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Changtang Nature Reserve Tours

Brief Overview of the Tour

Tour Name: Changtang Nature Reserve Tours
Duration:  25 days
Destinations: Lhasa, Lhatse, Tsocheng, Gerze, Darkpu, Aru Tso, Gar, Guge Kingdom, Darcheng, Mt. Kailash, Manasarovar lake, Paryang, Saga, Shigatse,
Trip Designed by: Tibetan Ecology Foundation
Tour Code: CNRT25
Cost: $4,875
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Overview:

Changtang Nature Reserve Tour is a 25-day tour from central Tibet to the north and west of the Tibetan plateau. You will see the Changtang one of the harshest places on Earth for human existence, but also one of the most perfect places for viewing exotic endangered species, like Tibetan antelope and wild yak. If you are lucky, you will get to see some of these species. Also you will visit the holiest mountain for Buddhists and Hindus—Mt. Kailash. Also, you will see the headwaters of the Brahmaputra and Indus Rivers. When you are in central Tibet you will see some of the most important monasteries that are located in the city and on the way. Please check the itinerary details where you’ll find more information about your trip. 


Content

| Accommodations | Booking |Brief | Communication | Contact | Culture Shock | Currency Exchange | Departure Date | Emergency Contact | Evaluation | Foundations | Group Size | Health | Important Notes | Itinerary | Laundry | Legal Advice  | Map | Meals | Overview| Papers | Payment | Spending Money | Style & Bonus | Tipping | Transportation | Travel Insurance | VISA |


Contact

Operator:
Tibet Tours, LLC
Tibet Eco-Tours
Mailing: P.O. Box 32991 Santa Fe,
NM 87594 USA
Phone: 847 772 1430
Email: info@tibetanecology.org
Site: www.tibetanecology.org/tours


Your Itinerary 

Day 01: Arrival in Lhasa either by flight or train. We will receive and transfer you to your hotel in Lhasa. We suggest that you relax and get acclimated for few days. Your guide will describe your trip plan in detail at the hotel. Please do remember to get your guide's phone number. If you have any questions, please feel free to call.

Day 02: Visiting the Jokhang Temple and Barkhor in the morning, as well as the Tibetan Medical Center. This will be an easy and relaxing day.

Day 03: If you are not experiencing altitude sickness, you will visit the Potala Palace, one of the world’s wonders, and the Sera Monastery. It may take the whole day.

Day 04: A visit to Drepung Monastery in the morning. In the afternoon, you may do some shopping and prepare for the trip. We suggest having dinner with your trekking team so you can get to know each other.

Day 05: Drive from Lhasa to Gyangtse. In Gyangtse, you will visit the Palgor Chorten (a stupa) and the country’s stone wall where the British were defeated in 1904. You will stay in a guesthouse. At Gyangtse Monastery and Palgor Chorten, you will see some of amazing fine art on the walls and ceiling. On the way to Gyangtse, you will also visit Yamdrok Lake.

Day 06: Drive west from Gyangtse to Shigatse and Lhatse. We will stay in a guesthouse. You will visit the point where you can see the Brahmaputra River in Lhatse.

Day 07: Drive from Lhatse to Tsocheng. Overnight in a hotel. 

Day 08: Drive from Tsocheng-Gerze. Here, we are going to camp for the first night on the trip. It is at 4500 m elevation.

Day 09: From Gerze, you will enter the Changtang Nature Reserve. You will camp overnight—the exact location to be determined by the trekking team, depending on water logistics for preparing the meal. This is the time for you to keep your eyes out for wildlife. The famous Dr. George Schaller has spent lots of time in this part of the world researching Tibet’s wildlife. Geographically, this is called AruTso (Aru Lake)Basin area. In this area, we recommend you hike up a small hill to see the animals as opposed to driving. Much of this area is wet, and we don’t want to get our vehicle stuck on Changtang.

Day 10: A visit to Aru Tso and Nima Tso (Tso=Lake). This is the only chance you may have to see the wild brown yak. You also may see some wild Kiang (ass), Tibetan antelope as well as vultures and other mammals. Binoculars will be very handy if you have some. Of course, we will camp for the night.

Day 11: Hike up the distant hill to explore Changtang unaccompanied by Tibetan trekking guides.

Day 12: Drive from Changtang to Gerze. Stay overnight in a guesthouse.

Day 13: Trip to Gar and overnight in the hotel. Before you get to Gar, will see the headwaters tributary of the Indus. Also, you will see the first dam on the Indus River. It is a great area for taking pictures. Locally, people call the Indus “Sangge Tsangpo” which, means “Snow Lion River.” In Gar you will have a great rest. Before you get to Gar, you will see the first dam at the start of the Indus. You will drive along the Indus headwaters, and see the source of the Indus over the coming days.

Day 14: Drive from Gar to Darcheng. The Himalaya tower right before you—the world’s most spectacular mountain range. In Darcheng you will stay at a local guesthouse.

Days 15-16-17: You will trek to Mt. Kailash and camp overnight. Trek to the Indus River Source and camp for the night. Trek back to Darcheng, depending on the weather conditions. Mt. Kailash is the holiest mountain in this region. And the Indus river source lies behind a few mountains north of Mt. Kailash. If all goes well, you will make to the Indus river source in three days.          

Day 18: Drive from Darcheng to Manasarovar Lake. Stay in a guesthouse.

Day 19: Drive from Manasarovar Lake to Paryang. Overnight in a guesthouse. On the way to Paryang, you will see the Mt. Jima Yangzon on your right. It is the source of the Brahmaputra River, according to Tibetan history. Some of the newly developed tourist maps indicate that Manasarovar Lake is the source. However, you will have a chance to see both. You cannot hike to the Jima Yangzon, but you can see it from the road.

Day 20: Paryang to Saga. Stay in a guesthouse. On the drive from Paryang, after 30km you will see a large wetland, which is the source of the Brahmaputra River at the upper tributary. Also you will visit the Brahmaputra River in Saga again.  

Day 21: Drive from Saga to Lhatse. Stay in a guesthouse. When you get to Lhatse, you can visit Brahmaputra River.

Day 22: Drive to Shigatse, the second largest city in Tibet. On the way you may want to visit the Sakya Monastery. One of the earlier Tibetan Buddhism sects is the Sakya Pa. In the Sakya Monastery, you can visit some of the temples that have demons or ghosts which have been vanquished. When you get to Shigatse, you will stay in a hotel. You can get great rest that night. We suggest you visit to the monastery early the next morning.

Day 23: Visit Tashi Lhunpo Monastery and drive towards to Lhasa. Along the highway G318, you will see the Brahmaputra River off and on until Lhasa. You will stay in a hotel from here on.  

Day 24: After breakfast, you will visit the summer palace Norbu Linka in Lhasa. In the afternoon you may visit the busy Barkhor Market.

Day 25: Depart from Lhasa. Our guide and driver will see you off either at the airport or the train station.


Accommodations

In the larger cities of Lhasa, Shigatse, and Chengdu we use standard two or three-star hotels. In many counties and townships, we use guesthouses for our accommodations. In most places these guesthouses are the best we can find in the remote areas on the Tibetan Plateau.  If camping is in your itinerary, we provide tents, but please bring your own sleeping bag. You can also buy one in Lhasa.  Hot water will be available in hotels and guesthouses.  Please note that you are sharing rooms with other members of the group. If you don’t want share a room, please let us know; we will have to charge you the supplement.

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Booking

Please book your tour one month ahead or at least two weeks before your departure date. To apply for your Tibet Entry Permit and to buy some of your monastery entrance tickets, we need some time for processing. To book your tour, we require a deposit of $200. The deposit is NOT refundable.  Full payment must be complete one week before your departure. Some of the wildlife tours require an 8-week advance booking because of paperwork and scheduling guides and drivers.


Communication

Email:
In Tibet many cities have internet cafés. Some of the guesthouses and hotels have internet access in their business centers.  In most places, you will be able to find an internet source, but it may not be available in very remote areas.  You may need some extra cash to use the internet.
Phone:
You can bring your cell phone but it will be very expensive to use.  Almost every accommodation will have a phone that has international service.  If you need to find a phone or internet, ask your guide for assistance.


Contact

Tibet Tours, LLC
Phone: 847 772 1430
Email: info@tibetanecology.org
website: www.tibetanecology.org/tours
Mail: P.O. Box 32991 Santa Fe, NM 87594 USA


Culture Shock

English is not commonly spoken in this part of the world. Often you will encounter comfort issues like an open toilet. Some of the local customs may shock you, but be aware that you are a stranger to the people in Tibet.


Currency Exchange

The exchange rate changes often. You may want to change money in the Bank of China or in hotels and restaurants that have exchange service. We don’t recommend carrying traveler’s checks because they are difficult to exchange in China.  The best currency we recommend is US dollars and EUR (euro). We recommend you bring $500 USD for personal expenses during the trip. ATMs are available across the country but one thing you must be wary of is the fee for overseas withdrawal.  Every bank or ATM is different.
You may check exchange rates before you depart at: http://www.xe.com/ucc/


Emergency Contact

Please provide your detailed emergency contact in case of an accident or death.  We will give you our emergency agent's contact information after you book a tour with us.
You may consider seeking information about traveler’s insurance independently.


Evaluation

After your trip has ended, we would like to receive your evaluation of the tour and suggestions on how can we improve your next trip. Any comments on our guides, drivers and local agents will be appreciated.

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Departure Date

The departure dates are effective from where your trip begins in China or an airport—NOT your departure from your home country.  Sometimes the departure may change. If so, please contact your agent at info@tibetanecology.org


Tibet Tours, LLC & Tibetan Ecology Foundation

Tibet Tours, LLC was established to promote Tibet Eco-Tours as a Limited Liability Company to support the Tibetan Ecology Foundation. Ten percent of your payment goes directly to benefit the work of the Tibetan Ecology Foundation. TEF is non-profit 501 (c)(3).
Tibetan Ecology Foundation is an environmental education organization that promotes the conservation of Tibet’s natural ecology. Ecotourism is one of our awareness programs, offering on-the-ground exposure to the beauty of Tibet and bringing awareness to the threats to its ecosystems—beyond what you might learn from the news. Tibet Eco-Tours will allow you to experience Tibet firsthand. Our Ecotourism partners are local Tibetan tour companies run by Tibetans, and your participation greatly supports the livelihoods of these individuals and their communities. It will also help TEF to continue our educational programs. Please visit www.tibetanecology.org for more information.

Group Size

The group size will vary. There is no limit on the number of travelers. Please notify us if you are a student or a research group of more than 2 people.


Health

Tibet Eco-Tours require that all the travelers be in good health. You must be physically capable of hiking and handling cold weather. You must enjoy camping and trekking. Additionally, you must be mentally comfortable traveling or working with a diverse group of people. Please be open-minded and respectful of others’ boundaries, beliefs and traditions. People with special heart conditions or respiratory ailments are advised that the Tibetan Plateau lies at an average elevation of 5,000 meters or 16,500 feet.
You may experience altitude sickness for a few days, which is normal. We recommend that you take time to adjust to the altitude before doing any hiking and trekking, even in Lhasa. If you are seriously ill, we will provide transportation to a medical clinic for free, but any other expenses related to your health care will be your responsibility.


Important Notes=Paper

Before you enter Tibet (Tibetan Autonomous Region) we will need to acquire your Tibetan Entry permits and border permit. Also, some areas require applying for a special permit. Please send us copies of both your passport and Chinese visa. If you are entering Tibet through Nepal, you will need a few copies of a passport-sized color photo. The Nepali border officials will ask for this when you apply for a Nepali visa at the border, whether entering or exiting the country.


Itinerary

The itinerary on the site is final. The trip will proceed according to the itinerary, barring unforeseen obstacles due to nature or government policy. Otherwise, your guide will not deviate from your itinerary. You may print out the itinerary for yourself. Changing your itinerary during the course of the trip will not be possible. To extend your trip after your booking, please contact us before starting your permit process.  


Laundry

Often, there will be a laundry service for a fee available in the hotels where you will be staying. You may need to change currency (Chinese Yuan/RMB). Sometimes, a laundry business will be available near the hotel.  Most of these businesses are not self-serve and your laundry will be taken and returned to you. 


Legal Advice

Illegal drug use is prohibited. Drug offenses will be subject to the Chinese court process. It will also put the entire group and travel agency at risk. Marijuana, opium and other drugs are culturally unacceptable. Also, political expression against the Chinese Government is strictly prohibited. We will not be responsible for violation of these rules.

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Map

Tibet Changtang Tour Map

Names of the locations on our trip maps are based on National Geographic maps and Google maps. You may find different spellings on different websites. Most of the maps we use show locations that you will pass throughout the trip but are not necessarily where you will stay overnight.


Meals


Payment

Your payment must clear one week prior to your departure. You may pay by check, credit card and cash. If you are writing a check, please make it payable to the Tibet Tours, LLC. For cash, please do not send by mail, but hand deliver it to a representative of Tibet Tours or Tibetan Ecology Foundation.
Tibet Tours will donate 10% of your payment to Tibetan Ecology Foundation. If you would like to deduct that money from your taxes, please speak to a representative about making two separate payments—one to Tibet Tours, LLC and one to TEF.


Spending Money

We suggest that you bring some spending money for shopping, bars or entertainment. Some may want to make an offering to the local monastery and having extra change on hand is a good idea.


Style and Bonus

The tour style is customized by the Tibetan Ecology Foundation in order to share an inside look at traditional life among wild nature, snowy mountains, great rivers and their sources. Tibet Eco-Tours also organizes tours to the northeast of the Tibetan Plateau to visit people living off the land in a traditional way—a lifestyle that has changed little over millennia in spite of modernization. It is also a chance to see the ancient architecture of cities and monasteries and a variety of art forms and folk crafts. Tibet Eco-Tours will invite you into an exotic and inspirational world of life and culture. 
Mostly, we will let you have ample time to arrive at your destination, take pictures, and write notes. We limit your travel time to no more than 8 hours or 500 kilometers a day. This way, your trip will be safer and more comfortable. If you are a writer or blogger, we invite you to share what you have learned about Tibetan ecology or culture with us. We offer a refund of 5% of the tour payment to anyone who writes an article relating to Tibet’s ecology. 

We would like to know what you think about Tibet, its culture, people and its natural and built environments.


Tipping

Usually tipping is not customary in this part of the country, but in the tourism business it is. Please feel free to tip, but please do not tip less than ¥1 (20 cents). We suggest a minimum tip of ¥5 for a hotel porter, restaurant waiter or waitress. You may tip your local guide and driver more than ¥10 a day. You may tip your trekking cook and assistant at the end of the trek. 


Transportation


Travel Insurance

We recommend you buy International Travel Insurance if you don’t already have it. We cannot be responsible for accidents, injury or death. We cannot be responsible for loss of personal valuable items, cash, camera, laptop, phone, etc. Insurance agreement form


VISA

Please apply for a Chinese visa from your home country or nearest Chinese embassy. For further information, please visit http://www.china-embassy.org/eng/hzqz/zgqz/t84246.htm  For your Tibet Entry Permit, please send a copy of your Chinese VISA to us so we are able to apply for your TAR permit ahead your arrival.

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