Since opening up to tourism in 1985, this Buddhist territory known as ‘the rooftop of the world’ has become famous for its high-altitude treks through the towering Himalayas. However, with this mystical nation peppered with a myriad of monasteries and a wealth of history, its appeal spreads well beyond pure adrenaline pursuits.
Whilst UK visitors to Tibet have traditionally been restricted to joining group tours, Rickshaw Travel’s range of modular options have opened up the country to independent exploration, with private tours accompanied by knowledgeable local guides and drivers.
The starting point for most Tibetan adventures is Lhasa, whose status as one of the world’s most religious cities may not be entirely unconnected to its high altitude. Despite its dizzy elevation at 3,600m, Lhasa is one of Tibet’s lowest lying areas so the three-night Prayer Flags in the Wind (http://www.chinatravelplan.co.uk/
The first few days are kept free for leisurely walks to the city’s holiest temple, Jokhang, to follow the holy Barkhor circuit around the sacred site and to watch locals stock up on prayer wheels and yak butter at the local market. Once acclimatised, the tour heads high above the city on day three to Potala Palace - the Dalai Lama’s former home - to enjoy the breath-taking views before visiting another beautiful nearby monastery. Prices start from £255pp based on two people sharing, including private transfer from the airport to the hotel, three nights in an air-conditioned hotel, a day trip exploring the capital and its surrounding area with an English-speaking guide plus entrance to the Potala Palace.
For those who feel a trip to Tibet would be incomplete without time amongst some of the world’s highest mountains, the four-day On Top of the World (http://www.chinatravelplan.co.uk/
Having crossed the Nyangchu Valley to Shigatse, home of the large golden stupa of Tashilhunpo, it’s a straightforward journey to Tibet’s Heavenly Lake (http://www.chinatravelplan.co.uk/
For a once-in-a-lifetime experience, it’s hard to beat the tallest and most awe-inspiring mountain of them all. The Mount Everest Jeep Trek (http://www.chinatravelplan.co.uk/
Whilst most visits to Tibet are combined with at least one night in China, Rickshaw Travel also has a range of modular options to make the most of a twin-centre adventure. However, an increasingly popular option amongst intrepid travellers is to end the trip with some time in Nepal. The travel specialist’s longest Tibet module therefore introduces holidaymakers to the country’s highlights before heading Straight through the Himalayas (http://www.chinatravelplan.co.uk/
This ten day journey from Lhasa to Kathmandu takes in the mighty Himalayan treats offered up along the legendary Friendship Highway. After exploring the capital, visiting many of Tibet’s ancient monasteries and being awed at the panoramic views around every corner of the highway, the chance to hike to Everest base camp is undoubtedly one of the module’s highlights. Prices start from £1008 based on two people sharing as part of a small group tour or £1585 for a private trip, including transfers on arrival, nine nights accommodation in Tibetan guest houses and hotels, driver, English-speaking guide, all permits, Everest fee, Lhasa and other en-route excursions.
As Tibet’s nickname of the ‘land of snows’ might suggest, its high altitude means it can get very cold, making April to November the best time to visit. With many Buddhist-related holidays and festivals taking place during this period, from Buddha’s birthday in May to the celebration of his return from heaven in October, travellers have many opportunities to time their adventure holiday with a moment of national rejoicing.
Haydn Wrath, MD of Rickshaw Travel said: “For years the dramatic mountain backdrop and mystical traditions of Tibet have intrigued travellers, yet the limited means of exploring this incredible country have meant that holidays here were typically restricted to the more ambitious travellers or mountaineers.
“We hope that our modular range of private tours will not only open up affordable ways for British holidaymakers looking for a more independent style of travel to explore Tibet but also enable them to create their dream itinerary by combining it with neighbouring countries.”
For a full range of Tibet modules and itineraries visit www.rickshawtravel.co.uk or call Rickshaw Travel’s team of experts on 01273 322 047.