Example Itinerary

Following Buddha's Footsteps Across the Himalayas

Duration
19 days / 18 nights
Price Per Person
Interests
Spirituality, Post-Covid Wellness
Destinations
India, Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan

A spiritual journey of breathtaking beauty lies in wait. You’ll get the chance to hike to remote locales to view famous and stunning temples, secret hidden monk villages and experience some of the most incredible scenery on the Indian subcontinent. Learn about the intriguing religious ceremonies in these diverse countries, from the funeral rites along the shores of the Ganges to the living embodiment of divine energy in Nepal. Meditate with gurus as the sun sets, sip masala chai tea, and indulge in traditional hot-stone baths after exploring ancient temples and stupas.

This itinerary is an example. It’s designed to inspire you and provide you with thoughtfully curated ideas. You can choose to do this exact itinerary or completely personalize it. All trips are 100% bespoke.

Highlights

  • Ultimate Buddhist Pilgrimage: Pay homage at the very sites where Buddha was born, gained enlightenment, and died. Along the way, you will visit some of Buddhism's holiest sites across the Himalayan region.
  • Meeting with a Goddess: Have a once-in-a-lifetime audience with a living Goddess in an ancient city in Nepal. This revered figure is believed to have powers to fulfill wishes and bestow blessings of protection and prosperity.
  • Future Foretold: Along the banks of the holy Ganges river, a famous Vedic astrologer will bestow you with a reading of your fortunes -- and what you choose to do with that knowledge is up to you.

Day-by-Day

Day 1

Rishikesh

Arrive in Delhi and fly onward to Rishikesh, an hour away. Enjoy the rest of your day unwinding from your journey. You can watch an Aarti (devotional ritual) that takes place every sunset, or enjoy a masala chai or ayurvedic tea at one of the many dhabas (traditional food stalls) or visit one of the cafes dotted around the Holy city.

Hotel Options
Why We Love This Hotel

Yoga: Located in the yoga capital of the world Rishikesh. Ananda has top yoga facilities, teachers and programs.

Spa: 21,000-square foot spa with 20 treatment rooms and specialized Ayurvedic, Oriental and European holistic health therapies.

Balance: The hotel serves well-balanced and nutritious meals based on Ayurvedic principals.

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Ananda in the Himalayas Preferred Hotel
Why We Love This Hotel

Location: It's hard to imagine a more serene and spiritual location than at the place where the Ganges meets the Himalayas, the mother of rivers and the roof of the world.

Expertise and Attention to Detail: Taj is India's powerhouse luxury hotel brand, offering consistent and quality hospitality for high-end travelers in the numerous Taj properties across the region.

Spirituality: From yoga and meditation sessions to the evening Ganga Aarti ceremony performed on the banks of the river, Taj Rishikesh offers an intensely spiritual escape for guests looking to decompress from the modern world and get in touch with nature.

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Taj Rishikesh Resort & Spa, Uttarakhand Preferred Hotel

Day 2

Rishikesh

First, watch the sunrise at Kunjapuri Devi Temple, then spend you will spend the day exploring sites such as the Raghunath Temple (one of the largest temples in North India) and the ancient Rishikund holy pond - filled with sacred water - before traversing the suspension bridges of Lakshman Jhula and Ram Jhula.

Rishikesh
Rishikesh

Day 3

Kushinagar

Fly one hour back to Delhi then two hours on to Kushinagar where you will visit the famous Parinirvana Temple and Parinirvana Stupa, said to be the death place of Gautama Buddha (the founder of Buddhism) that houses a six-meter m long reclining golden Buddha statue. The Sanskrit word “Parinirvana” translates as Nirvana, the Buddhist heaven/enlightenment.

Hotel Options
About

Within walking distance of the ‘Mahaparinirvana Temple,’ The Imperial offers a comfortable and clean stay to pilgrims and visitors to Kushinagar. There are 44 rooms furnished with modern amenities.

This accommodation has been personally vetted by the Remote Lands team and is the best available in the area. More information on this property is available on the “Hotels” tab at the top of the page.

Day 4

Kushinagar

Explore the Mahaparinirvana Temple in this pilgrimage town with its well preserved fifth-century reclining Buddha that was unearthed in 1876 and is cloaked in a saffron robe every evening by the monks. You will then peruse archeological excavations and various exhibits at the Kushinagar Museum, followed by a walk through the ancient stupa park.

Day 5

Varanasi

Journey six hours by car from Kushinagar to Varanasi, the spiritual capital of India. In the afternoon, you will take a two-hour cruise along the sacred Ganges River - home to the endangered Ganges river dolphin - and where religious ceremonies and funeral rites are held. In the evening relax and watch the Ganges Aarti being performed.

Hotel Options
Why We Love This Hotel

Location: This property provides a tranquil haven amid mango orchards and marigold trees in the middle of Varanasi.

History: Nadesar Palace has been hosting royalty and VIPs since 1835, with all rooms faithfully restored to their original grandeur.

Service: Palace butlers are on hand to serve meals, assist with enquiries and provide information on both Varanasi and the palace.

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Nadesar Palace Preferred Hotel
Varanasi
Varanasi

Day 6

Varanasi

Today take the opportunity to visit four of the most famous and most sacred temples in all of Varanasi - Annapurna, Vishwanath, Sankat Mochan, and Durga (also known as the “Monkey Temple”). In the afternoon you’ll meet with an Indian Vedic astrologer, then explore the ancient city of Sarnath where Gautama Buddha first taught his Dharma (teachings).

Day 7

Gaya

Rise early to take an early morning sunrise cruise along the Ganges to see the river in another light; from the boat you can watch the locals gather on the steps to bathe in the sacred waters. Drive six hours from Varanasi to the historical city of Gaya, stopping en route so that you can view the exhibits at the Bodhgaya Archaeological Museum.

Hotel Options
About

Situated near the Mahabodhi Temple Complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where the Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment, lies the Bodhgaya Regency Hotel. Welcoming pilgrims and tourists alike, the inviting hotel is walking distance from the famed temples.

This accommodation has been personally vetted by the Remote Lands team and is the best available in the area. More information on this property is available on the “Hotels” tab at the top of the page.

Day 8

Gaya

Start your day at the Mahabodhi Temple complex where it is said that Buddha obtained enlightenment under the Bodhi tree; marvel at the 25-meter tall Great Buddha statue that’s located within a garden that has been there for over 100 years and the sacred Muchalinda lake. Explore the ancient temples of Vishnupad Mandir and Dungeshwari and end your day with a blissful sunset meditation with a guru.

Gaya
Gaya

Day 9

Thimphu

This morning, fly one-and-a-half hours from Gaya to Paro and then drive one hour to Bhutan’s capital - Thimphu. Here you will spend the day exploring Buddhist monastery and fortress Thimphu Dzong. You’ll learn about medicinal plants from remote corners of the Bhutanese Himalaya in the National Institute of Traditional Medicine. Peruse ancient and modern art at the Thangka galleries and end your day viewing the gigantic Gautama Buddha at Buddha Point. Optionally have a history and culture expert accompany you today to provide insight to this remote kingdom in the mountains. 

Hotel Options
Why We Love This Hotel

Tranquility: The resort has a relaxed pace of life, residing in a pine forest in the upper Thimphu Valley away from the lively Bhutanese capital.

Location: The resort is an ideal retreat from the capital city of Thimphu, yet within easy reach to the city’s main attractions.

Library: In the evenings guests may get cozy with a hot drink or glass of wine in the on-site library which boasts a collection of literature on Bhutanese culture and art.

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Amankora Thimphu Preferred Hotel
Why We Love This Hotel

Location: Secluded between apple orchards and young pine forest, Six Senses Thimphu is a "Palace in the Sky," perched 2,650 meters up in the hillside. From here, you can peer down at Thimphu Valley and across to the giant Buddha, but you're still close to all of the capital's main attractions.

Sustainability: Fitting with the other Six Senses' Bhutan properties and Bhutan's reputation as the world's only carbon-negative country, Six Senses Thimphu aims to have a low impact on the environment and wildlife, and a positive impact on the local community.

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Six Senses Thimphu Preferred Hotel

Day 10

Thimphu

In the morning, you will walk the Wangdi Tse Loop hike trail up to a temple nestled in the hill side (Choekhortse Goemba) for spectacular views of the surrounding scenery; then visit an astrology school for a reading, followed by the Zilukha Nunnery. Later in the afternoon you will participate in meditation at a monastery with a monk or high lama. If you wish, enjoy dinner with the Bhutanese ambassador and discuss Gross National Happiness, a concept created by the former King. Bhutan measures prosperity by gauging its citizens' happiness levels, not the GDP.

Day 11

Paro

Take another morning hike to the hidden monk village of Dodedrak and savor lunch with the monks that reside there. A private transfer will take you one hour away to Paro. There, you can stroll through the town, visit the monastery fortress of Paro Dzong, and then hike to the Drukgyal Dzong ruins for a stunning sunset view with light refreshments.

Hotel Options
Why We Love This Hotel

Spa: The Aman spa contains private saunas, steam rooms, a yoga studio and private treatment rooms with showers and outdoor stone baths.

Accommodation: The hotel has just 24 select suites featuring traditional Bhutanese wood-burning stoves and generous terrazzo-clad baths.

Location: The resort overlooks a 17th century Drukyel Dzong and snow-capped Mt. Jumolhari.

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Amankora Paro Preferred Hotel
Why We Love This Hotel

Location: The resort is located in the beautiful natural wilderness of the Paro Valley, local activities include camping, trekking, walking, biking and trips to local festivals, monasteries, markets and museums.

Cuisine: Guests may choose from authentic Bhutanese or Indian food cooked in a charcoal tandoor oven.

Peace: The resort hosts yoga courses throughout the year and the spa offers Ayurvedic treatments from trained therapists.

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COMO Uma Bhutan Paro Preferred Hotel
Why We Love This Hotel

Location: Forest-covered mountains, tiny villages and terraced crop fields, valley rivers and rich history. One of the most scenic locations in Bhutan, Six Senses Paro is perched at an altitude of 2,250 meters, putting the spotlight on its epic views.

Sustainability: Six Senses Paro is committed to low impact on the environment and wildlife, and a positive impact on the local community - befitting Bhutan, the world's only carbon-negative country.

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Six Senses Paro Preferred Hotel
Paro
Paro

Day 12

Paro

Hike to the famous and incredibly beautiful Tiger’s Nest Monastery, a legendary complex perched on the side of a cliff, before enjoying a picnic lunch and a special blessing by the senior lama. Take the afternoon at leisure, perhaps enjoy a traditional hot-stone bath and massage to soothe your post-hike muscles.

Day 13

Kathmandu

Fly one hour from Paro to Nepal’s capital - Kathmandu. Start your day visiting the famous Swayambhunath Stupa which overlooks the valley. Walk around Durbar Square opposite the old Royal Palaces, and explore its array of temples, courtyards, and monuments. Get on a rickshaw for a ride down Thamel, a lively neighborhood of narrow streets lined with boutiques selling snacks, clothes, carpets, and handicrafts.

Hotel Options
Why We Love This Hotel

Location: Dwarika's Hotel, Kathmandu, one of Kathmandu, Nepal’s most stunning pieces of architecture, sits within walking distance of the famous Pashupatinath temple, while also being just a short drive away from the airport.

History: The hotel hosts an impressive array of artifacts dating back as far back as the 13th century. The area itself is also teeming with ancient culture, with an impressive history that spans two millennia.

Service: Guests will love the warmth of traditional Nepalese hospitality for which this hotel is widely-praised.

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Dwarika's Hotel, Kathmandu Preferred Hotel

Day 14

Kathmandu

In the morning, meet with a traditional Tantric Guru, a spiritual teacher who can advise Tantra techniques, which in Vajrayana Buddhism are techniques used to attain Buddhahood. Stop at Boudhanath, one of the oldest and biggest Buddhist monuments ever built in Nepal. Built on an octagonal base inset with 108 prayer wheels, the shrine is ringed by the settlement especially of the Tibetan refugees who entered Nepal in the 1950s. They have developed the place into a ‘Mini Tibet’ ever since. Drive out to the ancient town of Bhaktapur and visit the ancient buildings and temples there.

Kathmandu
Kathmandu

Day 15

Lumbini

Fly one hour from Kathmandu to Lumbini, where you view the ancient Ashokan Pillars, believed to be erected by the great King Ashoka and supposedly marking the birthplace of the Buddha. Next you’ll head to the unique World Peace Stupa and finish the day by browsing the Lumbini Museum dedicated to the life of Buddha.

Hotel Options
About

According to tradition, Queen Mayadevi gave birth to Siddhartha Gautama, the eventual Buddha, on 563 BCE at Lumbini. Today, tourists and pilgrims alike can enjoy their visit to this sacred Buddhist site with the comfort of the Lumbini Hotel Kasai.

This accommodation has been personally vetted by the Remote Lands team and is the best available in the area. More information on this property is available on the “Hotels” tab at the top of the page.

Day 16

Kathmandu

From Lumbini, return to Kathmandu -- this day is important to allow enough time to receive the Tibet visa. In Kathmandu, take an excursion to the city of Patan, an ancient and UNESCO-designated site. If available, you may have the special opportunity to meet with the Kumari (living Goddess) of Patan - a young girl considered the manifestation of the divine female energy Devi. As the day draws to a close, watch the sunset from Pashupatinath Temple and witness the Ashtha Chiranjeevi Puja ceremony. One of the odlest temples dedicated to Lord Shiva, Pashupatinath Temple is a two-storey pagoda with gilded roof and richly carved silver doors, and houses the sacred linga of Lord Shiva.

Hotel Options
Why We Love This Hotel

Location: Dwarika's Hotel, Kathmandu, one of Kathmandu, Nepal’s most stunning pieces of architecture, sits within walking distance of the famous Pashupatinath temple, while also being just a short drive away from the airport.

History: The hotel hosts an impressive array of artifacts dating back as far back as the 13th century. The area itself is also teeming with ancient culture, with an impressive history that spans two millennia.

Service: Guests will love the warmth of traditional Nepalese hospitality for which this hotel is widely-praised.

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Dwarika's Hotel, Kathmandu Preferred Hotel

Day 17

Lhasa

Fly onward to Lhasa, the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region. You will visit the popular pilgrimage site of Barkhor Square where devotees follow the circumambulation route in a clockwise direction. Visit the Jokhang Temple, considered by Tibetans to be the most important and sacred temple in Tibet.

Hotel Options
Why We Love This Hotel

Location:The Shangri-La Lhasa is located in the center of the city, within walking distance to Lhasa’s historic sites.

History:Lhasa is rich with history, and the hotel pays homage to this heritage by promoting local traditions and creating a luxurious environment with traditionally Tibetan appeal.

Service: Guests can enjoy true Tibetan hospitality through various customs in addition to the Shangri-La's world-famous five-star service.

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Shangri-La Hotel, Lhasa Preferred Hotel
Why We Love This Hotel

Location: At just three miles away from the most important Tibetan structure in the world, the location of the Songtsam Linka Lhasa is hard to beat.

Style: The hotel’s Thangka paintings and wall tapestries produce an environment reminiscent of how noble Tibetan families lived centuries ago.

Comfort: The inviting beds and sitting rooms are a perfect place to unwind and refresh after long days spent exploring the cultural and natural wonders of Lhasa.

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Songtsam Linka Lhasa Preferred Hotel
Why We Love This Hotel

Location: This hotel is located in the famed Barkhor area, surrounded by stunning landscapes, and nearly 4,000 meters above sea level - among the highest city altitudes in the world.

History: Lhasa has a rich and colorful history that dates back over a millenium, and the St. Regis Lhasa faces one of the most important historical sites in the city - the once chief residence of the Dalai Lama.

Service: Guests can benefit from 24 hour bespoke butler service so that they need not lift a finger.

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St. Regis Lhasa Preferred Hotel
Lhasa
Lhasa

Day 18

Lhasa

Visit the Potala Palace, once the residence of the Dalai Lama prior to his exile, then the Norbulingka Institute dedicated to the preservation of Tibetan culture. Stroll around the Old town, you will then explore the Drepung Monastery, located at the foot of Mount Gephel, and marvel at the Maitreya statue.

Day 19

Departure

Wrap up your spiritual pilgrimage with a private transfer to the airport for your onwards flight to your next destination.

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