We began our trip loading our packs into a Toyota 4500 (Land Cruiser), the synonymous vehicle for travelling in Tibet. These cars are well over 12 years old, but still can take the beatings of the (excuse the pun) beaten paths of the Ali region. Our driver is also extremely awesome having garnered the nickname, “King of Ali / 阿里王”
The first destination was 羊卓雍措, a mountain-lake that reminded us of Lake Peyto back in Banff. Shimmering in a pure coral colour, it continues the tradition of awesome high-altitude lakes we’ve seen so far! It is also a one of a handful of saintly lakes in Tibetan traditions, and we can definitely appreciate its beauty without the added religious importance. With the skies being a intensely shaded colour of blue not seen elsewhere, and add a few picturesque clouds, you’ve got yourself a marvelous view.
Crossing over many mountain ranges, we see the familiar sights of colourful scriptures fluttering in the wind. At the 斯米拉山口, a young girl probably around 12 years old (note, this is a weekday, in the afternoon up in a mountain top) started hustling us to buy some scriptures of our own blessing!?!? Okay…! We couldn’t resist =)
Our driver definitely lived up to his name, knowing how to avoid unnecessary tourist traps, stopping by at remote locales to get great photo ops, and sharing a lot of his awesome stories and personalized opinions. He’s so awesome! Before arriving at our destination, we stopped by a smaller town with a really cool Tibetan fortress. This region is famous for honorably defending against the forward pressure by the Brits coming across from Nepal.
Arriving at Shigatse, the second largest city within Tibet, we checked into a hotel with a bunch of Westerners. What makes these Westerners special was that, they came in a group of 15, had their own entourage of 2 large trucks and all rode their own bikes! Seems like they were on a tour, aiming to ride into Everest Base Camp…. crazy! The only crazier part is, a lot of Chinese people actually do this, and they ride bikes and carry their own food/gear and do it in a group of 1-4. Compared to those riders, these Westerners are riding rather luxuriously…. so much less respectable despite the ridiculous journey… haha.
The even less respectable way, would be going to EBC in a SUV =P