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To Gyangze (aka Gyantse) 12956'

Gyangze Travel Blog

 › entry 9 of 24 › view all entries
Joel, Kevin, Jan and I and our 4WD before leaving Lhasa
We were met by our two 4WD drivers Tashi and Robu at the hotel this morning, and headed off Gyantse. The 6 of us split into 2 cars or 2 and 4, with our guide sharing the car with the smaller party. Following the Kyi Chu (Lhasa River) to Tsangpo, then ascend to Khampa La (15700'). This took more about 1 hour, then we were looking down at the turquoise water of Yamdrok Lake. It was really pretty. There were many locals with big Tibetan dogs, wearing a fur collar, posing for photos (for a small fee like 5RMB). There were also yaks all dressed up, you can pay for a little ride! When I first saw a photo of montaingirl on travbuddy and dogs at Yomdrok lake, I thought these dogs had real long fur! But these are special collars they put on the dogs to make them look more impressive.
A young yak at the back of a truck as we left Lhasa
I took some photos and also posed with a dog and a yak and its owner. A word on toilet facility here, I have it on good authority from Kristin who had seen LOTS of them on this trip, that the 2RMB entry fee for the port-a-potty toilet here was real deluxe and more than worth it! We will have more to say about toilets later...

Then we headed back the way we came. Because the road past Yamdrok Lake to Gyangze was under construction and closed. Our guide had brought picnics for us, and we had a view of the valley below while we had our lunch. There were many holes around where we sat on the mountain side, supposedly rats or  something similar lived there, but we didn't see any of them.
A bridge over Lhasa River


We decended the pass and headed west. The roads here were still paved, and they had an interesting system for controlling the speed of cars via checkpoints. You get a piece of paper saying when you were at such and such checkpoint, and you can NOT be at the next point before a certain amount of time had passed. So if you drove too fast, you had to wait before you got to the next checkpoint! It's not practical to have highway patrol with speed radars here, so I thought this was a clever system.

At one such stops along the way near a small town, I got out to stretch, and decided to do some yoga. Before I knew it, a bunch of kids had gathered around to watch me, giggling and probably saying what a strange woman I was. Then I took out my small digital camera and snapped a photo of them.
Lhasa River
They got all excited, and wanted to see it and also wanted to have their photos taken. So I would snap a photo, and showed it to the kids, and they would all giggle and laugh. Then I took out my polaroid camera, and took some more photos of the kids. We even managed to arrange them into a group shot. The wait was over, and we went back on the road before I was completely overtaken by the kids.

We made another stop by a river, where  we saw incense making in progress. This was in fact an incense making factory. They would buy the wood for making incense from far away (not many trees in this part of Tibet!), and they used water power to drive these primitive but effective machines to pound the wood to pulp! The pulp pile would grow and grow to taller than a person.
At the Khampa La 15700 feet!
Then they would take the pulp and form them into sticks and dry them by the river bank.

We took a "shortcut" through some village and were in 4WD country. After a while, we saw these huge sand dunes! We stopped and walked on top of the sand dunes, amazed at where all this sand came from. I heard several theories, some said they were carried over the Himalayans by the wind, others said the sands were always here in Tibet, but left over from when it was in the bottom of the ocean! Whatever the source, there were a lot of sand dunes in Tibet and they were very beautiful.

We arrived at the city of Gyangze just before the sun went below the mountains, with its last rays hitting the Dzong  at Gyangze, it was such a great view. We stopped the car on the side of the road, and I attempted severala photos.
Me and a Tibetan dog pose at Khampa La overlooking Yamdrok Lake
This was where I dropped my sunglasses, by the time I realized it the next morning, the people who found them in a car behind us had left for Lhasa. Bye bye sunglassses. Luckily Kristin had a spare pair which she generously loaned me so I would not be blinded by the strong lights in Tibet!

We also had a great view of the walls of the Palkor Choide Lamasery before heading into Gyangze.
Gyangze was historically the 3rd largest city in Tibet (after Lhasa and Xigaze). After dinner at the hotel, we took a walk around town, there was not that much in terms of evening entertainment. Although many shops were still open. A woman from a candy store talked to me and she was from the coastal province of my ancestors.  It's a long way for someone to move to Tibet to make a living.

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Joel, Kevin, Jan and I and our 4WD…
Joel, Kevin, Jan and I and our 4W…
A young yak at the back of a truck…
A young yak at the back of a truc…
A bridge over Lhasa River
A bridge over Lhasa River
Lhasa River
Lhasa River
At the Khampa La 15700 feet!
At the Khampa La 15700 feet!
Me and a Tibetan dog pose at Khamp…
Me and a Tibetan dog pose at Kham…
A panorama of Yamdrok Lake, trying…
A panorama of Yamdrok Lake, tryin…
Panorama of Yamdrok lake
Panorama of Yamdrok lake
Me and the yak lady
Me and the yak lady
I was walking along the road above…
I was walking along the road abov…
Yaks on the mountain side
Yaks on the mountain side
A stone cairn near our picnic site
A stone cairn near our picnic site
Kevin and Kristin adding to the st…
Kevin and Kristin adding to the s…
Jan and Joel interrupted at lunch
Jan and Joel interrupted at lunch
View of Tibetan countryside
View of Tibetan countryside
Tibetan farmland with crops
Tibetan farmland with crops
More farmland
More farmland
One of the checkpoints for speed c…
One of the checkpoints for speed …
the machine and the wooden hammers…
the machine and the wooden hammer…
A big pile of wood pulp for making…
A big pile of wood pulp for makin…
By a river in Tibet, a water powe…
Watching clothes at the river
Watching clothes at the river
Kids gather when I amused them wit…
Kids gather when I amused them wi…
Kids watching me
Kids watching me
Kids love being photographed by di…
Kids love being photographed by d…
Walking on the sand dunes
Walking on the sand dunes
Group portrait on top of the sand …
Group portrait on top of the sand…
View of the Dzong at Gyangze
View of the Dzong at Gyangze
View of the Palkor Choide and the …
View of the Palkor Choide and the…
Gyangze Hotels & Accommodations review
The hotel is set back from the street, after you go through the entrance, there is a big parking lot, then the hotel itself is there. This is a decent… read entire review
Gyangze
photo by: sweettangerine