July 31, 2007: Beijing to Lhasa
Got up shortly after 4:30 am. We had a flight at 7 am and we were getting picked up by Kathrin
and our driver at 5:15 am. The bellboys at the hotel said that because of the bad weather the
previous afternoon and evening that lots of flights would be delayed...how right they were!
Check-in at the airport was surprisingly fast and we went to our gate for our flight to Lhasa. Lots
of foreigners sitting around the gate, so we knew this was the gate!
Well, 7 am came and went by. A couple of times, there were announcements made saying that the
gates were changed, but the information flow was not working very well. Finally, after another gate
change which we discovered accidentally, we found the correct gate and saw that our flight was
boarding. I sent Marc back to where we sitting before and inform some of our fellow travelers
about the gate change. They'd probably still be sitting there if we would not have told them... The
plane finally took off at 2:35 pm, only 7 and a half hours behind schedule! The flight to Lhasa took
only 3:30 hours and we arrived shortly after 6 pm (all of China is on Beijing time).
We were picked up by a driver and an hour later we were in Lhasa. Approaching the outskirts of
Lhasa, one can only imagine how this must have looked long time ago. The Chinese have done a
marvelous job detibetanizing this city. Wide avenues made for lots of cars and lots of housing
construction everywhere. We stayed at the Kailash Hotel which is only about 3 minutes walking
distance from the Barkhor and about 10 minutes from the Potala. Perfect location! We had a nice
room on the fourth floor of the hotel facing the courtyard.
Getting out of the plane onto the tarmac and walking to the terminal was kind of surreal. The air was
crystal clear! The airport is at an altitude of about 3,500 meters.
Views of Tibetan
On approach of Gonkar
|Approaching Gonkar, we got a birdseye
view of Samye where we would be a week
For dinner, we went downstairs where there was a decent restaurant and bar. We had pizza and a
couple of beers and then went to bed about 9:30 pm. I had a small headache from the altitude (or
maybe the beer!), but Marc was fine. We slept pretty good on our first night in Tibet.
View from our room and view into courtyard with bar/restaurant on the