One of the main and time consuming tasks while travelling abroad is making sure that you are choosing the right travel agency for your travel. Tibet is a remote region that is tucked away from most parts of the world. People travel to Tibet to get a peek into the unique lifestyle, see the mighty Everest up close, to experience spirituality, and to feel the breeze on top of the world.
To make sure that you have the best experience, it is extremely important that you choose a reliable travel agency that will provide the services worth your money. Here are some tips and criteria to consider before choosing the right agency.
Find a Travel Agency that is Capable of Handling Your Travel Documents Expertly
Travelling to Tibet is a bit different from travelling to other countries. There are certain travel policies that have to be followed in Tibet. Independent travelling is not allowed in Tibet, you have to go through a certified Tibetan travel agency. You will only be able to travel with a group or customize your Tibet tour. Along with your Chinese visa, you need additional documents and permits to be obtained to enter Tibet.
Here are the permits and documents required: Passport, Chinese Visa, Tibet permit issued by the Tibetan tourism department, Alien’s travel permit and Military permit. With Tibet permit you can only enter and explore Lhasa. You need to get Alien’s travel permit and Military permit to explore outside of Tibet.
Only after obtaining your TTP you can book your flight tickets. TTP is usually obtained through the travel agency you are booking with; you will be required to send scanned copies of your passport and visa to the agency. The agency will then acquire the permit within 8-9 working days. Alien’s travel permit and Military permit can be obtained after entering Lhasa.
These permits are asked in airports, hotels, attractions, etc. So it is extremely important that you choose an experienced agency that is capable of handling these processes.
Compare the Latest Review of Different Tibet Travel Agencies on Tripadvisor.com
Find the right local operator is super important while travelling to a place like Tibet. Tibet has limited resources and everything has to be booked in advance. Tibet is an expensive place to travel, so travellers have to be careful while choosing a quality agency that arranges a tour experience worth your money.
You will be able to find a lot of agencies online, but not all are legitimate. To know if a travel agency is good or not check consumer reviews in sites like Trip Advisor. Check for the most recent reviews or comments about the agency you are considering. Compare the reviews of multiple agencies in various aspects like tour cost, accommodation quality, services offered etc.
Make sure that the agency offers a wide range of activities such as mountain climbing, cycling, overlanding, photography tours, spiritual tours etc. Make sure that the agency also lets you customise the schedule according to your budget and time limits.
It is even better if the agency offers services and tour packages in Nepal and China, so if you are planning an extensive tour, you can arrange everything with one agency. Make sure that the agency has safety measures in place in case of any emergencies and if the guides speak English. If you have any doubts to be clarified, you can always contact the travel agency through e-mail.
Cross Examine the Tour Service and Listed Tour Cost
Different agencies provide different types of services and tour packages. Choose the one that suits your preferences. Some agencies might mention a certain set of services for a certain cost and might charge you extra while booking. So check the tour service and tour cost thoroughly to see if it is real and suitable to your preference.
Tibet is an expensive place travel to, so if you find any agency offering services for a very low cost, be wary of it. They might compromise on certain attractions or comfortable accommodation. It is better to stay from ridiculously low cost packages and unrealistic promises.
If your package includes hiking, cycling, camping and they offer the package for a very low cost, don’t choose it. You might get compromised on safety or the activity might get conveniently cancelled.
Some agencies may offer certain packages at a higher cost, don’t turn a blind eye to those agencies just because of higher cost compared to other agencies. See the services, agenda, and other options they offer, they might be worth it. Make sure you are getting what you pay for.
Like mentioned before, you can contact multiple agencies before choosing your pick via e-mail. Ask them everything you want and clarify whatever details you want. One of the best traits of Tibetans you will find is their warm and welcoming heart.
Check the History of the Agency and the Staffs and Team in the Tibet Travel Agency
It is important to make sure that the team behind the company, the people who are offering their services are experienced, kind, proper, and have good work ethics. Agencies that have been around for a long time is always better at working efficiently even during desperate situations.
Don’t choose agencies that hire third party contractors for providing certain services. Choose an agency with smooth working style, efficient management system, and is available for you at all times.
You can somewhat understand how efficient an agency is during your initial conversations. Make sure that the agency provides all services like arranging cars and guides, booking tickets for transportation and attractions, emergency medical services etc.
Experienced agencies are quick on feet if you have any trouble or problems with your permit, they have great team work and good networking. Make sure that the guides and staffs speak English for easy communication; choose an agency that is willing to listen to your needs and customise the package that suit your preferences. You can find how well the staffs are experienced in the websites and review sites.
At the end of the day, a good agency should be able to make you feel welcomed, comfortable, and right at home. Take your time and choose the one that will maximise your joy during the trip.