10th & 11th October 2012
Hi all, I'm back in Australia and looking forward to a good night's sleep. Left the hotel at 10:00am for Kathmandu's international airport and a 1:05pm Silkair flight arriving Singapore at 8:15pm. Then caught the 12:35am Singapore airways flight to Sydney arriving 11:20am. Tibet was 2 hous behind Sydney (3 hours with daylight saving) which is in line with all of China. Nepal was 4.25 hours behind Sydney (5.25 hours with daylight saving).
The group was mostly middle aged although Joyce and Keith were in their 80's. All of the group appear to be serious travellers who have toured out of the way places. Most are already planning their next trip.
Some observations of the trip are as follows;
- Tibet is very clean, with plenty of street sweepers and organisation.
- Chinese police and soldiers are very much in control of Tibet, and foreigners are subject to Chinese control and supervision. For example, Tibet travel permits can only be obtained for a group of at least 5 foreigners of the same nationality, in the company of a Tibetan guide. Because we had 18 in the group, we needed two local Tibetan guides to travel outside Lhasa.
- Nepal is a dirty country in so far as rubbish is dumped in the streets and rivers.
- In Tibet, cars are left hand drive, whilst Nepal is right hand drive. However, in both countries, driving is enhanced by protracted use of the vehicles horn, and driving on the wrong side of the road is common (with all vehicles leaning on the horn).
- The roads in Lhasa are good, although the Freedom Highway is potholed and needs contant maintaenace.
- In Nepal, all roads are poor, and travel is slow. In Kathmandu, moves are under way to widen some roads, but this involves resuming and demolishing some properties. The dust and rubble contributes to the chaos.
- nursing the panda at Chengdu.
- The Potala palace in Lhasa.
- the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa.
- Sera Monastery and the debating monks.
- the Himalayas when we could see them.
- The Durbar Sqares at Bkaktapur, Patan and kathmadu.
- the elephants and rhinoceros at Chitwan National Park.
8 the flight over the Himalaya's.
Its been a great trip, and definately something different, but I'm also pleased to be home.
Some photos have been added to the Photo gallery.