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Expedition Details

Delve into the fascinating world of mountain lore and Tibetan and Nepalese cultures while visiting the fabled cities of Lhasa, Shigatse, and Kathmandu. Take in some of the most magnificent mountain vistas on Earth as we journey overland across the Tibetan Plateau to the North Face Base Camp of Mount Everest and into Nepal.

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." – Marcel Proust

  National Geographic Expert - Peter Hillary

When Peter Hillary first climbed Mount Everest in 1990, he and his father, Sir Edmund Hillary—who made the first ascent of Mount Everest in 1953—became the first father and son to reach the summit. He reached the summit again in 2002 on a National Geographic-sponsored ascent later featured in the film Surviving Everest. Peter has completed more than 40 mountaineering expeditions and is deeply involved in assistance programs for the people of the Mount Everest region in Nepal.

 Trip Highlights


  • Take in the extraordinary landscapes of the Himalaya, from towering peaks and hanging glaciers to the lush foothills of Nepal.
  • Venture into the legendary Potala Palace in Lhasa and visit Tibet's  holiest and most historic monasteries.
  • Gaze up at the soaring crags of Mount Everest from storied North Face Base Camp in Tibet.
  • Discover many layers of symbolism and belief at ancient Bodhnath—the largest Buddhist stupa in Nepal.

Itinerary - 16 Days


Days 1 & 2 — U.S./Beijing, China Depart for Beijing, cross the international date line, and arrive the next evening.The Peninsula Beijing

Day 3 — Beijing/Lhasa, Tibet This morning, embark on one of the world's most astonishing flights, crossing the Hengduan Range and three of Asia's greatest rivers—the Salween, the Mekong, and the Yangtze—en route to Lhasa (11,970 feet). Drive to the Holy City, scanning the vast countryside for the first sight of the Potala Palace. Gather for a welcome reception and dinner this evening.Kyichu Hotel (B,L,D)

Day 4 — Lhasa Explore Tibet's two greatest monasteries: Drepung and Sera. Drepung once housed 10,000 monks, and Sera almost as many. If we're lucky, we'll see and hear the monk's lilting, booming chanting of the sutras, or their theatrical debate. Kyichu Hotel (B,L,D)

Day 5 — Lhasa Venture up to the Potala Palace and explore the grandest of its myriad rooms. See the jeweled burial chortens of past Dalai Lamas as well as statuary, frescoes, and paintings. Later, visit the Jokhang, Tibet’s holiest temple; and wander through the Barkhor, Lhasa’s old market.Kyichu Hotel (B,L,D)

Day 6 — Lhasa Take an excursion to the historic Ganden Monastery, destroyed by China's Red Army in 1966 and now a working monastery once again. Kyichu Hotel (B,L,D)

Day 7 — Lhasa/Gyangzê Our drive to Gyangzê (12,956 feet) traces the turquoise waters of the holy Lake Yamdrok and crosses two spectacular high passes. Stop to view a spectacular hanging glacier, and if you wish, take a short walk for a closer view.Yeti Hotel (B,L,D)

Day 8 — Gyangzê/Shigatse Explore the Pelkor Chode, a complex of monasteries and temples in which all four major sects of Tibetan Buddhism worshipped. Then drive to Shigatse (12,792 feet), home to the immense Tashilunpo Monastery, the seat of Tibet's second highest incarnation, the Panchen Lama. Venture into its warren of chapels and shrines linked by mysterious alleyways and steep staircases. Walk back to the hotel through the town of Shigatse, stopping to browse through the old market.Tashi Choe Ta (B,L,D)

Day 9 — Shigatse Take an optional hike from remote Ja Village to Ngor Monastery, crossing the Chak La pass (14,700 feet). From the pass, the tiny, remote monastery is visible below, and we continue walking another 1,000 feet down to reach it. Those who don’t wish to make the five-hour hike can spend the day further exploring Shigatse. As one of Tibet’s larger towns, Shigatse is at a crossroads between its history as an ancient Tibetan settlement and the encroaching modernity of contemporary China.Tashi Choe Ta (B,L,D) 

Day 10 — Xêgar The scenic drive to Xêgar crosses the Lakpa La pass (17,121 feet) and provides us with our first glimpse of Mount Everest (weather permitting). Settle into our hotel in the small town of Xêgar (14,268 feet), where the first expeditions to Mount Everest stopped in the 1920s.Qomolangma Hotel (B,L,D)

Day 11 — Xêgar/Everest North Face Base Camp/Tingri From Xêgar, cross the 17,000-foot Pang La pass. Here, take in a superb vista of ice-capped peaks dwarfed by majestic Mount Everest— described by George Leigh Mallory, who pioneered today's route, as the "prodigious white fang...[rising] from the jaw of the world." Visit Rongbuk Monastery before continuing to the North Face Base Camp of Everest.Snow Leopard Guest House (B,L,D)

Day 12 — Zhangmu Today, journey from the barren Tibetan Plateau toward the lush foothills of Nepal, descending more than 9,000 feet flanked by towering summits. In the border town of Zhangmu, settle into our hotel overlooking the Bhote Kosi river.Cai Yuan Hotel (B,L,D)

Day 13 — Zhangmu/Kathmandu, Nepal Cross the Friendship Bridge from Tibet into Nepal, and continue to the medieval city of Bhaktapur where much of the movie Little Buddha was filmed. Discover ancient temples and palaces adorned with intricately carved wooden windows and latticework. Continue to Kathmandu and settle into our hotel. Dwarika's Hotel (B,L,D)

Day 14 — Kathmandu Spend today exploring the colorful capital city of Kathmandu. Visit the 2,500-year-old shrine at Swayambhunath. Delve into the bustle of Durbar Square and the Hanuman Dhoka palace complex. View the great Buddhist stupa of Bodhnath, the largest such structure in Nepal. Tonight, celebrate a remarkable journey with a festive farewell dinner.Dwarika's Hotel (B,L,D)

Days 15 & 16 — Kathmandu/U.S. Depart Kathmandu and connect in Bangkok or Hong Kong for flights home. (B)

Optional Extension
Angkor Wat, Cambodia - Post-Trip Extension, 4 Days - See details here

Ready for the adventure?
Peter Hillary will join the following 2014 departures: 

September 21 - October 6, 2014
October 10 - October 25, 2014

Expedition Cost


Price is per person, double occupancy. For a single room add $1,650.

Airfare is not included in the expedition cost. Economy airfare between San Francisco and Beijing and return from Kathmandu is from $1,750. Economy group airfare between Beijing and Lhasa is $475. All airfares are subject to change.

What to Expect

Throughout this expedition, we will travel at high elevations. We spend nine nights at elevations ranging from 12,000 to 14,268 feet and travel as high as 17,200 feet. A considerable amount of time is spent traveling in four-wheel-drive vehicles over rough, dusty roads. Several optional hikes ascend and descend over uneven terrain. Participants should be physically fit. This expedition is not suitable for anyone who suffers from a respiratory, cardiac, or circulatory disorder or a disability that limits mobility. We will stay at first-class hotels in Beijing, Lhasa, and Kathmandu; and at basic (best available) hotels elsewhere.

Please note: Access to Everest Base Camp in Tibet is regulated by the Chinese government. We expect to operate this trip as planned, but will closely monitor events in the region and may need to alter the itinerary if access to Everest Base Camp becomes restricted.

If you are planning a trip of a lifetime to China, Nepal or Tibet contact one of our Adventure Travel Specialist

Kevin Geiser

269 925-0777

Janice Eagle

269 925-0777

Mary Lou Guy

269 823-3499


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