How the senses can transport you…
I’m sat in the north of England doing some work at home but with the combination of drinking some Darjeeling tea and having the beautifully lensed film Seven Years in Tibet on in the background, the wanderlust in me stirs, the exotic dreams awaken and the need to be exploring while in awe of new surroundings takes me away.
To trek the Himalayas, indulge in Tibet and Nepal’s culture and tackle Everest… for now I’ll just sip my Darjeeling.
If I had the money, I’d definitely take up this trip I’ve found at Abercrombie & Kent – a 13 day excursion across the Himalayas. Here’s the jaw-dropping itinerary from the site:
Day 1: Arrive in Kathmandu,Nepal
Upon arrival in Kathmandu, clear customs and immigration. Meet your A&K representative and transfer to your hotel.
Dwarika’s Hotel, Kathmandu | Meals: Meals: B D
Day 2: Kathmandu | Cultural Hub
Spend a full day exploring culturally rich Kathmandu City. Visit Durbar Square and Teleju Temple with its gilded roofs, continuing to Hanuman Dhoka Durbar, the old Royal Palace; House of the Living Goddess; and the 12th-century wood temple of Kasthamandap, said to have been built from a single tree. Then, stroll through the bazaar and labyrinthine back streets of the old city. Continue to Swayambhunath, the world’s oldest shrine. In Patan City, see the Royal Baths, Mahaboudha, Krishna Mandir and Hiranya Varna Mahavihar (the Golden Temple). Later, learn about Nepal’s cultural history at the new Patan Museum.
Dwarika’s Hotel, Kathmandu | Meals: B L D
Day 3: Kathmandu | Stunning Stupas
Set out to see Boudhanath, an ancient stupa and imposing UNESCO World Heritage Site that is adorned with images of the Dhyani Amitabha Buddha. Observe Pashupatinath Temple from eastern bank of the Bagmati River. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, entry is strictly forbidden to non-Hindus. Then, see the ancient royal city of Bhaktapur, a showcase of “medieval” Nepalese life. Witness the statue of Bhupatindra Malla, continuing to the pottery center and the fabled, pagoda-style, five-story temple of Nytapole and Thimi, known for manufacturing unusual masks.
Dwarika’s Hotel, Kathmandu | Meals: B L
Days 4-5: Lhasa, Tibet | Sacred Home
Fly to Lhasa. Meet your A&K representative and transfer to your hotel. Spend the rest of the day at leisure. Then, explore the art and relic-filled Drepung Monastery, the former political headquarters for the Gelugpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism and a one-time residence of the Dalai Lamas. Continue to the Jokhang Temple, followed by Barkhor Market, the spiritual heart of the holy city and its main commercial district.
Shangri-La Hotel, Lhasa | Meals: B L D
Day 6: Lhasa | Holy City
Begin the day at the 1,000-room Potala Palace, the 17th-century home built by Gyelwa Ngapa, the fifth Dalai Lama. The impressive, enduring structure brims with intact chapels and treasures. Then, visit the Kangyur Stupa and Sera Monastery, which once held a huge monastic population and five colleges.
Shangri-La Hotel, Lhasa | Meals: B L
Days 7-8: Shigatse | Stunning Stupas
Drive to Shigatse, pausing amid the mountainous landscape at Yamdrok Lake. At the Phalkor Monastery, learn of the Sakyapa, Kadampa and Gelugpa sects. Proceed to the Kumbum stupa, a golden dome-topped, art-filled structure rising over four symmetrical floors. The next day, see the Tashilhunpo and Shalu Monasteries.
Qomo Langzong Hotel | Meals: B L D
Day 9: Shegar | Imperial Finery
Drive to Shegar and visit the Sakya Monastery, which is filled with imperial certificates, gold signets, crowns and costumes. Comprised of two temples built across the Zhongqu River from one another, this 11th-century monastery also houses a large number of hand-written Buddhist scriptures on a variety of sacred and secular topics.
Hotel Bebar | Meals: B L D
Day 10: Rongbuk | Views from Everest Base Camp
Drive to Rongbuk to take in the commanding views from the Everest Base Camp, starting point for expeditions seeking the summit via the challenging north face of the mountain. As you drive amid boulders and glacial debris, watch for deer and yak herds on the hillsides. Tonight, enjoy time to acclimatize with a stay in Nyalam.
Nyalam Hotel | Meals: B L D
Days 11-12: Dhulikhel | Hiking the Himalaya
Drive to Zhangmu, then walk across the Tibetan Border to Nepal. Drive to the ancient Newari town of Dhulikhel, situated at the foothills of the Pachkhal Valley. Check into your hotel and spend the rest of the day at leisure. The next morning, see the sun rise over the Himalaya and hike through terraced fields and local villages. Spend the rest of the day enjoying the plentiful activities at your resort, which is known for its spectacular views. Join your fellow guests for a farewell dinner.
Dwarika’s Resort Dhulikhel | Meals: B L D
Day 13: Depart Dhulikhel
Transfer to the Kathmandu airport and board your international flight.