All too often, luxury travel translates into a homogenous, cookie-cutter experience, where you stay in the best hotels, avail of the best possible transport and see the sights without feeling the heat or the cold. Travel without the blips can be, well, unexciting. But not if you take up Best of Asia (BoA) Overland’s challenge of the High Road to Lhasa, a 26-day, ex-Kathmandu trip that’s a once-in-a-lifetime journey.
Sweet deals: A vendor at Barkhor Square in front of the Potala Palace. BoA Overland
Part of the reason, of course, is Tibet itself, much reviled, much mythologized, yet somehow achingly untouched. The highest region on earth, the Tibetan plateau has some of the world’s tallest mountains and is also the source of some of the world’s most majestic rivers. It is a harsh terrain, the atmosphere is extremely dry, yet this part of the planet remains a coveted destination for adventure junkies. BoA Overland’s own all-terrain vehicle promises to take you where no one else does, in comfort and safety, without compromising on any of the excitement. With a careful eye on acclimatization, the group moves into Tibet only on Day 4 and then goes on to cover Milarepa’s Cave (3,800m), La Lungla (5,000m), Lao Tingri (4,000m), Everest Base Camp (5,150m), Rongbuk Monastery—one of the highest in the world—Lake Manasarovar, Sakya, Shigatse (home to the Tashilhunpo monastery, the seat of the Panchen Lama), Gyantse and Lhasa.
There are some unavoidably long driving days in this itinerary and about 10 nights at bush camps—but consider that only 14 people get to be on a trip to one of the world’s last surviving wilderness regions, take an Everest mountain flight, enjoy full camp support (including hot water for a wash!), a massage and sauna at Last Resort (www.thelastresort.com.np) and five nights at a five-star hotel (www.dwarikas.com). There are no severe age or health restrictions for the trip: If you’re up to Tibet, BoA Overland will take you there for $7,273 (around Rs3.36 lakh) per person on twin-share basis. Two trips are planned this year: 6 June-1 July and 25 July-19 August. For details, log on to www.boa-overland.com
God’s abode: The Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet.
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