Join the WildJunket Tibet Tour!

Posted on December 21, 2016 by

The trip is now over! But if you’d like to join me on future tours, join my mailing list to be the first to learn about new trips.

Join Me on My New Tibet Tour!

tibet tour - wildjunket

Do you like traveling adventurously to less-visited places but don’t like going solo OR going on tours?

Believe me, I get it. I like independent travel, but I don’t particularly enjoy traveling solo. I also enjoy traveling with like-minded people and forming a camaraderie with people whom I connect with. That’s why I’m launching my very own tours, to bring together like-minded people who have an adventurous spirit and an interest in deep, immersive travel.

Join me on 27th May for my first tour, where we’ll explore Tibet – the roof of the world. As one of the most fascinating countries in the world, Tibet offers majestic monasteries, breathtaking high-altitude treks, stunning views of the world’s highest mountains and some of the most devout pilgrims you will ever meet. Tibet is a place that will likely change the way you see the world and remain with you for years to come.

On this 8-day tour, we’ll be traveling around south Tibet, exploring some of the country’s most well-known sights  from the holy capital, Lhasa, to the sacred Lake Yamdrok and the legendary Everest Base Camp. This trip will take us past glittering turquoise lakes, across huge plains dotted with yaks and nomads’ tents, and over high passes draped with colourful prayer flags.

The trip is run in conjunction with Tibet Vista, a pioneering local operator that has been bringing travelers to Tibet since 1984. With more than 30 years’ development and several generations’ efforts, the company has the best reputation in the country.

Tibet tour - Nellie

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This Tibet Tour vs Independent Travel in Tibet

Independent travel has been off-limits in Tibet since 2008. All foreign travelers are required to travel on a tour, with a tour guide and hired car, during their entire time in Tibet. All travelers need a permit to enter Tibet before embarking on their plane, train or vehicle; and these travel permits can only be attained when you book a tour.

In other words, you can’t travel Tibet without joining a tour. So why not join me and other independent, adventurous travelers who are just as curious to learn about Tibet???

My aim is to offer something that is unlike typical group tours. This small-group tour is informal and flexible, and the group will be small (max 12 people) to keep it intimate and easy for everyone to get to know each other. If you’re like me and hate big groups or giant tour buses, this tour is perfect for you.

You can’t travel Tibet without going on a tour. So why not join me and other like-minded independent travelers who are just as curious to learn about Tibet???

This trip will be culturally immersive and experiential, allowing us to learn and experience the Tibetan culture from ground level. We’ll go local, eating at local eateries and staying at locally owned guesthouses and hotels. We also have an experienced, local Tibetan guide so he’ll be there to answer any question you may have about their culture, traditions and history.

Whether you see Tibet as an oppressed, occupied nation or an underdeveloped province of China, this trip will be your chance to ask all the burning questions you have and make judgement for yourself.

tibet tour - Yamdrok Lake

Why This Tibet Tour is for You

Firstly, the trip is really affordable  it costs US$930 for 8 days and includes all accommodation, transport, entrance fees, travel insurance, breakfasts and your visa. If you do your research, you’ll know that this is one of the lowest prices you’ll pay for a 8-day trip in Tibet.

The tour runs from 27 May to 3 June 2017, the best time to visit Tibet. The weather will be warm and sunny (ranging from 6 degrees C at night to 20 degrees C in the day), landscapes will be lush and green, and flowers are at full bloom. The peak tourist season is yet to arrive, so we’ll still be enjoying moderate prices and less tourist crowds.

As for the itinerary, I’ll be showing you the absolute best of Tibet. Potala Palace, Sera Monastery, Rongbuk Monastery  these are all some of the most historically rich and impressive buildings in the country. Let’s not forget we’ll be going literally to the roof to the world, Everest Base Camp, at 5,380m (or 17,600 ft above sea level). That’s the highest most of us can get to Mount Everest, unless you have mountaineering experience and tens of thousands of dollars to pay for it.

tibet tour

Why Travel with Me

I have over 13 years of experience traveling to some of the wildest and craziest parts of the world. In case you don’t know me, I’m Nellie, an adventure travel blogger and professional travel writer with a special knack for off-the-beaten-path travel and unusual destinations. I’ve been to 111 countries on all 7 continents, and have gone on some crazy adventures including expedition cruising to Antarctica, bungee jumping in New Zealand, traveling undercover in North Korea, and traversing the Silk Road overland.

But I’d be the first to admit I’m not an expert on Tibet. I am going to learn about the Tibetan culture and politics just as you are. That’s precisely why we will have an experienced, knowledgable Tibetan guide with us on the journey, to share with us all things Tibetan. Plus, I’m an ethnic Chinese (born in Singapore) and I speak Mandarin, so I can easily communicate with most Tibetans and help bridge the gap between you and the locals.

I’ll also be helping you plan your trip once you’ve booked — whether you’re looking for the cheapest way to fly to Lhasa or you want to catch the train there. Once you’ve booked the trip, I’ll also be sending detailed info on what type of clothes and gear to bring, how to prepare for altitude sickness and other helpful info.

Another bonus for traveling with me is that I’ll be sharing all I know about building a career in travel. If you’re interested in learning about travel blogging, writing for magazines or social media, feel free to fire away and ask me for advice in person! I can even teach you a thing or two about finding work in the new digital industry or publishing. I’m always happy to share my experience and personal tips with you along the way.

I will be with the group the whole way and I’m pretty sure we’ll all become good friends at the end of the journey.

Tibet tour


Overview of My Tibet Tour

  • Dates: 27 May – 3 June 2017

  • Duration: 8 Days

  • Start: Lhasa, Tibet

  • Finish: Lhasa, Tibet

  • Maximum Group Size: 12 people

  • Group Leader: Nellie (that’s me!)

  • Cost: US$930

    EMAIL ME TO SIGN UP NOW!

tibet tour


OUR TIBET TOUR ITINERARY

Day 1: Arrival in Lhasa

When you arrive in Lhasa either by train or flight, we’ll meet you at the airport and take you to our hotel. Tibet’s capital Lhasa, lies at an altitude of 3,650m, and most people who fly in will feel the effects of the altitude (experiencing headaches or short of breathe). I recommend taking the first day to rest and acclimatize. Of course if you’re up to it, feel free to head out and explore the beautiful capital city. In the evening, we will have our welcome dinner and meet everyone in the group.

Stay overnight in Lhasa.

Day 2: Explore Lhasa

The trip will start proper today and our first destination is also our most important: the Potala Palace. This iconic building symbolizes Tibetan Buddhism and its central role in the traditional administration of Tibet.

Built in the 7th Century, this was the chief residence of the Dalai Lamas until the 14th Dalai Lama fled to India during the 1959 Tibetan uprising. Today it’s a museum and a World Heritage Site.

After lunch, we’ll then head to Jokhang Temple, which is considered by Tibetans as the most sacred and important temple in Tibet. The temple is currently maintained by the Gelug school, but they accept worshipers from all sects of Buddhism. Around the temple, we’ll explore around Barkhor street where you can circle it with pilgrims and soak up the buzz on the streets.

Stay overnight in Lhasa.

Tibet tour - Lhasa

Day 3: Visit the Three Great Monasteries

In the morning, we’ll venture to the outskirts of Lhasa and first visit Drepung Monastery which is one of the three great Gelukpa monasteries of Tibet. Drepung is the largest of all Tibetan monasteries and is located on the Gambo Utse mountain. Ganden palace in the monastery was the residence of the Dalai Lamas before it was moved to the Potala palace.

Later in the day, we will visit Sera Monastery, another one of the three great Gelugpa monasteries of Tibet and was founded in 1419. The Sera Monastery, as a complex of structures with the Great Assembly Hall and three colleges, suffered severe damage during the 1959 revolt. The highlight of anyone’s visit here is the Monks debate at around 3-5pm everyday.

Stay overnight in Lhasa.

Day 4: Lhasa to Gyantse and Shigatse

Today, we will drive from Lhasa to Gyantse, Tibet’s third largest city. On the way, we will drive over the Gampala mountain pass (situated at 4,790 m above sea level), and we’ll get a glimpse of Lake Yamdrok (4,400m). One of the three largest sacred lakes in Tibet, the lake is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and offer spectacular views of Holy Mount Nyenchen Khangsar, (7,191m) the highest mountain in the Transhimalayan range.

On arrival, we’ll take some time to explore Gyantse at our own pace. Despite being the third largest city in Tibet, Gyantse has managed to hang onto its small-town charm and laid-back atmosphere, and gives great insights into rural Tibet. Gyantse’s greatest sight is the Gyantse Kumbum, the largest chorten remaining in Tibet and one of its architectural wonders.

Continuing on for another 1.5 hour of driving, we’ll arrive in Shigatse, the second largest city in Tibet. In Shigatse (3,900m), we’ll visit Tashilunpo Monastery, the seat of Tibet’s second highest incarnation, the Panchen Lama. Nowadays, there are still over 800 monks living and studying in Tashilhunpo Monastery and we’ll get to meet some of them.

Stay overnight in Shigatse.

tibet tour - Gyantse

Day 5: The Road to Everest

Prepare for the longest day on the road! As our destination for the day is the base of Mount Everest, we’ll be covering a lot of ground on some of the wildest roads in Tibet.

After leaving Shigatse, our first stop is Lhatse, a small town of a few thousand people in the valley of the Yarlung Tsangpo River, just west of the mountain pass leading to it. We’ll have lunch here before continuing our drive to Shelkar, the gateway to Mount Everest (early expeditions all stopped here). If the weather is clear enough, we will get a view the Mount Everest in the distance on our way to Shelkar.

Our final destination is Rongbuk Monastery, the highest monastery in the world, which lies near the base of Mount Everest at 4,980 metres above sea level. This was an important pilgrimage site for sherpas living in the Nepalese side of the Himalayas. On the way to Rongbuk, we will pass one of the highest passes in Tibet (5,050m), from which we will take in a spectacular view of the five highest peaks in the world.

Stay overnight in a tent or Rongbuk Monastery Guest House.

Day 6: Highlight of the Trip: Reaching Everest Base Camp

We’ll start the day early to catch sunrise on the top of Mt Everest. From Rongbuk, we’ll get a full view of the magnificent Mt. Everest standing in front of us. After breakfast, we can trek to the Everest Base camp (5,380m or 17,600 ft), which is just 4km each way. Those who aren’t up to the hike can also go to EBC on our vehicle. We’ll have plenty of time to wander around the area and explore at our own pace.

After visiting the Everest Base Camp, we’ll spend some time exploring Rongbuk Monastery and catching our last glimpses of the impressive landscapes before driving back to Shitgatse.

Stay overnight in Shigatse.

tibet tour independent

Day 7: Drive back to Lhasa

It’s time to head back to where we started. We will drive back to Lhasa on the Friendship Highway, an 800-kilometre scenic route connecting Lhasa with the Chinese/Nepalese border at the Sino-Nepal Friendship Bridge. The whole distance is almost 280km and it takes 6 hours along the Yarlung Tsangpo River (the longest and largest river in Tibet). This will be our last night together as a group, so prepare for tearful goodbyes.

Stay overnight in Lhasa.

Day 8: Depart from Lhasa

We will drop you at the airport or train station and bid your farewell.


Tibet Tour Cost: US$930

  • Deposit: US$200 due at booking (non-refundable)
  • Balance Due: 27th April 2017

What’s included:

  • Tibet travel visa and all other necessary permits for travel around Tibet.
  • All entrance ticket fees for all¬† sites listed in the itinerary.
  • Knowledgeable English-speaking Tibetan local tour guide in our group.
  • Transport: Comfortable, clean and safe vehicle with reliable Tibetan driver; vehicle ranging from 4WD land cruiser to minibus depending on the group size.
  • Accommodation: 6 nights of lodging in comfortable hotels + 1 night in a camp/ guest house at EBC (Sleeping bags will be provided, with a $10 cleaning fee). If you are traveling on your own, you will be sharing a room with another person in the group; If you prefer to stay in one room by yourself, the single room supplement applies.
  • Meals: 6 breakfasts 1 welcome dinner on the day of arrival.
  • Airport Transfers: From Lhasa train station on departure day and airport at certain times (details below in FAQ).
  • One shared big oxygen tank in the car.
  • Travel accident/casualty insurance.

What’s not included:

  • International flight or train to and out of Tibet.
  • All meals; it usually costs about US$3-20 per person for a meal in Tibet.
  • Tips and gratitude to tour guide and driver.
  • Personal expenses, like laundry, phone call, snacks, drinks, etc.

Tibet tour

 

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FAQs

How do I sign up?

Please email me or fill up the contact form at the bottom of this page, and I will send you the payment details and the Terms & Conditions. Please ensure you have read through the Terms & Conditions and the information on this page thoroughly before booking.

I don’t like tours. Will we have lots of free time?

Yes. My aim for this trip is for it to NOT feel like a tour. It’s just a bunch of like-minded people traveling together in a casual way. We’ll have lots of free time, especially in the evenings to do whatever we want.

What if I cancel? What is your refund policy?

Because of the limited spaces on the trip and pre-paid accommodation, the US$200 deposit is non-refundable. Your trip is confirmed once the deposit is received. The full balance is due on 27th April 2017.

If you cancel before the tour starts, here are the cancellation charges:

  • Before 27th April 2017 — 20% of total trip cost
  • Between 28th April and 20th May 2017 — 30% of total trip cost
  • After 20th May 2017 — 50% of total trip cost
  • No show — 100% of total trip cost

If I cancel the tour for any personal or political reason, you will get a full refund.

How many people will be on the tour?

There will be a maximum of 12 people on the trip. We want to keep the group small, so it feels more like a group of friends traveling together. 

Where shall I fly into and out of?

The tour will start and end in Lhasa, Tibet. I personally always use Skyscanner to find the cheapest flights to anywhere. You will have to fly via Kathmandu (Nepal) or various cities in mainland China.

Another way to get to Lhasa is on the Qinghai-Tibet Railway. The journey all the way from Beijing takes just under 48 hours and the views along the way are out of this world. A soft sleeper costs US$200 and a hard sleeper seat costs US$210 each way. It is very popular though and tickets need to be booked well in advance. Contact me early if you are interested in this.

Crossing from Nepal to Tibet used to be a popular route, but as of Dec 2016, the overland border remains closed indefinitely. Mid-summer flooding and rockslides in 2016 have severely damaged roads in Nepal near the Tibet border.

Will you provide transfers from the Lhasa airport or train station?

We offer a free shuttle service to pick up/drop off between our Lhasa hotel and the airport twice a day at a designated time. If you prefer not to wait, I’m afraid you will have to make your own way to the hotel by cab.

The free airport pick-up time is as follows on 27th May:

  • 12:20 pm for flights arrival at airport before 12:20pm)
  • 4:00pm for flights arrival at airport before 15:40pm)

The free airport drop time is as follows on 3rd June:

  • 7:30am ( for flights which depart from Lhasa around 9:30am-13:00pm)
  • 11:00am (for flights which depart after 13:00pm)

All the shuttle service from/to the train station on the date of your arrival and departure would be free.

Where will we be staying?

Our accommodation will be in comfortable, 3-star hotels. They are all well located near major attractions. Click to see examples of accommodation in Tibet we’ll be staying at. Rooms will be equipped with air-conditioning, 24 hours hot water supply, and private bathroom. Most of them serve relatively simple breakfast buffets. If you are traveling solo, you will be sharing a room with another person in the group.

What if I want my own room?

I can arrange this for you at an additional cost of $150 for the whole trip (subject to availability). Let me know in your email and we can discuss your specific needs.

What is the fitness level required?

As you can see from the itinerary, there isn’t a lot of active travel involved. There’s only a short 8km trek that we’ll do from Rongbuk Monastery to Everest Base Camp, and back. It’s fairly easy, but the high altitude makes it harder. If you don’t feel up to it, you can actually go in our vehicle to get up to the Base Camp.

What if I can’t handle altitude sickness?

Lhasa itself is at 3,650m (11,975 ft) above sea level  many people who fly into the city will experience altitude sickness (headaches and nausea are some symptoms). The main thing is to give your body enough time to acclimatize before going higher. Avoid walking too fast or running. Don’t overeat in order to reduce the burden on the digestive organs, don’t drink and smoke. You can also take medication to mitigate altitude sickness. Consult your travel doctor before the trip.

Is there a lot of driving involved?

Yes, we will be covering 696km from Lhasa to Everest Base Camp via Gyantse and Shigatse. Due to the Tibetan traffic regulation for driving, there are limits to driving speed and duration of driving. That said, we will be stopping regularly to take in scenic views and visit sights.

Do I need a Chinese visa to go to Tibet?

Apart from citizens of Brunei, Japan and Singapore, all visitors to Tibet require a valid China visa. Chinese visas are usually easy to get from most Chinese embassies or their associated visa centres. You can also easily acquire a visa from the China Visa Application Service Centre, which charges an additional fee. For more info on your Chinese visa, refer to this page.

Do I need travel insurance?

The trip includes personal travel accident insurance that only covers accidents inside China. The maximum compensation is 250,000RMB (US$36,000). I strongly advise you to purchase your own insurance to complement the tour insurance provided by Tibet Vista. I’ve been using Travel Guard annual travel insurance since I started traveling in 2003 and recommend it to anyone who travels more than twice a year.

How much spending money do I need?

As all accommodation, transport and organized activities are included, you’ll only need money for food and personal expenses. I estimate you will need around US$200 for the entire trip. This amount of course varies depending on what you spend on (souvenirs or beers etc).

Note that Tibet uses the Chinese Yuan or RMB. Bank of China is the only bank to change foreign currency and travelers’ cheques. We can also change foreign currencies at Tibet Vista’s office or in four-star hotels. It is wise to estimate the total amount of the money you need in Tibet and change all the money in Lhasa as ATMs and banks can be hard to find outside of the capital. Credit cards are a convenient payment method in Lhasa, but do not work well in other cites in Tibet.

Tibet tour monks

Feel free to email me with any questions you have or write them in the comments below!


TESTIMONIALS

I have been traveling with Nellie for 10 years. She was my first tour guide. I was pretty nervous as a solo traveler. I was worried about booking flights online, customs documents and local customs – she reassured me. She has showed me the best tapa bars in Spain, train travel in Morocco, elephant sanctuary in Bali, Singapore high rises.

She is currently planning our Ethiopia tour next month. I’m not sure what to expect in Ethiopia, but I know that is will be exciting and with lots of food. She handles everything promptly and answers all my questions.

 Melinda Countway, my Canadian friend and travel mate

“Nellie is a great travel partner! Her resourcefulness, spontaneous spirit, love for food and especially for travel and exploring made the whole trip super fun. We either always have something fun to do, or we’ll simply sit and marvel at the beauty of our new surroundings. We would also have fun throwing instant pop-quizzes at each other, because it’s more meaningful to learn about the place instead of just going there. I look forward to our next trip together!!!

— Tay Yan Bing, my Singaporean friend and travel partner in Georgia & Armenia

I’ve had the pleasure of traveling with Nellie twice before and it has always been a blast! When we met traveling in Africa, her passion and love for travel were infectious. Our group had so much fun that we decided to travel with her again, this time to hike the Camino de Santiago in Spain! If it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t have known about this challenging and rewarding adventure! She organized this second trip so that it ran without a hitch. I wholeheartedly recommend traveling with Nellie.

— Brian Fung, my good friend from Canada

tibet tour wildjunket

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About Nellie Huang

Nellie Huang is a professional travel writer and blogger with a special interest in off-grid destinations and adventure travel. Her mission is to visit every country in the world. In her quest, she's climbed an active volcano in Iceland, swam with sealions in the Galapagos, built a school in Tanzania, waddled with penguins in Antarctica, crossed into North Korea and drank beer in Palestine.

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