12. A journey into Tibet – Back to Kathmandu

July 2012

Previous posts:

A journey into Tibet - Kailash Manasa Sarovar
1. A journey into Tibet - At Kathmandu
2. A journey into Tibet – Mountain flight
3. A journey into Tibet - Manakamana
4. A journey into Tibet - Kathmandu to Nyalam Mu
5. A journey into Tibet - Rest day at Nyalam Mu
6. A journey into Tibet - Nyalam Mu to Zhongba
7. A journey into Tibet - Zhongba to Manasa Sarovar
8. A journey into Tibet - Manasa Sarovar, Darchen and Ashtapad
9. A journey into Tibet – Kailash parikrama from Darchen to Derapuk
10. A journey into Tibet – Kailash parikrama from Derapuk to Zutulpuk
11. A journey into Tibet – Kailash parikrama from Zutulpuk to Darchen and back to Zhongpo
July 2012

We started from Zhongpo at 6:30AM.  It was still dark but Sherpas had woken up early to prepare tea and breakfast. What better hospitality we can ask for? Their service was unmatched and will be remembered for long.

A destroyed fort near Saga
The town was completely silent when we left Zhongpo. After about 2 hours of travel, we reach the town of Saga. Here driver and guide decide to stop for breakfast while we roam around the town. The town seems to be in construction and renovation mode. I avoid taking photos as there are major military establishments. I think I should mention some precautions to be taken by travelers in Tibet:

The journey after Saga was uneventful. At one place, driver stops the vehicle to take bath at a stream close by.

Our guide at Paiku Tso

The weather changed after we cross Nyalam Mu. It was raining heavily on the other side of Tibet. As brown mountains give way to green ones, rains lash heavily. What a striking difference in the matter of few minutes!! My dream of taking snaps of waterfalls during return journey had to be abandoned as fog covers the area.

At a check post, Police with an emotionless face comes near our vehicle to inspect. He takes our passport and opens them up in that heavy rain unmindful of the fact that they get wet (he is wearing raincoat). Our heart beats fast looking at the way he treats our passport. Unable to contain our anxiety, we ask him to come inside the vehicle and check so that the passports do not get wet. He stares at us and reluctantly comes in.

It was still raining heavily when we enter Chinese immigration Office. While our guide does the formality of group visa break, we stand silently in the immigration office. Guide returns back and we proceed towards immigration. Now I get a chance to see the drama in immigration office because while entering I was at the end of the queue and missed lot of actions!! The guide goes towards an Officer and gives the documents. Lot of “chin chau chu” chat happens between them. Officer seems to be unhappy. Guide gives more documents. Repeat of “chin chau chu”. This repeats for some time and at some point Officer seems to be satisfied and asks us to proceed further. By then there is a big queue of local people behind the main immigration counter. The Officer asks us to directly go to the front of the queue. When locals object, Officer tells them that we are “Passport people” (Locals on both side just carry ID cards).

On the other side, there is a huge crowd of pilgrims trying to enter Tibet. People were standing on the friendship bridge. It is raining heavily but people have to stand in the queue. It was tough.

Nepal immigration is cakewalk. Guide takes care of that. During that time we have lunch at a restaurant. The journey now is relaxed. Though we are in Nepal, we experience Home coming.

A waterfall that I had missed during onward journey.

On the way back, we see a bungy jumping spot on Bothe Kosi River. Known to be one of the best bungy jumping spot in Asia, It was fun watching people perform the act. It would have been more fun if I had done it!! But that has to wait!!

Can you think what the first thing I did in Kathmandu was? Took bath!!!!

Final words:
The greatest trip of my life ends!! Let me tell you, it was not an easy job. The preparation, effort and money put for this trip was enormous. One has to be either religious or adventurous to undertake this trip. My suggestion is to visit when you are fit and healthy. Do not postpone to the last part of the life. There are many other places to visit during those old ages!! If time and fitness permit, try Indian route. I hear that it is different experience. 

And go as soon as possible. With Tibet opening up, lots of changes are taking place. If there are no disturbances in Tibet, I am sure that the facilities improve dramatically making this trip very easy and simple. Signs of road construction are visible in the parikrama of Kailash. When Chinese can build road to Everest base camp, it is not a big deal to tame Dolma La. The remoteness of the place is decreasing!!