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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
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. 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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Nickie Aug 20, 2015 at 10:23 AM

Who will be our guide on the October 11th trip?

Nickie Jul 27, 2015 at 12:33 AM

Has anyone booked an upgrade on the flights to/from Beijing? I guess RS has us in economy seats?
Michael Fischer Jul 27, 2015 at 12:51 AM

My discussions with Road Scholar Travel before we booked this trip was that the flights were not upgradeable. Consequently we used miles to do our own flight -- arriving in Beijing a few days before the official start of the program (SFO-PEK United Business Class, Sep. 17-18) and leaving Bangkok a few days after the end of the official program (JAL BKK-HND-SFO Oct. 10). We find the combination of fly flat seating and arriving a few days earlier puts us usually in a non-jet-lagged mode to enjoy the trip.
Carol Hermann Jul 27, 2015 at 08:02 AM

Don't know whether things have changed or not, but I was on the Sep/Oct 2014 trip and did upgrade to on the LAX flights. We were on AirChina, a United partner. Cost to upgrade was about $3500, and I discovered several others from our RoadScholar group had done the same.

Michael Fischer Jul 03, 2015 at 12:23 AM

I focused today on visas since we’re just past the out 3 month period beyond which we shouldn’t be applying for it. I came across something that I overlooked because it wasn’t in the general directions but instead was on page 43 of the information packet. I figure if I missed it there may be someone else out there who did so also. Page 43 tells you how to complete items 2.5 and 2.6 of the visa application and it seems essential to me. Also, if you’re a Mac user, you might find that printing the application from Safari doesn’t work right while printing it from Acrobat does.
Nickie Jul 10, 2015 at 09:55 PM

Thanks, Michael. We're in the Oct 11th trip, and plan to complete our visas next week. We'll be sure to check Page 43 before doing so!

Therese Lincoln Jun 24, 2015 at 02:48 PM

My siblings and I are enrolled for the September 20, 2015 trip. Due to the earthquake in Nepal, we received a notification, early June, from Road Scholar indicating that we will find out the "changes in itinerary by mid-June". As of today, June 24, 2015 we still have not heard anything. I called the office, nobody seems to know about any changes, the answer was that we will receive our itinerary 6 weeks before departure. Have you heard anything? Can someone from Road Scholar who is familiar with this trip and the situation in Nepal help us please. Thank you.
Nickie Jun 25, 2015 at 02:39 PM

We're enrolled for the Oct 11th program, rec'd the same letter as you, but have heard nothing about possible changes to date. Maybe there are no changes?
Therese Lincoln Jun 26, 2015 at 04:41 PM

Thanks for your response, Nickie. I guess no one from Road Scholar is monitoring the discussion board.
Nickie Jun 27, 2015 at 11:02 AM

Possibly. Or maybe there are no changes?
Binaya Rana Jun 28, 2015 at 09:20 PM

As Group Leaders, we have not received any information regarding changes from RoadScholar as well. Possibly the trip will go on as scheduled. The hotels that RoadScholar uses in Nepal have all received the green signal. Most of the historic sites have been cleard of debris as well. There are still a couple of months remaining before the start of the first of the trips. It should be possible to continue the trip as it is by then. It's up to RoadScholar though to decide.
Michael Fischer Jun 29, 2015 at 01:28 PM

I am also signed up for the Sept. 20th trip and received the same notice as well as an extension in the due date for final payment for June 30. I recently received a notice from RS that my payment was past due. So I called today and expressed concern that no one was getting back to us and that it seemed the left hand did not know what the right hand was doing. I was assured that my concern would be bumped up the response chain with a "critical" flag and some one would be back to me no later than July 2. I'll keep all here informed what I hear.
Charles Linart Jun 29, 2015 at 07:01 PM

We are scheduled for the September 20th trip, and feel that we must trust that RS will figure it out and take good care of us. Binaya's comment is reassuring as well. We have not traveled with them before, but have heard nothing but positive things. That said, I too have found RS.s poor communication regarding potential changes in the itinerary and billing rather annoying.
Michael Fischer Jun 30, 2015 at 01:51 PM

I generally agree with Charles. I've been with RS on 3 trips, one domestically (excellent), one to India (excellent), and one to Southern Africa (mixed). So I was expecting that they would either make changes (as they did to the May trip) or not as the situation requires (after all, it's more than 2-½ months off). But when I get the letter from them and then a notice I had missed my payment deadline, I was concerned about internal communication. And when Therese posted here, I wanted to update everyone about my communication with RS. And I will also do so on July 2 when (as I expected I will) I hear further from them. Binaya's post is very encouraging and helpful.
Therese Lincoln Jun 30, 2015 at 03:52 PM

Thank you, Binaya, Charles and Michael for all your comments. It has been quite helpful to know that my siblings and I are not the only ones in the dark. It's unfortunate that RS did not get back to us when they said they would but instead issued a "past due" notice!. Fortunately, RS's good reputation precedes them, so we trust them enough to commit to and paid for this trip last week. I hope my trust is well founded, since this is my first trip with RS.
Michael Fischer Jul 02, 2015 at 01:58 PM

I hope you all received (via email) the message from Road Scholar that the trip is going ahead as planned (except that we will not be able to see, obviously, two of the buildings at Durbar Square that were destroyed in the earthquake). And Road Scholar emphasized that they are as reasonably sure of our safety as they can be (and I have learned from previous trips with them that this is a prime concern of theirs). So, we're set to go and I look forward to seeing all who will be on this trip, including Therese and Charles. See you all in Beijing.
Nickie Jul 02, 2015 at 11:44 PM

Yes, we received the email from RS, saying the trip was going ahead as planned (and we're excited about this, too!). Hope all of us have a wonderful experience and adventure!
Binaya Rana Jul 05, 2015 at 10:20 PM

Welcome to the trip. I will be leading the Nepal, Bhutan and Bangkok part of the September 20 departure
Therese Lincoln Jul 10, 2015 at 09:42 PM

Hi Binaya: Looking forward to meeting you in Nepal! Hope and pray that the monsoon season would be mild this year for the sake of the earthquake victims.

Nickie May 16, 2015 at 08:04 PM

My husband and I are enrolled in the Oct 11th program, and wonder about the Nepal part of our trip. What has happened to Dhulikhel Resort? Has it suffered damage? Will we still spend two nights there? Are we to spend one night in shaky Kathmandu or more? How about seeing the treasured Nepalese sights, many of which are no longer standing? How do we get our questions answered? We are not feeling too safe about spending time in Nepal.
Binaya Rana May 16, 2015 at 11:27 PM

Hi Nickie, the Dhulikhel Resort has suffered minor damages, nothing significant. Many of the treasured World Heritage Sites have been damaged, but not completely destroyed. There are still a of things to see within those sites. I am sure RoadScholar will make a wise decision about the Nepal portion of your trip when the time of your departure nears based on the situation on the ground.

Carol Hermann May 14, 2015 at 01:14 AM

Binaya has said it is okay if I share yesterday’s email about how he and Minakshi are doing following the latest earthquake. Some of you may appreciate knowing that a GoFundMe site has been set up to support the work Binaya and Minakshi are doing to help their Nepalese neighbors. I don’t know if I’m permitted to provide a link here so if you would email me at orioncarol@yahoo.com I’ll send you the link personally.
Here’s Binaya’s 5/12/2015 email …
Thank you all for your concern. Me, my wife, our family and our homes are all fine. The latest earthquake was smaller in magnitude and shorter in time span, but was more frightening because of the already frail nerves. Although we tried to sleep, we couldn't because of frequent aftershocks. The aftershocks though are getting less frequent. Geologists kept saying that there was still pent up energy remaining after the first quake, I hope that's been released and we will not get any more big earthquakes in the near future.
Luckily, the damage and the death toll from the second earthquake doesn't seem to be as bad but 70 people dead so far is still serious. A lot of damaged buildings from the first earthquake were brought down by this one.
My wife Minakshi and I are helping people start to resettle in a village close to where we live. We will continue our work in the small scope we have been doing. You can see the little we've been trying to do on my facebook page : www.facebook.com/binayarana
Thank you for your support. We are going through some trying times here. Mother Nature is testing our courage.

Gail Stevenson May 12, 2015 at 05:53 PM

I'm scheduled to leave with the May 17th group. After the latest earthquake I am unsure. The group is a small one (9, after the first earthquake)but I don't like the idea of an overnight stop in Kathmandu. Anyone else out there in that group? Any thoughts?
Barbara Thomas May 12, 2015 at 06:11 PM

I am on the this trip also and trust RS to keep us safe. Even if there are problems after we start the trip, RS can reroute us through Calcutta, Bangkok or elsewhere to get us into Bhutan.
Karen Hinton May 12, 2015 at 07:05 PM

I echo those thoughts. I have a lot of confidence in RS and feel certain they are getting the latest information from their local contacts as they make decisions.
Gail Stevenson May 13, 2015 at 12:27 PM

Gail Stevenson May 13, 2015 at 12:32 PM

Thank you, Barbara and Karen for your reassurance. However, the chances of this 7.3 "aftershock" were less than 1%. Also, I am thinking of the devastation there. Should tourists go there at this time, even for an overnight?
Barbara Thomas May 13, 2015 at 01:55 PM

I share your concern about the appropriateness of a night in Nepal. However it appears to be the best entry point to Bhutan. We will not be interfering with rescue or aid efforts as we never leave the hotel. Perhaps our hours there will allow us to give a first hand accounting of relief efforts back home so that people will be moved to contribute to approved agencies. You must do what you feel is best for you.
Gail Stevenson May 14, 2015 at 01:12 AM

Thanks, Barbara, I agree with you. Perhaps some good can come from an overnight stay, and perhaps we will not be taking up valuable space on the (single) runway. My preference would be to enter Bhutan by a different route; however, I plan to go on the trip.
Binaya Rana May 15, 2015 at 09:58 PM

Hello all, I am one of the Group Leaders for the Himalayan Mountain Kingdoms group. I understand your concern about coming to Nepal and possibly impeding on the humanitarian process. Personally I feel that you have to see Nepal albeit for a day during this trying time. The media has portrayed total devastation, which is not true. It is true that villages at and close to the epicenter have been flattened, but that's not the case in Kathmandu. You will see on your journey from the airport to the hotel that there are hardly any destroyed beuildings. By spending a night here in Kathmandu, you will be part of the recovery process for the country. We would have loved for you to enjoy our country, but unfortunately Mother Nature decided otherwise. I hope you come back to Nepal in a couple of years to enjoy this beautiful country.

Binaya Rana Apr 29, 2015 at 05:38 AM

To see what has happened to our beloved heritage sites


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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
48 meals: 17 breakfasts, 16 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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