The last part of our tour was to get a train from Lhasa to Beijing. It takes 3 days to get to Beijing which means spending 2 nights on a train.
Day One: Leaving Lhasa
After buying some last minute presents we met up with our tour back at the hotel. In preparation for the long journey ahead of us we bought as much ramen, bread and beer as we could find.
There were a few other misadventures in Lhasa that probably don’t deserve an entire blog post dedicated to them. So here are three mildly amusing stories of things that happened to us during the last couple of days in Tibet.
Before we went out in Old Town we went to have dinner with one of Yi’s friends. The place he took us to was serving very Chinese-style food (as in not Tibetan-style) along with some Westernish-style food.
After getting back from Lake Namtso we had one last night to spend in Lhasa. We went to the same rooftop bar overlooking the Jokhang Temple when we first arrived in Lhasa.
When Yi went to the Potala Palace she ended up on a different tour. It was here she met a local who had recommended a club in Old Town for us to visit.
Next on our tour of Tibet we were to take a bus to Lake Namtso – one of the most beautiful lakes in Tibet. On our way we got to take a few stops in the Tibetan countryside. For most of the journey we could see a railway under construction. This is one thing that China is bringing to Tibet – modernisation.
It was our English tour guide’s birthday and he decided he wanted to go out in Lhasa’s New Town to celebrate. Our tour group gathered together in our hotel’s lobby and we laid out a rough plan for the night: we would have a few drinks in Old Town then head to a club in New Town.
We found a small bar across the road from our hotel and sat down in the hopes of a nice cold beer.
We still had some free time before meeting back with the tour group for our night out in Lhasa New Town, so we decided to wander Old Town for a while. Yi wanted to drink tea so we went into one of the small tea shops that are almost invisible in the streets of Old Town.
The shop was small with several tables and benches were people were pouring tea out of thermos flasks into various styles of small cups.
After my girlfriend and I rejoined the tour group we went to visit the Jokhang Temple. This is one of the most important temples in Tibet, which is evidenced by the many people constantly praying outside the temple. They had prayer mats with them, which seems to indicate that they do this for a long time.
Inside the temple is a small courtyard where a few monks were sitting and praying.
Getting the Lost Ticket
The day after the trouble we had getting a ticket to the Potala Palace, was the day we were set to visit. We had received a message from the guy who screwed up that he had a solution for Yi. When we got there, it turned out he didn’t have a solution.
To cut a long story short, there was a lot of shouting and phone calls while my girlfriend was left outside on her own.
I wanted to write about my visit to the Norbulingka Palace, but it wasn’t very memorable. It was a nice place to visit, with well maintained and beautiful gardens. However, I don’t have any pictures left of the place, and without that there isn’t much to write about.
So instead I’ll write about what happened after we visited the palace.
After a stressful morning we returned to our hotel and waited for the rest of the tour group to wake up. Next on our tour we were to visit the Sera Monastery and see the monks perform their daily debates. Once everyone had risen, we all piled into the tour bus and were on our way.
After a short while we reached the base of Tatipu Hill.