Tibet here we come – finally!!!
All went well once the Air China plane arrived in KTM. We boarded quickly and were off across the Himalaya. We had a spectacular flight past Everest, Makalu and then the peaks in Bhutan before turning north to Lhasa. We are travelling with several large groups from Russia, Italy, Germany but no other Americans or Nepalese.
This trip had a few times when we were not sure it was going to happen or not. Audrey had made an attempt in 2008 to travel to Tibet but the Chinese closed the border after we arrived in Nepal so we were forced to go to India and Ladakh instead. We received our Tibet visa the week before the central government changed the entry rules to read ’“” –—…œourist groups must be made up of a party of 4 or more all from the same nationality’“” –—…Nt Luckily for us my good friends from years ago were able to get our visa reissued despite the fat we were really two parties of two travelling together. Finally getting the Group Visa and then getting through the China Customs and Immigration was a huge relief.
After a lengthy arrival process we were finally in Tibet/China. We were met at the airport by our guide Tashi and two drivers who will be with us the entire trip. We packed the Land Cruisers and off we went towards Samye.
My first observation upon returning to Tibet after being gone since 1995 was that the roads were paved and in good order and the traffic police were everywhere and the drivers were mindful of the speed limits ’“” –—…“at least our drivers were. The place seemed clean and in reasonable working order. The towns along the way all had a definite Chinese presence and style to the building. The homes however still seemed to be Tibetan. There was a definite difference.
The drive was longer than I remembered. Some things still have not changed; you must still get ’“” –—…œravel Permits’“” –—…Ntto visit anything special’“” –—… lots and lots of red tape. Finally we arrived and checked into the New Samye Guesthouse. The rooms were clean and the water worked. We settled in for the night in a state of shock finally having arrived in Tibet/China.
Day 1 complete.!!!
We finally arrived in Tibet
Audrey and Ang Purba at the Lhasa airport
New Tibet... paved roads and chinese shops!!!!