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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 overland across the Tibetan Plateau to the North Face Base Camp of Mount Everest and into Nepal.
Admire the extraordinary landscapes of
the Himalaya, from towering peaks and
hanging glaciers to the lush foothills of
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 & 2 — U.S./Beijing, China
Depart for Beijing, cross the international date line, and arrive the next evening. The Four Seasons Beijing
Day 3 — 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 4 — 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 5 — 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 6 — 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 7 — 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 8 — 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 9 — 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 10 — 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 11 — 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 12 — Zhangmu
Today, journey from the barren Tibetan Plateau toward the lush foothills of Nepal, descending more than 9,000 feet flanked by towering summits. In the border town of Zhangmu, settle into our hotel overlooking the Bhote Kosi river. Cai Yuan Hotel (B,L,D)
Day 13 — Zhangmu/Kathmandu, Nepal
Cross the Friendship Bridge from Tibet into Nepal, and continue to the medieval city of Bhaktapur where much of the movie Little Buddha was filmed. Discover ancient temples and palaces adorned with intricately carved wooden windows and latticework. Continue to Kathmandu and settle into our hotel. Hotel Yak & Yeti (B,L,D)
Day 14 — Kathmandu
Spend today exploring the colorful capital city of Kathmandu. Visit the 2,500-year-old shrine at Swayambhunath. Delve into the bustle of Durbar Square and the Hanuman Dhoka palace complex. View the great Buddhist stupa of Bodhnath, the largest such structure in Nepal. Tonight, celebrate a remarkable journey with a festive farewell dinner. Hotel Yak & Yeti (B,L,D)
Days 15 & 16 — Kathmandu/U.S.
Depart Kathmandu and connect in Bangkok or Hong Kong for flights home. (B)
Mountaineer, author, and filmmaker Peter Athans’s name has been synonymous with the exploration of Mt. Everest for nearly three decades. He has led numerous expeditions to the mountain, including several supported by grants from National Geographic, and has summited seven times. But Everest is only one of Peter’s many achievements. He has taken a strong interest in the exploration of both the physical and cultural landscapes of Nepal, Tibet and Western China, their untrammeled peaks and unique, distinct cultures. Peter has documented the talents of Sherpa working at high altitude in books and films. His archaeological discoveries in Nepal’s Kingdom of Mustang have been featured by National Geographic Television and PBS and in National Geographic magazine. Peter is a board member and Program Director with the Khumbu Climbing Center and works to improve the competence and safety of all Nepalese high-altitude climbing professionals. He is also a board member of the Himalayan Cataract Project, which brings eye care to cataract patients in Nepal. Peter and his family are encouraging literacy in Nepalese children with the “Magic Yeti Library” initiative. They have bilingual libraries operating in six villages in the Everest region and in the restricted, legendary Kingdom of Upper Mustang in northwestern Nepal.
At this time, the border between Tibet and Nepal remains closed following the 2015 earthquake in Nepal. The April, 2016 departure will follow a modified route as described in the "ALT" itinerary above.
Price is per person, double occupancy. For a single
room, add $1,925.
International airfare to Beijing and return from
Kathmandu and airfare from Beijing to Lhasa are not
included in the expedition cost. The group flight from
Beijing to Lhasa is $475 (subject to change).
What To Expect
We spend nine nights at elevations up to 14,268 feet and
travel as high as 17,200 feet by four-by-four 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.