China, Tibet & Nepal: Beijing to Kathmandu (19 Days)

A 1 day trip to China & Nepal 
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Climb the Great Wall of China - marvel at the Terracota Warriors - wonder at the Potala Palace and the Jokhang Temple - witness the college of philosophy in action at Sera Monastery - be awestruck by the world's highest mountain in close-up - glimpse the Kumari, living goddess - shop amid the color and chaos of Kathmandu's busy streets.

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General Information

Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Great Wall of China, Tiananmen, Forbidden City, Terracotta Warriors, Potala Place, Jokhang Temple, Yamdrok Lake, Gyantse, Shigatse, Everest Base Camp

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Days 1-3: Tiananmen Square, the elaborate grandeur of the Forbidden City and 2000 year old Great Wall are just a few of the attractions that Beijing has to offer. On Day 2 you will take a trip to the Great Wall at Mutianyu with time in the afternoon to visit one of Beijing’s great clothing or souvenir markets. In the evening venture into the hutongs for a succulent Beijing Duck dinner. This courtyard restaurant is one of Beijing’s most traditional, the family has been preparing Beijing Kaoya for generations. Tiananmen, the Gate of Heavenly Peace, shields the Forbidden City from the vase expanse of the Square. Its lavish palaces and ornate courtyards telling their own story of China’s rich history. On the evening of Day 3 board an overnight train for the journey to Xi’an. Sleeper trains in China are open plan, but clean, comfortable and air-conditioned with sheet, pillow and blanket provided.

Day 4: Capital of Chinese empires for more than 2000 years, Xi’an is a city of ancient treasures - the most magnificent and famous of which is the Terra cotta Army of Qin Shi Huang Di. The thousands of soldiers, crafted in intricate detail, stand in battle formation to guard the mausoleum of the emperor who ordered their creation. In the evening sample another of Xi’an’s famous specialties - a dumpling banquet.

Days 5-8: Colorful and historic, the holy city of Lhasa lies in a small valley 3700 meters above sea level. Lhasa rose to importance over 1300 years ago as attempts were made to unify Tibet. At this time the grand temples of Ramoche and Jokhang were built to house the Buddha images and religious artifacts brought to Tibet as dowries from China and Nepal. Although little of 7th century Lhasa remains intact, the 1600s saw a second stage of renovation and development, which included construction of the Potala Palace. Perched on a hilltop overlooking the town, this massive structure dominates the landscape with grace and dignity, confirming the suggestion that this palace is a true wonder of the architectural world.

During your time in the heart of Tibet, you will visit the Potala Palace, the Jokhang, the huge university monasteries of Drepung and Sera and the Barkhor pilgrim circuit. There is free time to explore other sights. The Jokhang Temple is the spiritual heart of Tibet and also the most active. Prostrating pilgrims circle the temple endlessly day and night; some traversing the extremes of the country by foot to celebrate their beliefs. The Barkhor, the holiest devotional circuit, circumnavigates the Jokhang and houses a market bazaar. Here, Buddha images, yak skulls with ruby eyes, woodcarvings, carpets and prayer wheels are bargained for. Nearby are the Drepung and Sera monasteries, once home to over 15,000 monks. Afternoon debating sessions by the monks of the school of philosophy are a must-see experience.

Top it off with a Tibetan Buffet dinner including Chang (Tibetan Barley Beer), Yak Butter Tea, Yak Meat, Yak cheese, momos and a variety of vegetable and other dishes. This is followed by a performance of Tibetan music and dance.

Day 9: It is a long, yet spectacular drive to Gyantse. From the top of the Kamba Pass (4794m) the views of the turquoise lake, Yamdrok-Tso are unforgettable. The road winds down and along its shores via the small town of Nangartse before climbing again to the Karo La (5054) and the glaciers of Mt Nojin Kangtsang. Gyantse was once of major importance as a trading center on the routes between India, Sikkim, Bhutan, Tibet and China, its imposing fort, Gyantse Dzong, dominates views of the town.

Day 10: Gyantse is also the site of the great 15th century monastic complex - Pelkor Choede which includes the fascinating Gyantse Kumbum. From Gyantse the Nyang-chu valley leads towards Tibet’s second largest town, Shigatse.

Day 11: Shigatse is site of Tashilhumpo Monastery, seat of the Panchen Lama and one of the most important monasteries of the Gelukpa order. The enormous, elaborate reliquary chorten are an incredible sight. Here there is also the option to visit the local carpet factory where hand woven carpets are produced using traditional designs.

Day 12: Sakya was once the political heart of Tibet - its imposing fortified monastery reveals a not always peaceful history - the riches within, testament to past glory. North Sakya was almost completely destroyed during the Cultural Revolution, but is in the process of being restored.

Days 13-14: Continuing west, venture into Qomolangma National Park. Some of the most stunning views of the mountain are from the tiny Rombuk monastery (5000m) seven kilometers below Everest Base Camp.

Day 15: Another high pass gives a last, spectacular view of the Himalaya before Nyalam. This is the edge of the Tibetan Plateau and the road descends sharply towards the Nepal border, some 30kms and 2000 meters below. Moisture returns to the air, the colors change, trees appear, lush green vegetation and the Bhote Kosi river thunders below as you complete Chinese immigration formalities at Zhangmu. From Kodari, the Nepalese side of the border, the road continues its winding descent, hopefully unhindered by landslides to the Last Resort.

Day 16: Last Resort is a luxury tented camp set in beautiful gardens above the Bhote Khose River, close to the Nepal-China border. A day to relax in the gardens, herbal steam room and plunge pool or to test your rafting or kayaking skills, take a short hike through nearby villages or, for the more daring, a 160m bungy jump.

Day 17: Bhaktapur, founded in 889, was once capital of the whole Kathmandu Valley. As well as an impressive Durbar Square and numerous temples, Bhaktapur is famous for its pottery – whole streets are filled with pieces of all shapes and sizes set in the sun to dry. After exploring the town continue to Kathmandu.

Day 18: Rich in cultural and artistic heritage blending the traditional and the modern, Kathmandu is a vibrant, chaotic, colorful city - one not to be missed. The markets, bazaars and narrow streets are home to holy men, sacred cows, bicycles, street sellers… you name it, it is here. Your tour includes a half-day sightseeing tour of Kathmandu Durbar Square (home to the Kumari, living goddess) and the magnificent Swayambunath temple.
A traditional Newari dinner complimented by local music and dance makes a fitting finale to your tour.

Day 19: Depart.


Starting Price 

This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.