Nestled among the mighty Himalayas, Nepal and Tibet offer some of the world’s most spectacular, spiritual and culturally rich landscapes. Here, snowcapped peaks rise above wooded valleys and pristine lakes and rivers, and Buddhist monasteries bustle with monks performing age-old rituals. Beginning in Nepal’s Pokhara Valley, set out on a four-day lodge-to-lodge trek through the lower foothills of the magnificent Annapurna range. Hike along terraced hillsides and through subtropical forests blooming with rhododendrons and magnolias, and explore tiny mountain hamlets to get a taste of rural life. Then venture into Kathmandu to explore its grand stupas and temples. Next, fly to the fabled city of Lhasa to uncover the fascinating history of Tibetan Buddhism. Explore the legendary Potala Palace and Samye monastery, and walk in the footsteps of pilgrims on trails adorned with shrines and prayer flags.
Hike through the foothills of the Annapurna range, exploring traditional Nepali villages and staying in cozy lodges overlooking the mountains.
Visit Kathmandu’s grand Bodhnath, the largest Buddhist stupa in Nepal, and the sacred Swayambhunath temple.
Venture into the Potala Palace in Lhasa, and ferry across the Yarlung River to explore Tibet’s first Buddhist monastery.
Walk along Tibetan pilgrimage circuits, or kora, through spectacular scenery.
Activity Level: Moderate and Strenuous
Most days we will be hiking 2 to 7 hours per day (2 to 6 miles) on moderate grades at elevations ranging from 3,500 feet to a maximum of 12,500 feet. Participants always have the option to rest a day and ride to the next hotel.
Itinerary - 14 Days
Day 1 — Kathmandu, Nepal
Arrive in Kathmandu and transfer for our hotel. Meet for an orientation and welcome dinner. Hyatt Regency Kathmandu (D)
Day 2 — Kathmandu, Nepal
Today we will explore some of the most iconic sites in the Kathmandu area. Visit Durbar Square of Kathmandu, the former residence of the Malla and Shah kings who ruled over the city beginning in the twelfth century. We will then drive to Bhaktapur, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to explore a wonderfully preserved example of medieval Nepalese town life where craftsmen adorned buildings with intricately carved wooden windows and latticework. We’ll stop at a café in Bhaktapur for lunch before returning to Kathmandu. This afternoon we will visit Pashupatinath, the holiest of Hindu shrines in Nepal. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, Pashupatinath and its surroundings are a sprawling complex of temples, shrines and rest houses strewn with ancient sculptures dating back to the second and third centuries. Return to our hotel late this afternoon. Dinner tonight is on your own, a chance to experience one of Kathmandu’s fine Nepali or international restaurants. Hyatt Regency Kathmandu (B,L)
Day 3 — Pokhara/Modi River Valley
Take a short flight to Pokhara (2,800'), the gateway to the Annapurna region, passing over glaciers and jagged peaks. Attend a short briefing upon arrival, then drive to Lumle, the starting point of our Himalayan trek. Hit the trails along a ridgeline through the lower foothills of the Annapurna range, taking in spectacular views of Pokhara Valley. Our route descends to the lush Modi River valley, where Sanctuary Lodge awaits. Settle into our lodge overlooking sacred Fishtail Mountain, or Machhapuchhre as it is locally known. This afternoon, take an optional walk to the nearby village of Birethanti or relax at the lodge. (4 miles hiking, 3-4 hours) Sanctuary Lodge (B,L,D)
Day 4 — Majgaun
Following a leisurely breakfast, set out on a spectacular hike to our next lodge. Cross a bridge and follow the Modi River through a forested area, eventually climbing a winding stone staircase. Reach level ground at a farming hamlet and continue along this ridge to the village of Waday. Gaze out at a dramatic mountain panorama before descending to another bridge. From here, make another uphill climb through the villages of Patlekhet and Majgaun (4,620’) before arriving at our lodge. After lunch, you may choose to visit a local school or hike to Tanchok and explore its small museum, which illustrates the traditions, tools and implements of Nepali village life. (3 miles hiking, 3-4 hours) Gurung or Mala Lodge (B,L,D)
Day 5 — Majgaun/Dhampus
This morning our trail takes us through the timeless village of Patlekhet and subtropical forests blooming with rhododendrons and magnolias. Along the way, stop at Pothana, a rustic settlement of lodges and tea shops where many Tibetan traders live and sell their wares. After hiking for several more hours, arrive in the village of Dhampus at our lodge (4,920’), situated on a grassy ridge overlooking the Phedi and Mardi valleys. Later, take an optional walk through Dhampus where we will have an opportunity to visit local homes, meet villagers and witness daily life in this remote part of the world. (6.5 miles hiking, 4.5 hours) Basanta Lodge (B,L,D)
Days 6 & 7 — Pokhara/Kathmandu
Depart our lodge on foot after breakfast, descending through a wooded hillside and terraced farmlands to the valley floor. Transfer to Pokhara for the night. The next morning, catch a flight back to Kathmandu and check into our hotel. In the afternoon, journey to the 2,500-year-old temple and World Heritage site of Swayambhunath, perched on a hilltop above the city. Examine the temple’s fascinating iconography and carvings. With luck, witness the daily ritual of pilgrims and worshippers circumambulating the ancient stupa. Then head to Patan, known as the "town with a thousand golden roofs." Located just south of Kathmandu, Patan is one of the three ancient Malla kingdoms and a center for artisans dedicated to the preservation of ancient crafts. Explore the city and delve into Buddhist and Hindu art and beliefs at the Patan Museum. (2 miles hiking, 1.5 hours). Temple Tree Hotel (B,L,D); Hyatt Regency Kathmandu (B,L)
Days 8 & 9 — Kathmandu/Tsedang, Tibet
Transfer to the airport and embark on a scenic flight to Lhasa. Upon arrival, drive into the Yarlung Valley to Tsedang (11,152'), which once sheltered the ancient kingdom of Yarlung. Considered the mythical birthplace of the Tibetan people, Tsedang is Tibet’s fourth-largest city and, together with neighboring Nedong, it forms a green oasis in the middle of the high-altitude desert. The next day, drive along the Yarlung River to visit the 8th-century Samye Monastery (12,100’), the first Buddhist monastery to be founded in Tibet. Explore the monastery complex and hike up a hill that offers sweeping views of the surrounding countryside. Return to Tsedang for the evening. (3 miles hiking, 2 hours) Tsedang Hotel (B,L,D)
Day 10 — Lhasa
Rise early for the drive to Lhasa (11,800’), Tibet’s capital, located on one of the world’s highest plateaus. Once a "forbidden city," this Himalayan center of Buddhist pilgrimage—with the spectacular Potala Palace dominating its skyline — still retains a mystical atmosphere. Enjoy a walking tour of the Holy City and the Barkhor, Lhasa’s old market, bustling with pilgrims, monks and traders. Visit the 7th-century Jokhang, the holiest temple in Tibet, and the Norbulingka, the summer palace of the Dalai Lama, which is renowned for its beautiful gardens. Shangri-la Hotel (B,L,D)
Day 11 — Lhasa
Spend the morning exploring the magnificent Potala Palace which served as the seat of the Tibetan government for more than 300 years. Venture into labyrinthine corridors to discover the grandest of its myriad rooms, lavishly decorated with thangka paintings, frescoes and statuary. In the afternoon, drive to the historic Ganden Monastery which was destroyed by China's Red Army in 1966 and is now being painstakingly restored. Enjoy a meditative walk along the monastery’s kora, or pilgrimage circuit, passing prayer flags, shrines and pilgrims prostrating along the path. Follow the trail up to a ridge overlooking the Kyichu Valley. (3 miles hiking, 2 hours) Shangri-la Hotel (B,L,D)
Day 12 — Lhasa
Situated at the base of a rocky hill, the 15th-century Sera Monastery is one of the three most important monasteries in Lhasa, in addition to Ganden and Drepung. Explore the monastic complex which housed some 6,000 monks at its peak, and watch the resident monks engage in debate in the garden. Then embark on a hike along the pilgrims’ kora, which winds above the monastery and is punctuated with rock paintings and meditation caves. Climb up to the western flanks of a nearby ridge and enjoy a picnic lunch before descending to the monastery. (6 miles hiking, 4-5 hours) Shangri-la Hotel (B,L,D)
Days 13 & 14 — Lhasa/Kathmandu
Fly back to Kathmandu and transfer to our hotel. The afternoon is free to relax or explore on your own. This evening, celebrate our adventure at a festive farewell dinner. The next morning, depart for the airport to connect with your return flight home. Hyatt Regency Kathmandu (B,D)
Pricing starts at $5,800 per person, double occupancy. For a single room add $1,500. International airfare to/from Kathmandu and flights within Nepal are not included in the cost. The group flights within Nepal are $1,550 (subject to change).
Group Size: 8–16
Accommodations (hotels, tents and cruise cabins) are based on double occupancy. If you prefer single accommodations, and if such are available, you can pay a single supplement fee. If you are traveling alone and wish to share accommodations, we can assign a roommate of the same gender. If there is no one with whom you can share, a single supplement fee will apply.
See special terms and conditions for this adventure.