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Top Of The World

Xigaze Travel Blog

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Unknown peak > 7000m
I'm cold in bed so pleased to be up and moving around before 8.  I survived the night despite having to get up once to relieve myself and fend off the nomad dogs roaming the compound.  There are no signs of any staff up yet but they turn up just before we leave and settle our bill.  Obviously breakfast is not a normal part of the hotel deal here so we hit the road hungry.  I am cheered by the clear weather and brilliant view across the lake to Nyenchen Tanglha. 

The small town where we rejoin the Lhasa road is host to a famous Tibetan horse racing festival in the summer months.  After another 30 minutes or so we take the side road heading now to Shigatse, Tibet's 2nd city.
The 1st pass 5300m!
  The good road to NamTso had given me a false impression of Tibet's roads as the road to Shigatse, though good, is not sealed and does not appear to be as well travelled as the Lhasa highway.  As a consequence our pace is also slowed, but the reward is a much more interesting drive.

The road climbs over two passes. The first is 5300m and the second only marginally lower.  The country here is what I came to see, magnificent peaks, small colourful villages and yak herds at every turn.  The road winds its way down a valley and eventually meets the main valley and the main road from Lhasa.  The drive from here is now fast and we pass a distinctive hill in the valley which Kalsang points out as a "sky burial" site (there are 3 types of traditional Tibetan burial - sky,fire and water which explains why many Tibetans do not eat fish).

We are in Shigatse about 4pm and have time to walk into the old town before dinner in a Tibetan restaurant near the monastery.  The town does not impress me particularly, it seems dirty and run-down, but 1st impressions can be misleading.  We will spend some more time here in a couple of days so perhaps it will seem better on a 2nd visit.

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Unknown peak > 7000m
Unknown peak > 7000m
The 1st pass 5300m!
The 1st pass 5300m!
Sky burial site
Sky burial site
View from NamTso
View from NamTso
Xigaze
photo by: mountaingirl