Everest Base Camp, Yamdrok Lake, and Tashilhunpo Monastery are not-to-be-missed destinations when planning an adventurous road trip through Tibet.
Guest Post by Ron Robbins
There is really no question as to whether or not someone who is given the chance to travel around the world would or would not take a road trip to Tibet————you would have to be downright senseless not to. The real question is where you should drive, and exactly what adventures you should be taking along the way.
Given the opportunity to tour the countryside and experience some of the major sites during my adventure in Tibet, it wasn’t easy picking out my favorite locations. But, all in all, if given the chance to travel back, these are the top 5 places I would choose to experience first!
Table of Contents
- 1 My Favorite Road Trip Adventures in Tibet
My Favorite Road Trip Adventures in Tibet
Founded back in 1447 by the first Dalai Lama, this breathtaking monastery was by far one of my favorites as I hopscotched from spot to spot across Tibet. The monks were extremely welcoming, the temples extraordinary, and the architecture made me feel as if I had stepped back to a much simpler time in life.
If you are given the chance to visit, be sure to see the tombs of the Panchen Lamas as well as the staggering 22.4 meter tall statue of the Maitreya Buddha. You will wither in comparison to its size and magnificence.
Everest Base Camp
Of all the places I have traveled to around the world, there is no better place to go stargazing than at the base of Mt. Everest. After all, there is really no other place to go that will get you an optimal amount of time at such an elevation. Try to spend a minimum of 2-3 days here, hiking during the day and stargazing late at night.
Be sure to bring plenty of layers because this side of Everest is much different than that of the Nepal side. Also, get ready to eat lots of yak as prepared by the local sherpas. Being the terrain is so desolate, they use dried-up yak manure as fuel to heat the fire that both cooks your food and keeps you warm at night. As you could imagine, things tend to have a very distinct aroma about them . . . .
Sichuan to Tibet Highway
It is common knowledge that the best experiences a person can get from traveling come from the most spontaneous of moments. This is especially true while traveling to Tibet, at least from my experience.
While awaiting the train to Lhasa, I met a local who decided to invite me along for a random road trip through Sichuan, a Southwestern province in China. With many surprises, lots of noodles, and very little to no English, the Sichuan to Tibet road trip turned out to be one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had, ranking up there with many of the best experiences I acquired while traveling in Tibet.
Circling Jokhang Temple in downtown Lhasa, Barkhor Street always has something going on with the local community. Tibetans from the outlying villages pilgrim here, devoting themselves to pay homage in return for ongoing prosperity and peace in the local community. It is common to see devotees walking a couple of laps around the temple, slowly spinning Tibetan prayer wheels in their hands while whispering traditional mantras that date back centuries.
If given the opportunity, take the time to hunt down a local restaurant that is owned by the people of Tibet (as opposed to those that are labeled “Tibetan food,” but are actually owned by the Chinese). The food is truly spectacular and, if invited for a drink afterwards, you could create some of the best memories anyone could have while traveling through Lhasa.
Tibetan legend has it that Yamdrok Lake was created when a goddess, Dorje Gegkyi Tso, transformed and created the Four Great Wrathful Lakes of Tibet. It is also said that this particular lake is one of the dwelling places for some of the local protective deities, giving it special spiritual powers of divination.
Although I have not foreseen the future myself, I can tell you from personal experience that the water is a more vibrant turquoise blue than that of the Caribbean Sea. While driving over the pass and arriving at Yamdrok Lake, I witnessed the weather alter from snow, to hail, to rain, and to the most beautiful crystal blue skies you have ever seen. Whether anyone believes this lake to host spiritual powers is up to them, however I must tell you that to visit Tibet without seeing the beauty of Yamdrok Lake would be a crime in itself!
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