The time spent in Tibet was amazing - and we only got permits after we had started on the China part of the tour. High memorable moment in Tibet was walking around the high Cora at the Ganden monastery, with other pilgrims making this sacred journey for Buddhists of the Yellow Hat sect, seeing the magnificent scenery as we walked along the path and the sky burial site (thankfully empty) although the vultures were wheeling around above us and talking to our Tibetan guide. I asked him how the Tibetans coped with not being allowed to have pictures of the Dalai Lama. "We don't need pictures" - he said, looking at me with a touch of sadness in his eyes and then laying his right hand across his heart, "we carry him in our hearts."
How was your Explore Tour Leader?
Our tour leader was the best! His knowledge of Chinese and Tibetan culture (having lived in China for 11 years) was so comprehensive, and we ate our way through the various regions, sampling so many different types of food that was typical of the areas we travelled through. We intereacted with the local people, with our leader helping us not to commit any cultural faux-pas along the way, which included a game of football with some monks from Labrang monastery - a score of 1-1 ensured that we all walked away with no-one losing face.
What tips would you give to someone else booking this tour?
Go with an open mind and a willingness to learn about the peoples of the regions.