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Night driving in Tibet

Xigaze Travel Blog

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Pilgrim moving the prayer wheels

We were fortunate to get an English speaking driver for our Toyota Landcruiser; Dong Dzu a native Tibetian who has his roots in a village just south of Lhasa. We wanted to go to Nam-Tso lake but that was impossible as we had limited time; we could get there probably but the risk of being snowed in was a too great gamble to take so we went to the Yam-Drok lake instead. Dong-Dzu our driver assured us that we could visit Yam-Drok lake and reach Shigatse the same day as there was a shortcut so we could win some time.

To get to Yam-Drok was amazing, narrow but good roads and some stellar vistas. After "climbing" comfortably to 4900m we reached Yam-Drok and it was all worth it. The lake was one the most clear azur colored lakes I have ever seen which was completed by the many colourfull prayer flags.

Prayer wheels up close and personal
Even at this far flung place there were the typical tourist touts offering prayer flags and a "kodak moment". You had to pay Y10 to get the Yak on the photo and to complete it a local would sit on the yak. We were all enchanted by the beauty of the lake we allmost forgot the time.

Overjoyed that we had seen the lake we started the ride to Shigatse but after 4hrs of driving there was still now sign that we would reach Shigatse any time soon. So we stopped in a barren and deserted place to have some noodle soup in a Tibetian owned restaurant. We were still wondering why we had to take a four wheel drive as the roads were perfect but then suddenly we take a hard left turn to take the short cut. Now we understand why we had to have a Toyota Landcruiser it's nothing more than a very bumpy dirt road in a bad condition and we were doing it night time.

This a very big monestary
Making it look like we were taking a ride on the moon. We passed some small villages and wondered how they would have looked liked in the light... sigh some really amazing photostops if you're lucky enough to pass them during daylight.

Dong Dzu tells us that it will take about one more hour to get to Shigatse via the shortcut. We hear a shriek of disbelieve from the trunk where Claire is sitting the whole ride on the shortcut. She can't take it anymore. Luckily for her we soon get on a good road and the bumpy Tibetian torture is over. We almost first hit a horse on the road and then almost some stone pilons. Thankfully the driving skills of Dong Dzu rival that of Michael Schumacher so we hit nothing.

In Shigatse we first go to the Dzong, we thought we were going to Dong's place but it's actually Tibetian for fortress. The dzong is built on a small peak so it towers above the city and we have a nice view of Shigatse and decide to walk from the fortress to the monestary. The walk is nice as we walk through the old part of Shigatse and take our time to explore the monestary.

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Pilgrim moving the prayer wheels
Pilgrim moving the prayer wheels
Prayer wheels up close and personal
Prayer wheels up close and personal
This a very big monestary
This a very big monestary
Door handle
Door handle
One of the many narrow passages in…
One of the many narrow passages i…
Monk carrying yak milk, Yuk
Monk carrying yak milk, Yuk
Monks filling their cans with water
Monks filling their cans with water
This monk is either praying or sle…
This monk is either praying or sl…
The courtyard for the monks living…
The courtyard for the monks livin…
Water well
Water well
Pilgrims visiting the monestary
Pilgrims visiting the monestary
Solar power to heat up water, but …
Solar power to heat up water, but…
Another narrow street
Another narrow street
Me in the jeep
Me in the jeep
Xigaze
photo by: mountaingirl