Samye Monastery

Trip Start Jun 11, 2005
Trip End Dec 22, 2005

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Sunday, August 28, 2005

Samye is one of the outlying monasteries in the Lhasa area, set in a remote area near the river. We set off from Lhasa at the crack of dawn on one of the pilgrim buses and arrived 4 hours later after passing stunning scenery of river, sand dunes and mountains. We established the return time of 2.30pm and set off to the see the monastery. It is in a lovely setting surrounded by mountains and chortens (stupas) and is of particular note because each floor reflects a different form of buddhism (ground floor Tibetan, 2nd floor chinese and third floor Indian). The whole monastery had a relaxed feel.

The fun started when we went to the bus at the alloted time. The chinese authorities have imposed tighter than normal restrictions as to where you are allowed to travel during the 40 year celebrations. We had done all we could to check we were allowed to travel from Lhasa, but the bus refused to take us and 2 other foreigners back to Lhasa. No-one really spoke english so we had no idea how to get back to Lhasa and were stranded in the middle of nowhere!!

Maggi managed to track down a tour guide from a Chinese group who spoke English. He helped us secure a mini bus to take us to a river crossing, we then took a ferry, flagged down a bus going to Lhasa (however it stopped about 50km away) and we had to transfer to another mini bus) and finally a local Lhasa bus. We were relieved to get back to Lhasa.

We were tired but had received lots of replies to notices we had put up looking for travellers to share the cost of travelling to Nepal, so we quickly showered and met a group of people for dinner. We agreed to share with Philipe (a french canadian) and Francesco (an italian).

As you know we've been trying to purchase a special momento of each country we have visited. The thing that has impressed us the most in Tibet has been the beautiful painted furniture. We found a lovely chest (made from old wood) painted with dragons (strength), lotus flowers (purity) and fiery symbols (prosperity). We have arranged shipment to england so fingers crossed it arrives in another 2 months time!
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