Again to Tibet in January 2016

Why to Tibet in wintertime?

Yes, I went again to Tibet in January 2016. It was my 5th trip to Tibet in the month of January. I really like to visit Tibet in wintertime. Why? I will answer that question. In the first place, it’s low season. That means there are almost no tourists in Tibet. I met few small foreign tourist groups in Lhasa and had breakfast with a small group of total 4 tourists in my hotel in Shigatse. But beside these groups I saw totally no tourist at all in Tibet. Also almost no Chinese tourist groups. And I like that very much. It gives you a more Tibetan experience. I travelled alone in Tibet. Alone but with my guide and driver. So for my total of 16 days in Tibet I mostly was just among Tibetans.

Also the weather is great in Tibet in wintertime. In my country Holland I don’t like the weather at all in wintertime. It’s dark, cold and rainy. And when there is snow and it freezes, it’s only for a very short time. So mostly it’s very slippery then. But in Tibet the sun is shining, the sky’s are blue and at daytime the temperature is very nice. Many days you can have lunch outside. But the temperature depends on the altitude you are on. The really high areas in Tibet are cold. Too cold to travel to. But in the valleys in Central Tibet you can travel just fine. But be aware, the nights will be cold and there is no heating in the hotels as we are used too. And in very basic guest houses there is no heating at all in the sleeping rooms. In some rooms they have an electric blanket to keep you warm in bed. In my room in the guesthouse near Reting Monastery it was very basic with no sanitation inside. And the temperature dropped to at least minus 5 degrees. That’s why I always take a warm sleeping bag on my trip to Tibet in wintertime. I surely did need it that night. But I also had good hotel rooms as for instance in Shigatse.

What was new for me on this trip

It was my 5th time in winter I travelled in Tibet. But I also went to Tibet five times in autumn. So I have already seen a lot of things in Tibet. But also this time I saw some things that were new for me. I went to Sera Monastery near Lhasa and expected the monks debating in the afternoon again. But I was surprised to see a very special ceremony that afternoon for a monk, who had passed the highest exams and this ceremony was held for him. I wrote already a blog about it some months ago. And I also published a separate album with pictures of this ceremony. I was so fortunate to witness this.

The second thing new for me was when we went to Yasang Monastery, where at that time was a water blessing by a lama. There were so many pilgrims who came for the blessing. And they stood in line for hours. And I waited with them for hours and finally got also the water blessing. And I was the only tourist there. It was so special.Unfortunately I was unable to make pictures of the actual water blessing. Because it was in a little annex building where the lama sat on a throne and only about 6 or 7 people could get in when they received their water blessing. So when I was inside I received my blessing and had no chance to make a picture. But I felt very lucky to be there and be part of the ceremony. I really felt blessed. I made the visit to Yasang Monastery as a daytrip from Tsedang.

At the end of my trip, on my way back to Lhasa I saw a monastery, that was new to me. It was Taklung Monastery. A beautiful monastery of the Kagyu sect, that very few tourist ever visit. The doors of the halls were closed. But my driver knew the monks and one of the monks went with us and opened all the doors. So I could see the whole monastery. We visited Taklung Monastery on our way back from Reting Monastery to Lhasa.

Also new for my were the visits to the small Sevalong Monastery (on the way to Reting Monastery) and Chubzang Nunnery near Lhasa.

Also very special was the night I spent at the guesthouse run by four nuns just beneath Reting Monastery. They were very hospitable and although I couldn’t speak with them, they seem to enjoy my company as much as I enjoyed theirs. They treated my to all kind of sweets and lots of sweet tea. I didn’t know how to say no to them. So I drank a lot of tea. They also cooked a simple meal for us. Me and my guide and driver were their only guests.

A visit to lake Nam Tso was also on my itinerary. But we didn’t make it to this lake. The road to the lake goes over a high pass. There had been snow and the road to the lake was too icy and slippery. We did get over the pass but it was to dangerous to drive to the lake. So we turned back to Damxung.

See my pictures of this trip

What can I say more about my travel in January 2016. Nothing I think. The pictures I took say it all. So have a look at the three albums of this trip.

Tibet, January 2016 (part 1)

Tibet, January 2016 (part 2)

Tibet, January 2016 (part 3)

My itinerary for this trip




Flight Amsterdam – Chengdu


Arrival in Chengdu


Flight to Lhasa, walking the kora at the Barkhor in the afternoon


Lhasa, visit to Drepung Monastery and Sera Monastery


Lhasa, visit to the Potala Palace


Lhasa, visit to the Jokhang Temple in the morning, walking the Barkhor in the afternoon


Drive from Lhasa to Tsedang though the Yarlung Tsangpo valley. Visit the Tandruk Temple in the afternoon


Tsedang, daytrip to Yasang Monastery and the Yungbulakang Palace


Drive from Tsedang to Samye, visit to Samye Monastery


Drive from Samye to Gyantse, en route see the Kamba La Pass, Yamdrok Tso lake and the Karo La Pass


Drive from Gyantse to Shigatse, visit to the Pelkor Chöde Monastery and the Gyantse Kumbum


Shigatse, visit to the Tashilhunpo Monastery


Shigatse, visit to the Shigatse Dzong and the local market


Drive Shigatse – Nagartse, Nam Tso, Damxung – visit to Nam Tso Lake (we couldn’t reach the lake because of the dangerous, slippery road)


Drive from Damxung to Reting Monastery, visit to Sevalung Monastery and Reting Monastery


Drive from Reting Monastery to Lhasa – visit to Taklung Monastery on the way


Lhasa, visit to Pabongka Monastery and Chubzang Nunnery


Flight Lhasa – Chengdu


Flight Chengdu – Amsterdam