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Riding the high plateaus in remote Tibet

The Kham Riders (Shamalong Festival)

16 days / 8 days riding from 3574€

Riding levels

Each of our trips is assigned a minimum level of riding ability required. This reflects whether there is technical riding required; the terrain to be covered; the liveliness of the horses; the length of the riding days and the riding fitness required.




For novice riders, these riding holidays will give beginners the chance to get used to being in the saddle. In general, a beginner/ novice hasn't learned how to canter and has not yet mastered rising trot. They are able to mount safely and to control a horse at a walk. 



For intermediate riders who are at ease at 2 paces (walk and rising trot and are starting to canter in a forward seat) out in open countryside. The intermediate rider is able to mount and dismount their horse unassisted, use basic riding aids, ride at a rising trot for at least 10 minutes, to change and control the pace from a walk to a trot and comfortably canter over short distances.



For experienced riders who have mastered all 3 paces (walk, rising trot, canter in a forward seat) over uneven terrain. The experienced rider rides regularly, has a good seat and is confident of their own ability. They are able to control the horse at speed and change direction of their horse at any pace and in any circumstance as needed.



For advanced riders who have mastered all 4paces (walk, rising trot, canter gallop in a forward seat) over uneven terrain on all types of horses including those that are very spirited. The advanced rider rides regularly has good physical fitness, has good soft hands and has the ability to gallop for long stretches without getting tired.



For all riders, whether they are novices, intermediate level, experienced or advanced. Each rider will be allocated a horse that is suited to their ability. These riding holidays have a level of difficulty that can be adapted to the capabilities of each rider. For example: working with cattle on a ranch, dressage training, endurance training, natural horsemanship, trail riding orcentre based safaris.



For beginners and intermediate level riders. Each rider will be allocated a horse that is suited to their ability level. These riding holidays have a level of difficulty that can be adapted to the capability of each rider. For example: working with cattle on a ranch, dressage training, endurance ridingtraining natural horsemanship and centre based safaris.



For beginners, intermediate level  and experienced riders. Each rider will be allocated a horse that is suited to their ability level. These riding holidays have a level of difficulty that can be adapted to the capabilities of each rider. For example: working with cattle on a ranch, dressage training, endurance ridingtraining natural horsemanship and centre based safaris.



For intermediate level and experienced riders. Each rider will be allocated a horse that is suited to their ability level. These riding holidays have a level of difficulty that can be adapted to the capabilities of each rider. For example: working with cattle on a ranch, dressage training, long-distance ridingtraining,endurance ridingtraining natural horsemanship and centre based safaris.



For intermediate level, experiencedand advanced riders. Each rider will be allocated a horse that is suited to their ability level. These riding holidays have a level of difficulty that can be adapted to the capabilities of each rider. For example: working with cattle on a ranch, dressage training, long-distance ridingtrainingendurance ridingtraining natural horsemanship and centre based safaris.



For experiencedand advanced riders. Each rider will be allocated a horse that is suited to their ability level. These riding holidays have a level of difficulty that can be adapted to the capabilities of each rider. For example: working with cattle on a ranch, dressage training, long-distance ridingtraining,endurance ridingtraining natural horsemanship and centre based safaris.

Comfort

Each of our rides has been assigned an expected level of comfort

Nights in tents, outdoor dining

 

EQUUS JOURNEYS Fingerpost Cottage
Hopton Wafers
Shropshire, DY140NA. UK
Phone : +44 (0) 1905 388977
INFO@EQUUS-JOURNEYS.COM

Imprimer

CHINA -The Kham Riders (Shamalong Festival)

16 days / 8 days riding from 3574€


Activity :

Level :

Comfort :

A wonderful horseback trail in Tibet, discover a historical region full of stunning scenery and ancient tradition. Your specialist guide will introduce you to Tibetan nomads and you will attend the Shamalong Festival where local Khampas riders dress up in all their finery. You will experiencing camping in remote locations where your belongings are carried by yaks.

Strengths

- Unique chance to be involved in the equestrian Shamalong festival amongst the Tibetan highlands
- Complete immersion in local culture as we work directly with Tibetans in the Tagong valley
- Spend two nights with a family of nomadic herders in their camp
- A variety of accommodation: camping, nomad camps, Buddhist monastery, mountain retreat and guesthouse

Itinerary

Day 1 : EUROPE - CHENGDU - No riding

International flight from the Europe to Chengdu. It is likely that you will need to change planes at least once. Flights are not included.

Day 2 : CHENGDU - No riding

Accommodation : BUDDHAZEN HOTEL

You will arrive into Chengdu, nicknamed the City of Hibiscus, and be met at the airport.

Considered the fifth largest Chinese city, Chengdu has a relaxed atmosphere and retains some of its historic buildings. As well as being the traditional capital of the Shu region in China, it is also home to the largest Tibetan population in all of China, outside of the Tibetan regions.

You will meet your guide who speaks Tibetan and lives in Tagong amongst the highlands of eastern Tibet. In the afternoon, if there is time, you will be able to visit the Wenshu Yuan Buddhist Temple near the hotel. You will enjoy an amazing vegetarian dinner and get to know the rest of your group before spending the night in a small, charming central hotel such as the BuddhaZen (or a hotel of an equivalent standard). Time dependent, you may even have time for a massage if you wish!

Day 3 : CHENGDU - DANBA or RONGMI - No riding

Drive to Danba or Rongmi. This is a culturally unique region, with Chinese, Tibetan, and unique characteristics. You will stay in a family homestay in a small village outside of Danba. This will be the starting of your ride the next morning.

Overnight at the family hotel, at an altitude of 2400m.

Day 4: DANBA - RIVERSIDE CAMPSITE - 5 hours riding

Accommodation : CAMP

Today is the first day of your trail ride in Tibet. The trail will take you through a deep gorge surrounded by lush forests. After approx. five hours in the saddle, you will reach your riverside campsite at 3300m.

Day 5: ZHAKRA YIMSTO - 6 hours riding, 1 hour hike

Accommodation : CAMP

You will ride to the calm turquoise lake Zhakra Yimtso, at 3,800m, located at the foot of dramatic glaciers fed by a waterfall.

Following a traditional pilgrim trail on foot around the lake, you will complete a traditional kora of the lake (a walk-around), and see the shrines and hermitages nearby.

You will spend the night camping in the low valley below the lake nestled alongside a forest with spectacular views of the glaciers.

Day 6 : ZHAKRA YIMSTO - ZHAKRA HOT SPRINGS - 3 hours riding

Accommodation : CAMP

Today's ride takes you into the valley to camp at the Zhakra Hotsprings. The afternoon is spent at your leasure, and you can enjoy these medicinal springs surrounded by prayer flags or those who prefer can hike up the hills.

Overnight at camp at 4100 m.

Day 7 : ZHAKRA HOT SPRINGS - GYERGO NUNNERY - 7-8 hours riding

Accommodation : CAMP

Ride out over the high Griffon Pass (4900 m) with stunning views of sacred Mount. Zhakra, 5900 m. The day's ride itinerary will follow paths, across hilly, forested land, to the nunnery at Gyergo, one of the main temples in the valley, at a height of 3900m.

Today is a long day in the saddle over very steep terrain. Some riders will prefer to lead their horse on foot.

Enjoy the nuns chanting this afternoon, and stay in a nunnery hut at 3900m.

Day 8 : GYERGO NUNNERY - HIGH PLATEAU - 7 hours riding

Accommodation : NOMAD CAMP

Riding out from Gyergo, along a narrow path by the river, you will ride up into the high nomad plateaus. You will ride across the highland plateaus of Tagong - large pastures which stretch for 80km. Many nomadic families settle here each summer with their flocks. There are no modern structures in view - just a few nomadic tents, sacred lakes and small isolated Buddhist temples.

Your ride will end at your guide's home camp, at 4200 m, where you will be wined and dined by the nomadic families camping nearby and learn about their traditional life.

Day 9 : DASHIKA NOMAD CAMP - YIBEI LAKE - 3 hours riding

Accommodation : CAMP

This morning you will take a break from riding and you will spend the day at the family camp in Dashika. This will be an opportunity for you to immerse yourself in the lives of these nomads - gathering in yaks and their calves and learning the skills of yak milking, cheese and butter processing and yak fibre spinning for string and rope.

The afternoon sees you back in the saddle for a ride to Yibei Lake, a high sinkhole (cenote) lake at 4450m. During the 3 hour ride across the high plateau, you will see many nomad camps dotted across the area. Yibei is also a great lake to go swimming in - but always a little bit cold!

Overnight at camp, 4450m.

Day 10 : YIBEI LAKE - RAGNI LAKE - 5 hours riding + 1 hour hike

Accommodation : CAMP

The day's ride will take you to a high lookout to the west, which will give you a fantastic view across wolf and gazelle country and the Lhagang plateau's highest reaches. You will stop for your lunch at a lookout, at 4600 m, with unique views of isolated religious retreats nestled in the far-reaching mountains. You will then descend on horseback to discover the sacred Ragni Lake, home of lammergyer birds that make their nest in the cliff sides and the an area at the heart of many legends.

You will spend the night camping close to the lake, at 4200m.

Day 11 : RAGNI LAKE - GENUP TEMPLE - 5 hours riding

Accommodation : CAMP

In contrast to the isolation of the previous days' riding, today you will set out across one of the most populated plateaus in the Tagong region, the Lhagang plateau. This region also hosts a local religious festival - which you may happen upon - where you will experience the monks singing hymns and chanting from their richly decorated tents.

The ride's destination is the Genup temple, an old nomadic temple in the region. This small, remote temple hosts a community of monks every summer. Conveniently situated high up in the mountains, it overlooks the valley and the tranquil atmosphere will no doubt lead you to feel connected to the religious past of Tibet. After visiting the temple, say goodbye to the horses and guides and drive to Khampa Nomad Ecolodge.

Overnight at the ecolodge.

Day 12: KHAMPA NOMAD ECOLODGE - No riding

Spend the day at the Ecolodge. Enjoy the sauna, tubing in the river, hot showers, and a hike into the hills.

Overnight at the ecolodge.

Day 13: KHAMPA - SHAMALONG - 1,5 hour drive

On waking up in the morning, you will be completely immersed in Tibetan tradition at an equestrian festival that brings together the proud Khampas riders of the Tagong region. In the morning, the horses are blessed with juniper smoke and then the races begin. Although the Tibetan horses are small, the ground shakes and emotions are high! You will be a spectator to long, short and stunt races.
This is also an opportunity for the Tibetan nomads to show their wealth in a spectacle of colourful traditional clothing. Participants wear colourful, shiny outfits and hats whilst ladies wear jewellery made from jade, amber, coral, ivory, silver and gold.

It is a true honour to be able to observe this festival which is still extremely rare and secretive. Your guide will help you with the local way of life so that you can completely immerse yourself in the warm Tibetan hospitality.

You will once more camp near the race site for the night - 4100m.

Day 14: SHAMALONG - CHENGDU - 6-8 hour drive

Drive to Chengdu directly from the Festival. (6-8 hour drive).

Day 15 : CHENGDU - No riding

Accommodation : BUDDHAZEN HOTEL

The day will be yours to do with as you wish in Chengdu. It might be possible to arrange a visit to the Giant Panda Breeding Centre (which usually welcomes babies in the summertime), the QingYangGong Daoist Temple, or the Tibetan quarter.

Your last evening meal will be a dinner at a Sichuan Opera dinner theatre where you will have a final chance to discuss together all the fantastic things you will have done on your trip! You will spend the night at the Buddhazen hotel.

Day 16 : CHENGDU - EUROPE - No riding

You will be transferred to the airport for your flight back to Europe. Your flight home should arrive today, depending on your flights.


Price details

- International flights are not included but can be booked upon request.

- Rates are per person, based on two riders sharing a twin room or tent, and shared communal rooms in guesthouses.

- Groups are composed of 4 - 8 guests plus guides.

- Please note: the ride will also confirm for 3 riders on payment of a supplement of c. $650/£510 per person. Once the group has reached 4 people, we will remove this supplement from your invoice and refund you if you have already paid it

- There is a single supplement of c. €580/£510 if we are unable to find a sharer for you

- Rider weight limit is 85 kg. Heavier riders please contact us.

- A visa is required to enter China and is your responsibility.
Please Note
The itinerary may be modified at anytime for security reasons, meteorological or events beyond our control such as blocked roads, rivers in flood, drought, strikes and local holidays. Equus Journeys, our local partners and their local guides will always strive to find the best solution and will alter the itinerary as needed.
The names of the hotels and accommodation are given for information only and depending on availability, they may be modified without notice and replaced by another of a similar standard.

PRICE INCLUDES

Support Team

1 English and Tibetan speaking tour leader

Logistics

1 horse equipped with saddle and bridle
1 cook and a team of Tibetan horsemen
Team of yaks for the transport of luggage

Inland transport

Minibus from Kangding to Chengdu (or vice versa)
Airport transfers

Accommodation

Camping: 2-man tents and foam mattresses
Local standard 4 star hotel in Chengdu (twin room)
Guesthouses - sharing a room with 2-5 people

Meals

Full board from dinner on D2 to breakfast on the last day

Extra equipment

First aid kit
Fees for activities included in the programme

OPTION

Accommodation

Single tent/room supplement

PRICE DOESN'T INCLUDE

Meals

Drinks and personal extras

Transport

Visa fees (must be obtained in advance)

Extras

Tips for the local team

Extras

Small group supplement - see above for the details

Insurance

Cancellation and travel insurance are not included in the above listed price. Please note that insurance is mandatory. We recommend taking out an insurance policy as soon as your trip is booked to cover you in case of cancellation

TIPS

If you are happy with the service that you receive from the local team then you may wish to leave a tip. To remain consistent with the standard of living in China we recommend a tip of c. £50 per rider which can be distributed amongst all of the staff.

HORSES

You will ride the local Khampas Tibetan horses which are in good condition. They are small, strong, resilient and ideal for the altitude and difficult terrain. You will ride using local leather saddles which have additional covers to provide extra comfort.

MINIMUM RIDING ABILITY

This mountainous trail is open to all riding abilities, from beginners to experienced riders. Most of the riding is in single file and the terrain means that the pace is slow. The horses are not difficult to ride although some will be more spirited than others. You have to be sensible with your bags and rainwear, for example, don't put your coat on when mounted as the horses won't be used to it and might be startled.

Rider weight limit is 85 kg. Heavier riders please contact us.

PACE

The ride is walking only - not just because of the altitude but because your belongings are carried by yaks who accompany you each day.

TACKING ABILITY AND PARTICIPATION

The horses are groomed and saddled for you by your Tibetan team.

TRIP CONDITIONS AND REQUESTED EXPERIENCE

You need to be physically fit. Twice you will need to dismount and lead your horse downhill for 3 hours on mountain paths. You need to be prepared to accept sometimes unfavourable weather conditions - it can be cold at altitude and it may rain.
This ride takes place in a mountainous environment between 3,800m and 4,800m. All nights are spent at an altitude of 4,000m or lower. The altitude is increased gradually to help you acclimatise but you must respect the advice of your guide. You should speak to your doctor before joining the trip particularly if you have any medical conditions relating to your heart, blood pressure or respiratory system. You should prepare for the holiday by increasing your endurance training - fast walking, jogging, cycling, swimming etc.
Previous experience of adventurous travel is recommended.

Visiting a new country offers the opportunity to meet other cultures with different mentalities, therefore it is important to accept these differences and respect the local way of life.

EQUESTRIAN EQUIPMENT

We recommend taking your own stirrup leathers with you - this is because Tibetan's ride very short and there may not be enough length to be comfortable.
We also recommend taking some leather laces so you can tie your coat behind your saddle.
We recommend our riders to wear a helmet to the correct standard and you should bring your own to ensure a proper fit

COMFORT

You will stay in a variety of accommodation. On some nights you will be camping in two-man tents (mattresses provided but you must bring own sleeping bag). On other nights you might be staying in a monastery, a mountain retreat or a guesthouse. During the ride and when camping, you will have access to different types of washing facillities - bathrooms with running water or rivers for both washing and laundry. You should ride knowing that you will be exploring some very remote parts of the country and that the accommodation will be basic.

In Chengdu you will be staying in a local hotel.

CLIMATE

Rides are run during the summer season (June to September) when daytime temperatures are warm but the evenings and mornings can be cold. July and August are the hottest months with minimum and maximum temperatures of 22 and 30c in Chengdu. Temperatures at altitude can be much cooler and the mountains are the perfect place to escape the summer heat.

Meals

The meals are predominently Chinese and Tibetan. The base is rice, accompanied by many dishes of vegetables and meats - with some spices and peppers. Meals are essentially savoury and there is no dessert, so we recommend that sweet lovers bring their own supply of biscuits.
During the trail:
Breakfast: coffee, tea, powdered milk, bread, jam, eggs or Chinese food (noodles, fried rice etc)
Lunch: Light picnic (bread, sausage, yoghurt)
Dinner: Rice, vegetables, meat - fragrant Chinese and Tibetan cuisine

In towns and villages you will eat in local restaurants.

Water:
Take care not to drink water from unknown sources. Mineral water is provided at every meal whilst on the trail, or you can refill your bottles using boiled water (or bring water purification tablets). In restaurants it might be possible to get beer or fizzy drinks.

Support Team

Guide and local team

A local tour guide will welcome you in Chengdu. Once you reach Tagong you will meet your riding team. Your expedition leader is a Tibetan who married an American so their understanding of Tibetan and Western cultures is excellent.

HORSE GUIDE

  • Angela

    Angela

    Angela originated in Colorado City and settled in China after studying Chinese in the USA. A teacher of ecology at the veterinary school in Kangding and former Peace Corps volunteer in China, she befriended a nomad who was selling his yak's yoghurt in town and invited her to spend a few days in his tent on the summer pastures. There she met her future husband, Djaga. The epic adventures at the beginning (the various brawls and thefts between Khampas nomads are customary!) did not discourage her and she is no the mother of a beautiful four year old girl who has the Tibetan features of her father together with the tough character of her mother. Angela spends part of the long Tibetan winters in Colorado Springs and her summers in Tagong where she runs a guesthouse and craft cooperative for Khampa nomads. Their common goal is to promote their region and crafts, allowing Khampa nomads to maintain their traditional knowledge and, above all, to earn an income.

  • Djaga

    Djaga

    Djaga is native to the highlands of Tagong. He is responsible for recruiting the yakmen who provide the yaks and horses for the ride, as well as guiding and managing the group. He keeps his herd of yaks at a Khampas nomadic encampment and welcomes riders for two days into his clan.

Packing list

Please pack in accordance with local religious and traditional cultures - it is important to keep your shoulders and knees covered when meeting local populations. Please do not wear shorts or strappy tops in towns and villages.

Head
- Equus Journeys strongly recommend that you wear a riding helmet and that you take your own to ensure a correct fit. There are many lightweight options available nowadays
- Sunhat for when not riding
- Sunglasses - with a cord attached so they don't fly off when riding
- Buff or bandana
- Warm hat for cold nights when camping

Upper body
- Thermals (long or short sleeved)
- Long sleeved shirts provide protection from the sun and are an extra layer
- T-shirts
- Lightweight fleece or jumper
- Warm fleece or jumper (and a spare in case one gets wet)
- Warm and waterproof jacket - it can rain at any time of year and the evenings can be particularly cold

Legs
- Lightweight, comfortable riding trousers or jodhpurs - we recommend riding in them at home before taking them on holiday to ensure they don't rub
- Thermals
- Casual trousers for the evenings, such as jeans or tracksuit bottoms
- Waterproof over trousers
- Lightweight, comfortable trousers for non-riding days

Hands and Feet
- Comfortable riding boots. We recommend short boots with half chaps but you may wish to take long chaps as an extra layer against inclement weather. We don't recommend taking your favourite long leather boots in case they get damaged
- Waterproof shoes/boots can be useful for abundant dew in the mornings or when it rains
- Trainers or equivalent light shoes for moving around the camp in the evenings
- Several pairs of warm, thick socks
- Gloves - your hands are particularly exposed to the sun, cold or rain whilst riding. Waterproof gloves can be particularly useful

Nightwear
- Sleeping bag. You need at least a comfort factor down to minus 5 celsius, but would recommend at least minus 8 or 10 celsius.
- Sleeping bag liner - silk, cotton or fleece - adds an extra layer
- Self-inflating mattress such as a Thermarest
- Pyjamas or tracksuits or thermals for sleeping in

Other useful items
- Swimsuit - for swimming/bathing in rivers
- Towels - lightweight camping ones will both dry and pack more easily
- Small backpack for accessing items required during the day (carried by support crew)
- Camera and high capacity memory card. Spare battery
- Bumbag for carrying your camera and small items whilst riding
- Headtorch or small torch for moving around camp at night - bring spare batteries and bulbs
- Water bottle (2 litres or 2 x 1 litre)
- Wet Wipes or equivalent (for when washing facilities aren't available)
- Toilet paper and a lighter to burn it with
- Small plastic bags for rubbish
- Ear plugs (for light sleepers)

In your hold luggage
- Any liquids, such as shampoo, moisturiser, deodorant unless they are less than 100ml and all bottles can fit in a small, clear, plastic ziplock bag. We recommend biodegradable washing products where possible.
- Swiss army knife (or equivalent)

In your hand luggage
- Any valuables, such as your camera, ipod, ipad etc.
- Your riding hat

Medical kit
- Sunscreen and lip balm - should be high factor
- Insect repellent, preferably containing deet
- Any medication you regularly take
- Blister plasters in case of any rubs
- Antiseptic cream, plasters, aspirin, anti-histamine, insect-bite salve etc...
- Spare prescription glasses/contact lenses
- Eye drops
- Imodium or similar anti-diarrhoea medication
- Re-hydration sachets
- Water purification tablets
- Antiseptic wipes
- Handwash gel

Our Recommendations
- Please don't take a hard sided suitcase. Your luggage should be soft sided with a capacity of 60-80 litres. We recommend taking a backpack or similar. The luggage limit on the ride is 15kg per person.
- Backpacks cannot be worn whilst riding. We recommend a small bumbag or a coat with pockets so that you can carry small items with you during the day (camera, sunscreen, lipbalm etc)
- We recommend travelling in your riding boots and carrying your hat and some riding clothes in your hand luggage - then if your luggage goes astray you are still able to ride!
- Tall riders may benefit from taking a pair of long stirrup leathers with them (the local stirrups are adjustable but are sometimes limited in length)
- We recommend taking a copy of your passport and insurance documents with you in case you lose your originals
- Please take your rubbish home with you. There are no recycling facilities in Tibet, so take your used batteries, aerosols etc back home and dispose of them appropriately. Try to leave excess packaging material at home before travelling
- You may wish to take some photographs or postcards of your home with you to show your hosts. You may also wish to take some crayons, colouring books etc for the children. Be careful not to take card games as these are frowned upon by the adults, who use them for gambling.

ENTRY FORMALITIES

The Autonomous Region of Tibet is a province of China therefore a passport with at least six months' validity is required by all Australian, British, Canadian, USA and EU nationals.
Foreign nationals must carry their passports at all times as police carry out random spot checks; these are more frequent around times of heightened security such as sporting events.
Visas:
Visas are required by all nationals referred to above to enter China.
Types and cost:
Single-entry: £30 (UK nationals), £90 (US nationals), £20 (other nationals).
Double-entry: £45 (UK nationals), £90 (US nationals), £30 (other nationals).
Multiple-entry within six months: £90 (UK nationals), £90 (US nationals), £40 (other nationals).
Multiple-entry within 12 months or more: £180 (UK nationals), £90 (US nationals), £60 (other nationals).
You must also pay a service fee of £36 (standard), £48 (express) or £54 (postal applications).

Visa applications for China should be made one month in advance.

The express service requires three days, and the regular service takes four days. Postal applications are usually processed and returned within 10 working days, if all the documentation is in good order

Make sure that you apply for a Chinese visa and do not mention Tibet on your visa application.

To enter Tibet, you must also obtain a Tibet travel permit. We require your passport details at least one month before your date of departure so that we can arrange this for you. Please note, the Tibet Tourism Bureau often puts a hold on issuing permits during times of political tensions and demonstrations and regulations are subject to change at short notice.


Advice for visa application

Many consulates (including those in the UK) issue visas through the Chinese Visa Application Service Centre
Visa for China - http://www.visaforchina.org
rather than directly through the consulate.

Addresses of consulates

  • Paris | Ambassade de Chine
    11 avenue George V
    75008 Paris
    Tél. : 01 49 52 19 50
    Fax :
    chinaemb_fr@mfa.gov.cn
  • Chinese visa application service centre
    12 Old Jewry
    EC2R 8DU London
    Tél. : +44 (0)20 7206 0589
    Fax : +44 (0)20 7710 6001
    ukcentre@visaforchina.org
  • Ambassade de France en Chine
    Faguo Zhuhua Dashiguan
    60, Tianze Lu
    100600 Pékin (Beijing)
    Tél. : (+86 10) 85 31 20 00
    Fax :
    presse@ambafrance-cn.org

HEALTH

The high altitude and intense sunshine can cause serious problems for many travellers. It is recommended to wear high spf sun screen at all times with a full brim hat and sun glasses. Also remember because of the high altitude it is very easy to get dehydrated, so drink plenty of water.
Altitude sickness is a serious risk in Tibet. Symptoms range from breathlessness and headaches to lack of coordination and vomiting and can occur at any elevation over around 3000m (almost everywhere in Tibet). It is extremely important to allow several days to acclimatise. For travel outside Lhasa arrange your itinerary so that you don't gain more than 500m of altitude per day.
As with other parts of China hepatitis B is endemic. Sporadic outbreaks of avian influenza (bird flu) have resulted in a small number of human deaths. Rabies is present and may be a concern if travelling or trekking through rural parts of Tibet. If bitten, medical advice should be sought immediately.
Medical infrastructure is poor in Tibet and services are almost non-existent in rural areas outside of Lhasa. Medical insurance is strongly advised and should include evacuation insurance. The nearest recommended medical facilities are in Chengdu and Kathmandu. Traditional Tibetan medicinal treatments are available in Lhasa.
Food and drink:
All water used for drinking, brushing teeth or freezing (ice cubes) should first be boiled or otherwise sterilised. Bottled water is widely and cheaply available. Be especially careful when eating at small street-side stalls or restaurants where standards of hygiene may not be high. Vegetables should be cooked and fruit peeled.
Bubonic Plague: Although rare, there are cases of bubonic plague every few years in remote areas of Tibet. Try to avoid eating rodent meat, especially from marmots, as much as possible.

TRAVEL INSURANCE

It is a condition of your booking with Equus Journeys that you have travel insurance which covers you for the riding activities to be undertaken. Your travel insurance should cover you for medical expenses and repatriation. Your guides will require your travel insurance details before they allow you to ride and may refuse to let you ride if you cannot provide them. You should take your insurance documents with you.

TELEPHONE AND JET LAG

Lhasa and several other cities have public telephone booths where you can make fairly cheap international phone calls (around £0.35 per minute to the UK). The cheapest way to make calls is through Skype, though not all Internet cafés are equipped with the software. Another way to call internationally is to buy a pre-paid calling card, available from most convenience stores in units of ¥20, 50, 100 and 200.

Mobile phone: Tibet's mobile phone coverage is good and you can even make phone calls from Everest Base Camp! Roaming agreements exist with most major international mobile phone companies. Alternatively, you can buy a prepaid GSM SIM card (from China Mobile) that allows you to use your mobile like a local phone with a new number. You'll need your passport to register. Buy scratch cards to top up your balance.

The dialling code for China is +86. You then need to add the dialling code for the Tibetan province - in Chengdu this is 895.

The time zone is GMT +8

BUDGET AND MONEY

Currency information:
1 Renminbi Yuan (CNY; symbol ¥) = 10 jiao/mao. Notes are in denominations of ¥100, 50, 20, 10, 5, and 1. Coins are in denominations of Y1, 0.5 and 1 jiao/mao. Counterfeit ¥100 notes are commonplace. The Yuan is often referred to as the ‘kuai' in street slang.
Credit cards:
Credit/debit cards (Visa, Diners Club, MasterCard, American Express etc) are accepted in top-end hotels in Lhasa but are of very limited use elsewhere.
ATM:
ATMs are available in many towns, though those in Lhasa and Shigatse are most reliable. Cash advances from a credit card are available in Lhasa.

VOLTAGE

220 volts AC, 50Hz. However, most 4- and 5-star hotels are also wired for the use of 110-volt appliances. Round or flat two-pin plugs and flat, angled three-pin plugs are use.

ACTIVITY :Pack Trip

LEVEL :Help

COMFORT :Help

A wonderful horseback trail in Tibet, discover a historical region full of stunning scenery and ancient tradition. Your specialist guide will introduce you to Tibetan nomads and you will attend the Shamalong Festival where local Khampas riders dress up in all their finery. You will experiencing camping in remote locations where your belongings are carried by yaks.

  • Experience the thrills of the Shamalong Festival
    Horse riding pack trip in China
  • Riding in the remote areas of rural Tibet
    Horseback expedition in Tibet
  • Shamalong Festival finery
    Horse riding trail and pack trip to Shamalong Festival Tibet
  • An authentic and exciting trail ride through Tibet
    Horse and prayer flags in Tibet
  • The colourful Shamalong Festival and traditional finery
    Horseback trail in China-Tibet
  • An incredible pack expedition in Tibet with Equus Journeys
    Horse riding pack trip in China
  • The Kham Riders in Tibet
    Horse riding trail and visit to the Shamalong Festival Tibet
  • Attend the Shamalong Festival in Tibet
    Horse race at Shamalong Festival Tibet
  • Snow capped peaks of Tibet
    Horseback pack trip with the Shamalong Festival in Tibet
  • Meet the locals for an equestrian and cultural experience
    Milking the yaks during Shamalong Festival Tibet

STRENGTHS

- Unique chance to be involved in the equestrian Shamalong festival amongst the Tibetan highlands
- Complete immersion in local culture as we work directly with Tibetans in the Tagong valley
- Spend two nights with a family of nomadic herders in their camp
- A variety of accommodation: camping, nomad camps, Buddhist monastery, mountain retreat and guesthouse

ITINERARY

Day 1 : EUROPE - CHENGDU - No riding

International flight from the Europe to Chengdu. It is likely that you will need to change planes at least once. Flights are not included.

Day 2 : CHENGDU - No riding

Accommodation : BUDDHAZEN HOTEL

You will arrive into Chengdu, nicknamed the City of Hibiscus, and be met at the airport.

Considered the fifth largest Chinese city, Chengdu has a relaxed atmosphere and retains some of its historic buildings. As well as being the traditional capital of the Shu region in China, it is also home to the largest Tibetan population in all of China, outside of the Tibetan regions.

You will meet your guide who speaks Tibetan and lives in Tagong amongst the highlands of eastern Tibet. In the afternoon, if there is time, you will be able to visit the Wenshu Yuan Buddhist Temple near the hotel. You will enjoy an amazing vegetarian dinner and get to know the rest of your group before spending the night in a small, charming central hotel such as the BuddhaZen (or a hotel of an equivalent standard). Time dependent, you may even have time for a massage if you wish!

Day 3 : CHENGDU - DANBA or RONGMI - No riding

Drive to Danba or Rongmi. This is a culturally unique region, with Chinese, Tibetan, and unique characteristics. You will stay in a family homestay in a small village outside of Danba. This will be the starting of your ride the next morning.

Overnight at the family hotel, at an altitude of 2400m.

Day 4: DANBA - RIVERSIDE CAMPSITE - 5 hours riding

Accommodation : CAMP

Today is the first day of your trail ride in Tibet. The trail will take you through a deep gorge surrounded by lush forests. After approx. five hours in the saddle, you will reach your riverside campsite at 3300m.

Day 5: ZHAKRA YIMSTO - 6 hours riding, 1 hour hike

Accommodation : CAMP

You will ride to the calm turquoise lake Zhakra Yimtso, at 3,800m, located at the foot of dramatic glaciers fed by a waterfall.

Following a traditional pilgrim trail on foot around the lake, you will complete a traditional kora of the lake (a walk-around), and see the shrines and hermitages nearby.

You will spend the night camping in the low valley below the lake nestled alongside a forest with spectacular views of the glaciers.

Day 6 : ZHAKRA YIMSTO - ZHAKRA HOT SPRINGS - 3 hours riding

Accommodation : CAMP

Today's ride takes you into the valley to camp at the Zhakra Hotsprings. The afternoon is spent at your leasure, and you can enjoy these medicinal springs surrounded by prayer flags or those who prefer can hike up the hills.

Overnight at camp at 4100 m.

Day 7 : ZHAKRA HOT SPRINGS - GYERGO NUNNERY - 7-8 hours riding

Accommodation : CAMP

Ride out over the high Griffon Pass (4900 m) with stunning views of sacred Mount. Zhakra, 5900 m. The day's ride itinerary will follow paths, across hilly, forested land, to the nunnery at Gyergo, one of the main temples in the valley, at a height of 3900m.

Today is a long day in the saddle over very steep terrain. Some riders will prefer to lead their horse on foot.

Enjoy the nuns chanting this afternoon, and stay in a nunnery hut at 3900m.

Day 8 : GYERGO NUNNERY - HIGH PLATEAU - 7 hours riding

Accommodation : NOMAD CAMP

Riding out from Gyergo, along a narrow path by the river, you will ride up into the high nomad plateaus. You will ride across the highland plateaus of Tagong - large pastures which stretch for 80km. Many nomadic families settle here each summer with their flocks. There are no modern structures in view - just a few nomadic tents, sacred lakes and small isolated Buddhist temples.

Your ride will end at your guide's home camp, at 4200 m, where you will be wined and dined by the nomadic families camping nearby and learn about their traditional life.

Day 9 : DASHIKA NOMAD CAMP - YIBEI LAKE - 3 hours riding

Accommodation : CAMP

This morning you will take a break from riding and you will spend the day at the family camp in Dashika. This will be an opportunity for you to immerse yourself in the lives of these nomads - gathering in yaks and their calves and learning the skills of yak milking, cheese and butter processing and yak fibre spinning for string and rope.

The afternoon sees you back in the saddle for a ride to Yibei Lake, a high sinkhole (cenote) lake at 4450m. During the 3 hour ride across the high plateau, you will see many nomad camps dotted across the area. Yibei is also a great lake to go swimming in - but always a little bit cold!

Overnight at camp, 4450m.

Day 10 : YIBEI LAKE - RAGNI LAKE - 5 hours riding + 1 hour hike

Accommodation : CAMP

The day's ride will take you to a high lookout to the west, which will give you a fantastic view across wolf and gazelle country and the Lhagang plateau's highest reaches. You will stop for your lunch at a lookout, at 4600 m, with unique views of isolated religious retreats nestled in the far-reaching mountains. You will then descend on horseback to discover the sacred Ragni Lake, home of lammergyer birds that make their nest in the cliff sides and the an area at the heart of many legends.

You will spend the night camping close to the lake, at 4200m.

Day 11 : RAGNI LAKE - GENUP TEMPLE - 5 hours riding

Accommodation : CAMP

In contrast to the isolation of the previous days' riding, today you will set out across one of the most populated plateaus in the Tagong region, the Lhagang plateau. This region also hosts a local religious festival - which you may happen upon - where you will experience the monks singing hymns and chanting from their richly decorated tents.

The ride's destination is the Genup temple, an old nomadic temple in the region. This small, remote temple hosts a community of monks every summer. Conveniently situated high up in the mountains, it overlooks the valley and the tranquil atmosphere will no doubt lead you to feel connected to the religious past of Tibet. After visiting the temple, say goodbye to the horses and guides and drive to Khampa Nomad Ecolodge.

Overnight at the ecolodge.

Day 12: KHAMPA NOMAD ECOLODGE - No riding

Spend the day at the Ecolodge. Enjoy the sauna, tubing in the river, hot showers, and a hike into the hills.

Overnight at the ecolodge.

Day 13: KHAMPA - SHAMALONG - 1,5 hour drive

On waking up in the morning, you will be completely immersed in Tibetan tradition at an equestrian festival that brings together the proud Khampas riders of the Tagong region. In the morning, the horses are blessed with juniper smoke and then the races begin. Although the Tibetan horses are small, the ground shakes and emotions are high! You will be a spectator to long, short and stunt races.
This is also an opportunity for the Tibetan nomads to show their wealth in a spectacle of colourful traditional clothing. Participants wear colourful, shiny outfits and hats whilst ladies wear jewellery made from jade, amber, coral, ivory, silver and gold.

It is a true honour to be able to observe this festival which is still extremely rare and secretive. Your guide will help you with the local way of life so that you can completely immerse yourself in the warm Tibetan hospitality.

You will once more camp near the race site for the night - 4100m.

Day 14: SHAMALONG - CHENGDU - 6-8 hour drive

Drive to Chengdu directly from the Festival. (6-8 hour drive).

Day 15 : CHENGDU - No riding

Accommodation : BUDDHAZEN HOTEL

The day will be yours to do with as you wish in Chengdu. It might be possible to arrange a visit to the Giant Panda Breeding Centre (which usually welcomes babies in the summertime), the QingYangGong Daoist Temple, or the Tibetan quarter.

Your last evening meal will be a dinner at a Sichuan Opera dinner theatre where you will have a final chance to discuss together all the fantastic things you will have done on your trip! You will spend the night at the Buddhazen hotel.

Day 16 : CHENGDU - EUROPE - No riding

You will be transferred to the airport for your flight back to Europe. Your flight home should arrive today, depending on your flights.

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YOUR ADVISOR

Did you know?

On this horseback riding trail in Tibet you may be lucky enough to hear the locals singing a folk song named after the city where you start your riding trail: Kangding Love Song.

This popular Chinese folk song was written in the 1930's in Kangding by a local musician named Li Yi-Ruo. He fell in love with a college classmate, but his family would not agree to the relationship as her surname was also Li. He abandoned his family and was only able to complete his education because of financial support from Miss Li's family.

The song was originally named "Horse riding high upon the mountain side" and Li Yi-Ruo taught it to the local people of Kangding, who loved it and named it the Horse Ride Song. In the mid 1940's a musical student took the song to his teacher who rearranged it for a famous musician, Jiang Dingxian and renamed it Kangding Love Song after it's place of origin. A popular singer, Yu Yixuan added the song to her repertoire and took it across the world.

Early bird discounts
Get 3% off all trips booked before 31/12/2019 for a departure in 2020.
Terms and conditions:
  • This 3% early bird discount applies to the cost of the trip, and excludes transfers & supplements, international or domestic flights, and any additional services.
  • This offer cannot be combined with any other current discount.