Monday, 14 June 2010

Zhongdian > Xiangcheng > Litang

I left Zhongdian at 7.30 for Xiangcheng. The bus was cramped and uncomfortable. Naturally I was perched right at the back, where the going is pretty rough. But its all part of the experience- the magical landscapes that unfolded throughout the day more than make up for it! The mountains that we drove up and down for the next 14-hours were stunning. Rolling hills into mountain peaks, with roads winding there way through, up and around them to over 4,000-meters.

The bus to Xiangcheng arrived around 3pm. But Xiangcheng is not a pretty place. It seems to be a cog in the Chinese Industrial empire and all around there are mines, hydroelectric schemes and locals working materials. Having met the French contingent on the bus, the 5 of us hoped in a taxi with a girl from Hong Kong and a local.

Xiangcheng to Litang is a further 5-6hours. The first 3rd of which was very comfortable. But we stopped in Sang Dui, where our driver deposited us into smaller 4-WD vehicle. We didn't mind so much and after inspecting the locals and likewise being inspected, we left the town and headed north into an epic boulder field.

The boulder field was huge. It must have gone on for 20-30km. Fortunately we got a short stop and it gave me the chance to run around for 10-mins and scramble up a few of the granite pieces laying around. Again the landscape was thrilling throughout. We arrived in Litang a little exhausted, 14-hours of travelling!

We tucked into some local food, consisting of potato and yak dumplings, yak steak, egg fried-rice, Tsampa and naturally some green tea. Although it was dark it was pretty clear that we had moved into more remote regions. The Han-population was barely noted, instead Tibetans populate the one main road running through town.