Highlights of My Tour
I took my very first trip to Tibet in early February. Yes, Tibet in February. Was I insane? Traveling to a place even much colder than where I live in, and I am not a winter person at all. In my head I always imagined my first Tibet trip during summer or fall, enjoying the warm sunshine, soft wind, green mountains and blue lakes. But as a travel consultant, I am always busy during the best travel seasons. But I did get something special, something that was truly unexpected....and I couldn't be happier about this first encounter.
Alright let’s get to the point, and I am gonna share with you all about my trip day by day.
Day 1 Chengdu - Lhasa
To give myself a bit more time in Lhasa, I booked myself an early morning flight departing at around 6:30am, which was found out a really bad idea. I had to get up at around 4am and headed to the airport.
After 2-hour flight journey I landed in Lhasa, linked up with my friends from Kunming and easily found my way to get the bus to Lhasa downtown.
Lhasa Gongga International Airport
On my way to Lhasa downtown, I couldn’t see anything but bare mountains, no tree, no grass even no plant, I started to doubt myself, why would I come here, what could I expected?
On My Way to Lhasa Downtown
A Two-hour Bus Journey to Downtown
After 2-hour bus journey, we finally reached our hotel, hungry, sleepy and tired. I thought I’d get recovered after a short break, but I started to feel a terrible headache, felt like a huge stone pressing on my chest so I couldn’t breathe smoothly to get enough oxygen. I realized I am suffering from altitude sickness. It surprised me, because I am a young lady, 25 years old and work out 3-4 times a week, I was confidence with my physical condition. But it seems the altitude sickness is nothing to do with the age and physical condition, it could happen to everybody.
After taking some medicine, I spent 2-3 hours in hotel, sleeping and relaxing, giving myself some time to acclimatize the air and high altitude. I didn’t get out of my room until late afternoon when I thought I have to get myself some food, I felt much better but still couldn’t walk fast so laugh out loudly.
I stopped by the Potala Palace which impressed me deeply. It was so beautiful that I couldn’t move and totally forgot I was starving and ate nothing almost the whole day.
Potala Palace at Night
Day 2: Lhasa - Yamdrok Lake - Phuma Yumtso - Lhasa
Highlight of today: Namcha Barwa & Lulang Forrest
I’ve been turning and tossing the whole night, woke up every 2-3 hours because of lacking of oxygen. But I was still excited and full of energy about the following trip to Yamdrok Lake and Phuma Yumtso.
Yamdork Lake is around 2 hours ride away from Lhasa city at an altitude of 4,441 meters. It is a sapphire and the blue eye of Lhasa. It was frozen, just like a giant painting in front of me. Head pains but bearable.
Frozen Yamdrok Lake
Sapphire and Blue Eye of Lhasa
Breathtaking View at Yamdrok Lake
What A Pure Blue
I’ve got a chance to take the picture with Tibetan Mastiff, looks ferocious but friendly.
Then we headed to Phuma Yumtso at an altitude of 5010 meters. It was all frozen hard, so we could walk on the lake and take pictures. But we just spent around half an hour in there, because the thrilling wind made us extremely uncomfortable, feels like something in my head is going to explode. Anyway, the magnificent iced lake worth everything.
Me Standing on Frozen Phuma Yumtso
Beautiful View Beyond Words
Lake, Mountain and Sky Meet in the Distance
On the way back to Lhasa city, we’ve got a chance to see the sunset of Yamdork Lake.
Lucky to See the Sunset of Yamdork Lake
Day 3 Lhasa - Nyingchi, staying overnight on the foot of Namcha Barwa
Today, we headed to Nyingchi which is known as Eastern Swizerland and Jiannan of Tibet at an altitude of around 3000 meters. We spent 2 nights in Nyingchi and thanks to the lower altitude, I finally got a good sleep.
It took me around 5 hours from Lhasa to Lulang Forrest. It is a 15km long, 1km wide narrow valley of wild forests and flowers, grasslands and streams. Lulang, in Tibetan, means “Dragon Valley” or “the place where you won’t be homesick”. On both sides of the valley are lofty green mountains covered by prosperous spruce, pine trees and brush. At the foot of the mountain are the beautiful meadows and villages. Winding streams flow through among the wooden houses. It is green as usual in winter.
Walking Path in Lulang Forrest
Lulang Forest Stretching to the Horizon
On the way to Lulang Forrest, I had a stop at Sekyim la Pass and take a distant view of Mt. Namjia Bawa. We call Mt. Namjia Bawa (Namjagbarwa Peak) a “shy girl” because it is always hidden by clouds, only can be seen less than 300 hours a year. Lucky me, I saw it twice in 2 days, even the sunrise!
A Cleraer Look at Namjagbarwa Peak
Namjagbarwa Peak in the Distance
Me & My Friends
Then we headed to my hotel located in the foot of Mt. Namjia Bawa. I got myself a nice room with a big window in front of the mountain.
Day 4 Mt. Namjia Bawa - Nyingchi city
Highlight of today: Sunrise of Mt. Namjia Bawa , Yarlung Zangbo River, Nanyigou Valley
We got up in early morning, had a simple breakfast then waiting for the sunrise. I saw a cloud cover on the mountain, then the cloud turns red, it was amazing.
Cloud Behind Namjagbarwa Peak is Turning Red
Namjagbarwa Peak Sunrise
Then, we were leaving for next destination --- Nanyigou Valley. The beautiful scenery along the way made the 4-hour car journey easier.
View along the Way to Nanyigou Valley
Scenery on the Road Trip
After lunch, we finally got to Nanyigou Valley. Nanyigou Valley is a natural pasture with grass land, river, trees and kinds of animals like pig, yak and horse.
I didn’t see green grass land but yellow color there has been unexpected charming.
We Finally Got to Nanyigou Valley
Do You See the Snow Mountain?
Unexpected Charming Yellow Color
Me & My Snow Baby
We had a good time playing with snow and making kinds of snowman. Then we traveled back to Nyingchi city, enjoyed a delicious dinner, had a good sleep and refreshed ourselves up.
Day 5 Nyingchi - Lhasa
Highlight of today: Basum-tso Lake
Basum-tso Lake is the 3rd lake during my trip, the only one that has not been frozen. Endowing the eye-popping sceneries of natural forest and snowcapped mountains, if you are interested in photography, I would highly recommend this place.
To get a panoramic view of the lake, we climbed to a viewing platform on a hill, it was only a few steps but felt like I was climbing Mount Everest lol.
Pictures from the Viewing Platform
Blue Basum-tso Lake
Take a Leisure Walk at Basum-tso Lake
Encounter a Pilgrim on the Way
We didn’t reach Lhasa until night falls. We treated ourselves a good Tibetan style dinner.
Nice Tibetan Style Dinner
Day6 Lhasa- Chengdu
Highlights of today: Leisure morning time walking along Barkhor Street.
On my last morning in Lhasa, I woke up early and took a leisure stroll along Barkhor Street, It's one of my favorite moments from the trip. I was deeply impressed by the devout pilgrims, they were young children, seniors, teenagers, the traveled alone, with friends or with families. They came all the way to Lhasa by walking only with a devotional heart.
Devout Pilgrims in Lhasa
Till now, my first Tibet trip comes to an end. I’ve started to miss this city already. I still have so many places to be done, the temples, the Debating of Buddhist Doctrines, the Mt. Everest, Mt. Kailash etc. Hopefully I’d come back again in the near future!
Ordinary Morning at Barkhor Street