Tibet 2000: introduction

Potala Palace
Potala Palace, Lhasa

After our visit to Galapagos in 1999, which I blogged about earlier this year, we had a problem. Friends now regarded us as intrepid travellers and kept asking “Where on earth will you go next?” We felt we had to live up to our reputation, so the following year we chose Tibet. No-one we knew had been there….hmmm, I wonder why not? We were to find out. I know some people question whether it is ethical to visit Tibet at all (and it does make me uneasy) but, having decided to go, our big mistake was the timing.

Paintings on the road from the airport to Lhasa
Paintings on the road from the airport to Lhasa

In 2000, for work reasons, we had to take our holidays in September which is the beginning of the rainy season. The first company we booked with cancelled because there weren’t enough people to make a viable group. Should’ve taken the hint then. We found another company who would take us, but we discovered when we arrived for the start of the tour in Kathmandu* that we were their only clients. We were added to another company’s group, and when we arrived in Tibet we were delegated yet again to a Chinese company. This made it very difficult to know who to complain to if things went wrong – and go wrong they did.

Tibet bookWhat follows in the next few posts is a lightly edited version of an account I wrote at the time. This was long before I was a blogger, but a lot of friends and colleagues read it, and years later when I was leaving work one of them contacted John without me knowing to get some photographs and she made me a book as a retirement gift. Thanks Cheryl!

So – come back on Monday for the start of our adventures in Tibet.

* See K is for Kathmandu from 2014’s A to Z Challenge.


  1. Tibet was on my list of places to visit (along with Nepal) until I had an accident which makes walking for long periods, or standing, an impossibility. However, I am lucky to have friends who travel there frequently for trekking and I hear their wonderful stories. One has just returned from Nepal where she helped (at age 81) to build a school for deprived children. I still do long haul to S.E. Asia but none involving trekking or hiking, and usually one that gives me a comfortable hotel. Ah, age and disability. What benefits they can also bring!


  2. Well, this sounds like quite the adventure.
    A workmate of mine is the advenurous type. She and her family always go on solo holidays in far away places. They are in Indonasia at the moment.