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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
19 Days | 18 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Moderately Challenging
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 Oct 19 — Nov 6, 2014

Expand all
Day One: Sunday, October 19 - 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, October 20 - 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, October 21 - 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, October 22 - 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, October 23 - 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, October 24 - Potala Palace/ Thangka Painting / Drepong Monaste...
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 at Tibet University. Afterwards, choose to return to the hotel or continue to the outskirts of Lhasa to experience the magnificent Drepong Monastery, Tibet's largest.

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: Full Service Hotel

Description: Established in 1981, Dhulikhel Mountain Resort pioneered the Resort concept in Nepal. The resort rests on 20 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens and is back-dropped by the breathtaking panorama of the Himalayas. Designed with an ethnic theme, the beautifully refurbished cottages are made from red bricks with thatched roofs to reflect the traditional village architecture of the region. Located at an altitude of 1450m on the Arniko Highway (34km away) about a mere one hour drive from Kathmandu, you can find Dhulikhel Mountain Resort on the road to the Tibetan Border. The resorts proximity to nearby historical sites, rural villages, natural wilderness and one of Nepal’s finest rafting rivers makes it an ideal stop-off for hiking, whitewater rafting, mountain biking or just relaxing in the pristine environment.

Contact info:
Khawa
Dhulikel, Nepal
phone: +97716226627
web: www.dhulikhelmountainresort.com/

Room amenities: All rooms feature attached bathrooms with solar heated hot water, room heaters, electric mattress, tea and coffee making facilities and most with sitting rooms. Views of the Himalaya and surrounding hills are a feature of all our rooms.

Facility amenities: •Foreign currency exchange •American Express, VISA and MasterCard are accepted •Mailing service •Wi Fi internet access •Doctors on call •Tourist information service •International and local phone calls •Safety deposit boxes •Luggage storage

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


Day Seven: Saturday, October 25 - Lhasa, Tibet / fly to Kathmandu / Transfer Dhulik...
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 in Kathmandu, transfer to Dhulikhel and check into your hotel. Dhulikhel was once a main trading hub between Kathmandu, Tibet and India. Historically Dhulikhel is a Newar settlement, one of the major ethnic tribe in the Kathmandu valley. Newars are also the oldest and the most traditional of Nepal's ethnic groups and have a culture strongly based on religion, celebrated with a calendar of festivals.

Lunch: Lunch at the hotel.

Afternoon: Discover the old town of Dhulikhel, where you can lose yourself to time in the tangle of cobbled laneways, ancient houses with sagging wooden frame works, intricate carvings, hidden temples and thriving market squares.

Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.

Lodging: Dhulikel Mountain Resort

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Full Service Hotel

Contact info:
PO Box 97 Tahachal
Kathmandu, Nepal
phone: +977-1-4273999
web: www.ichotelsgroup.com/h/d/cp/1/en/hotel/KTMNP/welcome?start=1

Room amenities: Cable / Satellite TV, Coffee/Tea Maker, Mini Bar, High-speed Internet Access, Wireless Data Connection, Electrical Adapters Available,Phone, Bathtub, Hairdryer, Private Bathroom, In Room Safe, Individually Controlled Air Conditioning

Facility amenities: Health & Fitness Center (On-Site), Housekeeping & Laundry Services, Travel Services, Foreign Currency Exchange, Entertainment & Recreation, Sauna and Steam bath, Barbeque Grills, Outdoor Pool, Casino, Hotel Shops, Business Center

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

Elevator: Yes


Day Eight: Sunday, October 26 - Sunrise over the Himalayas / Bhaktapur / Drive to...
Sunrise over the Himalayas / Bhaktapur / Drive to Kathmandu / Cultural Immersion

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel. For those interested, wake up early to see the sunrise over the Himalayas.

Morning: Enjoy a morning hike around Dhulikhel to get a view of the Himalayas. Then check out of hotel and transfer to Kathmandu, with a stop at Bhaktapur, once the capital of Nepal during the Malla Kingdom until the second half of the 15th century. It was listed as a UNSECO world heritage site for its rich culture and temples, its wood metal and stone artwork.

Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Continue to Kathmandu and check into hotel. In the late afternoon, join in a presentation on how the Himalayan Mountains help shape the people and culture of Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan, with main focus on Nepal.

Dinner: Enjoy dinner with university students to learn about college life in Nepal.

Lodging: Crowne Plaza Hotel Kathmandu Soaltee

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Full Service Hotel

Contact info:
PO Box 97 Tahachal
Kathmandu, Nepal
phone: +977-1-4273999
web: www.ichotelsgroup.com/h/d/cp/1/en/hotel/KTMNP/welcome?start=1

Room amenities: Cable / Satellite TV, Coffee/Tea Maker, Mini Bar, High-speed Internet Access, Wireless Data Connection, Electrical Adapters Available,Phone, Bathtub, Hairdryer, Private Bathroom, In Room Safe, Individually Controlled Air Conditioning

Facility amenities: Health & Fitness Center (On-Site), Housekeeping & Laundry Services, Travel Services, Foreign Currency Exchange, Entertainment & Recreation, Sauna and Steam bath, Barbeque Grills, Outdoor Pool, Casino, Hotel Shops, Business Center

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

Elevator: Yes


Day Nine: Monday, October 27 - Pushupathinath and Boudhanath
Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: This morning, coach to Pashupatinath, one of the most sacred Hindu temples in the world. During Shivaratri, an annual pilgrimage, thousands of devotees of Lord Shiva from all the Hindu communities of the world, pay their homage here.

Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Explore Boudhanath the largest Buddhist Stupa in the world, situated just beyond the Pashupatinath temple. It is built on a flat surface of various levels of terraces and painted in pastel colors and adorned with prayer flags, and set in a Mandala design. Altogether 108 Buddha images and 147 insets of prayer wheels adorn the base of the huge circular edifice. The settlement of Boudhanath has the largest community of Tibetans – twelve thousand in all.

Dinner: Dinner at or near the hotel.

Lodging: Crowne Plaza Hotel Kathmandu Soaltee

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Full Service Hotel

Contact info:
PO Box 97 Tahachal
Kathmandu, Nepal
phone: +977-1-4273999
web: www.ichotelsgroup.com/h/d/cp/1/en/hotel/KTMNP/welcome?start=1

Room amenities: Cable / Satellite TV, Coffee/Tea Maker, Mini Bar, High-speed Internet Access, Wireless Data Connection, Electrical Adapters Available,Phone, Bathtub, Hairdryer, Private Bathroom, In Room Safe, Individually Controlled Air Conditioning

Facility amenities: Health & Fitness Center (On-Site), Housekeeping & Laundry Services, Travel Services, Foreign Currency Exchange, Entertainment & Recreation, Sauna and Steam bath, Barbeque Grills, Outdoor Pool, Casino, Hotel Shops, Business Center

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

Elevator: Yes


Day Ten: Tuesday, October 28 - Newar Art / Patan Square / Patan Museum / Free af...
Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Begin the morning with a presentation on Newar Art. Then continue to Patan Square, a UNESCO world heritage site and a compression of marvelous monuments.

Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.

Afternoon: After lunch, explore Patan Museum. It exhibits cover a long span of Nepal's cultural history and some rare objects are among its treasures. Their meaning and context within the living traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism are explained in extensive labels. Most of the objects are cast bronzes and gilt copper repousse work, traditional crafts for which Patan is famous. The reminder of the afternoon is on your own.

Dinner: Dinner is on your own this evening.

Lodging: Crowne Plaza Hotel Kathmandu Soaltee

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
Type: Full Service Hotel

Contact info:
PO Box 97 Tahachal
Kathmandu, Nepal
phone: +977-1-4273999
web: www.ichotelsgroup.com/h/d/cp/1/en/hotel/KTMNP/welcome?start=1

Room amenities: Cable / Satellite TV, Coffee/Tea Maker, Mini Bar, High-speed Internet Access, Wireless Data Connection, Electrical Adapters Available,Phone, Bathtub, Hairdryer, Private Bathroom, In Room Safe, Individually Controlled Air Conditioning

Facility amenities: Health & Fitness Center (On-Site), Housekeeping & Laundry Services, Travel Services, Foreign Currency Exchange, Entertainment & Recreation, Sauna and Steam bath, Barbeque Grills, Outdoor Pool, Casino, Hotel Shops, Business Center

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

Elevator: Yes


Day Eleven: Wednesday, October 29 - Swoyambhunath Stupa / Kathmandu Durbar Square / H...
Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Learn about Swoyambhunath Stupa, the most recognizable symbol of Nepal with the painted eyes of Buddha watching all who ascend its steps. Also a UNESCO world heritage site, it is one of the holiest Buddhist sites in Nepal and is the source of the valley's mythical beginning.

Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Spend the afternoon exploring Kathmandu Durbar Square. Then rest of the afternoon on your own.

Dinner: Join a family hosted dinner with a presentation on the role of women in Nepal.

Lodging: Crowne Plaza Hotel Kathmandu Soaltee

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 Twelve: Thursday, October 30 - Kathmandu / Fly to Paro / Drive to Thimphu
Note: This flight is purchased by our local coordinator in Bhutan.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Depart for your flight to Bhutan.

Lunch: Lunch in Paro, Bhutan upon arrival.

Afternoon: After lunch transfer to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan. After checking in, join the site coordinator for a country orientation on "Introduction to Bhutan."

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 Thirteen: Friday, October 31 - Thimphu / Cultures and Traditions / Free time / G...
Thimphu / Cultures and Traditions / Free time / Gross National Happiness

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: Free afternoon for you to explore Thimphu on your own. In the late afternoon, join in a discussion on Gross National Happiness.

Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.

Lodging: Hotel Pedling

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Full Service Hotel

Description: The hotel is situated on the hill opposite Wangdi Phodrang, overlooking the Puna Tsang River.

Contact info:
Wangdi
Wangdi Phodrang, Bhutan
phone: +9752481367
Room amenities: Twin-bedded rooms with TV, telephone, electric heater, private bathroom with hot water, bathtub and toilet. All rooms are non-smoking.

Facility amenities: Restaurant, bar, Internet service.

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


Day Fourteen: Saturday, November 01 - Thimphu / Thimphu Dzong / Drive to Punakha
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 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: Early lunch in town.

Afternoon: Transfer to Wangdi Phodrang via Lobesa. In Lobesa, take a walk through rice fields 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: Dragon's Nest Hotel

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, November 02 - Punakha Dzong / drive to Paro
Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Participate in a field trip to the Punakha Dzong, 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 Thimphu became the capital.

Lunch: Lunch included.

Afternoon: Transfer to Paro. Upon arrival check into hotel and get a debriefing about tomorrows hike.

Dinner: 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, November 03 - 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, November 04 - 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 a local restaurant.

Lodging: Majestic Grande Hotel

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day Eighteen: Wednesday, November 05 - 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, November 06 - 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
6 Expert-led lectures
24 Field trips
3 Hands-on experiences
2 Performances
4 Flights during the program
Visas: 1(out of 3 required)

Ratings

4.8
Ratings are determined by participant evaluations.

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