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China itinerary questions - should we go to Tibet?

China itinerary questions - should we go to Tibet?

Jun 10th, 2010, 02:19 PM
  #1  
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China itinerary questions - should we go to Tibet?

We (3 adults and 3 children ages 11-15) are spending 16 nights in China in August. We are thinking of 4 nights in Beijing, 2 nights in Xi an and possibly 5 nights in Tibet. If we do this, we would have 5 nights left. We are flying out of Hong Kong so would spend 2 nights in Hong Kong at the end. I would appreciate anyone's thoughts of where to go for the other 3 nights. What about Xiamen or Luoyang? (I realize these places may not be feasible depending on how we get there). Alternatively, we could go to Shanghai although I would rather not go to another big city. Also, I would appreciate opinions on whether Tibet is worthwhile. We would be going for the scenery, the monasteries and a chance to get a little off the main tourist path. All advice appreciated.
alicefe is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2010, 08:44 PM
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Late reply, hope not too late. I just came back from 3 weeks in Tibet, and the answer to your question is NO. Takes up too much time to travel and get acclimated in Tibet to worth your 5 nights. Especially your kids won't appreciate the time having to rest and sleep in the hotel rather than going around.
rkkwan is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2010, 10:24 AM
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Ray, I'm looking forward to your report on Tibet.
Kathie is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2010, 05:02 PM
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Kathie - Here's a preview.

http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UT...,18.588867&z=6
rkkwan is offline  
Jul 8th, 2010, 09:31 AM
  #5  
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Your reply is just in time as we were just about to book. It now looks like just my daughter and I would go to Tibet. Is your main reason for saying we shouldn't go the altitude issue? (The travel time doesn't seem to be too bad as we would fly in direct from Xi an although the flight from Lhasa to Shanghai would be long) The more I read about Tibet, the more I want to go. Did you find Lhasa interesting? We thought we would also go to either Namsto Lake or Gyantse on the 4th day. We were going to book with Snow Lion Tours. Any further advice would be appreciated.
















































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alicefe is offline  
Jul 8th, 2010, 09:52 AM
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Alicefe, just to clarify, would you have 5 nights in Tibet or 8 (you said that you would have 5 nights left over, with two of those in HK)? Everything I read about Tibet cautions people to slow down, give themselves more time than they think they'll need, etc. It takes some people a short time to acclimatize to the high altitude, some take longer, and some just don't acclimatize very well at all.

I think 8 nights vs 5 nights might make a difference, but I've not been there so take my comments with a grain of salt! Would it be better to spend more time in other areas and save Tibet for another trip when you can give it a bit more time and take it slower?
Iowa_Redhead is offline  
Jul 8th, 2010, 09:57 AM
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Tibet is an amazing place, and Lhasa has plenty to offer. Also nice town just to relax and wander around. But in order to have a fairly comfortable visit there, you absolutely need to forfeit any activity for the first 2 days - you do nothing on Day 1, and don't plan any major sightseeing on Day 2. Now, if you're staying there for 5 nights, you basically only have 3 days left. Which may be fine for you, but the flights to/from Lhasa is not cheap (compared to other internal Chinese flights), and you also need to get the permit, etc.

About Nam-tso. It is absolutely beautiful, but first, you have to be totally okay with the altitude before going. The lake is at 4,700m (15,400ft), and the road goes over a pass that's 5,100m (16,700ft). But even more an issue is the crowd. We stayed overnight at Nam-tso, and it was quiet and beautiful; but on our way out the next day, we saw at least 30 buses brining daytrippers from Lhasa; and the lake shore was dotted with yaks and horses for photographs).

For Gyantse, it's better to make it a 2-day trip, with an overnight at Shigatse. But you won't have enough time if you're only staying in Tibet for 5 nights.
rkkwan is offline  
Jul 8th, 2010, 11:08 AM
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Thank you so much for this advice. I was worried about the additional altitude at Nam-tso and I didn't realize Gyantse was so far. (Snow Lion indicated it was a 4 hour drive). We were also considering going to Samye and Tsedang instead. I think we will skip Nam-tso based on your experience. What do you think about Samye instead? Again, thanks for responding.

Iowa_Redhead, do you have some suggestions of where we could go instead for 5 nights that would be off the beaten path a little and give us scenery and a break from the cities? Thanks for any thoughts you may have.
alicefe is offline  
Jul 8th, 2010, 11:21 AM
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<<>>

To me it looks like you can have 8 nights in Tibet (instead of 5 in Tibet and 3 somewhere else), which might make it entirely doable. Personally, if it's 8 nights I'd probably want to go to Tibet. Beyond that, I have no idea where you might go. Sorry.
Iowa_Redhead is offline  
Jul 8th, 2010, 11:29 AM
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Well, you can do Gyantse or Shigatse as a day trip, but why spend so much time in a car for such a short stay at either place? Samye should be closer, though we didn't visit it, so couldn't tell you exactly how long it may take. As you know Samye is on the north bank of the Yarlung Zangbo, while the main highway is on the south bank. You have to cross the river somehow...

You may want to just play by ear and decide what to do and where to go after you get to Lhasa and rest for the day or two. Then decide whether you can go to higher elevation (like Nam-tso or Yamdrok-tso), or you want to go visit more temples.
rkkwan is offline  
Jul 8th, 2010, 02:08 PM
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I've not been to Tibet, but as an alternative have you considered "Shangri La" in Yunnan Province? There's a chance it's been built up a bit since I was there in late 2007 as they were building paved roads to replace the dirt ones, but I spent a lot of time around the huge monastery and it was beautiful and peaceful. I did feel the altitude but became used to it pretty quickly. And you can combine your visit with a few days in Lijiang which is very lovely.
Nutella is offline  
Jul 8th, 2010, 04:48 PM
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Thanks for the responses. Right now I think we will plan to go to Tibet and do an overnight in Gyantse and possibly change our plans to go to Nam-tso when we see how we do with the altitude.

Nutella,the guide books (and Lost on Planet China) don't recommend "Shangri La" so I suspect it has changed since you have been there.
alicefe is offline  
Jul 8th, 2010, 05:52 PM
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Here's why I said you don't have quite enough time to make your trip to Tibet worthwhile. A very nice 3-day trip out of Lhasa will be:

Day 1: Lhasa - Yamdok-Tso - Karuola Glacier - Gyantse, and overnight in Shigatse
Day 2: Tashilhunpo Monastery (Shigatse) - Nam-Tso (via S304)
Day 3: Nam-Tso - Lhasa

But you need 3 more days to do Lhasa first and to get acclimated. Meaning at least 6-7 days total.
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Jul 9th, 2010, 07:12 AM
  #14  
Amy
 
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I did have only five days for Tibet, I got the worst headache of my life there (altitude), and I was on an all-Chinese tour (I don't speak Mandarin.) I'd still recommend it! It's just an amazing experience. Of course, I went five years ago, when the one of the few options was to fly out of Chengdu.

Here's my trip report, for what it's worth; the Tibet portion is halfway down:
http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...s-in-china.cfm
Amy is offline  
Jul 9th, 2010, 07:29 AM
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<<>>

You originally said 5 nights in Tibet and you needed to figure out a place for 3 more nights. If you take your extra 3 nights in Tibet, then you're good to go.

4 nights Beijing
2 nights Xi'an
8 nights Tibet
2 nights Hong Kong

There's your 16 nights total and you get to see Tibet. You could probably even do 7 nights and add the extra night to one of your other places.
Iowa_Redhead is offline  
Jul 9th, 2010, 09:00 AM
  #16  
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Thanks for all the replies. I do have extra nights I could spend in Tibet but since I oringially posted we had planned to spend 3 days in Shanghai before going to Hong Kong. Now I am rethinking this. The tour agency in Tibet seems to think it is a 4 hour drive to Gyantse and so doable for a one day overnight. Couldn't we just do Yamdok-Tso - Karuola Glacier - Gyantse and return to Lhasa the next day or is there some reason this would not be a good idea? Although it makes me a little nervous not to have a fixed plan (and airline tickets) for when we leave Lhasa, maybe I will keep it open so that we can stay longer if we want to.

Amy - I'm glad to hear you thought even a short trip was worth it despite the altitude sickness.
alicefe is offline  
Jul 9th, 2010, 09:16 AM
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Yes, it is possible to do that as an overnight trip. And since Shigatse is just beyond Gyantse on the same plain, you should overnight there (more hotel and dining choices), and visit Tashilhunpo Monastery the next morning before returning to Lhasa via the faster G318.
rkkwan is offline  

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