AsiaChinaNamTso

Who Let The Dogs Out

NamTso Travel Blog

 › entry 11 of 80 › view all entries
Mt Nyenchen Tanglha
Today we begin our road trip into Tibet.  Kalsang meets us at the Cool Yak hotel at 10am and with Wonga(?) at the wheel we are soon on the way out of Lhasa. Wonga does not speak any English so I never do find out his real name but he is a good driver, which is not as common as you would like in China. 

The road takes us west and then north-west out of Lhasa.  Not surprising are the regular police checkpoints we need to stop at, but more surprising is that the police time the taken between checkpoints so for the first two we need to stop for a 5 minute rest a km or so before the post to avoid breaking the allowed time.

The drive to NamTso takes about 4 hours.  For two and a half hours we follow the line of the railway back towards Qinghai.
The pass over to NamTso
  About half way along this road we stop at the base of Mt Nyenchen Tanglha.  This is a sacred mountain to the Tibetans and at 7111m high the highest in this area and one we had seen from the train.  After leaving the main highway and paying the park entrance fee (published as 120Y but the gate charges us 50Y pp!) the road climbs steadily to a pass at 5190m from where we have fine views down to the lake ahead.  From this distance much of the lake seems to be still frozen.

Our destination is a further 60km on at a ramshackle settlement next to the lake shore.  The settlement is a cluster of prefabs arranged around a central rectangle, with a few nomad tents pitched at one end.  Our "hotel" looks to be the best place in town but is fairly basic - washing and toilet facilities are minimal, but the room and bedding seems OK, but there is no obvious heating or fire.
NamTso
  The altitude here is 4718m and we certainly notice it, we are quickly out of breath with even the slightest exersion.  

We walk around the penisular, accidently taking an anti-clockwise direction, and then climb the small hill for a good view over the area.  In peak season this walk is a popular kora and everyone, as is the Tibetan custom, walks the path in a clockwise direction.  We meet a solitary monk who invites us to join him in his lodging,  but we politely decline. 

This place feels like the very end of the world.  There is no other habitation, except for a few nomad tents,  in any direction and the settlement itself has a desolate feel to it.  The locals seem to spend their time playing pool (there are 6 or 8 rundown pool tables outside the prefabs in the central area) and nomad yaks and dogs wander about the place. 

The food at the hotel is OK and we go to bed soon after the sun sets to the sound of dogs barking, wondering what exactly we should do if we want to go to the toilet in the night.

davroy says:
Sounds very isolated.
Posted on: May 09, 2010
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Mt Nyenchen Tanglha
Mt Nyenchen Tanglha
The pass over to NamTso
The pass over to NamTso
NamTso
NamTso
The settlement at NamTso
The settlement at NamTso
NamTso
NamTso
NamTso
photo by: Riz7