AnneMarie and Andrew

Annemarie and Andrew – Trekking Asia

Tibet Tour: Day 5

We left Gyantse after breakfast heading for Lhasa. We were told we’d be in Lhasa for around 6pm, a whole day in the bus, but there would be plenty of stops on the way to see some interesting sights. It was only about an hour when we reached a large reservoir. We drove along side it at breakneck pace, going into corners as far as possible and slamming the brakes on halfway through the corner when it became obvious the bus couldn’t make it at that speed. We stopped at the viewpoint and climbed to the highest point on the nearby hillside. The viewpoint had a lot of trinket sellers, they are everywhere in Tibet. They sell bracelets, necklaces, ammonites, all kinds of junk. Annemarie spotted an interesting looking tea pot. We haggled down from 120 Yuan to 60 Yuan, although I still think we paid too much and should’ve gone further.

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A little down the road we stopped by a group of houses. The yard was filled with dwarf goats (no idea what the real name is so we’ll call them dwarf goats for now).

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Goats

Baby Goat

Goats

We drove on and climbed a bit. Then out of nowhere appeared a snow covered mountain. It didn’t look any higher than the others, but it had snow on it.

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Annemarie with mini stupa

Tibetan village

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Panorama Tibetan Plains

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The ground near the road was covered with little holes and we saw the creatures running around from hole to hole. When we took a closer look we discovered they were Marmots.

Marmot

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Marmot

Further along we stopped again at the bottom of a glacier. We climbed about 50m to the top of the hill by the road.

Thawed Glacier

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After lunch we continued and the road ran alongside the Yamdrok Lake, a huge lake 45 miles long and covering 246 square miles with fresh water. It was impressively large and looked like it would never end.

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Yamdrok Lake

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Yamdrok Lake

At the end of the lake the bus climbed steeply to the final pass of our journey. The lake was at 4,400m, the top of the pass was at 5,000m. That small section of road climbed 600m. At the top we once again climbed to the top of the nearby hill to get good views of the landscape around us.

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Yamdrok Lake

Yamdrok Lake and mountains

From Kambula Pass

Kambala Pass

Kora La Pass

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Panorama Kambula Pass

From the top of the pass the road dropped about 1,000m. It was a windy and steep road with plenty of 90° and 180° corners. The bus driver still hadn’t learnt about going slow. He let the bus roll into each corner in a high gear then slammed the brakes on just before the corner. Most of the corners were next to sheer drops off the hillside. He then took each corner at the maximum possible speed. The bus often felt like it was going to roll. In addition, to get round the corners the bus had to use most of the road, if we suddenly met an oncoming vehicle we’d have to brake hard. It was a nerve racking ride to the valley floor.

In the valley floor was the Yarlung Tsangpo River which is named the Brahmaputra River further downstream. Even here the river was already large and fast flowing. Further downstream it’s one of the mightiest rivers in Asia!

Yarlung Tsangpo River

Annemarie and the Bramahputra

From there it was an hour drive to Lhasa, mainly on dual carriageway. We entered Lhasa and saw the Potala Palace on top of the hill overlooking the city. We checked into the hotel. It’s OK but it’s next door to the mosque in the Muslim area so there are the calls to prayer early in the morning. We wandered off and found a restaurant to eat in. It was a local place with no English menu and no-one spoke English. The food was OK but the bill was far higher than expected. Because we have no idea what is what on the menu we don’t know the real prices and they probably took advantage of that.

Posted from Shannan, Xizang (Tibet), China.

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