impressions from

Lhasa to Kathmandu

Travelling in Tibet can be both wonderful and depressing at the same time.

The people I met were outstanding in their friendliness and generosity, their culture is captivating and the scenery is breathtaking.

But it is under threat. The presence of the Chinese occupiers is felt everywhere, yet hordes of ignorant foreigners are so busy taking pictures that they do not realize what is going on. Of course tourism itself is a threat to other cultures.

I decided not to publish my diary and only some pictures.

Please bear in mind that even though these photos might look nice, they only reflect the surface as seen by a tourist and not the harsh reality of everyday life!

3D Map of TibetThree dimensional map of the overland route from Lhasa to Kathmandu.
Kangchenjunga, 3rd highest peak on earthFlight from Kathmandu to Lhasa. Kangchenjunga, 3rd hightest peak on earth that forms the border between Nepal and Sikkim.

Chinese flag in front of PotalaChinese flag in front of Potala, seat of the Tibetan government (which is now in exile in Dharamsala / India).

Jokhang roofRoof of Jokhang, the most revered monastery in Tibet. Pilgrims come from far away to see the statue of Jowo Rinpoche.
Jokhang monastery, holiest monument in TibetBarkhor, area around the Jokhang is the only part of Lhasa that does not look like any other Chinese city in mainland China.
Potala, former seat of the Tibetan governmentPotala seen from the roof of Jokhang.
Pilgrim in Sakya monasteryPilgrim doing the kora.
Many different faces near Barkhor
Many different faces near Barkhor
Many different faces near Barkhor
Lhasa valleyView over the Lhasa valley from the roof of Drepung monastery.
Assembly hallAssembly hall, the monks have to attend re-education classes and need a permission from the governemtn to become monks.
Monks in Sera Monks at Sera discussing religious teachings in a traditional way.
Yarlung Tsangpo (Brahmaputra) near LhasaYarlung Tsangpo river flows all the way from Kailash (West Tibet) into the Bay of Bengal, in India it is called Brahmaputra.

Most major Asian rivers spring on the Tibetan high plateau.
Yamdruk Tso between Lhasa and GyantseYamdrok Tso, a turquoise lake on the way from Lhasa to Gyantse.
Village near NagartzeVillage near Nagartze.
Harvesting in NagartzeIn the countryside most people work in agriculture.
Two nomads on a passTwo Khampas watching a flock of sheep and some yaks.
Yak caravanYak caravan on its way to one of the high passes.
Goats and sheep are vital for the nomdsGoat at 5'000 m
Nyalam near Nepali borderNyalam, village near Nepal.
Ploughing with yaksFields are ploughed with yaks.
The monastery of GyantseMonastic district of Gyantse, Tibet's third-largest city. Many old houses are still left and make it the 'most-Tibetan' looking town in Central Tibet.
The old fort in GyantseThe fort of Gyantse was partly destroyed when the British Younghusband-expedition fought its way into Lhasa.
Gyantse dzong seen from KumbumVier from the monastery over the old part of town, fort stands on the hill on the right.
Kumbum in GyantseKumbum, an impressive stupa with hundreds of paintings and statues in the many rooms.
Statue in Kumbum in Gyantse
Statue in Kumbum in Gyantse
Statue in Kumbum in Gyantse
One of the few passes above 5'000 metersOne of the 5'000 m passes
Sunset while waiting on Lhakpa LaThanks to a broken jeep we enjoyed sunset at 5'000 m, a cold but rewarding stop.
Monk in SakyaMonk at Sakya monastery.
Fortress-like monastery of SakyaThe Sakya sect played an important role in earlier Tibetan history.


Black houses of Sakya villageThe houses and monastery are built with characteristic black stones.
Shigatse, old part of town with dzongShigatse, 2nd largest city of Central Tibet.
Seat of the Panchen Lama, kidnapped by the Chinese governmentThe Tashilunpo monastery in Shigatse is seat of the Panchen Lama. After the death of the last Panchen Lama, the reincarnation recognized by the 14th Dalai Lama was taken into custody by the Chinese government, four years later his whereabout are still unknown.

The Chinese candidate lives in Beijing.
Tingri village near the Himalayan rangeAfter Shigatse the road runs parallel to the main Himalayan chain, Tingri lies in the plain.
Wide steppe near TingriDesert-like scenery dominates the high plateau.
Mount Everst from TingriChomolungma (Mount Everest), highest peak.
Cho OyoCho Oyo, a relatively easy 8'000 meter peak that is often attempted from the Tibetan side.
Wide valley before Lehlung LaSubtle play of colours before approaching the last high pass.
Wide pass Lehlung La before leaving the plateau and entering NepalLehlung La, wide pass before Nepal.
shishapangma.jpg Shishapangma, one of the world's highest peaks
Avalanche on a mountain near Lehlung LaAvalanches coming down the steep flanks