16 days, 15 nights
Difficulty Level: 2 (Moderate)
Price (US$): From $5,850.00
Months Available: End April through June and September through December
Grand Asian Journeys combines the energy of three of the world’s most intriguing regions in one extraordinary adventure.
The introduction to China begins in Beijing with visits to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. After wandering the magnificent Great Wall, we’ll eat a traditional Chinese lunch at a local restaurant and enjoy an evening acrobat show.
Fly to Tibet with the sense of the deep connection to Buddhism interwoven throughout daily life in this vast expanse of land. The spirit of the Tibetan people resounds at the Forbidden City of Lhasa and in the Potala Palace, the ancient palace of the Dalai Lamas.
Fly to the chaotic capital of Nepal, Kathmandu, a melting pot of various ethnic and religious groups. The unique blend of Hinduism and Buddhism is apparent in the temples and stupas and in the daily lives of the Nepali people.
Fly to Paro in Bhutan. Glimpse into the heart of the tranquil kingdom of Bhutan with an experience of the lifestyle that is famously measured as “Gross National Happiness.” Hike to the legendary Taktshang Monastery, also called Tiger’s Nest, on a trail through pine trees festooned with Spanish moss and occasional fluttering prayer flags.
Day 01: Arrive Beijing.
Day 02 and Day 03: Sightseeing in Kathmandu.
Day 04: Fly to Lhasa (Tibet).
Day 05 to Day 07: Sightseeing in Lhasa.
Day 08: Fly to Kathmandu (Nepal).
Day 09 and Day 10: Sightseeing in Kathmandu.
Day 11: Fly to Paro (Bhutan).
Day 12: Hike to Tiger’s Nest.
Day 13: Drive to Thimpu.
Day 14: Drive to Punakha.
Day 15: Return to Paro.
Day 16: Final departure.
Day 01 – Beijing
Upon arrival into Beijing International Airport, meet and transfer to hotel. Enjoy the rest of the day free at your leisure. (No meals)
Day 02 – Beijing
An exciting full day of city orientation tours to notable sites, such as Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City and the Summer Palace. Savor aChinese imperial style lunch at Family Bai Restaurant. Watch talented performers at evening acrobat show. (Breakfast and Lunch)
Day 03 – Beijing
Visit the Lama Temple in the morning and drive to the northeast part of the city to see, depending on your fitness level, either the Mutianyu Great Wall or the Jinshanling Great Wall. Peking Duck dinner in the evening. (Breakfast and Dinner)
Day 04 – Beijing to Lhasa
Fly to Lhasa. Free to relax, acclimatize or explore the Barkhor Square. (Breakfast)
Day 05 – Lhasa
Visit Potala Palace, the palace of the Dalai Lamas – the spiritual and administrative leaders of Tibet – for many centuries. There are a thousand rooms in this tremendous building, which is a prominent landmark. Visit the Sera Monastery in the afternoon and watch monks hone their debating skills in the courtyard. (Breakfast and Lunch)
Day 06 – Lhasa
Drive a few hours outside of Lhasa to Ganden Monastery and Drak Yerpa. Ganden Monastery is a large monastery complex that once housed over 3,500 monks. The Drak Yerpa monastery is located on the side of a hill at over 14,000 ft. Packed lunch with be served. (Breakfast and Lunch)
Day 07 – Lhasa
Visit the holiest temple in Tibet – The Jokhang, Barkhor. Continue to Drepung. (Breakfast and Lunch)
Day 08 – Lhasa to Kathmandu
Fly over the Himalayas to Kathmandu. You will fly past Everest, Lhotse and Makalu – all over 8,000 m. Day free in Kathmandu. Dinner at a Typical Nepali restaurant. (Breakfast and Dinner)
Day 09 – Kathmandu
Full day of sightseeing in Kathmandu. In the morning, visit Bodhanath, the Stupa of a Million dew drops, to watch monks and devotees circumambulate the largest stupa in the world. Then visit Pashupatinath, Nepal’s most sacred Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva, with its two-tiered golden roof and silver door. Drive to Patan for lunch in the garden of the Patan Museum Café. After lunch, visit the well-maintained Patan Museum storing ancient Nepali artifacts, followed by a tour of Patan Durbar Square. Drive back to Kathmandu. (Breakfast and Lunch)
Day 10 – Kathmandu
Full day of Sightseeing in Kathmandu: visit Swayambhunath, the monkey temple. Then drive to Bhaktapur, the city of Devotees, for lunch and a tour of the royal palace square. Overnight Hotel Tibet. (Breakfast and Lunch)
Day 11 – Kathmandu to Paro
Fly Kathmandu to Paro. Drive to nearby Ta-Dzong, where you’ll be introduced to Bhutan with a visit to the National Museum which houses art, handicrafts, costumes and ancient weapons displays. Stroll the streets of Paro in the evening. Overnight at Hotel. (All meals)
Day 12 – Paro (Tiger’s Nest hike)
Begin the day with breakfast before a short drive to Taktshang Monastery. The trail to the monastery climbs through pine trees festooned with Spanish moss and occasional fluttering prayer flags. Hike at your own pace for about two to four hours.
Built in 1600s, the monastery clings to the edge of a sheer-rock cliff that plunges 2,952 feet into the valley below. It is believed that, in the 8th century, Guru Rimpoche, the tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan, landed here on the back of a flying tigress to subdue a demon. Guru Rimpoche is believed to have meditated here for three months. Packed lunch will be served.
Drive further up the valley to Drukgyel Dzong, the fortress of the victorious Drukpas. From Drukgyel Dzong, the Tibet border is only a two-day hike away. Overnight at Hotel. (All meals)
Day 13 – Paro to Thimpu
Depart Paro for Thimphu (two-hour drive) after breakfast. Thimphu, the Bhutanese capital (7,609 feet), is situated in a valley surrounded by terraced rice fields. The main street in Thimphu, Norzim Lam, is lined with shops. Visit Memorial Chorten, built in memory of the third King, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. Drive to Drubthop Lhakhang, the nunnery temple. Learn more about the culture through visits to the Bhutanese Indigenous Hospital and Traditional Painting School. Overnight at Hotel. (All meals)
Day 14 – Thimpu to Punakha
Drive to Punakha after breakfast at the hotel. The road climbs steeply through a scenic forest of pine and cedar trees, to Dochula pass (10,000 feet). The pass offers panoramic views of the Himalayan mountain ranges, on the descent to the fertile valley of Punakha (4,430 feet).
Before proceeding further to the town of Punakha, hike about 30 minutes to the Chimi Lhakhang (temple) on a small hilltop. The temple was dedicated to the great Yogi in the 14th century, known as Drukpa Kuenley, as well as the “Divine madman.” He dramatized Buddhist teachings using songs and outrageous sexual humor. Bold phallus symbols and paintings on the houses and temples are a result of his influence. It is believed that this temple blesses women who seek fertility.
After lunch, continue to Punakha Dzong (fortress) situated between the two rivers, Pho Chu and Mochu (male and female river). The fortress is now used as the winter seat of Je Khenpo (the spiritual head of Bhutan). The Dzong served as the capital seat of the Kingdom for more than 300 years. The intricate Buddhist paintings inside the monastery are spectacular. Overnight at hotel. (All meals)
Day 15 – Punakha to Paro
Enjoy a relaxing breakfast before making the return drive to the journey’s beginning in Paro (approximately five hours). Overnight at hotel. (All meals)
Day 16 – Depart for Bangkok
Transfer to airport for flight to Bangkok. (Breakfast)
Per person price for 2016
2 persons: $ 6,800 per person
3 – 4 persons: $ 6,395 USD per person
5 or more persons: $ 5,995 USD per person
Single Supplement: $ 1,200 USD
Price does not include:
Private departures available anytime April through June, and September through December for five or more participants. Best to arrive Beijing on Tuesday to match Lhasa to Kathmandu and Kathmandu to Paro flight schedule.
“We had a wonderful time. Pam and Jwalant did a wonderful job and everything turned out perfectly… All the hotels were fine (plenty of heat and hot water in ALL LOL). I think the highlight of our trip was the Tigers Nest! Just loved seeing it and in Tibet the Potala Palace.
It was a great experience to stay with Jwalant and his family. It was great to meet him and loved his Mom and Dad! You and Jwalant are great about following up with ALL my questions in a timely manner and I would and will recommend Grand Asian Journeys to any of my friends! We are hoping to do Vietnam and Cambodia next but not sure when yet but WILL let you know once we decide! The pre-trip information you gave was EXTREMELY helpful!
Ron and I want to thank you and Jwalant to all you did in planning this wonderful trip. It will forever stand as one of the most interesting trips we have taken. Will be in touch about further travel plans as we decide. Thanks to you and Jwalant again!”