Join Us in Tibet in Summer, 2011!

Dream of the Turquoise Bee Tibet Presentations in the United States
Travel with international speaker, Dianne Aigaki, into Eastern Tibet . Her photos and expertise give us a window into 21st century Tibet —its incredible beauty and the dilemma of a society experiencing cultural marginalization for more than 60 years. Yak herding, village ceremonies, wildflower meadows filled with endangered and medicinal plants, nuns debating, monks imprisoned for writing Free Tibet, searching for the Tibetan blue poppy at 16,000 feet altitude, and Chinese government plans to relocate 100,000 nomads into modern cities. It’s all part of this show.

Aigaki shows how her botanical illustration project of flora growing at 11,000-18,000 ft altitude and eco-tourism partnership with villagers (Dream of the Turquoise Bee Tours) weave into the lives of local Tibetans, encouraging preservation of local flora and passing on of the oral tradition of plant medicines. The projects generate income for poor families, support for an ancient nunnery, the Every Child Goes to School Fund, and health care for frail, elderly Tibetans. 

April 8 (Friday) 6:00-8:00pm
Lavin-Bernick Center Race Room 201
Tulane University
Part of the 7th Annual Tibetan Cultural Festival (April 7-10) at Tulane


May 4 (Wednesday) 4:30-6:30pm
Boynton Health Care Center
University of Minnesota
Part of the Activities of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Visit to Minneapolis May, 2011

Visit Us at the Himalayan Festival
at Live Oak Park in Berkeley
May 14 (10am-7pm) and May 15 (10am-5:30pm)
1301 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley

An unparalleled experience for botanical illustrators, photographers,
landscape painters, botanists, ethnobotanists, outdoor enthusiasts, spiritual seekers,
those whose life dream has always been to travel to Tibet.

Cost: $5,400 / person (Before January 1, 2011)
Cost: $5,900 / person (After January 1, 2011)

Includes all transportation from the time of your arrival at our hotel in Chengdu, our start-off point for the Tibetan Plateau, meals and accommodations, tickets for entry into events,
fees for guides and support staff.

Does not include airfare to Chengdu, China, where we will begin our journey into Tibet;
personal items or tips for staff.

For more information, contact:

Since 2000, Leading Quality Eco-Tourism Tours to Asia

"Our tour to Tibet with Dianne exceeded my expectations. I do not hesitate in recommending Dianne and her tours to anyone. She is a remarkable person. Not only were the places and people we met along the way incredible and moving (spending the night at the ancient nunnery was so magical, we plan to return as volunteers), but traveling with her was equally wonderful. I cannot say enough good things about her. She is a person of the utmost integrity- creative and flexible; our safety and sense of security was her first focus, interwoven with a great adventure. She listened to us and was flexible in changing the schedule to accommodate us. Dianne's warmth and compassion shined through in all her interactions with the people we met and stayed with along the way of our journey. She started out as our tour guide and very quickly became our friend."
---Ric Rosow, Minneapolis, MN

monks arriving
Click Above Image to Join Us on You Tube

These journeys are designed for far-sighted, self-reliant individuals with keen inquiring minds. At the same time, the tours are designed to be fun, relaxing and a travel partnership of joy for all who come along. We provide the options, you set your own pace. As such, the purpose of our journey is three-fold: 1) To allow you an unparalleled opportunity to travel into Tibet and explore the flora, and fauna of this endangered expanse of the world; 2) To experience Tibet and its people at this critical time in history--when they are on the cusp of leaping into the modern world; and 3) To have unique experiences with local Tibetans, seeing how their lives work, and making life-long friends with people from this fascinating culture. We will bear witness to the Tibetan experience in the 21st Century.

Tibetian poppy

Click Above Image for Botanical Tour Video

Tour 1: Botanical Illustration Plus Sacred Sites and Traditions Focus
June 19 to July 5, 2011
15 guests maximum
Our theme for this tour will be botanical illustration.
Those who wish will be able to take classes in sketching and painting
the magnificent wildflowers and other flora of the Tibetan Plateau.
This tour is for the beginner with no art experience
as well as for professional botanical illustrators.

monks sitting along wall

Click Above Image for Photography Tour Video

Tour 2: Photography Plus Sacred Sites and Traditions Focus
July 9 to July 26, 2011

15 guests maximum
Our Photography Guide: Russell Monk noted world-wide traveler, adventurer and professional photographer. Each day, Russell will guide us in taking photos (portraits, landscapes, life in the villages and along the byways of Tibet) and facilitate individual and group critiques.

Click Above Image for Sacred Sites Tour Video

Tour 3: Sacred Sites and Traditions Focus
July 31-August 16, 2011

15 guests maximum
Our Guide: Lobsang Tsering, former monk from Gyudmed Tantric Monastry in South India.
He will provide a rare insider's insight into the rituals, symbolism, and societal links to Tibetan Buddhism.

On Tour #3, we are pleased to partner with Sacred Sites International Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of sacred sites and their traditional cultures. A portion of each tour fee is a tax-deductible donation to Sacred Sites International.

Painting of Lancea tibetica
from Mountains Near
Oh Szang Village (Aigaki, 2007)


Tour #1: Botanical Illustration Plus Sacred Sites and Traditions   (17 days)

The Dream of the Turquoise Bee Botanical Illustration Tour to Kham, Tibet
affords a select group of people the opportunity to travel to eastern Tibet, explore the rivers, meadows and high mountain passes for Tibetan flora—rare, endangered and common. Staying in traditional Tibetan tents, we will journey out each day to collect flowers, sketch and paint them, creating journals and notebooks of our exploration. When we tire of the glory of the meadows (is that possible?), we’ll visit Tibetan orphanages, monasteries and nunneries, temples and sacred sites, bathe in hot springs, shop for antiquities, go to traditional Tibetan dance festivals, and share meals with local Tibetan families.

The Travelers on the Botanical Illustration Tour Will:

  • Receive special individual and group instruction each day in sketching and painting the wildflowers of the Tibetan Plateau
  • Use microscopes, magnifying glasses and special resource books to create stunningly accurate and stunningly beautiful illustrations and paintings of the plants of Tibet
  • Learn about the medicinal qualities of the plants
  • Go on easy to difficult hikes (depending on the physical strength and interest of the guests) to search for the rare and unusual plants
  • Hike and horseback ride at sacred lakes searching for special flowers
  • Spend afternoons and evenings for all of the other adventures of Tibet, including visits to monasteries and nunneries, festivals, spending time in villages with families; shopping in the villages and towns; bathing in hot springs; going to the Derge Parkhang printing facility

Tour #2: Photography Plus Sacred Sites and Traditions (17 days)
The Dream of the Turquoise Bee Photography Tour 
with leader Russell Monk will improve your photographic skills, your eye for portraiture, landscape, and your relationship to the light, color and visual experience surrounding you. We will begin our days with photographic expeditions to meadows, villages, orphanages, monasteries and nunneries, temples and sacred sites. We will bathe in hot springs, shop for antiquities, go to traditional Tibetan dance festivals, and share meals with local Tibetan families.

The Travelers on the Photography Tour Will:

    • Have the opportunity to receive individual guidance as well as participate in individual and group critiques of work.
    • Spend time with local Tibetan people and their families; Nomads; Monks and nuns living at spiritual centers; Artisans and craftspeople who work in leather, cloth, silver, gold; Master thangka (Tibetan spiritual paintings) painters.
    • Dine and play with families from Oh Szang Village who will be our camp logistics coordinators and back-up for the journey.
    • Travel out into the villages, countrysides, and sacred areas to have the full range of experiences to connect with the Tibetans and their culture ensuring that this will be the most exceptional journey of your life

Tour #3: Sacred Sites and Traditions (17 days)
The Dream of the Turquoise Bee Sacred Sites and Traditions Tour with focus on the centuries-old sacred traditions of Tibet. Leader Lobsang Tsering will give daily teachings about meditation, spiritual practice, and Buddhist symbolism. He will be our inside connection to the religious scholars at the nunneries and monasteries, providing knowledge about Tibetan Buddhism as it is being practiced in the Tibet of 2011. A Buddhist monk for 25 years, he will give us insight into the similarities and differences between monastic life in exile and monastic life in Tibet.

The Travelers on the Sacred Sites and Traditions Tour Will:

  • Have the opportunity to receive special blessings from high lamas and ask for guidance with personal and spiritual questions
  • Hike around sacred lakes and mountains
  • Learn the symbolism and details of Tibetan spiritual paintings (thangkas) and mandalas
  • Participate with local villagers and nomads as they perform morning purification rituals, circumambulate village chortens and mani walls, and attend teachings with their local lamas
  • Spend 1-2 days/nights at nunneries and monasteries, participating in meals, morning and evening prayer sessions, watching debate practice, meditating in the sacred temples, circumambulating the mandalas and chortens, attending rituals and ceremonies
  • Visit the private shrine rooms of local villagers and nomads, learning about their family connections to ancient thangkas, malas (rosaries), and their family spiritual history
  • Watch as Buddhist texts and prayer flags are printed at an ancient monastery

Additional Activities of Interest on All Three Tours:

  • Cooking Classes: Tibetan cooking classes can be arranged for as few as three people, or if you wish you can help Khandro, our Tibetan cook in the tent camp, prepare lunch or dinner and learn while you hang out.
  • Festivals: We will try to coordinate time at festivals and horse races, which occur on flexible schedules during the summer months.
  • Horse Back Riding: Those who wish can go by horse into the mountains and on longer treks to search for wildflowers and on pleasant day excursions. Hot Springs: There are a number of hot springs in the area where we will be traveling. We will stop there for a break and for lunch and go to more establish Hot Springs Bath Houses for showers and relaxation.
  • Meditation Walks: Join local Tibetans as they carry their prayer beads on morning or evening walks and circle the village stupas, and pilgrimage sites; a great way to start or finish your days in Tibet.
  • Monasteries and Nunneries: Every community we are near has a major monastery and nunnery; those who wish can visit one or all of these sites of Tibetan Buddhism. The spiritual centers are hundreds of years old, and have in recent years been restored after destruction during the Chinese Cultural Revolution.
  • Sacred Lake of Yi-Lhun Latso: We will spend the day hiking, horseback riding, sketching and photographing at one of the most spectacular glacier lakes in Tibet.
  • Shopping: Almost every village and town has a plethora of stores and individuals selling Tibetan antiques; prayer beads; purses; ivory and silver handled knives; jewelry; gorgeous silk cloth and brocades; silver; coral, turquoise and amber beads of all sizes; bronze and brass ladles, pots and pans, wooden and silver bowls, paintings, children’s clothing, etc.
  • Yak Herding: We will spend the day with the local yak herders taking those shaggy beasts to the mountains. The day will include all that yak herders do--sleeping in the wildflower meadows, tea breaks, jumping rope, wrestling, and and, of course, laughing.