GLOBETROTTING: OUR WORLD
On top of the world
Helen Dwyer, Kumuka’s Sydney-based Asia Operations
Manager, refl ects on her love of Tibet’s high places.
Using sophisticated fl ipbook software, you can literally fl ip through
the pages of our brochures online. Being paper-free, these online
y ﬁ rst impressions, in Kathmandu, were that it was like stepping back in time
– with locals wandering through the streets spinning their prayer wheels,
highly ornate door knockers everywhere, and bridges adorned with thousands
of prayer ﬂ ags. And then these stunningly beautiful turquoise lakes set in
brochures are more environmentally friendly, saving many a
such stark landscapes. I had visited Nepal many times so I knew about the beauty of the
Himalayas, but I just wasn’t expecting the lakes, and the harshness of some of the scenery.
tree from an unpleasant, pulpy end. You’ll fi nd each brochure
I toured Lhasa and went back overland to Kathmandu via Gyantse, Shigatse, the
packed with ideas and advice, as well as suggested itineraries Pang La Pass, Shegar and Tingri. And I looked out over Everest. We went to all the main
and answers to your most frequently asked questions. And the
monasteries and palaces – Potala (that certainly didn’t disappoint!), Norbulingka, the
technology means you can search using keywords, zoom in, save
Drepung monastery, Dzong Fort, Tahilhumpo monastery, Sera monastery. I would really
or print pages, enabling you to get maximum benefi t with minimal
like to have done a trek around the sacred Mount Kailash in western Tibet, but that’s
effort. So dive in and start planning your next holiday!
going to have to wait until next time.
I was taken aback by people appearing from nowhere if we stopped for a picnic lunch.
■ See our full brochure range online at www.kumuka.com
I don’t speak Chinese (or Tibetan needless to say!) and although we had a guide who
spoke reasonable English, communicating with most of the locals was done by body
language and gestures – even deciphering menus was tricky.
I think Chinese cuisine is better than Tibetan in Tibet – this is very much an acquired
taste, but an important element of the new experience. I don’t want burgers and
international coffee chains on the Tibetan plateau.
Most people have never been at such altitude. You have to walk slowly, stop regularly
Top tips from Kumuka guide Yearick Wang.
and drink plenty of ﬂ uids. I was quite breathless at the Pang La Pass. Your body gradually
adjusts and you soon get over minor discomforts, because you’re on the roof of the world.
■ DO NOT BRING TRAVELLERS’ CHEQUES. On some It is easy to get carried away with Tibet. It’s all so overwhelmingly different and it
routes, such as Central Kingdom or Yangtze River Cruise, tends to linger with you afterwards. It’s a very special experience. Being surrounded by
they cannot be changed. Even in Beijing there is a long the huge Himalayan peaks makes you feel very insigniﬁ cant, and your little personal
queue to get them changed. Using a Visa card is better, issues and questions of comfort just vanish.
especially as you can fi nd cash machines much easier.
■ BRING A MORE FORMAL OR FANCY OUTFIT. During the fantastic three-day
Yangtze River Cruise we have a welcome and farewell banquet. It is also nice to
dress up and look good when we go to the Peking Opera or Peking Roast Duck.
■ FOR YOUR DIGITAL CAMERA bring a memory card with enough capacity
or you can take a digital photobank with you. It is not reasonable to buy the
memory stick in China as sometimes the price is so high.
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