AnneMarie and Andrew

Annemarie and Andrew – Trekking Asia

Tibet Tour: Day 3

Tibet Tour: Day 3


Posted on May 20, 2014

We left Lhatse heading for Shigatse, the second largest city in Tibet. The bus climbed out of Lhatse and it wasn’t long before we were stopping on the top of a prayer flag shrouded mountain again. This pass was 4,530m above sea level. Beside the car park were some steps up to the top of the hill. Annemarie and I were fine and two German guys also made it up, no-one else attempted the short climb. The drive to Shigatse was a sleepy one. We spent most of the morning dozing on and off due to the lack of sleep from the night before. We weren’t alone, almost everyone on the bus hadn’t slept properly and were thus sleeping on the bus. We reached Shigatse at 11:30am and were taken to the hotel. This was a surprise, it was a proper hotel. We had a room with carpets, decent beds, tables, wardrobes, en-suite, etc. At midday we got back on the bus and went to a restaurant for lunch. Again it was a tourist orientated restaurant, higher prices, knife and forks and plenty of western dishes on the menu. Most people opted for western dishes but Annemarie went for a Tibetan dish. It was very sweet but nice. I had green peppers and pork with a spicy sauce. After lunch we walked to the Tashilhunpo Monastery. This is one of the most important monasteries in Tibet. It is the seat of the Panchen Lama, the second highest ranking Lama, after the Dalai Lama. The monastery was founded in 1447 and has been the seat of the Panchen Lama ever since, gradually expanding with each successive Lama. Most of the monastery was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution, when the Chinese seemed to go mad and destroy most of their history plus torture and kill huge numbers of their fellow countrymen. The monastery was saved from total destruction because the Panchen Lama had stayed in Tibet and was under the yoke of the Chinese. He was probably able to broker a deal to ensure the temple still stood. Once we’d been taken around the temple we were free to do what we wanted. This was a surprise. We had always thought that in Tibet groups had to stay together at all times, but the rules have been relaxed. We could wander wherever we wanted, alone or in groups. We decided to explore the old town of Shigatse then head up the hillside to the Shigatse Dzong (fort) which is a massive fort on the hillside overlooking the city. It is an imposing sight and so we had to visit it. Unfortunately,...

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Tibet Tour: Day 2

Tibet Tour: Day 2


Posted on May 20, 2014

This was going to be a long day and all of it was going to be on the bus! The day before we’d stopped in Zhangmu on the Tibet-Nepal border, instead of travelling for another couple of hours up the road to Nyalam. This meant two things, firstly we had an extra two hours of driving on what was already an all day drive. Secondly, is the rapid altitude gain. The most important rule of altitude is that once above 2,800m you must not sleep more than 300-500m higher than the night before. Ascending rapidly can cause altitude sickness, mild altitude sickness can take the form of a headache, nausea, sickness and in moderate/severe cases your lungs filling with liquid, bad altitude sickness can lead to HAPE which is fatal if untreated immediately. Nyalam is situated at 3,700m above sea level and although that would have been a dangerous altitude gain on the first day (900m) it wouldn’t be as dangerous as going from Zhanhmu (2,300m) to Lhatse (4,100m) in a single day. We would be gaining 1,300m above the threshold in a day, an extremely dangerous plan! And we had people on the tour who hadn’t trekked and hadn’t acclimatised to any altitude. (As a side note we will be complaining to the tour organiser about this reckless disregard to altitude). We left Zhangmu at 9am. For two hours the bus drove along a road literally hanging off the side of vertical cliffs. The valley was long and deep and we were constantly climbing for all of the 2 hours. At one point we saw a huge mass of prayer flags and asked to get out and take a look. The flags were over a side valley and the road was on a bridge to cross this valley. I looked over the edge of the bridge and couldn’t believe how high we were, it must have been 300m+. My legs went weak with the height! After a couple of hours driving the scenery had changed from the green of the valley to a yellowish, dry landscape with only a little plant life. Just a dry, stoney, desert like landscape. We had reached Nyalam and already gained a lot of altitude! Just after Nyalam the traffic was stopped. The road had disintegrated in a landslide and a bulldozer was blocking the road while another vehicle pulled loose stones from the hillside before unblocking the road of boulders. The landslide must have been very recent. We were stopped there for about 90 minutes, putting us even further behind schedule. From here we drove for hours through the desert landscape. It...

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