I’m trying to pull together a two week tour for my friend and me to China and Tibet. We definitely want to see Beijing, Lhasa, and hopefully Xian. Most of the tours also include Shanghai, but I’ve already been there so it’s not a big deal to me.
I’ve found dozens of companies offering tours, many of which would have a private guide for the two of us. I don’t know what companies are good though, and how much we should expect to pay. I’d appreciate any advice!
2 weeks is not much time. Ask yourself if you specifically want to see Lhasa or will any interesting Tibetan area do?
If you’re set on Beijing and Xi’an, which are in N China. Then I suggest going to a Tibetan area relatively close to Xi’an.
Here’s a blog of some guy that went to Tibet: http://www.leflipflop.com/blog/China
Look into Labrang Monastary near the town of Xiahe. It’s one of the Big 3 Gelupa monastaries outside of central Tibet. It’s a big Tibetan area. another link: http://www.passplanet.com/China/cw/xiahe.htm and another one from the government: http://www.gansu.gov.cn/en/Travel_Detail.asp?id=175
link says most travellers prefer Langmusi, and the traveller notes on this page make it sound pretty dang cool. You’d probably see a more “real” Tibet and have a better time here unless you’re heart is set on Lhasa.
This isn’t too far from Jiuzhaigou or Huanglongsi national parks, both of which are also Tibetan areas.
Ask yourself how much travel time and cost you want to spend. Do you want to see Tibet the Museum (Lhasa) or more “real life” Tibet. are you looking for nice hotels or just a place to sleep. On a budget, Langmusi sounds great with tons of stuff to do. Read what other travelers wrote about it.
I did Lhasa 20 years ago when it was still a Tibetan city that hadn’t been modernized. It was a good experience, but I enjoyed the 10+ trips I did to Tibetan areas in the countryside far more.