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Welcome to Nepal and the start of your Himalayan Adventure! Arrive Kathmandu airport and transfer to hotel. This evening enjoy a welcome drink and briefing.
Kathmandu is a fascinating blend of old and new, the largest and most cosmopolitan city in Nepal and yet in places, seemingly unchanged since the middle-ages with temples, shrines and living gods. We spend the day exploring the Kathmandu Valley; highlights include the Buddhist Swayambhunath Pagoda and the colossal Bodhnath. We also visit Patan Durbar square, which is brimming with temples and unique architecture. This evening enjoy dinner and a dance performance at the cultural village.
This morning head to the skies for the fantastic scenic flight to Tibet - the ‘Roof of the World’. Rising more than 2 miles above sea level the Tibetan plateau is a mystical realm of breathtaking mountain scenery, spectacular Buddhist architecture and fascinating culture. Upon arrival transfer to Lhasa, where the rest of the day is free to relax and acclimatise.
Today explore the mythical city of Lhasa, home to the Dalai Lama’s until the 1950’s. Just north of Lhasa is the Sera monastery which after 600 years, is still a working retreat, although these days only hundreds of monks rattle around in the massive buildings that were built for thousands. We’ll also explore the fascinating Jokhang temple which is the holiest shrine in Tibet and houses a solid gold shrine of the enlightened Buddha, around which all Tibetans prostrate themselves at some point in their lifetime.
Continuing our exploration of Lhasa, we travel to the Potala Palace - an enduring symbol of Lhasa and the winter home of the Dalai Lama. Our sightseeing also includes the monastery of Drepung; once the largest monastery in the world, home to 10,000 monks, but tragically torn asunder during the Cultural Revolution and still rebuilding its walls and status today.
Today is a free day for you to relax or furthermore independently explore the city.
Departing Lhasa, we head off along the Friendship Highway to the attractive city of Gyantse. The journey is incredibly scenic, crossing two mountain passes, the Kambala pass (4794m) and Karola (5010m) pass via the beautiful lake Yamdrok Tso. Gyantse is 3rd largest town in Tibet but most influenced by Chinese attractions.
Gyantse‘s main highlight is the Kumbum, constructed in 1440 and the best preserved example of Tibetan architecture. Kumbum means “a hundred thousand images” and it is lavishly decorated, with paintings smothering the walls and topped with a gold dome. After sightseeing at the Kumbum stupa and Phalor Monaster, we continue our journey to Shigatse, Tibet’s second largest city, where we visit the free Tibetan market and the Tashilunpo Monastery, founded by the first Dalai Lama in 1447.
Be prepared for a bumpy ride driving through the spellbinding Everest Region to Xegar which was once the Capital of the Tingri region. Here we visit the impressive Xegar Dzong (fortress).
This morning drive the Pangla pass to the Rongbuk; at 4930metres above sea level, it is the world’s highest monastery and the spectacular views of Everest’s north face are well worth the arduous journey. The Himalayas boast eight out of the ten highest mountains in the world and extend across 2400 kilometres. The mighty Mount Everest has the world’s tallest peak and today we visit it’s famous base camp; the starting point of many intrepid expeditions to reach its lofty summit. We spend a few hours exploring the area before taking a short drive south to the town of Old Tingri (via the stunning Lamna pass), where we spend the night.
oday begin the journey back to Nepal, driving up to the steep Lalung La Pass, where we’ll be treated to some amazing views of the Himalayas and Everest, before our sharp decent along narrow windy roads, through lush forested mountainsides and deep gorges. Continue to the Tibet-Nepal border town of Zangmu. Crossing the border back into Nepal we stop at a border resort for the night where bungee jumping and rafting are available to book locally if you’re feeling adventurous!
Today we drive to Bhaktapur, a typical Newari town. Despite its close proximity to Kathmandu, Bhaktapur seems worlds apart. This enchanting old town is peacefully traffic free and has retained its centuries old traditions, crafts and trades. Bhaktapur Durbar Square is home to beautifully carved Malla dynasty palaces and pagodas and the cobblestone streets, temples, shrines and squares are full of character.
Drive back to Nepal’s cosmopolitan capital city today, where you can enjoy the remains of the day at leisure.
Sadly your journey with us has come to an end, we will transfer you to the airport in time for your flight home.