Tibet

Cycling the Friendship Highway

The Friendship Highway connects Lhasa in Tibet with Kathmandu in Nepal. In late October 2002 I arrived in Lhasa with my bicycle, and a few days later set off for Kathmandu. I covered 1104 km, of which about 950 km was on gravel tracks. After a couple of weeks, on the road to Everest base camp, my SLR camera was damaged beyond repair and all photos after this point are taken on my compact, with a wide-angle lens and uncertain focusing.

I flew from Heathrow with Gulf Air via Muscat to Hong Kong, Dragonair to Chengdu and China Southwest to Lhasa. I returned from Kathmandu with Gulf Air via Abu Dhabi.

I stayed in Harmondsworth, Hong Kong, Chengdu, Lhasa (6 nights), Kamba, Nagartse (2 nights), Namru Chu valley, Gyantse (2 nights), Shigatse (2 nights), nr Dilong, Sakya Bridge, Gyatso La, Baipa, Chay, Tashi Tzong, Rongphu, Tashi Tzong, Tingri, Gurtso, Lalung La, Nyalam, Tatopani, Dolalghat and Kathmandu (5 nights). Wild camps are marked .

The July 2010 situation in Tibet is documented by this BBC video: militarisation of the streets of Lhasa and a culture of fear and intimidation. A few years after I stayed at the Yak Hotel in Lhasa its proprieter, Dorje Tashi, was jailed for life for making a religious donation to the Dalai Lama. Please support Free Tibet.

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29 Oct 02
The Potala, Lhasa
29 Oct 02
Tibet International Grand hotel, Lhasa
29 Oct 02
The Yak Hotel, Lhasa
29 Oct 02
Plastic palm tree and public address speaker, Lhasa
29 Oct 02
The Potala, Lhasa
29 Oct 02
Market near Barkhor square, Lhasa
30 Oct 02
Barkhor square and Jokhang temple, Lhasa
30 Oct 02
Entrance to the Jokhang temple, Lhasa
30 Oct 02
Prayer wheels, Jokhang temple, Lhasa
30 Oct 02
Jokhang temple, Lhasa
30 Oct 02
Jokhang temple, Lhasa
30 Oct 02
Jokhang temple, Lhasa
30 Oct 02
Incense burner, Barkhor square, Lhasa
31 Oct 02
Sera Monastery, near Lhasa
31 Oct 02
Debating session, Sera Monastery, near Lhasa
31 Oct 02
Debating session, Sera Monastery, near Lhasa
3 Nov 02
Road south from Lhasa
3 Nov 02
Buddha by the side of the road
4 Nov 02
Kamba
4 Nov 02
Kampa La, 4700 m
4 Nov 02
Yamdrok Tso and Noijin Kangsang (7206 m)
4 Nov 02
Nagartse
5 Nov 02
Samding Monastery and Gulin village
5 Nov 02
Gulin village, near Samding
5 Nov 02
Samding Monastery
5 Nov 02
Samding Monastery
5 Nov 02
Samding Monastery
5 Nov 02
Samding Monastery
5 Nov 02
Samding Monastery
5 Nov 02
Samding Monastery
5 Nov 02
The cook at Samding Monastery making tea
5 Nov 02
Samding Monastery
5 Nov 02
Samding village
6 Nov 02
Beyond Nagartse, towards the Karo La
6 Nov 02
My GPS on the summit of the Karo La, 5078 m
7 Nov 02
Namru Chu valley
7 Nov 02
Namru Chu valley
7 Nov 02
Approaching Lungma village, Namru Chu valley
7 Nov 02
Approaching Gyantse
7 Nov 02
Gyantse Dzong
8 Nov 02
Gyantse Dzong
8 Nov 02
Gyantse Dzong
8 Nov 02
Anti-British Imperialists Museum, Gyantse Dzong
8 Nov 02
Pelkhor Chode taken from Gyantse Dzong
8 Nov 02
Pelkhor Chode, Gyantse
8 Nov 02
Gyantse Khumbum
8 Nov 02
Tsuklakhang Monastery, Pelkhor Chode, Gyantse
8 Nov 02
Tsuklakhang Monastery, Pelkhor Chode, Gyantse
8 Nov 02
Tsuklakhang Monastery, Pelkhor Chode, Gyantse
9 Nov 02
By the Gyantse – Shigatse road
9 Nov 02
Carmen on the Gyantse - Shigatse road
9 Nov 02
On the Gyantse – Shigatse road
10 Nov 02
Shigatse
10 Nov 02
Tashilhunpo Monastery, Shigatse
10 Nov 02
Tashilhunpo Monastery, Shigatse
10 Nov 02
Tashilhunpo Monastery, Shigatse
10 Nov 02
Tashilhunpo Monastery, Shigatse
10 Nov 02
Tashilhunpo Monastery, Shigatse
10 Nov 02
Tashilhunpo Monastery, Shigatse
10 Nov 02
Shigatse, from Tashilhunpo Monastery
11 Nov 02
Bridge over the Sha Chu near Jiding
Photo: Carmen Sales12 Nov 02
Tea stop on the road to Lhatse
Photo: Carmen Sales12 Nov 02
On the road to Lhatse
Photo: Carmen Sales12 Nov 02
Qianggong / 强公村, 5000 km from Shanghai
12 Nov 02
On the summit of the Lagpa La, 4543 m
12 Nov 02
Guest house near Zhazong, by the turning to Sakya
12 Nov 02
Guest house near Zhazong, by the turning to Sakya
14 Nov 02
Descending the Gyatso La — first view of Everest
15 Nov 02
Just beyond the checkpoint near Baipa
15 Nov 02
Chay village
16 Nov 02
Carmen climbing the Pang La, 5050 m
16 Nov 02
View from the Pang La, 5050 m
16 Nov 02
Everest (8848 m) from the Pang La (5050 m)
Photo: Carmen Sales16 Nov 02
Descending the Pang La
17 Nov 02
On the way to Rongphu
17 Nov 02
Approaching Rongphu
18 Nov 02
Carmen cooking breakfast at Rongphu Monestry guesthouse, 4980 m
18 Nov 02
Everest from Rongphu Monestry guesthouse
18 Nov 02
Carmen approaching Everest base camp
18 Nov 02
Everest base camp, 5150 m
Photo: Carmen Sales18 Nov 02
At Everest base camp, 5150 m
18 Nov 02
Everest base camp, 5150 m
18 Nov 02
Carmen about to depart Rongphu
19 Nov 02
Truck drivers at Tashi Dzom
19 Nov 02
Friendship Highway turn-off for Everest base camp
19 Nov 02
Preparing the horse
20 Nov 02
Accommodation in Tingri
20 Nov 02
Gurtso village
20 Nov 02
Evening in Gurtso
Photo: Carmen Sales21 Nov 02
Lalung La summit, 5034 m
21 Nov 02
On the Lalung La
21 Nov 02
Lalung, 4876 m
22 Nov 02
Our accommodation at Lalung
22 Nov 02
Preparing to leave Lalung
22 Nov 02
Yarle Shung La, 5151 m
22 Nov 02
Shishapangma, 8013 m from the Yarle Shung La, 5151 m
Photo: Carmen Sales22 Nov 02
Shishapangma, 8013 m, 14th highest in the world, from the Yarle Shung La, 5151 m
22 Nov 02
Descending the Yarle Shung La
Photo: Carmen Sales22 Nov 02
Noodles for lunch again! In Yarle village
22 Nov 02
Approaching Nyalam
23 Nov 02
Nyalam, 3700 m
23 Nov 02
Descending towards the Nepal border
23 Nov 02
Dram, 2230 m, the last town in Tibet
24 Nov 02
On the road in Nepal
24 Nov 02
Our accommodation in Dolalghat
24 Nov 02
Dolalghat, 619 m
25 Nov 02
On the home straight
25 Nov 02
The end of the road — the Kathmandu Guesthouse

The Route (enlargement here)