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Welcome to Beijing and the start of your epic cross continental adventure! Arriving into Beijing airport you will see our friendly local team waiting to transfer you to the hotel.
Don some comfortable shoes, today as we walk a section of the famous Great Wall. Zig zagging some 6000 kilometres, ducking and weaving through mountain peaks and lush terrain, climbing the Great Wall is one of those ‘must do’ experiences! Afterward we visit a cloisonne workshop, viewing the unique art of decorating copper with colourful enamel. This evening take a tour of Beijing by night and see some of the capital's monuments illuminated against the night sky.
Day at leisure – Later we take you to embark the train to Lhasa in Tibet – Sit back and enjoy the journey – Train departs 21:30 arrives Lhasa 20:58+2 days (day 5)
Enjoy the stunning scenery as the train makes it's way to Lhasa.
Upon arrival into Lhasa train station later this evening we transfer you to your hotel, where the rest of the day is free to relax and acclimatize.
Today we 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. It is one of the great Gelukpa ‘Universities’ where you can witness the monks learning scriptures in the Debating Garden. 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, in varying degrees of exertion, 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. (OVERNIGHT JIANZING HOTEL)
Gyantse‘s main highlight is the Kumbum, constructed in 1440, it is an eight storey building and the best preserved example of unique Tibetan architecture. Kumbum means “a hundred thousand images” and this fabulous building is lavishly decorated, with paintings smothering the walls and topped with a gold dome. After sightseeing at the Kumbum stupa and Phalor Monastery in Gyantse we continue our journey to Shigatse, Tibet’s second largest city. Upon arrival we visit the free Tibetan market and the Tashilunpo Monastery; a huge monastic compound of golden roofed buildings and cobbled lanes, founded by the first Dalai Lama in 1447. (OVERNIGHT MANSAROVAR HOTEL)
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). (OVERNIGHT EVEREST HOTEL)
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. (OVERNIGHT UNNAMED BASIC ACCOM)
Today 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! (OVERNIGHT UNNAMED BASIC ACCOM)
Drive back to Nepal’s cosmopolitan capital city today, where you can enjoy the remains of the day at leisure.
This morning there is the option to take a stunning scenic flight over the mountains and after breakfast we explore Kathmandu and its surrounds. The highlights include the Buddhist Stupas of Bodhnath and Swayambhunath, which are fabulous examples of Buddhist temple architecture and a great place to observe Buddhist life and culture. We’ll also explore Patan Durbar Square, home to more than 50 stunning temples and shrines. This evening enjoy dinner and a cultural Nepali dance performance.
Today we take the tourist bus to scenic Pokhara, gateway to the magnificent Annapurna Range, which consists of five mountains over 7200m and Machhapuchare Mountain at 7000m. The local people believe that Machhapuchare is sacred to the god Shiva and therefore is off limits to climbing. There’s time to relax this afternoon.
An early start today as we drive to Sarangkot enjoying the views and observing local people, villages and farms. After breakfast we visit the thundering waterfall known as Devi’s falls. We then visit a Tibetan refugee camp, a local school and monastery, and have the chance to pick up some souvenirs from small stalls and a carpet-weaving hall. Returning to our hotel the afternoon is free for you to enjoy - consider opting to go mountain biking, paragliding, boating and horse riding, or if you prefer why not unwind down by the lake.
This morning we drive to Chitwan National Park on a public tourist bus. Hailed as one of Asia’s finest game parks, Chitwan is home to elephants and rhinos, sloth bears and striped hyenas. Today allows free time for you to choose from the various optional activities available in Chitwan National Park. ((OVERNIGHT TIGERLAND SAFARI RESORT)
Today allows free time for you to choose from the various optional activities available in Chitwan National Park. ((OVERNIGHT TIGERLAND SAFARI RESORT)
Today we drive to our destination which is Lumbini, where we can visit the birthplace of Lord Buddha in 623BC. The Lumbini Garden is famous for the Ashokan Pillar, which offers epigraphic evidence of Lord Buddha’s birth.
Today we have a long drive we pass the customs checkpoint into India then drive to the Holy city of Varanasi.
This morning, we enjoy a sunrise boat ride on the holy Ganges where we’ll view the ancient religious tradition of ritual cleansing that takes place on the many riverbank ghats (riverside steps). Later, we embark on a tour of this vibrant and deeply spiritual city. This evening we catch the overnight train to Agra.
Arrive this morning to Agra – transfer to the hotel. Here, we visit the impressive Agra Fort, which boasts some of India's finest Mughal buildings behind it's fortified walls. Later we travel to the legendary Taj Mahal and witness a magical sunset. Built by Shah Jahan in the 16th century as an enduring memorial to his beloved wife Mumtaz. Built entirely of white marble, the Taj Mahal has no peers.
En route on our drive to Jaipur, we visit ghostly former Mughal city of Fatehpur Sikri. This magnificent fortified city was the capital of the Mughal Empire from 1571 until 1585, when it was abandoned dramatically due to a lack of water to support the peoples who resided in the city. Thanks to the very durable red sandstone, from which it was built, Fatehpur Sikri remains fantastically preserved.
Look out for the snake charmers that dot our route, as we travel to the 16th century Amber Fort. An exotic elephant ride transports us to the lofty fort, where we’ll enjoy a tour of this Rajput extravaganza. Later in the afternoon we tour the City Palace, which boasts an interesting museum of regal attire and Jantar Mantar, an ancient astronomical observatory before stopping at a cotton weaving house to see a demonstration of fabric dyeing and block printing
Today, we drive to the semi-desert Shekhawati region. The small towns in this region became important trading posts, a lasting legacy of which are the beautiful painted havelis (mansions) constructed by wealthy merchants in the 18th and 19th centuries. Afternoon village walk and time to relax.
This morning we make a quick visit the children and teachers at a local school in Alsisar where we operate our ‘Change for Children’ programme, before returning to Delhi. The remainder of the afternoon and evening is free for you to further discover the city. Opt for a meal in the heart of the city or simply relax and chat with group members at the hotel.
Sadly your epic journey has come to an end, we will transfer you to the airport in time for your flight home.