Select your travel style--whether it's our signature expeditions, our active outdoors adventures, or our lower-priced journeys. Or choose how you want to travel: by train or small ship, on an expedition geared for photographers or for families, and more.
Our newest small-group trips, provided in partnership with G Adventures, blend fun, hands-on exploration with meaningful cultural encounters, as well as more free time and choices, all for an unbeatable value. See All »
Improve your photography skills with the guidance of a National Geographic photographer— whether you’re traveling through Japan or heading out on shoots during an intensive weekend workshop in New York City. See All »
Follow in the footsteps of monks, pilgrims, prophets, and kings as we explore the spiritual heritage
and architectural masterpieces of hallowed sites around the world. Encounter diverse cultural
treasures, from St. Peter's Basilica in Rome to Japan’s Shinto shrines and the Buddhist
monasteries of Myanmar. In India, visit the holiest of Sikh temples and witness Hindu rituals along
the banks of the Ganges. Discover Jerusalem’s sacred sites, venture into Ethiopia’s rock-hewn
churches, and experience a dramatic mix of modernity and tradition in futuristic Dubai.
Discover wonders both ancient and modern, from the desert fortress of Masada to the soaring skyscrapers of Dubai.
Glide past fishing skiffs and floating gardens on Myanmar’s Inle Lake, and explore Bagan’s incredible temple complex.
Mingle with Sikh pilgrims at the Golden Temple in Amritsar and visit the Buddhist monuments of Sarnath.
Experience the serenity of Kyoto’s Zen gardens and the rich spiritual history of Lalibela’s rock-hewn churches.
Itinerary - 20 Days
Days 1 & 2 — Rome, Italy, and Vatican City
Meet experts, staff,
and fellow travelers during a welcome reception and dinner. Marvel at the Eternal City’s
ancient landmarks, including the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and the Pantheon—an
influential pagan temple in Rome consecrated as a Christian church. Visit Vatican
City—the heart of the Roman Catholic Church—and explore the intersection of art,
culture, and religion at St. Peter’s Basilica.
The St. Regis Rome (D)
Days 3, 4, & 5 — Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, Israel
Fly by private jet to Tel Aviv
and continue overland to Jerusalem, a city that holds a rich spiritual meaning to
many faiths. We will visit a number of holy sites in the Old City and learn about
their significance to Muslims, Christians, and Jews. Visit the Temple Mount,
capped by the gleaming cupola of the Dome of the Rock, where the Prophet
Muhammad is believed to have ascended into heaven; wander through the
Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which, according to tradition, houses the tomb of
Jesus; and face the Western Wall, one of the most sacred Jewish sites, and touch
its ancient stones. The next day, head into the desert to tour a fortress perched
dramatically atop a plateau. King Herod built this impressive fortification,
known as Masada, to be the stronghold of his people.
King David Hotel (D)
Days 6, 7, & 8 — Amritsar and Varanasi, India
Fly to Amritsar, the spiritual
center of the Sikh religion. Explore the exquisite Golden Temple, the holiest
Sikh shrine. Then fly to the holy city of Varanasi and watch Hindu pilgrims as
they gather at their most sacred site along the banks of the Ganges River; visit
the nearby ruins of Sarnath, where Buddha delivered his first sermon; and join
pilgrims in an aarti, the ritual lighting of a ghee candle. Enjoy a sunset cruise on
the Ganges, then gather for dinner in illuminated gardens where Brahmin singers
chant Vedic hymns.
Hyatt Amritsar and The Gateway Hotel Ganges Varanasi (D)
Days 9 & 10 — Kyoto and Nara, Japan
Japan’s imperial capital for nearly 1,000 years,
Kyoto brims with UNESCO World Heritage sites and quaint streets lined with
traditional shops, theaters, and teahouses. Visit the wooden temple of Sanjusangendo,
the Kinkaku-ji golden pavilion, and Fushimi Inari Shrine. Gather for a traditional
Japanese feast. Then fly to the ancient city of Nara, home to the Todai-ji temple—the
world’s largest wooden building—and stroll along an enchanting path to the Kasuga
Grand Shrine, lined with 3,000 stone and bronze lanterns.
The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto (D)
Days 11 through 14 — Yangon (Rangoon), Bagan, and Inle Lake, Myanmar (Burma)
Our visit begins at
Shwedagon Pagoda, a dazzling structure that has dominated Yangon’s skyline for more
than a thousand years. Next, take a private local flight to the ancient capital of Bagan
and explore its extraordinary plain, dotted with thousands of temples, stupas, and
monasteries. Then fly to remote Inle Lake, home to floating gardens, stilt houses and
markets of the Intha people. Learn about their traditional weaving and blacksmithing
methods, watch fishermen poling their skiffs with one leg, and visit the Nga Phe Chaung
Sule Shangri-La Yangon, Aureum Palace Hotel, and Aureum Resort & Spa (D)
Days 15 & 16 — Addis Ababa and Lalibela, Ethiopia
Ethiopia is home to evidence of some of the
earliest humans and an array of archaeological treasures. It is also a complex society
composed of diverse religions and distinct tribal cultures. This evening, arrive by private
jet in Addis Ababa. The next morning, travel by local air to the northern town of Lalibela,
an important pilgrimage center of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, one of the oldest
Christian sects in the world. At this fascinating World Heritage site, stroll among 11
breathtaking subterranean churches that were carved out of bedrock in the 13th century.
Sheraton Addis (D)
Days 17 & 18 — Dubai, United Arab Emirates
With a futuristic skyline that looms over the
Arabian Desert, cosmopolitan Dubai is a modern temple of commercialism that stands
in contrast to its profound Islamic traditions. Visit the world’s tallest building, the Burj
Khalifa, and take in the spectacular panorama of this new-age city from the 125th floor.
Opt for a helicopter tour to get a bird’s-eye view of the cityscape, including landmarks
like Jumeirah Mosque, Dubai Creek, and the manmade Palm Islands. Then travel in
4x4 vehicles into the desert for a special royal dinner, accompanied by cocktails and
traditional entertainment. As an alternative, drive to Abu Dhabi and enjoy a visit to
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, one of the world’s largest mosques.
Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach (D)
Days 19 & 20 — Rome, Italy/Home City
Return by private jet to Rome and celebrate
our adventure with a farewell dinner. The next day, transfer to the airport for your
commercial flight home.
The St. Regis Rome (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 and University of British Columbia Professor Wade Davis holds degrees in anthropology and biology and a Ph.D. in ethnobotany, all from Harvard University. Wade is the author of 260 scientific and popular articles and 19 books, including The Serpent and the Rainbow, One River, The Wayfinders, and The Sacred Headwaters. His book Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest won the 2012 Samuel Johnson Prize. His many film credits include Light at the Edge of the World, an eight-hour documentary series produced for the National Geographic Channel. In 2009 he received the Gold Medal from the Royal Canadian Geographical Society for his contributions to anthropology and conservation, and he is the 2011 recipient of the Explorers Medal, the highest award given by the Explorers Club.
Price is per person, double occupancy. For a single room, add $8,250. Transportation by private Boeing 757 jet and other conveyance, as noted in the itinerary, is included in the expedition cost.
Airfare to and from Rome 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.