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Delve into the worlds of emperors and exiles, Arctic explorers and fossil-finders, and nomads of the desert
and the ice as you circumnavigate the northern hemisphere by private jet. Explore Japan’s exquisite spiritual
architecture amid the gardens and shrines of Kyoto and Nara. Experience nomadic life in Mongolia’s Gobi
and trace Russian history in St. Petersburg and Irkutsk. Then head further north to encounter Norway’s
fjords, Iceland’s wondrous geology, and the glittering glaciers and icebergs of Greenland.
Examine fossils with a paleontologist at Mongolia's Flaming Cliffs, and experience nomadic life in the Gobi from a stunning ger camp that is part of the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World collection.
Cruise Lake Baikal, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and attend a private concert at a historic manor house in Irkutsk, Siberia.
Discover Norway's dramatic fjords by boat and by cable car and witness waterfalls, volcanoes, and geysers in Iceland.
Meet Greenland's Inuits, take walks along the glacier at Ilulissat Icefjord, and peer at iridescent icebergs on a cruise.
Itinerary - 22 Days
Days 1 & 2 — Home City/Seattle, Washington
Meet experts, staff, and fellow travelers for a
welcome reception and dinner at our hotel, located in the heart of downtown near Pike Place
Market, the Seattle Art Museum, and the Space Needle. The next day, depart for Japan, and lose
a day crossing the international date line. Fairmont Olympic Hotel or Four Seasons Hotel Seattle (B, L, D daily)
Days 3, 4, & 5 — Kyoto and Nara, Japan
After landing in Osaka, travel to Kyoto,
home to UNESCO World Heritage-listed temples, shrines, and gardens that vividly recall the
glory of Old Japan. Visit Kinkaku-ji golden pavilion, the wooden temple of Sanjusangendo,
the striking torii gates at Fushimi Inari Shrine, and the palaces and gardens of Nijō Castle. In
ancient Nara, an imperial capital of Japan, see the Tōdai-ji Temple, the world’s largest wooden
building, and peruse an outstanding collection of sacred Buddhist art at Kōhfukuji National
Treasure Museum. Stroll along an enchanting path to the Kasuga Grand Shrine, passing by
3,000 stone and bronze lanterns. The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Kyoto (B, L, D daily)
Days 6, 7, & 8 — Ulaanbaatar and the Gobi, Mongolia
Our next stop is the land of Genghis
Khan, where one of the world’s last nomadic cultures lives amid the stark beauty of the steppe.
In Ulaanbaatar, explore the Gandan Monastery, one of the few monasteries to survive the
communist religious purges in the 1930s. Then take a private local flight to the majestic Gobi,
where we’ll spend two nights at a traditional ger (tent) camp, a member of the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World collection. In addition, visit with a nomad
family and experience their way of life firsthand. At the fossil quarries of Bayanzag, also
known as the Flaming Cliffs, hunt for dinosaur fossils with a local paleontologist. Or discover
the stunning landscapes of Gorkhi-Terelj National Park. Shangri-La Hotel,
Ulaanbaatar; Terelj Hotel or Three Camel Lodge (B, L, D daily)
Days 9 & 10 — Irkutsk and Lake Baikal, Russia
After the Decembrist Revolt in 1825, exiled nobility
settled in Siberia, bringing culture and infrastructure to cities like Irkutsk. Follow in their
footsteps on a walk through the central square, where traditional wooden houses stand out
in bright shades of blue and green—the colors of Siberia. Visit the Church of Our Saviour, the
oldest stone structure in Irkutsk, and wander among the tombs of famous Siberians at the
Znamenskaya cathedral. Delve into the city’s pivotal role in Russian history at the Monument
to Russian Pioneers of Siberia. The next day, cruise Lake Baikal, a UNESCO World Heritage site
as well as the world’s oldest and deepest lake. In the evening, enjoy a classical concert at the
Volkonsky Manor, once the center of social life for the exiled Decembrists. Courtyard by Marriott, Irkutsk City Center (B, L, D daily)
Days 11, 12, & 13 — St. Petersburg, Russia
Designed by Peter the Great in
the 18th century to rival the cities of Europe, elegant St. Petersburg still entices travelers
with its magnificent palaces, superb art collections, and riveting history. At the lavishly
restored Catherine Palace, marvel at the magnificent Amber Room, then delve into the
world-renowned art collection at the State Hermitage Museum and examine jewels and
the works of Fabergé at its Treasure Galleries. Stroll through the gardens of Peterhof, the
tsar’s homage to Versailles. Tour Peter and Paul Fortress, the city’s oldest structure, to see
the stunning grounds and historic cathedral, topped with a needle-thin spire. Attend a
performance at one of St. Petersburg’s grand theaters, or discover the Neva and its tributary
canals during an evening boat cruise before a gala dinner. Hotel Astoria (B, L, D daily)
Days 14 & 15 — Bergen, Norway
Founded by the 12th century as a trading
outpost, the coastal city of Bergen is our base for exploring the craggy fjords and verdant
valleys of western Norway. After a walking tour of the colorful harbor district on World
Heritage-listed Bryggen, choose from several options. Embark on a cruise of extraordinary
Nærøyfjord and a thrilling ride on the Flåm Railway, one of the most dramatic train
journeys in Europe. Take a guided excursion through historic Bergen, followed by a
breathtaking funicular ascent to the summit of Mount Fløyen. Or hike through the
gorgeous countryside and enjoy lunch. Alternatively, opt to spend your days immersed in
the fjords of western Norway, discovering waterfalls, exploring the scenic Mabo Valley,
visiting a local family, or paddling serene waterways.
Clarion Collection Hotel Havnekontoret or Hotel Ullensvang (B, L, D daily)
Days 16, 17, & 18 — Reykjavík, Iceland
In Iceland’s vibrant capital of
Reykjavík, explore the Old City and the traditional wooden houses of the Árbær Open Air
Museum. Relax in the geothermic hot springs of the Blue Lagoon, whose warm, mineral-rich
waters have long eased the muscles and raised the spirits of travelers. At Thingvellir,
stand astride the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, where the North American and Eurasian tectonic
plates meet. See the geothermal fields of Geysir, home to hot springs, mud pots, and boiling
pools; and feel the mist on your face at the majestic Gullfoss. You’ll also have time to choose
your own adventure, including visiting a geothermal power plant, hiking through a nature
reserve, or snowmobiling on a glacier. Hotel Borg, Reykjavík (B, L, D daily)
Days 19 & 20 — Ilulissat, Greenland
Our next stop is Kangerlussuaq, a town of
about 500 residents in western Greenland founded as a military base during World War II
and now a hub of scientific research. Continue by charter flight north to the remote town
of Ilulissat, which abuts the massive Ilulissat Icefjord, the source of many of the icebergs
in Greenlandic waters. Cruise through the mist among craggy icebergs at the mouth of
the fjord, take an easy walk along the ice fjord, and meet a dogsled team. Or take a longer
guided hike alongside the massive glacier to the Inuit village of Sermermiut, or visit the
brightly colored houses and church of a tiny hunting and fishing settlement.
Arctic Hotel, Ilulissat (B, L, D daily)
Days 21 & 22 — Greenland/Boston, Massachusetts/Home City
Fly to Boston and celebrate with a festive
farewell dinner. The next day, connect with your commercial flight home.
Mandarin Oriental, Boston (D)
A world-class team of experts will accompany this expedition to share their knowledge and insights with you and bring each destination to life. The expert featured below will be part of the expedition team on this trip.
National Geographic Explorer
Wade Davis is an anthropologist,
writer, photographer, and filmmaker
whose work has taken him to
remote places from the Amazon to the Arctic to
learn about and record complex cultures. Wade
is the author of 17 books, including One River,
The Wayfinders, The Sacred Headwaters, and
Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the
Conquest of Everest, which won the prestigious
2012 Samuel Johnson Prize. His many film
credits include Light at the Edge of the World, a
documentary series produced for the National
Geographic Channel. An Honorary Member of
the Explorers Club, Wade received their highest
award, the Explorers Medal, in 2011. He was also
awarded the Gold Medal from the Royal Canadian
Geographical Society in 2009 and, in 2012, the
David Fairchild Medal for botanical exploration.
Price is per person, double occupancy. For
a single room, add $7,950. Transportation
by private Boeing 757 jet and other
conveyance, as noted in the itinerary, is
included in the expedition cost. Airfare to
Seattle and from Boston is not included.
Our specially outfitted Boeing 757 is ideally suited for this extraordinary expedition. Its long-range capabilities and ability to land in smaller airports afford us unmatched flexibility. We set our own schedules, flying direct and avoiding layovers, which allows us the freedom to make the most of our adventures on land. Instead of the standard 233 seats, the jet’s interior has been customized and refitted to accommodate just 75 passengers in two-by-two, VIP-style leather seating.
For your protection, all payments are secured in a bank escrow account. See special terms and conditions for this expedition.