Jimpa Travel started in 2007.
Jimpa: “As we are all Tibetan, we are able to give you an authentic Tibetan experience, making sure you see the important sights along with meeting the real people of Tibet.
We specialize in soft-trekking, horse trekking, and home-stays with monks, farmers, and nomadic families in remote areas of Eastern Tibet (Amdo and Kham). We operate where we have personal family connections and can work with interested locals, and we believe this gives our clients a more meaningful and true experience.”
Jimpa Travel and the local communities
Jimpa: “Our business is not only to guide clients, but also to involve clients and locals in each other’s traditions and way of life. Also by helping local communities generate income though their traditional hand-made products and culture, we encourage them to keep their traditions and protect their environment. We also encourage locals to have pride in learning from and teaching clients, and this really is what makes our company different.
We often invite clients to take part in the daily classes at the nomad schools. We also bring pens, paper, books and sports equipment for students. We always spread knowledge about health and sanitation, and we see home-stay tourism as a good way to general income for impoverished local families.
When visiting an area with clients, we explain what the local handicrafts and food are, and invite them to buy these if they like them. We visit homes, even if not for a home-stay, and hold question and answer sessions with the community, after which we pay them for their time. We buy supplies locally. We use locals for field staff during trips.
It is very important to teach clients local customs before their arriving in a local area. Clients can not be expected to know how offensive simple actions can be like stepping over stoves or baby’s clothing or pointing at relics or kissing in public. Therefore providing cultural information is the most important part of our guides job. Our guides must have not only detailed knowledge of Tibetan culture, but must also be able to explain this well to our clients.”
Jimpa Travel and the environment
Jimpa: “Our company acts as a medium between two very different forms of ecological responsibility. We believe that it is very important to bring together the newer Western ideas of environmental protection and the traditional way Tibetans have lived respectful of nature for thousands of years.
We primarily promote trekking and home-stay trips instead of bus tours. This makes our products very much ecotourism. Our clients often comment that the nomadic people have a great deal to teach the rest of the world about responsible ecological practices!
We have practices in place for preserving the environment, and to both spread and increase environmentally responsible behavior. We see it as our duty also to spread our knowledge to the local population. For example, we explain to nomads that plastic requires up to hundred years to disappear.
We do not allow clients to wash their hands in rivers but carry the water to camp so we can protect the water and the river’s edge during the trekking.
We minimize the use of cars and camp stoves by encouraging trekking and home-stay instead of motor tours and camping. We also use traditional methods for cooking, like collecting and cooking over yak dung, which is readily available and has been a part of the Tibetan ecosystem for thousands of years.
We always collect our rubbish, carry it and transporting it back to the cities where there are proper garbage systems in place. It is our duty to always inform nomads or other locals that it is necessary to properly discard waste.”
Every year in winter time we promote and participate for two month exchange between a French travel agency (Global Nomads), Tibetan guides from all over Tibet, and officials from the Tibetan Environmental Protection Agency (san jiang yuan).
During this time the French language is taught, along with the importance of proper ecological practices for preserving the plateau delicate ecology.
Jimpa - OwnerJimpa was born in a Tibetan village in North-Eastern Tibet, which is now in the present-day state of Qinghai. As a young teenager he became a monk in a local monastery, where he learned about monastic life and more about Tibetan Buddhist philosophy.
At the age of 16 he went to Lhasa, the spiritual and cultural capital of Tibet, where he learned Tibetan medicine and art under the tutelage of experienced monks. In Lhasa, he also was able to study English and Tibetan history.
In 2002 he began work as an English teacher and continued his Tibetan medicine education in Amdo Golog (in Chinese, Guoluo). In 2004 he began working as a tour guide and tour leader for different agencies from Beijing,Chengdu,Kunming,Lanzhou,Xining and Lhasa.
To become a better tour guide and tour operator he went to Switzerland and then France to study the Western culture and the French language. Since 2010 he has been conducting tours in both French and English.
Since 2010, Jimpa has been one of just a handful of Tibetans who has been able to lead tours in both English and French. In addition, he also speaks Chinese and all 3 main dialects of Tibetan.
In 2013, Jimpa was sponsored by Columbia University in New York to study ecotourism in the United States.
In 2014, Jimpa worked with the BBC on a 4 part television documentary on the Mekong River. Jimpa led a film crew to the upper reaches of the Mekong River in the Kham region of Tibet where he served as a translator, researcher and tour manager.