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Title image - BAI takes you to: Tibet

Seven Days in Tibet Expedition Dispatch

May 26, 2010 – Along the Friendship Highway

The Tibetan countryside

The Tibetan countryside

The “Friendship Highway” is the name given to the road connecting Lhasa to Kathmandu.

Gyantse Kumbum is the best known and the largest chorten in Tibet

Gyantse Kumbum is the best known and

the largest chorten in Tibet.

(Photo credit:

We drove 265 km to Gyantse today. A six hour drive through very scenic country. Tashi and Lobsang took us by way of the old road (less direct but more scenic). We went across three high mountain passes (one over 5,100 meters) and saw a lot of beautiful scenery, including a high mountain lake some 80km long. The Tibetan landscape is a mixture of mountain and desert, mostly brown in color. The land is quite arid, but good crops grow in the river valleys.

We arrived in Gyantse in good order around 3:15 p.m., and we toured the local monastery, which was crowded with pilgrims. It turns out that tomorrow is April 15 in the Tibetan calendar, and this date is the anniversary of Buddha's attainment of enlightenment. The most important day in the Buddhist calendar, according to Tashi, and one that attracts an unusually large number of pilgrims. It's quite astonishing how utterly dedicated these pilgrims are.

We had dinner at Tashi Restaurant in Gyantse (which our guide indicated was unrelated to him). We completed our day with a stroll through the downtown.

More tomorrow from Shigatse, the second city of Tibet.