China - Tibetan Counties of Western Sichuan
The town of Litang is not easy to reach. After two days on public buses that rattle along mountain roads, clearing high-passes at 5300m and stopping every few hours to buy more cigarettes, our driver finally pulled into the town of Litang. My guesthouse was named Pokhara Palace, but was not as glamorous as the original in Lhasa. At night the wild dogs roam the streets and bark incessantly. Litang sits at 4100m, and a mile out of town the monastery sits a little higher, casting a paternal watch across the valley. The monks here are known throughout the Tibetan world, because three Dalai Llamas have been schooled here and today they continue to practice sky burials. Litang is where the sky meets the earth, where the wind-horse is carried by the breeze.
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"It took me two days on a bus to reach Litang from Chengdu, bouncing along treacherous mountain roads that twist around glacial valleys and climb through high-altitude passes exceeding 4800m. There were just four of us foreigners on the bus leaving Chengdu, and half that the next day when we left Kangding. Arriving in downtown Litang you're presented with a series of trading markets grouped into produce, meats and silversmiths. Young Tibetans with flowing dark hair ride into town on motorcycles, leather and talismans flying in the breeze. Once they rode wild horses, but today they prefer the iron horses. Riding solo is still an expression of freedom."
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If you have a hankering for Tibetan culture and snow capped mountains, why not join me for a unique photo tour in April 2012. Everest and Tibet, 21 days starting and finishing in Kathmandu, lots of lovely treats including private Landcruisers and some swish pampering in the mountains. We'll get you acclimated to altitude nice and slowly, then enjoy the Tibetan plateau and Everest Base Camp. How nice!