Dege Trip--Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I want to go but September is a bad time for me. Will there be another trip?

A: Possibly. Send me a note and I'll keep you informed. Or, if you don't mind NOT making a contribution to the project, you can contact one of the other outfitters listed here.

Q: I want to be added to your mailing list.

A: Great! Drop us a note and we'll add you.

Q: Would a brochure be more detailed than the Web page?

A: No. The Web site is more detailed.

Q: I'd like to help rebuild monasteries in Kham, or do field work in one of Kham Aid Foundation's other projects. How can I join?

A: Kham Aid Foundation is always looking for qualified volunteers to help with our projects. Send us your resume by email or snail mail and we'll see if we have something for you to do. Cautionary note: all but the most exceptionally qualified workers need to speak either Chinese or Tibetan (or both). An exception to this general rule is made for major donors to KAF; a gift of US$10,000 or more wins you a berth on one of our trips (you will still need to cover your own travel expenses).

Q: How much time will be spent with the horses? Is it possible to manage the trip without actually riding one?

A: We will have perhaps 4 or 5 days of riding. For most people, this is the best part of the whole trip. If you would rather walk, then expect 4 to 7 hours of walking on each of those days. The other walks (day-hikes) are optional and won't be more than 3 or 4 hours--unless you decide to do an extra long excursion.

Q: What altitude will we reach?

A: Max will be about 4700 meters (15,500 feet) at Qiao'er Shan (Cho La), a pass that we cross just before descending to the Dege Kingdom. There is a photo of this pass here and here. The maximum elevation we will be sleeping at will be no more than 4000 meters (13,200 feet).

Q: No trip to Lhasa?

A: You can do this on your own if you want. Flights between Lhasa and Chengdu currently run about US$400 round-trip. Lhasa is very easy to manage without a guide, and knowing only English. $25-30 a day should be plenty while you're there if you're a typical backpacker. If you want maximum comfort you can spend more and stay in a nice place. I can help you book this either before or after your Dege tour.

Q: Can I go by road from Dege to Lhasa?

A: It is rather uncomfortable and time-consuming to drive directly from Dege west to Lhasa because the roads are very bad. Landslides are frequent, and vehicles often get stuck in the mud. Most residents of Dege, when they want to go to Lhasa, take a very roundabout way, coming out by road to Chengdu or Xining and traveling from there via the northern (Golmud) route to Lhasa. The straight-line Dege-Lhasa route takes 5 days or more, and the accommodations and food on the road are very primitive. Nevertheless, if a number of people are interested in this trip as an add-on, it is possible to arrange. Contact us for details.

Q: Will we need Tibet visas?

A: There is no such thing as a Tibet visa because Tibet is not a country at the moment. You will need a Chinese visa. More information on this will be provided upon booking, but the choices are (1) get it yourself, or (2) let us get it for you. We will take care of the special permits you need to visit Dege and the other closed areas that we're going to.

Return to Dege Tour Information.