"Tibet, a remote yet fondest memory" Tibet by Stroller

Tibet Travel Guide: 1,399 reviews and 4,150 photos

I spent three months in Tibet in 1986 when I was a third-year undergraduate from Beijing. I was a tourist guide there. Well, sort of, because I didn't know much about Tibet myself. I was more an interpreter at the beginning because every monastery had its own guide who spoke almost fluent Mandarin. This temporary job was arranged by the college as a way to help us practice our oral English. All my classmates were there except for one whose health condition defied his desire to go.

The most amazing experience was the final leg of the trip from Lhasa to Khasa - a small town on the Nepalese border. I think we made two stops (overnight stays) before we finally arrived at Khasa, once in Xigaze, once in Tingri. Tingri is often used as a base by mountain climbers preparing to ascend Mt. Everest which is 60 km away. On our way to Tingri, I saw Mt. Everest without knowing it was Mt. Everest, what a shame. It looked lower than the peaks closer to us, so it wasn't that impressive. I was on the luggage van and the driver didn't know that was Mt. Everest either. But we were soon told what we had witnessed (or missed?) by the professional tourist in another car.

The most memorable experience came the next day. During the 182 km journey from Dingri to Khasa, I was totally mesmerized by the most amazing views of the snow clad mountains and the most dramatic change of landscapes. As we were approaching Nyalam, which is only 30 km away from the Nepalese border, I saw several peaks all above 8,000 meters above sea level, and it was all white around me. Truly other-worldly. But from Nyalam, the scenry started to change. Nyalam is situated at 3,750 metres (12,300 ft) above sea level and again, it's merely 30 km away from the Khasa. I don't know the altitude of Khasa but it must be much much lower than Nyalam. 30 km wasn't a long journey, but the few landslides we saw made the driver extremely mindful of the road condition. First, the snow began to disappear, and then I started to see some vegetations. Slowly but very obviously it became warmer and wetter. As we continued, grasses and trees came into sight, followed by more lavish greens and numberous wallfalls. I suddenly found myself in the sub-tropical zone. It was very warm, very green and very humid. It was a real shock as nobody warned me of this beforehand, which is great.

I stayed at Khasa for another week waiting for the next group from Nepal. I don't remember what exactly I did during that week in that teeny-weeny town (or village) to kill the time. But I do remember frequenting the street market where all the venders were Nepalese. They pretty much felt at home when passing the Chinese cumtoms every morning and evening. I enjoyed the mangos. They were delicious. I also remember having a picture of me taken with me standing on the border line, with one foot on the Chinese side, the other on the Nepalese side. I thought that was cool.

  • Last visit to Tibet: May 1986
  • Intro Updated Apr 11, 2010
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Comments (1)

  • angiebabe's Profile Photo
    Oct 30, 2014 at 9:09 AM

    an excellent experience!
    bringing back memories of my recent travel from Xining to Urumqi which flew over high mountains and along past Tianshan - and then later went from Kyrzgstan to Kashgar via the Irketesham pass which goes through the amazing long line of mountains of the Tianshan and Pamir ranges - truly spectacular. From Kashgar i got a driver for 2 days up to TAshkurgan and back which is surrounded by the mountains that border China with TAjikstan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India
    maybe one day i will get to Tibet as well!


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