Join YPT on the roof of the world for an out of the ordinary tour of Tibet, combined with one of YPTs specialisms; communist ideology. It doesn’t get more specialist than this! This tour is not for the fainthearted; expect an experience of rural Nepal far, far away from the beaten path on an adventure into 21st century Maoism. If you like monasteries and temples, stunning mountains, amazing culture and food, and a rarely crossed border crossing, then this is the tour for you!
Real Deal Himalayas:
In this tour, we combine the main sights in Lhasa with a trip to Namtso Lake, passing through some of the most beautiful scenery in the world and 5000 meter high passes, with Shigatse. From here we head to Everest Base Camp for views of Mt Qomolangma – as it’s known to the locals – or Mt Everest, the highest mountain in the world, and spend a night in a monastery near base camp.
We start in Beijing or Xi’an, before all meeting up in Lhasa, but we can arrange travel from anywhere in China depending on your plans, get in touch for a quote!
From 1996 to 2006 the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) fought a ten-year People’s War against the King and, for the most part, the parliamentary parties. In 2006 the war ended, the Maoist’s came above ground, won the first elections held after the war and told King Gyanendra to vacate the palace, making Nepal the first country to depose the monarchy and change to a republic since Iran in 1979.
For this tour, YPT will take you deep into the Maoist heartlands of Rolpa and Rukum, seeing the communes and Maoist offices, police outposts destroyed during the war and we will even talk to Maoist ex-soldiers and commanders about their experiences during and after the war.
Morning flight to Lhasa (from Beijing/Shanghai/Chengdu/Xi’an) and a traditional Nada welcoming ceremony from our Tibetan guides
Check in to the beautiful and welcoming Tashitakge Hotel deep in Lhasa’s old town and start acclimatising to the altitude and getting to know your guide and fellow travellers.
Free afternoon to wander the streets of Lhasa old town
Get your first taste of yak and other Tibetan foods when we go for dinner at a small but welcoming courtyard restaurant near the hotel
Overnight in Lhasa.
Monday 8th October
First things first, we’ve got to visit the world famous Potala Palace. This was the residence of the Dalai Lama until he fled to India in 1957, but had been the main seat of Tibetan government for centuries. Set on the mountaintop this is a site not to be missed!
Join the pilgrims on the Pilgrims Path for a walk around the palace.
Grab a quick lunch of Nepalese food in central Lhasa
Carry on a temple themed day visiting the Jokhang Temple – this temple is actually considered the most important of Lhasa’s temples by Tibetans and was built for the Nepalese Princess of the Tibetan King
Afternoon wander around Barkor Street market – this part of the old town is a major pilgrimage site and we can see locals prostrating themselves as they make their way clockwise around the roads
Dinner and drinks in the old town
Overnight in Lhasa.
Tuesday 9th October
Drive to Namtso Lake through stunning scenery and high mountain passes, stopping for photo opportunities as often as we want. Although it’s only just over 100 kms from Lhasa the winding, bumpy roads means it might take up to 4 hours, but the scenery makes the drive itself worth it.
Cross a pass that is 5190 metres high, with great views of snow topped mountains and down to the lake itself
Lunch in a lakeside restaurant
Hiking around Namtso Lake. We can ride horses down to the lake or walk around on foot. See who can get the best views for a photo or just hang out by the lakeside with the local Tibetans.
Drive back to Lhasa, dinner and overnight
Wednesday 10th October
Head to the Tibet Museum with exhibitions on Tibetan culture and history and a section on British imperialism in the area before 1949, a good chance to learn the Chinese interpretation of Tibetan history.
Climb up to the Drepung Monastery, built into the hillside outside of Lhasa
Head back into town and get Indian food for lunch
Visit the Sera Monastery where if we are lucky we will hopefully see the monks doing their customary afternoon debate. This monastery is one of the big ‘university monasteries’ of Tibet.
Dinner and overnight in Lhasa.
Thursday 11th October
Drive out to typical Namba Tibetan villages. Here we can get a picture of what life is like outside of Lhasa and the main urban centres, buy some things at the local markets, eat in local restaurants and chat with the locals.
Look around the villages, go horse riding or hiking in the mountains, take in the fresh air, blue sky and stunning scenery.
Drive back to Lhasa and hit the town. We’ll visit the Tibetan bar street to see what the locals do on a night out in Lhasa!
Overnight in Lhasa.
Friday 12th October
Get up early for a filling breakfast before we set off on the road again
Drive to Gyantse along the Kyichu River with a view of Lake Yamdrok from 4800 metres altitude!
Stop for photos at the Karola Glacier
Arrive in Gyantse and visit Pelkor Monastery and Kumbum Stupa
Continue on to Shigatse, Tibet’s second city and the seat of the Panchen Lama
Recover from a day on the road with a few liquid refreshments as we check out the nightlife of Shigatse
Dinner and overnight in Shigatse
Saturday 13th October
Visit the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery in Shigatse
Set off along the Friendship Highway on the drive to Tingri taking in more of the spectacular scenery, if the weather permits we’ll have a sight of four mountains over 8000 metres high!
Visit Rongbuk Monastery – 8km from Everest Base Camp
Get an early night in preparation for Mt Everest, or warm yourself by the fire with some Chinese liquor!
Overnight at Rongbuk Monastery
Sunday 14th October
Get up for the spectacular sunrise at Rongbuk
Hike or take the bus up to Everest Base Camp for amazing photo opportunities of Mt Everest – or Qomolungma to the locals, which rises to 8848 metres high
Grab lunch back at the monastery
Set off on the drive back to Tingri, where we will check into our hotel, grab dinner and get an early night in preparation for our drive the next morning
Monday 15th October
Set off after breakfast on the drive down to the Chinese-Nepali border, descending from 5000+ metre passes down to a mere 1750 metres at the Friendship Bridge that crosses into Nepal
We go through Chinese customs and say goodbye to our guides
And we’re met on the other side by our Nepali guides and transfer to our new minibus before heading out on the Araniko Highway to Kathmandu!
Grab some snacks for our first taste of Nepal, samosas are guaranteed to fill you up a bit!
Drive through some beautiful Nepalese scenery before entering the Kathmandu Valley and getting to our final destination
Check into our centrally located hotel in Thamel district and enjoy some local food, beers and a night out in Kathmandu
Tuesday 16th October
Continue on with our Nepal Maoist People’s War Tour!
Wednesday 17th October
Meet up with your YPT guide and fellow travellers for a day of exploration at 9am in our centrally located hotel
Unfortunately, Kathmandu’s main Durbar Square was almost totally destroyed during the recent earthquake, but we will head across the river to Patan – or Lalitpur – to check out the Durbar Square there. Many buildings were also destroyed during the earthquake but a lot are still standing and it’s a great place to wander around the temples, pillars and stupas of old Nepal
Traditional Nepalese lunch
In the early afternoon, we visit the Narayanhity Palace. This palace was the home of the Nepalese royal family until in 2007 the Maoist leader and new Prime Minister Prachanda gave King Gyanendra 15 days to leave. It was turned into a ‘People’s Palace’ and is now a museum where we can check out throne room, banquet halls and bedrooms of the old royal members, and of course the place where most of the royal family was massacred by Prince Dipendra in 2001. Particular highlights are looking for the photos of the royal family with Tito and Ceausescu.
Grab dinner back in Thamel, one of Kathmandu’s most bustling areas, and enjoy a few evening beers
Overnight in Kathmandu
Thursday 18th October
After a quick breakfast, we will leave early for the drive from Kathmandu to Liwang, the district headquarters of Rolpa District, and Nepali Maoism’s Yan’an!
The drive is around 10 hours but we will stop for numerous rest breaks. It also gives us a great view of the Kathmandu Valley before we start to ascend Nepal’s mid-range mountains into the old Maoist heartland of Rolpa. The town of Liwang sits in a valley that we can see as we cross the mountain range above it, an iconic outpost of 21st century Maoism.
Early evening arrival, dinner and relaxation helped by the local Nepalese spirit raksi, distilled from rice or millet
Overnight in Liwang
Friday 19th October
After breakfast, we will explore Liwang, including the Maoist party headquarters and the newly created Maoist school
Lunch of dal bhat, the traditional rice and lentil dhal eaten in these parts
After lunch we will check the road situation and either drive on in our bus or change to private jeep into the Maoist heartland, heading to Thawang via Gharti Gaon. Thawang is the spiritual home and original ‘base area’ of the Maoist People’s War and the place where we get really down and dirty in Maoism
We’ll stop off at various Maoist bunkers and destroyed police outposts, relics of the People’s War
We meet former-soldiers from the Maoist People’s Army and section commanders to talk to them about their experiences during and after the People’s War.
Dinner and overnight in Thawang
Saturday 20th October
After breakfast, we will start a day of exploration in Thawang.
Visit Rachibang Commune, one of the four original communes developed specifically to reject ‘capitalist individualism’. These communes were originally developed to house people who had lost relatives during the People’s War and developed from there
Lunch in the commune
Drive by jeep to Mahat to explore the Maoist bunker
Continue to Rukumkot, a famous fort where one of the main battles between the Maoist and government forces took place
Drive to Musikot, the district headquarters of Rukum District, entering truly rural Nepal where there are not even proper roads – our jeep takes us on an off-road route!
Dinner and overnight in Musikot
Sunday 21st October
After breakfast, we will explore Musikot, visit the Maoist offices and talk to more Maoist former soldiers about their experience of People’s War and the post-war situation
Lunch in Musikot
Bus to Butwal (6 hours, a major road junction joining the Mahendra and Siddhartha highways
Stop off at the Jitgadhi Fortress, a key location in the Anglo-Nepal War. The British were never able to turn Nepal into a colony but they were able to gain ceded territory and the treaty at the end of the war included the right of the British to recruit Gurkha soldiers into their army
Visit Butwal Hill Park, a spiritual home for the ethnic Gurung population
Dinner and overnight in Butwal
Monday 22nd October
Up nice and early for a quick breakfast and then the bus to Pokhara (6 hours), one of the most beautiful cities in Nepal
After lunch we’ll check out the Gurkha Museum, featuring an extensive history of the Gurkhas
Climb Sarangkot hill for a view of the city, Phewa Lake, and the Himalayas in the background
After dinner, we’ll stroll around the Bindhyabasini Temple area, because we can’t come to Pokhara and avoid temples altogether…beers and more raksi will help us enjoy the evening!
Overnight in Pokhara
Tuesday 23rd October
Breakfast and free morning in Pokhara to do a bit of shopping in the local markets, enjoy more of the scenery or get a well-deserved lie in!
Bus to Kathmandu (6 hours)
For the last night of the tour, we’ll celebrate Kathmandu style with dinner and then a pub crawl through Thamel, almost definitely going Cuban-style by sampling the local Khukri Rum
-All Tibet permits
-Local guide fees
-Transport on the tour
– All transport in Nepal
– Accommodation in mainly twin sharing rooms (3* in cities, local homes in the countryside)
– All entrance fees, guide fees and permits
– Breakfasts and lunches (and dinners when we’re in the countryside)