Tibet Experience is a small travel company in Lhasa, managed by former guide Lobsang Wangdan. All of the staff are young local Tibetans with a good knowledge of Tibet’s culture and traditions, religion and history.
Lobsang: “So far we got good feedback from the our clients and they really love to travel with us. We make unique Tibet adventures and give our clients a real taste of Tibet. We can cover a full range of itineraries including biking, trekking and overland tours to Nepal and mainland China and we take our ecotourism responsibilities serious.”
Yak skin boots and a pocket full of plastic
Lobsang: “When I was young there was no plastic in the area where I grew up. I did not even have shoes, just boots made of yak skin in winter. So when plastic packaging and goods came I had no idea about the effect on nature and I would just throw everything on the ground or in the river. When I became a guide it were the Western tourists who taught me that it is bad for nature to just throw rubbish away. Now my pockets are always full of packaging waiting to be thrown in the bin from things I ate or used or what I found in nature.
When I shop for the trips I bring a big bag myself, and the shop keepers are starting to recognize me as the man who does not want plastic bags. If I do end up with a plastic bag I keep it and reuse it many times.
I am happy to see that people in Tibet are slowly starting to understand that it is important to look after nature. There was for example this year a clean up program at Everest Base Camp.”
Rubbish recycling and community campgrounds
Lobsang: “At Tibet Experience we always talk with our guides and drivers about environment protection in Tibet. When we do treks we clean our camp site every morning when we pack up camp, and carry the garbage till the end of the trek and bring it to a big town for recycling and disposal. When camping during trekking we also pay a grassland fee to the local community for the use of their land and we hire their yaks to transport the luggage and camping gear.”
Helping handicapped Tibetans
Lobsang is helping the Tibetan Traditional Blind Massage Center and Drolma Home, a hotel run by physically handicapped Tibetans, by translating for them when needed and promoting them to his clients and other tourists. He also supports a Tibetan dance company by inviting them to perform for his clients and organizes regular performances by a famous Tibetan traditional music band. The members of the band are blind and they have been trained by retired music teachers.
Lobsang: “Since we are Tibetans, we care for our people – and especially for the weaker in society. Therefore a portion of our profits are donated to a blind music band in Lhasa. Most of our guests visit the blind Tibetan music band and they enjoy lots and have a good experience listening to them play traditional music. We buy CDs from the blind music band and we give these CDs to our customers as presents. We are also helping for the Lhasa Dolmala Home. In this special hotel most of the staff are handicapped Tibetan youth.”
Lobsang and his guides like to take their clients to traditional Tibetan restaurants so they can every day experience different tastes. They also offers home stays outside of Lhasa, and invited the clients to cook together with the local family.