Our magnificent adventure into the heart of Tibet brings you from Samye, its most historic monastery, to the soaring ramparts of the North Face of Everest. Tibet’s magic is revealed in places like the Barkhor market, where we mingle among pilgrims and swashbuckling Khampa traders, and in striking fortress-monasteries of the Tibetan Plateau, where flickering yak-butter lamps illuminate ancient Buddhist frescoes. Reaching the foot of Everest, the dazzling glaciers of the world’s highest peak seem almost close enough to touch. Our journey ends with a crossing of the spine of the Himalaya to Nepal and the bustling bazaars of Kathmandu.
This was one of the most memorable trips we have ever taken. The guides were fabulous and, all in all, Tibet touched our souls deeply on so many levels.
— Lillian M.
We join the pilgrims who gather at the candle-lit altars of the Jokhang, Tibet’s most sacred temple, and walk the Barkhor, a pilgrimage circuit surrounding the Jokhang. We also explore the majestic Potala Palace and journey to sprawling Ganden Monastery (13,700'), where we have a chance to walk the pilgrim kora (sacred circuit). While in Lhasa, we enjoy a special traditional festival: Saga Dawa (May departure) or Shoton (August departure).
Tibetan Plateau / Everest Base Camp
In the remote Yarlung Valley, we explore 8th century Samye, whose remarkable collection of wall paintings vividly depicts the legends and religious history of Tibet. Crossing the Tibetan Plateau, we head to the historic outpost of Gyantse, crossing two high passes and visiting holy Yamdrok Tso (“Jade Lake”), a site of pilgrimage. In Shigatse, the magnificent, gold-topped Tashilumpho, one of Tibet’s most breathtaking monasteries, sprawls across the foot of a mountain, and in Shegar, views of Everest and Cho Oyu rise dramatically over the sweeping Tibetan landscape from its hilltop fortress. Arriving at Rongbuk (16,500'), the highest monastery in the world, we feast our eyes on the ramparts of Mt. Everest, where the legendary British mountaineers Mallory and Irvine disappeared into the mists of history. Higher still, we bring you right to Everest Base Camp for the most breathtaking views of Everest, its sheer North Face soaring above the ice of the Rongbuk Glacier.
Lalung La / Zhangmu, Tibet / Kathmandu, Nepal
We head up and over the Lalung La (16,600'), where Himalayan peaks pierce the sky in every direction, then descend to Kathmandu. Depart on Day 16.