Tibet - Spring 2007 
The mountains of Tibet as seen from the airplane on the flight to Lhasa.Tibetan Buddhist pilgrims walk the Barkhor Kora, a clockwise circuit, around the Jokhang, the holiest temple in Tibet. This is in the old Tibetan quarter of Lhasa. The center piece of the roof above the gate of the Jokhang Temple.I'm standing in the roof of the Jokhang temple. Out of respect for the culture I didn't take pictures inside any temples on this trip. The Jokhang was built in the 647AD and contains some amazing statues, including Jowo Sakyamuni, a 7th century image of Buddha that is the most revered in all of Tibet.
The mountains of Tibet as seen from the airplane on the flight to Lhasa.
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Tibetan Buddhist pilgrims walk the Barkhor Kora, a clockwise circuit, around the Jokhang, the holiest temple in Tibet. This is in the old Tibetan quarter of Lhasa.
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The center piece of the roof above the gate of the Jokhang Temple.
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I'm standing in the roof of the Jokhang temple. Out of respect for the culture I didn't take pictures inside any temples on this trip. The Jokhang was built in the 647AD and contains some amazing statues, including Jowo Sakyamuni, a 7th century image of Buddha that is the most revered in all of Tibet.
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From the roof of the Jokhang you can see a bit of Barkhor Square in front of the temple, and on the right, the Potala Palace on the hill above the city.A side trip to a small monastery on a hill showed me some pretty old but uninteresting rock carvings....and this amazing view of the Potala Palace from the west.I'm in Potala Square directly in front of the palace. Behind me are tourists from other parts of China, dressed up in traditional Tibetan costumes, posing for pictures.In the square across from the Potala Palace is a monument commemorating the Chinese Peaceful Liberation of Tibet in 1951.
From the roof of the Jokhang you can see a bit of Barkhor Square in front of the temple, and on the right, the Potala Palace on the hill above the city.
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A side trip to a small monastery on a hill showed me some pretty old but uninteresting rock carvings....and this amazing view of the Potala Palace from the west.
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I'm in Potala Square directly in front of the palace. Behind me are tourists from other parts of China, dressed up in traditional Tibetan costumes, posing for pictures.
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In the square across from the Potala Palace is a monument commemorating the Chinese Peaceful Liberation of Tibet in 1951.
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On my second night in Lhasa I went out around midnight to take some pictures around the Potala Palace.In the road that runs in front of the Potala Palace is a white Stupa.A view across Potala Square to the palace.I met this Tibetan pilgrim in Potala Square. His look is pretty typical of the Tibetan people I sawin Lhasa: wide brim hat, layers of clothing (even though I found it pretty warm outside), and carrying a prayer wheel.
On my second night in Lhasa I went out around midnight to take some pictures around the Potala Palace.
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In the road that runs in front of the Potala Palace is a white Stupa.
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A view across Potala Square to the palace.
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I met this Tibetan pilgrim in Potala Square. His look is pretty typical of the Tibetan people I sawin Lhasa: wide brim hat, layers of clothing (even though I found it pretty warm outside), and carrying a prayer wheel.
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Pilgrims walk the Potala Kora around the Palace. In front many stop to prostrate themselves on on the sidewalk and pray.Most of the Potala Kora is lined with prayed wheels. This shows some tibetans walking ahead of me on the kora around the back of the Palace.Around the kora, and also outside monasteries and temples, you see large incense burners that are burning fresh cedar branches for the smoke and the nice smell.One night in Lhasa me and some friends visited a Nangma. Its a traditional Tibetan bar where local people drink and watch folk dancers and singers. During some folk songs the crown would go up to the stage and dance. We were the only foreigners in the place, so of course we got up there and joined them.
Pilgrims walk the Potala Kora around the Palace. In front many stop to prostrate themselves on on the sidewalk and pray.
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Most of the Potala Kora is lined with prayed wheels. This shows some tibetans walking ahead of me on the kora around the back of the Palace.
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Around the kora, and also outside monasteries and temples, you see large incense burners that are burning fresh cedar branches for the smoke and the nice smell.
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One night in Lhasa me and some friends visited a Nangma. Its a traditional Tibetan bar where local people drink and watch folk dancers and singers. During some folk songs the crown would go up to the stage and dance. We were the only foreigners in the place, so of course we got up there and joined them.
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There is me, some fellow Tsinghua students that I met in Lhasa, and some nangma performers about to go onstage...you can probably guess who is who.The dancers that we met in the previous picture take the stage.The first stop on our Land Cruiser tour of Tibet was Nam-Tso, a holy lake in the mountains at around 4700m high. The lake is salt water from the time before the Himalayas formed and the area was part of an ocean.Huge twin rocks hung with prayer flags on the shore of Nam-Tso.
There is me, some fellow Tsinghua students that I met in Lhasa, and some nangma performers about to go onstage...you can probably guess who is who.
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The dancers that we met in the previous picture take the stage.
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The first stop on our Land Cruiser tour of Tibet was Nam-Tso, a holy lake in the mountains at around 4700m high. The lake is salt water from the time before the Himalayas formed and the area was part of an ocean.
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Huge twin rocks hung with prayer flags on the shore of Nam-Tso.
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Religious pilgrims will take 15 days to walk a kora around the lake. Even in May it was very cold up here. Parts of the lake were still iced over and the prayer flags were fluttering in the stong icy wind.Around Nam-Tso Tibetan nomads live in square tents and herd sheep and yak.A herd of yak on the Nam-Tso plain.A small overlook off the highway marked by strings of prayer flags.
Religious pilgrims will take 15 days to walk a kora around the lake. Even in May it was very cold up here. Parts of the lake were still iced over and the prayer flags were fluttering in the stong icy wind.
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Around Nam-Tso Tibetan nomads live in square tents and herd sheep and yak.
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A herd of yak on the Nam-Tso plain.
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A small overlook off the highway marked by strings of prayer flags.
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Another random stop along the road with a great view.Our first night outside Lhasa was in Shigatse where we visited the Tashilhunpo Monastery. Its a big place that contains several golden burial stupas for the Panchen Lama, the second most important reincarnation lineage in Tibet after the Dalai Lama.The next day we got this spectacular view of a small stupa as we drove through the mountains towards Mt. Everest.This scene is typical of what I saw as we drove through the Tibetan countryside. There are many small villages where people are working the dusty soil with yak driven plows.
Another random stop along the road with a great view.
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Our first night outside Lhasa was in Shigatse where we visited the Tashilhunpo Monastery. Its a big place that contains several golden burial stupas for the Panchen Lama, the second most important reincarnation lineage in Tibet after the Dalai Lama.
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The next day we got this spectacular view of a small stupa as we drove through the mountains towards Mt. Everest.
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This scene is typical of what I saw as we drove through the Tibetan countryside. There are many small villages where people are working the dusty soil with yak driven plows.
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Another typical scene in Tibet. The dirt road road through treeless red hills. Most of the province is above the tree line.Finally, after many hours of driving we reach the entrance to the Mt. Qomolangma nature preserve. Qomolangma is the Tibetan name for Mt. Everest. From here is still several hours of driving on rough dirt roads before we reach base camp.There are many small villages inside the Qomolangma nature preserve. Again you see clustered white houses and barley fields worked using yak.This mountain pass at 5200m high is the first time that you see Mt Everest. Its right behind me completely hidden by clouds and fog.
Another typical scene in Tibet. The dirt road road through treeless red hills. Most of the province is above the tree line.
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Finally, after many hours of driving we reach the entrance to the Mt. Qomolangma nature preserve. Qomolangma is the Tibetan name for Mt. Everest. From here is still several hours of driving on rough dirt roads before we reach base camp.
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There are many small villages inside the Qomolangma nature preserve. Again you see clustered white houses and barley fields worked using yak.
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This mountain pass at 5200m high is the first time that you see Mt Everest. Its right behind me completely hidden by clouds and fog.
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Apart from the usual Tibetan souvenirs (necklaces, prayer wheels, etc.) the Mt Everest area has some special items. There are round stones that contain fossils of prehistoric snails, and there are giant pieces of "real" amber containing suspiciously well placed scorpions, lizards and snakes. This guy sold me one for really cheap.  Welcome to Mt. Everest base camp for tourists. Its as close as you can drive to Mt Everest. The altitude is around 5100m and its very cold. The tents on either side of the road are all hotels. Here is one of the highest hotels, and one of the highest souvenir stands in the world.Our hotel at Mt Everest was a semi-permanent tent heated by a stove burning sticks and yak dung. It was bitterly cold at night, probably around minues 20 C, but a Tibetan lady made me a roll of more than 8 thick blankets to sleep in. It kept me warm.
Apart from the usual Tibetan souvenirs (necklaces, prayer wheels, etc.) the Mt Everest area has some special items. There are round stones that contain fossils of prehistoric snails, and there are giant pieces of "real" amber containing suspiciously well placed scorpions, lizards and snakes. This guy sold me one for really cheap.
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Welcome to Mt. Everest base camp for tourists. Its as close as you can drive to Mt Everest. The altitude is around 5100m and its very cold. The tents on either side of the road are all hotels.
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Here is one of the highest hotels, and one of the highest souvenir stands in the world.
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Our hotel at Mt Everest was a semi-permanent tent heated by a stove burning sticks and yak dung. It was bitterly cold at night, probably around minues 20 C, but a Tibetan lady made me a roll of more than 8 thick blankets to sleep in. It kept me warm.
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The evening we arrived at Mt Everest you could not see the mountain at all because of clouds and fog. The next morning at 7am we were treated to this amazing sight of the star attraction. We immediately grabbed a horse cart for the 6km ride to the real Mt Everest base camp for a better view.This is at the mountaineering base camp from which expeditions to climb Mt Everest are launched. The tents belong to groups getting ready for the climb. The altitude is 5200m and its very cold.Me and my good friends Chris pose in front of Mt Everest. The 50m climb to this overlook left us both dizzy and out of breath. Altitude sickness is harsh at this height. It really becomes clear why so few people survive climbing all the way to the top, at 8850m up.Another view of Mt Everest and the valley of climber's tents.
The evening we arrived at Mt Everest you could not see the mountain at all because of clouds and fog. The next morning at 7am we were treated to this amazing sight of the star attraction. We immediately grabbed a horse cart for the 6km ride to the real Mt Everest base camp for a better view.
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This is at the mountaineering base camp from which expeditions to climb Mt Everest are launched. The tents belong to groups getting ready for the climb. The altitude is 5200m and its very cold.
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Me and my good friends Chris pose in front of Mt Everest. The 50m climb to this overlook left us both dizzy and out of breath. Altitude sickness is harsh at this height. It really becomes clear why so few people survive climbing all the way to the top, at 8850m up.
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Another view of Mt Everest and the valley of climber's tents.
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