#1 Monasteries, Mountains & Mediocre Photo skills

 

Adventure time, 
C’mon, grab your friends, 
We’ll go to very distant Lands 
With Jake the Dog, 
And Finn the Human, 
The Adventures’ll never end, 
It’s Adventure Time!

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Prologue:

Never thought I will write something like this but HEY WHAT GIVES.

This trip lasted 25days and was the best time in my life of 19 odd years. Probably gonna be quite graphic because I am going to record everything I can remember down. So, we spent approximately 3000 odd SGD on all expenses including flights and accommodations. For a first timer like me, it was quite a fit. From Singapore to Tibet, overland to Nepal by crossing a bridge and then to Kunming, China. Blessed to travel with experienced people who pretty much took care of most things. One day, I am going to do it all again.

#1 is going to be all about Tibet, the first part of our trip.  

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Day 1. Arrival In Lhasa.

It was a, if I could find a better word I would, shag day. We spent 8 hours in transit in Malaysia and also Chengdu, not forgetting the 8 hours in flight. Because of budget the entire time in air I was in a typical Aero student panic mode. WHY ARE WE BESIDE THE WING. WHERE ARE THE EMERGENCY EXITS. WHY THE FUCK ARE THERE WEIRD SOUNDS. And I swear to god the Airasia plane was fucked up big time and we were lucky to be alive. Pessimistic, I know. But the sounds were abnormally loud and the cluttering from all over, I have never feared so much (until the days in nepal, but thats for later).

Anyway the arrival to Lhasa was breathtaking. At first just rhetorically because of the sceneries and views on flight and then it became literally because it was 14 degrees. And smart me am just wearing a crop tee and jeans. YAY! Thank god I had my coat out of the suitcase and was temporarily saved. But I was not spared the instant numbing of face and fingers. This is the day of rest and random roaming in Lhasa, cautiously of course because if we do get stopped by the military without a guide we might be still in Tibet right now.

And here’s the airport. On a side note while in Chengdu we stayed over at the airport which actually has a closing time. So it was a dark airport with no staff but lurking sad souls like us sleeping on the seats. But we played monopoly deal because sleep is for the weak. Also a luggage was lost. A first start was definitely kinda creepy.

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Day 2. Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple And Bustling Bakhor Street.

Potala Palace, the home for most of the Dalai Lamas ( I was told the history and yada yada but most of them floated away with the Tibet wind), tho I only remember the story of the 6th Dalai Lama. I was told he was only found when he was 16, and by then he was used to civilian life and beer and what nots. So he was the most different of all. He sneaks out the palace at night to drink and ran away from time to time and only to be caught and returned to the palace. Made me wonder about the life of being a Holy Figure. Is freedom an abomination?

Meanwhile we went to our first monastery! Tibetan go there daily to do their prayers, you know the one where you stand and go to the ground and back again like some tough abs training? They do it daily for a thousand times. And if midcount they much so have to pee, they have to start counting all over from one again. Devotion.

Bakhor Street, first legit meal, first wifi area and first sight of tourists. Nuff’ said. Oh and also my first indigestion to which I had to make myself puke and my head feels like its going to explode leaving the others with bits of me. WOOTS!

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Day 3. Drepung Monastery And Sera Monastery.

More monastery. I forgot what happened but probably more beautiful mountains and thousand more steps. Did I mention their monastery are always high up in the mountains? I guess not.

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We also went to some supermarkets. God I love the China supermarkets.

OHOHOH one of the monastery we went to was holding their examinations for the monks, where by they get together according to ranks and question each other. Each question asked, they will clap their hands dramatically together and the others have to answer immediately and the most knowledgeable one will be the next to pose questions.

We (my sister) also spent quite a number of coins from yuan to ringgit to SGD in a wishing stone.

 

Now repeat that video for like ten times or more. Thats the amount of coins lost.

Day 4 Lhasa (3600m) – Gyantse (3900m) – Shigatse(3900m) – Yamdrok Lake, Mt.Nyechen Kangsar Glacier, Gyantse Kubum Stupa And Pelkhor Choede Monastery.

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Most beautiful lake of all time. My love for lakes never dies. Also the day of my first legit puke! Me and my motion sickness decided to be the burden of the team this day and during the ride up my face had gone to a point of no return and the people beside me was asking if I was going to be alright. It was then I sat up and asked for a plastic bag. And puked. All in less than 5 seconds. I can be a pro. But you know when sometimes people barf beside you and you just don’t know what to do and in good will you decide to pat their back in hopes that they will feel better? Please do not DO NOT do so. Although the thoughts are much appreciated the pats are like knocks on already cracked wooden plank supporting a rapid river. Its gonna fucking flood.

Thereafter we stopped over and while I was struggling to breathe and discreetly dispose of my vomit, the others managed to climb up a tiny peak and my sister got scammed off 5 yuan by carrying a goat. Neat.

As we went up higher I got slightly better and managed to have some fun and photos. The legit peak has Tibetan hounds the size of me and lots of aunties trying to make us carry their goats for 5 yuan. We also peed in 3900m above sea level. ACHIEVEMENT. I understood the literal definition of freezing your ass off.

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Day 5. Shigatse (3900m) – Lhatse – Shegar [New Tingri] (4050m) – Tashi Lhunpo Monastery, Sakya Monastery, Panorama Of Great Himalayas And Distant Views Of Mt. Everest(8848m).

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ROADTRIP! My first legit experience of a road trip and almost the entire trip was like the above. Mountains, snow caps and never ending road. Not complaining because not only the weather was perfect, the road was well laid and my motion sickness was kept at bay.

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One of the places we stopped by was the point at roughly 4500m above sea level and it has the most concentrated amount of the coloured wishing cloth I have saw. It was said that if you write your wish and name on one of those cloth and hang it on the strings, as the wind and time decay your wordings, your wish will come true. Although we did not buy any of those from the people there as they were kind of scary and pushy. That said, Tibetans have my utmost respect as unlike some China nationals, they sincerely are selling their products and despite being pushy, they graciously walk away after they realised you really are not interested in their goods. I have met some people who curse and swear at your entire ancestry when you refuse to buy their goods. Got to love them Tibetans.

 

Day 6. Shegar (4050m) – Rongbuk (5000m) – Rongbuk Monastery, Mt. Everest.

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More monasteries! I feel kind of bumped but I think I really have forgotten most of the monasteries because sad to say, they were really similar. But I think this was the day we almost lost Gabriel because all of a sudden he did not return from peeing and we went on up the monastery. But all’s well because he actually made his way down back to the jeep and waited for us there. God knows what will happen if it was me who got lost. I will probably end up a nun.

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Mt. Qomolancma, also known as Mt Everest! The base camp was actually not 5200m but more of 5100m, because they moved it down a bit years ago due to some preservation issues. But anyway, bucket list strike one! It was freezing cold and one of my personal achievement was peeing in 2 degrees at 5100m. Cheap thrills.

The night sky, was simply gorgeous. If there is a word to describe millions of stars on a single night sky. However the moment was abruptly interrupted by gush of ice cold wind to which we ran back into the warmth of the tent in split seconds. Speaking of which the tent wasn’t that all warm but at night we were tucked in like babies by the host lady in heaps of blankets. See below.

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I ALSO BOUGHT A STONE THERE. Do not judge a stone lover. Its like, who needs diamonds and flowers. STONESSSSS.

 

Day 7. Rongbuk (5000m) – Old Tingri (4390m) – Zhangmu(Dram) – The Thongla Pass, Mt. Shishapama, Waterfalls Within The Matsang River Gorge.

Another day of road trip and severe motion sickness and while I was on the verge for several times, I deserve a pat on the back for not puking out everything. At this point the level of shagness cannot be described. My intake of food has never been that low before. I have a video of the twists and turns on the road but literally this day we spent all on road. Lets not bored each other with that shall we?

Day 8. Zhangmu (2300m) – Nepal Border

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BORDER TOWN! Legit as scary as I expected it to be. Some hotels are not even open to tourists. We then proceed to rest and eat in a FREE WIFI restaurant, something we did more than often these days and went on to keep using it back at the shabby hotel of ours across the streets.

I have to mention throughout the whole Tibet trip we had limited water supply and warm. Also proper beds. And bedsheets without weirdass stains and holes.

Neeways in the bright morning we had to chiong to the border to queue up because if it was later in the day, the staff will be energetic enough to open all bags for checks and as I have mentioned, I BOUGHT A STONE and stones are not allowed out of Tibet…. So naturally I had to smuggle them out and for the first time, (one of the many first times) I am doing something sneakily and dangerous. Like wtf they had guns and shits. God bless my Singaporean passports me and my beloved stone passed safely into the Nepal bridge. Oh and before this an Indian American wannabe tried to cut our queue by creating another. Seriously dude? Cut a queue of a group of Singaporeans? Do your research please.

 

NOTE: While my sister tries to upload her bunch of photos online, I shall try to finish my Nepal recollection. CHEERS!

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