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report.T I B E T

 

 

 
  I have extracted the following information from lonely planet online and me too, just like lonely planet, will not held any responsiblities for the information below given by other travellers. Thank you.
   
 
Visas, Embassies & Border Crossings
   
 
Travel Tips
   
 
Moving About
   
 
Gems, Highlights & Attractions
   
 
Yarns, Fables & Anecdotes
   
   
   
  Visas, Embassies & Border Crossings
   
There are various types of Chinese Visas, one of which is the "F" visa which is a business visa. When I went to the Chinese Embassy in London and applied for a 3 month student visa, with supporting documents from my university in Beijing, I was given an "F" visa, and I met other students who had also been given the same.
  When I tried to buy my plane ticket to Lhasa in Chengdu, I was told that there are new government regulations, and that holders of "F" visas are not allowed into Tibet. They told me to go to the PSB (Police) and change my visa. The PSB did not know at first if they were allowed to change my visa, and after a 2 hour wait finally decided they couldn't. Finally I found the travel agent at the Tibet Tourism Bureau in the Tibet Hotel, who was willing to sell me the plane ticket ONLY because I had a Chinese student card and university admission letter, otherwise I would not have been allowed to go. Similarly, when in Tibet and applying for permits, I had to show my student card and letter otherwise I would have been refused. So, in short, if you are going to Tibet make sure you don't have an "F" visa, or if you do bring as much supporting evidence with you as to why you are in China. Barnaby Joll, UK (Sep '00)
 
We went to Zhangmu armed with valid Chinese visas (from Delhi) - the immigration police introduced us to the local CITS agent. He told us that it is impossible to get into Tibet as an individual traveller and that we would have to book a tour (it is not possible to arrange landrover hire, guide, etc at the border). He also said that this tour was impossible to arrange at the border or even in Kodari; we had to go back to Kathmandu. In Kathmandu, we found the best prices for individual travellers teaming up to make a group were at Royal Mountain Trekking in Durbar Marg. Justin Watts, Australia (Jul 99)
 
I just came back from a fantastic trip through Nepal and Tibet and I have good news: after the problems of travel in Tibet during the 40th anniversary of the uprising in March, travelling in Tibet is easier again. You can go anywhere around Lhasa in the range of 70 km without a permit, eg NamTso Lake, Ganden, etc. And for travel destinations south of Samye you can get permits at the PSB in Shigatse. All other destinations can be arranged by agents in Lhasa.
 
Crossing the border from Nepal to Tibet is possible if you get your Chinese visa back home (or in Delhi) and join an individual tour to Lhasa. Once you are in Lhasa, you are free to move on your own and transport back or onwards can easily and cheaply be arranged with fellow travellers in Lhasa. Rainer Maerkle, Germany (May 99)
 
TTB permits, to enter Tibet, are no longer issued at the CITS in Zangmu. Ruud & Dies van Mil-Vogel, The Netherlands (May 99)
 
 
  Travel Tips
 
Gyantse Dzong: The greatview from the top is well worth the entry fee and the climb! Volkmar Janicke, Germany (Sept 00)
 
Travelling in summer time, June-July 2000 into Tibet, every other day was either raining, snowing or hailing, so come prepared with cold weather gear. When sitting in the back of trucks, huddle up with the locals near the cab in front, the rattling gets worse nearer the tail end. Leave your expensieve gortex jackets & boots at home and try to wear the local clothes easily found anywhere. Carry your backpack in a burlap sack, or anonymous shoulder bag. Raymond Ang, Singapore (Sep 00)
 
Sterling appeared to be as widely accepted as US Dollars and got a relatively better exchange rate - so we don't see any point in incurring extra commission costs by arriving with lots of US Dollars. We think things have moved on and now many people expect tips. Tipping is still not expected in restaurants and from taxi drivers, but tour guides, drivers and anyone connected with tourism seemed to expect it - and at quite a high level too. As members of a group, we were advised to allow at least US$1 per day for a tour bus driver and more for land cruiser drivers and local tour guides! Surprisingly Tibet seems to have a very good mobile phone serviceand anyone with a dual band mobile phone (with roaming agreement in place) can make calls - though no doubt the cost is considerable. It is a good idea to line your rucksack with a bin liner to prevent your clothes from getting drenched in the monsoon rains. Alex & Suzanne Hayes, UK (Sep 00)
 
Do not forget to check the sell-by date: In general, coca cola is out of date, as well as mineral water in little bottles. We have been served drinks that were no longer good for consumption for more than 10 months. Christine Veulemans, France (Aug 00)
 
Chiu Monastery: a real bathhouse has been constructed near Chiu Gompa! There are now 5 tiled bathtubs for women, 5 for men. The glass roof works as solar heating. Deliciously soaking in your bath tub (after a week without washing!) costs Y20. The man with the key comes around as soon as tourists show up. Anne Girardet, Switzerland (Jul 00)
 
Having just returned from Lhasa I can assure you that the charge for photography at the Potala is not Y50far from it. The charge is now Y90for the first chapel. You then go around the corner to the second chapel and there is another charge of Y90 or perhaps Y150. And so it goes, chapel after chapel. The fee for videotaping is exorbitant, going up to, as I recall it, Y1500 in at least one room. The Tibetans certainly have caught on to modern business practices! Andre Hurtgen, USA (Jun 00)
 
Rongphu Monastery, Getting There & Away: it is useful to know that sometimes the weather is going to affect the road significantly. In the winter months, for example, the road may be iced up and land cruisers will not be able to go all the way up to the Monastery. That is what happened to us and we had to walk the last two km. This was in March. Josephine Loo (Apr 00)
 
If a Tibetan asks you for a game of pool, itll cost you Y1 if you lose. If you spend your time in pubs and think you have a good hand for pool, think again. The Tibetans know the idiosyncrasies of the sun-warped surface and the way the table leans, so just enjoy the experience for what it is. Chris Ashmore, Australia (Nov 99)
 
In Lhasa, the Post Office has moved about 100m closer to the Potala. The Telecom Office is now between the newly located post office and the old one. Ian Green, UK (Oct 99)
 
When going to Tholing and Tsaprang from Darchen (the foot of Mt Kailash), the Chinese officials ask for entrance fees from all tourists. We paid our fees in Darchen (Y300 for Tsaprang and Y100 for Tholing per person), but when we reached Tsaprang and Tholing, the officials there did not accept the receipts wed been issued and we had to pay the same amounts of money again. We came across other people whod also experienced this problem. So Id like to inform all travellers not to pay their entrance fees in Darchen - go to Tholing and pay the fees there. Hira Dhamala, Tibet (Mar 99)
 
 
  Moving About
 
Travellers in the town of Zhong Dian, in China's Yunnan province have been rejected the sale of tickets to Lithang or any points Northeast, though the route was theoretically open. Quite a few travellers were thus stranded in Zhong Dian as they were hoping to catch the connection from Lithang to Chengdu, before applying for the necessary permits and tickets into Tibet. Some of my friends had to catch the bus to Kunming before connecting to Chengdu - a long and painful backtrack. A few others caught short connections to towns near Lithang (tickets sold from the smaller bus station) before hitching towards the town. However, this remains a risky proposition as I met a burly Russian man who had to hike the 80 odd kilometres from where the bus dropped him off, into Lithang as none of the few trucks stopped for him. At Chengdu itself, a few travellers have reported that the overland bus tickets to Lhasa were refused them and the only option was to fly into the capital city. Consistently, the Glomud-Lhasa bus from Qinghai remains the most stable of the overland connections into Tibet. Yunnan: With the incredibly rapid developments in Yunnan province, please note that most, if not all transport connections have almost halved. Eg. from Kunming to Dali, is now a 3-4 hour connection so overnight buses no longer make sense as one would arrive at 3-4 in the morning. Raymond Ang, Singapore (Sep 00)
 
It is possible to buy a new, Chinese made, 12-speed mountain bike for around Y240 off the street in Lhasa. But be warned: dont plan a long trip like I did. After about 40km my right pedal fell off, the brakes ceased functioning, the fitted basket snapped and I had a useless pump with which to fix a puncture. As with most things in life you get what you pay for. Chris Ashmore, Australia (Nov 99)
 
Lhasa to the border:
  1. When planning your itinerary from Lhasa to the border, I suggest adding in a rest day if possible. The Friendship Highway is 90% unpaved and a neck brace would be handy. It is tiring to be bumped around in a landcruiser for eight hours.
  2. Get the agency to write out the itinerary in Tibetan, meet the driver and make sure it is explained to him. Most drivers speak no English and may not be able to read, so your only chance to make it clear is before he leaves Lhasa.
  3. Assume nothing, not even the most basic things. Check that the landcruiser is in good working order and that the driver is given enough money for fuel.
  4. Try to keep the number of passengers to five, as even in a landcruiser six is a bit cramped.
  5. Length of trip: I suggest seven to eight days if possible. The roads are quite bad and those who do the trip in two days deserve a medal.
  6. By all means write out a simple contract, but rapport with the driver is your best bet for keeping the journey hassle free. Marese Hickey, Ireland (Oct 99)
 
 
  Gems, Highlights & Attractions
 
A substitution our guide made during our trip was the highlight of our visit to Tibet. Tucked away in a busy neighborhood area of Lhasa, the Anistaagkung nunnery is not on the usual tourist route of monastery visits. The nuns seemed surprised and delighted by our appearance, and when our guide asked one nun if we could see her room she was happy to oblige; and another nun invited us into her room and even served us Yak butter candy and jasmine tea. A few of the nuns spoke a little English and they all made us feel very welcome. Carol Bishop, USA (Aug 00)
 
Hot springs near Lhatse: There are splendid and refreshing hot (extremely hot, to be precise) springs just 10 or 20 km from Lhatse on the way to Lhasa. It is a truly rewarding experience after a long journey. You cannot soak in the water, as the temperature really was too high, but you can finally have a perfect bath. It's strange, but temperature seems not to be a problem for locals. We were told by the guide that our driver actually sat in the pool for almost five minutes. The same driver braved the snow storm near Gertse only in a shabby coat of local style. Vassili Lebedev, Moscow (Jul 00)
 
In Lhasa, it is free to get onto the roof of the Jokhang Temple, so you can go there as often as you like. The monks debate on the roof at about 6.30 pm most evenings. There are plans to have the Jokhang listed as part of the Potala so it will be included in the World Heritage listing. Marese Hickey, Ireland (Oct 99)
 
North and a little east of Lhasa is Lake Namsto. It is a fairly rugged 4WD to this magical place. The lake is bright blue, the sky is forever (as we know the sky can be in Tibet) and the white snow sitting on the mountains around the lake cut the two blues like a knife. The monks, who live in the caves, will share a smile and a cup of tea with you and will gratefully accept gifts of candles or food. In the cold crisp night the sky lights up with countless stars, while the moon dances across the water. See the lake and feel the magic. Michael Doud, USA (Oct 99)
 
 
  Yarns, Fables & Anecdotes
 
Gangsters forced their way onto the bus during my journey to Tibet. They said they would not harm anyone if they could just 'look' at the Australian girls I was travelling with! The bus rolled on into the freezing night and they did as they said they would. I thought they would rape the girls and kill the other passengers as well as myself... but no. Sure enough, after a fifteen minute 'stare' they got off the bus and we continued. As the bus gained altitude some of my friends passed out and I thought my brain was going to explode! I had the headache of my life. After we saw the Tibetan prayer flags the Tibetnas on the bus all cheered and we started to descend to Lhasa. I then knew we'd be all right. Mark Hadfield (Feb 99)
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