Jack Graham Photography
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“HIDDEN CHINA” June 20-July 4 2012
TIBET (optional) July 4- July 11 2012 ………….. NOT you average China Photo Tour!
NOTE:——-This tour is officially a “go”. We have a few limited seats left. Due to the nature of this tour, the group size is very small.
It is almost impossible to describe this experience. For almost 2 ½ years now Katherine Feng and I have put together this once in a lifetime experience that we are offering this summer. Yes, there are many tours to the usual parts of China but few if any that will venture far, into the “hidden”, areas of the northwestern part of China, by the “Old Silk Road”, and beyond. Other locations and features of this workshop that we are offering are exceedingly unique having not experienced by few visitors. We can offer this experience based on relationships between the people of the area and us. We’ll get to see the inner places and even some rituals that are rare to westerners. Please take a minute and read the information below, you will soon see what I am talking about.
Katherine and I will be there by your side to aid in our photographic experience. This will be made to discuss many aspects of photography and review our images. I am lucky to have Katherine Feng as my associate leader. I met Katherine at a NANPA ( www.nanpa.org ) summit a few years ago. This workshop has been 2 1/2 years in preparation; Katherine has been to this region many times, knows the area well and has met many people there that will aid us in getting images that few westerners have been privy to witness. I have been to China many times as well.
We have chosen Strabo Tours as our workshop tour company. They specialize in international workshops and work closely with Chinese tour agencies in order to make sure that everything (and I mean everything) goes smoothly. Strabo Tours is known as the premier tour organization, specializing in International Photographic Tours for many years. You can contact them directly Phone: (607) 756-8676 or Email them at: email@example.com (ask for Jacquie Steedle) with very specific questions and you’ll get answers. If this workshop were going just to Beijing, Shanghai or the regularly visited areas in China, we still would need to make sure that we are going to have an uneventful trip, but since we are going to areas that, to my knowledge few if any tours have ever gone, it is doubly important. We have, along with Strabo Tours made this happen. They take care of everything. You just need to show up and let us take you to places beyond belief!
………………In other words, this is NOT you average China Photo Tour…………., it’s Hidden China!
Our complete itinerary and pertinent information can be located by clicking on this link: http://www.phototc.com/tours/tour.php?tour=152 or read on……
Day by itineraries, food concern, and hotel information is included. Everything, including tips is included, from your arrival into Beijing to your departure out of Beijing.
We are including an optional number of days in beautiful Tibet.as well (See Below)
People say that certain things are a one in a lifetime experience. I can guarantee that this excursion is that and more.
This is a very small tour due to our specified itineries. Please do not hesitate in booking your space. There are only a few seats left. Again, you can contact me or Strabo Tours for further information, however all deposits and booking MUST go through Strabo Tours: (Contact info below)
Thank you for considering this once in a lifetime trip!——Jack
BEIJING We’ll start with Beijing a vast city, measuring fifty miles from end to end, with a population of over thirteen million. It has long been a political center of China. Our trip will include some of the Beijing’s most historic and photogenic sites.
The Forbidden City (Imperial Palace): The home and center of the Ming and Qing dynasties; it is now the largest and best-preserved cluster of ancient buildings in China.
Tiananmen Square: Directly opposite of the Forbidden City, this was a meeting place and location for government offices in imperial times and has been the site of major rallies during communist rule.
The Temple of Heaven: Considered highly sacred ground, it was here that the emperor performed the major ceremonial rites of the year. The Temple of Heaven has become the icon of Beijing.
Purple Bamboo Park: We will make an early morning excursion to one of Beijing’s most beautiful and popular parks. Here we will have the opportunity to photograph the local people as they exercise, sing and dance.
Beijing Hutong: We will spend a morning aboard a rickshaw riding through a local hutong. A hutong is an ancient city alley or lane typical in Beijing. As we travel we will visit a local home and photograph the life around one of Beijing’s best preserved hutongs.
The Great Wall: Considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Great Wall was begun over 2,000 years ago. It is over 3,000 miles long, crossing five provinces and two autonomous regions. We will visit this famous structure at the less crowded Mutianyu section for the late afternoon light.
Kashgar: Located in the western part of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in northwest China, Kashgar was once a major hub of the famous silk road. Today, the city covers an area of 15 km² and has a population of about 350,000. Although Kashgar is experiencing rapid modernization, it still maintains many of its exotic characteristics. The largest ethnic community in Kashgar are the Uyghurs and Islamic culture permeates throughout the city. To many visitors, Kashgar is a ‘photographer’s banquet’. Several scenes in the movie ‘The Kite Runner’ were filmed in Kashgar. We will spend three full days in and around Kashgar photographing must see/experience highlights.
Id Kah Mosque and the surrounding old town: The Id Kah Mosque was built about 1442 with parts of it dating back to 996. Today it covers 16,800 square meters, is the largest mosque in China and can accommodate 20,000 worshippers. Behind Id Kah Mosque is the arts and crafts street where artisans can be seen making musical instruments, wood crafts and copper ware. Kashgar’s Old Town is a Uyghur residential area that has a history of over 2000 years. Today it has more than 600 homes with over 2000 inhabitants. Because the government considers the Old Town to be overcrowded and unsafe, homes are in the process of being demolished to allow for construction of newer, more modern dwellings.
Live Stock Market and Kashgar Bazaar: Every Wednesday, in a small town about 15km from Kashgar, a livestock and general market day takes place. During our visit you can experience and photograph the bustling activity as farmers transport their animals and barter over the price of their livestock. With the exception of motorized vehicles and cell phones, one can imagine themselves stepping back in time. The Kashgar Bazaar is held in a huge covered structure with vendors spilling out onto the surrounding streets. Dried fruits, spices, ethnic clothing, rugs, handicrafts are common stalls to visit, but colorful bolts of cloth, shoes and even hi-tech items are amply available.
Tashkurgan (also spelled Tashkorgan): Meaning ‘Stone Fortress’ Tashkorgan is located in Xinjiang’s extreme western area and is situated between the Kunlun and Pamir Mountain Ranges. The Stone City was famous for its location at the junction of the middle and southern routes of the ancient Silk Road and for the Chinese arriving from Kashgar and Yarkand, it was the end of the Silk Road. Today, the majority of the inhabitants are Tajik who are known for their warmth and hospitality. We will have an opportunity to photograph the ruins of the old fortress which was also filmed in the ‘Kite Runner’.
As we travel the Karakorum Highway to Tashkurgan we will visit beautiful Karakul Lake. At an elevation of 3,600meters, Karakul Lake is the highest lake in the Pamir Plateau and is situated near the junction of the Pamir, Kulun and Tianshan mountain ranges. We will also have outstanding views of the Kongger Mountain Range and the imposing Muztagh Ata. Muztagh Ata, with an elevation of 7546 meters ( 24,860 ft) is the origin of 5 glaciers (thus the name Muztagh which means the Father of Ice Mountains).
OPTIONAL TIBET:——————-The highlights of Tibet
When someone mentions Tibet, many thoughts come to mind: Buddhist monasteries and monks, the Dali Lama, Tibetan pilgrims, incense and some of the highest mountains in the world! Your extension will allow you to see and photograph some of the beast scenery and culture that Tibet has to offer. Highlights include
Autonomous Region. Located at an elevation of 3,490 meters (11.450 ft) it is one of the highest capitols in the world. Lhasa covers an area of about 20.5 sq mi and has a total population of over 1 million. During our stay in Lhasa we will visit the following highlights:
Potala Palace: The Potala Palace was the chief residence of the Dalai Lama until 14th Dalai Lama fled to India in 1959. The Palace consist of 13 stories of building and contains over 1,000 rooms. Today the Potala Palace is a museum often receiving 1500 visitors a day.
Deprung Monastery: This Monastery is located 5km outside of Lhasa and is one of the four great Gelugpa Monasteries in Tibet. It was once Tibet’s largest and most influential monastery.
Sera Monastery: Also one of the three great monasteries in Lhasa and of the Gelugpa sect, Sera Monastery is located in the northern suburb of Lhasa. One of the highlights of Sera Monastery is the courtyard debating practice sessions held by the monks most afternoons.
Jokhang Temple: Located on the Barkhor Square, the Jokhang Temple is the most sacred and important temple in Tibet. It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site and the spiritual center of Lhasa.
Barkhor Circuit/Street: Surrounding the Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Street is a major part of a Buddhist’s pilgrimage to Lhasa. While the street is now lined with shops and vendors, pilgrims, prayer wheels in hand, continue to make their circuit along this street.
Shigazte: The second largest city in Tibet, the highlight of Shigatze is the Tashilhunpo Monastery which was founded by the First Dalai Lama in 1447. It covers an area of nearly 300,000 sq. meters (3,229,279 sq. ft), has about 3,600 rooms and is home to approximately 800 monks. Tashilhunpo Monastery is a wonderful place to wander, photograph and interact with the monks and pilgrims.
Gyantse: Gyantse is home to the Palkhor Monastery (also known as the Pelkor Chöde Monastery). This monastery which was founded in 1418 and was once a complex of 15 monasteries that brought together 3 different orders of Tibetan Buddhism. Today, the main attraction is the Gyantse Kumbum, the largest chörten in Tibet. The structure rises 35meters over four stories surmounted by a golden dome that resembles a crown over four sets of eyes.
Yamdrok Yumtso Lake: Located almost midway between Gyantze and Lhasa, Yamdrok
Yumtso Lake is one of the three largest sacred lakes in Tibet. It is over 45 miles long and surrounded by many snow- capped mountains.
What To Expect
This tour is designed to be a photo tour, and, as such, we must be flexible in our scheduling. Much of what we do,(and when we do it), will depend upon weather and light. We will, however, visit the major sites listed in each city.
While it is hoped that all tour members will join the group on scheduled activities, there will also be opportunities for optional early-morning excursions. These excursions may require additional public/ground transportation not covered in the tour cost. These costs (such as a taxi ride, for example) can be shared, but will be the responsibility of those tour members joining the excursion.
China has made great strides in tourist accommodations and services in recent years, but please remember that it is still a developing country, so we may experience occasional inconveniences. All our accommodations will be clean and comfortable, with private toilet and shower/bath. The hotels have been chosen for your comfort as well as their proximity to prime photographic locations. Our motor coaches will be modern, clean, and comfortable.
There may also be some optional activities that may present themselves during the course of our trip which are not included in the itinerary. The activities will be available at your discretion, for a small charge, and dependent upon the cooperation of the local weather.
In the areas we will visit within the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region the majority of the people are Muslim (Uyghurs, Tajiks, Krygiz) and they do not eat pork. Therefore, most of our meals will have mutton as our main source of meat. This is especially true once we leave Kashgar (where we will be able to have chicken and beef).
Also, the towns and cities outside of Kashgar are relatively unknown to western tourists and can therefore be lacking in modern western conveniences. Restaurants will be simple country restaurants. Outside of our hotels, toilet facilities are often Asian squat toilets (that is, no western sit-down toilet). During our travels, sometimes behind a large rock, shrub or tree will be the best place to relieve one-self. It is hoped that participants will overlook the lack of western comforts with the knowledge that they will have unique experiences and photographic opportunities unlike that of any other photo tour offered.
Health and Fitness
Tour participants should be in good health and good physical condition. Although we will not be running marathons, we will be walking along the Great Wall for a mile or so, which involves some rather steep steps in places. While in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonmous Region, our travels will take us to Karakul Lake with an elevation of 3600 meters (11,800ft), briefly over a mountain pass with an elevation of about 4000 meters (13,000 ft) and we will spend two nights in Tashkurgan at an elevation of about 3100 meters (10,000ft). People not accustomed to these elevations may feel a shortness of breath. For those who are concerned about how these elevations might affect their health, it is recommended that they first consult their physician prior to signing up for this photo tour.
Tour land cost: $7,995 US Dollars based upon minimum of 10 paying participants. There is a small group surcharge of $400 if 8-9 paying participants. All our program prices are based on double occupancy unless noted in exceptions.
Single room supplement: $1,145; single rooms are subject to availability and are not guaranteed. We try to accommodate travelers who request single accommodations, as well as travelers who are looking for a roommate. If a single room is requested, or if we are unable to find a suitable roommate, you will be required to pay the supplement.
Extension land cost: $3,695 based upon minimum of 8 paying participants. There is a small group surcharge of $300 if 6-7 paying participants.
Single room supplement: $345; single rooms are subject to availability and are not guaranteed.
Note: The land costs on international tours are based upon current exchange rates. Although the rate has been relatively stable, should it change, there may need to be an adjustment in the land cost.