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One of the many highlights of our California Native 14-day Tibet Everest Explorer is a visit to the North Base Camp of Mount Everest.

California Native's Lee and Ellen Klein visit the North Base Camp at Mount Everest.

California Native’s Lee and Ellen Klein visit the North Base Camp at Mount Everest.

Mount Everest, also known in Nepal as Sagarmāthā and in Tibet as Chomolungma, is Earth’s highest mountain. It is located in the Mahalangur mountain range in Nepal and Tibet. Its peak is 29,029 ft above sea level. The international border between China and Nepal runs across Everest’s precise summit point.

For many people, the main reason that they go to Tibet is to see the amazing view of Everest’s famous North Face. The view of Everest from the Tibet side gives a clear, sweeping view of the mountain. Unlike the Nepal side of Everest, no hiking is required to reach the Tibet side of Everest. You can drive all the way to Everest Base Camp. The North Base Camp is accessed by vehicle through a 100 km road branching to the South from the Friendship Highway near Shelkar.

The only way that foreigners can go to the Tibet side of Mt. Everest is by arranging an organized tour through a tour company. There are NO exceptions. Included in our 14-day Tibet Everest Explorer are the required travel permits, tour guide, private vehicle and driver. You cannot use public transportation (ie. buses) to travel to Everest.

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.

 

Marker located at the North Base Camp

Marker located at the North Base Camp

Amazing view of Mt Everest from the North Base Camp

Amazing view of Mt Everest from the North Base Camp

Short hike to a view point along the Friendship Highway

Short hike to a view point along the Friendship Highway

The Friendship Highway

The Friendship Highway

Prayer flags along the Friendship Highway

Prayer flags along the Friendship Highway

 

We appreciate it when our guests share their stories, comments and photos with us and allow us to post them on our blog. Jirina Welch, from San Jose, California, traveled with us on our 14-day China, Tibet, Everest Adventure and wrote us this quick letter about her trip:

Hi, Lee.
As I promised, here are my comments to our trip to China. Our trip was great, well organized. All guides were professional and knowledgeable. Hotels nice and clean, personal polite and helpful.

With best regards,
Jirina Welch
San Jose, CA

Johang Temple in Lhasa Tibet.

Johang Temple in Lhasa Tibet.

Tibetan monks

Tibetan monks

Other statues were part of the Terracotta Army including war horses and carriages.

Terracotta Warriors

The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China

 

California Native’s Lee & Ellen Klein in a group standing in front of the Potala Palace.

California Native’s Lee & Ellen Klein in a group standing in front of the Potala Palace.

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.

 

Lee Klein climbing the entrance steps to the palace.

Lee Klein climbing the entrance steps to the palace.

Yellow-painted courtyard known as a Deyangshar separates the living quarters with the Red Palace.

Yellow-painted courtyard known as a Deyangshar separates the living quarters with the Red Palace.

Ellen Klein walks among a group in the beautiful palace grounds.

Ellen Klein walks among a group in the beautiful palace grounds.

This large stone is dedicated to the Dali Lama and the palace.

This large stone is dedicated to the Dali Lama and the palace.

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.

Buddhist monks walk the courtyard of Jokhang Temple

Buddhist monks walking in the courtyard of Jokhang Temple

Courtyard of Jokhang Temple

Courtyard of Jokhang Temple

Tibeten singing bowls

Tibetan singing bowls

Upper section of Jokhang Temple

Upper section of Jokhang Temple

Monks of Jokhang Temple

Monks of Jokhang Temple

Upper view of the Jokhang Temple courtyard

Upper view of the Jokhang Temple courtyard

The Fall/Winter 2008 edition of The California Native newsletter is now in the mail. The newsletter, published by The California Native since 1984, has more than 10,000 readers (not counting those who download from the web). If you are not already a subscriber to this free newsletter you can signup now.

This issues feature stories include:

CALIFORNIA NATIVES FOLLOW THE TEA HORSE ROADA centuries-old monastery overlooks the town of Shangra-La, along the ancient Tea-Horse Road on The California Native China Tours
“My grandfather dipped his silver bracelet into the water, to make sure it was not poisoned,” related Chen Dong Mei, her eyes sparkling as she related stories of her grandfather who drove horses along the historical Tea Horse Road. The tea horse road, leading from Jing Hong, China, to Llhasa in Tibet, has been a major trade route for almost 5000 years.

THE BOWMEN FROM BHUTANIn Bhutan, the national sport is archery and you can visit this Himalayan Kingdom on The California Native Bhutan Tours
Dancing about and shouting sexual insults at the opposing team, Bhutanese sports fans enjoy their favorite pastime, which is, of all things, archery!

COPPER CANYON TRIPS FEATURED IN NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC PUBLICATION
A new book, published by National Geographic, features The California Native’s tours through Mexico’s Copper Canyon.

THE LADY OF GUADALUPE
Throughout Mexico, in churches, roadside shrines, restaurants,  and automobile decals, the Virgin of Guadalupe is a sacred icon for both Catholic faith and nationalism.

TELL THEM TO “GO TO XIBALBA”The artifact of a Mayan diety warns us of the Mayan 'Place of Fear' on The California Native Yucatan Tours
It is the darkest place in Mayan lore, the underworld, the Place of Fear. It is ruled by the spirits of disease and death. And archaeologists believe that it actually existed in a series of underground chambers and passages.

THE MISSING SOLDIERS OF ALBERMARLE ISLAND
“The day was overpoweringly hot, and the lake looked clear and blue; I hurried down the cindery slope, and choked with dust, eagerly tasted the water—but, to my sorrow, I found it salt as brine.” So wrote Charles Darwin in The Voyage of the Beagle. Sixty-five years later, in 1904, eleven soldiers disappeared in the unforgiving landscape of Albermarle (Isabella) Island, the largest island in the Galapagos Archipelago.

CALIFORNIA NATIVE ADVENTURES
The newsletter also includes schedules, prices and descriptions of California Native’s tours to Mexico’s Copper Canyon, Peru, the Galapagos, Patagonia, Costa Rica, Yucatan and Chiapas, Myanmar (Burma) and Laos, Bhutan, Yunnan, China, and Ireland.