Tibet has been a destination I have wanted to visit for some time and in January 2016 timing was right. My first stop for this this trip was making contact with Jamin “Lobsang” York who started The Land of Snows website in 2006 to assist travelers in planning their journey to Tibet, Jamin has lived and worked in various areas of Tibet for nearly 14 years of which he spent several years working for an NGO focusing on adult education programs for Tibetans from the Amdo and Kham regions then in 2006 he co-founded a successful travel agency.
Once Jamin had determined exactly what we wanted to do for our first trip, we were directed to the right local agency and that was Tibet Highland Tours. We began communicating with Small Tenzin who is the Sales Manager around October 28th 2015 and from that point arrived in Lhasa on January 4th 2016. You can choose from a number of trips around Tibet, so look at The Land of Snows website to read up and understand the number of variables you have to consider before making this trip of a life time, and for us it is the start of many trips to Tibet.
As we would have already been in Chengdu for 5 days, we decided to just go to see Lhasa for 4 days, take our time and see how we handle the altitude, food, and traveling around the city of Lhasa. Of course the Potala Palace and the wonderful Tibetan people were high on that list of things to experience. Tibet Highland Tours can tailor a trip for you if you want to see specific areas that can be granted a permit, once your move out side Lhasa you will need different permits for other areas, so plan well and let Small Tenzin know exactly what you want. As for hotels you can stay in a local or foreign operated hotel depending on your budget.
All foreigners traveling to Tibet must have Tibet Travel Permits, you cannot obtain these permits on your own. A qualified Tibetan travel agency must get these permits for you from the Tourism Bureau. You cannot get these permits from a Chinese Embassy or Consulate. These standard travel permits for Tibet normally take 14 days to arrange and Tibet Highland Tours arranged ours and sent the permits to our hotel in Chengdu before our departure. When meeting with Small Tenzin when we arrived, he told us that they will only send the travel permits to hotels within China so make sure you are booked in for a couple of days somewhere in China so he can arrange this for you.
While we were in Chengdu we started to take altitude sickness medicine, which we changed to a different altitude sickness medicine when we arrived: Taking the medicine one day before arriving at high altitude increases effectiveness. We used eye drops as the air was dry, and also a couple headache tables came in handy, we brought with us anti-diarrhea medicine but we did not need it. Take it easy and rest well, keep warm, drink lots of water, and eat simply the first two days in Tibet to reduce any altitude sickness symptoms.
Four days in Lhasa was perfect we did not rush around, took our time and our guide Lobsang from Tibet Highland Tours was just the best, his knowledge was outstanding and his English was really good, he made our trip more than he knows. For information on a reputable, local travel agency for your upcoming journey, please send an email to: email@example.com. For information on Tibet Highland Tours which is a local Tibetan travel agency send an email to Small Tenzin on firstname.lastname@example.org.