This itinerary is a comprehensive study in how neighboring cultures influence each other, yet remain distinctly different and apart. From arrival in Chengdu to visit the Panda Center, travelers continue to Lhasa, where we first encounter a Tibetan culture intent on remaining relevant in a quickly modernizing world. Its beauty is undeniable as you look up at the Potala Palace, towering in white above the city. Traveling overland through Tibet, we remember to stop and keep our hearts pumping with a once in a lifetime bungee jumping opportunity, and a day of white water rafting. Finally arriving in Nepal, we spend a few days exploring Kathmandu, to see a third circle in this cultural venn diagram.
Welcome to China! On arrival at the Chengdu airport, you will be met by your private driver and transferred to your hotel. Check in and enjoy the remainder of the day free after your long flight.
Today you will embark on a tour of the Panda Breeding and Research Center, Chengdu Kuan-zhai Lane, and have tea in a tea house.
Located 6 miles north of Chengdu City, it is home to giant pandas, red (or lesser) pandas, and other endangered species. Visit the nursery to see the highly successful breeding program, among the bamboo groves and shady walkways, and to view the pandas at rest or play. There is a panda museum where you can learn some information about giant pandas.**
Chengdu Kuan-zhai Lane is a part of the old city in Chengdu which has been restored and renovated. This is a chance to see old Chengdu and experience the traditional lifestyle. It features Western foods and drinks, take-aways, coffee and art. You will also have tea in tea house which is a traditional custom for Chinese people. Retired people will go to the teahouse and sit there all day long to chat with each other.
Enjoy lunch at Chengdu Ba Gu Bu Yi Restaurant.
**Note: All kinds of interactive activities with giant pandas (including panda keeper program, and holding, playing or taking photos with pandas) are closed from January 6, 2015, due to canine distemper and protection of giant pandas. The specific time to resume such activities is now unavailable and will be subject to the actual epidemic situation. We will keep you updated.
Today, you will be picked up at your hotel in Chengdu and transferred to the airport in good time to board your domestic flight to Lhasa. Upon arrival in Lhasa, you will be picked up at the airport and transferred to your hotel.
Today your guide will introduce you to the Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Street.
Potala Palace is the former winter home of the Dalai Lama, a vast, awe-inspiring maze of corridors and stairs leading through countless rooms of richly decorated statues, tombs, murals and antiques. You will climb past the White Palace into the Red Palace, where the file of pilgrims offering silk scarves, coins or yak butter to burn in the shrines combine to make this an unforgettable experience.
Housed within the Red Palace are several mausoleums of previous Dalai Lamas. The mausoleum of the fifth Dalai Lama, is overlaid with gold, diamonds, pearls, and many other precious gems. The White Palace became known as the winter estate of this saint of Buddhism. The golden roof group is a unique view of the Potala Palace. It's on the top of the Red Palace, composed of seven roofs made of gilded bronze. Please note good physical condition is required to climb the long stairways.
Jokhang Temple is the spiritual center of Tibet and the holiest destination for all Tibetan Buddhist pilgrims. In the central hall is the Jokhang’s oldest and most precious object, a life-sized sitting statue of Sakyamuni when he was 12 years old. It is a gilded statue adorned with many jewels, in an elaborate setting. It is the most sacred statue in the eyes of the Tibetan people. Many locals pray here regularly; the temple is surrounded by Barkhor Street and thronged with pilgrims and visitors.
Built about 1,300 years ago, The Barkhor (pilgrims' circuit) is found in the heart of Lhasa encircling the Jokhang Temple. In the past, it was a designated circumambulation circuit, "a saint's road" in the eyes of Tibetans. In the street you can experience the mysterious "one-step-one-bow" way to religion. The old circuit is always crowded with pilgrims from everywhere.
Enjoy lunch at Steak House Restaurant.
Today you will visit Sera Monastery, Norbulingka and the Drepung Monastery.
Located in the northern suburbs of Lhasa, The Sera Monastery is a complex of 4 structures; the Great Assembly Hall and three colleges. It was founded in 1419 by Jamchen Chojey of Sakya Yeshe of Zel Gungtang (1355–1435), a disciple of Tsongkhapa. 'Sera' means wild roses and was called this because the monastery was surrounded by wild roses. One of the three main monasteries of Lhasa, it is here that the monks "famous daily debates" take place.
Every day (except Mondays) at 3:00pm there is a debate about Buddhist doctrines among the monks at Sera Monastery. The debate is held on the grounds and is an excellent way of learning sutras and scriptures. Visitors can watch the debate, but it is advised to keep quiet.
Norbulingka means "Jeweled Garden". Constructed as a summer palace for the Dalai Lama, it later served the whole government administration. It was built by the 7th Dalai Lama and served both administrative and religious purposes.
Drepung Monastery lies in west of Lhasa under Mt. Gambo Utse, clustered round by the black mountain, its white grand buildings shining under the sunlight. Built in 1416, it is considered as one of the largest monasteries in the six principle monasteries of Gelu Sect in China. Drepung Monastery used to be the living palace of Dalai Lamas before the reconstruction of Potala palace (after the 5th Dalai Lamas was bestowed by Qing emperor Qianlong). The grand Shonton Festival is held in the early part of August every year. That is the busiest day there with crowds of people. It is an opportunity to enjoy the atmosphere of this festival.
Enjoy lunch at Lhasa Kitchen which is near the Jokhang Temple. It is decorated by merging Tibetan style with Indian, Nepalese, Chinese and Italian architecture. It serves a variety of styles of food.
Today your guide will transfer you to Shigatse. Enjoy visits to Yomdrok Lake and Karuola Glacier on the way. In Shigatse see the Tashilunpo Monastery and The Palgor Chorten.
On clear days Yomdrok Lake is a fabulous shade of deep turquoise. The lake has beautiful blue water and is surrounded by snow-capped mountains. Dotted with a dozen islands and abundant in natural resources, Lake Yamdrok is the largest habitat for water birds in Tibet, attracting countless swans and gulls. During autumn and winter, the lake bank and the islands are a spectacular view of thousands of white birds flying above the lake and taking care of their offspring.
The Karuola Glacier is one of the three continental glaciers in Tibet, located in the boarder of Gyangze County and Nangarze County. The altitude of glacier is more than 5,000 meters, covering an area of 9.4 square kilometers. There you will enjoy the spectacular glacier scenery, the towers formed by ice, and the elegant patterns sculptured by nature on the towers.
Tashilhunpo Monastery was founded in 1447 by Gyalwa Gendun Drup (1st Dalai Lama) and is a historically and culturally important monastery. Its name means "heap of glory" or "all fortune and happiness gathered here". Painted in red and white, the buildings stand closely together in terraced rows, offering a grand and majestic view.
The Palgor Chorten, also named Palcho Monastery, is very different from other monasteries. Built as a Tibetan monastery, its structural style is very unique, reputed as the lord of Tibetan stupas. In addition, it is famous for the architecture, sculpture, and mural painting art. It lies about 270 kilometers (168 miles) south of Lhasa and 100 (62 miles) east of Shigatse at the foot of Dzong Hill.
Today, you will be picked up at your hotel in Shigatse and transferred to your accommodations in Dingri.
In Dingri you will be transferred to the Sakya Monastery for a visit. Sakya Monastery is the first Sakyapa sect of Tibetan Buddhism created by its initiator Khon Konchog Gyalpo in 1073. The monastery has a colossal collection of highly valuable art pieces, including abundance handwriting sutra copied by all the Tibetan calligraphists. Sakya's collection of treasures also contains 3,000 pieces of sutras that have thousands of years of history.
Today you will visit the Rongbuk Monastery and Everest Basecamp.
Rongbuk Monastery is the highest temple at an altitude of 5,100 meters (16728 feet). Mt. Everest, called Mount Qumulangma in the Tibetan Language, is the highest peak on the Earth and probably the most coveted mountain in adventurous travelers' eyes. A journey to the Mt. Everest Base Camp is a both physical as well as psychological challenge to visitors, but it will definitely reward them with the most unparalleled views – a panorama of Himalayan peaks - and never-forgotten beautiful memories. On May 8, 2008, the Olympic Torch for the 2008 Beijing Olympics was taken to the peak and lit by a group of Chinese mountaineers, making it the first time ever for the Olympic torch to be lit on the "top of the world".
Mt. Everest, called Mount Qumulangma in Tibetan Language, is the highest peak of the Earth and probably the most coveted mountain in adventurous travelers’ eyes. Journey to Mt. Everest Base Camp is a both physical as well as psychological challenge to you --5200mt (17000ft), but it will definitely reward you with the most unparalleled views – a panorama of Himalayan peaks - and never-forgotten beautiful memories.
Today, you will be picked up at your hotel in Dingri and transferred to your accommodations in Zhangmu.
Today you will be met at your hotel and transferred to the Tibet-Nepal border where you will be met by your Nepal driver and transferred to The Last Resort in Tatopani. It is about a 2 hour drive from the border.
On arrival at your adventure lodge, you will check in and get settled in before taking the plunge for today's bungee jump experience.
Imagine a bridge over a 160m high tropical gorge, with one of Nepal’s wildest rivers, raging below… Now jump! We will film your bungee and show the footage to you at the resort. You can order the DVD of your jump at the resort and pick up your copy in our office in Kathmandu a day later. Bet you just can’t wait to show it to your family and friends!
Today you will enjoy a white water rafting excursion.
Rafting on the Bhote Kosi is a full body experience, much more than simply paddling forward and backward. Probably the most common paddle command on the Bhote Kosi River is "Hold on!" The thundering of the next rapid is never far downstream. Only occasional pools of calm give a chance to reflect on the beauty surrounding the river. Emerald green fields are terraced high above the river. Curious villagers on suspension bridges are amazed as we plunge through cascading waves and chutes of foam.
This morning after breakfast, you will be met by your private driver and transferred to your accommodations in Kathmandu. En route, stop in Bhaktapur for some sightseeing.
Located about 20 km east of Kathmandu in the Kathmandu Valley, Bhaktapur is known as the 'City of Devotees', the 'City of Culture', the 'Living Heritage', and 'Nepal's Cultural Gem'. It is one of the 3 royal cities in the Kathmandu Valley. The others are Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, and Patan.
Bhaktapur is filled with monuments, most terra-cotta with carved wood columns, palaces and temples with elaborate carvings, gilded roofs, open courtyards. The city is dotted with pagodas and religious shrines. Lying along the ancient trade route between India and Tibet, Bhaktapur is surrounded by mountains and provides a magnificent view of the Himalayas.
Today, you will enjoy a sightseeing tour to Swayambhunath. Swayambhunath is an ancient religious complex atop a hill in the Kathmandu Valley, west of Kathmandu city. It is also known as the Monkey Temple as there are holy monkeys living in parts of the temple in the north-west. Swayambhunath occupies a central position, and is probably the most sacred among Buddhist pilgrimage sites.
Then in the afternoon you will embark on a tour of Pashupatinath and Boudhanath. Regarded as the most sacred temple of Hindu Lord Shiva in the world, Pashupatinath Temple's existence dates back to 400 A.D. Thousands of pilgrims from all over the world come to pay homage to this temple, that is also known as 'The Temple of Living Beings'. Boudhanath Stupa is the largest stupa in Nepal and the holiest Tibetan Buddhist temple outside Tibet. It is the center of Tibetan culture in Kathmandu and rich in Buddhist symbolism. The stupa is located in the town of Boudha, on the eastern outskirts of Kathmandu.
Today you'll visit Patan City. Located about 5 km south of Kathmandu in the Kathmandu Valley, on the southern side of the Bagmati River, Patan is one of 3 royal cities in the valley. A destination for connoisseurs of fine arts, Patan is filled with wood and stone carvings, metal statues, ornate architecture, including dozens of Buddhist and Hindu temples, and over 1200 monuments. The city of Patan is believed to have been built in the third century B.C. by the Kirat dynasty. It was expanded by Lichhavi in the 6th century A.D. and again by the Mallas in medieval period. Durbar Square, like its counterpart in Kathmandu, is an enchanting mélange of palace buildings, artistic courtyards and graceful pagoda temples. Listed as a World Heritage Site, the former royal palace complex is the center of Patan’s religious and social life, and houses a museum containing an array of bronze statues and religious objects.
Today, you will be picked up at your hotel and transferred to the airport for your departing flight. We hope you enjoyed this amazing experience and we wish you a pleasant flight home.
Designed by global first class company Hirsch Bender, Chengdu Tianfu Sunshine Hotel, a four-star hotel with oriental charm , is located in the Chunxi Road Commercial Circle,the downtown area of Chengdu. The hotel lies near to historic tourism site WenShuFang and ecologic water park, bringing you the oriental life of Chengdu. With hotel's spirit of "Dedicate to Perfect Service", you will enjoy the most honorable experience here.
Situated on the west side of Lhasa, New Century Lhasa Hotel is 10 minutes from the city center and is adjacent to the historic Summer Palace. The hotel stands an astonishing 3,600 meters above sea-level, and each of the 486 spacious guest rooms offer traditional Tibetan décor, satellite TV, and stunning views of the Tibetan mountain range. The Everest Restaurant buffet serves the best in Western cuisine and there is also Changs Bar which serves alcoholic beverages and cocktails. There are plenty of ways to get around thanks to the hotels sightseeing service and, for those who like to go it alone, there are numerous taxis and rickshaws outside the hotel's main entrance. New Century Lhasa Hotel mainly caters for large tourist groups and people looking to explore the many sights of Tibet on a budget.
Built in 1985, Shigatse Hotel is a 3 star hotel with unique Tibetan traditional style and quality service. It has been recently renovated. The hotel rooms are decorated in Chinese and Tibetan style, fully equipped and with attached bathroom. It has been the best hotel in Shigatse. You will surely enjoy your stay here.
Tibet Dingri Zhufeng Hotel is 100 km from the base camp of the world famous Quomolangma Peak, and 120 km from Gemagou Valley-reputed as the most beautiful valley on earth. The hotel has 180 beds, divided into standard room, Tibetan standard room, top-grade economic room and ordinary economic room. Moreover, Responding to the remoteness and high elevation of the area, the hotel also provide with necessities of traffic, communication and medical treatment for emergency caused by high altitude sickness.
The Zhangmu Hotel is located beside the customs of Zhangmu Town, a Chinese near Nepal. It is one of the most luxury hotels in this town.The Zhangmu Hotel offers well-appointed and well-furnished guest rooms. As for dining service, the Chinese restaurant and cafe in the hotel provide guests with a variety of dishes such as local food and western food. Other facilities and service the Zhangmu Hotel provides include meeting room, parking lot, foreign currency exchange service, laundry service and sauna and so on.
The Last Resort in Nepal is set amidst sprawling terraced slopes, suspended on a high cliff-top gorge above the wild Bhote Kosi River and surrounded by dense jungle and pristine forest. Uniquely crafted in local stone, wood and slate, the resort has an intimate dining hall with centuries old wood-carving where delicious home style food is served. Whether you are looking for adventure or relaxation, The Last Resort is the place to stay. Watch the stars sitting in front of your tent, fall asleep listening to the sound of the river and wake up with the birds singing. Accommodation at The Last Resort in Nepal is a natural affair. Luxurious safari tents, spaciously set in lush gardens, ensure you a quiet and peaceful stay in an exotic setting. All tents have bedding and towels, a luggage rack and a rack to hang your clothes. Our toilet and shower buildings are never far away from your tent. We have solar showers with gas and electric back up to make sure you have a nice hot shower, even in winter and monsoon.
The storied Hotel Yak and Yeti is a deluxe hotel in the heart of Kathmandu, set on the grounds of a 100-year-old palace. Find your refuge in this often hectic city, relaxing among antique fountains, gilded temples, and emerald gardens - all the while just moments away from all the offerings of this adventurers' city in the mountains. Located in the Durbar Marg section of Kathmandu.
*Pricing is based on two persons traveling together, based on availability, subject to change.