Kingdoms of the Clouds

9 days from $4,617 per person*
  • Visit the stunning Summer Palace and walk a restored section of the Great Wall near Beijing.
  • Explore historic monasteries, sacred temples, and the enormous Potala Palace in Lhasa.
  • Fly over the Himalayas and catch a glimpse of Mount Everest.
  • Explore the holy temples and shrines of lively Kathmandu and the beautiful Nepal Valley.
  • Stay at a handpicked selection of premium accommodations.
Request a Quote

Please note that entry to Tibet is not possible from December 15 to April 15 annually.

Ancient wonders, mountaintop abodes, temples, gardens, and serenity on the edge of the sky: For travelers looking for a high-altitude attitude adjustment, this entrancing, life-altering journey to the heart of the Buddhist world is the pinnacle of adventure.

We begin in Beijing with a private tour of two of China’s most treasured monuments. First, explore the lavish grounds of the 717-acre Summer Palace, an elegant compound of pavilions and gardens on the shores of Kunming Lake. Then, get an up-close glimpse of the most ambitious architectural project of the ancient world at Mutianyu, a restored section of the Great Wall amid the picturesque hillsides of the Huairou District.

The journey continues some 2,000 miles to the west – and 11,975 feet up – in Lhasa, the holy city of Tibetan Buddhism. After adjusting to the altitude, you’ll visit the historic Drepung and Sera monasteries with a private guide, then spend a full day marveling at the immense hilltop Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple (home to Jowo Rinpoche, one of Buddhism’s most treasured artifacts), and Bhakor Street, the ancient pilgrimage route bedecked with prayer flags and market stalls.

Our last stop, Kathmandu, needs to be seen to be believed (and even then, you might not be wholly convinced). First, meet its enormous neighbors on a scenic flight over the Himalayas, from which you’ll spot some of the world’s tallest peaks, including Lhotse, Makalu, and mighty Everest itself. Later, investigate the fascinating Nepalese capital itself on a privately guided tour of the UNESCO-protected palaces, shrines, and temples of Durbar Square, including the Old Royal Palace and the fabled Kasthamandap temple, from which the city itself is named. But Nepal is more than a single city. Later, head out into the Nepal Valley with a private guide to explore the art and culture of Bhaktapur, the Pashupatinath (Nepal’s holiest Hindu pilgrimage spot), and Boudhanath, home of one of the world’s largest Buddhist stupas. The adventure concludes in the most picture-perfect place imaginable: gazing out across the Kathmandu Valley at sunset from Nagarkot, the one-time retreat of Nepalese royals.
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Kensington Tours creates private trips from the world’s finest ingredients. Tailor-made with care by your personal Destination Expert, your personalized trip is always a one-of-a-kind experience made just for you. Expert local guidance and 24/7 service come standard.
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Day
Activities Hotel & Meals
Hotel & Meals
  • Day 1 Beijing
    Beijing
    • Airport Meet & Greet
    • Private Transfer - Airport - Vehicle/Guide/Driver
  • Day 2 Beijing
    Beijing
    • Private Tour - Great Wall Mutianyu & Summer Palace with Lunch (8 hrs) - Vehicle/Guide/Driver
  • Day 3 Beijing to Lhasa
    Beijing to Lhasa
    • Private Transfer - Airport - Vehicle/Guide/Driver
    • Air - Beijing - Lhasa [(4.5 hrs)] - Economy
    • Private Transfer - Airport - Vehicle/Guide/Driver
    • Afternoon Acclimatization
  • Day 4 Lhasa
    Lhasa
    • Private Tour - Drepung Monastery & Sera Monastery with Lunch - Vehicle/Guide/Driver
  • Day 5 Lhasa
    Lhasa
    • Private Tour - Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple & Bhakor Street with Lunch - Vehicle/Guide/Driver
  • Day 6 Lhasa to Kathmandu
    Lhasa to Kathmandu
    • Private Transfer - Airport - Vehicle/Guide/Driver
    • Air - Lhasa - Kathmandu [(1.5hrs)] - Economy
    • Airport Meet & Greet
    • Private Transfer - Airport - SUV/Driver/Assistant
    Breakfast
  • Day 7 Kathmandu
    Kathmandu
    • Mount Everest Flight (1 hr) - Vehicle/Driver/Flight/Assistance
    • Private Tour - Half Day City Tour - Vehicle/Guide
    Breakfast
  • Day 8 Kathmandu
    Kathmandu
    • Private Tour - 1/2 Day Bhaktapur, Pashupatinath and Boudhanath - SUV/Driver/Guide
    • Private Tour - 1/2 Day Nagarkot Sunset or Sunrise - SUV/Driver/Guide
    Breakfast
  • Day 9 Kathmandu
    Kathmandu
    • Private Transfer - Airport - SUV/Driver/Assistant
We can customize this private tour just for you. Any element can be tailored – activities, length, hotels and destinations.
Call us at 1 888 903-2001 or request a quote.
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  • Personalized itinerary that fits like a glove
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Day 1: Beijing

To ensure a seamless experience, your guide will be waiting for you outside the secure customs area with a sign with your name on it. The guide will assist you in meeting up with your private driver and accompany you to your accommodation.

Enjoy a private transfer between the airport and your hotel with an English-speaking guide.

Accommodation: Regent Hotel (4.5*)

Cocooned amidst the labyrinthine alleyways or ‘hutongs’ once meticulously planned by the Emperors of China, the Regent Beijing Hotel near Forbidden City has become a landmark in the region which formed the centerpiece of the Middle Kingdom. Deep in the core of the historic quarter and a short distance from must-see cultural markers such as Tiananmen Square and the Temple of Heaven, the sensuous beat of traditional Chinese hospitality combines with a cutting-edge design to create an oasis of tranquility and a modern icon in a luxurious home away from home. Meticulously-designed in classic style yet reflecting contemporary convenience, the hotel’s rooms and suites offer the best in 21st century hotel luxury without sacrificing traditional Chinese elegance. This unique property features a business facility, a state-of-the-art Fitness Centre, a 25-metre indoor pool and a Wellness Spa which effortlessly exceeds current luxury hotel standards. This Forbidden City hotel is famed for treating its guests with courtesy and respect.

Kingdoms of the Clouds Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Beijing
Beijing
Kingdoms of the Clouds Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Regent Beijing Hotel
Regent Beijing Hotel

Day 2: Beijing

Spend the day exploring two of Beijing’s most visually captivating sites with your private guide and driver. Start the day with a visit to the Summer Palace, which dates to the 12th century, and this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a vast imperial encampment of temples, ornate pavilions, and halls set in a park around Kunming Lake. Occupying an area of 294 hectares, three-quarters of which is water, the compound features a sprawling archetypal Chinese garden that is ranked amongst the most noted gardens in the world and a truly picturesque setting to explore. The Long Corridor is a must-see – this covered walkway is decorated with more than 14,000 lavish paintings.

Then drive out of the city to take in the awe-inspiring Mutianyu section of the Great Wall, located 45 miles northeast of the city. By far China’s most iconic architectural wonder, it captivates the imagination of generations of travelers intrigued by this feat of engineering. This well-preserved section winds along lofty, cragged mountains for 1.4 miles and holds a prominent place in Chinese military history. Construction began during the 6th century Northern Qi Dynasty, and it was restored in the early years of the Ming Dynasty (spanning from the 14th to 17th century).

An abundance of natural springs in the area give this section of the Great Wall a lush verdant ecosystem, and the rolling forested hills make for an impressive panoramic photo regardless of the time of year. Take a cable car to the top of the hillside to explore the 26-foot-high granite walls. The 22 watchtowers stretch along the top of the mountain ridge as far as the eye can see, an impressive military barrier against invading forces from the north. Today’s lunch will be had at a local restaurant near the Great Wall. If you are interested and traffic permits, it is possible to stop for a quick photo at the 2008 Olympic sites of the Bird's Nest and Water Cube along the drive.

Today’s tour involves a fair amount of walking at a leisurely pace. Comfortable walking shoes and adequate protection from the sun are highly recommended.

Accommodation: Regent Hotel (4.5*)
Kingdoms of the Clouds Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Great Wall at Mutianyu
Great Wall at Mutianyu

Day 3: Beijing - Lhasa

Enjoy a private transfer between the airport and your hotel with an English-speaking guide.

Board a flight from Beijing to Lhasa. Flight time is approximately 4.5 hours.

Meet your driver for an airport transfer with a private vehicle and English speaking guide.

Take the afternoon to rest at your hotel to allow your body to acclimatize. Try to minimize physical activity to avoid the effects of altitude sickness.

Accommodation: Shangri-La Hotel Lhasa (5*)

Situated in the heart of Lhasa, Shangri-La Hotel Lhasa is close to the Tibet Museum, Norbulingka, and Potala Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a 40-minute drive from Lhasa Gongar Airport and a 10-minute drive from the world’s highest railway station. Guests can enjoy stunning views of Potala Palace or the breathtaking mountains and relax among traditional Tibetan architecture and interior design in each guest room. Dining options at this Lhasa hotel include a coffee shop/café and a bar/lounge. Shangri-La Hotel Lhasa has a full-service spa, an indoor pool, and a health club.

Kingdoms of the Clouds Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Lhasa
Lhasa
Kingdoms of the Clouds Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Shangri-La Lhasa
Shangri-La Lhasa

Day 4: Lhasa

Enjoy a full day private guided tour of Drepung Monastery and Sera Monastery. The Drepung Monastery is the most important monastery of the Gelugpa sect in Tibetan Buddhism. Seen from afar, its grand, white construction gives the monastery the appearance of a heap of rice, so it was given the name 'Drepung' which in Tibetan means “collecting rice”. The Sera Monastery at the foot of Tatipu Hill is located in the northern suburb of Lhasa City and was built in 1419 during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). The hill behind it was covered with wild roses in bloom when the monastery was built, so it was named Sera which means "wild rose" in Tibetan. Lunch is included.

Accommodation: Shangri-La Hotel Lhasa (5*)
Kingdoms of the Clouds Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Drepung Monastery
Drepung Monastery

Day 5: Lhasa

Enjoy a full day tour of Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, and Bhakor Street. Originally built by King Songtsen Gampo in the seventh century, Potala Palace was rebuilt by the Fifth Dalai Lama in 1645, and became the seat of Dalai Lamas and political center of Tibet. Jokhang Temple is located in central Lhasa and is the ultimate pilgrimage destination for Tibetan Pilgrims. Bhakor is the oldest road in Lhasa that pilgrims tramped out around Jokhang Temple through centuries. Buddhist pilgrims walk or progress by body-lengths along the street clockwise every day into the night. The circular road is also a marketplace for printed scriptures, cloth prayer flags, and religious items. Lunch is included.

Accommodation: Shangri-La Hotel Lhasa (5*)
Kingdoms of the Clouds Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Potala Palace
Potala Palace

Day 6: Lhasa - Kathmandu

Meet your driver for an airport transfer with a private vehicle and English speaking guide.

Board a flight with direct service from Lhasa to Kathmandu, Nepal. Approximate flight time is 1.5 hours.

For your added comfort, your English Speaking Assistant will be waiting for you outside the customs area with a sign with your name on it. Your assistant will assist you to co-ordinate meeting up with your private driver and accompany you to your accommodation.

Meet your English Speaking Assistant for a transfer between the city center and the airport with a private driver and vehicle. 

Accommodation: Hyatt Regency (5*)

The impressive, and stunning traditional façade of the Hyatt Regency Kathmandu is set amongst some pleasant gardens, in the old interesting district of Bodhnath. It is within a 10 minutes walk from Kathmandu’s famous Boudhanath Stupa and various souvenir shops and restaurants. The airport is an approximate 10 minutes drive away, while the city centre and Thamel is a 10 kilometers drive away. The hotel provides a free shuttle bus service to the city centre, shopping and tourist areas of Bhatbhateni, Durbar Marg, Thamel and Kantipath. The Hyatt Regency Kathmandu has a good variety of recreational facilities such an outdoor pool, tennis courts, fitness centre and a top class spa. The spacious, wooden floored guestrooms are well appointed with wooden furniture and traditional Tibetan handmade carpets.

Kingdoms of the Clouds Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Kathmandu Stupa
Kathmandu Stupa
Kingdoms of the Clouds Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Hyatt Regency
Hyatt Regency

Day 7: Kathmandu

Experience the most cost effective and popular flight for experiencing the Himalayan range to Mount Everest from Kathmandu. This is an hour flight of breath taking views of scenic beauty of the mighty mountains. The Everest flight is a sparkling clear journey across the world’s highest peaks including Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak (8848 meters) and other ranges of Himalayas – Gauri Shankar (7134 meters) Nuptse (7855 meters), Lhotse (8516 meters), Amadablam (6812 meters), Chamlang (7319 meters), Makalu (8463 meters) and Cho Oyu (8201 meters) to name a few including the Roof of the World the Tibetan Plateau.

IMPORTANT: For safety, the flight does not fly at a very close distance to Mount Everest. The flight flies away from 5 nautical miles. This is carried out for all other operating airlines and helicopters. The clarity of Mount Everest depends on the visibility of the flying moment.

This city tour begins at one of the most unique protected UNESCO World Heritage Site. Durbar Square is the religious and social heart of Kathmandu's old city, and is a complex of palaces, temples, shrines, statues and courtyards built between the 12th and 18th centuries by the ancient kings of Nepal. The square is a lavish assortment of the old and the new - elaborately carved architectural features and curving roofs provide shelter for cows, beggars and weary tourists; Brahman priests and painted Sadhus perform rituals and pose for photos, while souvenir sellers and rickshaw drivers compete for attention among the crowds. Stone lions guard the gates to the Old Royal Palace that contains a number of courtyards and several museums. Set into the palace wall is a 17th-century stone inscription written in 15 languages; it is believed that milk will flow from the spout below if anyone deciphers the entire inscription. On the other side of the square, the Kasthamandap temple is an open pavilion topped by a pyramidal tower, said to be created from the wood of a single tree. It is purportedly the valley's oldest building, and the city of Kathmandu derives its name from this ancient temple.

Accommodation: Hyatt Regency (5*)
Kingdoms of the Clouds Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Mt. Everest
Mt. Everest
Kingdoms of the Clouds Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Durbar Square
Durbar Square

Day 8: Kathmandu

Bhaktapur is world renowned for its elegant art, fabulous culture and indigenous lifestyle. The ancient city is 14 km from Kathmandu and is also variously known as the "City of Culture", the "Living Heritage" and "Nepal’s Cultural Gem". Bhaktapur’s Durbar Square is the gem not only of Bhaktapur, but also of the entire nation. The most fascinating structure here are the world-renowned 55 Window Palace, Golden Gate, Big Bell, Siddhi Laxmi Temple, Shiva Temple. Pashupatinath literally means ‘the god of all animals’ and is one of the Avatars of Lord Shiva. Pashupatinath is not only the holiest Hindu pilgrimage in Nepal but also one of the holiest destinations in the entire world. Situated 5 km east of Kathmandu on the banks of sacred Bagmati River, lies the temple of Lord Shiva Pashupati Nath, with its two tiered golden roof and silver doors. The stupa of Boudhanath lies 8 KM east of Kathmandu. On this colossal and ancient stupa, one of the biggest in the world, are the all-seeing eyes of Lord Buddha. It is built on an octagonal base inset with prayer wheels.

Nagarkot is 32 kilometers east of Kathmandu, on the northeast edge of the Valley at an altitude of 2,175m. It is best to view the mountains in the early morning because it is more likely to be clear. Among all the places for mountain viewing in the Kathmandu Valley, Nagarkot is usually considered to be the best. On a clear day one can see Mt. Everest (Sagarmatha) from Nagarkot.The fresh and chilly breeze makes the visitors feel good in the resort town of Nagarkot. Nagarkot, historically, used to serve as the summer retreat for the royal family and many other aristocrats from Kathmandu.

Accommodation: Hyatt Regency (5*)
Kingdoms of the Clouds Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Pashupatinath
Pashupatinath
Kingdoms of the Clouds Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Nagarkot Sunset
Nagarkot Sunset

Day 9: Kathmandu

Meet your English Speaking Assistant for a transfer between the city center and the airport with a private driver and vehicle. 

Accommodation: Depart (Int`l Airport) (standard)

Depart from International Airport. End of itinerary.

We can customize this private tour just for you. Any element can be tailored – activities, length, hotels and destinations.
Call us at 1 888 903-2001 or request a quote.

Trip Terms & Conditions

  • Your deposit is due immediately on booking (30% of program price, minimum $350). The balance is due 90 days prior to departure.
  • Cancellations of confirmed bookings 90 days or more prior to departure will receive full refund minus a $350 (per person) administrative fee and any non-refundable paid fees (e.g. non-refundable airfare, cruise or hotel deposits). 60-89 days will be subject to loss of 30% of program price. 30-59 days will be subject to loss of 50% of program price. 29 days or less will be subject to loss of 100% of program price.
  • Tour quotes do not include airfare to/from the trip start point unless noted on the itinerary
  • Cost increases in currency exchange, government fees, taxes, surcharges or hotel/lodge tariff increases between quote date and start date are payable by the client.
  • Availability cannot be guaranteed until booked. We will exercise best efforts to book hotels per the itinerary, however, in busy seasons and with client bookings made within 90 days of tour date we may be forced to offer substitutes.
  • Payment of the program price constitutes your acceptance of the terms and conditions set out at www.kensingtontours.com/terms-and-conditions
  • Living Standards and practices at destination may differ from those in North America with respect to provisions of utilities, services and accommodation.

Regent Hotel (4.5*): Beijing

Cocooned amidst the labyrinthine alleyways or ‘hutongs’ once meticulously planned by the Emperors of China, the Regent Beijing Hotel near Forbidden City has become a landmark in the region which formed the centerpiece of the Middle Kingdom. Deep in the core of the historic quarter and a short distance from must-see cultural markers such as Tiananmen Square and the Temple of Heaven, the sensuous beat of traditional Chinese hospitality combines with a cutting-edge design to create an oasis of tranquility and a modern icon in a luxurious home away from home. Meticulously-designed in classic style yet reflecting contemporary convenience, the hotel’s rooms and suites offer the best in 21st century hotel luxury without sacrificing traditional Chinese elegance. This unique property features a business facility, a state-of-the-art Fitness Centre, a 25-metre indoor pool and a Wellness Spa which effortlessly exceeds current luxury hotel standards. This Forbidden City hotel is famed for treating its guests with courtesy and respect.

Kingdoms of the Clouds Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Regent Beijing Hotel
Regent Beijing Hotel
Kingdoms of the Clouds Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Lobby
Lobby

Shangri-La Hotel Lhasa (5*): Lhasa

Situated in the heart of Lhasa, Shangri-La Hotel Lhasa is close to the Tibet Museum, Norbulingka, and Potala Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a 40-minute drive from Lhasa Gongar Airport and a 10-minute drive from the world’s highest railway station. Guests can enjoy stunning views of Potala Palace or the breathtaking mountains and relax among traditional Tibetan architecture and interior design in each guest room. Dining options at this Lhasa hotel include a coffee shop/café and a bar/lounge. Shangri-La Hotel Lhasa has a full-service spa, an indoor pool, and a health club.

Kingdoms of the Clouds Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Shangri-La Lhasa
Shangri-La Lhasa

Hyatt Regency (5*): Kathmandu

The impressive, and stunning traditional façade of the Hyatt Regency Kathmandu is set amongst some pleasant gardens, in the old interesting district of Bodhnath. It is within a 10 minutes walk from Kathmandu’s famous Boudhanath Stupa and various souvenir shops and restaurants. The airport is an approximate 10 minutes drive away, while the city centre and Thamel is a 10 kilometers drive away. The hotel provides a free shuttle bus service to the city centre, shopping and tourist areas of Bhatbhateni, Durbar Marg, Thamel and Kantipath. The Hyatt Regency Kathmandu has a good variety of recreational facilities such an outdoor pool, tennis courts, fitness centre and a top class spa. The spacious, wooden floored guestrooms are well appointed with wooden furniture and traditional Tibetan handmade carpets.

Kingdoms of the Clouds Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Hyatt Regency
Hyatt Regency
Kingdoms of the Clouds Tours 2019 - 2020 -  Hyatt Regency Kathmandu Restaurant
Hyatt Regency Kathmandu Restaurant

Depart (Int`l Airport) (standard): Global Location

Depart from International Airport. End of itinerary.

We can customize this private tour just for you. Any element can be tailored – activities, length, hotels and destinations.
Call us at 1 888 903-2001 or request a quote.
We can customize this private tour just for you. Any element can be tailored – activities, length, hotels and destinations.
Call us at 1 888 903-2001 or request a quote.
  • Daryl H. — January 26, 2019 — Asia

    I was pleasantly surprised and pleased with the superb attention to detail in fulfilling my requests and my dreams

  • Laura E. — January 08, 2019 — Asia

    One of the benefits was that the guides were very flexible and suggested and accommodated changes to plans based on the weather and other circumstances. They all said they could do this when working with Kensington because Kensington supported it and empowered them with this flexibility. A big advantage in making the trip perfect!

  • Ajitkumar P. — January 04, 2019 — Asia

    The whole trip was well organized and we have recommended using Kensington to our friends.

  • Donna F. — February 03, 2018 — Asia

    Mark was able to put together the perfect tour! Our guide was very knowledge and we really appreciated her being so flexible with the holiday as we were there for Chinese New Year! She was able to take us to all the sights and part of the highlight was eating traditional Chinese food for New Year's.

  • Marjorie H. — October 01, 2018 — Asia

    This tour was so well organized - everything went off perfectly. As two women traveling together in a country where the language barrier was a challenge, it gave us great peace of mind to know that we would be escorted wherever needed. We appreciated not being part of a group - our private tour guides were delightful and the entire trip was very special for my daughter and me.

  • Sandra S. — October 13, 2018 — Asia

    The trip was very enjoyable. We gained new insights into China and the Chinese people. I wish we could have stayed longer. There is so much to see. My favorite sites were the Great Wall, Terra Cotta Soldiers, White Jade Buddah and the Shanghai night skyline. Cindy was most helpful in planning our trip. She's truly an asset to your company. Kensington Tours met all of our vacation needs.

  • Gina A. — January 09, 2019 — Asia

    I usually don't write reviews but I have to tell you, this was the best vacation. Yuki, our Destination Expert, did an excellent job putting it all together and the guides were excellent. I will be using you guys for my next international vacation.

  • Larkin H. — December 22, 2018 — Asia

    It was such a spectacular trip - one we will never forget.

  • Brian S. — November 02, 2018 — Asia

    Gayan, our guide in Sri Lanka, was BEYOND amazing. I literally cannot do justice to how fantastic he was for my wife and I on our honeymoon. An amazing guide, a great companion, and an extremely good person.

  • Caryl G. — December 21, 2018 — Asia

    It was a stellar experience in every way, but mostly due to the caliber of our tour guide. Tomo was exceptional in all areas - intelligence, expertise, personality and commitment to our comfort and needs. She truly went above and beyond and was a delightful companion, as well. It was actually emotional saying goodbye to each other!

We can customize this private tour just for you. Any element can be tailored – activities, length, hotels and destinations.
Call us at 1 888 903-2001 or request a quote.

* USD per person, double occupancy. Custom designed personal tour. Prices subject to change.

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