The Best of the Mountain Kingdoms: Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan
Sacred temples, hidden monasteries, magnificent palaces and ancient cities — learn about these and other enduring cultural treasures from the people who call the Himalayas their home.
Rating (4.75)
Program No. 21103RJ
19 days
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4.75 Average

When Road Scholar named this adventure The Best of the Mountain Kingdoms: Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan, they were not kidding. It was the best. This adventure was amazing. The variety of events, activities, interests, art, food, culture and religions was about as diverse as one could find anywhere. The guides were so very knowledgeable and helpful. Take good walking shoes - you will need them.


Excellent program thoroughly enjoyed this tour, and travel companions. As a solo female I never felt left out or excluded from actives during or after touring for the day. The high altitude of tibet did affect some people, so taking or bringing along a preventive for altitude sickness is a must. The air quality in Nepal did require a face mask, so I would suggest that participants bring along a reusable one. The incense burning in the Tibetan temples is also quite strong, which did cause some to have headaches, so another consideration for those contemplating this trip to Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan. Overall, a very nice slice of a few distant places that will have one wanting to go back and explore even more.


Travel exposes one to other people and different lifestyles. This trip provided that exposure and we had encounters with very interesting locals. This experience helped make the trip!

Mary Kathryn

This Mountain Kingdoms trip was absolutely amazing for me. When I saw the itinerary, I knew it was for me, but looking at the price, thought maybe not. Each day of the trip I realized the value of the trip and am so grateful I choose to go. You will not be disappointed!


This was a magical trip to a very special area of the world. We saw so many amazing temples and monasteries, some in unbelievable locations! We learned so much from local guides who loved their countries and their cultures. We had a variety of activities including riding in a rickshaw, walking up to the Potala Palace in Lhasa, having butter tea in small Tibetan village, walking through a Nepalese farm area, seeing Thankga painting techniques and talking to master painters, learning about healing bowls, flying by Everest on the way to Bhutan, hiking to the Tigers' Nest outside Paro and visiting the reclining Buddha in Bangkok. It was a trip packed with much fun and learning and camaraderie!


An outstanding experience! It was an honor to meet and hear individual life stories of the guides and residents. The scenery was of course beautiful and RS has a thorough program which I would encourage others to consider. The hiking in Tibet to the palace and to the Tigers nest in Bhutan were more challenging that I expected, but well worth the effort. That said, there wer alternatives for those who did not do the hiking or determined during the hike to quit. The guides were very attentive to individual differences and needs not only at the hikes but during the entire trip.


Mountain Kingdoms - amazing geography, geology, temples, and people. It is difficult to put into words the amazing Himalayas and Buddhist temples, people, way of life, markets and handicrafts. You have to experience this region of the world for yourself.


The Mountain Kingdoms is a wonderful program that enables one to learn about hard to access locales in Asia that few tourists get to see. The culture, people, arts and religious beliefs are inspiring. The guides are wonderful! The only glitches had to do with some of the lodgings in busy cities where construction, dirt and dust can be a problem. Also, if the program were timed to coincide with a Bhutanese festival it would add so much. This is a worthwhile program and is definitely "on the go" and very active and educational.


The Mountain Kingdoms are unique. All are exotic, yet each is different from the others. Our primary guide, Binaya Rana, was superb and handled everything - both planned and unplanned - skillfully. These are not developed countries, so pay attention to the advice in the materials and bring appropriate clothing and medicines. It's essentially impossible to visit Tibet or Bhutan on your own, and Road Scholar does a top-notch job af attending to all the arrangements and details. This trip gives you a great chance to see Buddhist and Hindu cultures up close and personal.


Wonderful introduction to Eastern religions and Himalayan countries.


In 18 short days, you cover thousands of years of history, understand and learn the cultures and religions of 3 countries, take pictures you will treasure, and taste some really great food.


It was an amazing trip. yes I had problems with the altitude when hiking, but the sights (Potala Palace in Tibet and Tiger's Nest in Bhutan) made the hard hikes worth it. I am also amazed how many people know English. I was able to communicate with a deaf Nepalese man in American Sign Language!! Go on this trip, it was great!

This reviewer did not give a star rating.

In my heart, I'm a Lonely Planet traveler -- self-sufficient and independent. In reality, this would not have been possible in the Himalayan region, which I had long wanted to visit. Lots of wonderful sights, sounds, tastes on this itinerary.


This was my first trip to Asia and what an introduction. I would describe my experience as breath taking and beyond my expectations. As my tee shirt says "I did not climb Mt.Everest...but I touched it with my heart!"


Bhutan is a perfect adventure for those who value exploring a little known paradise. I call it the "Brigadoon" of the Himalayas. A dream vacation in a beautiful place with beautiful people.


This trip was great. Ours was a small group - only 8 - so we moved easily and received a lot of individual attention. I was travelling alone and the other participants were welcoming and we all got along well. Hats off to our guides, Wentao and Binaya. They made the trip informative, fun and thoroughly enjoyable. Highly recommend if you are interested in this area of the world, or want to expand your horizons.


The Best of the Mountain Kingdoms was an amazing trip. It became sort of “Comparative Himalayan Cultures 101” as we dipped into three different mountain kingdoms, and also visited Beijing and Bangkok briefly. Our group was solid, experienced and compatible. The guides were of course, excellent. The additional local guides lent a more complete, even emotional point of view to what we were seeing. The insight into Buddhism in its different forms was warm and valuable. Over half of us made it up to the Tiger’s Nest, but I’m disclosing that it was one hard hike. I’m 70 and am really proud that I made it, as well as all 460+ steps of the Potala Palace (at 12,000 feet of altitude.) Personally, I would have liked more rural experiences. This was a very urban trip with only a few exceptions…. People considering signing up for this adventure need to pay attention to the amount of flying hours, hotel changes and length of the trip, because it is definitely a complex and strenuous journey. I think Road Scholar should look into a different carrier than Air China--- That said, RS did a wonderful job of providing us with really special hotels, sometimes even lavish ones. At times, given the stresses and enormity of what we were seeing, being coddled felt exactly right. Our buses and drivers were top flight, and the lecturers were of high caliber and always interesting. This is a very special learning expedition, no doubt about it.

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