Day 01: Arrival Delhi (India): Sunday
Upon arrival at the Delhi airport, a representative from Himalayan Glacier escorts us to the hotel. After refreshment, we stroll through traditional bazaars as well as historic and monumental sites in Delhi. Overnight in Delhi.
Day 02: Delhi to Jaipur -- 258 km, 6 -7 hrs drive
Today, we take our morning breakfast and visit Laxmi Narayan Temple and Giant Shiva Statue. Then we drive to Jaipur. On arrival at Jaipur, we will be transferred to the hotel. In the evening, we take a stroll around Jaipur Bazar and Hawa Mahal. Overnight in Jaipur.
Day 03: Jaipur Sightseeing
After breakfast, we make an excursion to the 16th century Amber Fort. We also enjoy elephant ride at Amber Fort. The fort was built by Akbar's Rajput Commander, Raja Man Singh. We further visit and shop at textile industry. Other attractions of Jaipur are the City Palace of Jaipur, Hawa Mahal or Wind Palace and Jantar Mantar or Observatory which was built by Raja Jai Singh. Overnight in Jaipur.
Day 04: Drive Jaipur to Agra - 240 km, 5 hrs drive
After breakfast, via Fatehpur Sikri, we drive to Agra. Mughal Dynasty's Fatehpur Sikri with magnificent red sandstone building, built by the Mughal Emperor Akbar to commemorate Saint Salim Chisti, who blessed Akbar with three sons. We visit at graceful buildings of the Jami Masjid, the tomb of Salim Chisti, the Panch Mahal, Diwan I Khas and other palaces. The monuments are examples of the fusion of Islamic architecture with Hindu and Jain decorative art. Overnight in Agra.
Day 05: Agra to Delhi: 210 km, 4 - 5 hrs
After breakfast, we make a sightseeing tour of Agra. We visit the Taj Mahal, a finest amalgam of love and architecture - one of the wonders of the world. We also visit Agra Fort, a large fortified strategic point of Mughal Empire. In the afternoon, we drive to Delhi. On arrival in Delhi, we visit the monuments of Qutab Minar, Lotus Temple. In the evening, we will be escorted to our hotel. Overnight in Delhi.
Day 06: Delhi Sightseeing
After breakfast, we make a historic sightseeing tour of Delhi. We visit the majestic Red Fort or Lal Kila, the beautiful marvels covered in red sandstone. We further make our trip to Jama Masjid, one of the largest mosques in India that was built by Emperor Shah Jahan of the Taj Mahal fame. Another important site we visit is Rajghat - a memorial of Mahatma Gandhi. After exploring the Old Delhi monuments, we visit Rashtrapati Bhawan (Presidential Palace), the India Gate - a memorable monument built in the honor of Indian soldiers. Overnight in Delhi.
Day 07: Fly Delhi to Bhutan (Paro)
Crossing over the Himalaya Mountains, the flight to Paro offers spectacular views of the awesome peaks, including the sacred Jumolhari and Jichu Drake peaks in Bhutan. Upon our arrival we will be greeted by the guide at the airport and transferred to the hotel. After lunch, we visit the Ta Dzong, once a fortified lookout tower that is now the National Museum. Then we walk down the trail to visit the Rinpung Dzong meaning "fortress of the heap of jewels". Next we visit to Kichu Lhakhang, the oldest temple in the country. Our next visit would be the Drugyal Dzong (Bhutan Victory Fort), which was built in 1646 to commemorate Bhutan's victory over Tibetan invaders during the 1600s. On a clear day, we can see Mt. Jumolhari, Bhutan's second-highest mountain at 7,314m. Overnight in Paro.
Day 08: Hike to Tiger's Nest Monastery, Drive Paro -Thimphu (2350m / 7710ft) - 54 km, 2 hrs
After breakfast, we hike for Taktsang (Tiger's Nest) Monastery, Bhutan's most famous monastery. Guru Rinpoche (8th century Indian saint) is said to have flown on the back of a tigress to meditate in a cave where Taktsang Monastery now stands. It is perched on the edge of a steep cliff, about 900m above Paro Valley. The hike to the monastery makes for a nice half-day excursion. Our lunch will be served in the cafeteria on the way. In the afternoon we drive to Thimphu. In the evening we explore Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan, and absorb the lifestyle of the people. We also visit some interesting handicraft shops. Overnight in Thimphu.
Day 09: Thimphu - Punakha (1250m/4100 ft): 76 km, 2 - 3 hrs
After breakfast this morning, we enjoy the scenic drive to Punakha with a stop for tea at Dochu La (3,100m), where on a clear day we can get spectacular views of the Himalayas. From the pass, we drive downhill through the forests of rhododendron, fir and hemlock. We arrive at Punakha after traversing through rice field and along the bank of Punakha River. On the way, we will stop at Metshina Village and take a 20-minute walk through the rice fields to Chimi Lhakhang, which is a fertility temple dedicated to Devine Madman or Lama Drukpa Kuenley. Overhere we receive a special fertility blessing from Lama's wooden phallus if we wish. After lunch we visit Punakha Dzong, stunningly situated in between the male and female rivers like an anchored ship. Overnight in Punakha.
Day 10: Punakha - Paro: 140 km, 4 hrs
After breakfast, we drive back to Paro via Dochula pass. At this juncture we visit the new Druk Wangyal Monastery, which is the only of its kind in the country, with elaborate paintings depicting the lineage of the present monarchy and their visionary works. We will stop at Thimphu for lunch. After lunch, we continue drive to Paro. In the evening, we can stroll through Paro town. Overnight in Paro.
Day 11: Fly Paro to Kathmandu
Today, we bid farewell to the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan and would enter the recently declared republic of Nepal and her friendly people. Druk Air generally departs in the early morning to avoid adverse weather conditions. Therefore after taking breakfast, we fly for Kathmandu. We again enjoy the magnificent views of the Himalayas. Overnight in Kathmandu.
Day 12: KTM Sightseeing Tour: Kathmandu Durbar Square, Pashupatinath, Swayambhu, Boudhanath
After breakfast , we start a guided tour to four of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kathmandu. Kathmandu Durbar Square holds the palaces of the medieval Kings who ruled over the then Kathmandu Kingdom. Pashupatinath houses a sacred lingum, or the phallic symbol of Lord Shiva. The Aryaghat alongside Pashupati and on the banks of the Bagmati River is a famous funeral site for the Hindus. The Buddhists shrine of Boudhanath 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. Swayambhu meaning the "the self-existent" is popular among the foreigners as the Monkey Temple owing to the large number of monkey population residing in the area. Overnight in Kathmandu.
Day 13: Sightseeing Tour: Patan and Bhaktapur
We start our tour of two more UNESCO World Heritage Site cities' adjacent to Kathmandu: Patan and Bhaktapur. Patan is also known as The City of Fine Arts. Patan Durbar Square is one of the places in the Kathmandu Valley where the medieval arts and architectures still remain intact. The Durbar Square is full of ancient places, temples and shrines, noted for their exquisite carvings, mostly the Hindu and Buddhist monuments. Similarly, the medieval town of Bhaktapur, or the Town of the Devotees, preserves medieval arts, architecture, culture, and lifestyle to this date. We are sure to feel like travelling back into the past while walking along the Bhaktapur thoroughfares, squares and streets. Overnight in Kathmandu.
Day 14: Kathmandu to Nyalam (3, 800m/12, 467ft): 153 km, 5 hours
After breakfast, we start our journey along the Friendship Highway for the Tibetan border. Along the way we pass through some really splendid sights- cascading waterfalls, rivers and hill side villages. At the border we take our lunch and pass through the Nepal side of the customs and immigration. Upon crossing the Friendship Bridge, we will be at Tibet! Then, we take a 30 minutes drive from Kodari to Zhangmu where second immigration formalities have to be completed. From Zhangmu to Nyalam, we drive on a steep winding road and reach Nyalam. Overnight in Nyalam.
Day 15: Nyalam to Lotingri/Dingri (4050m/13,284 ft): 150 Km, 3hours
In the morning, we stroll around Nyalam which would help us to acclimatize with the high altitude. We depart for Lotingri after lunch. On the way we visit Milarapha Cave and Chamda Hot spring for a little fun filled afternoon. On our journey we encounter two spectacular passes: Thong La pass (5050m/16,568ft) and Lalung La pass (5082m/16,668 ft). Along with the two passes, we also get to enjoy fabulous views of the high mountains including, Mt. Everest (8848m/29,028 ft) and Shishapangma (8,013m/26,289 ft). Overnight in Lotingri
Day 16: Lotingri/Dingri to Sakya (4100m/13451ft) via Everest Base Camp: 290 km, 5 hours
After breakfast we drive towards Sakya. The drive from Lotingri to Rongbuk will be adventurous as the roads are raw. In Rongbuk, we visit the Rongbuk monastery which is the highest monastery in Tibet. Then we drive towards Everest Base Camp (5,250m/17,220ft) while enjoying views of high mountains like Cho Oyu (8,201m/26,906 ft), Shishapangma (8,013m (26,289 ft) and of course the mighty Everest also known as Mt. Chomolongma in the Tibetan side hence accomplishing one of the major highlights of this tour.
It will certainly be a great experience to come face to face with the greatest mountain on earth. We make about 16km round trip around the Everest Base Camp. The base camp itself is dry and barren, but the views of Everest are more than compensating. It is a truly awe-inspiring place with the sheer north face of the highest mountain in the world towering above us. Overnight in Sakya .
Day 17: Sakya to Shigatse (3900m/12, 795 ft): 190km, 4 hours
In the morning after breakfast we visit the Sakya Monastery which is the ancestral temple of Sakyapa sect of Tibetan Buddhism. We then continue our drive to Shigatse, the second biggest city in Tibet. Here, we visit another popular monastery, the Tashilhunpo Monastery which holds both historical and cultural importance for being founded by Gendun Drup, the First Dalai Lama in 1447. Overnight in Shigatse
Day 18: Shigatse to Lhasa (3950m/12,959 ft): 365 Km, 6 hours
After breakfast, we embark on a pleasant drive to Gyantse. In Gyantse, we visit the Khumbum Stupa, Phalkot Monastery and Gyantse Dzong (Fortress) which is one of the best preserved dzongs in Tibet.
From Gyantse, we continue to Lhasa crossing the Karo La (5010m/16,432 ft) and Kamba La (4794m/15,725 ft) passes and Lake Yamdrok Tso (Turquoise Lake), one of the three largest sacred lakes of Tibet, also believed to be the transformation of a Tibetan goddess. Furthermore, we cross the Yarlung Tsangpo (Brahamaputra) river and see Potala Palace for the first time from a distance. Overnight in Lhasa.
Day 19: Lhasa sightseeing: Potala Palace, Norbulinka Palace and Tibet Museum: 5-6 hours
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 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.
We further visit 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.
Day 20: Lhasa Sightseeing: Sera Monastery, Drepung Monastery, Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Bazaar: 5-6 hours
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, ooo monks in the past but as of now there has been quite a declination resulting in only a few hundreds. Tibetans' respect and belief are immensely knotted with this 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
Day 21: Final departure from Lhasa or extend our tour
Our adventure tour of the four Himalayan countries comes to an end today! There is nothing to do but trade emails with travel companions and organize the photos. If we have more time we can do some shopping or sightseeing. A representative from Himalayan Glacier Trekking will escort us to the airport for our onward journey. We can either get back to Kathmandu or continue to mainland China on our way to home.