All of the staff at Explore Tibet are local Tibetans with many years of traveling experience. Many of them have received trainings in ecotourism sponsored by the esteemed Columbia University.
Jamphel: “Our guides are familiar with the most beautiful Tibetan trekking routes and are experienced in high-altitude trekking. Most importantly, as native Tibetans, they have deeply ingrained knowledge of Tibetan culture, tradition, religion and history. In our trips, our guests have the opportunity to experience the life of Tibetans, learn about their daily routines and customs. Travels may take you through ancient monasteries, nomadic lands and stunning landscapes of the Tibetan plateau. This makes for an unparalleled experience of Tibet’s unique environment and its rich traditions!”
Pioneering as a Responsible Tourism company in Tibet
Jamphel: “Being a local travel company, we have a particular responsibility to introduce the practices of Responsible Tourism in Tibet. Our rich culture, indigenous tradition and unpolluted environment are the core values of preservation, so that future generations can enjoy the essence of what Tibet represents. Though our influence is limited, we are proud to be one of the first local companies that implement the practices of Responsible Tourism in Tibet.
Our guides and staff attend annual Eco-tourism trainings supported by Columbia University. These trainings enrich our staff with knowledge and Responsible Tourism awareness.
We employ local Tibetans as guides, drivers, cooks and porters for all the trips that we operate.
We provide fair wage to our staff and hirers.
All our tours and activities are customized by knowing the local culture and our clientele’s needs.
We encourage the native culture by using local owned hotels, family run guesthouses, restaurants and handicraft shops while retaining the respect we have for our clients’ needs.
We encourage the local economic development by designing tours that travel through small villages and using their services and products.
We teach precise information to our clients about etiquette and social norms, thereby preventing unintentional negative situations.
We reduce our impact by leading our trips in small groups, minimizing our carbon footprint.
While we are traveling, we decrease the waste produced by practicing the principles of leave no trace including respecting wildlife and leaving what we find.
Being a local tour operator, I am personally pleased to practice the knowledge of Responsible Tourism as we are dedicated to relying upon native people and using local services to encourage the local economic development.”
Jamphel: “We have set up a horse trek destination with the small village known as Chusang. We use the village horses for the horse trekking and local horse men. We also bought two horses for a poor family in the village. They are using the horses for their work and also to make some business.”
Jamphel: “We organized a cleaning project at the holy caves of Drak Yerpa. In the morning some of the staff from Explore Tibet travelled to Drak Yerpa and cleaned the area. Then we also placed three wooden boards at three important spots around the sites asking visitors not to litter and take their garbage with them.
All the cost of the day is facilitated by the company and we are hoping to bring more projects like that in the future. Though a day or two is not enough to clean an area totally, but we think building awareness is very important and such influences will grow in our society.”
Needed: a barley roaster
Jamphel: “We also coordinated a donation of a barley roaster to a local community. As the project coordinator, we connected the donors (Cristian and Renate) with the project beneficiaries (the villages of Lhakang Township) in order to carry out the project through our understanding of the local situation and customs.
After we received the funds from the donor, one of our field staff visited the village and met with village heads, including Pasang, to discuss how and when the project could be completed. Then we ordered the roaster from a local Tibetan family-owned equipment shop. They met our requirements and delivered the roaster to Lhakang. The villagers constructed a house for the roaster. We decided to hand over the administration responsibility to the township, which will take care of the roaster as public property, giving every family the right to use it by paying small management fees to the township for maintenance and upkeep.”
Me and some of the staff have joined annual Eco-tourism Trainings in 2008, 2009 and 2010, conducted by Columbia University. I have also participated in the Ecotourism Conference in Shangrila in 2011. In 2011, we have hosted the Ecotourism training in Lhasa and most of our local staff got trainings in Ecotourism, customer services and first aid practices.
I have also attended several trainings on the topic of human resources, how to build small business and project management.
In 2014 with help of a student group from Hong Kong part of our staff and me did a clean up program at Darkyerpa, and we put up sign reminding visitors to respect the environment and leave no trace.
I went to USA on Eco Tourism Study Exchange program in May 2015.
We hosted a training program in 2015 in Lhasa focussing on staff training in First Aid, waste management, leave no trace and leadership. We also hosted a training teaching the Eco Travel Collective members the skills of video editing.
We don’t had any substantial in-house training so far, but we create the opportunity among our guides and other crew to have internal discussions on how to improve their awareness on eco-tourism practices and customer services.
Sonam Jamphel - founder
I am Tibetan born and grew up in Tibet, but did not truly discover the beauty of my country until I explored its wonders with my guests in the past years. The more I traveled, the more I came to love the land that I call home. The task of educating our guests inspired me to study our ancient culture, traditions, religion and history through both books and the elders of my village. In my experiences, I have explored almost every corner of Tibet. Through interaction with natives and visitors alike, I have a deep appreciation of the needs of travelers who visit Tibet. The accumulation of all of these experiences resulted in my founding Explore Tibet to provide authentic Tibetan experiences through the culture and landscape that make up this magical country.
Samdup Gyal - Sales person
Samdup Gyal was born in a small and humble nomad family in Amdo (far eastern Tibet). He also got opportunities to participate in Ecotourism trainings to improve our knowledge of eco-friendly and sustainable tourism. With more than 5 years guiding experiences, he is very kind and knowledgeable about Tibetan culture and tradition, he also received excellent feedbacks from many of customers that he took.
Kalsang Namgyal - Travel consultant
Kalsang Namgyal was born in Lhasa, Tibet and grew up in foreign country. He received bachelor’s degree of Business Administration there. In 2006, he came back to Tibet and started his job, working as a Tibet Tour Guide till 2013.
After 8 years of various experiences as a guide and especially as a local Tibetan, he learned so much about Tibetan Buddhism, culture & traditions by himself and from elder people. During those 8 years he led various groups to different areas in and outside Tibet. Moreover, in 2010 he attended Eco-Tourism trainings and that really built his knowledge on sustainable and eco-friendly tourism, hence he is now well educated about preservation of nature while leading tours.
Namila - Travel consultant
I am Namiha and I was born in Labrang, Amdo region of Tibet. I obtained my bachelor's degree of Commerce. After completing my bachelor degree, I worked in a local Travel agent almost for 2 years. I have won the best girl award when I was in school and had two years school prefect experience and very punctual in nature. I love to listen to various types of songs and especially Tibetan songs. I am a good dancer both (western and Tibetan). My personal ideology or motto is “Give respect and get respect”. Ever since as a kid I was very friendly with all and would be there to help anyone if it’s under my ability. One should love his or her job and I am doing exactly the same and I love what I am doing and feel pleasure to be part of this Explore Tibet family.
Tse - tour guide
I shouldered responsibility as a school prefect for several years and won the School Environment Club Membership certificate, rewarding my participation in environmental protection at the school. Later I did my Bachelor of Arts (BA) and took some basic computer courses too. I am specailly interested in Tibetan cultural dances and songs, so I have also participated our school dance and performance club. Guiding tours is my profession, as well as my passion. I have 6 years of experiences in guiding tours with varying size and character, ranging from easy city tours to trekking adventures. It is my pleasure to share our culture, history, tradition and religion which learned from our ancestors and experienced since our childhood.
Nyima - logistics
Nyima Dolma was born in the capital city of Tibet in a humble family. Since from child, she was very interested in learning English and step by step she learned English from different private schools in and around Lhasa. After middle school at the government school at Shol, she was able to find different kinds of works. Due to her rapid improvement on English language, she continues her efforts to improve her English and Chinese at the same time.
Now she is working at Explore Tibet, responsible for permit paper work preparation and hotel booking.
Sherry - Travel consultant
Sherry obtained her bachelor's degree of Arts from Sichuan International Studies University in Chengdu. From the year 2009 to 2012, she has been studying English as major. Besides, she had strong interest in learning this language since middle school. Thus a good English skill is one of her advantages.
After one year’s working as an English tutor for internship, she was thinking of not only improving herself in professional skills but also of broadening her horizon, so she went to Tibet, the place her heart has been yearning for with three great travelers from Australia. Later, the affection of Tibetan culture and the glory of its natural environment persuaded her to stay in this holy city and fortunately, she earned the chance to study at Explore Tibet, the local Tibetan owned travel agency based in Lhasa, and finally became a sales of this company.
Tenpa Tsering - Tour guide
Tenpa is from Minyag region of Kham(far eastern part of Tibet plateau). Currently he lives in Kangding (Dartse Do) and well experienced in traveling in the Kham region. In the past 6 years he travelled almost every place in the Kham region and know these places very well. It is very important to have a knowledgeable and experienced tour guide to show the wide and culturally rich region of far eastern Tibet, which also called as Kham, so Tenpa is one of best guide in region who knows both local tradition as well as the western prospective.
Tsetan Namgyal - Tour guide
Tsetan Namgyal was born in Lhasa, the capital city of Tibet. From his childhood he is very keen to learn more about Tibetan culture and tradition, and he specially valued Tibetan language and always love to learn from elders. Later in 2007, he received China National Tour guide license and started to be a tour guide, his open and frankly nature has contribute him to learn from his clients and shares his knowledge of Tibetan culture and history to the clients.