The Road to Yaksville

Trip Start Dec 30, 2009
1
32
42
Trip End Ongoing


Loading Map
Map your own trip!
Map Options
Show trip route
Hide lines
shadow
Where I stayed
Potala Inn

Flag of China  , Sichuan,
Friday, June 25, 2010

Yesterday I thought the road could not get any more astounding....I was wrong.  The morning started badly at 5am when we were told that the only bus to Litang today was full, and that there isn't one tomorrow.  We negotiated a ride in a minibus with two hungarian girls, and thought all was well until our crazy driver decided to put Diesel in his petrol engined van. GENIUS.  An hour hanging out at the mechanics yard whilst they drained the tank, and finally we were underway. 

Whereas yesterday we were in steep wooded valleys with rocky peaks above us, today we drove up onto the Tibetan Plateau for real.  Huge blue skies (well, a bit cloudy, but I could imagine the blue underneath), rolling grasslands dotted with the tents of nomads, Yak herds everywhere, including on the road at one point causing a jam....if you can call us and the yaks a jam.  We drove through moor land, heath, high altitude wetlands, flower meadows, boulder fields....you name it, we covered it in 5 short hours, all the time at a breath taking (literally) 4000m plus.

Litang sits on a huge grass plain surrounded by hills and is a town of two halves: a new town which can best be described as rough and ready, and an old town which is almost untouched.  This afternoon we wandered up through the brick buildings of the old town, swapping cheerful "Tashi Dele"s (Hello in Tibetan) with residents sitting outside their houses spinning their prayer wheels.  At the very top of the town is the Gompa (Monastery) which is not only the largest and most beautiful Tibetan monastery I have ever been to, it is not in anyway a tourist attraction, and the monks are welcoming, friendly, cheeky and eager to show you around.  We got to have a good nose around the prayer hall, and unusually were allowed to take as many photos as we liked, and then were shown upstairs to the gallery overlooking the hall, and then invited further up to the roof, where two fairly boarded looking monks were on guard duty.  Having decided not to go through the hassle and expense of going into Tibet, we seem to have found an unspoiled Tibet lurking here in Sichuan province.
Slideshow Report as Spam

Use this image in your site

Copy and paste this html: