Places we visited: Lhasa, Yamdrok Lake, Shigatse, Gyantse, Shegar, Mt. Everest
Base Camp, Old Tingri, Zhangmu (China-Nepal border town)
Length of stay: 10 days
High point: Seeing that Tibetan culture is still prevalent despite the Chinese
occupation, making a sunrise hike to admire the majesty of Mt. Everest, being treated
to genuine Tibetan hospitality in a tent village outside Everest Base Camp, hanging
out with a couple monks at Sera Monastery, discovery a local Lhasa noodle house (we
went there two days and never saw a foreigner)
Low Point: Erin suffering from altitude sickness the first few days in Lhasa, the
amount of time and energy it took to arrange a tour to Everest Base Camp, the ride to
the Nepal border (we'll have to tell you about this one)
Local food/flavor: It's all about the yak in Tibet!! We had yak noodle soup, yak
butter tea (it tastes like salty mushroom soup), and yak meat momos (steamed or
fried pockets filled with meat, vegetables or cheese...yak cheese, of course!).
Unique Sights: Potala Palace (the former home of the Dalai Lama), Jokhang Temple
and the Tibetan Buddhist pilgrimage circuit around the temple, pilgrims prostrating
themselves over and over again in prayer outside the Jokhang Temple, the beautiful
traditional dress of Tibetan women (a long apron of vividly striped material, heavy
silver and turquoise jewelry adorning their ears, necks, wrists and fingers, and long
braids woven with red ribbon), monks intermingled throughout the city (on a bus, in
the market, at restaurants), Tibetan prayer wheels and prayer flags, Mt. Everest
Purchases: small replica of a Tibetan prayer wheel, Tibetan prayer flags
Things we did:
- Joined in the swiftly moving river of Tibetan Buddhists pilgrims making their way
around the perimeter of Jokhang Temple. Our hotel was right off the pilgrimage
path, so we often found ourselves happily swept up with the chanting and
praying mass of people, even if we were ultimately trying to go in the opposite
- Toured the massive Potala Palace to see the former home of the Dalai Lama
(before he fled to India in 1959). The palace is one of the most impressive
structures we have seen for its sheer size, unique architecture, and myriad of
temples, prayer rooms, reading rooms and jewel-covered tombs of former Dalai
- Watched the hilariously entertaining debate session between the monks of
- Witnessed the afternoon prayer session of the monks of Sera monastery
- Explored the Drepung monastery
- Frantically posted notices on message boards across Lhasa looking for people
to share a 5-day Land Cruiser tour down to Everest Base Camp and on to the
- Woke up every morning not being able to feel the arm of whichever side we
slept on due to the unbelievably hard beds in our hotel in Lhasa. This was a
trend throughout China and Tibet.
- Finally found a terrific couple from the UK to share a 5-day Land Cruiser tour
with. We visited Yamdrok Lake, the small towns of Shigatse, Gyantse, and
Shegar before coming to the main attraction--Mt. Everest.
- Clung to anything we could find inside the Land Cruiser as our driver imitated
Mario Andretti on an terrifyingly steep and twisting mountain pass.
- Slept in a wonderful large tent owned by a Tibetan family located one hour's
hike below Everest Base Camp.
- Hiked to Everest Base Camp in the afternoon, but only caught glimpses of the
mountain as it was almost completely shrouded in clouds.
- Woke up to crystal clear views of the world's tallest mountain. We hiked
halfway back to base camp to enjoy the unobstructed views of Everest.
- Spent one night (one night too many!) in Old Tingri, truly a tiny, dusty and dirty
town on the way to the Nepal border
- Hitched a ride from Old Tingri to Nepal Border in the back of a Land Cruiser full
of Russian tourists.