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19telephone: 0845 330 8579 (local call rate, UK only)international telephone: +44 1453 844 400www.mountainkingdoms.comThe Himalaya BhutanT his is one of our longest Bhutanese treks, and one which we have successfully run every year since 1988, when we were the first British company to pioneer the route. Starting from Paro, we strike out towards the Tibetan border into Bhutan's mountainous northwest corner. The route takes us beneath Chomolhari, 7,314m/23,997ft, the country's second highest mountain, and the beautiful Jichu Drake, 6,858m/22,500ft. We may be lucky enough to see bears, herds of 'blue sheep', takin and eagle. The main villages in the area are Lingshi, Laya and Gasa and their mountain tribespeople, dressed in yak wool clothes and conical bamboo hats, see few visitors. Reaching this little-known area is not easy and involves crossing passes up to 5,000m/16,000ft high, however, rest days occur at timely intervals and this is without doubt one of the finest treks in the Himalaya. L eaving the roadhead behind and setting off on trek towards isolated Lunana is an incredibly exhilarating feeling. Ahead of us lies the 5,243 m/17,200 ft Gophu La Pass leading from Bumthang into Lunana. Just to get there we first have to progress through pristine forest, pausing at the hot springs of Dur Sachu, before climbing to uninhabited wilderness leading to the pass. The scenery, wildlife, flora and fauna are superlative, and we come almost to within shouting distance of the highest mountain in Bhutan, Gangkar Punsum, 7,550m/24,770ft which appears to float above us on a higher, purer plane. As some of the few visitors to reach pristine Lunana we enjoy that rarest of pleasures - almost complete abstraction from the 21st century.H ere is something extremely special: where other trekking companies offer only a taste of Lunana, Mountain Kingdoms offers the complete trek - something only a handful of westerners have ever achieved. From Paro, we trek past Mt Chomolhari (7,314m/23,997ft), and cross numerous high passes to arrive at the village of Laya. We then trek across the Karakachu La (5,200m/17,000ft) from where we have excellent views of Gangkar Punsum (7,550m/24,770ft), the highest peak in Bhutan, and now the world's highest unclimbed mountain. The pass leads us into Bhutan's most remote and beautiful district, Lunana. This is a difficult place to reach enclosed on all sides by high mountains, and during winter months unforgettable Lunana is totally isolated from the outside world. The Hidden Kingdom Trek This trek really has everything: remoteness, fantastic mountains and fascinating villages.Mountains of Lunana A stupendous one-month strenuous trek to the remotest region in the Himalaya.The Complete Lunana Snowman Trek The experience of a lifetime - trek the full length of Bhutan's highest mountains.£2,995£3,995£5,295£3,650£4,665£5,950Land OnlyLand OnlyLand OnlyFlight IncludedFlight IncludedFlight IncludedTue 03 May - Sat 28 May 11Tue 04 Oct - Sat 29 Oct 11Sat 01 Oct - Sat 29 Oct 11Tue 27 Sep - Sat 05 Nov 11On Trek: 17 days Local LeaderAccommodation (nts): Hotels: 8 Camping: 16Optional: Single Room £175 Single Tent £150Insurance: £169On Trek: 17 days Appointed Leader: Paul BurdittAccommodation (nts): Hotels: 8Lodges/Guesthouses: 2Camping: 17Optional: Single Room £210 Single Tent £150Insurance: £169On Trek: 28 days Appointed Leader: Bart JordansAccommodation (nts): Hotels: 9 Camping: 27 Lodges: 2Optional: Single Room £225 Single Tent £150Insurance: £210Trek | Duration: 26 DaysTrek | Duration: 29 DaysTrek | Duration: 40 DaysGuaranteed to run for a minimum of 2 clientsGuaranteed to run for a minimum of 5 clientsGuaranteed to run for a minimum of 5 clientsGrade: StrenuousGrade: Strenuous Grade: Strenuous For detailed itineraries see www.mountainkingdoms.comFor detailed itineraries see www.mountainkingdoms.comFor detailed itineraries see www.mountainkingdoms.comLingshi Dzong, Andi Harrison

20Download holiday itineraries fromwww.mountainkingdoms.come: info@mountainkingdoms.comA fter sightseeing in Kathmandu we take a spectacular flight across the Himalaya to Lhasa where we have ample time to visit the iconic Potala Palace, the Jokhang Temple and the streets of the Barkhor. From Lhasa we travel east to Shigatse via Sera Monastery and Drak Yerpa. Then it is on to Gyantse, still one of the most 'Tibetan' of towns, where Kumbum Monastery and Gyanste Fort are the must-see sights. We return via the huge scorpion-shaped lake of Yamdrok Tso and then conclude our tour exploring the Yarlung Valley, known as the 'cradle of Tibetan civilisation'.Each of our tours is timed to visit a Tibetan festival. In June we attend the Saga Dawa Festival at the foot of sacred Mount Kailash and in July we join the festivities in Shigatse for the Tashi Lhumpo Monlam Festival. Finally in August we enjoy the Shotun Festival at the old summer palace of the Dalai Lama, the Norbulingka.Extend your holiday - for those who want to cross the roof of the world by train, we also offer an eight-day pre-tour Train to Lhasa extension. Travelling from the bustling city of Shanghai to the tranquil waters of Qinghai Lake and on to Xining, we board the overnight train and journey across the vast Tibetan plateau into Lhasa; a thrilling start to our cultural tour. Contact the office for further information.Definitive Cultural Tour of Tibet An in-depth exploration of the most important religious and cultural sites in this fascinating Himalayan land.Potala from Medicine hill, Steve BerryLocal LeaderAccommodation (nts): Hotels: 14Optional: Single Room £330Insurance: £77 Cultural Tour | Duration: 16 DaysOther Cultural Tours - see pages 12, 13, 26, 41, 42, 43, 47, 50, 51, 53, 58£2,225£2,915Land OnlyFlight IncludedWed 08 Jun - Thu 23 Jun 11Wed 06 Jul - Thu 21 Jul 11Wed 24 Aug - Thu 08 Sep 11Guaranteed to run for a minimum of 2 clientsFor detailed itineraries see www.mountainkingdoms.comTibetLying in the rain shadow of the Greater Himalaya, Tibet is a breathtaking high altitude plateau covering an area the size of Western Europe. It is a country that personifies all that is mysterious and was once known as the 'forbidden kingdom', isolated from the rest of the world. Despite the shock of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, and far greater accessibility, Tibet's unique cultural and spiritual identity has been fiercely preserved by its proud people, and the exiled Dalai Lama encourages Westerners to visit his country to experience the true nature of Tibet for themselves.Festival