I recently organized a group to go to Tibet for a cultural tour, and managed to find the operator based in Tibet by the name of Shambhala Adventure, and their company website - www.shambhala-adventure.com
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
My group of 5 including me went to Tibet from the 31st August to the 16th September, covering LINZHI (林芝) / Nyingchi / Nyingtri, Lhasa, Lake Namtso, one night camping in Lake Yamdrok, Gyantse, Shigatse and the Everest Base Camp.
I started to do my planning last year in November, as I knew that I had to book my train ticket from Xining (Qinghai Province) to Lhasa on the Qinghai-Tibet railway at least six months ahead in order to be able to secure the seats (soft sleeper, 4 in a cabin).
Initially, I contacted a few operators to send them my enquiry about my trip itinerary. I had heard a lot of LINZHI and wanted to go there on this trip.
The reason why I ended up engaging the service of Shambhala is because, Dawa, the Managing Director, is very patient with me, and very prompt in his reply to all my emails. I had done trekking in Nepal, and thus understand the importance of acclimatization, in order for the body to adapt to the high altitude, as there is less oxygen. Moreover, I had requested to camp one night at Lake Yamdrok at an altitude of 4,400m.
And from Singapore, we flew to Xining via Beijing, and stayed two nights. Xining is an excellent first pit stop as it is only about 2,200m, which allows the body to first get used to this altitude, which most people would have no issue of altitude sickness. In fact, we visited Qinghai Lake, which is said to be the most beautiful lake in China. We did not have the opportunity to see the beauty of Qinghai as it was a rainy day, so the sky was overcast and the lake appeared to be grey.
I must say that the guide Phuntsok took great care of us, including the driver. The camping equipment - sleeping tents, dining tent, toilet tent, sleeping bag are all of excellent quality. It was a most memorable stay at Lake Yamdrok, which has the shape of a scorpion, as we experienced heavy thunder storm that night, with heavy down pour, lighting and thunder for almost an hour.
Phuntsok speaks good English and I understand Dawa invests his money to send his staff for English lessons with foreign teachers.
During the trip, when we made request , we were quickly attended to. And I could reach Dawa on the mobile number easily.
On the whole, we are glad that we travelled with Shambhala Adventure. All of our travel arrangements were well taken care of, with excellent communication with the company before and during the trip. High quality camping equipment were provided. Any trip be it cultural or trekking/adventure, you could contact Shambhala with a peace of mind and be assured of the highest standard of professionalism. It is important to engage the service of Tibetans to run your tour, as they are the locals, rather than Chinese operators.
Take note of the extreme high altitudes in Tibet. Lhasa is 3,650m, Lake Namtso is 4,718m, Lake Yamdrok is 4,400m, and Everest Base Camp is 5,200m. Do engage in more physical activities - swimming, running, walking, cycling to prepare yourself for the high altitude as with a stronger heart, you could adapt better than inactive people. Do consult a doctor if you have any health concern. Last of all, plan ahead especially if you intend to take the train from Xining to Lhasa, as tickets do get booked and sold out a few months before the start of the main travel season from May to September.
Dawa, Managing Director
Mobile +86 139-0890-7271
Website - http://www.shambhala-adventure.com/
Let him know I refer you and quote - OCIJ8888
for special tour fare.