I had the great pleasure of escorting my then-84 year old mother overseas on a trips of a lifetime, 07JUN-29JUL2014 which took us to 10 or 12 countries (depending upon how you calculate their status), with the literal highlight being that of Tibet Ctrip Travel Service, run by Tony. He/family resides in Lhasa and provide bona fide specialists (SONAM) who KNOW the area and can give in-depth commentary.history of this critical part of our World. I had planned an extended tour that involved transit to Nyalam-Kodari border crossing, with the goal of a return flight from KTM to IST to IAH/home. Our arrival in Lhasa, at the altitude, resulted in being afflicted by Acute Mountain Syndrome (AMS); I acclimated but my mother did not. Tony/Tibet Ctrip took great care of us, particularly my mother. He saw to it that she had oxygen readily available and worked to ensure an easy departure to the lower altitude of KTM, even though it meant curtailing our entire Tibet tour plan.
Visiting China is a bit challenging; not only must you have a valid passport, but you must also obtain a VISA to formally enter the country (flying into/through HKG does not count). Then, if you want to go into the special autonomous territory of Tibet, you must obtain additional documentation, which is 4 separate stamps/endorsements for travel there.
My mother & I were well on our way from Beijing (transferring trains at Xi'an & Xining) when in Xining we were not permitted to re-board. Unfortunately, we had only THREE of the required FOUR, so we ended up spending a few unexpected days in that remarkable city while sorting it out with Tony. Ultimately, he sent an agent to meet us in Xining, who took us to Caojiabao Airport (XNN) and gave us maximum assistance.
Flying into Gonggar Airport (LXA) was easy, though the AMS meant I finally was able to get my mother outside in a wheelchair, where SONAM provided the 2-3 hours of transport into old-town Lhasa. Tony had arranged a superb hotel for us, which had a dynamic rooftop view of the Portala Palace/Lhasa.
Despite our not being able to complete the previously designated tour, the short amount of time we had in that fabulous community was made ever so much easier with Tony/Tibet Ctrip. This is a FIVE-STAR business, but you won't pay 5-star prices. Highly recommended--I'll use them again when I return (hopefully by bicycle)!