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TIBET / NEPAL / BHUTAN / THAILAND

The Best of the Mountain Kingdoms: Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan

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Road Scholar
Program #21103RJ

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19 Days | 18 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Moderately Challenging
Road Scholar has thousands of educational adventures to choose from. A good way to narrow down our list is to browse our collection of "Most Popular" programs.
See all of our Most Popular programs.
Love to learn in a small-group setting? This collection of programs has at most 10-24 participants.
See our Small Group programs.
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. There’s minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding — and rewarding — programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.
Elevation Note
Highest elevation is 12,000 feet in Lhasa, Tibet. Bhutan ranges from 7,000-10,000 feet.

Equipment Requirements
Comfortable, broken-in light hiking boots. Cooler, drier air at high altitude contains less oxygen than at sea level.

Itinerary for May 17 — Jun 4, 2015

Expand all
Day One: Sunday, May 17 - Depart for China
Depart From: Depart from home for China.

Type: Four-Star Hotel

Description: About 30 minutes by coach to Beijing airport and close to central Beijing (about 20 minutes by taxi to Tiananmen Square)

Contact info:
No. 6 A east Beisanhuan Rd-chaoyang
Beijing, 100028 China
phone: +86 10 5922 3388
web: www.radissonblu.com/hotel-beijing

Room amenities: Safe box, TV, private bathroom with hair dryer, 24 hours air conditioning, complimentary two bottles of mineral water in room each day.

Facility amenities: Wifi access in lobby and in all rooms, ATM available in lobby; indoor swimming pool; Chinese Restaurant, Western Restaurant, bar, Business Center, Shopping, Beauty Salon.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: x
Please contact RS Travel Services to make bookings.


Day Two: Monday, May 18 - Arrival Beijing / Orientation / Hutongs of ‘Old B...
Arrival Beijing / Orientation / Hutongs of ‘Old Beijing’ and the Summer Palace

Note: This is a required overnight to give you a chance to rest and get your Tibet permit before your early morning fight into Lhasa.

Arrive To: Early morning arrival to Beijing International Airport. Transfer to the airport hotel for breakfast and time to rest until orientation.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: After breakfast, join your Group Leader for the program orientation. This is an opportunity to discuss about altitude sickness and how to mitigate it as well as a chance to learn more about your program in Tibet. Then check in and rest and wash up for the day. For those interested in exploring the Hutongs of ‘Old Beijing’ and the Summer Palace, we will depart in the late morning and return in the late afternoon. Explore the Hutongs near Beihai Park by pedicab, and learn about their story and meet a local family.

Lunch: Enjoy a family hosted lunch in a hutong home. For those participants who choose to stay at the hotel to rest and relax all day, lunch will be on your own.

Afternoon: Explore the Summer Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an exquisite example of imperial garden design. Its pavilions, reception halls, and living quarters overlooking lily ponds, lakes, and arching bridges once comprised the summer retreat of Qing Emperors.

Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.

Lodging: Radisson Blu Hotel Beijing

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Three-Star Hotel

Description: This small, warm family-owned hotel is situated in old Lhasa within view of the Potala Palace.

Contact info:
No.2 Shengtai Road
Lhasa, 671003 Tibet
phone: +86 891 6307 555
Room amenities: A/C, TV, hair dryer, laundry service.

Facility amenities: currency exchange, shops, beauty salon, barber shop, coffee shop, business center, Wi-Fi is available in the hotel lobby with free cost.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes


Day Three: Tuesday, May 19 - Flight to Tibet / Coach to Lhasa
Note: Lhasa is 12,000ft above sea level. At this level of elevation, you might feel shortness of breath and a pounding of your heart. Headache, extreme tiredness, nausea and loss of appetite are standard symptoms. Please drink lots of water and take rest. If you continue to feel week, faint, or have any symptoms that concern you, you need to talk to your Group Leader.

Breakfast: Early breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Depart for your flight to Lhasa, the ancient capital of Tibet.

Lunch: A light lunch will be served in flight

Afternoon: Arrive at the "rooftop of the world" and transfer to Lhasa to your program hotel, where you are welcomed by a Tibetan ceremony. (Note that although Tibet uses ‘Beijing time,’ it is actually about 2 hours ‘later’ than Beijing. Your itinerary adjusts for this time difference.)

Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.

Lodging: Tibet Dekang Hotel Lhasa

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Three-Star Hotel

Description: This small, warm family-owned hotel is situated in old Lhasa within view of the Potala Palace.

Contact info:
No.2 Shengtai Road
Lhasa, 671003 Tibet
phone: +86 891 6307 555
Room amenities: A/C, TV, hair dryer, laundry service.

Facility amenities: currency exchange, shops, beauty salon, barber shop, coffee shop, business center, Wi-Fi is available in the hotel lobby with free cost.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes


Day Four: Wednesday, May 20 - Jokhang Temple/ Bokhor Bazaar / Tibetan Medicine ...
Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Explore the heart of Lhasa - Jokhang Temple, built in the 7th century. This is the most revered temple in Tibet, and the destination of pilgrims who journey by any means, even on foot, to worship here. Surrounding the temple, the Bokhor Bazaar offers an exciting array of Tibetan goods both old and new: Tools, cloth, thangkas, jewelry and yak hides.

Lunch: Enjoy lunch near the bazaar.

Afternoon: Walk to the nearby traditional Tibetan Medicine Hospital for an introductory talk by Dr. Chiwang, who explains the precepts of Tibetan medicine and treatments. Enjoy the hospital's colorful array of medical thangkas. Depart for Norbulingka, the summer palace of the Dalai Lama which contains his residential quarters.

Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.

Lodging: Tibet Dekang Hotel Lhasa

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Three-Star Hotel

Description: This small, warm family-owned hotel is situated in old Lhasa within view of the Potala Palace.

Contact info:
No.2 Shengtai Road
Lhasa, 671003 Tibet
phone: +86 891 6307 555
Room amenities: A/C, TV, hair dryer, laundry service.

Facility amenities: currency exchange, shops, beauty salon, barber shop, coffee shop, business center, Wi-Fi is available in the hotel lobby with free cost.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes


Day Five: Thursday, May 21 - Tibetan Village/ Lhasa Museum
Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel. Before breakfast, meet in the hotel courtyard to learn Gorshay, an exuberant circle dance.

Morning: Travel to Nomadic grasslands beyond Lhasa where pastoral families raise yak, sheep, goats and horses. If it is grazing season, visit with nomadic families and then observe Tibetan rural life in a small village. Visit its primary school and meet with its dedicated director.

Lunch: Enjoy a picnic on a knoll beside the village.

Afternoon: On the return to your hotel, stop at the Tibet Museum, home to a rich collection of cultural relics, antique thangkas, scriptures, costumes, and folk art. For those who would like to continue on to the hotel instead of visiting the museum, your coach will take you back.

Dinner: Dinner on your own.

Lodging: Tibet Dekang Hotel Lhasa

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
Type: Three-Star Hotel

Description: This small, warm family-owned hotel is situated in old Lhasa within view of the Potala Palace.

Contact info:
No.2 Shengtai Road
Lhasa, 671003 Tibet
phone: +86 891 6307 555
Room amenities: A/C, TV, hair dryer, laundry service.

Facility amenities: currency exchange, shops, beauty salon, barber shop, coffee shop, business center, Wi-Fi is available in the hotel lobby with free cost.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes


Day Six: Friday, May 22 - Potala Palace/ Thangka Painting / Sera Monastery
Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Explore the Potala Palace, seat of the Dalai Lama and one of the most awe-inspiring princely residences and palaces in the world. The palace is approxmately 10 minutes drive from the hotel to Potala Palace. Walking shoes are necessary and walking sticks might be helpful to climb 458 steps up the palace. Usually the local guide will lead those who want to climb and the group leader will take those who don't want to climb for a walk at the base of the palace, where there is a nice park. The visit is a one-way trip; the entrance is in the front and the exit is in the back. Usually participants need to decide at the base of the palace whether they want to climb up or not. The group leader will set a final meeting time and the meeting place. If some of the group want to go halfway or walk around at the base of the palace on their own, they can meet the group at the meeting place at the appointed time.

Lunch: Lunch at Lhasa cuisine restaurant.

Afternoon: Learn about traditional Thangka painting (Tibetan religious scrolls) through a talk and demonstration by a Master. Afterwards, choose to return to the hotel or continue to the edge of town to Sera Monastery, one of Tibet's three great monasteries and famed for the debating style of its resident monks.

Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.

Evening: Enjoy a private Farewell Tibetan Dance and Singing party.

Lodging: Tibet Dekang Hotel Lhasa

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Five-Star Hotel

Description: Hyatt Regency Kathmandu is a 5 star luxury hotel and resort in Kathmandu, Nepal, set on 37 acres of landscaped grounds, and created in the traditional Newari style of Nepalese architecture. This beautiful hotel and resort is located in the metropolitan city of Kathmandu at Taragaon, Boudha, and on the road to the Boudhanath Stupa: the most holy of all Tibetan Buddhist shrines outside of Tibet, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site which is walking distance from the hotel - about five minutes away. The hotel is just 4 km (2.4 miles) from the Tribhuvan International Airport and 6 km (3.7 miles) from the city center of Kathmandu.

Contact info:
PO Box 9609
Taragaon, Boudha
Kathmandu, Nepal
phone: +977 1 449 1234
web: www.kathmandu.regency.hyatt.com/en/hotel/home.html

Room amenities: Separate work desk area Robes Hairdryer 24-hour room service Minibar Coffee maker 39 inch LED TV Cable/satellite TV channels Three or more telephones Dual line phones High-speed Internet access Separate shower Analog phone line Iron/ironing board Individual air conditioning control Windows that open 24-hour concierge In-room safe Morning newspaper upon request

Facility amenities: Fitness center Jogging track Tennis Court Swimming pool Steam Sauna and indoor/outdoor whirlpool bath Salon Several restaurants Meeting space

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes


Day Seven: Saturday, May 23 - Lhasa, Tibet / Fly to Kathmandu
Note: Kathmandu is 2 hours and 45 minutes behind Lhasa (Beijing) time.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Transfer to the airport for your flight to Kathmandu. Upon arrival transfer to Hotel.

Lunch: Lunch at the hotel.

Afternoon: Use this afternoon to rest. The Group Leader will host a discussion session about Nepal and its recovery process in wake of recent events in Katmandu for those participants who are interested.

Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.

Lodging: Hyatt Regency

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: Hotel Pedling has over 33 rooms with en-suite bathroom & hot shower facility. All rooms have wi-fi high internet speed & other basic amenities. Located in the heart of the business and shopping areas of Thimphu, Hotel Pedling is one of Thimphu’s most popular hotels for international travelers- a superior first-class hotel built on “comfort and convenience” as its base. The popular landmark Swiss Bakery is next to the hotel. The hotel is ideally located and caters to both business and leisure travelers, with modern contemporary design incorporating tasteful local art to provide a healthy and comfortable living environment for hotel guests with the highest expectations and standards. A Buddhist Institute owns the hotel and all proceeds from the hotel go to meeting the daily expenses of over 400 monks at Gangtey Sang.

Contact info:
Post Box no. 978
Phendey Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan
Thimphu, Bhutan
phone: +975-2-325714
web: www.hotelpedling.com

Room amenities: LCD TV in all rooms Room heating Mini fridge and hair dryer in all rooms Intercom phone in the room

Facility amenities: Facilities and Amenities - Business center: fax, internet & printing - Conference facilities - Foreign currency exchange - Front desk service: 24 hours - Laundry service - Luggage storage - Parking - Safe deposit boxes at reception - Taxi service on call - Car rental - Mail courier service - Ironing board and shoe shine on request - International Direct Dialing - WiFi internet access

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Eight: Sunday, May 24 - Kathmandu / Fly to Paro / Drive to Thimphu/ Count...
Note: The drive from Paro to Thimphu will take one hour.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Transfer to the airport to board your flight to Bhutan.

Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant upon arrival at Paro, Bhutan.

Afternoon: After lunch, transfer to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan. The Group Leader will give a country orientation and give a talk on Bhutan's political history.

Lodging: Hotel Pedling

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
Type: Hotel

Description: Hotel Pedling has over 33 rooms with en-suite bathroom & hot shower facility. All rooms have wi-fi high internet speed & other basic amenities. Located in the heart of the business and shopping areas of Thimphu, Hotel Pedling is one of Thimphu’s most popular hotels for international travelers- a superior first-class hotel built on “comfort and convenience” as its base. The popular landmark Swiss Bakery is next to the hotel. The hotel is ideally located and caters to both business and leisure travelers, with modern contemporary design incorporating tasteful local art to provide a healthy and comfortable living environment for hotel guests with the highest expectations and standards. A Buddhist Institute owns the hotel and all proceeds from the hotel go to meeting the daily expenses of over 400 monks at Gangtey Sang.

Contact info:
Post Box no. 978
Phendey Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan
Thimphu, Bhutan
phone: +975-2-325714
web: www.hotelpedling.com

Room amenities: LCD TV in all rooms Room heating Mini fridge and hair dryer in all rooms Intercom phone in the room

Facility amenities: Facilities and Amenities - Business center: fax, internet & printing - Conference facilities - Foreign currency exchange - Front desk service: 24 hours - Laundry service - Luggage storage - Parking - Safe deposit boxes at reception - Taxi service on call - Car rental - Mail courier service - Ironing board and shoe shine on request - International Direct Dialing - WiFi internet access

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Nine: Monday, May 25 - Thimphu / Cultures and Traditions
Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Begin the day as many locals do with a morning walk (15 minutes from the hotel) to the National Memorial Stupa, built in 1974 in memory of the late third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. This place is popular among the pious, young and old alike, who make it part of their daily ritual to visit. Continue to the National Institute of Traditional Arts and Crafts, also known as the painting school, where 13 different forms of Bhutanese traditional Arts and Crafts are being taught to young and enthusiastic students. It is the trained students who keep these age-old Bhutanese traditions alive. They are responsible for passing on the valuable ancient knowledge and skills to the next generation of Bhutanese.

Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.

Afternoon: This afternoon's field trip to the National Textile Museum introduces different styles of Bhutanese weaving. The weaving styles of Bhutan are distinctly recognizable, and weaving is considered a national art form. In the evening explore Thimphu on your own.

Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.

Lodging: Hotel Pedling

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: Hotel Pedling has over 33 rooms with en-suite bathroom & hot shower facility. All rooms have wi-fi high internet speed & other basic amenities. Located in the heart of the business and shopping areas of Thimphu, Hotel Pedling is one of Thimphu’s most popular hotels for international travelers- a superior first-class hotel built on “comfort and convenience” as its base. The popular landmark Swiss Bakery is next to the hotel. The hotel is ideally located and caters to both business and leisure travelers, with modern contemporary design incorporating tasteful local art to provide a healthy and comfortable living environment for hotel guests with the highest expectations and standards. A Buddhist Institute owns the hotel and all proceeds from the hotel go to meeting the daily expenses of over 400 monks at Gangtey Sang.

Contact info:
Post Box no. 978
Phendey Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan
Thimphu, Bhutan
phone: +975-2-325714
web: www.hotelpedling.com

Room amenities: LCD TV in all rooms Room heating Mini fridge and hair dryer in all rooms Intercom phone in the room

Facility amenities: Facilities and Amenities - Business center: fax, internet & printing - Conference facilities - Foreign currency exchange - Front desk service: 24 hours - Laundry service - Luggage storage - Parking - Safe deposit boxes at reception - Taxi service on call - Car rental - Mail courier service - Ironing board and shoe shine on request - International Direct Dialing - WiFi internet access

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Ten: Tuesday, May 26 - Thimphu / Thimphu Dzong / Gross National Happines...
Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Join in a discussion on Gross National Happiness. The discussion will touch upon the work of the organization, quantifying GNH and other areas of study. Take a field trip to the Tashicho Dzong or fortress, the administrative headquarters of the government of Bhutan. While the northern half of the fortress houses monks, the southern half houses the office of the King, the Prime Minister's office, the Ministry of Finance, the Home Ministry, and the Office of Gross National Happiness Commission. In the face of increased globalization, there has been a growing need for Bhutan to preserve its culture, including its national language, Dzongkha. The center of these preservations attempts is here at the fortress.

Lunch: Lunch in town.

Afternoon: Take a field trip to the site of the world’s largest sitting Buddha that is nearing completion.

Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.

Lodging: Hotel Pedling

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Lodge

Contact info:
.
Phobjikha, Bhutan
Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Eleven: Wednesday, May 27 - Phobjika Valley / Beautiful Himalaya Mountain Vie...
Note: The drive to Phobjikha Valley is over 6 hours with stops along the way.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Depart for Phobjikha valleys. The scenic drive to Phobjikha valley begins with a gradual climb through a forest of pine and cedar. As the drive continues the flora changes, and hanging lichen appears high up near Dochola pass (10,100ft). Stop to take in the breathtaking panoramic views (weather permitting) of the Himalayan mountain range that stretch for many miles. On the drive notice many prayer flags fluttering in the breeze. The views continue to entertain as the bus descends along a series of hairpin bends to the fertile valley of Punakha-Wangdiphodrang valley (4,430 feet).

Lunch: Lunch en route.

Afternoon: Enjoy the drive through quaint villages as we ascend and cross a pass to arrive at Phobjikha, a broad and beautiful valley (9,500 feet). This area is home to Black-Necked cranes, a highly endangered species of crane that migrates from the Tibetan plateau in late October then return to Tibet in February/March. The Black-necked Crane is revered as a heavenly bird (lhab-bja). The birds have harmoniously coexisted with the local residents largely due to locals’ strong Buddhist beliefs. The lhab-bja appears in the Bhutanese folk lore, songs, dances and historical references.

Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.

Lodging: Hotel Dewachen

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Lodge

Contact info:
.
Phobjikha, Bhutan
Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Twelve: Thursday, May 28 - Phobjikha Hike / Crane Center
Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: After breakfast, take a 2 – 3 hour nature hike around the valley, through the village. Explore the Crane Observation and Education Center to learn about these amazing birds.

Lunch: Enjoy lunch in the valley.

Afternoon: Discover the valley's most important landmark, the 17th century Gangtey Goemba/monastery and the monastic school located next to a guesthouse, overlooking the expansive Phobjikha valley below. At the monastery, a discussion with the monks provides insight into thier daily lives.

Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.

Lodging: Hotel Dewachen

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: Meri Puensum resort is located on a small hill overlooking Khuruthang, the new township in Punkha. It is a family run hotel and offers 40 clean rooms with en-suite bathroom and hot shower facility.

Contact info:
Wolakha
Punakha, Bhutan
phone: +975-2-584237
Room amenities: Mini fridge and hair dryer in all rooms Intercom phone in the room

Facility amenities: Facilities and Amenities - Business center: fax, internet & printing - Internet access at the business center - Conference facilities - Foreign currency exchange - Front desk service: 24 hours - Laundry service - Luggage storage - Room heating - Safe deposit boxes at reception - Taxi service on call - Car rental - Mail courier service - Ironing board and shoe shine on request - International Direct Dialing - Intercom phone in the room

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Thirteen: Friday, May 29 - Punakha, the Winter Capital
Note: The drive to Punakha will take about 3 hours with rest stops. The short hike to the temple is along the edge of rice paddy fields, but a relatively easy one.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: This morning is a scenic drive to Punakha valley which is located at 4,430 feet.

Lunch: Lunch at a village with views of rice paddies.

Afternoon: This afternoon, take a walk through rice fields in the tiny village of Lobesa to Chimi Lhakhang (temple of the divine madman) located on a small hilltop. This temple is famous for its fertility blessings. It is dedicated to the great 15th century Yogi, Lam Drukpa Kuenley or popularly known as the “Divine madman” in the west. He preached in the way that is unlike the stiffness of clergy and society of the time; he dramatized the teachings using songs and outrageous sexual humor. A popular pilgrimage spot for the Bhutanese, the temple is frequently visited by childless couples and parents who have difficulty raising children.

Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.

Lodging: Meri Puensum Resort

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: Meri Puensum resort is located on a small hill overlooking Khuruthang, the new township in Punkha. It is a family run hotel and offers 40 clean rooms with en-suite bathroom and hot shower facility.

Contact info:
Wolakha
Punakha, Bhutan
phone: +975-2-584237
Room amenities: Mini fridge and hair dryer in all rooms Intercom phone in the room

Facility amenities: Facilities and Amenities - Business center: fax, internet & printing - Internet access at the business center - Conference facilities - Foreign currency exchange - Front desk service: 24 hours - Laundry service - Luggage storage - Room heating - Safe deposit boxes at reception - Taxi service on call - Car rental - Mail courier service - Ironing board and shoe shine on request - International Direct Dialing - Intercom phone in the room

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Fourteen: Saturday, May 30 - Punakha Fortress / Hike to Khamsum Yueley Namgyal...
Note: There is a short hike this afternoon to the temple. The hike is along the edge of rice patty fields, but a relatively easy hike.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Take a pleasant 2-3 hour hike through rice fields to the Khamsum Yueley Namgyal stupa. This magnificent stupa was built by Her Majesty the Queen Mother for the well being of the kingdom and for the benefit of all sentient beings. Built over a period of several years, Bhutanese craftsmen including carpenters, painters and sculptors consulted holy scriptures, rather than engineering manuals, to construct this 4-storey temple. From here enjoy the picturesque view of the beautiful Mochu River valley below.

Lunch: Enjoy a picnic lunch.

Afternoon: Participate in a field trip to the Punakha Dzong/fortress, the winter residence of the Je Khenpo, the Chief Abbot of Bhutan. This Dzong is one of the most beautiful Dzongs in the country and a splendid example of Bhutan’s fine architectural and artistic traditions. It is situated between the two rivers Pho Chu and Mochu (Male and Female Rivers respectively). This Dzong/fortress had served as the capital seat of the Kingdom for more than three hundred years until 1955 when Thimpu became the capital.

Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.

Lodging: Meri Puensum Resort

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Resort

Description: Those who visit Bhutan via the beautiful valley of Paro would find it hard not to notice Tashi Namgay Resort. Located on a rocky hill overlooking the Drukair airport and the pa chu river below, the resort would be one of the first glimpses of Bhutan for visitors to our small and beautiful kingdom. The resort is set amidst five acres of lush foliage and sprawling green lawns and has 39 spacious rooms housed in 15 cottages and bungalows. Located outside Paro town, it offers a calm and peaceful environment that merges traditional Bhutanese and modern architecture in its own unique style that incorporates its concern for the environment as seen through the use of solar lights, wooden shingle roofing and mud walls. Tashi Namgyal resort is an ideal resort for vacationers looking for a calm and relaxing resort that offers an authentic Bhutanese ambiance along with all the comfort of a modern resort.

Contact info:
Post box no. 1238
Paro, Bhutan
phone: +975-8272318
web: www.tnr.bt

Room amenities: Intercom phone in the room Mini fridge and hair dryer in all rooms

Facility amenities: Facilities and Amenities - - Business center: fax, internet & printing WiFi access in the rooms at the business center (nominal charges apply) - Conference facilities - Foreign currency exchange - Front desk service: 24 hours - Laundry service - Luggage storage - Room heating - Safe deposit boxes at reception - Taxi service on call - Car rental - Mail courier service - Ironing board and shoe shine on request - International Direct Dialing - Spa services

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Fifteen: Sunday, May 31 - Archery / Farmer’s Market / Drive to Paro
Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Morning ride to Thimphu via Dochola Pass.

Lunch: In town.

Afternoon: Witness a game of archery, Bhutan’s national game and learn about its significance in the Bhutanese society. If on a weekend, explore the country’s biggest farmer’s market where farmers from the neighboring valleys come to sell their produce. Transfer to Paro.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Lodging: Tashi Namgay Resort

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Resort

Description: Those who visit Bhutan via the beautiful valley of Paro would find it hard not to notice Tashi Namgay Resort. Located on a rocky hill overlooking the Drukair airport and the pa chu river below, the resort would be one of the first glimpses of Bhutan for visitors to our small and beautiful kingdom. The resort is set amidst five acres of lush foliage and sprawling green lawns and has 39 spacious rooms housed in 15 cottages and bungalows. Located outside Paro town, it offers a calm and peaceful environment that merges traditional Bhutanese and modern architecture in its own unique style that incorporates its concern for the environment as seen through the use of solar lights, wooden shingle roofing and mud walls. Tashi Namgyal resort is an ideal resort for vacationers looking for a calm and relaxing resort that offers an authentic Bhutanese ambiance along with all the comfort of a modern resort.

Contact info:
Post box no. 1238
Paro, Bhutan
phone: +975-8272318
web: www.tnr.bt

Room amenities: Intercom phone in the room Mini fridge and hair dryer in all rooms

Facility amenities: Facilities and Amenities - - Business center: fax, internet & printing WiFi access in the rooms at the business center (nominal charges apply) - Conference facilities - Foreign currency exchange - Front desk service: 24 hours - Laundry service - Luggage storage - Room heating - Safe deposit boxes at reception - Taxi service on call - Car rental - Mail courier service - Ironing board and shoe shine on request - International Direct Dialing - Spa services

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Sixteen: Monday, June 01 - Paro / Tigers Nest Hike
Note: This is an all day hike to the temple and back with a 2000 feet increase in elevation.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: After breakfast start on strenuous but a rewarding hike to view the spectacular and famous Taktsang monastery (Tiger's Nest). The trail to the monastery climbs through a beautiful pine forest; many of the trees are festooned with Spanish moss. Walk past an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags. Continue at a leisurely pace and those who choose can stop mid-way at the cafeteria for rest and refreshment.

Lunch: Picnic lunch along the way.

Afternoon: Continue the hike further up until the imposing Taktsang monastery is seemingly within reach. Built in 1600s, this incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900 meters into the valley below. It is believed that, in the 8th century, Guru Rimpoche, the tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan, landed here on the back of a flying tigress to subdue a demon. Guru Rimpoche is believed to have meditated here for three months. Over the centuries, numerous Buddhist Masters have meditated here as well. It is considered one of the most sacred places for Buddhists.

Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.

Lodging: Tashi Namgay Resort

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: Located in the heart of Bangkok, the Majestic Grande combines contemporary décor and state-of-the-art technology with a warmth of hospitality which is uniquely Thai.

Contact info:
12 Sukhumvit Soi 2
Bangkok, Thailand
phone: +6622622999
web: www.majesticgrande.com

Room amenities: High speed wireless internet access, satellite TV, in room safe that is large enough to hold a laptop computer, phone, hairdryer, DVD Player and stereo, full bathroom amenities with shaving mirror, tea/coffeemaking facilities, minibar, refrigerator, 220 V electricity.

Facility amenities: Laundry and dry cleaning service, outdoor swimming pool, 24 hour room service, concierge, business center, restaurant, coffee shop, bar, fitness center, sauna and jacuzzi.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights after: TBD
Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services for details.


Day Seventeen: Tuesday, June 02 - Paro / Fly to Bangkok
Note: This flight is purchased by our local coordinator in Bhutan.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Transfer to the airport for your flight to Bangkok.

Lunch: Light lunch on flight.

Afternoon: Upon arrival in Bangkok, check into hotel and time to relax.

Dinner: Dinner at hotel.

Lodging: Majestic Grande Hotel

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day Eighteen: Wednesday, June 03 - Bangkok / Grand Palace / Wat Pho / Farewell Dinne...
Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Explore the icons of Bangkok, the Grand Palace and Wat Po and the city's most famous landmark. Built in 1782, it has been the home of the Thai King for the last 150 years and serves as the Royal court and the administrative seat of government. Wat Po is home of the reclining Buddha and the birthplace of traditional Thai massage.

Lunch: Lunch at a riverside restaurant.

Afternoon: Free time in Bangkok for you to explore on your own.

Dinner: Farewell dinner at a local restaurant.

Evening: Late evening check out of your hotel and transfer to the airport for your return flight home.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day Nineteen: Thursday, June 04 - Arrival Home
Arrive To: Arrive back home.



Free Time Opportunities


Bangkok, Thailand
A Stroll Through ChinatownOne of the best ways to experience the true flavor of a city is to walk its streets. Discover Bangkok’s Chinatown, one of the most densely populated, richly ethnic neighborhoods in the city. Walk at your own pace through narrow lanes, peer into the doorways of apothecary shops with their medical herbs and natural cures. Take the opportunity to watch fresh Chinese delicacies being prepared and served while the aromatic fragrance of spice and herbs saturates the air. Pay special attention to the “funeral shops,” where they sell paper models of worldly items that ensure the deceased will have the complete comforts of home on the journey to the afterward. Wonder at the intricate architecture of ancient Chinese Temples, perhaps even donating some coins to the temple “burial society,” a charity devoted to recovering the bodies of unfortunate road accident victims.
Suan Pakkad PalaceSuan Pakkad was built by Prince and Princess Chumbhot of Nakhon Sawan, who moved five traditional Thai houses from Chiang Mai in 1952. The cabbage garden was turned into one of Bangkok’s finest landscaped gardens and is calm in a uniquely Eastern way. The princess was one of the country’s most dedicated art collectors, and the house has been turned into a museum displaying objects such as perfume bottles, betel nut boxes and musical instruments. Antiques including an exquisite Buddha head from Ayutthaya, Khmer statues and European prints of old Siam. Located Prayatahi Road.
Vimanmek PalaceThe Palace is a magnificent, golden, teakwood residence of King Chulalongkorn that houses numerous exhibits, including antiques furniture, glassware, porcelain and many other items of historic interest. Located on Ratchavithee Road.
Wat PhoThe temple was originally built in the 16th century and covers twenty acres. One of its pavilions houses a 150-feet long reclining Buddha. Wat Pho is also home to Thailand’s most famous school of massage. (See listing). Respectful dress required: Shorts, flipflops and bare shoulders are not permitted inside the temple complex and you should be prepared to take off shoes to enter temples. Open daily 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Admission fee of 20 baht.
For additional information, visit: www.watpho.com
Wat Pho Thai Traditional Massage SchoolIn the eastern end of the Wat Pho complex is the country’s most famous school of massage. Appointments are on a first-come, first-served basis, so it is a good idea to start your exploration of Wat Pho here before the line becomes too long. A 60-minute, full body massage costs approximately 300 baht ($8 U.S.) and is done fully dressed. A set of cotton clothing is provided for the 60-minute herbal massage that costs 400 baht ($10 U.S.).
For additional information, visit: www.watpho.com
Wat Phra KaeoHome of the Emerald Buddha and located within the grounds of the Grand Palace, Wat Phra Kaew is the most sacred and the most beautiful of Thailand’s temples. Open daily 8 a.m.– 4 p.m. Admission 200 baht ($5 U.S.). The dress code is very strict: No shorts, no bare shoulders, no slippers or sandals.
For additional information, visit: thailandforvisitors.com/north/chiangrai/prakeo/index.html
Kathmandu
ThamelThamel is a concentration of narrow streets are lined with small shops selling everything from food and provisions to clothes, walking gear, cakes, pastries, music, DVDs, handicrafts, travel agents and budget hotels.
Kathmandu Durbar SquareKathmandu Durbar Square, or Basantapur Durbar Square is the plaza in front of the old royal palace of the Kathmandu Kingdom. It is one of three Durbar Squares in the Kathmandu Valley in Nepal, all of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The Durbar square is surrounded with spectacular architecture and vividly showcases the skills of the Newar artists and craftsmen over several centuries. The royal palace was originally situated at Dattaraya square and was only later moved to the Durbar square location.
SwayambhunathSwayambhunath stupa st atop a conical hill 2km west of Thamel and a great place to to see the Kathmandu valley as well as the temple conplex which is crowded with pilgrims and monkeys. It is an icon of Kathmandu and Nepal.
The National MuseumOpened daily except Thursday from 10:30am-3pm, Monday closes at 2pm. cost is Rs100 and camer is Rs50. Leave bags in lockets at the entrance. Great introduction of the intertwining of religion, art, myth and history in Nepal.
Lhasa
BikingBicycle rentals are available at some hotels. Your Group leader will tell you how and where you can rent a bike. Cost is about 50 cents per hour with a deposit of about $40 US. NOTE: If you're having discomfort at high altitude it is important to not overdo your physical activity, and cycling is not recommended in that case.
Bokhor Bazaar and Jokhang TempleBeyond the main circle of the Bokhor Bazaar are labyrinthine alleys and lanes worth exploring. Behind Jokhang Temple there is a small Muslim section as well as old residential dwellings.
Lhasa RiverWalk along the Lhasa River, where you may encounter children swimming, women washing, and others crossing the river in small yak-hide dinghies.
Thimphu
Textile MuseumThe Textile Museum, Norzin Lam, has a display of exquisite Bhutanese textiles from the 1600s to the present day.
Takin PreserveThe Takin is the national animal of Bhutan, and looks like a cross between a cow and a goat. Legend has it that the animal was created by the great Buddhist yogi, Drupa Kunley, and it can be found only in Bhutan and nearby areas. Taxonomists place the animal in a category of its own as it is not similar enough to any other animal to fit established categories.
Post OfficeWhen in Thimphu, make sure you go to the local post office. The local post office has a large collection of stamps which are kept for sale. The special feature of the post office is that you can get a postage stamp made with your own photo inscribed on it and these stamps can be used for postage purposes as well. The cost is very nominal which include the value of stamp as well.
The National Folk Heritage MuseumThe Heritage Museum is ocated behind the National Library. A traditional house that showcases rural life. Exhibits and cultural shows are held in the museum compound. Open: Mon-Fri 10:30AM to 4:30PM, Sa 10:30Am to 1PM and Su 11:30AM to 3:30PM. Entrance: 150nu

Important information about your itinerary:
Please know that while we do everything we can to finalize all aspects of our programs well in advance, there are logistics that occasionally must be altered. Our website will reflect the most recent information, and we are committed to providing you with final program details no later than eight weeks prior to the start of programs outside the U.S. and three weeks prior to the start of programs within the U.S. If you ever have questions about your program, please don't hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to assist you.

Our Value Promise To You

You won't find a better value.

Included
at no additional cost on this date ...
16 nights of accommodations
49 meals: 17 breakfasts, 17 lunches, 15 dinners
4 Expert-led lectures
19 Field trips
1 Hands-on experiences
2 Performances
5 Flights during the program
Visas: 1(out of 3 required)

Ratings

4.8
Ratings are determined by participant evaluations.

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