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Highlights of Tibet and Nepal


Faces of Tibet and Nepal

Overview

This trip covers the major attractions of two Himalayan countries: Tibet and Nepal. In Nepal, you will explore the Durbar Squares with palaces and temples with intricate wood carvings and stone works. You will get to participate in exciting jungle safari rides in the dense subtropical jungles of Chitwan National Park. Explore the caves, gorges, and lakes of Pokhara and enjoy the beautiful mountain views from Sarangkot.

Fly from Kathmandu across the sea of snow capped mountains into Lhasa, the heart and soul of Tibet. You will explore the palaces of the Dalai Lamas and the major Buddhist Monasteries and temples in the towns of Lhasa, Gyantse, and Shigatse. Drive on the high roads of Tibet across prominent passes and travel along the shores of a holy lake. The views of the vast plateau and snow capped mountains from the high passes are breathtaking! You will have the opportunity to take an optional Kora hike on the pilgrimage path at the Monasteries and stop in the picturesque roadside villages and meet the locals. From Lhasa, you will fly back to Kathmandu or you can chose to fly Beijing or other destinations in Asia.

Detailed Itinerary

  • Day 01 Arrive in Kathmandu

    • Upon arrival at the Kathmandu airport, and after completing the immigration and custom formalities, please exit the airport to meet your Highland Asia Travel representative outside. Following introductions, you will be transferred to the hotel in the city.

      After refreshment, and time permitting, you can visit the Kathmandu Durbar Square which was the former Royal Palace complex. It has an array of ancient and medieval Hindu Temples with rich wood and stone works. Among others are the temple of Living Goddess, Kumari and the legendary Kasthamandap which are the most striking. Take a tricycle rickshaw ride through the bazaars of Indrawchowk and Assan and end up in the touristy Thamel district where you will take a leisurely walk through. In the evening, you get to enjoy a Nepali welcome dinner amidst a folklore dancing program in a typical Nepali restaurant.

      Shanker Hotel, 4* or Yak N Yeti Hotel or similar
      Meals: Nepali Welcome Dinner
  • Day 02 Pashupatinath, Boudhanath, and Bhaktapur

    • After breakfast, check out of the hotel as you will spend the night in Nagarkot today. First you will visit the Pashupatinath temple which is one of the most revered Hindu temple in Nepal. The temple lies on the banks of the sacred Bagmati River and is one of the principal tributaries of the holy Gangjes. Admission to the main temple is permitted to Hindus only but you may still have a complete view of the temple to watch the rituals and rites in the temple from the high embankment of the river.

      From Pashupatinath, continue onto the Boudhanath Stupa which is the largest Buddhist monument in Nepal and dates back to 7th century. The area has numerous Monasteries and temples and is very much dominated by Tibetan refugees. Climb the stupa and visit some of the Buddhist Monasteries around. You will have a lunch break here.

      Next, head to Bhaktapur. It is the best preserved of the medieval Malla principalities of Nepal. You will visit the palaces, temples, and shrines with intricate wood carvings and metal works and some stone sculptures. You will stop by the workshops of the wood carvers, traditional Thangka painters, and potters before retiring to the hotel.

      Shanker Hotel, 4* or Yak N Yeti Hotel or similar
      Meals: Breakfast
  • Day 03 Chitwan National Park

    • (195km/122 miles, 5 hrs)

      After breakfast, you will depart for Chitwan National Park located in the southern lowland of Nepal. You will retrace the drive to Bhaktapur and Kathmandu and leave the valley. The road soon drops and follows the course of Trishuli River. If you are a rafting enthusiast, with prior arrangement, we can arrange a 3-4 hours trip down the river for you. The cost is $60 per person, including rafting equipment and a cold lunch. You arrive at the lodge in Chitwan National Park around lunch time. After lunch, you will have some time to rest and then your local guide will take you for a visit to a Tharu Village. Tharus are the aboriginal inhabitants of Chitwan whose lifestyle remains unchanged over hundreds of years. In the evening, enjoy the Tharu ethnic dance show.

      Tigerland Resort, Chitwan National Park
      Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
  • Day 04 Jungle Safari Rides at Chitwan National Park

    • Today, you will be kept busy in entertaining various jungle safari activities such as an elephant ride, dugout canoe trip, bird watching, etc. During the dry season (Mar-May), jeep safaris may be available as an option instead of an elephant safari ride. Chitwan National Park is one of the most famous game parks in Asia and home to the royal Bengal tiger, leopard, sloth bear, one-horned rhinoceros, sambar, spotted deer, wild boards, gharials, marsh mugger crocodiles, and more than 600 different species of resident and migratory birds. The most commonly spotted animals are one-horned Asian rhinoceros, deer, monkeys, and wild boars.

      Tigerland Resort, Chitwan National Park
      Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
  • Day 05 By car to Pokhara

    • (140km/88 miles, 4 hrs)

      After breakfast, you will drive to Pokhara which lies in the lap of mighty Annapurnas and Mount Fishtail. Pokhara has the reputation as the capital of nature in Nepal. You follow the banks of the Marshayngdi River and pass through several villages, road side settlements, terraced fields, and enjoy occasional views of the western Himalayas along the way.

      Upon arrival in Pokhara, check into the hotel and after some rest, embark on the tour of the valley. Start with the cave temple of Gupteshwara Mahadev and then visit the neighboring Davis fall and the hair raising Seti River Gorge.

      Fishtail Lodge or similar
      Meals: Breakfast
  • Day 06 Flight to Kathmandu

    • If you are an early riser and depending on the weather conditions, you can go on a short drive (30 minutes) to Sarangkot to watch the sunrise. On a clear weather day, you will enjoy great mountain views. On the way back, you can stop to visit the Bindhevasini Temple which is Pokhara's most reputed Hindu Temple.

      Following breakfast, you will take boating trip on Lake Fewa to visit the Island Temple of Barahi. Mid afternoon, you will take a flight back to Kathmandu. On a clear weather day, the mountain views from the plane are just spectacular! Upon arrival at the Kathmandu airport, you are received at the airport and transferred to the hotel. This afternoon, take rest to prepare for the Tibet portion of your trip.

      Shanker Hotel or Yak N Yeti Hotel or similar
      Meals: Breakfast
  • Day 07 Flight Across the Sea of Mountains to Lhasa

    • (Alt 3595m/11,792 ft)

      Following an early morning breakfast, you are transferred to the airport for your flight to Lhasa. Have your Passport, Chinese visa, Tibetan permit, and e-ticket receipt handy to check in for your departure. It's approximately a 1 hour flight across the Himalayas. Enjoy breathtaking views of the sea of mountains, including Mount Everest!

      Upon arrival at the Gonggar Airport of Lhasa, you are greeted by your Tibetan guide and transferred by a 4WD Land cruiser or van to the hotel in the city. As soon you land in Lhasa, you will begin to experience the effects of the altitude which includes light-headedness, disorientation, light headache, nausea, etc. Do not panic, drink plenty of water, and take rest. No sightseeing is scheduled today so that you can take plenty of rest and get properly acclimated to the conditions. The effects of altitude should go away within a day or two. If the symptoms persists, it is strongly advised that you see the doctor.

      For information on Altitude related sickness, prevention, and remedies, please visit the website for the Nepal International Clinic. (http://www.nepalinternationalclinic.com/altitudesickness.html)

      Kyichu or Thangkha or Gorkha Hotel
      Meals: Breakfast
  • Day 08 Explore Lhasa

    • Today you will have a full day of sightseeing in Lhasa. Begin by visiting the Dalai Lama’s Potala Palace which is the principal attraction of Lhasa. The Sera Monastery, which is the last of the three Yellow Sect Monasteries to be built in Lhasa. The Norbulinkha which was the summer palace of the Dalai Lama. If you are a hiking enthusiast and if you do not show any signs of altitude sickness, the Sera Monastery Kora hiking pilgrimage path around the Monastery would be worth trying. You may also get the chance to attend the debating ceremony of the Sera Monks.

      Kyichu or Thangkha or Gorkha Hotel
      Meals: Breakfast
  • Day 09 Explore Lhasa

    • Today, you will visit the Drepung Monastery. It is the largest, richest, and the most powerful of the three major Yellow Sect Monasteries of Tibet and was the power center of Tibet before the 5th Dalai Lama moved to the Potala Palace. At Drepung Monastery, you will visit the Ganden Palace, main assembly hall, and the colleges of Drepung. Hiking enthusiasts can also attempt a 1 hr long circuit but you need to be fully acclimatized. The ancient Jorkhang Temple in the old Tibetan quarter of Lhasa and Barkhor Street which forms the pilgrim circuit around the Jorkhang Temple.

      Kyichu or Thangkha or Gorkha Hotel
      Meals: Breakfast
  • Day 10 Drive from Lhasa to Gyantse

    • (13,467 ft, 176 miles, 6 hrs)

      Today, you drive to Gyantse town which still maintains traditional Tibetan characteristics. The journey involves the crossing of two high passes the Kamba La (15,700 ft) and the Karo La (16,500ft) and follows the banks of the Yamdrok Tso lake for more than 40 miles. The Yamdrok Tso lake is one of the four holiest lakes in Tibet and has beautiful turquoise green water. As you leave the lakeshore behind, the road climbs to the Karo La (16,500ft), once again offering breathtaking views of the mountain and vast Tibetan plateau. Arrive in Gyantse town late afternoon. Gyantse is perhaps the only major town in Central Tibet which has been able to maintain its Tibetan characteristics. Check into the hotel and the rest of the day is for your leisure.

      Time permitting you can take the side trips to Samding Monastery and Ralung Monastery on the way.

      Yeti Hotel
      Meals: Breakfast
  • Day 11 Explore Gyantse

    • After breakfast, you will visit the Pelkor Chode and Kumbum Monastery which are the main highlights of Gyantse City. The Kumbum Stupa is a landmark of Gyantse and can be spotted from a long distance. If you are a hiking enthusiast, you may also attempt hiking to the historical fortress of Gyantse. View from the fortress overlooking the city are just superb.

      Afternoon is spent leisurely in the Tibetan town or you can hike to the less visited Tsechen Village and its Monastery, the fort (5 km), or the Retok Ganden retreats.

      Yeti Hotel
      Meals: Breakfast
  • Day 12 Drive from Gyantse to Shigatse

    • (Altitude 12,785ft distance 57miles, 2 ½ HRS)

      From Gyantse, it's less than 2 hrs drive to Shigatse, the second largest city of Tibet. About 13 miles (20 km) before Shigatse, you will take a 4 km side trip to Shalu Monastery. It was the first of the major monasteries to be built by noble families of the Tsang Dynasty during Tibet's great revival of Buddhism, and was an important center of the Sakya tradition. Upon arrival in Shigatse, check into the hotel and later take a relaxing walk through Shigatse's Flea market which is a nice bargain place for buying a Tibetan souvenir.

      Shigatse Shandon Mansion Hotel or Tashi Choden Hotel
      Meals: Breakfast
  • Day 13 Drive to Lhasa

    • (186 miles, 7 hrs)

      After breakfast, check out of the hotel and visit the famous Tashilunbo Monastery before the journey back to Lhasa. The Tashilunbo Monastery is the principal seat of Panchen Lama whom is the second most venerated religious leader of Tibet and one of the 6 major Gelugpa Monasteries of Tibet. For the return journey, you will take the southern friendship highway that runs along the Yarlung Tsambo River. The road is rough and rehabilitation work on the road is going on continuously. If time permits and if you so choose, you may stop by the Yundrungling Monastery in Tradruk. Upon arrival in Lhasa, check into the hotel and take rest for the day.

      Optional: Tonight, you can attend the Tibetan Opera and Folk dancing shows where colorfully dressed Tibetan men and women perform various Tibetan dances. It costs $15 with dinner included.

      Kyichu or Thangkha or Gorkha Hotel
      Meals: Breakfast
  • Day 14 Flight back to Kathmandu. Afternoon visit to Patan City, Bungamati Village, and the Swayambhunath Stupa

    • After breakfast, you will drive to Patan. It is one of the medieval Malla principalities of Nepal, which is known for traditional Newari arts and crafts. Visit Patan’s palace, medieval and ancient temples and Monasteries. You will have the opportunity to take a look into the workshops of local artisans. From Patan, you drive to the Newari village of Bungamati with traditional houses. Walk through narrow streets and visit the famous Matsyandranath Temple in the center of the village. You will get a sneak a peek into a private home to understand the lifestyle of the local people.

      Retrace the drive back to Kathmandu and visit a 2000 years old Buddhist shrine called Swayambhuanth. The shrine is situated atop a hill and has commanding view of the valley. From the Swayambhunath, you will return to the hotel. You can visit the Kathmandu Durbar Square this afternoon, if you missed it the previous day.

      Shanker Hotel, 4* or Yak N Yeti Hotel or similar
      Meals:Breakfast
  • Day 15 Depart Kathmandu

    • Transfer to the airport for your flight to your next destination.

Trip Info

Cost Includes

  • Accommodation on twin sharing in mid range and best available hotels as listed
  • Meals as indicated
  • All transfers and sightseeing by private vehicle
  • Sightseeing admission fees
  • English speaking tour guide
  • Service of internal airfare reservation
  • Tibet Travel Permit and Chinese Visa Fee

Cost Does Not Include

  • International and internal air fare (separately quoted)
  • Airport Taxes
  • Nepal Visa Fee
  • Lunch and dinner except as indicated
  • Drinks, tips, and other expenses of personal nature
  • Travel & Health Insurance
  • All extra expenses caused due to nature or unforeseen events
  • Excess baggage charges

Passport and visa

Your passport’s remaining validity should be at least 6 months at the time of travel and there should be enough blank pages for entry and departure seals. You can obtain Nepali visa from Nepali embassies abroad or you can wait until you arrive at the port of entry to Nepal. You need to complete the visa application form and affix a passport size photograph. Visa fee costs US$ 25 for 15 days and $ 40 for 30 days with multiple entry facility.

Chinese visa and Tibet permits are pre-processed by us and final visa work is due when you arrive at Kathmandu. For pre-application of your Chinese visa and Tibetan permits, we need a color scan of your passport photo page along with trip registration form. Please, bring a hard copy of your passport size photo with you. Once you arrive at Kathmandu, we will collect the passport and photo from you and submit it to Chinese embassy consul and collect the documents back when your visa is ready. The visa comes in a letter size sheet with list of all the travelers in the group. You need to retain the copy of the visa and permit all the time while you are in Tibet.

Accommodation

In Nepal, your accommodations will be in a mix of first class and deluxe properties. In Kathmandu, you will stay in Shanker Hotel or Yak N Yeti which are former Rana Palaces -with neoclassical type of building, conveniently located near Thamel and Durbarmarg and ensures all modern comforts. At Chitwan National Park, our preferred property is Rhino Residency Resort which is the top end safari operation in Chitwan National Park with western trained management. We also use the brand new Tigerland Resort that lies near Kasara Headquarter. At Pokhara, we stay in Fishtail Lodge, situated in the lake peninsula. Fishtail Lodge ranks among the best managed properties in Pokhara and enjoys the privilege of having several foreign dignitaries in their guest list.

In Tibet, there are not so many choices. Our preferred property in Lhasa is Kyichu Hotel which is Tibetan and Nepali joint-venture. The hotel building is a traditional style architecture with fabulous Tibetan decor. The hotel is rated as 3 star by local standard. There are a few of 4 star properties in Lhasa but they are away from the old town and so not on the list of our preferred properties. In Gyantse and Shigatse, we pick the best hotels-Yeti Hotel in Gyantse and Shandong Mansion or Zhaxiquota Hotel in Shigatse which are 3 star properties by local standard.

All our accommodation guarantees en suite bathroom with 24 hrs running hot and cold water. But when there is electrical outage, hot water may not be ready in time. Some hotels do provide Wi-Fi internet, mini freeze, tea-coffee maker, hair dryers, iron and ironing board as well but do not expect these amenities everywhere.

If preferred hotels listed above are not available at the time of booking, we will obviously pick the next best available.

Food

The trip cost includes breakfast only. The hotels cater Chinese, Tibetan, Indian, Nepali and western style breakfasts. Lunch and dinners are not included in tour cost. You can expect to spend US$ 12-15 per meal in regular tourist standard restaurants. There are wide ranges of Chinese, Tibetan, Nepali, and Indian and Western dishes served in the restaurants. You may want to bring some dry fruits, chocolates, energy bars, vitamin supplements etc.

Transportation

Depending on the group size, we provide Japanese or Korean made SUVs, minivan and buses for entire transfers and tours. Our vehicles are air conditioned, well maintained and driven by experienced drivers. Drivers and guides are not the same persons.

Guide

You will be accompanied by an experienced and knowledgeable English speaking local guides throughout the tour. Guides in Nepal and Tibet will be different persons. Besides guiding you on tour, your guide is also responsible in dealing with check posts and local bureaucracies and complete necessary paper works.

Health Concerns

There is no mandatory vaccination required for traveling in Tibet and Nepal but you may consider vaccination against rabies and Hep A. Travelers with cardiac-pulmonary issues or any other medical conditions are recommended to consult their physician. The main health consideration in Tibet is altitude related illness or Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). You may experience some mild symptoms initially, such as headache, lethargy, nausea and sleeplessness, but these should lessen within a few days. A supply of bottled oxygen is carried in the vehicle at all times should it be required. Hotels in Lhasa are equipped with oxygen. Doctors will also be available on call.

You should start some physical exercises like jogging, swimming, cycling, hiking and aerobics about several weeks ahead of the trip that keeps you fit and lessens the chance of getting altitude sickness. You should have a good sleep the night before you fly in to Lhasa and take complete rest on the first day. It's also advisable to drink 3-4 liters of water daily and consume liquid food.

Climate and Weather

Nepal's weather is generally predictable and pleasant. There are four climatic seasons: March to May (spring), June to August (summer), September to November (autumn) and December to February (winter). The monsoon is approximately from the end of June to the middle of September. About 80 per cent of the rain falls during that period, so the remainder of the year is dry. Spring and autumn are the most pleasant seasons. On this trip, we travel in the central valley's and southern lowland. In the central valleys of Kathmandu and Pokhara, temperature remain mild throughout the year. In the coldest winter, temperature may fall below freezing point but days are surprisingly warm with 20 ºC /68º. In the hottest summer, the temperature ranges 19-27ºC (67-81ºF). In southern lowland ( e.g. Chitwan National Park, summer is very hot with temperature exceeding 40ºC (104ºF).Undoubtedly, Tibet is one of the harshest places for human existence. It is cool in summer, but excruciatingly cold in winter.

In Lhasa, the relatively humane city in Tibet, although the temperature may exceed 29 ºC (84 ºF) in summer, it can also plummet to minus 16 degrees C (3 degrees F) in winter! Solar radiation is extremely strong in Tibet. The sunlight in Lhasa is so intense that the city is called Sunlight City. The thin Tibetan air can neither radiate nor absorb heat, resulting in temperature extremes during both day and night. However it is not impossible to visit the holy snow land. The period from April to October is the best time to visit Tibet, avoiding the coldest months from December to February.

Lightweight and tropical clothes with umbrella are advised for June to August. Between October and March, lightweight clothes are worn in Kathmandu and central valleys. If you are traveling during winter, of course you need to keep yourself warm and at the same time make sure your luggage space is not taken by the bulky jackets. Traveling in Tibet also needs warm clothing no matter what time of the year you are traveling. We recommend layered clothing! For example, it is much better to wear a T-shirt, a long sleeve cotton shirt , a light sweater and on top that a windbreaker rather than to wear one bulky down jacket or parka. This idea also comes in handy when you are packing and trying to keep under the weight limit. A windbreaker plus a sweater can be just okay if you just walk around Lhasa, Gyantse and Shigatse during summer but down jacket will be necessary if you travel during late October through April.

Dates & Prices

Jul-Oct 2015

  • US$ 3050 (2-3 travelers)
  • US$ 2560 (4-5 travelers)
  • US$ 2250 (6-10 travelers)
  • US$ 560 Single Room Supplement

Nov 2015-Mar 2016

  • US$ 2590 (2-3 travelers)
  • US$ 2150 (4-5 travelers)
  • US$ 1975(6-10 travelers)
  • US$ 490 Single Room Supplement

May-June 2016

  • US$ 2790 (2-3 travelers)
  • US$ 2220 (4-5 travelers)
  • US$ 2095 (6-10 travelers)
  • US$ 520 Single Room Supplement

Jul-Oct 2016

  • US$ 3150 (2-3 travelers)
  • US$ 2650 (4-5 travelers)
  • US$ 2330 (6-10 travelers)
  • US$ 560 Single Room Supplement

PLUS

  • US$ 175 Chinese visa with urgent processing fee
  • Kathmandu-Lhasa-Kathmandu airfare is estimated $700-800

*Tour cost is subject to change. Airfare


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(Formerly Highland Asia Travel)

United States

8030 Old Cedar Ave S, Suite 123
Minneapolis, MN 55425
Tel: 1 612 605 4428
Fax: 612 807 1137

Nepal

Kapoordhara, Samakhusi, Kathmandu
Tel (977 1) 4351780, 4381823
Fax +977-1-4381369

Bhutan

KMT Building, Nordzin Lam, Thimphu
Tel (975-2) -329098 / +975-77204087
Fax (+975) 2 337004

Tibet

B5-1-2, B3 dong, Renchen garden,
No 13 Jiangsu road Lhasa Tibet China.
Tel: +86-(891)-6836609,
Fax: +86-(891)-6836619


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