H10 Kingdoms of the Himalaya TOUR

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Nepal & Tibet

View of Himalayan Peaks
TOUR HIGHLIGHTS:

Historic Kathmandu Valley; Bhaktapur - UNESCO site; The Jokhang, Tibetan Buddhism's most important temple; Barkhor, largest bazaar in all of Tibet; Fabled Potala Palace; Himalayan peaks, high plateaux

  • DATES & PRICES
  • FULL ITINERARY
  • MAP & HOTELS
  • TRIP INFORMATION

Dates & Prices

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Prices are in US Dollars (USD), before taxes (if applicable) - All pricing reflects per-person Land Only expenses, however, we can book flights from virtually every city. Please call us for an air quote.


Start DateEnd DatePriceMore Info
Tue 06 Oct 2015Fri 16 Oct 2015 $2590
Sun 24 Apr 2016Wed 04 May 2016 $2590
Wed 26 Oct 2016Sat 05 Nov 2016 $2590

Optional Single Supplement: $540 (number of singles limited).


Tour Overview


Regions visited: South Asia and Central Asia And Far East
Countries visited: Nepal and Tibet


Testimonials


Loved the Potola Palace of course and Bhaktapur was very good too. Chodek, our local guide, was very good.

Full Itinerary

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Day 1 Arrive in Kathmandu
Today we arrive in Nepal, a country with spectacular geography and a rich cultural diversity. Within its narrow borders we will find a complete climatic range, from tropical to temperate, alpine to Arctic. As many as 30 different languages and dialects are spoken among the many ethnic groups. Transfer the short distance to Bhaktapur in the Kathmandu Valley.

NOTE: Due to variables such as festival dates, internal flights, and ever-changing entry (visa) requirements, our published tour dates and / or itinerary can shift right up to departure. As such, we will not accept any LAND ONLY bookings for this tour. Booking your air with Adventures Abroad offers you protection from the possible costs and complications associated with tour changes. Exceptions to this rule will only be granted to those passengers who are willing to fully accept the risks of booking their own air tickets given the above circumstances.

Overnight in Kathmandu.

Meal plan: dinner

Day 2 Kathmandu: City Tour
This morning we travel to Kathmandu's central meeting area, Durbar Square, a profusion of temples reflecting the different architectural styles dating from the eleventh century.* The area also includes the Royal Palace with its gilded gates and elaborate statues. The square is alive with a multitude of nationalities, intermingled with stalls displaying a wide variety of Nepalese and Tibetan handicrafts. We will also see "Freak Street" -- a famous hippie meeting place
from the 60's.

We then proceed to Swayambhunath Temple, Nepal's most significant centre of Buddhist worship. There has been a temple on this site since at least the 5th century. Swayambhunath is also known as the "Monkey Temple" due to the large population of monkeys that make the grounds their home. The temple buildings are set atop a hill and offer an excellent view of Kathmandu and its valley.

This afternoon we visit Patan, the second largest town in the Kathmandu valley. Patan’s Durbar Square contains some of the finest examples of Newari Architecture in Nepal.

* Our final itinerary will be adjusted by your Tour Leader (in consultation with our local partners) in order to take into account of current conditions following the recent earthquake. As conditions change constantly, we have chosen to leave our descriptions and sightseeing as per the original; however, please bear in mind that it may not be possible to follow this itinerary as printed. Changes and omissions are highly likely.

Overnight in Kathmandu.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 3 Kathmandu - Bhakatapur
Today we travel to the historic suburb of Bhaktapur, designated as a World Heritage Site. IN addiiton to a walking tour of Bhaktapur, we will visit sites in the Kathmandu Valley (again, subject to earthquake closures and damage). Our usual sightseeing includes: Changu Narayan, a Hindu temple set on a hilltop a few kilometers from Bhaktapur. On the way to Changu Narayan, we pass through terraced rice fields and enjoy a glimpse of the rural life of Nepal.

Our next stop is Pashupatinath Hindu Temple, a very interesting place located on the sacred Bagmati River where there may be cremations taking place on the ghats. We also visit Boudhanath Stupa, one of the holiest Buddhist sites in Kathmandu and one of the largest spherical stupas in Nepal.

Overnight in Bhaktapur.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 4 Kathmandu, Nepal - Lhasa, Tibet
Today we transfer to Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport for our flight to Tibet.

This remarkable trans-Himalayan flight takes us directly past the Everest group of peaks. In a little over one hour, the Kathmandu-Lhasa flight covers rugged terrain that once took trade caravans months to cross. On a clear day as many as eight of the world's fourteen 8000+ m (26,000+ feet) peaks can be seen. The landscape changes dramatically as we cross the great barrier of the Himalaya, from Nepal's green terraced hillsides to the high and dry, barren plateau typical of Tibet. We fly over deep-blue Yamdrok Lake to land at Gonggar Airport, 85 km (53 miles) south of Lhasa.

We will be met by our Tibetan guide on arrival and drive along the flat valley of the Tsangpo River to our comfortable hotel in Lhasa (3650 m / 12,045 feet). Balance of the day at leisure to acclimatize to the altitude.

Overnight in Lhasa.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 5 Lhasa: Jokhang Temple
We have an easy morning to acclimatize followed by a visit to the Jokhang, the religious and geographical centre of Lhasa, and the most important temple in the world for all sects of Tibetan Buddhism. Pilgrims from across Tibet, many of whom have walked hundreds of kilometres to see the Jokhang once in their lives, queue for hours to enter the temple and perform a ritual circuit in prostration of its many sacred shrines. It is a moving experience to join them in the dark hallways, filled with the sound of low chanting, lit only by butter lamps. The main image worshipped here is Jowo Rinpoche, a gilded statue of Buddha Sakyamuni said to have been modeled during his lifetime.

The Jokhang is encircled by the Barkhor, an 800m (2,645 feet) flagstone pathway that is both a sacred circumambulation route and the biggest bazaar in all of Tibet. Night and day, Tibetans walk clockwise around it, earning religious merit as they shop, people-watch and chat with friends. Here you find people from all corners of Tibet: striking, tall Khampa men from the east with big knives and red tassels wrapped about their heads; Golok women with their hair plaited in 108 tiny braids; nomad families bundled in sheepskins. The Barkhor is the real heart of Tibet, you can spend hours watching the passing parade or bargain for the trinkets and souvenirs, displayed in street stands, everything from prayer flags to silver jewelry to yak butter.

Overnight in Lhasa.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 6 Lhasa - Potala - Sera - Lhasa
This morning we visit the fabled Potala Palace that rises above the city like a fairytale castle set atop its rocky pedestal. The Potala has been the home of successive Dalai Lamas. It was also the seat of the Tibetan government, and with chapels, cells, religious schools, and even tombs for the Dalai Lamas it was virtually a self-contained world. Begun in the 7th century, but not reaching its full glory until the 17th century reign of the Fifth Dalai Lama, the 13 storey Potala rises 117m (383 feet) high and is made entirely of wood, earth and stone. It has over 1000 rooms.

We proceed to Sera, one of the two most important Gelugpa (Yellow Hat sect) monasteries. The monastery is the location of the famous ‘monk's debate' on some afternoons every week. During this ritual 'question and answer' session, a senior monk quizzes a junior and there is much grimacing, clapping and mock threatening. The important part of this ritual is the passing on of knowledge of the theosophical questions of the Tibetan lamaistic Buddhist faith.

Overnight in Lhasa.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 7 Lhasa - Drepung - Norbulingka - Lhasa
This morning we visit Drepung, a monastery which, during its peak, had 7,700 monks in residence and a single kitchen where food for them was cooked in enormous urns. It and Sera suffered damage in varying degrees during the turbulent days of the Red Guards and their Cultural Revolution but have now been restored and the monks have returned.

During our time in Lhasa we will also visit the Norbulingka, the Dalai Lama's summer palace and currently the site of a simple museum.

Overnight in Lhasa.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 8 Lhasa - Shigatse
An early departure takes us from the high Tibetan plateau to Shigatse.

We pass colourful rock carvings of Buddha as we approach the outskirts of Lhasa at the start of a long road journey. We leave the city limits and follow the course of the Tsangpo River which, entering India, becomes the Bramahputra. From the Kamba La (4794 m 15,728 ft) there is a spectacular view of the blue waters of Yamdrok Tso, one of Tibet's sacred lakes. Now we travel the zigzag road to cross the mighty Yarlung Tsangpo River on our way to Lhasautra. The road then drops down to Yamdrok Tso Lake and follows the twisting northern bank for hours, prior to climbing up to the Karo La Pass. On either side are gigantic peaks including 7260 m (23,958 foot) high Nazin Kang Sa.

On our way to Shigatse, we stop and visit Gyantse, famous for its multi-tiered stupa known as the Kumbum.

Overnight in Shigatse (3900 m / 12,870 feet).

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 9 Shigatse Area
We visit the main site of interest in Shigatse, the Tashilhunpo Monastery.

Tashilhunpo, the principal monastery of Tsang Province, is one of the Great Six centers of the Gelugpa sect. The others are Sera, Drepung, and Ganden, all in or near Lhasa, and Labrang and Kumbum in Amdo (southern Gansu / Qinghai provinces). Tashilhunpo is the largest, most vibrant monastery in Tibet, the only one that does justice to the term 'monastic city'. Founded in 1447 by Tsongkhapa's nephew and disciple, Gedundrub, the First Dalai Lama, it was substantially enlarged under the Fourth Panchen Lama, Lobsang Chokyi Gyaltsen (1570-1662).

This afternoon is free to explore Shigatse town and the market.

Overnights in Shigatse (3900m / 12,870 feet).

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 10 Shigatse - Lhasa
Today we follow the path of the often turbulent east-flowing Yarlung Tsampo River as it winds it's way towards Lhasa. You will see the new Lhasa-Shigatse railway in various stages of construction on either side of the river and through the Yarlung Valley's mountain walls (scheduled for completion in 2014). We will hop back and forth across the river that cuts through the rugged canyon and witness the clash between Tibet's past and it's future.

Overnight in Lhasa.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 11 Lhasa, Tibet - Kathmandu, Nepal - Departure
Today we drive back to Lhasa'a Gonggar Airport and fly to Kathmandu to connect with late afternoon (most flights) flights homeward.

IF YOU ARE BOOKING YOUR OWN AIR, please ensure that you onward flight departs later than 4:00 pm.

BON VOYAGE!

Meal plan: breakfast

Tour Map

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*The red tour trail on the map does not represent the actual travel path.


Hotel List


The following is a list of sample hotels at some locations included on this tour. The hotels shown here are meant to provide a general sense of the standard of hotel we usually aim for; they are not necessarily confirmed for your chosen departure.


Hotel Shanker

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Kathmandu
Country: Nepal

Hotel Shanker, Kathmandu is a heritage hotel, housed in a 19th-century palace within walking distance to Thamel and Durbar Marg,
... tourist hubs. It was the royal residence of the rulers of Nepal from 1894 until 1964, when it was converted into a luxury hotel. The facade was kept intact but the interiors were redesigned to give travellers the kind of comfort they'd expect of a world class hotel. The hotel is characterised by exquisite and authentic objects d'art. For example, the carved windows displayed in the lobby bar are over 200 years old.
Read More.

Dhood Gu Hotel

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Lhasa
Country: Tibet

This comfortable three-star property is an excellent choice. The buzzing crowds in the alley below are rivalled only by those
... the Potala seen from the rooftop patio. The comfortable rooms come with traditional Tibetan furniture, modern bathrooms and kettles.
Read More.


Trip Information

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Inclusions

Breakfast and dinner are included daily. Evening meals on tour will be taken mostly at hotels. In some locales we endeavour to break up the buffet dinners with a meal at a local restaurant but, overall, the imperatives of hygiene and quality dictate hotel meals. All transport, accommodation, sightseeing and entrance fees are included for sites noted as 'visited' in the detailed itinerary. Gratuities for drivers, restaurant staff, porters, local guides. Airport transfers for land & air customers arriving / departing on tour dates.

Exclusions

Tour Leader gratuities, lunches, drinks, personal items (phone, laundry, etc), domestic and international (if applicable) air taxes, visa fees, and any excursions referenced as 'optional'. Airport transfers for Land Only customers. Optional trip cancellation insurance. Our post-reservation trip notes offer further guidance on shopping, not included meals, visas.

Seasonality and Weather

The Kathmandu Valley, at an altitude of 1310m (4,297 ft), has a mild climate, ranging from 17-23C (64-76F) in late spring, and 2-20C (36-68F) in early winter.

Tibet, due to its unique geographical characteristics, is cold in winter, cool in summer and generally dry, receiving only 450 mm (18") of rain or snow. Sunlight is extremely intense. The thin air neither blocks nor holds heat so sunshine feels warm, shadows chilly, and temperatures can vary greatly within a day, exceeding 29C (84F) in summer, and plunging below 4C (40F) the same night. The higher you go the colder it gets. Rainfall in southern Tibet occurs intermittently between May-Sep, bringing moisture to barley fields and greenery to the valleys. The most pleasant months for tourism are from Mar-Oct.

YOU WILL EXPERIENCE TEMPERATURE EXTREMES ON THIS TOUR. BE PREPARED FOR INTENSE SUN AND SOME CHILLY CONDITIONS.

Transport and Travel Conditions

Land transportation is via private bus or Land Cruiser type vehicle depending on group size and / or conditions. Air conditioning / heat in vehicles is generally not available in this part of the world. Road conditions are generally quite poor and can be bumpy, and as with all mountain roads the occasional delay can occur due to landslides or adverse weather conditions.

The roads are also quite twisty on the mountain sections; if you suffer from travel sickness you should bring your usual remedy. The tour is not physically strenuous though it is busy; you must be prepared for some early starts, be steady on your feet, and be able to endure some heat and long days at high altitudes. We have numerous walking tours and visit several sites that are LARGE with steps and uneven surfaces. Internal flights via scheduled carriers. Porters are available at hotels but you must be able to manage with your baggage at airports.

ALL PASSENGERS will require a medical questionnaire to be signed by his/her physician indicating that the traveller is fit to travel on such a journey. Those with pre-existing conditions that could be exacerbated by travel at high altitude or on poor roads, or persons with compromised immune systems and mobility problems, should carefully consider their participation.

Accommodation

We will be staying in hotels with private bathrooms, and there will be hot water, though this is usually only available in the morning and evening. None of the hotels are centrally heated, although coal fires can sometimes be provided in the bedrooms at a small extra cost. Generally hotels are comfortable and often spectacularly located, though simple with quirks that can range from charming to frustrating. Single rooms are limited and possibly smaller than twins. Porters are generally available (see 'Inclusions').

Staff and Support

Tour Leader throughout, local drivers, local guides at various locations.

Group Size

10-21 (plus Tour Leader)

H10 TRIP DETAILS

DURATION11 days

TOUR STARTKathmandu

TOUR ENDKathmandu