Josefine Rein (15), her sister Elisabeth (13), and their parents Ursula and Ralf. Josefine and Elisabeth are both students at the German Embassy School.
During Easter break, the Reins traveled to Tibet and Nepal for two weeks. They landed at Xining Airport in Tibet and took the train to Lhasa, where they stayed a few days. They then hired a driver and took a six-day road trip by Jeep to the Tibet-Nepal border. They crossed wonderful mountain passes, blue lakes, and interesting temples and monasteries that taught them about Tibetan history and culture. After walking around the Mount Everest base camp, they crossed the border and continued to Kathmandu. After a few days of sightseeing around the capital and visiting Chitwan National Park, the family flew back to Beijing via Chengdu with China Air.
The Reins combined three one-week trips into one big trip through TUI China (www.tui.cn), which cost around RMB 20,000 per person. The price includes flights, trains, entrance tickets, accommodations, a driver, a tour guide, visas, and most meals.
The Best Part
One of the best parts of the trip was when the family finally arrived at the Mount Everest base camp after a long car journey and an exhausting hiking trip. The Reins sat down, breathless from the high altitude, and simply enjoyed the view. They saw yaks, many prayer flags, a few tents, and a huge mountain with a white peak – Mount Everest.
The Worst Part
The worst part of the journey was the altitude sickness (which caused many headaches), as well as the cold nights – especially since not every hotel had a radiator. One night, everyone was freezing although they wore three pairs of pants and thick gloves. However, all was forgotten when the Reins saw the breathtaking views at the Mount Everest base camp.
The most unexpected moment was when the Reins entered the library of the Sakya Monastery in Tibet. It was dimly-lit with only a few lights set along a cavernous hall. Right in front of them were huge 100m shelves that reached all the way to the ceiling, stocked full of old books. Before this, Josefine and Elisabeth would never have thought that they’d be so impressed by a library.
The trip gave the Reins the opportunity to spend more time together – a valuable thing, especially when older children are involved. Because there was no TV or Internet access in most of the hotels, they simply sat together in the evenings to talk and drink tea.
• Although the trip was exhausting, it was completely worth it because of the wonderful landscapes. However, it’s best for families with older kids because they won’t have trouble keeping up.
• Tibet is perfect for those looking to escape Beijing city life; it has clean air, unspoiled nature, and the bluest lakes you’ve ever seen.
• Pack a mix of warm and light clothes if you’re traveling to both destinations; the wind in Tibet can be very cold, while the climate in Nepal is very warm.
• Summer is the best time to visit Tibet, because it’s not as cold. Keep in mind that it’s not easy to get a visa right after the Tibetan New Year (usually in February or March).