Roof of the World

Trip Start Sep 05, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Our flight to Lhasa left at 7:30 so we had to be ready to go at 5:30! 10 people from the hostel were flying to Tibet that day and 4 people were very late. We managed to get to the airport with about an hour to spare. Had we been late we had all vowed to kill them.

The flight was incredible. I have no doubt that Chengdu-Lhasa must be one of the most spectacular flight in the world. 1hr 40mins constantly flying over snow capped mountain ranges and it flew by (excuse the pun).

Arriving in Tibet was a very weird experience. The pilot had announced that it was 7C outside which had me worried. However the second you step into the sunlight the transformation is incredible! It was boiling! Easily the hottest in China and like Japan without the humidity.

Lhasa is 90km's away from the airport so we had to take a bus, which was actually cheaper than the LP stated! Seeing the Potala palace for the first time was quite impressive and one of my main reasons for visiting Tibet.

One of the main worries about visiting Tibet is the altitude. Chengdu is at 500 metres whereas Lhasa is 3400. You can tell pretty much the second you step out the airport but it was really noticeable when we had to carry our bags to the hotel. It was a real struggle and only worsened by the intense sunlight.

We checked into the Yak hotel and it seemed like a very nice place. The dorms were alright although the doors were made of glass and had a big gap between them. Surely going to be cold during the night.

The airplane breakfast had been rather lacklustre so we went to the hotel restaurant and although it was expensive it was quite substantial. The yak meat in the sandwich was also very good.

After eating lunch we saw Lucy (a girl we met in Xi'an) looking at the noticeboard for people to go with on the trip round Tibet. She had already been in Lhasa for a week! We were moving much faster than that.

We had teamed up with 2 Danish people (Jesper and Louise) and were off to book a jeep tour around Tibet. Our hostel didn't organise them so we had to go to Snowlands down the road. 6 day tour secured for 3800 yuan which was pretty good value as in peak season it would have been 6000 yuan.

Jeep tour secured we headed to get some money before going to buy our flight tickets out of Lhasa. Another 1470 yuan, this is turning into an expensive detour!

It is best to do very little for the first couple of days to help acclimatize to the altitude so we thought it was best to sit around in a cafe for a few hours. By 8pm I was starting to feel the effects and has flu like symptoms with a mild headache so went to bed hoping they would be gone in the morning.
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