American Byron King from California got to know about one of Explore Himalaya’s amazing adventure products, the Beijing- Lhasa – Kathmandu Tour through an old newspaper article (best bet is this article from San francisco Chronicle (2006) “High train To Tibet” http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/11/05/TRGS2M1H351.DTL) . He took the trip, completed his journey and upon his return sent us his testimonial. We hereby publish Byron’s note with the hope that it may be helpful for those planning a similar trip.
At the Great Wall Of China
“I am not the type of person that would usually take a trip from Beijing to Kathmandu by land. I had no idea what international travel was like or how difficult it can be gaining entry into Tibet. In fact I still don’t because Explore Himalaya made it easy for me. My Chinese tour guide Andy Chen successfully got me a soft sleeper unit on the train. I was the only non-Chinese person to get one and it made a huge difference from what I saw. The train ride was absolutely beautiful and it is definitely worth doing once it’s also very long and I am not sure I would want to do it again but I am very glad I did it this time.
The transition between guides was smooth and simple. Tibet was an experience of a lifetime from the scenery to the monasteries to the culture. My tour guide was Chanba and he did an excellent job of showing me all of the different areas and explaining to me the history of many places. I would be remiss not to mention to credit the driver here the drive to Everest was 100KM on dirt and gravel roads though a ton of switchbacks. I am definitely glad he was as skilled as he was. Upon entering Nepal I had a faux pas. I didn’t bring any money for a Visa a big mistake that could have been very costly. I wouldn’t recommend doing so as it it’s more hassle than it’s worth but Explore Himalaya came through and helped me with my rookie mistake saving me from an even worse hassle of Limbo between companies. To compound matters my Explore Himalaya tour guide was not able to reach the border because of a massive Landslide that had blocked the Friendship Highway a fact that I didn’t even realize until I met them because they had made arrangements for someone to taxi me on the other side. It was all seamless after the Visa.
Nepal and Kathmandu: I was greeted by Samundra and driven to Kathmandu a first time experience of traffic that I can’t even imagine. An eclectic mix of old and new it was a hectic place for this first time traveler. The people of Nepal are very friendly the culture unique. My guide for the city was Prakash and I got a real sense for the history for the history of Kathmandu as well as a basic understanding of the two religions that are most prominent there Buddhism and Hinduism. After visiting the Monkey Temple, Darbar Square, the temple of Shiva and several other temples I was driven to meet the whole team that assisted me at Explore Himalaya, Prabhakar, Kumari, and of course Samundra. A couple of side notes. My flight arrived a day early and Explore Himalaya made the arrangements for me to stay the day earlier of course I had to cover the hotel room but I was worried I would have to do the arrangements on my own. They also helped arrange my flight out to Bangkok and since it was booked took care of the extra night I stayed at the hotel. This was an extremely dense, busy and wonderful trip. Someone who is as absented minded as I am can be a handful to deal with especially when I am the only one doing the tour. A few times I almost left stuff behind but my tour guides recognizing I am not all here made sure this didn’t happen. I have to say for the company that I found out about from an old newspaper article and was not entirely sold on this whole trip worked fantastic and I actually feel that I owe them for a lifetime experience.” –
Trip Date: 24th August- 11th Sept, 2011