Set amidst sprawling Himalayas, Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan, Sikkim and Darjeeling offers views of the amazing mountain landscape alongside rich cultural heritage. On our 25-day journey we tour numerous landmarks scattered around these picturesque towns and cities. In Kathmandu Valley (Nepal) we visit several UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as the Buddhist stupas of Bouddhanath and Swayambhunath, Medieval durbar (Palace) squares and one of the most important places of pilgrimage for Hindus, the Pashupatinath Temple. Our trip also takes us to the roof of the world, Tibet where we get to experience its many natural and cultural marvels like the Potala and Norbulingka palaces, Sakya Monastery, Rongbuk Monastery, the highest monastery on earth and others. On this trip we also visit the base camp (north face) of the world's tallest mountain, Everest before embarking on adrenaline pumped adventure activities like rafting in Nepal. Then we also visit a number of towns in Bhutan and admire the beautiful dzongs (fortresses), monasteries and other landmarks like the very famous Taktsang (Tiger's Nest) Monastery. In Sikkim and West Bengal region of India, we visit beautiful towns often referred to as hill stations that act as retreats for steamy Indian summers. Here, we tour quite a number of landmarks like the Ghoom Monastery, Institute of cottage industries, Tashi view point, Lepcha heritage museum and others.
The hotels provided during the trip are on twin-shared basis. Single supplement will be served on request and will cost USD 1390.
Nepal: Hotel Shankar, a four-star hotel will be used for accommodation in Nepal.
Tibet: Hotels in Lhasa and Shigatse are centrally-located 3 star hotels. It is also possible to upgrade to a 4-5 star hotel by bearing additional costs in Lhasa only. Due to remote location, the facilities at the hotel in Shegar will be basic. We will be staying at Kyichu Hotel in Lhasa, Yeti Hotel in Gyantse, Gesar Hotel in Shigatse, Qomolangma Hotel in Shegar and Rongbuk Monastery Guest House in Rongbuk.
Bhutan: Hotels in Bhutan are approved and classified by the government as grade A, B and C. These government approved hotels are equivalent to 3-4 star hotels elsewhere. Based on availability at the time of booking, we will be accommodated in A grade hotels in Paro, Thimpu and Phuentsholing and B grade hotel in Punakha. We use Tashi Namgay Resort in Paro, Hotel Migmar in Thimpu, Meri Puensum Resort in Punakha and Druk Hotel in Phuentsholing.
India (West Bengal): We will be staying at New Elgin Hotel in Darjeeling, Norkhill Hotel in Gangtok (Sikkim), Martam Village Resort in Martam (Sikkim) and Himalayan Hotel in Kalimpong.
Upon our arrival in the Tribhuwan International Airport (TIA) in Kathmandu, we will be greeted by a representative from Himalayan Glacier who will drop us off at our hotel. After checking in, we take a rest or visit Himalayan Glacier’s office. In the evening, there will be a welcome dinner hosted by Himalayan Glacier. During our dinner, we enjoy excellent traditional Nepalese cuisine along with a cultural program.
Today, after breakfast, we tour three UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kathmandu. Pashupatinath Temple is one of the most sacred pilgrimage sites for Hindus all over the world. We also visit popular Buddhist stupas in Kathmandu. Swayambhunath, is located in the heart of the city and is also called Monkey Temple by the tourists owing to the large number of monkeys in the temple area. Bouddhanath is one of the largest stupas in the world, and one of the holiest Buddhist pilgrimage and tourist destinations in Kathmandu. The area of Boudhnath is also famous for over 50 Tibetan gompas or monasteries. Overnight in Kathmandu.
Our hour-long trans-Himalayan flight to Lhasa, Tibet takes us over Everest (8,848m), Kanchenjunga (8,536m) and other Himalayan peaks and glaciers. After arriving in Lhasa, a representative from Himalayan Glacier will pick us up from the airport for about an hour’s drive to our designated hotel in Lhasa. We are advised to take plenty of rest for the remainder of the day in order to minimize altitude sickness. Overnight in Lhasa.
We begin sightseeing in Lhasa after breakfast. Today is the day we visit the beautiful Potala and Norbulingka Palaces. Built in the 17th century, Potala Palace provides amazing views of the entire city and houses the private quarters of the Dalai Lama, numerous grand state rooms and chapels. Norbulingka Palace is the summer palace of the Dalai Lama and houses what is considered to be the largest man-made garden in Tibet. Next, we visit the Tibet Museum, the official museum of Tibet, which has a permanent collection of around 1000 artifacts related to the cultural history of Tibet. Overnight in Lhasa.
After breakfast we visit Drepung Monastery, Sera Monastery, Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Bazaar. Drepung Monastery, which was built in the 14th century, is believed to have sheltered around 10,000 monks in the past but as of now there has been quite a declination resulting in only a few hundred. The history, culture, and religious beliefs of the Tibetan people are strongly concentrated and centered in this marvelous monastery. Sera Monastery is a preserved monastery of white-washed walls and golden roofs. Jokhang Temple is another important sacred site which unravels more deep-seated mysteries of Tibetan Buddhism. We further stroll through Barkhor Bazaar (market). With its open air stalls, shops and crowd of pilgrims, it is the nerve centre of Lhasa. Overnight in Lhasa.
Today, we take a scenic drive to Gyantse. On the way we cross the Khamba La Pass (4,794m) with a brief halt to savor the beauty of the Yamdrok Tso (Turquoise Lake), one of the three largest sacred lakes in Tibet and the beautiful Nazin Kang Sang glacier (7,252m). Soon, we come across another pass, The Karo La Pass (5,045m). From our vehicle, we can enjoy views of huge glaciers tumbling down into the road before reaching Gyantse. In Gyantse, we visit the Khumbum Stupa, Phalkot Monastery and Gyantse Dzong (Fortress), which is one of the best preserved dzongs in Tibet. Overnight in Gyantse.
After breakfast, we visit the most popular landmark of Shigatse, the Tashilhunpo Monastery, which holds both historical and cultural importance for being founded by Gendun Drup, the first Dalai Lama in 1447. Then, we drive to Shegar via Sakya. In Sakya, we visit the Sakya Monastery, which is the ancestral temple of Sakyapa sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Today, we also cross Tso La (4,500/14,763ft) and Gyatso La (5,220m/17,125ft) passes. We reach Shegar, a small town around evening and spend the night there.
From Shegar we head for the Everest Base Camp, which is also one of the highlights of the trip. Reaching the base of the world’s highest mountain is an achievement in its own right. So, we spend some time taking pictures and enjoy the amazing Himalayan vista with the world’s highest peak, Mt. Everest, soaring above us. We then drive back to Rongbuk and visit the Rongbuk Monastery, the highest monastery on earth. Overnight in Rongbuk.
Note that on rare occasions due to bad weather or political riots the local government may close down the road to the Everest base camp for safety reasons and without prior notice.
First, we drive to Zhangmu, a major trading hub between Tibet and Nepal. A few kilometers drive from Zhangmu over the Bhote Koshi River brings us to immigration control in Kodari where we are expected to complete some custom formalities. Then, we drive a little further to our ultimate destination, The Last Resort for pursuing adventure activity of our choice the next day. Upon reaching The Last Resort we take a rest in order to better prepare ourselves for the next day’s activities. Overnight in The Last Resort. (B)
* If ‘The Last Resort’ is not available for booking, the adventure activities will be carried out by ‘Borderlands Resort’
We can spend the morning pursuing adventure sports of our choice - canyoning or bungee jumping/swing. (you are required to pay for the activity on your own). While canyoning, we pass through sheer cliffs and slides to pounding waterfalls. Bungee jumping and swing is another adrenaline filled adventure which is a popular adventure activity among the locals and tourists alike. Whether we are leaping off a bridge for the bungee or sliding down glass-smooth rocks while canyoning, we will definitely have an amazing experience. In the mid-afternoon, we drive to Kathmandu enjoying the amazing hill landscape. Overnight in Kathmandu.
In Patan, nicknamed "The City of Fine Arts" we visit Patan Durbar Square which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The durbar square is full of ancient palaces, temples and shrines, noted for their exquisite carvings. Today we also visit Bhaktapur, a city that has still retained its ancient charm. Bhaktapur Durbar Square is also another World Heritage Site. Overnight in Kathmandu.
As our flight nears Bhutan, we can enjoy amazing views of the Himalayas including the sacred Jumolhari and Jichu Drake peaks. At the airport, we will be greeted by a representative from Himalayan Glacier who will take us to our hotel. Today, we will visit Rinpung Dzong which was built in 1646 and now houses the district Monastic Body and government administrative offices of Paro Dzongkhag. We will also visit Kichu Lhakhang, the oldest temple in the country and Drugyal Dzong, built in 1646 to commemorate Bhutan's victory over Tibetan invaders during the 1600s. Overnight in Paro.
After breakfast, we hike for 4 -5 hours to Taktsang (Tiger's Nest) Monastery, which is Bhutan's most famous monastery situated at 3,180 meters. Guru Rinpoche (spiritual master) is said to have flown on the back of a tigress to meditate in a cave where Taktsang Monastery now stands. Lunch will be served in the Cafeteria Restaurant, located about halfway up the mountain. After having explored the monastery, we hike down to the valley floor. This afternoon, we will drive to Thimphu, and spend the night.
In the morning, we visit King's Memorial Chorten (built in memory of the third King of Bhutan who reigned from 1952-1972), nunnery temple, mini zoo to see Takin, the national animal of Bhutan and the radio tower (for a great view of the Thimphu Valley and the Thimphu Dzong). After lunch, we visit other landmarks of Thimpu including the National Institute of Traditional Medicine, Bhutanese traditional painting school, folk heritage museum, the majestic Tashichho Dzong and the traditional paper factory. However, some of the landmarks are closed in the weekends (Saturdays and Sundays). Therefore, if we are in Thimpu during the weekend, we explore the Weekend Market instead. Overnight in Thimpu.
After breakfast, we enjoy the scenic drive to Punakha with a stop for tea at Dochu La Pass (3,100 meters), where on a clear day we get spectacular views of the Himalayas. From the pass, we drive downhill through rhododendron, fir and hemlock forests. We then pass through rice fields along river banks and reach Punakha. After lunch, we visit Punakha Dzong. Built between 1637-1638, it is the second oldest and the second largest dzong in Bhutan. Overnight in Punakha.
In the morning, we explore the beautiful town of Wangduephodrang. This village and its nearby villages are known for their slate and stone carvings. Then we drive through dense oak and rhododendron forests to Gangtey(9,280ft), a beautiful village surrounded by amazing snowcapped mountains. From here, we enjoy views of the picturesque Black Mountain ranges as well as the beautiful Phobjikha valley, the winter habitat of the black-necked cranes. Gangtey Monastery is perched atop a small hill that rises from the valley floor. We explore Phobjikha villages before driving back to Punakha for an overnight stay.
After early breakfast, we drive to Phuentsholing, a border town in southern Bhutan. It is also the administrative seat of Chukha District of Bhutan. The town lies opposite the Indian town of Jaigaon, and cross-border trade has resulted in a thriving local economy.Lunch will be served en route in a local restaurant. The 7-hour long drive is beautiful, and we will see some waterfalls along the way. Overnight in Phuentsholing.
After breakfast, we drive out of Phuentsholing towards Darjeeling. The trail crosses vast plains with large tea estates. We can make several stops along the way and enjoy people as they pick tea leaves. Next the trail climbs up a narrow hill road, flanked by tea gardens and passes through beautiful towns and villages. Overnight in Darjeeling.
We get up early in the morning to enjoy the exquisite sunrise view from Tiger Hill. Next, tour Ghoom Monastery followed by a visit to the Himalayan Mountain Institute. Ghoom Monastery was built in 1850 by Lama Sherub Gyatsho, a monk from Mongolia. The Himalayan Mountain Institute was established to encourage mountaineering as an organized sport in India. In the evening, we may also visit the Tibetan Refugee Self Help Centre, which produces and sells a wide range of Tibetan artifacts and curios. Overnight in Darjeeling.
After breakfast we drive to Gangtok, the headquarters of the East Sikkim district and the largest town in the area. Here, we visit the beautiful Enchey Monastery followed by a trip to the Institute of Cottage Industries. At the institute of cottage industries, we can watch young students being taught the traditional art of thangkha painting, weaving, wood carving and carpet making. Later we tour the Institute of Tibetology, which is constructed in the traditional Tibetan style, with murals and decorated pillars. Overnight in Gangtok.
We get up early in the morning to visit Tashi view point which is about 8km away from Gangtok. From here, we get to enjoy astounding views of Mt.Kanchenjunga, Siniolchu ranges and the distant north Sikkim monasteries. Next, we return to our hotel to have breakfast. Then tour Rumtek Monastery before heading for Martam to spend the night. Overnight in Martam.
After breakfast we leave Martam for Kalimpong, a small town established for trade between India, Bhutan and Tibet. The town is a Hindu majority area with Nepalese as the major ethnic community. If possible, on the way to our hotel, we can visit Mangal Dham Temple which is a Hindu temple contructed by the Hindu sect of Shri Krishna Pranami. Upon reaching Kalimpong, we can spend our evening strolling on the streets of this beautiful town and exploring its bustling bazaar. Overnight in kalimpong.
Today, we visit Kalimpong's popular landmarks including Durpin Gumba, Dr Graham's Home, Lepcha Heritage Museum and Himalayan Handmade Paper Industry. Durpin Gumba is Kalimpong's largest monastery. Dr Graham's Home is an educational institution famous for its elaborate architecture. The Lepcha Heritage Museum houses a collection of Lepcha treasuers. While touring the Himalayan Handmade Paper Industry one can enjoy the traditional paper making process. Kalimpong is a prominent producer and exporter of India's gladioli and many orchid varieties. Therefore, while here we will also visit a few of the town's picturesque nurseries. Overnight in Kalimpong.