Tibetan monasteries and a revolution on the bus – Photo Essays

Tibeta Monastery

This article tells the last part of my travel to Tibet. If you didn’t read them yet, in the first two episodes you can learn about my adventures in Lhasa or virtually exploring the The holy lakes of Tibet.

The day after visiting the Namtso lake we get again on the bus and start our trip from Lhasa to Shigatse. We arrive at Yamdrok lake around 1 pm and to the Kharola Glacier a couple of hours later (see photos below).

Nobody told us where Shigatse was nor how much time would take to get there. So I wasn’t psychologically prepared to stay all day in a bus. The truth is that Tibet is huge and it takes time to move to a place to another. Is it worth the effort? Yep, for me it is!

Tibeta MonasteryThe Kharola Glacier

Tibeta MonasterySellers at the Kharola Glacier

The Tashilhunpo Monastery

The morning after we wake up early to visit the Tashilhunpo Monastery of Shigatse, which was founded on 1447 and is the second largest monastery of Tibet.

Tibeta MonasteryThe Tashilhunpo Monastery

Tibeta Monastery

Tibeta Monastery

Tibeta MonasteryA paint on the wall of the monastery

Tibeta MonasteryA monk accomplishing his everyday tasks

Tibeta MonasteryThe internal court

Tibeta MonasteryThe ground floor of the internal court

I must say that what impressed me the most at Tashilhunpo Monastery weren’t the buildings or the paints, while the people that come here for preying, their traditional clothes, long hair and, often, deep wrinkles. I did take a lot of photos and I’ll publish them on my last photo gallery about Tibet, which will come in the next weeks.

We spend a couple of hours walking around this huge monastery and then get on the bus: time to come back to Lhasa!

The Palcho Monastery

After a couple of hours we stop at our last touristic destination: the Palcho Monastery, that is the main monastery in Gyantse. This is by far my favorite monastery (or temple, for what it matters) within China. And trust me when I say that I visited a lot of them : P

tibetan-monatery-12The Palcho Monastery

Tibeta Monastery

Tibeta MonasteryMonks at the monastery

Tibeta Monastery

Tibeta Monastery

Tibeta Monastery

Tibeta Monastery

Tibeta Monastery

The revolution on the bus

It’s 3 pm and it’s time to say goodbye to the monastery. There is still a visit to the spa in program but, since we are late, the guide ask to us whether we want still to go to the spa or we prefer to go back to Lhasa. Ninety five percent of people say “we want go to the spa.”

Then nothing more happens till 7 pm, when we are almost in Lhasa and the guide informs us that the visit to the spa has been cancelled because two people didn’t wanted to go. Lame.

It’s at this point that an half revolution happens. An English girl jumps from her seat and starts to scream that she wants the driver to go back to the “fuckin’ spa.”

The guide politely tells her that we passed the spa one hour ago and it’s not possible to go back.

I watch the scene, a big smile on my face. I don’t care about the spa as it’s almost dinner time and I’m much more interested on a Yak burger. However I love to observe the dynamics of the dispute, with the English girl that accuses the guide to be a liar with the hope of making him admitting his mistake (and bring her to the spa).

Obviously this only makes things worse, with guide that denies everything, refuses to admit his responsibilities and even to listen further.

Why I say “obviously”? Because we are in Asia and “face” is what counts most!

But the funniest part of the story is that, since everybody is upset because we missed the spa, the guide decides that the best thing to do is to bring us to an overpriced shop where they only sell Beijing ducks (already cooked) and Hangzhou Longjing tea.

What the fuck?

I talk with my three friends and we decide to skip the dinner with the tour and take a cab to the downtown for a yak burger, some decent momos (Tibetan dumplings) and a couple of Budweiser.

That’s all folks! My last article about Tibet will come in the last weeks and it will be a photo gallery of beautiful Tibetan people.

Tibeta MonasteryOur expedition in Tibet. From the left to the right: A German guy, a French guy, an Italian guy and… another French guy.

Photo Credits: Photos by Sapore di Cina & Florian Hudelist

3 thoughts on “Tibetan monasteries and a revolution on the bus – Photo Essays”

  1. Thank you for everything. Can I know which tour agency is that ? I am going to avoid it. Problem with joining a tour is they alway find ways to cut down on the itinerary near the end of the day. Can you take a taxi on your own or move around on your own without a guide in Lhasa ?
    I read about your trip to Namtso Lake too. You went on your own as part of a tour ? Is a special permit and guide required for it ?
    I am planning to go Tibet now.

    1. Hi Stanley,

      I don’t even remember the name of the agency, it was a Chinese agency in Beijing where nobody speak English (beside the guides).

      Yes, you can move around in Lhasa on your own, but you can’t enter temples/monasteries without a licensed guide.

      No, you can’t leave Lhasa without a guide for any reason. You risk to be deported from China as soon as they see you on the first military check point outside Lhasa (there are plenty).

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