Finally we have a day to remember, one where we see no other tourists, western or otherwise. We are headed for the monastery of Tenduling (Dondrupling in Mandarin), founded the same year (1667) as Ganden Sumtseling in Shangri La. It’s a good 100km, and the spanking new road cuts swathes through the rugged landscape – criss-crossing bridges over the Yangtze gorge, suspended on monolithic pylons and viaducts, boring through impenetrable hillsides with 3 km long tunnels. Everywhere roadside kiosks are springing up to cater for the long-distance lorry drivers – and the Chinese tourist. This is the main road to Lhasa. It is breath-taking and impressive. Whatever you say about the Chinese, they are single-minded masters of road-building and engineering. Continue reading
Tag Archives: Tibet
The Tea Horse Road 4: Shangri La at last!
Shangri La! What romantic images that conjures up. In fact it’s all a cynical marketing ploy dreamed up in 1998 by the Chinese government to attract tourists to the Tibetan prefecture of Gyalthang, which was annexed by China following its ‘liberation’ of Tibet in 1959. James Hilton invented the concept of Shangri La in his famous fiction, Lost Horizon. Continue reading