Khampa Caravan

horse trekking in Tibet, Genyen Mountain

Lobsang Dolma: “Based in the old town of Shangrila/Gyaltang in Northern Yunnan, our trips are designed to reflect the best Tibet has to offer. We will show you the wondrous highlands through Tibetan eyes, while sharing with you our concern for the environment and our cultural heritage.

Derge Kham Tour

The trips of Khampa Caravan do not simply go to common tourism areas, we travel off the beaten track and stay in local communities. We keep on developing unique destinations and activities involving the local communities. Examples are traditional hot pot dinners at local family homes and home stay and dance programs with several villages.

VLUU L100, M100 / Samsung L100, M100

We also have clients participate in making pottery, cooking with local families and harvesting to get a real local experience. We also lead student groups where participants can learn horse riding and thanka or tsampa bowl painting and stay with local families during their education program.  The income from these community based programs go to the village community centers, the families that are hosting and Khampa Caravan.

harvesting

We are one of few local tour companies involved in service projects. Together with our sponsors we build community and private toilets, waste pits, water supply systems and green houses and support local schools. We also organized clean up and environmental awareness programs with villagers and explain to local communities the benefits of ecotourism and give basic tourism training.

Recently we had 2 Australian student groups built 2 toilets for Trinyi village and we had another 2 Australian student groups built 2 waste pit in BisonGu village. Both of the projects are very helpful for local people on protecting the environment. They all stayed in local families during the project implementation! ”

Australian Student group building Waste Pit for local community3 Australian Student group building Waste Pit for local community2 Australian Student group building Waste Pit for local community

We offer the curious traveler a diverse portfolio for adventure and personal discovery, we at Khampa Caravan, heir to a centuries-old trading tradition, take up the challenge of recreating those journeys of lore. We see tourism not as a threat to our community but as opportunity. By applying age-old skills to new situations and anticipating change, our proactive approach seeks to promote a unique form of travel that will reinvigorate Tibetan ways of life.

interacting with locals

Staff Training

  • Guide training
  • First Aid training
  • Flora and fauna training
  • Waste management and hygiene training
  • Gyalthang Eco Tourism Conference, Columbia University
  • Ecotourism marketing workshop, Columbia University
  • Ecotourism workshop, Gyalthang Environmental Conservation Group
  • Ecotourism Exchange Visit to USA, Columbia University
  • Business Plan writing workshop, ETTI
  • Recce and trip planning workshop

Staff members

Dakpa Kelden – Founder & Partner

Dakpa spent his early years as a monk in India, undergoing a traditional monastic curriculum. He had a notorious knack for memorizing sutras - while his monk friends fretted trying to memorize the Prajnaparamitha, Dakpa chose to trek for miles to watch Bollywood movies and play cricket.

Following his return to Gyalthang, he worked in the Religious & Cultural Affairs Commission of the Dechen Prefecture (Yunnan). He was involved with Gyalthang’s travel industry from its infant days, going on to manage operations for a major local tour operator. His appetite well whetted by travel, he went on to study at the Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management in Salzburg, and studied English at the University of Oklahoma. Dakpa speaks - and sings - in Lhasan, Kham-Tibetan, Mandarin, Hindi and English. Gifted artist and raconteur, Dakpa has an innate passion for the outdoors. A better travel companion you will not encounter on the plateau.

Lobsang Tenzin – Co-Founder

From a nomad family in the sacred Genyen valley of Lithang, Tenzin like most Khampas knows the land like no one else and has a remarkable ability in sharing the subtleties and insider knowledge of local culture and the land he lives in. He has travelled widely thoughout Kham and Amdo, first as a loyal attendant to the chief abbot of Genyen monastery, and later as a professional guide serving an international clientele. Tenzin studied briefly in India, and speaks several eastern Tibetan dialects, Lhasan, Mandarin, and English, and can pull off some surprises when he gets his hand on a good horse. Besides being our in-house photographer, Tenzin is also a self-taught herbalist who is happiest in the wilderness, weathering storms, horse riding, hunting for herbs or picking mushrooms. Indoors, he is
captive to a computer play-station.

Kelsang Phuntsok – General Manager

Enthusiastic, hard-working, and with a huge sense of responsibility for his local community, Kelsang inherited Khampa Caravan from his elders Dakpa, Yeshi and Tenzin has been in charge of the organization since 2015 with the commitment to continue with the founders aim: Providing responsible tourism that meets the needs of both sides, tourists and villagers, who exchange and treat each other peacefully and with respect.

Kelsang was raised and very much influenced by his great-grandfather Richan Pizu, who in his young days worked at the tea road as a horse man. Kelsang was raised among Richan’s endless and marvelous stories about the tea road, its folk tales and ancient songs. Stories that had a such a strong impact on the young Kelsang, that he became aware of the richness of Tibetan cultural heritage since his early childhood. Kelsang has always embraced the Tibetan ideals of benefiting other sentient beings as a core principle of his behaviour: he dreamed of becoming a buddhist monk when he was a young child, he founded an NGO with the aim to improve the welfare of his local community, and nowadays as the person in charge of Khampa Caravan, he is devoted to, among other aims, to be the first tourist provider of cultural, educational and responsible tourism of Shangri-La.

Lobsang Dolma – Manager, Sales & Operations

Lobsang Dolma was born and brought up in a remote valley tucked deep along the Mekong.
She joined Khampa Caravan in 2006 winter after graduation; Dolma's on-the-job duties addressing the communication and service needs of clients from all over the world has been an eye opener. With the hands on experience she has gained over the years dealing with all kinds of issues and problems, Dolma is now the Manager of our sales and operations.


Chui Zong – Cash Manager

Chui Zong is working for Khampa Caravan since 2010, taking responsibility of the agency’s cash management. Grown up in a Tibetan village 30 km from Shangri-la, she is familiar to this place since her early childhood, filled with a deep love for her family and culture.

`Adro` Kesang Dhondup – Chief Cook

Adro, hailing from Tai Gyab village close to Lake Napa, is part of the Khampa Caravan members since the very beginning. He is notorious in town for his distinguished puffy hair-style and his odd suits. After working as a laborer and later as a mushroom trader, Adro finally began his cooking career by the year 2000, joining a restaurant in Shangri-la that was run by an Austrian couple. There, he learned to prepare Western food, such as pasta and potato dishes, that he could add to his already rich repertoire of Tibetan and Chinese cuisine.

When Adro is not trekking or cooking, he can be found at his home, gardening or scrubbing the floor, taking care of his wife and his son.

Numey` Sonam Phuntsok – Driver

Numey is the embodiment of patience and cares for all who sit with him in his van. After almost a decade of truck-driving on the narrow logging trails of Kham and transporting logs to Kunming and Chengdu, he knows the driving terrain in this part of the highlands inside out. With the government ban on logging in 1998, hundreds of local truck drivers lost their main source of livelihood. After a year of helping out in his fields in Trinyi village and a few summers of mushroom picking, our “younger brother” (that’s what “Numey” means) joined Khampa Caravan in 2003 with an unblemished safety record. He now drives our international guests, knowing the twists and turns as well as the great spots where one can catch the best views of the various gorges and mountains.

Trip images

Our location

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Favorite Places in Tibet

Favorite places in Tibet

Favorite Off Beaten Track Trek: Genyen Mountain Trek

The Genyen area is isolated, not many people go there. During the trek we meet many different cultures and spend time with the nomad communities. The monasteries in the area are very special since they were founded by the first Karmapa.

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This is Khampa Caravan's favorite place!

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