All in all, although these 5 days in Lhasa are very expensive compared to other tours I have done in Asia, Africa and South America, I absolutely could not miss this once in a lifetime opportunity to visit Tibet
. Just like this trip, visiting Tibet has been on my wish list for a very long time.
It was the first time that I saw live Yak and also tried Yak meat, yak yogourt, yak butter, yak butter tea and by the time I left I was pretty yakked out. The smell of yak butter burning in the monasteries, yak meat in the shops and incense burning everywhere took me at least a week to loose that smell once I was in Kathmandu.
Of course the monastaries and Potala Palace were soooo impressive and I have gained a better understanding of Tibet history and culture.
As for the Chinese guide I must say that she did have excellent english so I could understand her (which was not the strong point of many other guides) and she was very knowledgeable regarding the monasteries we visited. I am sure that any Chinese group would love her. Other than that I can't believe I was paying 100$ a day for Chinese guide to show me around Lhasa, Tibet (for 3 hrs per day) and throw Chinese Propoganda at me every chance she could as to how the Chinese Government saved the Tibetan People. She also does come from a Chinese Military Family!!! She was always late in the mornings and always wanted to start the day at 9:30!!
! She did sleep all the way to the Ganden Monastery and all the way back. What else can I say other than if you are planning a trip to Tibet and want a Tibetan guide make sure it is in writting. As well, if you want a non-smoking guide make sure you request that as well. Basically, if I was to do it again I would be organizing my tour from The Loft guesthouse. The lady there was very knowledgeable, motivated and very organized. The reason that I finally ended up choosing Sim's Guesthouse to put it all together was because I had been there for a week and I thought that there would be some loyalty there and hopefully he would make sure that everything would run smoothly!!!!!! To be fair to Sim, I did e-mail him and he did call and was willing to return any of his commissions earned (which I did not take but asked that it not happen again to other guests putting their confidence in his services) Of course, I did not hear anything from the actual travel agency in Lhasa. A visit to my hotel to discuss the problem would have been nice. By the way the Travel Agency is Century International Travel. ( I now believe that they are a Chinese Agency (nothing wrong with that but) if you are looking to put money in Tibetan hands there are plenty of other agencies out there.
My flight to Kathmandu, Nepal leaves at 10:40 so we leave for the airport at 8:00 am. The ride will be very quiet as my guide has just had a spasm because yesterday she gave me an evaluation form and I told her that I would not be filling it out prior to leaving Lhasa as I wanted to spend the rest of my time taking in whatever I could from Lhasa. Shortly after we leave the hotel she asks for the form and I told that I had told her yesterday that I would just be filling it out later. She said that even if I haven't filled it out she needed the form back and tells me that I need to give it back to her. I tell her that it is somewhere in my baggage and am not prepared to start opening everything up to give her an empty form. From that point on there is no more talking!!! I don't really mind as again I just sit back and enjoy my last moments in Tibet.