青藏之旅 西藏之旅

In the summer of 2007, I spent 3 weeks traversing the Qinghai – Tibet regions of western China in a 4 wheel drive vehicle, braving altitude sickness, harsh weather and road conditions. It was my second visit to Tibet.
I want to share with you my experience, through images I captured with my camera.


The Red Line is the route traveled
from Xi-Ning, Qinghai to Mount Everest base-camp in Tibet
红線是路途的全程 從西寧開始 直到珠峰大本营

The Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau
With its glacier-covered mountains seen here from the plane, it is often called
the Roof of the World due to its high altitude (average 4,000 m or 12,000 ft.)
鳥瞰冰川縱橫的 青藏高原 (平均海拔四千米 有世界屋脊之稱)

The recently completed railroad into Tibet - over rough terrain

I chose a 4 wheel drive
vehicle with a local driver
我們的座駕 - 越野車

rougher but better experience
駕車雖比坐飛機或火車辛苦 但给我留下回味無窮的經歷

Much of my trip was driven on unpaved dirt roads

Dirt roads are dusty

you may wish for rain

which you may regret

Mountain roads are usually winding along hillsides

along rocky cliffs

View while driving as if you were flying in mid air

Scary if you look down

One of us has to yield

Improvised traffic sign (reads “blow horn”)

Where bridges are not sturdy enough for cars …
這橋絕對無法行車 …

… the only way to cross the river is …
那… 就祗能這樣過河….

Of course not every attempt was successful

Even paved roads can be hazardous

You are sharing the road with everyone and everything

including these pilgrims who prostrate themselves all the way to their sacred destinations

This vast grassland called Kekexilli along Kunlun Mountain is home to these Tibetan antelopes almost poached to extinction for their luxurious fur

My close encounter with a Tibetan antelope

Tibetan gazelle
羊羚 (當地人叫白屁股,不同藏羚羊)

Tibetan eagle 藏鷹

Qinghai Lake – the largest lake in China
青海湖是中國最大的湖 (水是咸的 - 我嚐過)

Blossom along the shore of Qinghai Lake

Tanggula Pass (altitude 5,200 m or 15,600 ft)at the border between Qinghai and Tibet
越過這唐古拉山口(海拔五千两百米) 就從青海跨進了西藏

This is the land of big sky, mountains and lakes

Sometimes it is hard to tell where land ends and sky begins

Lake Nam Co (altitude 4,700 m or 14,100 ft)is the largest sacred lake in Tibet
納木錯湖 (海拔四千七百米) 是西藏最大的聖湖

Lake Yamzho Yumco (altitude 4,440 m or 13,320 ft)is another beautiful sacred lake
羊卓雍錯湖 (海拔四千四百米) 是另外一個美麗的聖湖

A rare opportunity for me to swim at such altitude (Lake Yamzho Yumco)

This part of the Himalayas looks like the rain forest

Nyingchi area is particularly lush shown here along Nyang River - a tributary of Yarlungzangbo
林芝地區(尼洋河畔 - 雅魯藏布江的支流)号稱西藏的江南

The mighty Yarlungzangbo River nourishes the northern slope of the Himalayas
沿喜馬拉雅山脈北麓的 雅鲁藏布江

Yarlungzangbo Canyon (seen here from the plane), the deepest land canyon on earth, remains largely inaccessible. Through this canyon, the Yarlungzangbo River flows south to become the Bramaputra River in India
雅鲁藏布大峽谷是世界陸上最深的峽谷 (要走進去談何容易) 雅鲁藏布江水從這里向南流進印度

China’s mighty Yangtze River originates from glacial melt similar to this one in the Qinghai – Tibetan Plateau

So does Lancang River (the source of the Mekong River) seen here flowing by the city of Qamdo
瀾滄江源於青藏. 它穿過昌都城向南流去成為了湄公河的上游

… and Nu River (the source of the Salween River which empties into the Indian Ocean through Myanmar) seen here in eastern Tibet
怒江 也是源於青藏. 它流經缅甸進入印度洋

Snow blanketed horizon on my way to Mt. Everest

Anxiously waiting for the heavy fog to clear at the Everest basecamp

Mount Everest - local name Qumolangma Finally a clear view (summit altitude 8,848 m or 26,500 ft)
我终於看到了珠峰 (峰頂海拔 8,848米)

Just as exciting as the scenery are the culture and life of the people living there

Highland barley is the main crop grown here

Beautiful barley fields in Denqen, eastern Tibet

August is harvest time Winter starts early in Tibet
八月是收割季節 這里冬季漫長

Nomads like to live close to a river

Nomad’s tent (this one woven with yak fur) and his dog (Tibetan Mastiff )
牧民的 耗牛毛藏包(相當保暖) 和藏獒(非常忠心, 凶猛)

Some go solar

Yaks are the only beasts of burden which can tolerate the high altitude and freezing weather
耗牛是唯一能在這低氧, 低温環境下生存的勞動力

White yak is a symbol of luck

Yaks are raised also for meat and milk …

… milk for making the popular salty milk tea

The sign reads “tea house”, in both
Tibetan (top) and Chinese (bottom)

Yak dung is burned as fuel

Green pastures are abundant in Qinghai (the name means green sea)
Ideal grazing ground for yaks, horses …

… and sheep 還有绵羊

Typical homes of the peasants 藏式的農舍

Friendly smiles 笑容可掬的面孔

The young 年輕人

Students walking to school

Curious 好奇

Strong ultra-violet at high altitude takes a toll on their skin

Tibetan Medicine traditionally relies heavily on pulses for diagnosis

Tibetan medicine 藏藥

Images of Buddha are everywhere

Religion is a very important part of Tibetan culture Lama Buddhism (Lamaism) is the predominant religion here
藏族文化和宗教是分不開的 藏傳佛教(喇嘛教) 是藏族地區主要宗教

Compared with other forms of Buddhism Lama Buddhism has some unique practices

The inside of each prayer wheel is lined with printed Buddhist sutra so spinning the wheel is equivalent to chanting the sutra repeatedly

Their way of paying homage to Buddha is called prostrating
叩長頭是常見的朝拜方式. 虔誠的信徒會叩上几百里路去朝聖

Dagobas (佛塔), Mani stone pile (瑪尼堆) and prayer flags (經幡) at mountain passes give blessings to travelers’ safety and luck

Prayer flags on every house

Circling flock of vultures may signal nearby sky burial - an old Tibetan practice of feeding the dead (only the privileged) to the birds to facilitate reincarnation
成群的禿鷹在天空中盤旋, 附近可能在舉行天葬

There are several sects in Lama Buddhism
This monk belongs to the currently dominant yellow sect (tell by the hat color)
喇嘛教派系中最大的是黄教 (帽子的顏色)

Monks debating Buddhist scriptures at the Samye Monastery

Friendly monks at Chaka salt lake offering me white silk scarf (Khada) as blessing

Tashilunpo Monastery in Xigaze is home to the Panchen Lama

Jokhang Temple in Lhasa

Gaindan Monastery was built high on a mountain
甘丹寺 (宗嘎巴大師的道場) 建在一個高山上

Yomgbulagan Palace built by the first Tibetan King 2,000 years ago
雍布拉康 两千年前吐蕃王朝第一座王宮

Zhandan Monastery in the hills of north east Tibet bears resemblance to the Potala Palace in Lhasa

Potala Palace in Lhasa (viewed from Jokhang Temple)
The original structure built in 7th century no longer exists. Since reconstruction in 17th Century, it has been the official residence of the Dalai Lamas
拉薩的布達拉宮 初建於七世纪,自十七世纪重建後便成為歷代達赖喇嘛之住居

Standing on top of the Potala Palace feeling higher than the Roof of the World
登上布達拉宮的頂楼, 給人一種高於世界屋脊的幻覺

This night exposure of the Potala Palace is one of my favorite shots