If you have further questions concerning Chartered trails, please get in contact.
Travel China and Tibet - Yunnan, Sichuan, Qignhai, Kham, Amdo and U-Tsang Tibet.

The notion of Chartered Trips evolved as more and more people approached us with their own idea in mind of what to do during their time in SW China. Involving extensive collaborative planning, they are made a success due to our practical knowledge of conditions here and your enthusiasm. Whether it's flower hunting, photography, circling a holy mountain or just hitting the road in a 4WD, the sky is the limit for the kind of trips that are possible.

Transport
No place is it truer that "the fun is all in the getting there" than SW China. Between points A and B are dozens of photo ops, villages, monasteries and opportunities for roadside picnics. Thus time spent on the road is as much a part of the experience as time spent at the day's destination. Hence one's transport (and even more importantly, one's driver) is a rather big factor.

Dependant upon the route, the number of people and the budget, but generally speaking the vehicle will be a 4WD - Beijing Jeep, Chrysler Cherokee, Isuzu Trooper, Toyota Land Cruisers, etc. For larger groups, we might consider a truck or minibus.

Experience has shown that a driver can make or break a trip, and our choice in drivers reflects this. We only use drivers we know to be extremely capable as well as enthusiastic for the task at hand.

Accommodation
Towns in this area are developing fast. Last year's best hotel could easily be next year's best avoided. Being based in the area and having an up-to-date list of contact numbers allows us to keep abreast of the latest changes.

Where possible, we stay in hotels and guesthouses which are run by people local to the area. Often, these places are cosier and give off considerably more character than your average government-run block hotel.

Always, we choose the friendliest and cleanest places in town, and endeavour to match the lodging to your own criteria.

Travel China and Tibet - Yunnan, Sichuan, Qignhai, Kham, Amdo and U-Tsang Tibet. Transport & Accom.

One of the huge advantages for chartering a trip lies in the on-the-road flexibility it allows. The need to stick doggedly to a pre-planned route is considerably diminished.

Using our extensive network of contacts throughout SW China & Eastern Tibet, which we can call upon for en route assistance, reports on local weather and road conditions, or local festival information, we can make informed advantageous changes to the route.

 

Travel China and Tibet - Yunnan, Sichuan, Qignhai, Kham, Amdo and U-Tsang Tibet. Flexibility

Chartered trails can fall into two types:

Firstly, there is the option of chartering one of our listed trails (see Trails Overview) for a private group or dates that are better suited to you.

Secondly, you may have your own idea for a trail, in which case, get in touch - let us know what kind of trip you're thinking about. We will then provide you with a broad range of options/ideas (see below for a few ideas).

This involves introducing the areas you might visit, the type of transportation available, general route conditions, etc. We then work extensively with you to hammer out the route and logistics which most fit your needs and budget. Once the initial package has been agreed upon, we'll be sending you detailed maps of your tentative route for further planning.

Finally, we strongly believe that preparing for a trip isn't purely logistical. We therefore make an effort to discuss with you your areas of interest and provide you with/guide you towards relevant reading material and sources of information.

Travel China and Tibet - Yunnan, Sichuan, Qignhai, Kham, Amdo and U-Tsang Tibet. Planning & Procedure
The Whats, Whys and Hows of Chartered Trips

Take your Chinese studies on the road! We'll design a course suited to your group's needs and aims. Chinese instruction can range from short intensive language courses to give you a solid grounding in beginner's Chinese, possibly as a precursor to one of our trails; a week of classroom instruction accompanied by field excursions to put your newly acquired skills into practice; or combining one of our 2- to 4-week trails with a program of daily Chinese instruction, with native Chinese-speaking instructors accompanying the group for the duration of the trip.

Please get in touch to start the planning.

Travel China and Tibet - Yunnan, Sichuan, Qignhai, Kham, Amdo and U-Tsang Tibet. Chinese Language

The lofty abode of protector deities, or the physical manifestation of Tibet's most loved tantric deities, Tibet's sacred mountains are a source of strength for Tibetans far and wide, and the destination for hundreds of thousands of pilgrims every year. Amnye Machen (6282m) - where the warrior-like deity Machen Pomra resides. Kawa Karpo (6740 m) - one of the abodes of Khorlo Demchok, Tibetan Buddhism's foremost tantric deity. Minya Konka (7556m) - the 11th highest peak in the world. Chenrezi (Mt Xiannairi), Jampeyang (Mt Yangmaiyong) and Chenadorje (Mt Xianuoduoji) - the 3 sacred peaks of Yading, each quite lofty at around 6000m.

Travel China and Tibet - Yunnan, Sichuan, Qignhai, Kham, Amdo and U-Tsang Tibet. Sacred Mountains

If China is the Mother of Gardens, then SW China is the daddy of nurseries. Through the travels of early 19c plant hunters (e.g. Delavay, Forrest, Kingdon-Ward, Rock), Yunnan and Sichuan came to be known to the outside world as a gardener's paradise. Over 18,000 species of plants in Yunnan - over 10,000 of them in NW Yunnan alone, where the Yangtze, Mekong and Salween rivers converge, while the remoteness of the Gaoligongshan in the west has fostered both a birder's and botanist's paradise. In Sichuan where mountains have historically proved a mighty barrier to human encroachment, over 10,000 species of plants have taken root.

Travel China and Tibet - Yunnan, Sichuan, Qignhai, Kham, Amdo and U-Tsang Tibet. Plant Hunting

Katok, Pelyul, Palpung, Lhagang, Lithang, Dzogchen, Kirti,... While many people still believe Tibet ends at the borders of the TAR, the literally hundreds of monasteries situated in the remote high grasslands of Amdo, or nestled in the valleys and on the mountain tops of Kham, are in the midst of a significant transition period. Representing all major schools of Tibetan Buddhism, as well as the native Bön religion, some of Tibet's most important gompas are abuzz with activity, with the tacit and sometimes active consent of the government. Student numbers are rising and renovation work is widespread. All is not good news though, as much of this renaissance is confined to the powerful Geluk order, while Kagyü monasteries along the Mekong struggle to get enough money to repair even a crack in the wall. A fascinating time to explore Tibet's cultural heartland.

Travel China and Tibet - Yunnan, Sichuan, Qignhai, Kham, Amdo and U-Tsang Tibet. Gompa Stomping
Some Ideas For Chartered Trips

Hitting the trails with experienced outdoor guides (often doubling as chefs extraordinaire), high quality camping gear and a thirst for seeing the country can give you a taste of this area like nothing else. Following the pilgrims' route, village hopping through the mountains, or striking out into one of the many high altitude wilderness areas, are possibly the perfect way to see this area at its best. And having one's personal horse lets you decide by the hour whether to hoof it or ride.

Travel China and Tibet - Yunnan, Sichuan, Qignhai, Kham, Amdo and U-Tsang Tibet. Camping & Homestays

Intricate stone walls, elaborate wood carvings, brightly painted exteriors, tiled roofs, double courtyards, and on and on, reflecting the different minorities and their geography - in SW China one gets to see a vast patchwork of differing architectural styles and trends. Further, things are looking up for traditional architecture. Formally in danger of being replaced by modern blocks, these days in the Lijiang/Dali areas it's now forbidden to knock down traditional houses. In Tibetan areas, an improved economy and increased appreciation is causing people to study how to adapt traditional styles to modern conveniences, and the demand for traditional Tibetan carpenters is on the up.

Travel China and Tibet - Yunnan, Sichuan, Qignhai, Kham, Amdo and U-Tsang Tibet. Village Architecture

Your ideas, Our ideas...
And last but not least, any ideas you have either of a specific or general nature will always be the best foundation for a successful trip. E-mail us. For those wishing to hang their notion on the hook of a skeleton route, please look for inspiration in our Trail Listing pages.

If you have a trail in mind but either don't have the numbers or would simply prefer a larger group, then you are welcome to open up a booking list. We'll then put it up on the site and generally promote your trip to see if anyone else is interested. See Booking Lists for examples.

 

Travel China and Tibet - Yunnan, Sichuan, Qignhai, Kham, Amdo and U-Tsang Tibet. Booking Lists