Night driving in Tibet
Xigaze Travel Blog› entry 5 of 27 › view all entries
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.
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.
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.