Travelling to Tibet with Tour Group???


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ymmij

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Dec 4, 2005
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Hi guys, have anyone traveled to Tibet with any Tour Group?

Me and my wife are keen to go to Tibet next month December and I understand that I might be pretty cold then. I have read many threads of people going by free and easy. I am not sure if we are able to get air tickets and accommodation for next month travel.

We have been to few local travel agencies and most of them do not offer group tour to Tibet in December citing reason that it is very cold. However ASA Holidays does provide a 10 Days package with train ride to Tibet, costing above $2k. According to ASA, they said that they are very experienced in Tibet tours and other agencies could not get enough people to go thats why they could not offer the trip. I am pretty confused and amazed by that.

Is it true that traveling to Tibet in December is a NO NO due to the extremely cold temperature? Has anyone done that and care to share your experience?

I have not traveled with ASA before and I am not sure about their quality of service. I have searched and found a post in Stomp by a Singaporean of his not so good experience with ASA on this trip to Tibet in October. Anyone traveled with ASA before and would like to comment?

http://talkback.stomp.com.sg/forums/showthread.php?t=26143

I really would like to go to Tibet hopefully soon as I read somewhere that the Potala Palace is not doing well under all the weights of tourists and the Chinese government might be restricting or even "ban" tourists from entering the Potala Palace next year.

All comments, feedback and suggestions are welcomed. Thanks in advanced.
 

eastwest

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I spent two weeks in Tibet in August and our tour guide told us that very very few tourists visit Tibet after October. I think it will be highly unlikely that you can visit in December and if you do, it will be too cold to enjoy.
 

ymmij

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Dec 4, 2005
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#3
thanks for your reply. i have read in the internet that it will be cold but temperature would be tolerable. only problem is the difference in day and night temperature is pretty extreme.

like mentioned many travel agencies do not provide tour to tibet in winter. asa holidays is doing just that and so far, according to them there are more than 20 adults between 2 departure dates in december. i am puzzled.

nearly wanted to book on th spot but decided to go back and consider first. then i found the unpleasant feedback of a customer who went with them in october in stomp.

now more confused. also doing a research if can backpack there during winter. also about the availability of air, train tickets, accommodation etc.
 

eastwest

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#4
Even if you want to backpack, you will need to have a tour guide to provide valid permits. DO contact ttrekking@hotmail.com (Tibetan Trekking) and ask. I used this company in August and they were excellent.
 

wazzup5

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#5
You will need a tour guide sometimes. They do get very useful :D
 

ymmij

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#6
yes i understand that we need a guide in tibet and we so called cannot be walking alone, something like that.

eastwest, may i know your itenary and i assume you are traveling free and easy. was actually thinking of a group tour, makes things simple. also worried about availability of various tickets.
 

wazzup5

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yes i understand that we need a guide in tibet and we so called cannot be walking alone, something like that.

eastwest, may i know your itenary and i assume you are traveling free and easy. was actually thinking of a group tour, makes things simple. also worried about availability of various tickets.
You can walk alone, at least that's what I did in the Potala Palace/Lhasa and some outskirts area including EBC. But having a tour guide can ease some situations of conflicts and/or explain more on their culture and help you settle customs/checkpoints easily.
 

eastwest

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Here was my itinerary. We also added Ganden monastery which was well worth a half-day drive.

D-a: Arrive in Chengdu, airport pick up and assist to check in hotel;

D1: Arrive in Lhasa.
Fly to Lhasa (Gonggar Airport). The guide will meet you at the airport, and transfer you to Lhasa city with about 1h30 driving (100 km). On the way, you'll get greeted by Nie Tang Buddha, a Buddha image engraved in the mountain face. Afternoon an easy walking visit to Luophuk lingkar - the summer palace of Dalai Lama;

D2: Lhasa
Visit Potala Palace, Sera, Drepung monastery.
Potala, the winter palace of the Dalai Lama. Stunningly dominating the skyline of Lhassa atop the crest of Marpo Ri hill, the seventh-century Potala is considered Lhasa’s most holy destination for a pilgrimage. Winding up the hill, a stone path leads to the 14-story, 1000-room. Each day, thousands of pilgrims give the prayer wheels lining the path a clockwise spin as they make their way up to the entrance.
Visit, Drepung and Nechung monasteries and Barkhor Bazar.
Sera, one of the three largest monasteries of Gelugpa, sits at the foot of Hill Tatipu. It is as prestigious as Drepung and Ganden, which had a longer history. Sera in Tibetan means Wild Rose Garden since opulent wild rose woods once grew around it.
Drepung monastery. Drepung once housed 10,000 monks, If we're lucky, we'll quietly ease into a dark columned hall to see and hear the lilting, booming chanting of the sutras, or perhaps sit under a willow tree and watch as the monks engage in theatrical debate.

D3: Lhasa
Visit Sera, Drepung, Nechung monasteries and Ramoche temple.
Sera, one of the three largest monasteries of Gelugpa, sits at the foot of Hill Tatipu. It is as prestigious as Drepung and Ganden, which had a longer history. Sera in Tibetan means Wild Rose Garden since opulent wild rose woods once grew around it.
Drepung monastery. Drepung once housed 10,000 monks, If we're lucky, we'll quietly ease into a dark columned hall to see and hear the lilting, booming chanting of the sutras, or perhaps sit under a willow tree and watch as the monks engage in theatrical debate.
Nechung Monastery the seat of Nechung, Tibet's State Oracle. Major decisions of the state are made in consultation with the Nechung Oracle.

D4: Lhasa to Namtso Lake
Drive to Damshung, enroute enjoy the landscape along the Tangula range of Himalaya, reach Namtso Lake and overnight in the tent next to the lake;

D5: Namtso Lake to Shigartse
Drive to Shigatse, where to visit Tashilhunpo Monastery, which is the seat of Panchen Lama - the second highest-ranking religious leader of the Buddhist religious order.

D6: Shigartse to Tingri via Lhatse
We will through the Gyatso La pass (4900m) and desecnding along the way to reach Tingri,

D7: Tingri to EBC
Turn to south onto a mountain, where you can view the paranorma view of Mt. Everest and Mt. Zoouyo, about 4 hours drive on dirt road to reach the base camp;

D8: EBC return to Lhatse via Tingri
D9: Lhatse to Sakya monastery and then return to Shigartse
D10: Shigartse to Lhasa
D11: Lhasa to Chengdu
D - b: Chengdu to the airport for departure

I don't think there is any way of getting to EBC in December. It is 4+ hours off-road from Tingri and the pass will be completely covered in snow.
 

ymmij

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Dec 4, 2005
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so you actually booked air tickets from singapore and then arranged for a tour operator in china to settle your tibet stuff?

how much does your whole expenditure cost? any breakdowns if available?

i am thinking of the tibet railway, either both ways or one way in and flight out.
 

eastwest

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Sep 20, 2006
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Yes we flew to Chengdu and met the tour operator there. Cost was expensive since there were only two of us (US$2000+).
 

ymmij

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Dec 4, 2005
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#11
wow USD2k? thats about S$3k. local tour operator is about S$2k as quoted, plus tax etc maybe about S$2.2k fro about 9 - 10 days.

just to share of what i received from local tour agencies:

ctc: no tours to tibet in dec
asa holidays: confirmed 2 departing dates (about 20+ people between them)
dynasty: has tour there but no one sign up yet
chan brothers: confirmed 27 dec depature, fully booked, other date, only 2 people, so cannot go.
 

#12
wow USD2k? thats about S$3k. local tour operator is about S$2k as quoted, plus tax etc maybe about S$2.2k fro about 9 - 10 days.

just to share of what i received from local tour agencies:

ctc: no tours to tibet in dec
asa holidays: confirmed 2 departing dates (about 20+ people between them)
dynasty: has tour there but no one sign up yet
chan brothers: confirmed 27 dec depature, fully booked, other date, only 2 people, so cannot go.
Im guessing its cheaper cos they have way more numbers.
 

ymmij

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Dec 4, 2005
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#14
saw the x-treker site and it seems more on treking. honestly me now a little confused and puzzled.

my ideal plan would be:
1. Flight from Singapore to Chengdu
2. Take the Tibet railway to Tibet and maybe stop by Xining (heard it is very beautiful)
3. Stay in Tibet for many days
4. Flight from Tibet to Shanghai, maybe via Chengdu or other city
5. Flight from Shanghai to Singapore

dunno will work or not.
 

Guni_hoon

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Dec 6, 2004
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#15
another option is overland (4WD) into tibet via nepal. u can choose to take the train out of tibet to chengdu ro other parts in china, or fly home or to nepal.

my 9 days overland trip from nepal - tibet - nepal in 2003 ard Apr cost usd 920 including the flights back to nepal. the trip was arranged with a local nepal agent via email. besides thai airways, now silkair flies to tibet too.
 

ymmij

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Dec 4, 2005
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#16
i am keen to take the tibet railway from chengdu to tibet. i realised that the scenery along the way is fantastic. I have seen some photos taken and they looking great.

of course the best would be to take the train both ways to and from tibet. i could save some time by taking flight out of tibet one way.
 

eastwest

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Sep 20, 2006
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#17
I think the train takes three days so yes you will see great scenery but you will miss out on three days of being able to wander around and see other great sites.
 

ymmij

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Dec 4, 2005
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#18
Hi guys,

Thanks for the comments and suggestions so far. I intend to book air tickets via Silkair to Chengdu and back to Singapore.

Once there, I would request Sim's Cozy Travel to arrange my trip to Xining and Tibet. I am communicating with them via email now. Hopefully they would be able to plan and quote an interesting itinerary for my estimated 14 days trip.

Would this be a good idea?
 

nuts

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Jan 21, 2002
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#19
Yup, this would be a better option than going with Chanbrother, ASA or whatnot.. :)

Hi guys,

Thanks for the comments and suggestions so far. I intend to book air tickets via Silkair to Chengdu and back to Singapore.

Once there, I would request Sim's Cozy Travel to arrange my trip to Xining and Tibet. I am communicating with them via email now. Hopefully they would be able to plan and quote an interesting itinerary for my estimated 14 days trip.

Would this be a good idea?
 

ymmij

New Member
Dec 4, 2005
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#20
By the way has anyone traveled by the Tibet Railway? Care to share your journey and experience.

I just realised that the journey from Chengdu to Lhasa is about 45 hours, close to that of Beijing to Lhasa. Wow I have to stay on a train for 2 days, dunno how is the feeling.
 

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