A Photographers Dream

January 26, 2016

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Get on the list for 2018 Summer!

Enjoy breathtaking landscapes from 4000m+ mountain passes. Wander among nomad camps on the highest grasslands in the world. Join religious pilgrims on walks at ancient sites. Appreciate the history of Tibet with guided visits to temples and monasteries. Observe traders from surrounding villages converge at a frontier town – Tibet’s version of the Wild West – to bargain with yak meat and yoghurt for tea, vegetables, and other necessities from the outside world.

We are thrilled to once again offer these iconic experiences in Eastern Tibet together with Vancouver Island’s Karen McKinnon for an unparalleled cultural and photographic opportunity. Karen has been applauded for an accessible and inspiring teaching style that is ideal for helping each photographer go to the next level both technically and creatively. As well as taking home some inspiring memories and images, you’ll gain an incredible photographic toolkit that will include composition, exposure, light properties, workflow, and photographing people.

Open for all photographers with an SLR camera. All participants will benefit from an immersion-style experience including early morning shoots, photographic wanderings in authentic Tibetan villages and monasteries, and capturing views only found on the roof of the world. Each evening offers optional supportive group critique and sharing.

The diversity offered over 10 days makes this adventure in Eastern Tibet a photographer’s dream.

Driving distance 850km.   USD3,900 per person from Chengdu to Chengdu.   Airfares to/from Chengdu are additional and we are only to happy to help you with those arrangements from Hong Kong or abroad.  Single supplement of USD600 if wanting private accommodations each night.

Itinerary below.  Go to our tour booking page for further information, maps and pictures.

  • Arrive in Chengdu. The heart of Western China welcomes you as your driver navigates the throngs of cyclists which mix with the rhythm of a modern city. After check-in and a rest at the beautiful Fraser Suites, you're off to dinner and a visit at China's historical Three Kingdoms era Zhuge Liang Memorial Temple and Jinli Ancient Street. Keep your camera at your side as you will quickly become aware of just how far from Kansas you are! A relaxing trip orientation will follow back at the hotel with plenty of opportunity for questions.

    Accommodation: Fraser Suites, Chengdu

  • DAY 2Chengdu. Your private guide will escort you to the Giant Panda Research and Breeding Center for close up viewing of these curious creatures who are more native to Sichuan than the people themselves. Despite their relative inactivity, you will be surprised at the challenge of photographing these social furballs. In the afternoon you'll enjoy a stroll into the past on a visit to Chengdu's oldest and best preserved Buddhist temple: Wenshu Yuan. An afternoon rest will be followed by an introduction to the fun of Sichuan Opera (much more than just singing!). Following the show, an early night is advisable in preparation for your journey to an entirely different world tomorrow.

    Accommodation: Fraser Suites, Chengdu

  • DAY 3Chengdu to Kangding. Leaving Chengdu, today you head out of the Sichuan basin to penetrate deep into the mountains that guard the approach to the ancient kingdom of Tibet. Kangding is perched on the edge of the Tibet-Qinghai plateau and this historic trading town remains a convergence of Han and Tibetan populations. You pass through a virtual time warp on your six hour journey. Everything becomes new: landscape, climate, cuisine, language, customs, and of course, the people. On the first evening in Kangding (elev. 2600m) you'll visit Ngachu monastery, followed by a community dance (feel free to join in!).

    Accommodation: Zhilam Hostel, Kangding

  • DAY 4Kangding. The first thing you notice the next morning is that everywhere you look goes up! The surrounding ridges speak of the protection offered by the strategic location of this historic town. A cable car (or optional walk) to the top of Paoma Mountain look-out will follow breakfast. The afternoon will include a fascinating introduction to this new land you've encountered with a visit to the Tibetan Museum of Cultural History. And a stroll through the markets later in the day will give you an idea of why this town has been a key historical trading center between Tibetans and the Chinese.

    Accommodation: Zhilam Hostel, Kangding

  • DAY 5Kangding. Today a forty-five minute drive will take you out of town to the scenic mountain pass of Ya Jia Gen. Along the way, scenery of rural Tibetan life in still-ancient villages mixes together with panoramic views from the top of the pass to become a visual extravaganza. An alpine lake at the top will provide a surreal location for a picnic lunch, followed by exploration of the surrounding ridges by foot. You'll return to town by late afternoon for a Tibetan dinner.

    Accommodation: Zhilam Hostel, Kangding

  • DAY 6Kangding to Tagong. This morning is up, up, up… and over the Zheduo Mountain pass (4200m) to the renowned nomadic trading village of Tagong (3700m). Weather permitting, you'll see the peak of Gong-ga Mountain (7566m) along the way - the highest peak in China outside of the Himalayas. This high altitude grassland area is home to many nomadic families who spend their days herding yaks. The warmth of Tibetan hospitality awaits you at a local homestay where we have been bringing guests for years.

    Accommodation: Jya Drolma and Gayla's Tibetan Homestay, Tagong

  • DAY 7Tagong to Zhonglu Tibetan Village (Danba). After a visit to a local monastic community, you'll enjoy one of the most scenic drives on the Tibetan plateau. The drive from Tagong to Danba is breathtaking in its rugged beauty. The route provides stunning views of one of the most beautiful mountains in Eastern Tibet, Yala Mountain, as you follow a seemingly endless mountain canyon down to the tucked away town of Danba (elev. 1900m). High up on one of the surrounding hills lies your destination for the next two nights: the quaint Tibetan village of Zhonglu.

    Accommodation: Zhonglu Village Tibetan Homestay, Danba

  • DAY 8Zhonglu Village. Today a relaxing hike on the surrounding slopes will offer stunning views of the valley along with beautiful terraced farms where the locals have cultivated an existence for generations. This area is also famous for its ancient tower ruins that date back hundreds of years to the warring period between Tibetan clans. In the afternoon your host will treat you to an historical and cultural tour of his 700 year old home complete with cultural relics from hundreds of years ago.

    Accommodation: Zhonglu Village Tibetan Homestay, Danba

  • DAY 9Zhonglu Village to Chengdu. This morning begins your scenic drive out of the mountains, but not before crossing one more 4,000m+ pass (Jiajin Mt.) for a final view from the Roof of the World. Descending the countless canyons and switchbacks through mountain villages will remind you again why Tibet has remained so cut off from the rest of the world for much of history. After a full day of travel you'll pull into Chengdu in the evening for a farewell dinner at the Fraser Suites, followed by a fun opportunity for a mini exhibit to display your favourite images from the trip.

    Accommodation: Fraser Suites, Chengdu

  • DAY 10Depart.

What’s Included:

  • as much (or as little) photographic coaching as you would like throughout the trip
  • all transport, including airport pick-up and transfers
  • private vehicle and driver with foreign guide, plus an excellent English speaking local guide
  • all meals, including complimentary bottled water enroute (with wine served at dinner)
  • complimentary use of a cell phone with local number for the duration of the trip
  • all accommodation based on double occupancy
  • all activities and entrance fees enroute (per the itinerary)

Not Included:

  • international airfare
  • medical, travel, and trip interruption insurance
  • passport and visa fees
  • activities not included on the trip itinerary
  • souvenirs, laundry, items of a personal nature
For those who prefer a different destination on the plateau for your photography adventure, we can arrange that too.