Road to EBC through Tibet
Tibet Lhasa Jokhang, China
Road to EBC through Tibet Tibet Lhasa Jokhang Reviews
Through Explore Tibet, Tibetan tour agency Nov 04, 2014
We used Explore Tibet since it was the only agency I found with a reputable looking website, recommended through 1 vague review on Trip Advisor and YoWandu. Overall it is an avg. agency, we went to Lhasa for 4 days and the remaining 4 days went to Everest base camp (EBC) and back through the Tibetan countryside. We saw Everest (went in August not best weather) for about 10 min. (I was the only one in my group that got to see it actually). Let me clear something up, when I speak about EBC it is the tourist base camp. Most agencies don't advertise that there are 2 base camps (at least on the Tibetan side don't know the Nepalese side). The tourist BC is about 6min by car to the base of the mountain, which you can't go to b/c it's restricted to tourists...(found this out when I got there lol, oh well) So hmm, it is kind of a tourist trap...You drive up to a rock that says EBC in front of the mtn. and take a picture and thats it.
Here it goes:
First 4 days:
We stayed in the Tashigake Hotel which was very suitable and has a good restaurant (best food we tried all trip, let's just say you don't go to Tibet if you're expecting a foodie tour). We toured a bunch of monasteries including Potola of course, they were beautiful and learned a bit about Tibetan Buddhism. Our guide was hard to understand at times but we put up with it.
Next 4 days:
It takes 20 hours to get to EBC. We were in a minivan (which is a lot slower and bumpier than a land cruiser btw) not a land cruiser, the latter of which is what was promised in the contract and we did not get. Watch out for this, the car you travel in is relevant for a long trip with primarily rocky dirt roads making up most of the way. The countryside is outstanding i t of scenery. However, there are many travel restrictions for foreigners and you cannot go off by yourself or explore the countryside. *You cannot get to Tibet if not sponsored by a travel agency, we chose a Tibetan agency not a chinese one. Our guide knew how to get us quickly through the checkpoints but didn't explain much more about Tibet once we got out of Lhasa. Basically repeating the same thing in every monastery. Once we got to EBC our guide pretty much disappeared and didn't orient us. I was excited to be there so I woke up early and got to see the mtn. It was majestic, all that I expected. I went back to our tent (rel. speaking they were good tents, lots of blankets, tea, cup noodles, warm) to get the rest of our group and when they got up about 20min. after-- the whole mtn. was covered with fog.
The biggest mishap here is that the guide knew how volatile this fog was. He knew the mtn. most of the time became visible ONLY for a couple min.s and then wouldn't be. He didn't tell us this. He appeared at 8am once the mtn. was completely covered in fog, took us to the rock I told you about previously and we snapped a picture of everest (aka a white background) and then drove 20 hrs back to Lhasa.
Kind of funny how much of a fail this situation became but to my friends who each paid more than $1k to see Everest this wasn't funny at all. Well, at the end of the day we complained to the sales rep. and he basically told us it was our fault for not telling them on time that we couldn't understand our guide very well and that we didn't get to see Everest. Let me remind you roaming is expensive. He said we should've borrowed someone's phone and called him immediately after realizing that mtn. was fogged. He said that this has happened to previous groups and that some have stayed an additional 4 hours and maybe the fog clears up for a couple min's at noon.
1stly how were we supposed to know all this? There were 2 other couples with us that used Explore Tibet and they all thought the same thing we did. ''Oh the fog will clear up, lets go have breakfast and then walk towards the base of the mtn''...which was a part of the tour advertised on the schedule they gave us.
**Important to note. Same thing that happened to us happened to the other tourists using Explore Tibet. We were all really confused and the last ones (there were tour groups from other co. up there) to get up to the mtn. Cant help but feel a bit cheated.
The sales guy from Explore Tibet also clarified that when they run out of co. guides they borrow guides from other companies and they usually aren't as good. That was our case...No refund.
Was this agency worth the money or their trip worth the time? No. They could've provided much better service very easily. I probably won't do a repeat w/ these people.
--But I did get to check seeing Everest off my bucket list for now. Next time I climb...
3 / 3 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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