Just Back From…Tibet: Veronica Miele Beard on her latest adventure in the East
-As told to Carrie Goldberg, Harper’s Bazaar / AUG 15, 2016
Just Back From…Tibet
Trip Duration: One week.
Flight Plan: We flew business on United direct to Beijing, then began our ascent to the higher altitudes. We took a 22-hour overnight train from Xining, China (7,000 ft) to Lhasa, Tibet (12,000 ft). It’s the best way to get to Tibet and the train ride helps with adjusting to the high altitudes. The views from the train are magnificent. I never travel without my Active Argan Face Oil – it keeps your skin hydrated during a long travel day. I also keep Airborne, Aquaphor and the Simple Micellar Water Cleansing Wipes on hand – they’re a must.
Our tour group at Jokhang Temple
Tour Group: I traveled with my five kids and my mom. We booked our trip through Yampu Tours; they set up private guides in every city and take care of everything, including permits, visas and access to all attractions.
Where I Stayed: The Shangri-La Hotel in Lhasa and Gyantse Hotel in Gyantse (13,000 ft).
Best Thing I Ate: Yak is a staple in Tibet and is a part of almost everything you eat and drink. The traditional “Welcome Tea” is served daily and is made with yak butter (think of it as Tibet’s version of Bulletproof Coffee). We also ate our fair share of yak burgers!
Best Hang Out Spot: Barkhour Street, which surrounds the Jokhang Temple, the most important religious site in Tibet. The street is great for people watching and picking up souvenirs.
Best Daytime Activity: A visit to Yamdrok Lake is a must. It’s a huge lake (it takes about seven days to walk around it entirely) and is one of the most sacred sites in Tibet. The views are stunning. The trip to the lake will take you through the mountains (16,000-18,000 ft), where you can pull off and see the Tibetan Mastiffs and yaks along the road. The Mastiffs are huge–they look like lions!
The Family with a Tibetan Mastiff
Trip Highlight: I loved taking in all of the architecture and colors of the temples throughout Tibet. Everything is so rich and vibrant–down to the door handles. Tibet is also a region with history that spans thousands of years. It was important for my kids to learn about the Dalai Lama and to experience the region while it is still rich in natural resources. A highlight for me was definitely watching my New York City kids witness a truly nomadic culture.
Could not Leave Home Without: I never fly without my Veronica Beard SoCal Trench Vest and Pismo Plaid Shirt. I also always take my Sorel 1964 Premium Wedge boots on any trip where I’ll be on rough, wet terrain. For easy access to my wallet and any and everything I am carrying for the kids, I love my Readymade Official messenger bag.
Most Inspiring Aspect: The people of Tibet, hands down. We met the kindest, most beautiful people on this trip. It is customary to welcome guests with a scarf, called a Khata. It symbolizes interdependence and having an open heart, which says so much about the Tibetan people and their warm, genuine generosity.
Favorite Shopping Trip: When you’re in Tibet, make sure to bring back a gold Buddha statue– they are the best souvenirs!
Why Tibet? For 15 years, my mom and I have wanted to visit Tibet. We experienced the Tibetan culture on a trip to India in 200,1 as the Dalai Lama and many Tibetans have lived in India since 1959. The people, their clothing, food and religion were incredibly inspiring. It’s not a trip for everyone—the high altitude is not something to be taken lightly. Even after you have acclimated and eased your way into the ascent, there are stairs to climb and mountains to hike. It was an unbelievable feat to get there with the five kids in tow and my greatest hope is that they will never forget the hospitality and untouched nature we witnessed.
Read the original article in Harper’s Bazaar.