The Human Journey: Tracing Legendary Peoples & Sacred Places

24 days
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3.5/5 Great
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Private Guided
Join geneticist, anthropologist, and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Spencer Wells on an extraordinary private jet expedition, venturing off the beaten path to discover the enduring legacies of legendary civilizations that have shaped our shared human history. Following a specially crafted itinerary we developed with Spencer, explore sacred sites, a...
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Trip type
Private Guided
Lodging level
Premium - 4 star
Physical level
Trip pace
Flexible schedule


    • See the world withNational Geographic Explorer-in-ResidenceDr. Spencer Wells
    • Travel in a privateBoeing 757 jet
    • Go off the beaten path to discover some of the most incrediblelegacies of legendary civilizations
    • Enjoy a private tour of theGeorgian National Museum
    • Explore thevibrant bazaars ofSamarqand inUzbekistan
    • See theland of Genghis Khan – Mongolia
    • Be amazed by 1,000 year old structures in Myanmar (Burma)
    • Visit several World Heritage sitesin Sri Lanka
    • Explore the National Museum of Ethiopia
    • See Jerusalem, a city that holds a rich spiritual meaning to many faiths

What's this trip about?

    Join geneticist, anthropologist, and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Spencer Wells on an extraordinary private jet expedition, venturing off the beaten path to discover the enduring legacies of legendary civilizations that have shaped our shared human history. Following a specially crafted itinerary we developed with Spencer, explore sacred sites, ancient cities, and astonishing cultural treasures from Uzbekistan and Mongolia to Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, and beyond.

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Itinerary focusOff the Beaten Path
Group sizeIntimate group - 12 max
Age rangeNo age restrictions
Flights and transportAll internal transport included (including local flights)
Start CityLondon, England
End CityLondon, England

Travel Themes

  • Cultural
  • Nature & Wildlife
  • Holy Land


  • Georgia
  • Africa
  • Ethiopia
  • Europe
  • United Kingdom
  • England
  • Asia
  • Israel
  • Uzbekistan
  • Mongolia
  • Sri Lanka


  • Addis Ababa
  • Bagan
  • Etosha National Park
  • Gobi Desert
  • Jerusalem
  • Lake Inle
  • Lalibela
  • London
  • Rangoon
  • Shwedagon Pagoda
  • Tbilisi
  • Tel Aviv
  • Ulaanbaatar
  • Yangon


  • Culture
  • Historic sightseeing
  • History
  • Nature
  • Photography
  • Relaxing Retreat
  • Ruins & Archaeology
  • Winetasting
  • Independent

Trip includes

    • A privately chartered Boeing 757 that departs from London, England and returns to London, England as indicated in the itinerary
    • Deluxe or best available accommodations
    • Taxes in the destinations and options as indicated in the itinerary
    • All meals beginning with the welcome dinner and ending with breakfast on the last day of the itinerary.
    • Airport transfers at the beginning and end of the expedition
    • Group transportation
    • Excursions
    • Special events and activities
    • Extensive program of customized options at most destinations
    • Enrichment program, including lectures by a team of experts
    • Services of professional staff, including an expedition physician
    • Amenities package; $100,000 medical evacuation insurance (which includes minimal accident/sickness/baggage insurance) for covered reasons
    • Bottled water throughout the expedition (during sightseeing, at scheduled meals, and in your room); All beverages, including liquor, aboard the private jet
    • Liquor during special events and cocktail parties on land
    • House wine and/or beer at lunch and dinner
    • Non alcoholic beverages at all scheduled meals on land
    • Baggage handling during the expedition
    • Internet access in hotels, where available
    • Tips or gratuities to local guides, drivers, porters, and waitstaff are included

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Travel Map

Days 1 & 2: U.S./London, England

Meals: Dinner

Accommodation: Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane

Depart the U.S. independently on an overnight flight to London. The next day, meet experts, staff, and fellow travelers during a welcome reception and dinner.

Days 3, 4, & 5: Tbilisi, Georgia

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (Daily)

Accommodation: Marriott Tbilisi Hotel

Get acquainted with Tbilisi’s Old City, visiting the Georgian Orthodox Sioni Cathedral. At the Georgian National Museum, enjoy a private tour and reception with paleoanthropolo...

Days 6 & 7: Samarqand, Uzbekistan

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (Daily)

Accommodation: Registan Plaza Hotel, Samarqand

The fabled city of Samarqand flourished in the 14th and 15th centuries under the rule of Tamerlane and his successors, who commissioned spectacular mosques and madrass...

Days 8, 9, & 10: Ulaanbaatar and the Gobi, Mongolia

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (Daily)

Accommodation: The Blue Sky Hotel, Ulaanbaatar and Three Camel Lodge or Terelj Hotel

Our next stop is the land of Genghis Khan, where one of the world’s last nomadic cultures lives amid the stark beauty of the step...

Days 11 - 14: Yangon (Rangoon), Bagan, and Inle Lake, Myanmar (Burma)

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (Daily)

Accommodation: Traders Hotel, Yangon; Aureum Resort & Spa, Inle Lake; and Aureum Palace Hotel,

Our visit begins at Yangon’s Shwedagon Pagoda, a dazzling structure that has dominated the city’s skyline for more ...

Days 15, 16, & 17: Dambulla, Sri Lanka

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner ( Daily)

Accommodation: Amaya Lake, Dambulla

We fly next to Colombo, Sri Lanka’s colorful capital. Take a private local flight to Habarana and continue overland to Dambulla. From our base at a stunning lakeside hotel, set ...

Days 18 & 19: Addis Ababa and Lalibela, Ethiopia

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (Daily)

Accommodation: Sheraton Addis

Ethiopia is home to diverse religions, distinct tribal cultures, evidence of some of the earliest humans, and an array of archaeological treasures. In the capital city of Addis Ababa, ...

Days 20, 21, & 22: Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, Israel

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (Daily)

Accommodation: King David Hotel, Jerusalem

Fly by private jet to Tel Aviv and continue overland to Jerusalem, a city that holds a rich spiritual meaning to many faiths. We will visit a number of holy sites in the O...

Days 23 & 24: London, England/U.S.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (Day 23); Breakfast (Day 24)

Accommodation: Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane

Return by private jet to London and celebrate our adventure with a farewell dinner. The next day, transfer to the airport for your commercial flight home.

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Dates & Availability

Price From $67,950
Price per day$2,831
Single supplement (single occupancy)$8,250
Last Updated: 7/30/2021

Check Current Availability, prices, specials with National Geographic Expeditions.

The total tour cost includes the tour price (regular or promotional) and the compulsory local payment. The promotional price is subject to change. Check directly with the operator for the latest price offer. The tour operator requires you to pay only the tour price to purchase your travel. The compulsory local payment will be paid when you join the trip. All prices are based on double, twin or triple share occupancy. Solo passengers will be accommodated in a double, twin or triple room according to availability with a passenger(s) of the same gender. Single supplement only needs to be paid if the passenger does not want to share and requests their own room. Discounts can only be applied at the time of booking and cannot be added at a later date, regardless of any changes made to the original booking.

Prices may vary due to local taxes and trip seasonality. Click "Request Info" to inquire directly with the tour operator for the final trip price.

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National Geographic Expeditions

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National Geographic Expeditions span the globe and are designed to reflect our travelers' broad spectrum of interests, from small-ship expeditions and classic train journeys to photography workshops and family adventures. When you travel with us, you'll enjoy boundless opportunities to be surrounded by natural wonders and exotic wildlife, to explore celebrated archaeological sites, to learn about different cultures and share in local traditions. A National Geographic expert or expert team accompanies each expedition, sharing their knowledge and passion for a region and making each experience enriching and unforgettable.

An Extraordinary Legacy of Exploration

National Geographic Expeditions, the travel program of the National Geographic Society, was founded on the same belief in the importance of exploration that distinguishes the Society's 125-year history. Launched in 1999, National Geographic Expeditions now operates hundreds of trips each year, spanning all seven continents and more than 60 destinations.

Since its founding in 1888, the Society has developed incredible resources—from its network of experts, contacts, and Society-sponsored researchers all over the globe, to the top-tier editorial staff of National Geographic and National Geographic Traveler magazines, and the books, maps, and film and television divisions. National Geographic Expeditions taps these resources to create unique and authentic expeditions to fascinating parts of the world.

As part of the National Geographic Travel group, National Geographic Expeditions aims to fulfill the Society's mission to inspire people to care about the planet by providing meaningful opportunities to explore it. Proceeds from all travel programs support the Society’s efforts to increase global understanding through exploration, education and scientific research.

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National Geographic Adventures are unique, active itineraries for intrepid travelers that feature spectacular places, cultural interaction, and physical challenge: the perfect mix for an unforgettable adventure. Trek through some of the world's most legendary mountain ranges and veer far off the beaten path, discovering wild landscapes by foot, kayak, horseback, or camel. Each adventure has a designated activity level—from Easy to Ultimate Challenge, and you'll have the option to take it easy or push your limits on a harder hike throughout most trips. Your group will never be larger than 16 travelers, and you'll explore in the company of top guides, enjoying adventures that are both physically active and culturally rewarding.

National Geographic Student Expeditions

National Geographic Student Expeditions offer active summer travel experiences for high school students in some of the world's most amazing places. With the guidance of dynamic trip leaders and top National Geographic experts, students explore their interests, build new skills, and experience new landscapes and cultures firsthand. Each type of program—expedition, field workshop, community service trip, and photo workshop—is designed to educate and inspire, combining adventure, discovery, and cultural immersion. Photo workshops are led by a National Geographic photographer and include instruction and daily photo shoots. Students in our community service programs live in a village and work with community members on a variety of service projects. On each expedition and field workshop, students get involved in a unique, hands-on project that allows them to delve deeper into a specific topic—such as photography, wildlife and conservation, filmmaking, or archaeology—and further engage with the places they visit.

National Geographic Difference

Travel that’s tailored to your interests: Whether you're a budding photographer, a natural history enthusiast, a parent looking for a great family trip, or a traveler seeking an active adventure, you'll find an array of opportunities that fit your passions and interests.

The beauty of happenstance: Some of the best moments in travel occur when you least expect them. So that you can savor these instances and enjoy each place in a way that’s meaningful to you, we offer options and build free time into our itineraries wherever we can.

Travel in good company: Lasting friendships often begin on National Geographic Expeditions. Your traveling companions are Society members like you: active, engaged, and curious about the world.

Explore the world in comfort and style: Whether you're relaxing in the arcaded courtyard of a 15th-century monastery in Peru or speeding through Siberia on a private luxury train, our accommodations are carefully selected for their exceptional quality, location, and character.

We'll take care of the details: Leave the legwork to us. We take care of the logistics and details so you can relax, enjoy, and immerse yourself in the places you are exploring.

Exceptional resources at your fingertips: To help prepare for your trip, we’ll send you detailed information specific to your trip, including National Geographic books, articles, or maps relating to your destination. You’ll also receive a 20-percent discount on your next purchase* from our gift catalog or online store——as well as a free one-year subscription to a National Geographic magazine of your choice.

We’ve explored the world for 125 years. Now, let us take you with us!

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What's excluded

    • Commercial airfare from your home city to London, England, and from London, England, to your home city
    • Optional and additional accident/baggage/cancellation insurance
    • Passport and visa fees
    • Personal expenses such as laundry, telephone, and fax fees
    • All beverages not mentioned above as included
    • Hotel minibar charges
    • Meals not scheduled by the Tour Operator
    • And inoculation and medication costs of any kind
    • Any tips or gratuities not specifically mentioned as included in the total expedition price will be at your discretion


,Our specially outfitted Boeing 757 is ideally suited for this extraordinary expedition. Its long-range capabilities and ability to land in smaller airports afford us unmatched flexibility. We set our own schedules, flying direct and avoiding layovers, which allows us the freedom to make the most of our adventures on land. Instead of the standard 233 seats, the jet's interior has been customized and refitted to accommodate just 76 passengers in two-by-two, VIP-style leather seating.
A world-class team of experts will accompany this expedition to share their knowledge and insights with you and bring each destination to life. The expert featured below will be part of the expedition team on this trip. Spencer Wells Geneticist, anthropologist, and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Spencer Wells has analyzed the DNA of thousands of people living in isolated tribes around the world. He leads the landmark Genographic Project, a multi-year endeavor to chart the journey of our early ancestors as they populated the planet. Spencer earned his Ph.D. from Harvard University and conducted postdoctoral work at Stanford and Oxford. He is the author of three books, The Journey of Man, Deep Ancestry, and Pandora’s Seed. His fieldwork has taken him to more than 80 countries, where he has worked with everyone from heads of government to tribal chieftains in places as remote as Chad, Tajikistan, and Papua New Guinea. Spencer will join the following departure: May 12 - Jun 04, 2016
Travel Insurance
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Visa requirements vary depending on your country of origin and your country of destination. It is your responsibility to familiarize yourself with the relevant requirements. For a handy tool that can help you quickly find the requirements, please visit this link .
Meals Included

21 Breakfasts, 21 Lunches and 21 Dinners

Age Requirements
No age restrictions
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