Pilgrimage FAQ Sheet


This FAQ sheet addresses questions about Jonang Foundation pilgrimage programs to Tibet in general. It is not meant to be comprehensive, but merely to serve as a reference for those considering enrollment. Please contact us with more specific questions, to learn more about the programs or to enroll at [email protected] with the word "PILGRIMAGE" in the subject line. Updated 10/30/2014.

See the Pilgrimage Main Page.

1) How physically rigorous are the pilgrimage programs?

We design our programs to accommodate persons of different ages and physical capacities. We have had participants from teenagers to those in their seventies join our trips. Each program is built with daily options to rest or partake in the explorations. There is no trekking on any of our trips. There are optional day hikes and excursions on most days. We give great care to each person's climitization and adjustment to the altitude.

Many of the trips involve some camping. We supply all the necessary comforts, including sleeping mats, toilet and shower tents, a portable dinng hall, etc. We spend these nights camping because it is the most versatile way to travel in Tibet, and because the camp sites afford us the most beautiful views.    

On many of the trips, the level of physical rigor is optional. There are usually optional day walks up to meditation caves, but nothing too strenuous. There is also inbuilt flex time, contemplative time, and time to relax in Tibet's natural world.

For many of our recent trips, we have had participants in their mid- to late sixties. There is no required trekking or climbing involved, though some trips may present that option. There may be an option to ride a horse with a horseman. 

2) What kind of physical preparation is necessary for participants? 

Once each person enrolls, we begin the preparation process. This includes preparing physically as well as mentally for the journey. The trip leader talks to each person on skype or the phone to aid this preparation and there is a group email forum setup to facilitate preparatory discussions. The altitude is one of the major factors in traveling to Tibet and one that we give a particularly heightened degree of care to. We are in conversation with each participant about what you can do to prepare. Cardiovascular exercises help and you will be recommended to take some form of altitude medicine (either herbal or allopathic).

3) Can you accommodate my dietary needs? Will vegetarian food be available?

Yes. We will be eating in restaurants and while camping, we will have our own Tibetan cooks. If persons have any dietary concerns, we are able to work with them. We regularly have participants with specific dietary needs, including food allergies.

Vegetarian food will be plentiful at each meal. In fact, it often turns out that most people are vegetarian.

4) What happens if a person gets ill during the trip? 

Persons who become ill during the trip, if it should happen, are dealt with individually. They will be cared for on a case-by-case basis. The group will continue the itinerary as planned without interruption and participants who need medical attention will  be treated immediately. 

5) How many participants are expected on each trip?

The size of each group is based on enrollment. However we keep the groups relatively small. The minimum is typically six persons. Smaller groups allow for the greatest flexibility on the ground, and the best group dynamic. 
The total group size largely depends on the speciality of each trip and the timing of when participants enroll. If there is a good sized group before the designated date of enrollment, we will close enrollment earlier.

6) When should someone sign-up to secure a spot on each pilgrimage? 

We encourage participants to enroll as soon as they have made up their mind to be a pilgrim.

Logistically, it is better to enroll early. This enables us more time to be in conversation about preparation. For each person enrolled, we setup an email group forum to ask questions, post finds, get to know each other, and to be in discussion with the group leader about getting ready for the trip. Early enrollment also enables us to gauge the group size. So, we encourage early enrollment, i.e. as early as you know you want to go and it works for you.