nepal. One of the most important Hindu temples in South Asia, Pashupatinath is believed to be an auspicious site to visit before embarking on a journey. 
Hotel Yak & Yeti

Day 15 — Kathmandu/U.S. 
Depart Kathmandu and connect via Bangkok or Hong Kong for flights home.
Farewell to the mighty Himalaya! 


in collaboration/National Geographic Expeditions


OPTIONAL EXTENSION TO BHUTAN - Land of Gross National Happiness 

To complete your journey, enjoy a 4-5 Day independent excursion to neighboring Bhutan - highlighting a hike to Tiger's Nest followed by a traditional Hot Stone Bath and Massage. With a rejuvenating stay at the beautiful Amankora Resort, explore the valleys of Thimphu, Punakha and Paro with a private guide, taking in the ancient monasteries and  majestic mountains of this Himalayan Kingdom. 

Taktsang Monastery - Tiger's Nest - is a pilgrimage site for both tourists and locals. It is a journey filled with spiritual bliss. Keeping the spiritual side aside, the journey up to Taktsang Monastery is a hiker’s delight. An hour’s hike up to a small wooden teahouse called "Cafeteria" provides a close view of the monastery. A further and a rather challenging hike will lead you to the glorious Taktsang Monastery.

Customize Your Journey

Explore these suggestions. Then personalize your own itinerary. Select your dates, choose additional destinations, modify hotel selections, add activities, tours, and anything else on your list. The choice is yours! We will prepare your ideal custom-designed journey with pricing based upon your travel dates and the number of persons in your party.

Meals as indicated:  B = breakfast L = lunch D = dinner


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