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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
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.
Discussion Board

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Barbara Thomas Mar 02, 2015 at 08:49 PM

This is a second attempt to make contact with anyone going to Best of the Mountain Kingdoms May 17,2015. I will be flying out of LAX.

Mark Townsend Jan 21, 2015 at 08:20 PM

My husband and I went on the October "Mountain Kingdoms" trip. We are still on a "Himalayan High" from the wonderful experience. Before we left I had injured my hip and developed some bursitis. My orthopedic doctor encouraged me to go, anyway. Walking was sometimes painful. There are some hills and a couple of hotels without elevators. (After all, these are 3rd world countries at the top of the world.) I did not climb Potala or hike to the Tiger's Nest monastery or walk across the rice fields, but I definitely got my money's worth. I did climb a flight of stairs and walked up the hills to reach a Tibet monastery and a village in Tibet. The ages in our group ranged from 50 to 96. There is walking totaling at least 1-2 miles everyday- museums, stupas, around old towns etc. Of course you do need to be able to get up and down the steps of a bus. There are numerous bus trips and I was able to climb the 4 or 5 steps onto the bus. If you take it slow, the trip is very doable. The guides are very helpful, considerate and patient. The group was even split between those that wanted to walk up to Potala and those that wanted to walk around the base of Potala for example. Remember to take Aleve, Diamox, and Ciprofloxacin

Judy T
Therese Lincoln Jan 25, 2015 at 06:18 PM

Thans, Judy for your comments. They are very helpful and answered our concerns about how strenuous this trip is. We are taking this trip in September.

Gwyn Smith Jan 20, 2015 at 12:56 AM

Binaya: Your opinion please! On the required climbs.
Gwyn Smith

Christine Place Jan 12, 2015 at 02:52 PM

The personnel in the Boston/New Hampshire offices have not been on this trip, so they do not really know what is involved. You could send an question out on this site to our trip guide Binaya. He was with us the whole time in all three countries and is a resident of Nepal. He does follow the emails.
Gwyn Smith Jan 12, 2015 at 04:48 PM

Thanks, good idea.

Laura Inscoe Jan 12, 2015 at 08:52 AM

There's also an inclined walkway to the restaurant at the Dochcula Pass. Think about calling and talking with the coordinator at Road Scholar.
Gwyn Smith Jan 12, 2015 at 01:37 PM

Thanks so much for the information. I'll call.

Gwyn Smith Jan 12, 2015 at 12:01 AM

I am concerned about my ability to walk hills on this trip. I have a condition that makes my legs hurt when I walk up hills. I have realized I may not be able to get all the way up to a couple of the sites, but does anyone know if there are hills to climb every day in the mountain towns?
Christine Place Jan 12, 2015 at 02:55 AM

Dear Gwyn,
Christine Place Jan 12, 2015 at 02:55 AM

Dear Gwyn,
Christine Place Jan 12, 2015 at 02:55 AM

Dear Gwyn,
Christine Place Jan 12, 2015 at 02:55 AM

Dear Gwyn,
Christine Place Jan 12, 2015 at 02:55 AM

Dear Gwyn,
Christine Place Jan 12, 2015 at 02:55 AM

Dear Gwyn,
Christine Place Jan 12, 2015 at 02:55 AM

Dear Gwyn,
Christine Place Jan 12, 2015 at 03:28 AM

My husband and I took the trip last September/October. There are not hills to climb in Beijing but some steps at the summer palace. In Tibet there is the climb to the top of the Portala Palace 750 steps. In Nepal the first night where we stayed is at a hilltop resort with quite a number of steps from the road to the main hotel, then room. In the morning we hiked up higher to a village above the resort. The rest of the stay in Nepal is at a western style large hotel. The "monkey temple" that we visited again included climbing steps to a hilltop. Steps at other temple sites too each day. In Bhutan the climb to Tiger's Nest is (3) miles each way, you go from an elevation of 8,000 to 10,000 feet during this walk/climb on a winding trail that takes you to the top of one mountain, then down many steps to a gorge to cross over to go up more steps on the next mountain to the temple. We also had a short hike throught the rice fields and then again going up steps to a temple. At the government palace center again there were steps and then ladder steps to climb to enter. We walked anywhere from (3) to (10) miles each day of the trip. To really experience the sites you need to be able to walk up steps and inclines.
Gwyn Smith Jan 12, 2015 at 02:20 PM

Thank you for the information. It is very helpful.

Joan Costello Jan 06, 2015 at 11:59 PM

I am considering signing up for the October iteration of this trip. Do we know what airlines will be used and how safe they are? I am reflecting on air accidents the past year and just last week.
Daniel Tam Jan 07, 2015 at 12:10 AM

We flew Air China from LAX to Beijing and Lhasa. Then flew Druk Air from Kathmandhu to Paro, Bhutan. You may wish to check on both airlines' safety record. I totally enjoyed my trip this last October. Rest assured that Road Scholar would not be putting you in a dangerous situation.
Joan Costello Jan 07, 2015 at 03:36 AM

Daniel, thanks so much for responding. I did just check and Air China is highly rated (7 out of 7 stars) from a safety perspective. Druk Air was rated lower (3 out of 7 stars) but there were no fatalities. Might sound paranoid, but the news has kept a couple mid-ocean crashes alive.
Joan Costello Jan 07, 2015 at 03:37 AM

Did you fly economy on Air China or other? I am considering flying business class.
Daniel Tam Jan 07, 2015 at 07:09 PM

All Road Scholars on the trip were on economy class on Air China and Druk Air.
Barbara Thomas Jan 11, 2015 at 08:43 AM

We're you able to sleep? Was the flight full?
Daniel Tam Jan 11, 2015 at 11:17 AM

Flying across the globe on economy class on any international airlines is less than ideal. Usually the flights are full as this is the case on Air China. The ability to sleep is completely personal. My cousin slept like a log while I can only sleep half the time. Enjoy your trip and all your adventures!!
Christine Place Jan 12, 2015 at 03:30 AM

Christine Place Jan 12, 2015 at 03:42 AM

I flew business class and my husband flew coach. I had a fabulous flight starting with being able to wait in the lounge with food, drinks, showers, private baths at the airport, instead of the gate seating area. Also my luggage was first on, first off and my weight limit allowance increased. On the plane you felt as if you were in club. You could walk around with ease, meet other passenger, choose food from menus, never had to wait for a bathroom. The bathrooms had fresh flowers, washcloths, amenities and were always clean. My seat was like a nest or capsule that became a fully flat bed. I arrived in Beijing fully rested and ready to tackle the altitude change in Tibet the next day. Meanwhile my husband's knee bothered him from sitting in coach. This was my first time flying business class and it was so worth it!
Christine Place Jan 12, 2015 at 03:44 AM

p.s. Forgot to say you can look at the business class for Air China on line. Also someone posted a video of their flight in business class.

Bob Baker Dec 31, 2014 at 06:24 PM

I'm on the April 12 flight out of LAX. Any others signed up for this date?
Adrianne Navon Jan 12, 2015 at 08:18 PM

Hi, Bob. I'll be on that 1:40 a.m. LAX flight to Beijing, along with my friend Wendy. Adrianne (NYC)

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Our Value Promise To You

You won't find a better value.

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)


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