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Tibet and Nepal: Journey to the Highest Himalaya

  • Trip Style: Expeditions
  • Trip Type: Land
  • 15 Days | Beijing/Lhasa to Kathmandu
  • Group Size: Max 30

Expedition Details

 

Delve into the fascinating world of mountain lore and Tibetan and Nepalese cultures while visiting the fabled cities of Lhasa, Shigatse, and Kathmandu. Take in some of the most magnificent mountain vistas on Earth as we journey across the Tibetan Plateau to the North Face Base Camp of Mount Everest and into Nepal.

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 - 15 Days

Day 1 — Beijing, China

Arrive in Beijing this morning and check in to our hotel.
The Four Seasons 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.
Four Points by Sheraton 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.
Four Points by Sheraton 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.
Four Points by Sheraton 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.
Four Points by Sheraton Lhasa (B,L,D)

Day 6 — 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 look.
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 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

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).
Four Points by Sheraton 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 (B,L,D)

Day 15 — Kathmandu

Depart Kathmandu for your flights home.
(B)

Optional Extension

Related Trips

National Geographic Expert

Peter Hillary

Peter HillaryWhen 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 will join the following departure:

Oct 17 - 31, 2017

SEE OTHER EXPERTS »

Dates

2016
  • Oct 13 - 27, 2016
2017
  • Oct 17 - 31, 2017

To learn how you can support on-going earthquake relief efforts, visit nationalgeographicexpeditions.com/helpnepal.

Expedition Cost

2016

$8,715

2017

$8,945

Price is per person, double occupancy. For a single room, add $1,925 in 2016 and $1,985 in 2017.

International airfare to Beijing and return from Kathmandu and airfare within Asia are not included in the expedition cost. The group flights within Asia are $475 in 2016 and $965 in 2017 (subject to change).

What To Expect

We spend eleven nights at high elevations—up to 14,268 feet— and travel as high as 17,200 feet by motor vehicle, often on rough, dusty roads. Participants should be physically fit. This trip is not suitable for those with a respiratory, cardiac, or circulatory disorder or a disability that limits mobility. We stay at first-class hotels in Beijing, Lhasa, and Kathmandu; and at best available hotels elsewhere.

Please note: Access to Everest Base Camp is regulated by the Chinese government. We expect to operate this trip as planned, but may need to alter the itinerary if access to Everest Base Camp becomes restricted.