Road Tripping Through Sichuan-Tibet

By Mark Andrews

Lightfoot Travel. 06/11/2017

Time-honoured architecture, island nunneries and iPad toting monks await Mark Andrews on this road trip with a difference

Afternoon is nearly over, but in the Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture you wouldn’t know it, thanks to the Chinese government’s one time zone fits all policy. Earlier, when we checked in at the hotel in Yarchen Gar the owner had told us that at the end of the day great streams of Buddhist nuns and monks come down the hills. It was however the tripod toting tourists – all 20 of them – who alerted us to the correct direction. At first there are just a few specks of crimson, but soon they grew into two great columns on both sides of the valley.

Progress at first seems slow. Some are using staffs to steady themselves on the uneven ground, while others busy their hands with spinning prayer wheels. Suddenly as they near the stream a nun makes a run for it and soon there is a stampede. Phones and iPads are whipped out and what seemed like a serious religious event descends into what resembles day care for naughty teenagers. It takes about 20 minutes for the 10,000 odd nuns and monks, both young and old to make their way down the hillside.

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Mark Andrews has written about everything from Japanese houses to heli hikes on New Zealand glaciers, test drives of Chinese cars to bar and restaurant reviews. He currently specialises in travel articles and reviews of Chinese cars plus articles about the Chinese auto industry.

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