In my opinion, the highlight of our Tibet trip was our journey to Mount Everest. Called Mount Qomolangma in Tibetan, it is the highest peak in the world.
Its Tibetan meaning of 'Goddess the Third' adds more mysterious color and magic power to the subject. As a result, it has intrigued all kinds of people since it was first discovered. Even kids love it up there.
Pilgrims trek long distances to present a pious worship, climbing enthusiasts run great risks to challenge its high altitude and the common tourists also yearn for a reverent look at this holy peak
The drive from Lhasa to Mount Everest takes 2 days and you drive through 750 km of roads ( 650 km good roads and the last 100 km dirt road )
You will enjoy views such as this :
You will drive through 3 Mountain Passes where you go up to 5428 metres. Good thing I popped many Diamox pills otherwise the altitude sickness would have hit me bad.
Prayer flags at the Passes
Well, it was all worth the trouble when we caught our first glimpse
Sunset is the best time to take photo of the majestic mountain. A few minutes before sunset, its peak turns bright orange. You have only 5 minutes or so to capture that photo so shutterbugs have to brave the cold and get the shot you drove so far for.
Note for collage above : Start at the top left photo and view photos in anti clockwise direction. The fourth shot was taken about half an hour after the first shot.
We stayed overnight at Tent City which is the Base Camp of Mount Everest
Top photo : Each tent is run by a different family and some of the tents have catchy names
Facilities wise, I have to confess it was not a five star experience. I drank as little water as possible because I could not bear to step into the makeshift toilet. I had to pee outdoors a total of 2 times blush
Tip to other travelers : We borrowed clean sheets, pillows and quilts from our hotel in Lhasa. I guess we got better sleep than the other travelers cause the Tent City beds and blankets were not exactly spotless clean or comfortable for that matter.
Luckily we had to endure this discomfort for only 1 night. The next morning, a bus came to take us a little closer to the Mountain.
The resident dog
China Mobile has made it possible to call your best buddies from the base camp and make them envious of your adventures
Or send them a postcard via China Post
Due to high number of visitors, Tibet does have some decent hotels.
In Lhasa, we stayed at Brahmaputra Hotel
which is also a mini museum although how many of the artefacts are authentic I am not sure now
Adequate facilities according to the brochure, this is the only hotel with 5 star ratings in Lhasa
And comfy rooms
My only complaint is that the beds are a bit too hard for my liking. But then again, China hotel beds are like that.
We stayed at ZangLong hotel in Shigatse
Also comfortable and very good service from the reception staff.
You can get a massage in the shower when you adjust the direction of the spray.
Food wise, we wanted to try everything unique on the menu.
Anticlockwise from top left : Yak curry, Yak fried rice, Yak pie, Yak Chow Mien and Yak Tail
And you must not forget to try the Yak Butter Tea. Not exactly a favourite with tourists coz of its unique taste
Top left : Yak Butter Tea
Bottom left : Chang plateau barley wine
Middle : Waitress serving Yak Butter Tea
Right : Sweet herbal drink which is supposed to help you acclimatize
Sample menu - reasonable prices
We also tried Tibetan hot pot - herbal soup base
Generous portions and enough for 4 to 5 adults
Tibetan restaurants are a plenty in Lhasa and some have interesting signboards
If you are not into Tibetan grub, there is plenty of Western food and Chinese Sichuan food. However, I would not recommend seafood because the prawns and fish we had was not fresh. Our tourguide told us that Tibetans ( who are mostly Buddhists ) prefer to eat Yak because you only have to take 1 life to feed many people. If you eat seafood, you have to kill many beings to feed one person.
Stay tuned for Part 3 of LiLs Adventures in Tibet.
( Please note that some of the text has been lifted off other articles on the Internet but the photos are all original. The opinions expressed here are based on my personal experience )