To the Roof of the World
A Photo Cultural Journey with photographer
On the Roof of the World, locked away for centuries, Tibet has always held a unique place in the human imagination, conjuring an unearthly realm beyond our reach. Our award winning tour ("Trip of a Lifetime," National Geographic Traveler, 2010) is designed to touch the deep spiritual, natural, and cultural beauty and history of this region.
We begin our photography journey with four days exploring Lhasa, the magical capital of Tibet. Here, we visit the majestic Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, secluded monasteries, and other fascinating sites. Leaving Lhasa, we photograph the turquoise waters of Yamdruk Lake on our way to Gyantse to explore the Kumbum chörten. Continuing via Shigatse and the monastery at Tashilhunpo, home of the Panchen Lamas, we reach the North Face of Everest. Our trip is timed to arrive at Everest on May 29, the day Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay first reached the summit in 1953. After spending a night near Everest base camp in a small lodge, visiting the local temple and photographing Everest, we drive down a dramatic gorge to Zhangmu. From here, we travel to the colorful city of Kathmandu, Nepal, where we end our tour.
For some people, travel and photography are inseparable. Whether you are an amateur or a professional photographer, our Photo Cultural Tours are designed to accommodate the needs of those who delight in documenting travel with photographic imagery. The sites we visit, the timing for our travel, the flexibility of our program, the size of our small travel groups, and the activities we include in our program are all intended to create unique and memorable moments for you and your camera.
Outline Itinerary – 2012
May 19, Day 1: DEPART USA
May 20, Day 2: ARRIVE CHENGDU
You will be met on arrival and transferred to our hotel.
May 21, Day 3: TO LHASA
In the morning, our group will take the sunrise flight from Chengdu to Gongkkar, home to Tibet’s international airport. If the weather is clear, this sunrise flight from Chengdu to Tibet will offer magical panoramic mountain views, including the 24,783’ Minya Konka and the mighty Namche Barwa, 25, 439’. Upon arrival at Gongkkar, we will be met and transferred to our hotel in Lhasa.
May 22, Day 4: EXPLORING LHASA
The goal of many intrepid travelers and explorers, the “forbidden city” of Lhasa will reveal its unique character and many mysteries as we visit many of its most significant historical and cultural sites. Today’s itinerary includes visits to two of the area’s most important Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, Drepung and Nechung.
May 23 & 24, Days 5 & 6: EXPLORING LHASA
We have two additional days to explore and photograph in and around Lhasa. Looming over Lhasa and the Kyi-chu Valley is the monumental Potala Palace, former home of the Dalai Lamas. A visit to this amazing historical site is certainly a highlight of any trip to Tibet, and today we will explore the many chapels, halls and tombs of the Red Palace. In addition to the Potala, we will also visit Sera Monastery, located to the north of Lhasa, which is perhaps most famous for the renowned and always lively sessions which take place in the Debating Courtyard. We will make a pilgrimage to the Jokhang, Tibet’s most sacred religious temple. The roof of the Jokhang, with its wonderful golden gables and carvings, offers a magnificent view of the Potala. The Barkhor, the maze-like warren of shops and stalls that surrounds the Jokhang, will beckon us to join the Tibetans who travel here to pay homage to the Jokhang as they circumambulate the sacred shrine.
May 25, Day 7: TO GYANTSE
After an unforgettable four days in Lhasa, we set out towards Gyantse. A landscape photography day, our first stop will be to photograph the turquoise waters of Yamdrok-tso, one of Tibet’s four great sacred lakes. Continue driving to the 16,000ft Karo la pass, where (weather permitting) we photograph the Karo Glacier in the late afternoon light, before reaching Gyantse.
May 26, Day 8: TO SHIGATSE
This morning we photograph the beautiful Kumbum stupa (the Temple of the Hundred Thousand Buddhas), one of the greatest buildings in the Tibetan Buddhist world, renowned both for its religious significance and dramatic architectural splendor. Driving to Shigatse through farming communities we have the opportunity of visiting and photographing villages and villagers en route.
May 27, Day 9: IN SHIGATSE
We have the day in Shigatse as we explore the "Tibetan Bazaar" and of course the striking, walled fortress-like Tashilhunpo monastery. This has been an important religious institution since the 13th Century, and is the home of the Panchen Lamas.
May 28, Day 10: TO SHEGAR
This is a travel day, as we leave the hustle and bustle of Shigatse and head out across the starkly beautiful Tibetan Plateau towards our destination, the town of Shegar.
May 29, Day 11: TO RONGBUK & EVEREST
A pre-dawn departure brings us to Pang La, a 17,000 ft high pass offering a panoramic view of the Himalaya, in time for sunrise photography. Descending down from the pass we reach the one-of-a-kind destination: base camp at the north face of the mighty Everest, at 29,017’ the world’s tallest mountain peak. As we adjust to the elevation of base camp (16,700’), we will have the opportunity to explore the photogenic Rongbuk Monastery and catch the last rays of the setting sun on Everest.
May 30, Day 12: TO ZHANGMU
After sunrise on Everest, we leave the majestic north face of behind as we head to Nepal. We begin the precipitous drop in elevation, 9,000’ in total, as we reach the frontier town of Zhangmu, elevation 7,500’.
May 31, Day 13: TO KATHMANDU
We rise in the morning, with porters and baggage in tow, as we clear customs and cross the Friendship Bridge into Nepal. We then drive to legendary Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital city, where we will visit Durbar Square and Hanuman Dhoka. Tonight we will enjoy a splendid Farewell Dinner.
June 1, Day 14: DEPART KATHMANDU
We will be transferred to Kathmandu’s airport for flights to our respective Asian transit cities for connecting return flights to the USA.
June 2, Day 15: RETURN TO USA
You depart your Asian transit city, arriving in the USA the same day.
|Other Photo Cultural Journeys:
- Photographer's Bhutan
Bhutan is an immensely beautiful and serene land, and is a place where the Buddhist faith of its people remains the nation’s most vital cultural force. Our tour incorporates one of Bhutan's most preeminent Buddhist festivals.
Other itineraries featuring Western Tibet and Everest:
QuickEscapes – Kerala
After this hard high altitude tour, take in some R&R in the calm and leisurely paced life on the backwaters of the Arabian Sea, enjoy the pristine beaches of Kerala and an ayurvedic spa. We fly you to Cochin via Kathmandu.
Call us toll free at 1-800 MY INDIA (1-800-694-6342) or email us to request a detailed day-to-day itinerary.
"We have been on many, many trips over the past thirty five years. Our trip leader, Jeff Davis, is by far the best we have ever had."
- Bob and Marlene W., CA
Sunrise on the Potala Palace
Sera & Drepung in Lhasa
Sunrise & Sunset on Everest
Bazaars of Kathmandu
Medical & evacuation insurance
All hotels and meals
All ground transportation (4-wheel drive SUV with 3 clients per vehicle)
local guides and entrance fees at all monuments
All permit fees
Fully escorted trip;
plus Tibetan cultural guide
May 19 – June 2, 2012
Land Cost per person:
8 - 12 participants: $5400
6 - 7 participants: $5880
Nun with prayer beads
Photo: Jeff Davis
Photo: Jeff Davis
Shepard's at Karo La
Photo: Jeff Davis
Photo: Jeff Davis
North face of Everest
Photo: Jeff Davis