My trip through Amdo and parts of Kham was absolutely breathtaking. From the first day we left Chengdu to head up into the Tibetan Plateau my breath was taken away. I haven’t seen blue skies like that in a very long time and it was so refreshing and relaxing to just see that piercing blue across the sky. The landscape varied a lot in some areas there were mountains and in others there were valleys and grasslands. Just looking out the window everyday was enjoyable watching the scenery pass by as we drove to our next destination.
I always thought cows were cute when I drove by them. But cows are not cute compared to Yaks!!! Fluffy cows! They are so freaking cute and because it was summer there were a lot of baby yaks out and about too. I about died of cuteness every time we passed baby animals on the road.
A lot of the time we had to stop and wait for herds of yaks, or sometimes, sheep and goats to move to the side of the road so we could continue on. I thought about it and wondered if as many people would stop or slow down for these animals as back home. Maybe? Maybe not? There is always a sicko who finds joy in killing an animal on the road for fun. When the yaks would crowd the road like this we were able to get good pictures of them. I found it fascinating none of them really cared about cars and sometimes wouldn’t even move, so we had to go around them.
There was a storm coming in this day when we went to the Machu river to take pictures. It was a beautiful meadow behind where the tour group owner’s parents were camping out with their horses. I don’t know when the last time it was where I sat in a field with so few people around me and I could just enjoy the silence of nature surrounded by wildflowers. It was a serene moment I enjoyed documenting through gazing out at the sky and snapping a few selfies in between.
The horses were so pretty! Every now and then we would see nomads riding up on their horses along the road or through the grasslands. In many places on the road there were nomads who had set up riding trails for mostly Chinese tourists. It was interesting to see how many Chinese tourists actually did stop to ride the horses out on to the trails with the nomads leading the horses. We didn’t stop and ride the horses, but maybe one day I will go and ride a horse through the Tibetan grasslands.
Nyengbo Yurtse Lake was beautiful. My tour guide told me he had hiked it a few weeks earlier with another tour group. Just looking at mountains and imagining hiking them makes me shake my head. I’m a klutz as it is on flat land. I don’t think I could ever hike a mountain that size unless I suddenly decided to start getting very fit and hiking more often. I suppose that can always be a goal for another day. I know that many mountains are considered sacred and so I always wonder how Tibetans who lead tour groups up the mountains feel hiking in such places. Are they okay with it? Is it okay as long as it is a local who leads the expedition? I have a lot of questions that I never ask since I always think it is too much, so I just ponder them to myself.
This was a pit stop we took though you can’t tell from the photo there is a bathroom in the other direction of this picture. Hence, the reason we stopped for a bit. Bathrooms were hard to find while driving on these roads, so when we found one we always stopped! Luckily, whenever we stopped we were also greeted by beautiful scenery to look at so if there was enough time we would also walk around and explore a bit.
This was taken while we were doing the Kora around Kandze Monastery. It had just stopped raining when we arrived so we were greeted with beautiful skies after the storm. The Kora went around the entirety of the monastery and also through the village built next to it. It offered some gorgeous views of the area. The remains of the old wall were interesting, I have no idea how old they are, if they were remnants of a building past or still part of the current monastery. Once again, I should probably ask more questions, but I never do.
One morning we stopped by this lake to feed fish. Holy moly there were so many damn fish in this pond! If you went out to the dock there were literally over 100 just swimming there where you dropped snacks into the water. Giant carps. One was a beautiful golden orange color that stood out from the rest of them. It was fun to feed the fishies and admire the scenery, before heading back on the road.
I have a lot of curiosity and amazement whenever we passed rivers like this or mountains with prayer flags strung across them. It shows how much faith is infused into the Tibetan way of life. But I was really curious how did they hang those prayer flags? I know that they are not supposed to touch the ground, so how did they cross the river and hang it? How did they paint all those mantras on rocks without falling in the river? I can only imagine myself trying to do it and falling in and being swept down stream. Or how did they not tumble-down the mountain when they put the prayer flags up? Maybe it is because I’m a klutz and trip over a crack in the sidewalk, but I find that amazing. How did you do it? I’ll probably never know unless I see it done before my eyes.
Some of these photos are out-of-order, but that’s okay. This was taken at one of our first stops on the road while driving to Dardo (Kangding). We were pretty high up, probably around 3,000 meters (~9800 ft), I forgot to check the sign. Either way it was a great spot to take a photo and to see the winding roads that we came up on. Everyday I was greeted by beautiful scenery and weather. I thought we would have a lot of rain since it was the rainy season, but we really lucked out. This is definitely the most beautiful place I have ever been in my life and I can’t wait until my next trip back.