The Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet, was the chief residence of the Dalai Lama until the 14th Dalai Lama fled to India during the 1959 Tibetan uprising. It is now a museum and World Heritage Site. This amazing palace has the honor of being the highest ancient palace in the world, with its highest point 12,300 feet above sea level, towering 300 feet above the city of Lhasa. This 13-stories-high palace has over 1,000 rooms, 10,000 shrines and contains about 200,000 statues. The stone walls measure 10 feet thick on average.
The palace is named after Mount Potalaka. The 5th Dalai Lama started its construction in 1645 after one of his spiritual advisers, Konchog Chophel, pointed out that the site was ideal as a seat of government, situated as it is between two monasteries and the old city of Lhasa.
The Palace contains two sections, the White Palace and the Red Palace. The first White Palace was built during the lifetime of the Fifth Dalai Lama and he and his government moved into it in 1649. It was extended to its present size by the thirteenth Dalai Lama in the early 20th century. The palace contained the living quarters, offices, seminary and printing house. A central, yellow-painted courtyard known as a Deyangshar separates the living quarters from the Red Palace, which is the part of the Potala palace that is completely devoted to religious study and Buddhist prayer.
The California Native has been leading tours to exotic destinations for more than 30 years and people are always asking what our favorites are. One of our favorite trips is this wonderful journey which begins in Beijing, China, travels through Tibet and hits its high point at Mount Everest Base Camp at the top of the world. California Native’s own Lee & Ellen Klein recently revisited this adventure which visits The Potala Palace.
Historical Botanical garden tour
Bird Island and Dolphin Encounter tour
Free time to relax at Marviri’s Beach
Special Mariscada Lunch (special seafood lunch)
Soft Drinks and snacks
Hotel night in Los Mochis
Private transfer to or from El Fuerte with bilingual guide
$290 Per person, double occupancy
*Note: Prices subject to change without notice.
Los Mochis is a city founded in 1893 by the American pioneer Benjamin F. Johnston, who started planting sugar cane and building a sugar empire. Over the years this area has become the most productive agricultural region in Mexico and the final western destination of the Chihuahua-Pacific Railroad (El Chepe), better known as The Copper Canyon Train.
The Historical Botanical Gardens were part of Johnson’s mansion, La Casa Grande. Formerly private, the Sinaloa Botanical Garden is full of both native plants and specimens from abroad, plus a large variety of bird species.
Topolobampo Bay, on the Gulf of California is about a 20 minute drive from Los Mochis. Its beaches with calm waves are ideal for aquatic sports. Nearby, Playa el Maviry is a super spot for swimming and home to a bat cave. Visiting Playa el Maviri is an experience in itself as this is where the locals dine, a seafood lovers paradise.
On our cruise in Topolobampo Bay you will visit Bird Island, see many species of birds, sea lions and dolphins in their natural habitat and enjoy the clear blue waters of the Sea of Cortez.
We appreciate it when our guests share their stories with us and allow us to post them on our blog. Mary Fitzgerald, from Malibu, CA, wrote us this short letter about her adventure with us in the Copper Canyon:
As a veteran traveler I have worked with many tour guides, some more adept than others, but none more earnest and attentive than [The California Native guide] Rob. Being far the oldest member of our travel group I had some concern about keeping up with the rest. Rob was always there to be of support when needed, but never offensively obvious.
This young man has an astounding fund of knowledge about almost everything, and he had a thorough answer for the endless questions our group posed. In addition, when situations arose that might provoke anxiety, Rob had a quiet way of taking charge to reassure us. This is the art of leadership.
Tour leading is not an easy task. One must be all things to all travelers, and relentlessly pleasant, no matter how trying. Rob did an excellent job. I found him to be very well qualified, and would travel with him again.
In Barkhor Square in the old section of Lhasa, Tibet, is the Jokhang Temple where Buddhist monks resided for almost a thousand years. For most Tibetans it is the most sacred and important temple in Tibet. The temple’s architectural style is a mixture of Indian Vihara, Chinese Tang Dynasty, and Nepalese.
First constructed by King Songtsän Gampo around the year 642, it was originally called the Rasa Tulnang Tsuklakang or The House of Mysteries, The Magical Emanation at Rasa (the early name for Lhasa). It is home to a large and very important collection of about eight hundred metal sculptures including Jowo Buddha, a statue that is said to have been blessed by the Buddha himself, as well as thousands of painted scrolls, known as thangkas.
Despite attacks in past centuries by the Mongols, and in more recent times by the radical Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution, the building survived and the temple complex was expanded. It now covers an area of about 6 acres.
The California Native has been leading tours to exotic destinations for more than 30 years and people are always asking us to name some of our favorites. One of them is this wonderful journey which begins in Beijing, China, travels through Tibet and hits its high point at Mount Everest Base Camp at the top of the world. California Native’s own Lee and Ellen Klein recently revisited this adventure which now includes a visit to Lhasa and the Jokhang Temple.
We appreciate it when our guests share their stories with us and allow us to post them on our blog. Bob & Ginnie Thurler, from Brooklyn Park, MN, wrote us this short letter about their adventure with us in the Copper Canyon:
We recently returned from your Ultimate 11-Day tour of the Copper Canyon. We both agree that this was by far the greatest vacation we have been on. Everything about the tour was first class and much more than we had expected it to be. This was the first guided trip we have ever been on. The guide did everything he could so that we were always informed of the days events, times and places, which we liked. We now have so much knowledge about the history of this area especially the people. As I stated before, this was our first guided tour and we both agree that it would be pretty difficult for anyone to top.
For more than a thousand years, the site known as the Three Pagodas has survived severe earthquakes, man-made and natural catastrophes. Made of brick and covered with white mud, the pagodas form a symmetric triangle. Unique among China’s ancient Buddhist architectures and a must-see for visitors to Yunnan province. The Three Pagodas are a national treasure of China.
The main pagoda, known as Qianxun Pagoda, was built during 823-840 AD by King Quan Fengyou. It stands 227 feet high and is one of the tallest pagodas in China. The other two sibling pagodas, built about one hundred years later, stand to the northwest and southwest of Qianxun Pagoda, and are 140 feet high.
According to local legends, before the humans arrived Dali was a swamp inhabited by breeding dragons who were believed to deliberately create natural disasters. The dragons revered pagodas, so the three pagodas were built to deter them.
We appreciate it when our guests share their stories with us and allow us to post them on our blog. Phyllis and Arnold Aho, from Marquette, MI, wrote us this short letter about their adventure in the Copper Canyon:
Thanks for (arranging) our recent trip to the Copper Canyon as independent travelers. The train was excellent and the scenery was spectacular! Our side trips to the villages of Batopilas, Cerocahui and Creel were interesting and exciting. Our overnight in Divisadero was unique. It was a great experience!
Tulúm is the site of a Pre-Columbian Maya walled city which served as a major port for Cobá (large ruined city of the Pre-Columbian Maya civilization). The Maya site, formerly known by the name Zama (meaning City of Dawn), stands on a bluff 12-meters tall, along the east coast of the Yucatán Peninsula on the Caribbean Sea. Tulúm was one of the last cities inhabited and built by the Mayas; reaching it’s peak between the 13th and 15th centuries and surviving about 70 years after the Spanish began occupying Mexico. It appears diseases brought by the Spanish settlers were the cause of Tulúm’s demise. Today Tulúm is one of the best-preserved coastal Maya sites and a popular location for tourists.
One of the most recognizable symbols of China is the Great Wall, which actually consists of numerous walls and fortifications, many running parallel to each other. Emperor Qin Shi Huang (c. 259-210 B.C.) originally conceived the wall as a means of preventing intrusion from barbarian nomads into the Chinese Empire. The Great Wall is one of the most extensive construction projects ever completed.
The Great Wall visible today largely dates from the Ming dynasty, when much of the wall was rebuilt in stone and brick, and portions were extended through challenging terrain. Some sections still remain in relatively good condition or have been renovated, while others have been damaged or destroyed, deconstructed for their building materials, or lost due to the ravages of time. For long an object of fascination for foreigners, the wall is now a revered national symbol and a popular tourist destination.
The California Native has been leading tours to exotic destinations for more than 30 years and people are always asking what our favorites are. One of our favorite trips is this wonderful journey which begins in Beijing, China, travels through Tibet and hits its high point at Mount Everest Base Camp at the top of the world. California Native’s own Lee & Ellen Klein recently revisited this adventure which now includes a visit to the Great Wall.
We appreciate it when our guests share their stories with us and allow us to post them on our blog. Jan Okumura, from Placerville, CA, wrote us this short letter about her recent bicycle adventure in Ireland:
The bike tour was incredible and met my expectation for challenging and beautiful rides. The people in the group were far more interesting than I expected. We cycled through amazingly beautiful country scenery. I loved the challenging rides. I greatly enjoyed the tour guide. It also, turned out to be a fabulous group of people on the bike tour. The weather was great! Our guide Danny was great. He was very helpful and had a delightful sense of humor. He was, also, an extremely knowledgeable person which made for great dinner table conversation. Danny was truly wonderful, I got such a kick out of him. The people in my group and the amount of time that we spent with our guide. The accommodations far exceeded my expectations. The owners of the B&B’s were wonderful. I extended my trip for 5 weeks and fell in love with the Irish people and the country’s amazing geography!