Throughout the months leading up to my wonderful solo trip across the Tibetan high plateau to Lhasa, my communications with Woeser were great. He answered whatever questions I had with advice, even in those areas that Road to Tibet was not responsible for. For first time travelers to this part of the world, and with so many travel restrictions in place, his honest counsel reassured me that I had an honest guide and adviser across the globe, and he helped me create an itinerary that matched exactly what I was looking for: history, monasteries and high altitude trekking. And when there was a glitch at the Beijing West Train Station that may have caused me to miss my only train west, he provided guidance over the phone...even though he was not my booking agent for that portion of the trip. That was impressive to me, in the midst of a noisy train station.
When he met me upon arrival in Lhasa, I immediately knew who he was because of his great smile and personal warmth. Everything was taken care of as I was driven to a local hotel in the wonderful Muslim Quarter. My sadness at hearing that he would not be my guide over the next five days was overtaken by my meeting Jimpa, a wonderful, energetic and peace-filled guide who was a kindred spirit in many ways.
Having spent almost a decade in a monastery, he gave me the kind of background on the history of Tibetan Buddhism, the lineage and importance of each of the Dalai Lamas, and the imagery, statues and religious landscape I was just immersed in. After our visit to the historic Ganden Monastery, we began the most physically challenging four day trek I've ever taken. Even though I trained prior to departure from Los Angeles (at sea level), there's no way to prepare your body for trekking up in the snow to the highest pass we crossed: Shogu La, at 17,220 feet. A mark of a guide that sees his duty to your comfort and not just as business, is that he was patient with me as I would stop to rest...even as these stops became more frequent the higher we climbed. But we reached the peak and I was full of emotional energy.
Throughout the rest of the trek, he, along with the cook (awesome) and Yak handler were great company even though language was a challenge that I never saw as one. Throughout the entire trek, I felt a kindred friendship that crossed borders and language. After our return to Lhasa, Woeser was there to greet us and truly wanted to know how I felt about the trip. Now you might say this was to be expected. But a key to his generosity and kindness was his concern after I left Lhasa, heading to Everest and Kathmandu, with a guide from another outfit that hardly knew any English or even one tenth of the facts I knew from my own reading. The fact I was paying alot more money for the single supplement made me even madder. And though there was nothing Woeser could do for me (naturally), his concern made me realize that I will turn to Road to Tibet as my first point of contact in arranging treks and tours in that region. I know this is a rather long recommendation, but I hope you get the sense that you should check out Road to Tibet and have the same kind of experience I did with them. Namaste.